Devolution leaves Welsh posts empty

29th August 2003 at 01:00
WHEN Ifor Efans advertised a teaching post a decade ago, he could guarantee at least eight or nine applicants. Now the head of Dyffryn Conwy school, in Conwy, considers he is lucky if he gets three. Recent ads for a maths teacher got no response at all.

"I've had to headhunt, to seek out friends of friends and word-of-mouth recommendations," he said.

Dyffryn Conwy is a Welsh-medium school. Since devolution in 1999, the number of these schools has grown considerably. But this has not been matched by an equal rise in qualified Welsh-medium teachers.

Devolution has created a variety of jobs for Welsh-speakers in the civil service and the media. This has also affected English-medium schools looking to recruit Welsh-language teachers. It is now compulsory for all schools to offer Welsh up to GCSE.

Devolution has created other problems. Terry McCarthy, head of Bedwellty comprehensive, in Caerphilly, believes Welsh schools have also suffered financially.

For the past two years, he has had a budget deficit of more than pound;32,000. "We have been shortchanged by the Assembly," he said.

Of the 20 Welsh schools in the TESSHA survey, more than a quarter of the 76 appointments were not satisfactory. The schools took on an extra 204 pupils and 9.5 teachers. But three teachers were made redundant and 8.8 not replaced.

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