We've launched a weekly email to keep you updated on events happening in the Welsh Assembly.
Sign up now

7. Debate on the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee's Report 'Achieving the Ambition—Inquiry into the Welsh Government's new Welsh Language Strategy'

October 04, 2017

18 speeches by…

  • Ann Jones
  • Bethan Jenkins
  • Suzy Davies
  • Lee Waters
  • Dai Lloyd
  • Elin Jones
  • Alun Davies
  • Sian Gwenllian

Ann Jones

We now move on to item 7 on our agenda, which is the debate on the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee’s report ‘Achieving the Ambition—Inquiry into the Welsh Government’s new Welsh Language Strategy’. I call on the Chair of the committee, Bethan Jenkins, to introduce the report.

Bethan Jenkins

Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I’m very pleased to open this debate on the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee’s report, ‘Achieving the Ambition: Inquiry into the Welsh Government’s new Welsh Language Strategy’. The Welsh Government has committed itself to creating 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050. If this ambition is successful it will mean doubling the number of Welsh speakers in just over a generation. This is an ambitious and radical policy that the committee fully supports. We agreed to carry out an inquiry to look at the practicalities of how this radical policy can be successfully implemented. We took a wide range of evidence, including informal external engagement sessions with stakeholders and school pupils across Wales. It is clear from considering the evidence that success will require hard work, considerable additional resources and clear targets. It will also need to be founded on the continuing support of all the people of Wales, Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers alike. We were also concerned that the likely scale of the additional resources and investment required to achieve the aim may not yet have been fully realised. A wide range of other questions remains about how the strategy can be achieved in practice, especially in terms of the resources needed to turn the ambition into a reality. However, I am pleased that the Government’s response and the final strategy itself reflects and has addressed many of the issues raised in the report. Education is clearly central to the whole strategy. Overall, we wanted the Welsh Government to provide greater clarity around the comparative contribution that Welsh-medium education, Welsh in other schools, preschool and normalisation measures will make in delivering the overall aim, and whether a different focus is intended for different interventions as the strategy progresses. There were also some concerns that realigning the education system to help achieve the language strategy may distort the delivery of other educational priorities. Therefore, any resources and capacity to implement the policy should be in addition to current spending on education. The committee shared the concern of the Welsh Language Commissioner and the Welsh language Minister that too many local authorities have been inactive in stimulating and assessing demand for increased Welsh-medium provision. The Welsh in education strategic plans have not been implemented as intended, and many local authorities only assess current demand, without looking to see how Welsh-medium education can be positively promoted so that demand increases. The strategy mentions moving schools along the language continuum. In our view, the key issue is ensuring that more pupils move toward fluency throughout the education system. Seventy-five per cent of Welsh pupils attend English-medium schools. With improved outcomes, these schools may be a rich source of the Welsh speakers of the future. Therefore, the Welsh Government needs to demonstrate how it intends to improve Welsh-language education within English-medium schools. Preschool education also has a fundamental contribution to make if the overall goal is to be met, particularly in terms of normalising the language from an early age. Of course, if the aim of 1 million Welsh speakers is to be meaningful, this must mean more than just the ability to say a few phrases in Welsh. It must mean understanding and holding conversations naturally on most everyday subjects. However, work is still needed on identifying an objective way of measuring progress that is widely accepted. Of course, our report was published in May and the Government responded to it formally before the summer recess.  Around the same time, they also published its final strategy document, ‘Cymraeg 2050’, which, as I’ve mentioned, covered many of the issues raised in our report. We have, of course, also had the Government’s proposals for a new Welsh language Bill, which we debated only yesterday. Although the legal framework is an important part of the jigsaw, it is a somewhat separate matter from the issues raised in our report, but certainly we will be looking at the content of the Bill in detail. There are issues raised in some of the specific recommendations in the report, and in the Government’s response to them, that I would like to mention, and I hope the Minister will respond to these in his contribution to the debate. Therefore, if we look at some specific recommendations, recommendation 5 called for additional help and support for private sector employers and businesses to develop and expand their Welsh-language provision. The Welsh Government accepted this recommendation and said that further details would be published in the strategy. Could the Minister tell us what additional support and help is to be provided? Recommendation 6 was one of the key recommendations. It called for an urgent assessment of the additional resources that will be needed to achieve 1 million Welsh speakers, including the profile of spending over the early part of the strategy and the comparative cost of the various interventions that will possibly be required. Although the Welsh Government accepted the recommendation in part, pointing to the additional £10 million that has already been committed to start to deliver the new strategy, there is still no strategic assessment of the level of resources that will be needed. Indeed, the response said that there were no financial implications to the implementation of the strategy beyond the £10 million that has already been committed. So, I wanted to understand whether that is likely to be the case. Will more than £10 million be required to implement the policy in this area? Has the Minister carried out an assessment of the resources that will be required, how it is profiled and when he will make further announcements on additional resources? If I turn to recommendation 11, which called on the Welsh Government to set out in detail how it intends to move schools along the language continuum, and how this will address any concerns from parents and the wider community. The Government response, quite rightly, focused on the role of local authorities in planning for school places and for developing Welsh-medium education through the Welsh in education strategic plans. However, the response also said that the Welsh Government intended to review the regulations and guidance for WESPs to encourage, and I quote, ‘movement along the language continuum’. Could the Minister update us on progress in terms of that work and how local authorities will be encouraged to move schools along the language continuum? Recommendation 14 called for the Welsh Government to set out clearly the number of additional teachers that will be required in order to teach through the medium of Welsh and teach Welsh. I am pleased that the strategy notes specific targets in that regard. For instance, the number of primary teachers who can teach in Welsh will need to increase from 2,900 currently to 3,900 by 2031, and to 5,200 by 2050. Likewise, this was reflected in the Welsh-medium sector in secondary schools. I would be grateful, however, if the Minister could provide a little more information on how these targets will be achieved, and particularly how this very significant increase in provision will be funded. Similar questions arise in recommendation 15, in terms of how the supply of Welsh-speaking students entering the teaching profession can be increased. Again, could the Minister provide greater detail on how this will be achieved and what resources will be required? Recommendations 17 and 18 were concerned with securing improvements in Welsh second-language teaching, where there is a wide consensus that outcomes are not as good as they should be, in terms of that education. Could the Minister provide us with an update, therefore, on progress made in the introduction of one continuum of learning Welsh for all pupils in Wales as part of the new curriculum? Before I conclude, I want to say that I broadly welcome the Government’s ambition for 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050. May I also say that I’m pleased that the strategy has begun to answer many of the practical questions about how that ambition can be realised? It almost goes without saying that there remains a great deal of work to be done in this area, but I look forward to working with the Minister in that regard. The last census showed a small but significant decline in the number of people able to speak Welsh. In this context, 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 is a very ambitious target. However, if we are to halt the decline in the number of Welsh speakers, and reverse the trend of the last century, then we need to be bold and ambitious. So, I commend what the committee has done, and thank all members of the committee in the context of the fact that the staff have worked very hard on this too. We support this ambition, but we need to understand clearly how that’s going to be delivered. Thank you.

Suzy Davies

May I also thank everyone who was involved with this inquiry, including our witnesses and staff? The Minister had already given some indications about his vision for a bilingual Wales, and that had created a level of consensus, as we know; so, we believed that it was useful to test that consensus by asking some preliminary questions in order to steer the Minister in the direction of some of the early details. Although one of the early details, the White Paper, failed to get consensus in the debate yesterday, things are looking a little more promising in terms of our report. As per usual, the Government is eager to accept committee report recommendations, and we welcome that, but we also note that it is easy to accept recommendations when they come without cost to Government. But let’s be clear on this: the cost implications of agreeing to these recommendations will be met by ‘re-prioritising budgets for current programmes’. I’m eager to understand what will change, and over what period of time. The departmental budget for the current year is £36.2 million, and we know that £5 million of that goes towards workplace training and promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language. I assume, although it isn’t clear, that the £2 million referred to in response to recommendations 3 and 21 is part of that £5 million. Either way, it leaves a great deal of room for re-prioritising the budgets of current programmes, I believe. I do hope that the Government can give us some idea of what the likely cost of implementing our recommendations will be, and what will change in terms of that provision. What programmes will be dropped, or cut, and what evidence is he relying on to justify decisions taken in that regard? I’d like these details because, next year, it’s likely that an additional £10 million will come to the department for key priorities. Now, will that £10 million be used entirely for improving Welsh in the workplace, promoting the Welsh language and supporting the education sector, or will a penny of that be provided in terms of funding our recommendations to avoid relying on re-prioritising those mysterious programmes? Some of the recommendations in the ‘Cymraeg 2050’ strategy are included there, and we will have to monitor provisions against our recommendations once the strategy is in place. The risk is not in the ideas, but in the actions, and workforce planning in terms of teachers will be a huge challenge. Minister, you recognise that in your response to recommendation 4, where you say that different strategies will be required to ensure a sufficient supply of teachers. That sounds expensive, and expensive over a period of many years until we reach a critical mass of bilingual skills in the general population. I would be most surprised if re-prioritisation of programme budgets would provide that ongoing income stream to fund this. Only some of the £10 million for next year will go to supporting the education sector, and it isn’t clear whether supporting the education sector even includes workforce planning. I accept that you can’t commit funding in the long term because of the annual budgetary cycle, but could you provide us with some indicative figures for this particular area of work—this key priority—because we haven’t seen that in response to recommendations 4, 6 or 14? Now, most of our recommendations related to education, as you might expect. That’s the Minister’s starting point too. So, to conclude, I would like to highlight some of the recommendations at the bottom of our list, perhaps—those that refer to promoting the Welsh language as a community language and a language of the workplace, and providing support for adult learners. In future, these will be less of a problem because of a growth in bilingual skills in the general population, but we must reach that point, and the change of culture in that transition period will require patience, determination and funding. I do hope that it will be an improvement process, rather than a lowering of aspirations, but progress in the face of disadvantage and resistance may be slow. That will make this work open to cuts or reprioritisation in ensuing years. And budgetary pressures will be there, whoever is in charge. So, recommendation 22 asked a very difficult question about the effort that should go into Welsh for adults. Is it possible that the Government may have to actually close its eyes on today’s adults to ensure that tomorrow’s adults are truly bilingual?

Lee Waters

I think Bethan Jenkins has very fairly summed up the recommendations of the report, so I don’t wish to repeat what has already been said. So, I’ll make just a brief contribution, first of all to highlight the consensus there was in the committee and the way that we all worked together on a cross-party basis to reflect on the Government’s proposals and to point out what we thought of some of the practical points that now need to be addressed. I think it’s worth stressing what a bold and radical cultural policy this is, set against the backdrop of 100 years or more of decline in the Welsh language. For any Government to come and say it’s going to attempt to double the number of Welsh speakers is a brave one and I think that boldness should be applauded. But I think in doing so we need to recognise that this is a stretch target, and also it’s a target that is evolving. The Government clearly hasn’t come to this policy with a detailed blueprint in advance; it is something that it’s thinking through as we go. Frankly, had it been done in the other way, we’d probably not be setting out on this course, because it is so difficult. So, I think it’s right that we’ve taken the leap with the ambitious target and we’re backfilling as we develop. The committee’s report is a sincere attempt to try and suggest some things the Government may consider as it comes up with this plan. It’s worth recognising that we have in the First Minister and the Minister for the Welsh language two deeply committed politicians to seeing this through, and a Welsh Labour Government that is making a bold commitment for many generations to come. I think we do need to see this as a multigenerational project. So, I just have two observations in chief: one, as has already been touched upon, the big challenge here is not simply to focus on the Welsh-medium sector, but to look at the non-Welsh-medium sector. Some three quarters of pupils are educated in schools that are not Welsh medium, around 16 per cent of pupils are in Welsh-medium schools and 10 per cent are in bilingual schools. We know there are issues of getting pupils in those settings to use the Welsh language more fully outside of the school setting. But I think the big challenge for hitting this target is the three quarters of schools that are currently English medium, which we know through law are required to teach Welsh, but those of us who have experience of those schools in our constituency or as pupils of them know that, in practice, the level of Welsh of the young people coming out of those schools is often negligible. I speak as somebody who, before I was elected, was chair of governors of an English-medium primary school who worked very hard to try and recruit teachers who spoke Welsh in order to upskill the staff and the pupils and to make Welsh a vibrant part of the school environment. We succeeded for a short time, but retaining skilled staff proved impossible. There simply aren’t the teachers available currently in order to make this aspiration meaningful, and I think we had reference in Bethan Jenkins’s speech to the fact that the number of students enrolling in Welsh PGCE courses is declining. So, we have a staggering turnaround job to do to achieve this, but I think our focus really must be on how we can get the continuum working in a meaningful way in schools that are currently English medium, and that is very difficult. I visited a number of schools in my own constituency over the last year where the headteachers have varying levels of enthusiasm, I think, to be fair. But even those who are fully behind achieving this really struggle in practical terms to know how to do it without the resource or the staff to draw upon. So, that, I think, needs to be a key focus. There’s a temptation to go for quick wins to try and show some progress in the short term, and I think that’s understandable. When you look at the figures on the number of teachers in our classrooms who are able to speak Welsh, 33 per cent currently speak Welsh but only 27 per cent of them teach through the medium of Welsh. So, our report talks about the temptation to look at that 5 per cent to 6 per cent who currently speak Welsh to some degree but don’t teach in Welsh in order to reach that target. And, of course, that’s an understandable starting point, but that still leaves us with the problem. Having been to a bilingual junior school, in the Welsh stream for the juniors and the English stream for the comprehensive school, I know that, in a bilingual environment, even children who are taught in an English-medium setting are still exposed to a huge amount of Welsh; it’s part of their ‘awyrgylch’, it’s part of the setting of the school, and it imbues their feeling for the language. And I think we should be looking, as part of developing the continuum, to spread that spirit into as many English-medium schools as possible so that every school in the short to medium term aims to become a bilingual school and, that way, I think we can achieve this target and bring the hearts and the minds of the people with us. Diolch.

Dai Lloyd

It’s a pleasure to take part in this very important debate on the committee report on ‘Achieving the Ambition—Inquiry into the Welsh Government’s new Welsh Language Strategy’. Of course, the aim, as we’ve heard many times, is to have a million Welsh speakers. It is a very ambitious aim, as we note in this excellent preamble by the excellent Chair to this committee. The survival of the Welsh language is amazing, because the context is one where we sometimes become a bit depressed about the future of the language. However, bearing in mind that there are more than 7,000 languages on the face of the earth, one language disappears off the face of the earth every other month. That’s the reality of the situation, and, in accepting that context, the survival of the Welsh language is amazing. The fact that more than 0.5 million people speak the language today is also amazing. Of course, old Welsh is the original language of the isle of Britain. The word ‘Britain’ comes from ‘Prydain’. Back in the sixth century, everyone from Edinburgh downwards could speak old Welsh. That’s why we all have those old Welsh names: Ystrad Clud—Strathclyde—Lanark from Llannerch, Ecclefechan—Eglwys fechan—in Dumfries, and Caerliwelydd is Carlisle, and so on. So, this is part of the history not just of the people of Wales, but of the people of Britain. Having said that, the aim of a million Welsh speakers is to be supported, and I congratulate the Minister on that aim. The Minister also knows that we’ve been here before. Just over a century ago, we had a million Welsh speakers, and now we’re talking about regaining that territory, and the committee’s aim in putting together this report was to look at how we all—it’s not just a task for the Government—can regain that territory of having a million Welsh speakers. Of course, a key factor at the outset is promotion. There’s a lot of talk in this report about the need to promote, meaning, as Suzy Davies has noted, a cultural shift in some areas of Wales, and a change of attitude among some people who are against the Welsh language and who treat it with disdain. There’s a job of work to be done there; there’s a great deal of work for everyone. Our language is a treasure. We’ve had great growth previously and we can have great growth again, but we need a landscape that understands the importance of this for our children and our children’s children. Through promotion, we need to advocate the advantages of Welsh-medium education. Some people out there believe that, if you send your child to a Welsh primary school, they don’t learn English at all. Well, no, that’s nonsense—naturally, you have a Welsh-medium education, but you learn English as well. So, the excellence of the situation is, when you send your child to a Welsh-medium school from the age of three or four, by the time they reach 11, they’re fluent in two languages. We need to have that fundamental information out there: you send your child to a Welsh-medium school, and, by the age of 11, they are fluent in two languages. Children learn like sponges. They don’t stop at learning two languages; you can teach them a third or fourth language—that happens in many countries. Some people have to get over the hang-up they have about ‘you should just speak English or you’ll confuse the children’. That’s a very old-fashioned attitude. We have to move on from that and be aware that it is to be treasured, the ability to speak two languages, when, later on, and even in some of our primary schools, children do learn a third language like French or German, as my children did. My children had the opportunity to go to a Welsh-medium school—I didn’t. I went to an English-medium school, because I’m so old, of course—before this growth in Welsh-medium schools in recent times. It also starts before school, with nurseries, and we heard quite a lot of evidence about the importance of Mudiad Meithrin and Welsh-medium nurseries, because, to get that fluency in the language, you have to get our children as early as possible. That’s also an element, and there was a recommendation—recommendation 7—to that end, but, of course, I don’t think Mudiad Meithrin is going to get what they asked for—in the short term, anyway. I do commend and appreciate the efforts of the Government to tackle this and to go for a million Welsh speakers, but it’s not just a job for the Government—it’s a job for us all. Thank you very much.

Alun Davies

Thank you, Llywydd. I think I can start where Dai Lloyd finished, because you are entirely right in your analysis: the Government can put in place all sorts of structures, but, at the end of the day, it’s the community, the nation, and the country that speak the language, not just the Government. Therefore, it is something for us as a national community, and that’s why I’ve always emphasised the importance of creating unity around this debate and not putting the emphasis that we sometimes see on separating people in these debates.

Sian Gwenllian

You talk about building consensus around the language, but, unfortunately, following the debate we had yesterday on the Welsh language Bill, it appears that that consensus is starting to be undermined. Welsh speakers in every part of the country, language bodies, and language planning experts, all agree that the Welsh language Bill will be a backward step rather than strengthening the efforts that you have in terms of your strategy to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Alun Davies

I disagree with you, and I think what splits people is using words such as ‘brad’ or ‘betrayal’—that’s what causes splits in our nation, and that is a way of discussing these issues that I don’t think that we want to hear in our national parliament. I don’t think that should be part of any consensus. I tell you now that it’s not going to be any part of any consensus that I lead. So, I’m—[Interruption.] The Member—

Alun Davies

He hasn’t been here for the debate; he arrives late and starts to shout across the Chamber.

Alun Davies

I have been ignoring him for quite a while. I am grateful for the way in which Bethan Jenkins has not only led the debate this afternoon, but has also led the committee. You asked a number of questions during your opening remarks, as did Suzy Davies during her contribution. I do feel, on occasion, that perhaps it would be better to appear before the committee to answer some of these questions and to go into greater detail on some of the issues that you’ve raised with me, rather than trying to respond this afternoon, and I would be pleased to have the opportunity to return to the committee for that kind of discussion. But, in the analysis that we have shared across the Chamber this afternoon, one thing that stands out and one thing that’s very important, and it comes back to Lee Waters’s contribution too: everything must change. It would have been very easy for any Government to be elected and to set a language agenda in the way that we’ve done in the past—that we want to see growth in the language, or we want to see the language prosper; whatever words we choose to use. This Government did something different. We did something different, something radical and something bold, in the words of Lee Waters, in setting a target of a million Welsh speakers, doubling the number of people who use and speak the language at the moment. That is important not only because of the number, the target itself, but in terms of what that means for this Government, to this Parliament, and to the nation. It means that things have to change. Everything must change. And that’s why I don’t agree with the conservative voices I hear in this Chamber on occasion and outwith the Chamber, and Sian Gwenllian has already alluded to that. I want to see us thinking anew about this policy and how we contribute towards expanding the number of Welsh speakers and, indeed, doubling the number of Welsh speakers. I do think that the committee report has been an important contribution to that end. The questions that Bethan Jenkins and Suzy Davies have asked this afternoon are important and valid, and it gets to the very core of the debate that we need to have over the next few months. When I published the strategy and the vision over the summer, I wanted to move the agenda forward, obviously, but it’s important for me not just to publish the strategy itself but also to publish a programme of work too and the targets that are part of that. The targets that we have set are targets for this Assembly, this Government, and this Minister. They are not just targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050; they are targets for this Assembly, and for this Government, and I do think that that is extremely important. We’ve had an opportunity to discuss the White Paper already this week, and I have no intention of rehearsing that debate this afternoon, but I would just say that I will continue to lead this debate in this nation and all parts of Wales and all communities across the country, and I will lead a new consensus in order to change the structures that we currently have. Everything must change. At the heart of all of this is the crucial role of education, and many people—I think everyone who’s contributed this afternoon—have mentioned the role that our education system will play. Members will be very much aware that the Cabinet Secretary for Education made an announcement last week on our action plan for education in Wales, and she has placed an important emphasis on developing Welsh-medium education and improving the teaching of Welsh to all learners as part of our education system. I recognise the points that Lee Waters raised in his contribution on the importance of the English-medium sector. Far too often, we concentrate on the Welsh-medium sector but we don’t think of the majority of learners in Wales that are in the English-medium sector. Every part of the system has to be taken into account for the future; I agree with each and every one of the points that Lee has made. I will be making a statement, Llywydd, next week on Welsh in education plans, and I think that there has been a welcome across this Assembly for the work undertaken by Aled Roberts. I would like to express my thanks to Aled not just for the work that he has done, but for the way that he has undertaken that work. He has been having discussions with authorities across Wales, and he has been challenging authorities across the country in terms of how we can reach our targets—exactly the types of challenges that Bethan mentioned in her opening remarks. We, as a result of that process, have reached the point, I think, where we can say with some confidence that we will have the kinds of WESPs in place that will enable us to reach our targets. I do see that time is moving on, so may I just finish by saying this? Bethan Jenkins asked a question in her speech on small businesses and how we are promoting the use of the Welsh language within small businesses. Members will be aware that the First Minister made a statement on a new grant to that end during the National Eisteddfod this year on Anglesey. We will continue to make further statements on how we will progress that. Llywydd, I am very grateful to the committee for its work. This has been an important inquiry. It has contributed to policy developments within Government. It has contributed to the national debate that needs to take place in order to ensure that Government policy isn’t just the policy of Government but, in the words of Dai Lloyd, is the policy that can unite Wales, and a policy that will be supported across the country. Thank you.

Bethan Jenkins

Thank you very much. I’d like to thank everyone for contributing to this debate today. Even though we’ve had a debate on the Bill yesterday, I think it’s helped, in a way, to have a debate in the same week, for us to be able to look at this issue in a comprehensive way. I thank Suzy Davies for her contribution. What you said about education for adults struck me—about closing our eyes to the adults of today in order to help adults in the future. I hope we don’t close our eyes entirely for the adults of today, because they are part of society, and a positive part of the learning spectrum. But I do agree with the point that you were trying to make. I don’t know what the Welsh word is, but we need to front-load, or start when people are young. We need to start with young people so that they won’t need adult education in future. I hope that we reach that reality in future. Welsh in the workplace and in the community are very important, not only Welsh in education—that’s not the only important thing here. But as Assembly Members, we all know the challenge on the ground to encourage Welsh people to speak Welsh in their everyday lives, and I think that’s an additional piece of work for us to do as a committee. There are lots of stereotypes out there, and lots of concerns about people having the confidence to speak the language. That’s something for us to look at in the future. On funding, in terms of our questions to the Minister, Suzy, maybe that hasn’t been answered. We might have the Minister back at committee to respond to some of those specific questions on funding for the plan. Thank you to Lee Waters for your contribution and for your praise to the Welsh Government. I’m sure they’ll be very proud of your contribution here today. I do agree with you when you say there’s that critical mass already who are competent to speak Welsh but they don’t actually teach through the medium of Welsh. That’s something we could go for straightaway in relation to encouraging them to move and to teach through the medium of Welsh. You were really passionate in the committee about English language education. When we did outreach, I went to the one in Swansea and, you know, we were hearing that. We were hearing that young people liked to learn but they felt that sometimes the things that they were learning were not relevant to their everyday lives. I’m hopeful that, with changes to the education system, that will be reflected in the comments that we get back from people as well. I thank Dai for his contribution, and I think it’s important for us to look at the fact that we still have the Welsh language here, and lots of other countries don’t have their indigenous language to use in their everyday lives. We have to ensure that the language does grow. You made a very important point also, Dai, in terms of learning the Welsh language, and other languages—it’s something that we should be promoting within our schools. We’ve seen that languages other than Welsh and English—like French and German and so forth—have had a lower profile in schools and that is something we need to look at again. If we have those linguistic skills, why don’t modern languages prosper as they should? I think that’s something we should look at. I think in terms of other issues outside of education that we haven’t discussed today, even though we discuss S4C very often, we need to normalise language through the media and through channels such as S4C. And this isn’t just a cheap shot—I do represent Port Talbot—but if you watch the programme ‘Bang’ you can see that there is significant dialogue in the English language, but then it moves to Welsh in the same scene, and I think that that is good for S4C in order for them to try and get people who come from non-Welsh-speaking areas to watch in the first place and then to retain and keep their attention. I would recommend as part of any strategy on the Welsh language that we encourage S4C and the arts council and the arts sectors and sports, for example, to be involved in this strategy, as Dai said, so that it’s owned by everyone, so that there is an onus on all of us here to ensure that we do act in order to reach that target. This is not only a target for the Welsh Government, but for us as individuals to achieve as well. Thank you very much to everyone.

Elin Jones

The proposal is to note the committee report. Does any Member object? Therefore, the motion is agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.