Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg – the Welsh Language Society – is pressing the Vale of Glamorgan Council to convert what it describes as “190 vacancies” in eleven local primary schools to form a second Welsh-language-medium* school in Penarth.
The society is also criticising the Vale Council for its interpretation of the findings of the Vale’s own survey into the demand for Welsh-medium language education in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The survey was carried out in 2013/14 by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to establish what the demand was for Welsh language education. It found that 43% of local parents wanted their children to receive education in the medium of Welsh.
The survey also found that ” A significantly lower percentage of respondents from the Eastern Vale [ i.e. Penarth] said that they would be likely, quite likely or very likely to send their child to a Welsh medium primary school if it was within 2 miles of their home (30%)“.
However Cymdeithas Yr Iaith says this finding “did not suit the Vale of Glamorgan Council” – and that the council subsequently claimed that the true demand indicated by the survey had been ‘magnified‘ because of the tendency for parents who are passionate about Welsh to respond to such surveys [whereas other parents do not].
The council re-interpreted survey findings and claimed that the true demand – across the whole of the Vale was nearer 25%.
The Welsh Language Society says that there are 190 vacancies in the 11 English-medium schools in the area ( named as St Andrew, Murch, Dinas Powys, Albert , Cogan, Evenlode , St Joseph l, Fairfield, Sully, Victoria and Llandough) and that those vacancies should be used to create a new Welsh medium school for the area.
At the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny it was announced that the number of children now receiving education through the medium of Welsh is increasing .
Also at the Eisteddfod – which ends today – the Welsh Labour Government’s First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones launched a drive to double the number of Welsh speakers to a million by 2050 . Sian Gwenllian of Plaid Cymru called the announcement “another superficial stunt”.
*Welsh medium education means a primary school in which all lessons are taught through the medium of the Welsh language.
The full original 2014 Vale Council report is on http://tinyurl.com/hda3r76