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Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Welsh schools given 'open door' warning
Eifion Lloyd Jones and family
Eifion Lloyd Jones wants Welsh schools to be more selective
A senior figure at this year's National Eisteddfod has called on Welsh medium schools to beware the dangers of an "open door" policy towards non-Welsh speakers.

In his president's address at the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh the chairman of the Eisteddfod Executive Committee, Eifion Lloyd Jones, called for a fundamental change in the means of financing Welsh-medium education.

We must be more selective, therefore, in accepting children from non-Welsh speaking families to Welsh or bilingual schools

Eifion Lloyd Jones, chairman National Eisteddfod executive committee

He said changes were required to ensure so that headteachers can be more selective in their recruitment.

But Heini Gruffudd, chairman of the group Parents for Welsh Education said Mr Jones's comments were outrageous.

He said the future of the language depended on non-Welsh speaking parents sending their children to welsh language schools.

He added the same parents needed more opportunities to learn Welsh to speak with their children at home.

Welsh is spoken by approximately 20% of the population in Wales.

But some of the largest growth areas in Welsh medium education in recent years have been in English-speaking areas, such as Cardiff and the south Wales Valleys.

Speaking from the main pavilion stage, Mr Jones said he "despaired" to hear a Welsh-speaking mother talking English to her child in a Welsh medium school playground.

'Inherent dangers'

"What hope has any teacher of instilling a desire to speak Welsh in the child when the parent makes it patently obvious that Welsh is only a language for the classroom.

"It would be much better for parent, child. school and language to seek education elsewhere.

"However important the need to recruit Welsh learners - and offer an opportunity to everyone who wishes to learn Welsh - we must appreciate the inherent dangers of such an open-door policy in our schools.

"It would benefit Welsh learners if we considered seriously how many learners can be accommodated in our schools."
Eifion Lloyd Jones
Eifion Jones: 'More selective policy'

Mr Jones added: "We must be more selective, therefore, in accepting children from non-Welsh speaking families to Welsh or bilingual schools."

His comments come a day after a senior rabbi warned that the tone of the debate on in-migration to Wales was "like the beginning of Nazism".

The National Eisteddfod has been overshadowed by the escalating row over in-migration, first raised by Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn in January.

He had described English incomers as a "drain on resources".

But the Professor of Judaism at Lampeter University, Rabbi Dan Cohn Sherbock, told BBC Wales he felt deeply disturbed by some of the attacks on incomers to Wales.
Seimon Glyn, Cymuned
Seimon Glyn: 'Drain on resources'

He condemned the language used by some of those involved in the very public row about the future of Welsh-language communities.

He said such comments as those by former Plaid Cymru vice president Gwilym ab Ioan - who said Wales was becoming a dumping ground for oddballs and social misfits - were not acceptable.

"It's just the kind of language used in the early stage of the rise of Nazism. We're not all oddballs or misfits.

"Some have retired, some have jobs like I do and we are supporters of the community.

We support the schools we support pubs - we run the pubs sometimes. We're here and the community needs us."

See also:

10 Aug 01 | Wales
Language protests at Eisteddfod
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