Sunday, 28 June 2015

We told you so!

This is a copy of a letter that Huw Lewis AM/AC, the Minister for Education and Skills sent to Cllr Mark Pritchard the Leader of Wrexham Council on the 18th June, regarding the lack of planning for Welsh Medium Education. This is a damning indictment of Wrexham Council and their abject failures in accurately measuring the demand for Welsh Medium Education and not providing a short term solution to a problem caused by a nearby school. 

Dear Mark, 

I have received numerous representations from AMs, parents and other key stakeholders about the inability of Wrexham County Borough Council to provide sufficient Welsh- medium reception class places, particularly in Bro Alun but also in other Welsh-medium schools in the area. It is apparent that your planning for Welsh-medium education remains ineffective despite modifications being proposed by me both in approving the original WESP and with the revised WESP.

There appears to have been an unsatisfactory use of data in establishing sound projections for places in Welsh-medium schools coupled with a lack of effective dialogue with key partners such as Mudiad Meithrin about the likely demand for such places. This has resulted in an unacceptable level of refusals for places at Ysgol Bro Alun and is causing a substantial degree of anxiety for the parents concerned.

It is particularly disappointing for me that the introduction of statutory WESPs has not led to the improvements in planning that was intended by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. On the contrary, the current situation demonstrates in Wrexham displays a distinct lack of adequate planning.

I would, therefore, urge you to find a short-term solution to ensure that you can provide the extra needed places at Ysgol Bro Alun quickly and to adopt processes that will transform your collection and use of data so that adequate Welsh-medium school places can be provided.

I understand that officers from the local authority will be meeting shortly with my officials and this will give you an opportunity to outline how you have resolved these short-term issues and to indicate how you will improve your planning mechanisms in the longer term. I look forward to a positive resolution.

Yours sincerely

Huw Lewis AC / AM

Y Gweinidog Addysg a Sgiliau/Minister for Education and Skills

This letter clearly shows that complaints and concerns expressed by parents were wholly justified but which remain unanswered 

Parents and others desperate to find out the LEA's response to the Minister's letter even attended the Welsh in Education Strategic Forum last week only to be told to leave by the Chair as the Forum is not apparently a public meeting.

Furthermore parents and other interested parties requested that they be allowed to present a 700 name petition to the Extraordinary Council Meeting to be held on the 30th June 2015, only to be refused as there was no provision in the constitution which would allow this to happen in an Extraordinary Meeting. Petitioners were told they could present it at the scheduled Full Council in September. The petition calls on the Council to undertake a proper survey to measure demand for Welsh Medium Education.

As one can imagine there is considerable disillusionment amongst campaigners at the lack of co-operation by Wrexham Council in addressing the concerns and their lack of openness and transparency.

What the Minister needs to do now is to use The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to initiate change at Wrexham. 

NB - The Mainstream media have had this letter for some time and for some reason have chosen to ignore it.


Anonymous said...

Could you please explain the 'problem caused by a nearby school' comment as it went a little over my head!

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Email us your name, address and telephone number and we will be happy to elaborate.