The ‘Sharing Good Practice’ Conference, held on the 27th June 2023 at the Metropole in Llandrindod, was arranged with the aim of celebrating bilingualism within the world of further education and community learning, and bringing together practitioners from the partner organisations - as well as other key organisations - to share information, good practice and ideas, and to provide opportunities to network and build professional relationships.
Over the past three years, the Bilingualism PLF Collaborative Project, funded by the Welsh Government, has focused on bilingual teaching and learning and how to move provision up the bilingual (LLWR LA26) continuum. The project has grown from strength to strength, creating opportunities for tutors’ across the partner organisations - Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Coleg Gwent, Adult Learning Wales, Penybont College and Merthyr Tydfil College, to develop their bilingual teaching skills through a variety of staff development projects, including: creating a package of e-resources and apps e.g. Tutor Support Package for Bilingual Teaching and Learning and Ap Adborth Sgiliaith, staff training sessions, staff exchanges, a buddy scheme and professional networking meetings.
Rhian Tomos, Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at Bangor University and the Director of Welsh Matters for the College of Human Sciences, gave an inspirational opening speech, setting the tone for the day. Rhian discussed key matters surrounding bilingual teaching and learning, focusing mainly on the importance of supporting learners to gain confidence to use Welsh in their studies.
The programme for the rest of the day included a mixture of guest speakers, including speakers from the five partner organisations, including:
- Coleg Gwent - The importance of Welsh Language Representatives and Facilitators in developing Welsh/bilingual education.
- Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol - A discussion session - Towards 2050: The contribution of the Further Education Sector.
- Grŵp Llandrillo Menai - Gwneud y Pethau Bychain: The Experience of a Welsh Language Champion in Health and Social Care.
- Bridgend College and College Merthyr Tydfil - Exchange Visits: Observing good practice in the field of bilingual education.
- Merthyr Tydfil College - Establishing a Siarter Iaith for Further Education: A Case Study within the Health and Social Care department.
- Adult Learning Wales - Championing ‘Cymraeg 2050’: From planning to embedding Welsh in the classroom.
Efa Gruffudd Jones, Welsh Language Commissioner closed the conference with a prepared video which emphasised the key role the post-16 sector has to increase the use of the Welsh language in education, and beyond. Efa also gave an update on changes to legislation and practices in the sector.
Meggan Lloyd Prys, PLF Collaborative Project Manager for Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Sgiliaith, said: “After years of working and collaborating on-line, it’s been a pleasure to organise and welcome sixty members of staff from the partner organisations to the conference. We would like to thank everyone who attended the conference, the speakers for their valuable contributions and the partner organisations for their collaboration and tireless work over the last three years. We hope the partnership will continue in the next academic year.”
Sgiliaith is a national centre, located within Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, that specialises in practical advice on good practice, resources and staff training to improve learners' bilingual skills and experiences. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org