Thursday, 2 July 2015

Parent pressure forces council re-think on Welsh-medium education

Parents campaigning for Welsh-medium education in Wrexham have welcomed news that a school is being re-assessed to see whether it can accommodate more children.

There are currently just five spaces available in reception classes across all of Wrexham’s six Welsh-medium schools - and all those are in Ysgol Bodhyfryd in the Hightown area. Parents who have failed to get their children into other schools say they fear siblings will be split up if they’re forced to accept a place in a school some distance from their homes.

There is also concern that schools cannot cope with demand at nursery level - with 20 pupils failing to get a place at Ysgol Bro Alun, Gwersyllt, despite it being a brand-new school.

The campaigners, who this week handed in a 750-word petition to the council demanding it looks urgently at how it will cope with spiralling demand for Welsh-medium education, believe pressure is mounting on the council to act.

Eleri Roberts, of Summerhill, is one of the parents affected and spoke on behalf of Ymgyrchwyr dros Addysg Gymraeg / Campaigners for Welsh Education, a local pressure group: 
“We believe the council is re-thinking and re-assessing its previous stance, which is very welcome news. It’s vital that they listen to parents, to AMs, to councillors and the hundreds of people who have signed our petition in the past fortnight asking that they work harder to meet the demand for Welsh-medium education in the county. It’s clear that the Welsh education minister is unhappy with the situation and we do not believe the council is meeting its own Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. That’s why we’ve kept up the pressure - the council has to stop paying lip service to the Welsh language.
 “We know that there are parents who want their children to go to Welsh-medium schools but know they live too far away to even be considered and opt reluctantly for a local English-medium school. That’s not meeting demand, that’s suppressing the right we should all have to choose properly. These past few weeks and months have been very difficult for parents faced with the dilemma of taking children to two different schools at the same time and then fearing that next year the problem could be even worse as demand increases but the number of places does not.”

 She said it was good to hear that Ysgol Bro Alun, which is over-subscribed despite only opening in 2013, was being re-assessed and hoped this would mean meeting demand in the short-term while the council formulated a longer-term plan to expand Welsh-medium education at primary and secondary levels.


Anonymous said...

The problem with bro alun,is lots of parents will be sending their children there,not because of the Welsh language,but because it's a nice new school and convenient.meaning parents that actually want their children to be in Welsh schools,are missing out.

Plaid Whitegate said...

That may be the case for a small minority but putting your child through a Welsh-medium school is not taken lightly. Anecdotal evidence suggests most of the parents of children entering the reception class are Welsh speaking.