Controversial Welsh language plan for Ysgol Bro Hyddgen looms

A statutory notice period on plans to turn a secondary school in Machynlleth into the county’s first Welsh middle school for all ages is now underway.

Yesterday (June 17), the council urged residents to send in their views after launching a 28-day opposition window with the publication of a statutory notice for the change of Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, which would see the school to move from a dual-track school to a Welsh language school, where pupils learn entirely in Welsh.

The county council said pupils from non-Welsh homes who join the host class in the future will learn Welsh at school and acquire the language skills necessary to access Welsh education. They say that this would allow them to be perfectly bilingual and able to communicate effectively in both languages.

However, the proposals proved controversial in the city, with critics claiming that dual stream education promotes greater inclusion and that maintaining existing arrangements would offer students and parents “a right to education of their own choosing. of language”.

Supporters believe that a switch to teaching in Welsh would increase the number of Welsh speakers in the region and allow young people to feel ‘rooted in Welsh culture’.

The proposed change is expected to be introduced from year to year, starting with the school’s welcome class in September 2022.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: “Moving Ysgol Bro Hyddgen along the language continuum would help us meet the goals and objectives of our strategy to transform education in the Powys. the opportunity to become fully bilingual, fluent in Welsh and English, thus contributing to the Welsh government’s aspiration to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

“However, it is important that the Cabinet hears the views of those who oppose the proposal before any final decisions are made and I urge them to send us their views so that they can be considered. account.”

A public consultation held last year showed that 61% of those polled supported the proposals to switch to Welsh language education.

However, activists say the consultation was not representative of public opinion in Machynlleth, with nearly 1,000 signatures having now been collected on a petition against the proposals.

“What was becoming evident in town was that there were a lot of people who didn’t know it because it was not accessible to the public – we were in the middle of a pandemic at the time,” double-handed activist Julienne Holt said.

“The consultation was very wordy and a lot of people felt disenfranchised. They felt that the local aspect was lost in the consultation because it was open everywhere.

“Where we come from is that we believe that inclusion and equality are missed. Every child is an individual, they all have individual needs and the layout we have now meets everyone’s needs, so why change it? ”

The council said further support would be provided for pupils to improve their Welsh skills, including opportunities for “immersion education”, although specific details on these plans have not yet been clarified.

The official opposition period will end on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

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