Setting the record straight: ‘Toxicity in Llangennech’ debugged (Part I)

The small village of Llangennech in South West Wales has recently attracted a huge Welsh ‘media’ attention through an unusual set of events that has created perhaps the beginning of a ‘conversation’ that Wales has never had and on a topic, that is generally discouraged and often censored.

No Brownie points for guessing the forbidden topic. Yes, it’s the Welsh language and its corrosive and damaging impact, especially on children from English-speaking homes when submersed into Welsh Medium Education.

The Welsh language prioritisation and imposition is the principal reason behind the unprecedented decline and unravelling of Welsh education standards from the point the Welsh Labour Government chose to put the Welsh language ideology before the good of the nation.

So, what has happened to get the Welsh media into a frenzy and hyperactivity to discredit and demean a group of parents through selective, deliberate, and often defamatory headlines that distorted the truth beyond anything that could be defined as objective, rational, or reasonable?  This:

Then this (BBC Wales):

The answer is simple enough.  Several brave and dedicated parents got organised and said NO to Plaid Cymru-controlled Carmarthenshire Council’s decision to ‘create more Welsh speakers’ by imposing the Welsh Medium Education for primary school children in the village of Llangennech.

At this point, it should be noted that the battle of wills (Parents v Council) was an ongoing situation for more than a year and the process culminated only a few weeks ago with the Council’s decision/ruling that from September 1st Llangennech children will be taught solely in Welsh. The Welsh-medium school will become the Llangennech Community Primary School disregarding 757 objections from the village in the process.

Most of the village parents are highly focused on the wellbeing of their children and at no stage, they were even remotely ‘anti-Welsh’ under the Welsh nationalist definitions.

Their principle objective always was and still is, to protect and retain the current dual-stream teaching format which for years has operated upon parental choices and preferences for either Welsh Medium or English medium education.

Llangennech parents represent the normal folk you’ll find in any community, most of whom come from the traditional Labour grassroots, and it was no surprise that they opted to seek help from their political representatives, Lee Waters their AM and Nia Griffiths the local MP, both belonging to the Labour Party.

Through my contact with Lee Waters and from what I learned by reading various statements he made on his blog and in the social media Lee and Nia chose to use a low-key approach working behind the scenes but generally supportive of the parents’ stance which unfortunately got them nowhere – The Council wasn’t going to budge no matter what!

Frustrated and perhaps angry at the lack of political voice in the public domain the parents reached the fateful decision a couple of weeks ago to seek help from UKIP and invited Neil Hamilton who is their Regional AM to talk to them and seek a way forward.

To his credit, Neil came prepared and raised the Education Act 1996 which states the following but quickly ignored by the media:

Section 1.9

9 Pupils to be educated in accordance with parents’ wishes.

In exercising or performing all their respective powers and duties under the Education Acts, the Secretary of [F1State and local education authorities] shall have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.

During his visit to Llangennech Neil Hamilton met a few of the lead parents including Mrs Beddows who was considering standing for the Community Council in May’s elections under the Labour flag (Community Councillors only have a limited role and principally deal with mundane matters centred around well-being of their local community and derive no pay for their efforts).

The other prominent parent opposed to the Council’s onslaught to remove the English Medium education is Jacqueline Seward who is standing as a Labour candidate for the County Council seat in her ward.  She played no part in the meeting with Neil Hamilton and chose to stay away upon the advice she got from Lee Waters and Nia Griffiths.

As Mrs Beddows was perceived as ‘Toxic’ through her opposition to the imposed Welsh Medium Education (WME) that she often articulated in a measured way principally as a mother who experienced the huge distress and unhappiness of her child who initially started schooling in a Welsh Medium class.

Mrs Beddows, felt she had no option but to change education format for her child to the English Medium that transformed overnight an unhappy little person to one that enjoyed being in school (A situation that I also experienced as a parent and many other parents too but kept out of the public domain by the Welsh media).

The prominence that the parents got via the local press, TV and radio interviews drew support from all over Wales and this negative publicity against a Plaid and Llafur flagship policy clearly had to be ended.

Michaela Beddows together with Jacqueline Seward were singled out by Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, who together with Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East, started a truly nasty campaign aimed at the parents under the guise that Plaid Cymru represents the fundamental issues such as human rights, protection of minorities, religious and cultural diversity and so on but is it true?

Answers to this question including the shameless role of Welsh media [Western Mail (Wales on Line); BBC Cymru Wales; Radio Wales and including the most recent intervention by BBC’s Huw Edwards] in degrading and vilifying of Llangennech parents opposed to the Welsh language compulsion, will be expanded upon in part II over the next few days.

Also, the response to Llangennech situation by the Welsh ‘Labour’ Party will be also looked at in the next article.

Jacques Protic 21.02.2017

Welsh Education: Parental anguish as the D day approaches

Plaid Cymru-controlled Carmarthenshire County Council has been at war with Llangennech parents for over a year now in trying to impose Welsh Medium Education in local primary schools.

‘Consultation process’ is now over and this Wednesday (18th January 2017) it’s expected the Carmarthenshire Council vote will impose Council’s agenda and its will on people of Llangennech.

The parents who have shown a huge courage and determination throughout their dispute with the Council took an unusual step recently and have circulated the following document to all Councilors and other interested parties (Click on the image to enlarge):
Even at this stage, Carmarthenshire Council continues to use disinformation (Note the way the ‘consultation’ process was summarised by including 100’s of largely anonymous ‘Welsh language supporters’ and most living outside of the County of Carmarthenshire) and we should not forget the L1 Welsh kids who have been bussed in, in numbers to try and show a ‘Welsh language’ demand that doesn’t actually exist within the school’s catchment area!

Individuals behind the Council’s bullying of parents to accept Welsh Medium Education include Carmarthenshire’s Director of Education Mr Rob Sully, an army of Plaid Cymru’s Councilors lead by Cllr Gareth Jones, most of Llangennech School Governors headed by their Chairman (Tim Davies), School’s headmaster and most of the teaching staff, who all just happen to be the Welsh language 1 speakers!

Unusually for the Welsh media, the local papers (Llanelli Herald and Llanelli Star) provided a reasonable level of information of the issues but failed to challenge the wild and often inaccurate assertions as to the benefits Welsh Medium education endlessly spouted by the Carmarthen establishment and their supporters.

If the truth is to be told, there are ZERO benefits for the English-speaking children to undergo Welsh language immersion in the ever so crucial the early years learning period.

It’s interesting to note that the Welsh language immersion in primary education as used by many Welsh Local Education Authorities and often without parental consent is defined by UNICEF as SUBMERSION – Where L1 English kids are being educated in a language with inferior opportunities pretty much on a ‘sink or swim’ basis: Pure evil IMHO!

The damage is huge and lasting and supported by mountains of evidence provided by UNESCO, Save the Children Foundation, Welsh Government’s education statistics and other information available in the public domain.

I genuinely admire and support the effort and all the hard work Llangennech parents have done in their quest for justice and fair play but do have a fundamental disagreement with their notion that the dual stream education is win-win for all.

Dual stream education by implication demands ‘bilingual’ teachers in the Welsh language context only and excludes teachers who may be far better qualified to inspire and educate the young minds outside of the Welsh state sponsored Welsh language ideology.

I firmly believe that the only option available to the Welsh Labour Government and the Local Education Authorities in Wales is to respect parental choices and have the WM or EM education strictly based on quantifiable and genuine parental demand.

I’ll conclude with an extract from the recent British Council Wales Education Development Trust comment:

“The question of whether Welsh is a language that many parents would choose also needs to be addressed with a global perspective in mind.

Welsh is a language we should foster and encourage and never let die. It is, however, and will remain a minority language and the more it is forced onto people the less support it will receive”. 

Jacques Protic 16.01.2017

 

 

Carmarthenshire LEA Erasing English Medium Education

The Council’s Local Education Authority (LEA) has issued a formal notice of their intent in Llangennech – Effective as from Monday 5th September 2016:

Carms Public Notice

Full version of the notice is now on Council’s website: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-democracy/public-notices/llangennech-infants-and-llangennech-junior-schools/

A retrograde step in many ways that will damage children from the English language 1 homes as it’s now more than evident that the Welsh Medium “for all” drives down the level of achievement in schools and reduces the life chances of most pupils.

Welsh Medium (WM) education must not be driven through at all costs and the best interests of pupils and their parents must be respected.

Sadly, in Carmarthenshire, the LEA does not value children’s interests or has any conscience regarding the negative implications on their future and the WM education shall be imposed no matter what.

Considerable parental opposition to imposed WM education has been voiced prominently in the local media (Llanelli Star / Llanelli Herald), then Wales on Line and even mentioned on BBC Wales got them absolutely nowhere!

Full history of parental anguish and distress can be read on their website:  https://keepllangennechprimarydualstream.wordpress.com/

With all the faux consultation stages, now completed and all that’s left is to “object formally” to the Statutory Notice.

Having said this, It has been made crystal clear in the Executive Summary that every objection on community or pedagogical grounds has already been dismissed using ideology (policy), not pedagogy and will be dismissed again.

This is basically the well tried and practised Gwynedd method = Social Engineering Policy that trumps pedagogy and human rights.

Time for the Welsh Labour Government to get involved or all of this mess is their doing?

Jacques Protic 04.09.2016

EISTEDDFOD 2016 “WEAPONISED WALES” Without the Welsh Language Wales is Nothing

WMD_world_map.svg

Not a ‘figment of my imagination’ but the heading statement came from the lips of Archdruid Geraint Lloyd Owen in defense of their decision not to allow the Welsh Football Team to be honoured by the Gorsedd at the Eisteddfod for its remarkable achievement in UEFA Euro 2016 competition.

Archdruid said: As most ‘Welsh’ football players do not speak Welsh; Eisteddfod standards must be kept, then elaborated further:

“If they can’t speak Welsh I don’t see how we can welcome them in [Gorsedd], because Welsh [Language] is the biggest, strongest weapon we have as a nation and without it, we have nothing”.

A truly bizarre statement that in my view is an affront to the non-Welsh speaking majority who by inference are nothing too!

This nonsense was then followed by the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones who together with Alun Davies (Minister for the Welsh Language) used Eisteddfod 2016 as a platform in a sinister ploy to push the Welsh Labour Party’s Cymrufication agenda to the next stage:

Creating 1,000,000 Welsh speakers by 2050 that first appeared in a small print within the Welsh Labour’s Manifesto (2016 Assembly Elections) is now an official policy and seems to be highly ironic that the County of Monmouthshire that is perhaps more English than England has been chosen to signal that the English language and its culture is no longer relevant in the post-devolution Wales – Arrogance?

Continue reading

YouTube Silenced by Welsh Nationalists?

YouTube is an invaluable source of historical video material easily accessible to the public, covering a wide range of topics and like many people, I often use it for research on a variety of subjects.

When I wrote the Glasnost essay: ‘Light a Fire for Wales’, I came across a fascinating TV clip from the 1970’s of two highly respected Welsh intellectuals (Vincent Kane of BBC and Gwyn Thomas), discussing the merits and relevance of the Welsh language.

This was an unusually frank exchange of views that sadly no longer exists in the Welsh media and I cross-referenced the debate in my article using an active click on link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5O2tq8ouqI

youtubesad

Not long afterwards the YouTube link stopped working and the ‘sad face’ appeared each time anyone tried to access the video!

A YouTube statement puts it down to the multiple complaints of copyright infringement which is simple enough to understand, but why would anyone object to the airing of a significant part of the Welsh history?

It appears that Gwyn Thomas’s powerful words and the message directly aimed at the Welsh speaking nationalists had to be erased from the public domain – an inconvenient truth to the New Welsh Order that Welsh Nationalists are planning for us all.

Continue reading