A NEW WELSH medium school could be built in Newtown due to demand for education in Welsh.
At Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, education cabinet member Cllr Myfanwy Alexander outlined the changes to the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.
In Newtown, a new Welsh language high school could be built, or Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd primary school could be extended to offer education up to the age of 18 years.
The plan sets out how Powys County Council will improve the planning of the provision of education through the medium of Welsh.
Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, said: “This is one of the most important documents on the vision we have for Welsh language education in the county.
“It is a privilege help develop the Welsh language, it’s a treasure for everyone in Wales and it’s important to me.
“I don’t believe that a small number of tiny strongholds will help defend the Welsh language.
“We need to expand the opportunities, I’m privileged to live in an area where Welsh is used daily.
“Communities close to the border have a right to the language, it may not have been used for hundreds of years, but it belongs to them as well.
“It’s been said that Oswestry is a Welsh town in England and Welshpool an English town in Wales.
“They now have Ysgol Gymraeg Y Trallwng, a Welsh language school has now opened, and I’d like to see that model extended.”
“We will build on the Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd brand and consultation will start immediately on a 2A stream school in the north.
“Statistics show that there is a call in Newtown for more education through Welsh.
“An all through (four to 18 years old) school where 80 per cent of the subjects will be taught in Welsh.”
Cllr Alexander added that the authority was in talks with education providers so the option to be taught in Welsh would also be available for vocational subjects and that they are also in touch with nursery education providers.
“This is a step forward for the young people and families in Powys and the Welsh language in our area.
Plaid Cymru and Green Group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, welcomed the strategy.
He said: “This is a step in the right direction.
“The (Welsh) Government has a vision for one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
“Here in Powys we need to see the percentage of Welsh speakers increase from 19 to 33.
“I had the privilege of being brought up in a Welsh speaking family in Powys.
“Welsh needs to be owned by people from Llanerfyl to Presteigne, we need to normalise bilingualism and see it as a skill in modern Wales.”
The strategy has four main objectives:
n To increase the opportunities for pupils to access Welsh-medium early years provision.
n To establish and identify opportunities to establish, new designated Welsh-medium provision in the primary sector.
n To provide equitable and sustainable linguistic progression for Welsh-medium pupils from Key Stage 2 into Key Stages 3,4 and 5.
n To provide improved opportunities for latecomers to transfer to the Welsh-medium sector in all stages of education.
The strategy will now go to the Welsh Government for approval.