Time frames and costings need adding to the council’s ten year strategy for Welsh medium education councillors warn with demand currently outstripping supply in Pembrokeshire.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) was reviewed by a scrutiny committee this week where one councillor raised concerns that children were being “denied” Welsh medium education.
Cllr Mike Evans said that it was positive that there was such “exponential” growth in demand but he wanted it noted that it exceeds the number of spaces available and “we are now turning away children and creating a postcode lottery.”
Huw Jones, planning places and admissions officer, said there was a waiting list for nursery and reception spaces at Ysgol Caer Elen in Haverfordwest and “unfortunately we have got a significant under supply of places at the moment.”
He, and director of education Steven Richards-Downes, agreed that the long-term strategy would mean Welsh-medium education was accessible across the county and the result of a recent capital grant bid to Welsh Government for more provision was awaited.
“Is it our ambition by the end of ten years to turn that map green, I would say yes,” said Mr Richards-Downes.
Cllr Evans also asked about post-16 provision and was told Pembrokeshire College would be increasing its offer, as he added the WESP was not “radical enough” and he’s like it to go further.
Cllr Tony Baron said at the meeting of policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny on Tuesday (November 23) “a plan without timings and without costings is a wish list,” with a more detailed five year plan, along with broader plans for the next five, to be included in presentations to Welsh Government.
Primary school catchment map for Welsh medium education in Pembrokeshire where currently demand outstrips supply. PICTURE: PCC report