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Llangennech School plan sent to Executive

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Dual Stream a superficial choice: Sioned Elin, CIG

A MEETING of the Education Scrutiny Committee on Monday (May 23) has recommended that a proposal for the change in language status of Llangennech School should proceed for consideration by the County Council’s Executive Board.

Llangennech’s existing schools are designated as ‘dual stream’.

In dual stream schools, a designation determined by the Welsh Government, two types of provision exist sideby- side. Parents/pupils opt either for the mainly Welsh-medium or mainly English-medium provision.

Under the Council’s proposals, Llangennech’s existing schools would amalgamate into a single 3-11 Welsh- Medium School.

The former is in accordance with the creation of single 3-11 schools in localities where two schools exist and where a single head teacher is in charge of both schools. In Welsh-Medium education (WME), Welsh is the main teaching medium at Key Stage 2, with at least 70% of the teaching through the medium of Welsh.

English is introduced formally as a subject at Key Stage 2 and is taught through the medium of English, and English may occasionally be used for some aspects of some subjects.

Some people in Llangennech are vehemently opposed to the proposals.

‘NO CONSIDERATION’

Following the meeting, spokesperson for the parents Michaela Beddows told the Herald: “They didn’t really answer our questions until Councillor Jeff Edmunds said he wasn’t happy the vote went ahead until the questions were answered. Two other councillors said they were not happy either.

“The three councillors abstained from voting. Director of Education Rob Sully briefly answered the questions. He said that special needs children won’t be affected by the change. They put the vote forward and it was carried. It is going to the Executive Board, possibly in June.”

However, an alternative view was put by another attendee at the same meeting.

“The rules (on asking questions) are pretty inflexible, as you know, but the objectors received better treatment than people asking questions of full council. Somehow, I doubt that they will see it that way.

“Rob Sully was on top of his brief, and the people who asked questions were told that they would receive full written responses to their questions, some of which contained a lot of detail.

Asked about what the group intended to do now that the proposal had moved forward Michaela Beddows said: “We will now have the opportunity to put in more proformas. Whatever argument we have put forward they are dismissing. They are not taking individual children into account.

“What Rob Sully said was that no child is going to be turned away from the school and that every child can go to the school. There is no consideration given to any English speaking child whatsoever.”

SURPLUS PLACES CLAIMED

The group, who say they are not opposed to children learning Welsh claim that surplus capacity exists at other Welsh Medium Schools and that such a surplus means that the Council’s proposals are not aligned with the Welsh Government’s School re-organisation code.

Michaela alleged: “They have built two brand new Welsh primary schools with surplus places. One in Furnace and one in Brynsierfel.

She continued: “121 children in Llangennech School are not living in the village. 96 have to go out of the village to go to school. 15 of those are attending other welsh medium schools. 81 are attending alternative English schools. They say there is a lack of people wanting English education yet 81 children have to go out of the village to get their education.”

Michaela disputes a claim by the County Council that no child seeking an English medium education has been turned away from the existing school: “We have proof that they have. One mum went to tribunal. She won her case. The school were lying about the capacity there.”

Asked whether the Llangennech County and Community Councillors were listening to families she said that they were not and that issue was councillors’ firm personal belief in the primacy of the Welsh language.

The Herald asked Michaela if the board of governors had listened to their views. She said, “The Board of Governors are not listening. We put a letter of complaint in and asked for the resignation of the chair of the board of governors Tim Davies. He believes that English and Welsh cannot be taught alongside one another.”

CYMDEITHAS RESPOND

In a letter to the Chair of the Committee, Sioned Elin, Chair of Cymdeithas in the area said:

“Retaining separate Welsh and English streams gives parents superficially an idea of choice. However, in reality, registering pupils in the English stream will deprive them of choices later on in life.

“It is recognised by everyone in the field – including the First Minister – that the idea of “second language Welsh” has been a failure and, consequently, only the pupils in the Welsh stream develop skills to work in both languages, and have real choices.

“Pupils in the English-medium stream are deprived educationally. There is a gradual process to rectify the situation through the county so that schools are on a continuum towards Welsh-medium education which ensures proficiency in both languages.”

Speaking after the meeting, Sioned Elin said: “It is the Council’s intention for more schools to offer more Welsh medium education, so Llangennech School could lead the way.

“It was a scrutiny committee that met today, their decision will go before the Executive Committee who will have the final say, but we are hopeful that they will come to the same conclusion; and that the followup process gets under-way as soon as possible.”

‘BONKERS PROCESS’

Others’ views were less stridently expressed: “A couple of the questioners were a bit aggressive in tone, and one of them tried to challenge Councillor Gwyn Hopkins’ declaration of interest. Cllr Hopkins had been granted permission to speak and vote, and one parent said he thought this was against the rules. There was clearly no love lost and Gwyn Hopkins looked pretty upset.

“After that initial excitement, things quietened down, Cllr Eirwyn Williams thanked them repeatedly for taking time to come, and carefully avoided confrontation while keeping firm control.”

However, criticism was levelled at the way the statutory code – set by the Welsh Government – operates: “What is unfair to everyone concerned – children, parents, staff and governors – is the bonkers process which has to be followed. If someone wanted to create a process which prolongs agony and ensures that permanent scars are left, this would be it.”

LABOUR CRITICISED

Further criticism was levelled at Labour’s apparently cynical approach to the issue: “Labour’s antics were also deplorable. Two of their three members did not show up, apparently having dropped out at the last minute. So they used their reserves, including Jeff Edmunds.

“Despite having voted unanimously for the policy when they were running the council, they were squeaking that they had reservations about applying it in the case of individual schools. So they abstained, presumably hoping to make political capital out of the issue. There’s leadership for you.”

That last point touches upon one salient factor that some Labour councillors are very keen to play down. The plan for Welsh Medium Education in Carmarthenshire – and the Welsh Language Education Policy nationally – are both creations of the Labour Party.

The position of some of the more opportunistic Labour representatives locally seems to be to stir up opposition to policies pursued by the current administration, which the former Labour administration put in place.

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    GA

    April 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

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Three men arrested over charity box and cafe thefts

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THREE men are being questioned by police in connection with a burglary in Llanelli this weekend.

A cash register containing around £1,500, a charity collection box, and approximately £1,000 worth of stock were stolen from Marzano’s Café Bar in Cowell Street in the early hours of Sunday, February 16.

Today (Tuesday) three men aged 35, 39 and 27 were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Chief Inspector Chris Neve said property searches were also being conducted in the Llanelli area as part of the investigation.

“I would like to reassure the community of Llanelli that we take incidents like this extremely seriously,” said Chief Inspector Neve.

“I would also like to thank everyone who has come forward with information so far.”

Café owner Andrew Marzano said: “I am extremely grateful to Dyfed-Powys Police for their efforts since we reported the incident to them. 

“I am also extremely grateful and humbled to the local community as we have had hundreds of messages of support from far and wide.”

Anyone with further information that could help police should contact 101, quoting reference DPP/0005/17/02/2020/01/C.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can also text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Dyfed-Powys Police appeal following Llanelli road traffic collision

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Dyfed-Powys Police is appealing for information following a road traffic collision which occurred at approximately 12.15am, this morning, Tuesday 18th February, 2020.

A black Audi A4 estate and a pedestrian were involved in the collision on Station Rd, Llanelli. The pedestrian was taken to hospital with what are described as serious injuries.

Anyone who witnessed the collision, anyone who has information regarding the collision or information relating to the occupant of the vehicle is urged to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit quoting reference DP-20200218-006.

Police can be contacted by phoning 101, online at http://bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, or by email. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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Lee Waters AM meets with prize winning students

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LOCAL Member of the Senedd Lee Waters visited Coleg Sir Gar to meet with prize winning students on Friday.

Three students from the college have won prestigious medals in the UK leg of the World Skills championship. WorldSkills UK Live is the UK national final for vocational skills competitions and brings together apprentices and young people from across the four nations to compete to world class standards in their chosen fields.

Llanelli’s Kieran Davies won a gold medal in the IT Support Technician category. Anwen Evans won a bronze in the health and social care category after being judged for how well she dealt with a patient with autism in a mock flat, and Lewis Hall won a Gold for woodworking.

Lee Waters MS said:“I was very impressed by the achievements of these award winning Coleg Sir Gar students beating off stiff competition from across the UK to win medals at the UK leg of the world-wide WorldSkills championship.

“It’s huge credit to them and their tutors for these real achievements.”

Pictured are Kieran Davies (wearing Red), Lewis Hall (wearing chequered shirt), Anwen Evans, Lee Waters MS and Andrew Cornish of Coleg Sir Gar

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