A POLITICIAN has said a move to teach exclusively in Welsh at a Powys school could "disadvantage" pupils.

Powys Council's Independent/Conservative cabinet voted this week to approve the move to Welsh medium education at Machynlleth's Ysgol Bro Hyddgen.

It means that from September 2022, the reception class at the school will be taught in Welsh, with the aim of making all teaching in the language.

But Conservative MS Russell George has raised concerns over the plans.

"It is fantastic to see that many want to learn through the medium of Welsh, but removing the choice from those who wish to or need to learn through the medium of English will continue to be a huge concern for many," he said.

"I had urged Powys County Council to reconsider their proposal and to listen to the community and their representatives on this matter.

"I had been contacted by many people from Machynlleth who objected to these proposals. People felt very strongly that there should be a choice on offer for children, so all pupils in the Machynlleth area have a reasonable opportunity to learn either through the medium of English or through the medium of Welsh. I am very concerned, as are many of my constituents, that this decision will have a huge impact on the local community.

"I think this decision will sadly disadvantage some pupils and will lead to young people having to travel to attend schools miles away from their homes and potentially out of county, which may remove their opportunity to learn in a bilingual environment.”

He added that the council should ensure that pupils in Machynlleth should be supported in reaching English-language education.

“Now that Powys County Council have made this decision, at the very least they need to ensure fairness when applying their Home to School Transport policy," he added.

"There will be pupils who for various reasons either need or choose to be educated in the medium of English. Powys Council must ensure that these children’s needs are met and that pupil need/choice is not hindered by whether school transport can be afforded by parents.

"Whilst the transition to Welsh Medium Education at Machynlleth may very well be phased, it would be understandable to see some pupils from the Machynlleth area want to be educated in a school where English medium is not being phased out and Powys Council should also consider this when deciding whether to grant free transport to such pupils.”