A Welsh medium primary school in Llanelli has become the first in the county to win a new language charter award.
Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel in Llwynhendy has been given a Codi Caerau Sir Gâr Bronze Award for the progress the school and its pupils have made in promoting the use of incidental Welsh.
The Language Charter aims to help bring about an increase in the social use of Welsh by children by inspiring them to use the language in all aspects of their lives.
The Charter asks for all members of the school community – the school council, pupils, the workforce, parents, governors and the wider community – to contribute.
Each school sets its own challenging but achievable vision.
The award has been presented at a celebration at the school with a performance of the musical drama ‘Y Welsh Not’ by the school’s drama club ‘Bobl Bach Brynsierfel’ in partnership with CISP Multimedia. Scarlets commercial manager Garan Evans, poet Mererid Hopwood and two harpists from Ysgol y Strade will be among the guests.
Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel, which opened in 1953, moved to a new £6.5m school building in late 2011 and now has 190 pupils.
The schools’ literacy co-ordinator Mrs Sara Saunders has organised free weekly Welsh lessons for parents and members of the community in partnership with the county council and has organised visits by authors, artists, composers and poets.
Welsh support teacher Miss Elen Davies held ‘A Good Start’ sessions for parents and pre-school age children and has worked with support staff to hone language skills and develop confidence in communicating through the medium of Welsh.
The Parents, Teachers and Friends Association has raised funds to spend on Welsh books for the library which has a mural by artist Beth Saunders of Roald Dahl characters to mark the centenary of the Welsh author.
Headteacher Mrs Jayne Davies said: “The performance of the drama ‘Y Welsh Not’ is perfect for the launch of the Language Charter Bronze Award here in Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel as this was precisely the period when the decline of the Welsh language started.
“The children have realised how lucky they are to be able to speak Welsh at school and that they have a responsibility to secure the future of the language.
“The existence and success of Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel proves that all the efforts made in the past have succeeded. I would like to thank the governors, staff, parents, pupils, and all the visitors and agencies who have contributed to achieving the Bronze Award.”
Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for the Welsh language Cllr Mair Stephens told the launch: “I’m delighted that Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel has become the first to achieve this award for its inspiring efforts to promote the Welsh language as part of all the pupils’ everyday life.”
Executive board member for education and children’s services Cllr Gareth Jones said: “Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel richly deserves this award for the work it has done under the leadership of Mrs Davies to promote Welsh as the language of the school community and wider community.”