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Tory MP brands school move to Welsh medium a ‘step backwards’

26 Jun 2021 3 minutes Read
Craig Williams, Conservative MP

A Tory MP has branded a school’s move to teach through the Welsh medium a “step backwards”.

Craig Williams, who represents Montgomeryshire, made the comments after Powys County Council published a statutory notice to change Ysgol Bro Hyddgen from dual-stream.

A public consultation showed the public back the proposal, but Williams claims that it was weighted “against the views of parents”.

In total 440 people completed the consultation response form, and of the respondents, just over 61 per-cent are in favour of the proposal, while 37.5 per cent are against and over 1.3 per cent didn’t know.

It is expected that from September 2022, the reception class at Machynlleth’s Bro Hyddgen will be taught in Welsh, in a move which will eventually see all classes from reception to sixth form taught in the language.

The proposals will not affect any pupils currently being taught at the school.

Powys County Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, who is also chair of governors at the school, backs the plan.

He says Welsh language skills would help pupils access 10,000 jobs where Welsh language skills are advantageous in the region.

‘Concerns’ 

Williams told the County Times: “Having recently met a group of constituents and parents in Machynlleth, whose children currently attend Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, I have heard their deep concerns regarding the Council’s intentions to replace the dual stream curriculum at the School with a Welsh medium curriculum.

“Clearly local people and parents are extremely worried that the Council’s consultation process was heavily weighted towards the views of the School’s governors, and against the views of parents.

“It would appear to be a step backwards to take away the choice of dual stream education for a whole community, forcing hundreds of Powys pupils to attend schools’ miles away from their homes and potentially out of county.”

Elwyn Vaughan said: “This matter shouldn’t be seen as a ‘Welsh vs English’ thing, and I deplore those that try to make it such.

“It should be seen as a matter of ensuring the best education possible for all our young people, for enabling our future generations to gain the skills for the 21st Century, for building the capacity of our young people, for ensuring their maximum potential and ensuring that they can play a full part in a bilingual society and multilingual world.”

Speaking after the statutory notice was issued last week, the Cabinet Member for Education and Property, Cllr Phyl Davies, said the move would help the council to meet the aims within its “Strategy for Transforming Education in Powys”.

“It would also ensure that all pupils attending the school have the opportunity to become fully bilingual, fluent in both Welsh and English, therefore contributing to the Welsh Government’s aspiration to achieve a million Welsh speakers by 2050,” he said.

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
28 days ago

For centuries many schools in Cymru were solely English language schools, there was little concern for the many who just spoke Welsh. If we are to secure the future of the Welsh language more schools like Ysgol Bro Hyddgen need to be established.

Vaughan
Vaughan
28 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

They should but many won’t unfortunately.

arthur owen
arthur owen
28 days ago

Any Welsh speakers who voted for Craig Williams last time should take note.

Cymro
Cymro
28 days ago

He’s a member of the London parliament.

Education is a devolved matter.

Nothing to do with him.

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago
Reply to  Cymro

Short and sweet.

Right to the point.

100% correct.

Y diwedd.

JAD
JAD
28 days ago

Anyone who has met Craig will know that he models himself on his idol Boris with his loud, obnoxious ways. I hope the people of Machynlleth won’t take his nonsense.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
28 days ago

Two thirds in favour of Welsh-medium is pretty convincing. This guy’s views are therefore out of sync with majority opinion in that part of Powys, whether he likes it or not.

defaid
defaid
28 days ago

On behalf of the parliamentary constituency in which I live, I can only apologise.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
28 days ago
Reply to  defaid

I can empathise with you. We have to endure the equally, if not more obnoxious, Simon Hart, all thanks to the ‘little england beyond Wales’ of ex-pats/incomers. O am gael ein gwlad yn ôl!

Chris
Chris
28 days ago

Tory criticises Cymry protecting its own heritage shocker.
The de facto Abolish both Senedd and Cymru party would be totally stuffed in Cymru without retired English residents and Brexiteer drones

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
28 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Not only English incomers in Montgomeryshire also much of the local farming community. Most “English” people of my acquaintance in Eastern Montgomeryshire voted Green or Liberal at the last election whilst the local farming community has shifted on mass from the LibDems to the Tories.! Now this is going to make me unpopular but I think I need to point it out. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time there is a success in promoting the Welsh language do not be surprised if many in the English speaking Welsh population feel threatened, the Tories in… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
28 days ago

But it’s the anglophone Welsh who have voted for this measure so that their kids can have what they missed out on. And no way are they considered less Welsh.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
28 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Perhaps, but it was farmers of Eastern Montgomeryshire who voted in Craig Williams and Glyn Davies before him. When my children were at school a few years ago the quality of Welsh language teaching was terrible and the subject was viewed with resentment by many of the kids. I know of one boy who answered his GCSE Welsh paper with one sentence: “My name is ****** ***** and I don’t speak Welsh!”. (NB: mot mine, one of whom won the school prize for Welsh). 😂😂😂🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago

I’m not sure the phenomenon you describe exists anymore – the idea of the so-called ‘taffia’ looking down their noses and claiming cymreictod as theirs and only theirs simply does not exist (at least not anymore). I’ve certainly heard, mercifully infrequently, the claim that the language is a hindrance, that we have not and can not amount to much as a people etc. Whenever I challenge the opposite claims of exclusionary treatment, it’s met with “y’know, s4c and that” or “they’re forcing it on our kids” or the ever implausible pub-worth of people switching to Welsh once they smell a… Read more »

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
27 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

CJPh, In many ways I agree with you but I note that Plaid still appear to find it hard to make significant progress into the Valleys and the Marches which are home to the English speaking majority, why is this? Vociferous campaigns to defend Welsh speaking communities are laudable but they may have the unintended consequence of concentrating even more English speaking in other parts of Wales. I have heard anecdotally that it is sometimes hard for secondary schools in English speaking areas to recruit Welsh speaking teachers, and thus these schools can’t deliver a bilingual education when the demand… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
27 days ago

Nick, the fear of Tories getting in spurs people to vote Labour, and not Plaid. Congratulations on your kid’s success,btw!

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

The current political landscape and those who reside within it are bound to a unionist paradigm. Plaid exists to reject it, but necessarily operates within it. If those of us who vote look beyond the current party policies, vote for the most likely path to further emancipation, we’ll get there. Labour4indy, the greens adoption of apro indy stance and YesCymru are good signs. Right wing populism, wokeism and apathy are bad signs. But I feel like we’re winning. Keep a positive message, get a positive outcome.

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago

Plaid’s relative electoral success should not be a marker for the health of the culture or the language – they’re broadly pro cymru, they are not cymru. The concept of bilingual education is a tricky minefield to traverse; so called bilingual schools (ysgolion traddodiadol or dual stream schools) typically perform worse than Welsh medium schools. Teaching Welsh as a second language then gauging how the language proliferated is akin to measuring how widespread French, Spanish or mandarin skills are. Cymraeg is not a foreign language in Wales and should not be taught as such. It’s hard to recruit any subject… Read more »

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
28 days ago

That is what we can expect from the anti-Welsh party.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
28 days ago

How can anyone be against children learning an extra language?

Dewi Davies
Dewi Davies
28 days ago

I guarantee that the majority of people who are against it can’t even pronounce the town in which they live. They call it Mach. Just like the RAF and other pilots call it the Mach Loop. Disrespectful.

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago
Reply to  Dewi Davies

I bet that many can say Machynlleth perfectly well and still cling on to the tired old Welsh medium schooling stereotypes. I would also wager that many who are in favour of retaining our language and support addysg trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg have trouble pronouncing Welsh place names. It doesn’t matter, ultimately. One side is right, the other misinformed (backed by a small coterie of cymrophobic bigots stoking fears).

Quornby
Quornby
27 days ago

He has that certain tory “look” don’t you think?

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
27 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

It’s the teeth, Tories can afford good teeth, they look like tombstones.

hdavies15
hdavies15
27 days ago

Probably had those fitted when the party was also fitting him out with a parachute to land in the constituency. People probably got used to Glyn Davies who was a fairly grounded sort and uncritically expected Williams to be cut from similar cloth. Well, he ain’t. Just like another Williams that held the seat for the Tories a few decades ago. Did he last long ?

Chris
Chris
27 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Inbreeding

CJPh
CJPh
27 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Does Sajid Javid have that “look”? What bout Natasha Ashgar? Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, James Cleverly, Kwasi Kwarteng, Kemi Badenoch? What is a plaid “look”?

Cmon guys, we’re better than this. Play the ball, not the man. His ideas suck, have at them. The moment we focus on his teeth is the moment we cede the high ground. We can’t win from down there.

Chris Franks
Chris Franks
27 days ago

Those parents who are concerned will see that Welsh Medium education offers great benefits.

David Thomas
David Thomas
26 days ago

Craig Williams is so outraged that he has flounced off to Rhiwbina in Cardiff, if that photo is anything to go by.

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