DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION & CHILDREN
 
 OBJECTION REPORT
 
  For the proposal to change the nature of provision at 
 Ysgol Y Ddwylan, Ysgol Griffith Jones, Ysgol 
 Llangynnwr and Ysgol Llys Hywel

 


                                                                                                    

Our Vision.....Carmarthenshire is a community where children are safe and nurtured and learners of all ages are supported to achieve their full educational potential
 
 
 October 2019
 
 
 Gareth Morgans
 Director of Education and Children’s Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Modernisation Section
 Sara Griffiths, Modernisation Team Manager 
 
  

 

 

 

 


Content

 

No.

 

Subject

Page

1.

Introduction

4

2.

Ysgol Y Ddwylan – Executive Summary

 

5

2.1

Summary of objections received and Local Authority related responses

7

3.

Ysgol Griffith Jones- Executive Summary

 

19

4.

Ysgol Llangynnwr- Executive Summary

 

20

5.

Ysgol Llys Hywel- Executive Summary

 

21

5.1

Summary of objections received and Local Authority related responses

23

 


 

1. Introduction

On 20th May 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council published proposals to change the nature of Foundation Phase provision at:

·         Ysgol Y Ddwylan;

·         Ysgol Griffith Jones;

·         Ysgol Llangynnwr; and

·         Ysgol Llys Hywel.

The consultation period commenced on the 20th May 2019 in line with the publication of the proposals and closed on 30th June 2019.

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared summarising the observations received and the Local Authority’s responses to these observations.  The report was presented to the Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice.  On the 23rd September 2019 the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

Following the Executive Board’s approval, Carmarthenshire County Council published the proposal by way of a Statutory Notice on 24th September 2019 for 29 days until 22nd October 2019. 

It must be noted that whilst this objection report summarises the responses for all proposals, the four proposals should be considered separately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ysgol Y Ddwylan – Executive Summary

 

The Consultation Process

On the 20th May 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council published proposals to change the nature of Foundation Phase provision at Ysgol Y Ddwylan, within the community of Newcastle Emlyn. The County Council’s proposal is to:

 

The consultation period commenced on the 20th May 2019 in line with the publication of the proposals and closed on 30th June 2019 with a total of 61 responses received.

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared summarising the observations received and the Local Authority’s responses to these observations.  The report was presented to the Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice.  On the 23rd September 2019 the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

 

Publication of the Statutory Notice

Following the Executive Board’s approval, Carmarthenshire County Council published the proposal by way of a Statutory Notice on 24th September 2019 for 29 days until 22nd October 2019. 

The table below notes the objections received.  It must be noted that of the 2 objections received, they were received prior to the end of the consultation period. 

Objections Received

Email

Total

2

2

 

 

 

Responses Received

The responses received to the Statutory Notice are similar to the observations received during the consultation period.

Of the 2 respondents, they are categorised as follows:

·         Parent (2)

 

Workshops

Following the end of the Statutory Notice period on the 22nd October 2019, workshops were held on 24th October 2019 to analyse the objections received.

 

The Objection Report

The objection report summarises the submissions received in objection to the proposal and the Local Authority’s responses to these submissions. 

For completeness, these responses have also been included within this report and the themes for the objections received are as follows:

·         Theme 1- Decision to proceed to the next stage in the consultation process

·         Theme 2- Misrepresentation of Data

·         Theme 3- The Community

·         Theme 4- The Pupils’ Education and Later Life Opportunities

·         Theme 5- Inside and Outside Catchment Pupils

·         Theme 6- Removal of Choice

·         Theme 7- Status Quo is Successful

·         Theme 8- Forcing the Welsh Language

·         Theme 9- Welsh Government/Carmarthenshire County Council Policies/ Saving Money

·         Theme 10- Discrimination and Exclusion

·         Theme 11- Implementation Date

 

 

 


2.1 Summary of Objections received and Local Authority Responses

 

Point Number

Point Raised

Local Authority Response

Number of responses raising this point

% of responses raising this point

Objection Raised

1.

Decision to proceed to the next stage in the consultation process

Objectors felt that the authority had not listened to the majority’s view when making a decision on whether or not to proceed to the next stage.

The consultation process has been conducted in compliance with the statutory School Organisation Code 2018.

 

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared detailing the number and summary of responses received.

 

The consultation report was presented to the Education & Children’s Scrutiny Committee for comment and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to proceed with the proposal and publish a Statutory Notice.

 

On the 23rd September 2019, having considered the Consultation Report, the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

2

100%

2.

Misrepresentation of Data

Some objectors felt that the data and information contained within the Consultation Document was incorrect and a deliberate misrepresentation to mislead stakeholders.

 

All data and information contained within the Consultation Document is accurate and is based upon the Pupil Level Annual School Census Data (PLASC). Information regarding the current linguistic arrangements at the school was provided in the document and all data was represented accurately with regards to the proposal. All data contained within the Consultation Document is stipulated as a requirement within the School Organisation Code 2018.

 

2

100%

3.

The Community

The proposal is inconsistent with the make-up of community and will not cater for the needs of the whole community.

 

It is felt that this proposal will have a negative effect on the community due to families moving out of the area to seek English medium education elsewhere. In addition, only providing Welsh medium education may result in less people moving to the area due to unsuitable education provision. This will result in a negative impact on the economy within the local area.

 

The Local Authority acknowledges that some members of the community are unable to speak the Welsh language and that some children attending the school come from non-Welsh/English backgrounds. It is, therefore important for the Local Authority to increase the provision of Welsh medium education in order to promote bilingualism in the area and to ensure that every pupil becomes fluent and confident in both Welsh and English languages.

 

There is a national priority in Wales, shared by Carmarthenshire County Council, to increase the number of people in our communities who are able to speak Welsh and use it in their everyday lives. Schools are regarded to be a critically important component in developing children so that they are fully bilingual by the time they leave primary school.

 

The Local Authority acknowledges that the nature of communities’ changes over time and that social mobility continues to increase. The Local Authority considers that this point reinforces the need to embed Welsh medium education in as many communities as possible in order to bolster the language and provide as many children as possible with the opportunity to develop as truly bilingual citizens and to benefit from the personal advantages that bilingualism brings.

 

It is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language arrangements. The proposals will not therefore, affect current pupils. The school will continue to provide sufficient support for all current pupils through the medium in which they currently receive their education so there is, consequently, no need for any child to be moved from the school. Similarly, it is the Local Authority’s desire that in the future local children attend their local school.

 

It is hard to estimate the effect the proposal will have on the number of families moving into the area. However, the Local Authority are hopeful that they will understand the benefits of a Welsh medium education and the opportunities and advantages that it can provide. This proposal will provide all future pupils with the opportunity to become fully bilingual in both Welsh and English languages by the time they leave primary school and benefit from these advantages throughout their lives.

 

The Local Authority is also hopeful that this proposal will have a positive effect on the local economy by providing community members with the opportunity to develop their Welsh language skills. Bilingualism will increasingly over time become an employment skill. For example, all public organisations in Wales are subject to new statutory Welsh language standards and progressively over time will need to recruit increasing numbers of Welsh speakers to deliver services. Possessing Welsh language skills will increasingly over time give individuals a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

 

2

100%

4.

The Pupils’ Education and Later Life Opportunities

It is believed that learning through the medium of Welsh will have a detrimental effect on the pupils’ education and English language skills, and will disadvantage children from entering further or higher education and later on in life when applying for job vacancies etc. It is believed that not all pupils will be able to reach their full potential by learning through the medium of Welsh. It must also be noted that the most common language used in day to day life, working life and the business world is English – therefore pupils’ understanding of the English language must be secure in order to ensure maximum success within the real world.

 

It is the belief of the Local Authority, based upon international evidence and research and local experience, that children benefit from a truly bilingual education, which provides wider skills developments, such as cognitive ability, task understanding and flexibility, enhanced powers of concentration, etc. and that all children should receive these opportunities. Being bilingual or multilingual also broadens individuals’ cultural experiences and can enhance career prospects. Evidence demonstrates that true bilingualism can only be achieved in the local context through children receiving a Welsh medium education.

                                                               

The Local Authority notes that on average, bilingual children achieve higher grades in the English language. It should also be noted that on average, about 80% of Carmarthenshire pupils who receive Welsh medium education receive an A*-C grades in both Welsh and English languages.

 

Bilingualism will increasingly over time become an employment skill. For example, all public organisations in Wales are subject to new statutory Welsh language standards and progressively over time will need to recruit increasing numbers of Welsh speakers to deliver services. Possessing Welsh language skills will increasingly over time give individuals a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

 

Schools prepare young people with the skills to attend universities around the world and the Welsh language should not be seen as a disadvantage. Rather than being an impediment, possessing skills in the Welsh language is seen by many universities, inside and outside Wales, as an additional skill, which can offer benefits when a young person is competing for a place to study.

 

2

100%

5.

Inside and Outside Catchment Pupils

There are concerns regarding the number of pupils travelling from outside of the area/catchment to access education at the school. If the proposal is implemented, the pupils’ access to preferred education provision will be limited.

 

The movement of pupils between school catchment areas is a common circumstance across the country in both urban and rural areas. Children living within catchment areas receive preference to attend their catchment schools before children living outside the catchment area. However, parents can state a preference for a school, which is not the designated catchment area school and they do this for a number of reasons, e.g. access to extended family for working parents, ease of transporting children, proximity of the home to schools, reputation, provision, faith character, etc. When parents elect to place their children in a particular school they will do so in full consideration of all the factors that apply, including the nature of provision.

 

However, it is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language arrangements. The proposals will not therefore, affect current pupils. The school will continue to provide sufficient support for all current pupils through the medium in which they currently receive their education so there is, consequently, no need for any child to be moved from the school. Similarly, it is the Local Authority’s desire that in the future local children attend their local school.

 

2

100%

6.

Removal of Choice

There are concerns regarding the removal of choice of English medium education at the school. It is believed that parents should have the choice of which language their children should be educated through.

 

Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory responsibility under Part 4 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) for its area with the explicit aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, for improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh.

 

In April 2014 the County Council formally adopted a comprehensive strategy for the development of the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire, endorsing the recommendations of a politically balanced group of elected members that had examined in depth the status of the Welsh language in the county in the wake of the 2011 census of the population. The strategy required action on 73 points, 21 of which applied to the education service.

 

The language strategy received cross-party support from elected members when it was adopted at a meeting of the full County Council. On 25th June 2018, the Local Authority launched Carmarthenshire’s most recent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The WESP has been subject to public consultation during its preparation and subsequent review. Its contents have, therefore, been subject to a test of public opinion in line with statutory requirements. It has also been approved by the Welsh Government in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

 

The plan seeks to achieve the following outcomes relevant to the proposal:

 

·         Outcome 1 - More seven year old children being taught through the medium of Welsh;

·         Outcome 2 -  More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer form primary to secondary school;

·         Outcome 5 – More students who have higher language skills in Welsh;

·         Outcome 6 – Welsh medium provision for learner with additional learning needs (ALN); and

·         Outcome 7 – Workforce planning and continuing professional development.

 

The proposal is adhering to the recommendations as set out in Carmarthenshire’s WESP.

 

Choice is an important issue in the consideration of this proposal, with the most important aspect of choice being that which is available to children as they progress through their education and early lives. This proposal provides all pupils with the opportunity to become fully bilingual with the skills to read, write and speak in both Welsh and English languages by the time they leave primary school. The Local Authority’s proposal to develop bilingual children by the time they leave primary school gives children a choice as they move along the education sector. The most effective way of developing bilingual children in the primary sector is to immerse them in Welsh medium education. It is generally accepted in the education profession that studying Welsh as a second language does not develop truly bilingual young people and the schools has been identified as having the potential to move quickly along the language continuum.

 

2

100%

7.

Status Quo is Successful

The current linguistic arrangements at the school are working well and there is no need for change.

 

The Local Authority acknowledge that the school is performing well and is successful. This proposal seeks to improve even further the opportunity for children attending the school to secure continuingly improving outcomes. Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory responsibility under Part 4 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) for its area with the explicit aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, from improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh.

 

In April 2014 the County Council formally adopted a comprehensive strategy for the development of the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire, endorsing the recommendations of a politically balanced group of elected members that had examined in depth the status of the Welsh language in the county in the wake of the 2011 census of the population. The strategy required action on 73 points, 21 of which applied to the education service.

 

The language strategy received cross-party support from elected members when it was adopted at a meeting of the full County Council. On 25th June 2018, the Local Authority launched Carmarthenshire’s most recent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The WESP has been subject to public consultation during its preparation and subsequent review. Its contents have, therefore, been subject to a test of public opinion in line with statutory requirements. It has also been approved by the Welsh Government in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

 

The plan seeks to achieve the following outcomes relevant to the proposal:

 

·         Outcome 1 - More seven year old children being taught through the medium of Welsh;

·         Outcome 2 -  More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer form primary to secondary school;

·         Outcome 5 – More students who have higher language skills in Welsh;

·         Outcome 6 – Welsh medium provision for learner with additional learning needs (ALN); and

·         Outcome 7 – Workforce planning and continuing professional development.

 

The proposal is adhering to the recommendations as set out in Carmarthenshire’s WESP.

 

It is important to note that the WESP requires all primary schools in Carmarthenshire, including English medium schools, to move along the language continuum, progressively expanding the proportion of education that is delivered through the medium of Welsh, with a view to ensuring that in time all children leaving primary school are fully bilingual.

 

The pace at which schools will be able to expand bilingualism and Welsh medium education will depend upon local circumstances but the expectation for progress applies to all schools. The school has been identified as having the potential to move quickly along the language continuum.

2

100%

8.

 

Forcing the Welsh Language

The community should have a choice of whether to learn through the medium of Welsh or English and the Welsh language should not be forced on anyone. It is important to learn the Welsh language and some pupils may want to use the language in their day to day life however; not all pupils will want to receive their education through the medium of Welsh. Forcing the Welsh language will not create more Welsh speakers, in fact it will have the opposite effect. Implementing the proposal will force pupils to seek English medium education at other English medium schools which will deny pupils exposure to the Welsh language.

 

The proposal is consistent with national policy to expand Welsh medium education in order to develop increasing numbers of fully bilingual young people and to enable more children to benefit from the advantages of bilingualism, gathered through international research.

 

It is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language arrangements. The proposals will not therefore, affect current pupils. The school will continue to provide sufficient support for all current pupils through the medium in which they currently receive their education so there is, consequently, no need for any child to be moved from the school. Similarly, it is the Local Authority’s desire that in the future local children attend their local school.

 

It is important to remember that the teaching and the development of the English language still occurs in Welsh medium schools to the highest of standards, as a statutory part of the curriculum.

 

International evidence, cited by the Welsh Government, confirms that the most effective way of developing bilingual children is to immerse them in the less common language whilst also developing their skills in the more common language. The Welsh Government also promotes that children who are from non-Welsh speaking families that immersion in Welsh in school is particularly important in embedding the language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     

2

100%

9.

Welsh Government/ Carmarthenshire County Council Policies/ Saving Money

Some objectors do not feel that following County Council and Government policies such as WESP is a good enough reason to approve and implement the proposal as it will have no long term benefit. It is felt that these policies have no purpose or justification and are just pushing the Welsh language agenda and wasting money.

 

The Local Authority is promoting the current proposal for primary education in the area as it firmly believes that this is in the best interests of the children’s education. However, the Local Authority also has a responsibility to follow its own policies along with Welsh Government policies.

 

Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory responsibility under Part 4 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) for its area with the explicit aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, from improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh.

 

Every local authority in Wales, including Carmarthenshire County Council has a responsibility to respond to the Act and the Welsh Government’s Welsh Medium Education Strategy and is accountable individually to the Welsh Government. Carmarthenshire County Council’s WESP has been approved by the Welsh Government in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

 

The plan seeks to achieve the following outcomes relevant to the proposal:

 

·         Outcome 1 - More seven year old children being taught through the medium of Welsh;

·         Outcome 2 -  More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer form primary to secondary school;

·         Outcome 5 – More students who have higher language skills in Welsh;

·         Outcome 6 – Welsh medium provision for learner with additional learning needs (ALN); and

·         Outcome 7 – Workforce planning and continuing professional development.

 

Should the Local Authority not seek to achieve the specific outcomes as detailed in WESP, then it would not meet its aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, from improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh as recommended by the Welsh Government.

2

100%

10.

Discrimination and Exclusion

It is believed that the proposal is discriminatory and segregates non-Welsh/English speaking families who desire English medium education. Should the proposal be implemented, pupils could be forced to seek English medium education elsewhere, thus further excluding them from their local community.

 

This proposal does not seek to discriminate against non-Welsh/English families or to exclude any community members from their own local community in any way. On the contrary, this proposal seeks to provide all children with the opportunity to become fully bilingual with the skills to be able to read, write and speak in both Welsh and English languages by the time that they leave primary school.

 

It is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language. It is important to note that there will be no change for current pupils attending the school. Similarly, it is the Local Authority’s desire that in the future local children attend their local school.

 

There is a national priority in Wales, shared by Carmarthenshire Council, to increase the number of people in our communities who are able to speak Welsh and use it in their everyday lives. Schools are regarded to be a critically important component in developing children so that they are fully bilingual by the time they leave primary school. This proposal seeks to provide all pupils/parents and community members with the opportunity to develop their Welsh language skills.

 

1

50%

11.

Implementation Date

It is believed that the proposed implementation date has been chosen to avoid a dramatic decline in pupil numbers and the need to consult with prospective parents.

The consultation process has been conducted in compliance with the statutory School Organisation Code 2018 and all required stakeholders have been notified and consulted with.

 

The proposed implementation date (September 2020) has been chosen to ensure that all current pupils will not be affected by the proposal and that all prospective pupils/parents have advanced notice of the proposed change. It is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language arrangements.

 

1

50%

 


3. Ysgol Griffiths Jones – Executive Summary

 

The Consultation Process

On the 20th May 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council published proposals to change the nature of Foundation Phase provision at Ysgol Griffith Jones, within the community of St Clears. The County Council’s proposal is to:

 

The consultation period commenced on the 20th May 2019 in line with the publication of the proposals and closed on 30th June 2019 with a total of 9 responses received.

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared summarising the observations received and the Local Authority’s responses to these observations.  The report was presented to the Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice.  On the 23rd September 2019 the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

 

Publication of the Statutory Notice

Following the Executive Board’s approval, Carmarthenshire County Council published the proposal by way of a Statutory Notice on 24th September 2019 for 29 days until 22nd October 2019. 

No objections were received

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Ysgol Llangynnwr- Executive Summary

The Consultation Process

On the 20th May 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council published proposals to change the nature of Foundation Phase provision at Ysgol Llangynnwr, within the community of Llangunnor. The County Council’s proposal is to:

 

The consultation period commenced on the 20th May 2019 in line with the publication of the proposals and closed on 30th June 2019 with a total of 44 responses received.

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared summarising the observations received and the Local Authority’s responses to these observations.  The report was presented to the Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice.  On the 23rd September 2019 the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

 

Publication of the Statutory Notice

Following the Executive Board’s approval, Carmarthenshire County Council published the proposal by way of a Statutory Notice on 24 September 2019 for 29 days until 22 October 2019. 

No objections were received

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Ysgol Llys Hywel- Executive Summary

 

The Consultation Process

On the 20th May 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council published proposals to change the nature of Foundation Phase provision at Ysgol Llys Hywel, within the community of Whitland. The County Council’s proposal is to:

 

The consultation period commenced on the 20th May 2019 in line with the publication of the proposals and closed on 30th June 2019 with a total of 25 responses received.

Following the end of the consultation period, a Consultation Report was prepared summarising the observations received and the Local Authority’s responses to these observations.  The report was presented to the Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and then to the Executive Board for a decision on whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice.  On the 23 September 2019 the Executive Board resolved to proceed to publish a Statutory Notice.

 

Publication of the Statutory Notice

Following the Executive Board’s approval, Carmarthenshire County Council published the proposal by way of a Statutory Notice on 24 September 2019 for 29 days until 22 October 2019. 

The table below notes the number of objections received.  It must be noted that the objection was received prior to the end of the consultation period. 

Objections Received

Email

Total

1

1

 

Responses Received

The response received to the Statutory Notice is similar to the observations received during the consultation period.

 

Of the 1 respondent, they are categorised as follows:

·         Parent (1)

 

Workshops

Following the end of the Statutory Notice period on the 22nd October 2019, workshops were held on 24th October 2019 to analyse the objections received.

 

The Objection Report

The objection report summarises the submission received in objection to the proposal and the Local Authority’s response to the submission. 

For completeness, these responses have also been included within this report and the themes for the objections received are as follows:

·         Theme 1- The Pupils’ Education and Later Life Opportunities

·         Theme 2- Removal of Choice

·         Theme 3- Status Quo is Successful

·         Theme 4- Discrimination and Exclusion

·         Theme 5- Coping with the Welsh Language

·         Theme 6- Additional Learning Needs (ALN)

 

 

 

 

 

 


5.1 Summary of Objection Received and Local Authority Response

Point Number

Point Raised

Local Authority Response

Number of responses raising this point

% of responses raising this point

Objection Raised

1.

The Pupils’ Education and Later Life Opportunities

It is believed that learning through the medium of Welsh will have a detrimental effect on the pupils’ education and English language skills, and will disadvantage children from entering further or higher education and later on in life when applying for job vacancies etc. It is believed that not all pupils will be able to reach their full potential by learning through the medium of Welsh. It must also be noted that the most common language used in day to day life, working life and the business world is English – therefore pupils’ understanding of the English language must be secure in order to ensure maximum success within the real world.

 

It is the belief of the Local Authority, based upon international evidence and research and local experience, that children benefit from a truly bilingual education, which provides wider skills developments, such as cognitive ability, task understanding and flexibility, enhanced powers of concentration, etc. and that all children should receive these opportunities. Being bilingual or multilingual also broadens individuals’ cultural experiences and can enhance career prospects. Evidence demonstrates that true bilingualism can only be achieved in the local context through children receiving a Welsh medium education.

                                                               

The Local Authority notes that on average, bilingual children achieve higher grades in the English language. It should also be noted that on average, about 80% of Carmarthenshire pupils who receive Welsh medium education receive an A*-C grades in both Welsh and English languages.

Bilingualism will increasingly over time become an employment skill. For example, all public organisations in Wales are subject to new statutory Welsh language standards and progressively over time will need to recruit increasing numbers of Welsh speakers to deliver services. Possessing Welsh language skills will increasingly over time give individuals a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

 

Schools prepare young people with the skills to attend universities around the world and the Welsh language should not be seen as a disadvantage. Rather than being an impediment, possessing skills in the Welsh language is seen by many universities, inside and outside Wales, as an additional skill, which can offer benefits when a young person is competing for a place to study.

 

1

100%

2.

Removal of Choice

There are concerns regarding the removal of choice of English medium education at the school. It is believed that parents should have the choice of which language their children should be educated through.

 

Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory responsibility under Part 4 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) for its area with the explicit aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, for improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh.

 

In April 2014 the County Council formally adopted a comprehensive strategy for the development of the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire, endorsing the recommendations of a politically balanced group of elected members that had examined in depth the status of the Welsh language in the county in the wake of the 2011 census of the population. The strategy required action on 73 points, 21 of which applied to the education service.

 

The language strategy received cross-party support from elected members when it was adopted at a meeting of the full County Council. On 25th June 2018, the Local Authority launched Carmarthenshire’s most recent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The WESP has been subject to public consultation during its preparation and subsequent review. Its contents have, therefore, been subject to a test of public opinion in line with statutory requirements. It has also been approved by the Welsh Government in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

 

The plan seeks to achieve the following outcomes relevant to the proposal:

 

·         Outcome 1 - More seven year old children being taught through the medium of Welsh;

·         Outcome 2 -  More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer form primary to secondary school;

·         Outcome 5 – More students who have higher language skills in Welsh;

·         Outcome 6 – Welsh medium provision for learner with additional learning needs (ALN); and

·         Outcome 7 – Workforce planning and continuing professional development.

 

The proposal is adhering to the recommendations as set out in Carmarthenshire’s WESP.

 

Choice is an important issue in the consideration of this proposal, with the most important aspect of choice being that which is available to children as they progress through their education and early lives. This proposal provides all pupils with the opportunity to become fully bilingual with the skills to read, write and speak in both Welsh and English languages by the time they leave primary school. The Local Authority’s proposal to develop bilingual children by the time they leave primary school gives children a choice as they move along the education sector. The most effective way of developing bilingual children in the primary sector is to immerse them in Welsh medium education. It is generally accepted in the education profession that studying Welsh as a second language does not develop truly bilingual young people and the schools has been identified as having the potential to move quickly along the language continuum.

 

1

100%

3.

Status Quo is Successful

The current linguistic arrangements at the school are working well and there is no need for change.

 

The Local Authority acknowledge that the school is performing well and is successful. This proposal seeks to improve even further the opportunity for children attending the school to secure continuingly improving outcomes. Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory responsibility under Part 4 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 to prepare a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) for its area with the explicit aim of improving planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh, from improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh.

 

In April 2014 the County Council formally adopted a comprehensive strategy for the development of the Welsh language in Carmarthenshire, endorsing the recommendations of a politically balanced group of elected members that had examined in depth the status of the Welsh language in the county in the wake of the 2011 census of the population. The strategy required action on 73 points, 21 of which applied to the education service.

 

The language strategy received cross-party support from elected members when it was adopted at a meeting of the full County Council. On 25th June 2018, the Local Authority launched Carmarthenshire’s most recent Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. The WESP has been subject to public consultation during its preparation and subsequent review. Its contents have, therefore, been subject to a test of public opinion in line with statutory requirements. It has also been approved by the Welsh Government in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

 

The plan seeks to achieve the following outcomes relevant to the proposal:

 

·         Outcome 1 - More seven year old children being taught through the medium of Welsh;

·         Outcome 2 -  More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer form primary to secondary school;

·         Outcome 5 – More students who have higher language skills in Welsh;

·         Outcome 6 – Welsh medium provision for learner with additional learning needs (ALN); and

·         Outcome 7 – Workforce planning and continuing professional development.

 

The proposal is adhering to the recommendations as set out in Carmarthenshire’s WESP.

 

It is important to note that the WESP requires all primary schools in Carmarthenshire, including English medium schools, to move along the language continuum, progressively expanding the proportion of education that is delivered through the medium of Welsh, with a view to ensuring that in time all children leaving primary school are fully bilingual.

 

The pace at which schools will be able to expand bilingualism and Welsh medium education will depend upon local circumstances but the expectation for progress applies to all schools. The school has been identified as having the potential to move quickly along the language continuum.

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4.

Discrimination and Exclusion

It is believed that the proposal is discriminatory and segregates non-Welsh/English speaking families who desire English medium education. Should the proposal be implemented, pupils could be forced to seek English medium education elsewhere, thus further excluding them from their local community.

 

This proposal does not seek to discriminate against non-Welsh/English families or to exclude any community members from their own local community in any way. On the contrary, this proposal seeks to provide all children with the opportunity to become fully bilingual with the skills to be able to read, write and speak in both Welsh and English languages by the time that they leave primary school.

                               

It is the Local Authority’s intention that all current pupils remain at the school and continue to receive their education through the current language. It is important to note that there will be no change for current pupils attending the school. Similarly, it is the Local Authority’s desire that in the future local children attend their local school.

 

There is a national priority in Wales, shared by Carmarthenshire Council, to increase the number of people in our communities who are able to speak Welsh and use it in their everyday lives. Schools are regarded to be a critically important component in developing children so that they are fully bilingual by the time they leave primary school. This proposal seeks to provide all pupils/parents and community members with the opportunity to develop their Welsh language skills.

 

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5.

Coping with the Welsh Language

Concerns were raised that not all children will be able to cope with learning through the medium of Welsh, especially pupils from non-Welsh backgrounds. In addition, there are concerns that non-Welsh speaking parents may find it hard to support and help their children with their school work and home work should the school the proposal be implemented.

The school will continue to provide support for current pupils through the medium of which they currently receive their education. Should the proposal be implemented, sufficient support will be provided to all new pupils in accordance with the needs of each individual. It is also important to note that staff are required to differentiate the curriculum and make reasonable adjustments when required to meet the needs of every pupil. “Athrawon Bro” who provide support to the schools around the county will also be supporting the school. Welsh Language Immersion Centres will also be available for those pupils who may need extra input linguistically.

The schools currently offer a range of support to pupils and parents from non-Welsh speaking families and are committed to increasing provision as necessary to meet the future needs of individual families.

 

Several organisations who attended the formal drop in session during the consultation period have also offered their help and support to the community with the development of the Welsh language.

 

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6.

Additional Learning Needs (ALN)

Children with special education needs or additional learning needs may not be able to cope with learning through the medium of Welsh and may require English medium education. It is unfair to assume that all children with SEN/ALN will be able to learn through the medium of Welsh.

 

Carmarthenshire County Council’s policy is that all its schools should be inclusive, with children with additional learning needs being educated in a mainstream setting alongside their peers wherever possible.

                                               

For this proposal, the support provided to children currently in the schools with additional needs will continue through the medium in which they currently receive their education. Should the proposal be implemented, all future pupils will receive support which is individually tailored to their needs.

All pupils with additional learning needs have specific individual plans based on their circumstances and a tailored support programme is provided according to need. Generally, an additional learning need is not a barrier to learning two languages. It is important to assess and monitor progress in each or all of the languages that a child is using or learning, including sign and visually supported communication systems required for some pupils, particularly as the stronger developed language can be used to support and build learning through a lesser developed language medium. Staff are required to differentiate the curriculum and make reasonable adjustments to the language of instruction and response in order to accommodate additional needs and ensure access to the curriculum and learning progress. At times it may be appropriate to target additional support in one language for a period to consolidate and accelerate learning, e.g. in literacy. There will be rare instances, however, where a child may be diagnosed with a condition that is not conducive to a fully bilingual education. In these circumstances a package of support is identified by professional practitioners and discussed with parents.

 

Whilst the system is designed to meet the needs of learners through an universal and inclusive approach, for a small number of children with significant and complex additional needs this is not always possible and specialised provision offers a more appropriate learning setting.

 

In order to make sure that the needs of all learners are met the schools system in Carmarthenshire includes a range of provision for children with additional needs. A specialised school or unit offer education to children with the most profound or complex needs where a mainstream setting is either not suitable for the children’s needs or where parents prefer an alternative setting. Selected secondary and primary schools across the county include specialised units for children with particular needs, such as autism, sensory impairment or speech and language delay. The Department for Education and Children provides specific additional support in schools wherever practicable so that as many children as possible remain in their local school. Whilst the Council’s preference is to meet the needs of all children in a mainstream setting wherever possible, this is not always practicable.

It is this Council’s experience that the vast majority of pupils with a wide range of additional learning needs and abilities are successful in our schools irrespective of the language of instruction but the Council does acknowledge that there will be a very few children whose needs cannot be met other than through provision at a specialist unit.

 

 

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7.

Local Authority Priorities

Condition of the school building

Concerns were raised about the condition of the school building. It is felt that priority should be given to creating a suitable learning environment before the Welsh language.

Carmarthenshire County Council has a Modernising Education Programme (MEP), which provides investment to the County’s schools, in line with Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. The Authority is planning to undertake a full scale review of the MEP in the coming months which will include Ysgol Llys Hywel.

 

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