Stu­dents can’t study Welsh

Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page -

PORTH­CAWL A-level stu­dents turned up for their first day of term to be told they couldn’t take Welsh. Lan­guage group Cymdei­thas yr Iaith said it was “heart­break­ing”.

STU­DENTS at one school turned up on the first day of term to study their A-lev­els and were told they couldn’t take Welsh.

The three pupils at Porth­cawl Com­pre­hen­sive had been told last term that three was the num­ber needed to be able to run the course.

They were then told that they might have to travel to Bryn­tirion Com­pre­hen­sive to take the sub­ject.

But when they re­turned to school last week, their par­ents say they were told that this couldn’t hap­pen be­cause of a timetable clash.

The par­ents say their chil­dren are up­set and Welsh lan­guage group Cymdei­thas yr Iaith de­scribed it as “heart­break­ing”.

Mum Jo Aitchi­son is up­set that her 16-year-old son Ewan can’t take the sub­ject. She said: “He re­ally wants to take Welsh be­cause he en­joys the lan­guage and wants to use it along­side a ca­reer in medicine.”

She said that the teenagers had first been told they could study Welsh at Porth­cawl and later told in June that the class was be­ing cut be­cause of fund­ing.

At the time, she said, the school said they could have lessons on two af­ter­noons a week at Bryn­tirion.

She said: “But he went in on the first day of school this term and was told that it wouldn’t be pos­si­ble be­cause of a timetable clash.

“We don’t blame the school, they would love to be able to pro­vide the sub­ject but it is a mat­ter of fund­ing.

“It is a real shame that they are not able to con­tinue to learn the lan­guage they want to.”

Tam­sin Davies from Cymdei­thas yr Iaith said: “This is a heart-break­ing sit­u­a­tion. If the govern­ment is to reach its tar­get of one mil­lion Welsh speak­ers, we can­not af­ford to de­prive a sin­gle pupil of flu­ency in the lan­guage.

“Stu­dents who study A-level Welsh are the teach­ers and key work­ers of the fu­ture who will en­sure that the lan­guage pros­pers. Over re­cent years, there’s been a fall in the num­bers go­ing on to study the A-level.

“We will be writ­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary ask­ing her to in­ter­vene in this case, and to en­sure that more young peo­ple over the age of 16 go on to study Welsh.”

Robert Bai­ley said his 16-year-old daugh­ter Lau­ren may have to change school in or­der to study the sub­ject.

He said: “It’s mind bog­gling that us par­ents and our chil­dren have to sort it.

“The coun­cil have not been very forth­com­ing and ba­si­cally said ‘you will have to sort it out your­self’ which to me is kind of ter­ri­ble.”

Brid­gend coun­cil said a drop in sixth form num­bers at the school has af­fected the amount of money re­ceived from a Welsh Govern­ment grant.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “Due to a gen­eral fall in stu­dent num­bers, there was a 7.4% bud­get re­duc­tion in the coun­cil’s post-16 grant al­lo­ca­tion from Welsh Govern­ment for the 2018-19 fi­nan­cial year.

“At Porth­cawl Com­pre­hen­sive, sixth form num­bers de­clined from 290 to 242, and this has af­fected the school’s al­lo­ca­tion from the over­all grant.

“Once an al­lo­ca­tion is made, each school must de­cide which cour­ses it will in­clude in the timetable for a given year.

“If a sub­ject is re­moved, af­fected pupils have a right un­der the Learn­ing and Skills Mea­sure (Wales) 2014 to ap­peal the head teacher’s de­ci­sion.

“Ev­ery year the coun­cil works with head teach­ers to make sure A-level Welsh is avail­able to all stu­dents through col­lab­o­ra­tive work­ing ar­range­ments be­tween schools.”

JOANNA AITCHI­SON

Ewan Aitchi­son and Lau­ren Bai­ley have been told they can’t take A-level Welsh at Porth­cawl Com­pre­hen­sive School

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