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Open letter: celebrities and organisations call for a new Welsh-medium school in Barry

Jan 28, 2020

Mae mudiadau cenedlaethol ac enwogion o Fro Morgannwg wedi llofnodi llythyr agored sy'n galw ar Aelodau Cabinet Cyngor Bro Morgannwg "i fantesio ar gyfle euraid" o ran twf Addysg Gymraeg yn y Barri.

National organisations and well-known figures from the Vale of Glamorgan have signed an open letter calling on all Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Members "to seize a golden opportunity" in terms of the growth of Welsh medium Education in Barry.

The letter has been signed by a number of celebrities including Ian "H" Watkins from Steps, Caryl Parry Jones, Angharad Mair and a wide range of organisations that promote the Welsh language, both locally and nationally.

A report is expected to go before the Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet tomorrow - December 12 - (which has already been deferred twice), with the intention of publishing a consultation in January in relation to the proposed new school which will be built as part of a significant housing development in the Waterfront area in Barry.

Mark Bowen, a Barry parent who has led the campaign and is a member of RhAG in the Vale of Glamorgan,

"A significant Test Case in relation to the Cymraeg 2050 target is about to reach an important crossroad in Barry.

"There is no doubt that Welsh-medium education supporters and indeed the Welsh Government will learn a lot from this decision. The success of the policy is largely dependent on decisions made by Local Authorities and that is why this Test Case is so important for Welsh language supporters and the language in general.

"If it is decided to designate the new building for Welsh medium provision, the Vale of Glamorgan Council will take a major step towards meeting the key target of the Welsh Government and to
increase the number of Welsh medium primary places in the County by 10%, and in the Barry area by almost 17%.

"If that is not done, an invaluable opportunity to raise the profile of Welsh-medium education in the western part of Barry (including Barry Island) will be lost. Similarly, the Welsh Government would have to recognise that there is a significant gap between ambitious national policies and implementing that policy on the ground.

"This will ring alarm bells in terms of the policy's lack of credibility and raise the key question: is reaching a Million Welsh speakers really a priority for local and central government? The Waterfront School case will be an important test of that commitment. "

end

Notes
The background of the case is that a significant housing development is being built in the Waterfront area in Barry, which will eventually provide around 2000 new homes. Land is allocated for a new primary school to be opened in September 2019. In the first place, this would probably be a 210-place school, but crucial,ly with the potential to increase to 420. What is currently uncertain is the language of the proposed new school.


AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL CABINET MEMBERS OF THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

A Significant Test Case for the Welsh Language in Barry

Dear Cabinet Members

The Welsh Government's policy of having a million Welsh speakers by 2050 will be put to the test in the Vale of Glamorgan in the coming weeks.

It is anticipated that you, as members of the cabinet, will soon take a very important decision on the language medium of the proposed new school which will be
built as part of the Waterfront development in Barry.

Indeed, this will be an important litmus test, not only of how local councils and planners perceive their role in terms of delivering the 2050 policy, but in terms of demonstrating a genuine commitment to promoting the Welsh language.

So, we call on you to seize this golden opportunity and to designate the new Waterfront school as Welsh medium.

This would allow Ysgol Sant Baruc to be relocated to a fit for purpose building and could ensure that all Barry children are within walking distance of a Welsh
language primary school, including - for the first time ever – children from Barry Island. This would also make a major contribution towards the 2030 Welsh
Government target to increase Welsh medium school places by a third.

The Welsh language can - and should - be a central building block of new housing developments; this is a watershed moment for Barry and will set a significant precedent in terms of other urban developments across Wales.

We strongly urge you to grasp this opportunity with both hands.

Caryl Parry Jones

Angharad Mair

Rhodri Owen

Ian “H” Watkins from Steps

Eleri Siôn

Eric Thomas, Chair of Governing Body, Ysgol Sant Baruc

Robert Evans, Chair of Governing Body, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg

Cronfa Glyndŵr

CYDAG – School Association for Welsh medium Education

Rhanbarth Morgannwg-Gwent, Cymdeithas yr Iaith / Welsh Language Society

Cymdeithas Cymrodorion y Barri

Mudiad Meithrin

Lleucu Haf Wiliam, Member of Welsh Youth Parliament for Vale of Glamorgan

Neil McEvoy AM, South Wales Central

Rhieni dros Addysg Gymraeg / Parents for Welsh medium Education