Speaking at the Eisteddfod, Aled Roberts AM has accused the Welsh Labour Government of having a ‘superficial’ commitment to Welsh medium education.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that many local authorities are currently not meeting their statutory obligations to ensure that they meet the demand for Welsh medium education.
Local authorities have statutory obligations to comply with guidance relating to the implementation of Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs). The WESPs are intended to be a means of assessing and meeting demand for Welsh-medium education. They also require local authorities to provide action plans on how to meet demand.
Some council are not meeting these requirements. For instance, many parents in Wrexham have been struggling for years to find places for their children in local Welsh-medium schools. Powys County Council do not currently have any Welsh medium secondary schools. In Denbighshire, where a reorganisation process is under consultation, there are moves to establish a ‘bilingual’ school rather than a designated Welsh-medium school which would be far more beneficial in helping the Welsh language thrive.
Speaking on the fifth day of the Eisteddfod, Aled Roberts AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the Welsh language and education said:
“We have had years of warm words about Welsh language education from the Labour Government, but have seen very little action on the ground.
“Time and time again I have raised this important issue with Labour Ministers; more often that not they are unaware of what is or isn’t happening on the ground, or they simply blame the councils. That simply isn’t good enough as it’s the Welsh Government’s responsibility to ensure councils meet their statutory requirements.
“The Welsh Government has failed to ensure that we have enough teachers, classroom assistants and care staff who have sufficient proficiency in the language to provide the bilingual skills that Wales needs. This only further exacerbates the problem.
“After so many years of warm words but no firm action it would seem this Labour Government’s commitment to our language is proving to be merely superficial.”