A CABINET member has stressed the Independent/Conservative ruling coalition’s commitment to Welsh language education.

At a meeting of the Learning and Skill scrutiny committee on Monday, September 7, Finance and Transport portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, made the comments during a discussion on  consultation findings of the draft Home to School Transport policy.

Cllr Bryn Davies (Llanwddyn – Plaid Cymru) brought up a case which has gone to appeal where a child in Bronllys near Brecon, wants to be bussed to a school in Ystalyfera to be taught in Welsh.

Ystalyfera is just under 40 miles away from Bronllys and is a couple of miles south-west of Ystradgynlais

The town is just outside of Powys in the Neath Port Talbot local authority area.

Cllr Bryn Davies, (Llanwddyn – Plaid Cymru) said:  “This is not available anywhere else in the south of Powys, it’s important that this case is supported.”

Bronllys county councillor  Karen Laurie-Parry (Independent) pointed that a few years ago a youngster from Crickhowell had been supported to attend a Welsh medium school at Pontypool in Torfaen.

“That should set a precedent,” said Cllr Laurie-Parry

Finance and transport portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin), said “I can’t discuss specific cases as one or two are being dealt with under the appeals process.

“I will leave that to one side, but please do not doubt the council’s commitment to making Welsh language available to our pupils and students.”

“I know there’s equal legal status of both languages, but from my point of view, Welsh is the first language of Wales.

“There is a clear commitment from this cabinet to improve the offer across Powys, there is a substantial amount of work to do, we must try to improve it as quickly as possible.”

Cllr (Aled) Davies pointed out that many jobs in Wales viewed speaking and writing in Welsh as an essential qualification

“Having the ability to communicate in Welsh is vital, it will open many doors,” he said.

A consultation on the draft home to school transport policy took place in June and July.

Part of the policy discusses the access to Welsh medium education and legally, Powys County Council (PCC) is obliged to provide and promote access to education and training in the Welsh language.

It is expected that Cabinet will make a decision on the transport policy later this month and it would come into force in September 2021.

It is hoped that the reorganisation of schools in Powys during the next decade will see more Welsh medium schools established, including a secondary school.