Plans Will 'Seriously Harm' Welsh-Medium Education; Teaching Unions Criticise WAG Reorganisation

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

Plans Will 'Seriously Harm' Welsh-Medium Education; Teaching Unions Criticise WAG Reorganisation


Byline: Katie Norman

PLANS to reorganise post-16 education "will seriously harm" Welsh-medium education, teachers' leaders warned last night. The Assembly Government's new Transformation agenda, which aims to map out the future of post-16 education in Wales, has attracted criticism from Welshmedium teaching union Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (Ucac) and the Welsh-medium schools' association Cydag.

Both organisations believe the plans, which require local authorities to reorganise post-16 education services, will have a detrimental impact on Welshmedium provision.

Across Wales, schools, colleges and higher education institutions are compiling plans to merge and collaborate as part of the scheme.

In Rhondda Cynon Taf controversial plans have been unveiled to establish a bilingual tertiary system with sixth-form facilities offering courses in both English and Welsh.

Ucac's general secretary, Elaine Edwards, believes such a move would be detrimental to Welshmedium students because they would not be fully immersed in the language at their place of study.

"There might be a threat to Welsh-medium education post-16 if things are not handled properly.

"In some areas, 95% of pupils are from wholly English-medium backgrounds and therefore the experience of having Welsh as a social, extra-curriculum language is crucial to their education."

Next year, the Assembly Government has pledged to launch its Coleg Ffederal, which would increase the range of Welsh-medium higher education courses.

But Mrs Edwards believes it could be challenging for learners to undertake such university courses if learners have not had the option of studying in a wholly Welsh-medium setting up to 18. …

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