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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
'How will Welsh schools cope?'
The Richard Evans show broadcast from Aberdare
The BBC Wales assembly election bus is on the road bringing politicians to the people, and people to the politicians.

The bus is spending the days up to polling on 3 May touring Wales.

In Aberdare, Cynon Valley candidates responded to concerns from language lecturer Nushin Chavoshi-Nejad, 42.

She is one of the Wales 60, a voters' group drawn up by the BBC, and asked how they would tackle the on-going demand for Welsh language education particularly in south Wales which is having problems coping.

She said she was very concerned about how the situation which she believes is under strain because of the growing numbers of parents who want their children to be taught in the Welsh medium is going to be remedied immediately.

Click on the links below for the candidates' responses, and for Mrs Chavoshi-Nejad's verdict on it all.

RICHARD JOHN, CONSERVATIVE

Richard John
Richard John

"Welsh Conservatives want to create a truly bilingual Wales. This means ensuring that there is sufficient Welsh-medium education available to meet the demand in every area of Wales.

"Some measures to achieve this will clearly take time, such as addressing the severe shortage of Welsh language teachers, but there are some steps which the new assembly government could take immediately.

"A Welsh Conservative assembly government would pass a new Welsh Language Act, forcing local authorities to assess the demand for Welsh-medium education in their area and ensure that provision meets demand. If there is insufficient demand to set up a Welsh-medium school, then English-medium schools could introduce a Welsh stream within their school."

MARGARET PHELPS, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

Margaret Phelps
Margaret Phelps

"It could be a problem to do it immediately. What the council has done in Cardiff is to have Welsh medium classes in mainstream schools which is perhaps not ideal but it does provide an immediate solution.

"In the longer term we could ask council's to collaborate to look at together if they could provide a Welsh medium school whereas on their own a council might not be able to do so.

"I think collaboration is a key to increasing provision.

"And we do have a manifesto commitment to ask local councils to look at the demand for Welsh medium education because quite clearly in Cardiff there is this increased demand and we don't want to see the children of the Cynon valley excluded from opportunities that are available in Cardiff."

CHRISTINE CHAPMAN, LABOUR

Christine Chapman
Christine Chapman

"Welsh Labour are actively encouraging Welsh medium take-up. Working closely with the councils, we want to develop more Welsh medium schools but also in English medium schools the opportunity to do more subjects in Welsh.

"There are seven more Welsh medium primary schools than there were two years ago so it is growing and 1,700 more children being taught in Welsh language so it is on the increase but obviously the local authorities have to assess each situation as it comes along.

"Labour is committed to a strong future for the Welsh language and Welsh medium education in south Wales and the valleys."

LEANNE WOOD, PLAID CYMRU

Leanne Wood
Leanne Wood

"The short answer to the question is, in the immediate term it's very difficult to suddenly create the number of Welsh medium places throughout Wales that we need.

"Certainly in the longer term, if surveys were carried out by each local authority now, bearing in mind that local authorities are obliged by law to provide Welsh medium places for children, the problem is that there's no law saying that they have to be near to a child, so children find themselves travelling long distances to access places.

"We need to find out what the demand is and start planning long term for that provision. Plaid Cymru would like to see the introduction of a Welsh language act to guarantee as a right that every child who wants to to access welsh medium education until that is established as a right Welsh medium education will be treated as inferior to the standard."

NUSHIN CHAVOSHI-NEJAD

Nushin Chavoshi-Nejad
Nushin Chavoshi-Nejad

"Most of the candidates said something about some kind of survey to be done to assess demand on Welsh language education, but this phenomenon has been around for quite a while now.

"One of Aberdare's primary schools has only been in existence a few years and it's already full, so to say they are not aware of the situation, well I don't believe it.

"When are they going to do the survey? It should have already been done."




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