A change in the law is needed to ensure that everyone in Wales has full access to Welsh medium education, according to Plaid Cymru.
The party’s spokesperson on education and the Welsh Language, Siân Gwenllïan AM, said the party would put the matter “at the top of the political agenda in the Senedd and in Westminster.”
A group of expert government advisors have said that new legislation is needed to change the system, but the Labour government intends only to make gradual changes to the currently defective system.
It recently came to light that Labour-run Blaenau Gwent Council has u-turned on a decision to open a new Welsh medium school in Tredegar – despite repeated calls by pupils and parents for Welsh medium education locally, and despite the fact that the Welsh Government has made the capital funding available to build the school. Siân Gwenllïan says the u-turn symbolises a system which is unfit for purpose
Siân Gwenllïan says that the current system doesn’t have the necessary “legislative teeth” to drive growth in Welsh medium education and to open new Welsh medium schools, and that tax rules which disproportionately affect Welsh medium teaching and a lack of teaching resources are “inhibiting” the ability of Welsh citizens to acquire Welsh, and to have full access to a Welsh medium education.
Siân Gwenllïan AM, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:
“The education system has a central role in reaching the target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, but the Education Minister is clearly mistaken if she thinks councils like Blaenau Gwent are going to keep to their promises. Tinkering at the edges just won’t do – we need new legislation now.
“We have a Westminster government hindering progress, and a Labour government in Cardiff Bay without the will to bring forward to far-reaching changes that are needed. Plaid Cymru wants all our citizens to have the opportunity to develop Welsh Language skills at all levels, as well as to ensure that everyone can access Welsh medium education no mater what their age or background.
“We will put Welsh medium education at the top of the political agenda in the Senedd and in Westminster, and will push to cancel the Westminster Government’s regulations which unfairly tax commercial Welsh lessons. We will also fight in our Senedd in Cardiff for a new and comprehensive law – made in Wales, for Wales – to ensure that every one of our citizens has the right to become fluent in Welsh.”