The local Neath Port Talbot branch of the Parents for Welsh Medium Education (RhAG) organization has sent an urgent letter to Education Advisers and Officers regarding education development Welsh-medium in the Country.
In the letter, the branch specifically highlights their concern over recent proposals to reorganize education in the county. Among those proposals is the proposal to consider opening a second Welsh-medium secondary school in the southern part of the county, a welcome development, as it will eventually offer Welsh-medium education locally to the large numbers of pupils. who live in that area. However, there is a fundamental flaw in these latest proposals to meet the high demand for Welsh-medium education in the primary sector. The Assembly’s Welsh Medium Education Strategy has identified that Neath Port Talbot needs to increase its primary provision by 30% by 2015, equivalent to approximately 600 additional places, to meet the demand already identified.
Eirian Youngman, Chair of the Neath Port Talbot GTP said:
“The county noted following their own internal survey that parental demand for Welsh-medium education is over 40%, and that many of the schools in the south of the county are already full – in fact, in three schools, ‘ The demand for places is almost double the official admission numbers, and the capacity currently available, but despite this strong evidence, no plans have been put forward to address the RhAG feels strongly that the new and much-needed Welsh-medium primary schools should be located in the Resolven and Llandarcy areas / Skewen, where demand is highest.
“In order to secure funding for new primary schools, it is vital that the county’s bid to the Assembly for capital funding, to be submitted to the Assembly by mid-December, includes proposals for new primary provision. Indeed, the Welsh-medium Education Strategy clearly states that Local Authorities should consider the future demand for and access to Welsh-medium provision when planning to change school provision, and when making proposals for the 21st Century Schools Program Other counties such as Cardiff are already including Welsh-medium education as part of their plans when submitting funding applications.
“We are calling on councilors and council officers to ensure that the bid for capital funding includes proposals to extend Welsh-medium primary education in Neath Port Talbot, in order to meet parental demand and ensure equal opportunities for all children to receive his education through his chosen medium in his local community. “