A CONSULTATION on a council plan to move foundation phase teaching in five Ceredigion primary schools into the medium of Welsh comes to an end next week.

In May, councillors agreed to begin the consultation process to change the medium of language to Welsh in the Foundation Phase in Comins Coch, Llwyn yr Eos, Padarn Sant, Plascrug and New Quay schools.

It is also proposed that three of these schools, New Quay School, Comins Coch School and St Padarn’s Catholic School are able to admit three-year -old pupils on a part time basis.

The consultation began on 15 September and will end on 30 October.

The plan will mean big changes for the five schools and is part of the council’s Cabinet decision to approve the next stages of the Action Plan for Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2022-2023.

Consultation documents concede that the plans would incur costs, with teaching staff needing to be trained.

In its response to the consultation, Aberystwyth Town Council said that while it supported the plans, “funding is needed to provide adequate staffing levels”, and called on Ceredigion Council to “work with higher education and teacher training bodies to lobby the Welsh Government for additional funding.”

Consultation documents said that while maintaining the status quo would mean “no disruption to pupils or staff” and would “maintain the schools’ identity and presence in the local community”, “it does not contribute positively to the Welsh Government’s vision of A Million Welsh Speakers

Further consultations are outlined in the proposals, which could see nursery, reception and

Year 1 classes in the five schools all moved to the Welsh language over the next three years.

If the plans are given the go-ahead, nursery classes would begin in the Welsh medium in 2024, with reception classes to follow in 2025, Year 1 in 2026 and year 2 in 2027.

“By September 2028 Year 3 pupils would have a sound foundation, especially orally, and would be able to build on those skills whilst also developing their skills and education through the medium of English,” documents said.

“Changing the foundation learning language” of the schools “would be a sound basis for developing the pupils’ linguistic skills in accordance with the requirements of the Curriculum for Wales,” documents added.

“It would allow for a more consistent provision and offer linguistic equity to all pupils in Ceredigion.”