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Former Plaid Cymru candidate claims Welsh language is ‘forced’ on children

03 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Nigel Copner

A former Plaid Cymru candidate has claimed that the Welsh language is being “forced” on children.

Nigel Copner, who stood for the party in Blaenau Gwent at the 2016 Senedd election, backed comments made by Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party candidate Mark Reckless on the subject.

Children learn Welsh at school because it is part of the National Curriculum, as is English, mathematics, and science.

But Copner claimed that children learning Wales’ national language were being “unduly distracted” and suggested that it should not be treated in the same way as those other subjects.

His comments have been slammed by Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate, Glenn Swingler, who is standing in the Vale of Clwyd, as “utter drivel”.

The former Plaid candidate, who came within 650 votes of winning the seat from Labour, subsequently quit the pro-independence party, and is now supporting candidates who don’t think Wales should have its own national parliament.

When he left, he complained about the party’s support for Welsh independence, which he said lost it “credibility”. Support for Wales becoming an independent nation stands at 39% according to a recent opinion poll.

Abolish candidate Mark Reckless said: “Gwynedd policy is to make everyone go to Welsh medium schools, falsely called ‘bilingual’, and English not even taught as a subject before kids are 7.”

Nigel Copner replied: “Forcing Welsh on people is wrong in my opinion. Having a few abolish MS in the Senedd would provide the basis for constructive and balanced discussions on devolution and Indy. Best of luck”.

‘Sunk to the bottom’ 

Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate Glenn Swingler said: “Ohh Nigel. You have sunk to the bottom of the pond with this utter drivel.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Ann Hopcyn said: “1. So you have no problem with English, maths, RE, history, geog, science, PE, MFL, music, art, IT, only Cymraeg”.

“2. According to this logic, there should be no children ‘struggling’ in England.”

Robin Edwards said: “You have issues Nigel. Welsh is the national language. No one is advocating banning the English language in schools.”

Copner added: “Get a lot of reports locally where parents are seeing their children struggling with core subjects and feel they are being unduly distracted by having to learn Welsh.

“We need to be reasonable and consider individual cases but Plaid are only looking to force on to people.”

Gwynedd councillor Olaf Cai Larsen replied: “But I’ve been to school in Gwynedd as have my children – & we all speak English & Welsh perfectly well.

“But had I been sent to an English medium school in another part of Wales I would have been forced to be monolingual in all probability.”

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Gill Jones
Gill Jones
2 months ago

There’s a simple solution -Nigel Copner and Mark Reckless can move to England.

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards
2 months ago

The children in France get taught French. What should we do about it?

huwdavies
huwdavies
2 months ago

” Abolish candidate Mark Reckless said: “Gwynedd policy is to make everyone go to Welsh medium schools, falsely called ‘bilingual’, and English not even taught as a subject before kids are 7.” Well that’s damaging innit ! Silly man. Oddly enough I was 7 when I started formal lessons in English and back in those days it was virtually English only beyond that time. In the absence of any of these modern techniques available today I managed to learn and adapt. Now if I could pull that off in English most kids can do it in Welsh. One thing for… Read more »

arthur owen
arthur owen
2 months ago

Plaid Cymru should be eternally grateful for those 650 Labour voters in Blaenau Gwent.There are always a number of wolves in sheep’s clothing ready to use the party for their own vanity.They do not seem to have to face the same level of enmity that Neil McEvoy’s lot get.

Rian
Rian
2 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Copner and McEvoy are the closest of friends. Nigel was a staunch supporter of his throughout his theatrics in Plaid and constantly retweets him in praise, despite his strange, anti-Welsh turn.

G.Bevan
G.Bevan
2 months ago

In Finland, which has one of the best education systems in the World, pupils start school aged seven. School starts at 8.15 and ends at 2.45. There is an hour for lunch and a 15 minute break between each lesson. This gives lots of opportunites for play and socialization. In primary schools, both Finnish and Swedish is taught. They have ambition for their kids. They have a robust challenging education system that all youngsters benefit from. Strong and effective language skills flow into the rest of their learning. We need to be looking at World leaders to inform our thinking… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  G.Bevan

I completely agree with you Mr / Ms Bevan. I am a high school teacher and my opinion is that our high school system is no longer fit for purpose. There are so many problems in education now including dilapidated buildings and equipment, lack of resources, career ladder-climbers using others for their own benefit, pupil indiscipline, lack of support to teachers to deal with pupil indiscipline, etc. The new Donaldson Curriculum does nothing to address these problems. This is causing many teachers to leave (or to want to leave) the profession. A few years ago the Welsh Government was looking… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Our shabby lot are unlikely to take the best from anywhere else and apply it. Instead we will get a lot of cliches and platitudes, new labels, and the same old junk presented slightly differently in new “packaging”. This is part of the unintended consequences of the dependency culture. Blaming external governments for Labour failures in Wales, yet unwilling to promote radical change.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

It is also my opinion that Cymraeg is of great benefit to our learners if it they are taught fluency in early years. Teaching ‘second language’ Welsh sadly leads many to resent the language, I know because I have taught it. All pupils should be taught to be fluent. S4C could help out more with this perhaps by creating more programmes for schools (e.g. a Welsh ‘Sesame Street’ style programme) that can be used in the classroom, especially if the teacher is not as confident in Welsh. What Mark Reckless and Nigel Copner said, in my opinion, is just stirring.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mr Williams
Florence Brady
Florence Brady
2 months ago

I spend time every day communicating with people from many different countries, mainly in English. Whenever I compliment a Swede, for example, on her or his English, they tell me they had so many opportunities to learn it from radio and television programmes and films. So do Welsh school children. It’s perfectly rational for them to be taught in Welsh and to ‘pick up’ English during early years education. The English prejudice against the Welsh language is based on envy and a feeling of inferiority. I have met people in Wales who speak, for example, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Welsh and… Read more »

Paul Williams
Paul Williams
2 months ago

Nigel is fast catching up to Ted Heath’s record for ‘the longest sulk in history’. If Plaid came out and said the grass is green Nigel would argue that it was blue.

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