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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 10:15 GMT
Parents' Welsh homework helpline
Pupil writing
The helpline aims to provide practical support to pupils and parents
A homework helpline is being set up to offer Welsh learners and their parents support outside the classroom.

Practical advice will be on hand to pupils in Welsh-medium schools who may need help in understanding their schoolwork.

The Welsh Language Board is supporting the 20,000 project to develop the hotline.

Parents have welcomed the plan in the hope it will encourage more to opt for a Welsh language education.

The increase in the number of pupils opting for a Welsh-medium education prompted the proposal.

Having that support could persuade parents to leap into Welsh-medium education
Clive Faulkner

Although keen to see their children learn Welsh, many parents find the prospect of homework in another language daunting.

'Difficult for parents'

"It can be really difficult at times," said Vicky Faulkner from Llanfair Caereinion in Powys who has two children at the town's Welsh-medium primary school.

Vicky Faulkner with her children Fleur a Thomas
The Faulkners say the helpline will encourage parents to choose Welsh-medium education

"We're really lucky that we've got neighbours close by who can help, but I know it can be difficult for parents, especially those who are new to the area," she said.

Vicky and her husband Clive are learning Welsh, but they welcome any support for parents.

"I know that worrying about helping their kids with homework is one of the main things parents think about when they're trying to decide whether to opt for a Welsh language education," said Clive.

'Huge increase'

The Faulkners moved to Llanfair eight years ago and wanted the family to integrate into the community.

"Having a phone number that you could call for help would be great for some parents," said Clive.

"And having that support could persuade parents to leap into Welsh-medium education," he added.

The Welsh Language Board has given the community development group CYMAD a 20,000 grant to develop the helpline.

It's hoped that it will be available to offer practical advice and help for parents and pupils by the beginning of the next school year in September.

"The Board was aware of the huge increase in Welsh-medium education and one of the challenges facing Welsh education is providing support outside the classroom," said Meri Huws, Welsh Language Board chairman.

"Although doing homework isn't every pupil's favourite subject, we're confident that the helpline will become a useful and popular resource," she said.

Head teacher Rona Evans said teachers tried to give homework using textbooks available in English and Welsh.

Difficulties arise when pupils move up to secondary school, she said.

"I'm sure that any support will encourae more parents to choose a Welsh-medium education for their children," she said.

"We want parents to support their children and we welcome any help to make things easier for them."

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