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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 12:17 GMT
Language row post filled

Carmarthen County Council HQ Carmarthen Council is due to discuss the post


A top education post in a predominantly Welsh-speaking area has been offered to a candidate from outside Wales on a temporary basis.

Teaching unions met on Thursday over fears that a non-Welsh speaking candidate would be appointed to the post of director of education in Carmarthenshire.

But it is understood that the temporary post has been offered to Michael Stoten - Director of Education for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea until he retired in 1996 - a non-Welsh speaker.

Gethin Lewis NUT Cymru's Gethin Lewis wants the Assembly to intervene
Council leader Meryl Gravele said the preferred candidate will work three or four days a week.

"This county is committed to the Welsh language," she said.

In a letter to all headteachers in the county, the council said that since Welsh speaking candidates for the post of interim education director had not come forward they have offered the post to a highly experienced candidate from outside Wales.

However - if in the short-term - new Welsh speaking candidates are made known to the leader of the council then consideration will be given.

Furious

The news provoked a furious reaction from teaching unions.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers called a meeting of all teaching unions in Wales to protest over the temporary appointment.

Regional official Geraint Davies said what was at stake was not the future of a particular individual, but the future of the whole education service in Carmarthenshire.

He said the temporary appointment of a non-Welsh speaker was an insult to a county which has the highest number of Welsh speakers in Wales.

'Behaving unreasonably'

"He can't speak Welsh and therefore I'm sure he won't have much sympathy toward the county and Welsh-medium policies in general," said Mr Davies.

NUT Cymru secretary Gethin Lewis said: "We are asking the Assembly to look into the matter.

"The NUT believes the authority is behaving unreasonably."

The council is expected to discuss the matter next Monday.

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See also:
23 Nov 99 |  Wales
Language row over education chief
19 Nov 99 |  Wales
Euro row over "Welsh" money rebate
20 Oct 99 |  Wales
Euro row over 'unofficial' Welsh language

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