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Headteacher’s Welsh language spending criticism ‘misplaced’

11 Apr 2019 3 minute read
Welsh language school sign
Welsh language school sign. Philip Wolmuth / Alamy Stock Photo

The criticism of a headteacher who said an “inexhaustible amount of money” was spent on the Welsh language were ‘misplaced’ according to the Welsh language society.

Evenlode Primary School chief Stephen Rees said that due to budget cuts he had to clean the toilets and had shed 11 staff, and that he was critical of how money was spent.

“We are struggling and I get very frustrated when I see how much is spent on the (school improvement) consortia and other initiatives in Wales,” Mr. Rees told WalesOnline.

“And I fully support the Welsh language but it seem to have an inexhaustible amount of money whereas special needs and mental health is down the bare bone and none of these have enough resources.”

The Chairman of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the Welsh Language society, said that he sympathised with Mr. Rees as “schools across the country are facing near-impossible budgets”.

“But blaming the Welsh language is misplaced – it is years of austerity and cuts that have caused the current situation,” he said.

“The lack of special needs and mental health provision affects Welsh speakers as much as anyone – indeed, in many parts of the country, accessing Welsh language special needs and mental health provision can be incredibly difficult, when we know that receiving such services in a language they are comfortable in is so important for the individual’s wellbeing.

“Our feeling is that we should all be coming together to oppose austerity and demand fair funding for all of our communities and public services.”

Mr Rees, whose school is in Penarth in Vale of Glamorgan, said that he was worried about how he is going to deliver Wales’ new curriculum as well as reforms to additional learning needs and Welsh language teaching.

“The New Curriculum and the new Additional Learning Needs Bill are going to be a major issue,” he said. “They are all going to have cost implications.

“I don’t know how we are going to do the New Curriculum. My priority is keeping enough staff and ensuring the children are safe. These cuts are having an impact on the well being off my staff.”

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