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