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Minister refuses to comment on Caerphilly’s Welsh language education crisis

Published in News. Last updated on Tuesday December 13th, 2011 at 14:08

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Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews has refused to comment on the crisis that could see pupils in Caerphilly County Borough turned away from Welsh language schools.

Demand for Welsh-medium education is outstripping supply at a dramatic rate and plans to boost capacity has been pushed back because of funding cuts from the Welsh Government.

Mr Andrews refused to comment as he attended the official opening of St James’ Primary School in Lansbury Park.

Asked by Caerphilly Observer about the state of Welsh language provision the Minister replied: “I’m not in a position to comment.”

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 by at least a year.

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.

Last month a 1,200 name petition was handed into the Assembly demanding action.

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  • Richard Williams

    The Welsh Medium school at St. Ilan is urgently required and the Welsh Assembly should honour the original commitment to fund 50% of the cost. It really is as simple as that, this school wil provide secondary Welsh Medium education in the town rather than forcing the children to travel. Perhaps if Leighton Andrews cannot answer, for some reason, the AMs for Caerffili and South East Wales could tell us what their views are?

  • johnowen

    I`m not surprised Leighon Andrews seems to get everything with Education wrong, he doesnt understand the University system, and has devised a banding system for schools that is laughable. Regarding the demand for a new Welsh school in Caerphilly, he probably thinks as do most Labour politicians these people dont vote Labour, so why bother with them. They dont realise they are there to work for all the electorate.

  • Mike Owen

    Not in a position to comment! – Really? He's the Education Minister for crying out loud, if he isn't in a position to comment who is??

  • ron james

    He s a member of the Labour Party so what do you expect, the Labour Party has always been anti Welsh. The founder members being mainly west country migrants to the coal field who saw Welsh as on the one hand as the langauge of the locla establishment and the Liberal party and on the other as a foriegn langauge.

  • ronjames

    I heard rumors on the weekend, that three English Medium Comprehesives were to close to fund the proposed new Welsh Comprehensive. This is a dangerous false comment because the closure of the three English medium schools is due to falling rolls and a surplus of places, indeed St Ilan, the site for the proposd Welsh medium school, was closed when the Labour Party were in control.