Almost 1,000 people back campaign for Welsh medium education


More than 600 people have backed an online petition in just 24 hours calling on the Welsh Government to provide funding for a Welsh medium secondary school in Caerphilly county borough.

And hundreds of people have also signed a hard-copy of the petition urging action from Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews.

Ben Jones, chairman of the Caerffili County committee of  RhAG, said: "Parents throughout Caerffili county have signed a petition in an attempt to secure the future of their children's education. Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni is now close to full capacity. If no additional provision is made, pupils presently attending Welsh medium schools will be denied a secondary education in their language. They are naturally extremely worried by the uncertainty surrounding their children's education.  

“Parents are only asking that the disused St Ilan's school buildings, which have lain empty for five years, are brought up to standard, so that children from the Caerffili area can receive their secondary education there.  Caerffili County Borough Council is prepared to pay half the costs of such a project and the petition is an appeal to the Assembly Government to match this funding.”

The e-Petition said:

“We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Minister for Education and Skills at the Welsh Assembly Government to afford urgent priority to the bid submitted by Caerffili County Borough Council for monies to finance the badly needed additional Welsh medium secondary provision by 2013.

“Caerffili County Borough is faced with an urgent issue, according to population trends, it is estimated that the borough will an increase of approximately 700 children wanting Primary School Welsh medium places by 2016 and nearly 1000 extra children wanting Comprehensive Placements by 2020. This means that the borough needs to build at least one more primary and one more secondary school.

“Caerffili County Borough Council had submitted plans under the Twenty First Century Schools Programme and like other authorities was deeply disappointed when the Minister for Education announced a delay in the programme until 2014 and a change in criteria.

“Caerfilli County Borough has submitted an updated bid which gives value for money as it utilises the empty buildings at the site of the previous Saint Ilan school in Caerffili.

“We need an urgent answer from the Government as the current Comprehensive School does not have sufficient space and some children will have to be turned away as soon as September 2013.”