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Revolution turns 70: celebrating the growth of Welsh medium education in Cardiff

Jun 19, 2019

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.

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
Eric Thomas, Chair, Governing Body, Ysgol Sant Baruc
Robert Evans, Chair, Governing Body, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg
Cronfa Glyndŵr
Mudiad Meithrin
CYDAG – School Association for Welsh medium Education
Rhanbarth Morgannwg-Gwent, Cymdeithas yr Iaith / Welsh Language Society
Cymdeithas Cymrodorion y Barri
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
Rhodri Owen
Ian “H” Watkins from Steps
Eleri Siôn
TO CELEBRATE 70 years of Welsh medium education in the capital, many of the first pupils of the original school, Ysgol Gymraeg Caerdydd, have organised with the existing schools to march through Cardiff on Saturday 22 June between 9 and 10 am, and at 10am, Councillor Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, will greet them at the start of the parade. They will travel through the streets of the city to the North Gate of the Castle, where they will join Tafwyl as that festival starts at 11am.

Every Welsh medium school in the city will be represented in the Parade, with the former pupils of Ysgol Gymraeg Caerdydd, which soon grew to be Ysgol Bryntaf, leading the procession. The current schools will follow in order of establishment, headed by Ysgol Melin Gruffydd, which was established in 1980. RhAG, the national parents' organisation that campaigns for the expansion of Welsh-medium schools across Wales, and Mudiad Meithrin, will also take part. After walking along the traffic-free streets of Queen Street and the Hayes, the Parade will enter the Castle and will be welcomed to Tafwyl by Eluned Morgan AM, Baroness Ely, who is the Welsh Government’s Minister for the Welsh Language. She is a former pupil of Ysgol Gynradd Bryntaf and Ysgol Gymraeg Glantaf. The Parade will support the government's target of securing a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Iolo Walters and Alwyn Evans, Chair and Secretary of the Organising Committee, said in a statement, “The aim is to celebrate the incredible growth that has taken place in Cardiff's Welsh medium schools since we were among the first few pupils. Our grandchildren are now the third generation to attend these Welsh medium schools. The Parade is also an opportunity to show Cardiff parents that Welsh-medium education is available to their children in every corner of the city, whatever the language of the home. We hope that those parents, non-Welsh speakers as much as Welsh speakers, all of whom have benefited from Welsh-medium education, will march with us to support their children's schools. Also, if you are a former pupil, come out to support your old school, primary or secondary!”.

On 5 September 1949, Ysgol Gymraeg Caerdydd, the first school to provide Welshmedium education in the city, opened in a classroom at the Boys' Modern School, Ninian Park, (the current site of Ninian Park Primary School). 19 pupils were registered on the first day. Nearly 800 pupils now start each year in Cardiff's current 17 Welshmedium Primary Schools. There are also three Secondary Schools, with a fourth school needed within the next 5 years.