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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Schools language row rumbles on
Primary school children generic
Three new primary schools could have been established
A decision to stop three new Welsh-medium primary schools from being built in Caerphilly has been attacked by members of the Welsh Language Board.

In a meeting in north Wales on Friday the board decided to write to Welsh assembly minister Jane Davidson expressing their concerns about the decision.

They are also seeking legal advice to examine the reasons for rejecting the new schools.

The arguments for refusing the plans, contained in a letter sent to Caerphilly council, included the effect the proposals would have on local English-medium schools and that the consultation process was flawed.

Welsh Language Board chairman Rhodri Williams said the decisions given by Jane Davidson set a dangerous precedent for the future of Welsh-language education.

Judicial review

"It placed a presumption that English Schools are the norm, and that Welsh-medium schools are somehow an exception to that norm," said Mr Williams.

He said that if that principle had been implemented over the last 30 years, Wales would not have the Welsh-medium and bilingual schools it has now.

Under the proposals, three new schools would have been built on the former site of Ysgol Gyfun Cwm, Aberbargoed, at the former site of Penallta colliery and on the previous site of Trinant Infants school in Trinant.

Members of the Welsh schools pressure group Rhieni Dros Addysg Gymraeg (RHAG) are unhappy with the decision and have said they will seek a judicial review.

Future

The education minister said she was opposed to the scheme because data given to her was "inconsistent" and did not provide a sound basis for assessing the need for additional school places.

Some of the capacity figures were also out of date and did not take into account extensions which have been added in recent years to existing schools.

She also argued that the council should have held public consultation meetings in the areas affected by the three proposals.

However, the assembly has agreed there will be a need to expand the provision of Welsh-language schooling within Caerphilly in the near future.

They have not decided whether this would be most cost effectively provided by expanding one or more of the existing Welsh-medium schools, establishing a new school which offers both Welsh and English-medium education or proceeding with another proposal.




SEE ALSO:
City's second Welsh school opens
08 Sep 03  |  South West Wales


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