A COMPREHENSIVE school in Swansea is the first in the region to earn a gold award for encouraging pupils, staff and the wider community to speak Welsh more often both inside and outside the classroom.
Gowerton Comprehensive has achieved the gold Siarter Iaith award which has just been presented to the school.
It is a Welsh Government initiative to inspire children and young people to use Welsh in all aspects of their lives.
But it is not just for pupils with all members of the school community having a part to play, the school council, learners, workforce, parents, carers, governors and the wider community.
Gowerton has made the Welsh language an integral part of every department and for every member of staff.
The school has made strong links with the local community, local businesses and the primary school cluster schools, as well as supporting other secondary schools across Swansea.
It has brought cluster schools together to showcase school eisteddfod performances and share their talents.
At Gowerton School Siarter Iaith has been driven by Ellie Thomas, the Criw Cymraeg and the staff.
Headteacher Kathleen Lawlor said: “Achieving the gold award recognises the real impact, hard work and the dedication of the whole school, parents and the community to promote the Welsh language.
“We are incredibly proud to have been awarded gold and thank everyone inside and outside the school for the part they have played.
“The development of the Welsh language in the Gowerton is a whole school strategy and the passion and dedication of all the senior leaders and of course the Welsh Crew must be celebrated.”
Swansea Council is supporting all schools to increase the social use of Welsh by children and young people using Siarter Iaith as part of its Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.
The council has committed to support all Welsh-medium schools to reach at least the Siarter Iaith Silver award and all English-medium schools to reach at least the Siarter Iaith Bronze award during the lifetime of the plan.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, Robert Smith, said: “I’d like to congratulate Gowerton Comprehensive on the gold award which is an outstanding achievement.
“In Swansea we are committed to growing the number of Welsh speakers and increasing the use of Welsh in our communities. Gowerton is a shining example of how we can do this.”