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Tro u bedol ar gynllunio addysg Gymraeg yn y brifddinas
(22-04-2013)

The national organisation Parents for Welsh medium Education (RhAG) has criticised Cardiff Council for a u-turn on their proposals to make permanent the enlargement of Ysgol Gymraeg Pwll Coch to admit up to 90 pupils into the Reception Year from September 2014.

This according to RhAG is in complete contrast to the promise given back in 2011 when a consultation was held to expand provision as a temporary measure only.

RhAG doesn't fundamentally disagree with the Council's intention to keep Ysgol Pwll Coch as a three form entry as a temporary 'bridging' measure, but that it should form part of a wider plan to establish a brand new school in Grangetown by 2015. It is very concerning that the Council now appears to be reneging on that promise, in line with the original timetable included in Cardiff Council's 21st Century Schools Plan with projects in the first envelope already ratified and funding assured by Welsh Government. The retention of a permanent third stream at Pwll Coch would inevitably put pressure on resources / space which is bound to affect the school's ability to maintain current high educational standards.This is a completely unacceptable situation for pupils, staff and parents.

Said Michael Jones, RhAG South east Wales Coordinator, "The logic and statistics provided by the Council to support the plan is flawed, inconsistent or simply unfounded. According to Council figures, the number of new children in the area are expected to fall next September, which would be for the first time in 10 years, and yet it is claimed that provision needs to be increased from the current 5 streams to 6 streams (150 to 180 children) despite 5 streams being sufficient to accomodate the 136 children the council expected this year. In 2006, Treganna and Pwll Coch schools admitted 90 children when a total of 102 children applied for places. In response to this a starter class was opened at Ninian Park School in 2007, now called Ysgol Tan-yr-eos, which has now grown to a full school and will form the second stream at Ysgol Treganna from September 2013. In 2012 Treganna and Pwll Coch admitted a total of 147 children, an increase of 57 children in 6 years, which is higher than the average for the whole of Cardiff between 2000 and 2011, equating to 6.22%. It must be remembered that Treganna and Pwll Coch have also received the overflow from Ysgol Nant Caerau of 10 pupils per year for the past 2 years. In fact the number already admitted to Treganna and Pwll Coch this year has already reached 154;there are children who have failed to obtain admission to Nant Caerau yet again and these children taken with the usual late applicants will in all probability ensure that the total admissions exceed 160 and reach the usual 10% increase in this area.


"It is fairly certain that both schools serving the Canton and Grangetown areas will be oversubscribed by 2015. The Council has confirmed that they've received permission from the Minister to open the new school in Grangetown to cater for the expected growth in demand in the area. However, it is claimed that it has not been possible to find a suitable site and consequently it will not be possible to open the school before 2016. The Council has also expressed uncertainty about the viability of the new school in terms of the demand for WM provision in the area. This is a completely unbelievable statement as RhAG has expressed its concern for more than a year that a one form entry would be insufficient by 2019/20 and pushing for the school to be built on a site which could accomodate a second form entry by 2017/18. It is therefore critical that the new school remains as part of Cardiff's 21st Century Schools programme in line with the original timetable and as Cllr. Julia Magill, Exectuive Member for Education has again promised in a recent letter to RhAG.

Said Ceri Owen, RhAG National Development Officer, "If the plan to establish a 3rd stream at Pwll Coch is implemented this will mean that there will be three schools of this size in the Welsh-medium sector in Cardiff. In a response to a written question submitted to the Executive Member for Education, it was denied that that this is a move towards a policy of centralizing provision treating the WM sector in an unequal and disproportionate way compared to the EM sector. RhAG is concerned that Cardiff Council is moving away from its commitment to the vision of 'local schools for local children' with regard to the WM sector.


"We must ask how Cardiff Council's proposals to plan WM education across the city can claim to be in line with the national objectives and targets of the Welsh Medium Education Strategy. Welsh Government policy has set a target that 30% of 7 year olds in Wales will be assessed through the medium of Welsh by 2020. Currently fewer than 20% do so in Cardiff. The Government's aim is for Cardiff to see an increase of 50% of school children who begin in the WM sector by 2018. Cardiff won't come close to achieving that without expanding provision in Splott and honouring its promise to establish a 3rd school for the Canton and Grangetown areas. RhAG therefore urges the Labour led Council in Cardiff to change its attitude which at present is completely opposite to the nationalpolicy set by fellow party members within Welsh Government."



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