More Welsh-medium schools needed to meet demand in Conwy

Conwy Council has sought additional funding worth £1.29 million from the Welsh government to expand Welsh-medium education provision in the county.

The Welsh government recently announced a further £30 million of capital funding would be made available for councils as part of an agreement with Plaid Cymru. This was specifically to meet growing demand for Welsh-medium Schools.

Conwy Council's own figures show that half of the county's young people speak Welsh, with only a quarter of them in Welsh-medium education in Conwy.

Councillor Aaron Wynne, who sits on Conwy Council's Education Committee for Plaid Cymru, said;

"Every child in Conwy and Wales has the right to be fully bilingual in a bilingual nation. Every child should leave secondary School confident in both our national languages, and should be encouraged to learn more.

"We are not currently fulfilling the demand for Welsh-medium education in Conwy County. According to Conwy Council's Statistics and Research Unit, 49% of 5-15 year olds in Conwy can speak Welsh, but only 16% of pupils are enrolled in Welsh-medium Schools. This gaping shortfall means pupils are being denied their right of being bilingual.

"A total of £103m has been applied for by all 22 Welsh councils for a capital pot only worth £30m. I strongly urge the Welsh government to substantially increase the capital available for Councils to support the increase in Welsh-medium education provision.

"We need a clear steer and commitment from this Welsh Labour government if it is to succeed in reaching its target of creating 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050."

(Demand for additional capital across the north, in £ millions)

Plaid Cymru's North Wales Assembly Member, Llyr Gruffydd said;

“The fact that every council has put in a bid for this capital funding is revealing – there is demand that needs to be met throughout Wales. That’s why we in Plaid Cymru pushed for this additional funding in this year’s budget. We recognise that this is a growing sector and needs capital investment in the form of new schools, extensions and upgrades.

“It’s clear from the level of applications that there is unmet demand and we need to see sustained and ongoing investment in the Welsh-medium sector. Some councils will be disappointed when the final announcements are made in the autumn but I will be pushing the cabinet secretary to maintain this level of capital investment.

“If the Welsh Government is serious about reaching a target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, then meeting the demand amongst parents for Welsh-medium education is an essential step towards that goal.”