Calls for Welsh secondary school in Merthyr Tydfil
A committee has found that if primary school age Welsh targets are to be met, Merthyr Tydfil will need a Welsh language secondary school.
The report considered by the council’s Education Committee, concluded that if the government’s targets for teaching Welsh were met, more than 600 pupils from Merthyr Tydfil would require Welsh medium secondary education by September 2035.
This number would rise to more than 750 pupils by 2039.
The report said these figures would be enough to sustain a Welsh medium secondary school in Merthyr Tydfil.
Merthyr Tydfil currently has two Welsh medium primary schools, Ysgol Rhyd Y Grug in Aberfan and Ysgol Santes Tudful in Twynyrodyn.
Welsh medium pupils are expected to rise
But there are no Welsh language secondary schools and around 400 pupils travel to Ysgol Rhydywaun in Hirwaun in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Ysgol Cwm Rhymni in Caerphilly.
This number is expected to increase over the next five years.
Councillor Jamie Scriven said: “If we have a Welsh medium secondary school, I’m sure that there would be an impact on the figures of primary pupil numbers.
“The use of the language is a habit and is similar to voting as in if young people aren’t doing it by the time they’re 18, they’re less likely to do it for the rest of their lives.”
Councillor Scriven went on to explain that it’s not just about hitting the target, it’s about embedding the Welsh language in the culture of the people of Merthyr Tydfil.
Another co-opted member of the committee Lis McClean said: “I think that we have a chance to change people’s perceptions of Merthyr by really grasping this opportunity.
“We need to remember that it is just as important to make sure that we are integrating Welsh language into the English schools too.”
“There is money out there that’s going to be spent on Welsh education in Wales and we need to make sure that it’s spent in Merthyr.”
The work of Pen y Dre secondary school in Merthyr Tydfil was praised for winning Eisteddfod awards after integrating bilingualism.
Fellow committee member Councillor Anna Williams-Price said the current financial pressures are a threat to all council and public services but it’s a challenge they must rise to.
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