Welsh language boost for early years' assistants
Early years' classroom assistants will be helped to improve their Welsh language skills due to a pound;4 million initiative.
Leighton Andrews, the education minister, announced the extra cash this week to help support the roll-out of the Assembly government's play-led foundation phase for three- to seven-year-olds.
"The demand for Welsh-medium practitioners is growing as the foundation phase rolls out across Wales," he said. "The pound;4 million will make a big difference in delivering the training that we know is necessary."
The new funding will run until March 2013 and builds on the pound;6 million already invested in Welsh language training for the early years since 2008.
It was welcomed by Welsh medium teaching union UCAC, whose general secretary Elaine Edwards said: "This funding is crucial as it will ensure that early years language training standards are very high. If we help to ensure pupils get early access to the language they are more likely to become fluent and bilingual throughout their education."
Training will be delivered through Cam Wrth Gam, a scheme operating under the umbrella of early years organisation Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin and Geiriau Bach, part of Trinity University College.
Cam Wrth Gam provides a comprehensive national support infrastructure for Welsh-medium early years' practitioners, built around a work-based learning model, while Geiriau Bach focuses on improving the Welsh language skills of early years practitioners.
Both bodies were recently praised by an external evaluation for making a "significant contribution" to the government's bilingual Wales action plan Iaith Pawb and for securing qualified staff with the bilingual skills to meet the requirements of the foundation phase.
- Original headline: Welsh language skills boost for early years' assistants