CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board has backed plans to change the language of education at five local primary schools.
Under the proposals, children starting in the foundation phase classes in September 2020 at Ysgol Y Ddwylan (Newcastle Emlyn), Ysgol Griffith Jones (St Clears), Ysgol Llangynnwr (Carmarthen), and Ysgol Llys Hywel (Whitland) will be taught in Welsh until they reach age seven, when parents can then decide what language they want their children to continue learning in.
And, from January, 2020, children starting at Llandovery’s Ysgol Rhys Pritchard will be taught through the medium of Welsh up to the end of year six, aged 11.
English will be taught as a subject at the school, from year three onwards, with the aim of ensuring that all pupils become confidently bilingual by the end of their primary schooling. There will be no change for current pupils attending the schools.
The council has already consulted on the proposals, but has now issued a statutory notice to formally propose the intention to change the language provision.
Parents and interested parties have until October 22 to make representations.
Cllr Glynog Davies, the council’s Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services, said: “Our intention is to move these schools along the language continuum. This coincides with our Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, which we’ve accepted as an authority, and which has been approved by the Welsh Government.
“Our aim as a county is to see each pupil at the end of key stage two completely bilingual and confident in using the English and Welsh language.
“We hope to change the language of the foundation phase of these schools from dual stream to Welsh only. Parents will then have choice at the beginning of key stage two about the language of education of their children.
“There was a disappointing lack of response to the consultation. Thank you to those that did respond. If people are happy, very often, people don’t respond. The responses of the children are stated here, across the four schools this is very positive and children can see the value of being bilingual.
“In Ysgol Rhys Pritchard the intention is to change the language of the whole school, not just the foundation phase. The response (to the consultation) was low but the children, the school and governors were supportive. It’s happened naturally here, we just need to formalise what the school wants to see happening.”