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OPEN LETTER: Protect the provision of Welsh medium education in north Pontypridd

Feb 16, 2020

Protect the provision of Welsh medium education in north Pontypridd

Dear Editor

Protect the provision of Welsh medium education in north Pontypridd

As parents and supporters of Welsh Medium education we are concerned that the current proposals by RCT Council will lead to a decline in the language in the communities of north Pontypridd.

The current proposal is to close Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pont Sion Norton and Ysgol Heol-y-Celyn and build a brand new school on the existing Heol-y-Celyn site. Although the new school buildings are essential, the change will lead to children from areas to the north of Pontypridd, including the Ynysybwl, Glyncoch, Coedycwm, Trallwng and Cilfynydd, needing to travel over two miles further, past Pontypridd, to access Welsh medium education. Ynysybwl itself is around six miles from the Heol-y-celyn site.

It is very important that children receive Welsh Medium education in the community where they live. Families with no access to cars are voicing concerns on how they will get to breakfast clubs and after-school clubs or reach their children in an emergency. Some parents are openly saying that they are so concerned with the situation, that they may not be able to choose the Welsh Medium option for purely practical reasons.

Given the Welsh Government’s target of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050 and its emphasis on increasing access to Welsh-medium early years and primary provision, we believe the current option needs to be avoided. As the plans for the Heol-y-Celyn site are still in the formative stages, we urge the Council to give serious consideration to other options.

The Council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan states that it is intended to create 6,054 additional Welsh speakers within the county by 2021. How will depriving existing communities in Pontypridd from a nearby Welsh-medium school help achieve this target?

Parents in RCT have fought hard to ensure the provision of Welsh medium education. A prime example was the fight to keep open and secure more spaces at Pont Sion Norton in the 1980s, such was the demand. That fighting spirit prevails to this day. Ymlaen!

The ‘Parents Fighting for Local Welsh Education in North Pontypridd Group’ and RhAG (Parents for Welsh Medium Education) Rhondda Cynon Taf