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Bilingual school ‘must not be compromised’

Created on 05/12/2016 @ 07:21
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Assembly Members representing the area have called for a bilingual village school to be provided more support as it faces a challenge to reach a balanced budget.

Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant Primary School is facing cuts to meet its target budget, which could result in a reduction in teacher numbers and possibly leading to the combination of English and Welsh streams at foundation level.

But both Russell George, Montgomeryshire AM, and Simon Thomas, Mid and West AM have spoken for more to be done to protect the school.

Speaking in the National Assembly for Wales Mr George questioned the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM, on the importance of upholding the provision of bilingual education in Powys.

“In spite of efforts from the Head Teacher and Governors of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant Primary School, it appears that it will have to make reductions in staffing from a 5 to a 4 teacher school in order to meet the challenge which has been set by Powys County Council of balancing its budget within three years.

“This could lead to the combination of English and Welsh streams at foundation level, potentially compromising the bilingual status of the school.

“After raising this on the floor of the Senedd, I was pleased that the Minister emphasised the importance of equity in terms of ensuring that pupils are able to access education in the Welsh and English languages equally. It is essential that Powys County Council adopts this principle when putting forward proposals for the provision of Welsh-medium education and bilingual education in the County.”

Mr Thomas made a plea for more resources for schools in Powys with two language streams during education questions in the National Assembly.

He said: “I understand given the current cuts in Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant school the foundation phase is being mixed together in terms of language streams. The school has had to reduce staff from five to four teachers.

“There are also similar problems developing in Llanfyllin, and possibly in Llandrindod Wells. Powys Council has failed to prepare appropriately for the growth of Welsh medium education in the county.

“I’m calling for the Welsh Government to guarantee this situation does not continue and ensure there should be no mixing of language streams. The Welsh Government should put more pressure on the council to make sure resources are available to retain the language streams appropriately within schools.”

The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language told Assembly Members he will wait to hear from local authorities about their plans for Welsh medium education provision. He will make a statement after considering their proposals.


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