Petition demands action on Welsh-language education in Caerphilly County Borough
More than 600 people have backed an online petition in just 24 hours calling on the Welsh Government to provide funding for a Welsh medium secondary school in Caerphilly County Borough.
Hundreds of people have also signed a hard-copy of the petition urging action from Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews.
A scheme to transform Caerphilly’s former St Ilan school into a Welsh-medium school has been delayed for at least a year after funding was cut by the Welsh Government.
Ben Jones, chairman of the Caerffili County committee of RhAG, said: “Parents throughout Caerffili county have signed a petition in an attempt to secure the future of their children’s education. Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni is now close to full capacity. If no additional provision is made, pupils presently attending Welsh medium schools will be denied a secondary education in their language. They are naturally extremely worried by the uncertainty surrounding their children’s education.
“Parents are only asking that the disused St Ilan’s school buildings, which have lain empty for five years, are brought up to standard, so that children from the Caerffili area can receive their secondary education there. Caerffili County Borough Council is prepared to pay half the costs of such a project and the petition is an appeal to the Assembly Government to match this funding.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council wants to turn the old St Ilan school, which closed in 2007 and is situated on Pontygwindy Road, into a Welsh-medium school for pupils aged between 11 to 14.
Instead of going to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Year 7 pupils living in the Caerphilly basin would go to the new school. The original plan was to have the new school open by September 2012 but this has been delayed.
In July, the Welsh Government announced cuts to its 21st Century Schools programme meaning the council will have to cover 50% of the cost of the new scheme – instead of the original 30%.
If current demand for Welsh language places continue, then children could be turned away from Welsh schools by September 2013.Follow @CaerphillyObsvr