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WELSH-MEDIUM SCHOOLS 'IN DANGER OF BECOMING POOR RELATIONS'

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There has been a call for local education authorities in Wales to rethink the way they treat Welsh-medium schools t...
There has been a call for local education authorities in Wales to rethink the way they treat Welsh-medium schools to stop them becoming the poor relations of their English-speaking counterparts, reports The Western Mail (p9).

Owen John Thomas, AM for south Wales central, wants all LEAs to address the way they deal with provision for Welsh medium schools to preven the problems many of them have with overcrowding and sub-standard accommodation.

He said: 'Welsh-medium education is on the increase but the tendency has been for LEAs not to look at what is happening until it has become a problem. In most cases schools will begin occupying one or two empty classrooms in an existing school which demands a lot of co-operation from teachers in both schools and a lot of goodwill.'

Edwyn Williams, secretary of the Welsh teachers' union Ucac, said it was long accepted that Welsh-medium schools were the poor relations in education. 'We would welcome any plans to address the problem and are particularly worried that we are losing children because there is not the room at many Welsh schools,' he said.

But Jeff Jones, education spokesman for the Welsh Local Government Association, said it was not the case that LEAs were not committed to providing Welsh-medium education but that there simply was not the cash available.

'What we need is a partnership approach between the LEAs and the National Assembly. We acknowledge that there is a problem but no LEAs can afford to build new schools. LEAs should be allowed to bid for supplementary credit allowance in order for these much needed schools to be built.'

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