Parents 'pushing for Welsh schools'

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Assembly government must respond to the demand, says new officer of pressure group

Assembly government must respond to the demand, says new officer of pressure group

More welsh-medium schools must be opened and more Welsh taught if the Assembly government is serious about creating a truly bilingual Wales.

That is the message from Ceri Owen, the new development officer of RhAG (Parents for Welsh Medium Education).

Miss Owen, 25, says the Assembly government must meet growing demand from parents for Welsh-language education with increased funding.

"New schools take the stress off existing schools, which are being overstretched," she said. "I would argue that the One Wales agreement and the Iaith Pawb policy is the way the Assembly is going. Creating a bilingual Wales is of the utmost importance."

The Assembly government's Iaith Pawb (Everyone's Language) policy aims to boost the number of Welsh speakers from 21 per cent in 2001 to 26 per cent by 2011.

Up to the end of 2007, there were 21 more Welsh-medium primaries and 10 more secondaries than in 1991. Almost 150,000 more pupils are now taught in classes where Welsh is the main medium. But many are said to be crowded, with 30-plus pupils per class.

Growing demand for Welsh-medium education - especially by middle-class parents lured by good academic results - has also led to rows over funding new schools when existing ones are in a poor state of repair.

Swansea council was criticised for spending pound;6 million on a new Welsh- medium primary, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llwynderw, due to open this September.

A shake-up is under way in Cardiff to deal with falling pupil rolls and an "unprecedented demand" for Welsh-medium education. Cardiff council has agreed plans for two new Welsh-medium primaries this week, with plans for a third and for a new Welsh-medium high school in the autumn.

RhAG is calling for a national strategy on the issue and wants local authorities to measure the demand in their area.

Miss Owen said: "A national strategy is the only way we see that local authorities will prepare properly for the long term.

"Parents are demanding this education for their children. These schools achieve fantastic exam results, but also have good extra-curricular results. One of their great merits is that they enrich a child's education in all aspects."


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


Get Tes online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to Tes online and the Tes app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off Tes Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the Tes online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today