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NPT proposals: a fatal blow to Welsh medium education

Jun 18, 2019

RhAG - Parents for Welsh Medium Education - has strongly criticised proposals by Neath Port Talbot Council to increase transport fees for pupils in the local authority.

RhAG - Parents for Welsh Medium Education - has strongly criticised proposals by Neath Port Talbot Council to increase transport fees for pupils in the local authority.

The Council is currently consulting on increasing the cost to £390 per year for post 16 pupils (currently £100) as well as removing any guarantee of a seat from September 2020 onwards.

Back in 2013, Cwmni Iaith Hafan, in conjunction with RhAG, conducted a survey amongst parents to measure the impact of introducing the current fees. The main conclusions, which still apply, indicated the following:

Charging fees for transporting 16+ pupils to Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera would likely bring viable 16+ education to an end;
Charging for transport would disproportionately affect those receiving post-16 Welsh-medium education in the county;
Charging for school transport will punish the less well-off more than anyone, and will result in pupils from poorer backgrounds being unable to continue with Welsh-medium education;
As English medium 16+ education is within a much easier reach for most pupils, charging for Welsh-medium education places it at a clear disadvantage.

Wyn Williams, RhAG's National Chairman said,

"It is a completely unbelievable situation. Here is a local authority that has recently invested £ 40million to expand and improve Welsh-medium education provision within its boundaries, and then undermines it with the proposal in question. Implementing this policy would be a fatal blow to the 6th form at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera and Welsh medium education generally in Neath Port Talbot.

"The Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 places a duty on local authorities to arrange transport for schools with the aim of promoting Welsh-medium education. The proposal now discussed would have an adverse effect, and would be very damaging. It is clear that NPT has not undertaken a meaningful assessment to measure the impact of this policy on pupils and families in terms of the Welsh language or in terms of equality.
"Further to this, every local authority is now expected to stimulate the demand for Welsh medium education. The Government is currently consulting on changing the regulations that would remove the requirement to measure demand and instead to set out specific growth targets; this proposal militates against all of this.

"We know that other local authorities, including Newport and Monmouth, are charging unreasonable fees for transport to Welsh-medium education. And an increasing number of councils are reviewing their transport policies with a view to charging fees that are bound to impede further barriers to Welsh-medium education. We are therefore calling on Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Government to intervene as a matter of urgency, by undertaking a review of all Welsh in Education Strategic Plans - and to take appropriate action - to ensure that Welsh medium education is promoted through transport policies, in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Measure."


RhAG is a national organisation which represents and supports parents who want their children to be educated through the medium of Welsh www.rhag.cymru

For more information please contact Ceri McEvoy, RhAG Director of Development on 07912175403 or ceri@rhag.cymru