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New cross-border deal could see pupils from England receive Welsh medium education

20 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Cllr James Gibson-Watt

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Learners in England could receive Welsh medium education in Powys under a deal agreed between councils on both sides of the border.

The move follows the approval of the new Marches Strategic Forward Partnership at a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on 19 September.

A memorandum of understanding between Powys, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire will be agreed in November.

The authorities would work together in a number of areas including transport, skills, housing, energy, climate change and digital connectivity.

Education portfolio holder, Liberal Democrat, Cllr Pete Roberts said: “There are many families in and around Oswestry that come from Welsh speaking heritage.

“Oswestry has the only Cylch Meithrin (Welsh medium nursery setting) outside of Wales.

“So, I hope one of the opportunities this brings forward is the chance to work with our colleagues in Shropshire and along the border to extend the ability for those families to participate in Welsh Medium education and use this partnership to advance plans to enable cross border support for those families who would like to take up a fully Welsh Medium education.

Legacy

Council leader, Cllr Gibson-Watt explained that the partnership agreement was a legacy from the previous Independent/Conservative administration.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said “It emanated from a Conservative party manifesto commitment in the 2019 general election that they would implement a Marches Growth Deal to match the City Deals delivered elsewhere and our own Mid Wales Growth Deal.

“The Marches Growth Deal has never emerged, and I suspect in these (economic) circumstances it is very unlikely to do so.

“Nevertheless, the partnership was formed in anticipation of that and has been taken forward.

“I am very happy to be involved, I think it’s a thoroughly good idea, it makes absolute sense because of the myriad links we have across the border.”

Cllr Gibson-Watt added that he lives in a house on the border which overlooks Herefordshire: “so I fully understand these links.”

Cllr Gibson-Watt said that Wrexham Council to the north of Powys, Telford, and Wrekin a unitary authority which is part of the historic Shropshire are also “taking an interest” in the work being done.

Cllr Gibson-Watt added that he lives in a house on the border which overlooks Herefordshire: “so I fully understand these links.”

Cllr Gibson-Watt stressed: “This is in no way a replication of the Mid Wales Partnership we have with Ceredigion that is a different animal altogether.”

Director of environment and economy, Nigel Brinn explained that as part of the arrangement Powys would be looking after the “health, housing and skills” work-streams.


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Aled
Aled
8 months ago

Good to see Wrexham Council taking an interest. Sorry state of affairs, but get on with it and work with Powys if it finally gets us our rights to education and services in Welsh.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
8 months ago

Telford and Wrekin is a motorway journey from Wales?

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
8 months ago

From a language point of view, that will certainly go down well in Oswestry where there’s a very active Welsh language group and where you’ll often hear Welsh in the streets and shops.

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