THE MONDAY (Jun 20) meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board promises to be a lively affair, with an unprecedented number of questions from members of the public.
30 questions, including 11 referred to the Executive Board by the Education Scrutiny Committee, with 19 questions addressed directly to Executive Board Member for Education Councillor Gareth Jones.
The questions all concern plans to discontinue Llangennech Primary and Junior Schools, replace them with a Community Primary School, and change from dual stream to Welsh medium education – a topic The Herald has covered extensively in the past.
The questions themselves are fairly evenly split between those in favour of the change and those who oppose it. A number of points are raised, including the perceived difficulty children with special educational need have in learning more than one language, the safety issues involved in transporting children to an English medium school out of the village, and a lingering belief on the part of those opposed to Welsh medium education in Llangennech that the transition is ‘a done deal’.
There are also queries about what is regarded as a ‘surplus’ of Welsh medium school places in the area – something The Herald has also previously discussed in greater depth.
However, those who are more supportive of the change include one non-Welsh speaking parent who expresses her pride that her Welsh medium-educated children have grown up bilingual, while others express concern over declining Welsh usage in Llangennech over the past 20 years and point out that support is available for non-Welsh speaking parents whose children attend Welsh medium schools.
It is also pointed out that research has shown children who grow up speaking two languages have higher IQs than their monolingual counterparts, and that educational outcomes in the core subjects in schools, including Llangennech, are better in the Welsh medium stream at present.
The campaign against the change to Welsh medium education in Llangennech has received widespread media coverage, with the story being covered by national news outlets including BBC Wales.
One of the objectors, South African-born Anglican vicar John Plessis, memorably compared the proposals to apartheid, while leading protestor Michaela Beddows said that the village ‘would be divided’ as a result.
Llangennech is 39% Welsh-speaking.
It was also claimed by protestors that Carmarthenshire County Council had somehow been acting illegally in educating their children in Welsh – something that had been happening for five years before anyone brought it up.
This led to a response from Cllr Gareth Jones which described the allegation as ‘completely untrue’.
Cllr Jones also expressed concern that ‘some people have taken to naming individual members of school staff on social media and are making unfounded personal criticisms of them.’
“It is important that the debate is conducted objectively, fairly and with respect for others,” he added.
The Executive Board is due to make their recommendation on the proposal at Monday’s meeting.
Police appeal following assault in Llys Glan Y Mor
POLICE in Llanelli are investigating an assault which occurred in the vicinity of St Davids Close and Llys Glan Y Mor, Llanelli sometime between 9.00pm on Saturday 10th April and 1.30am on Sunday 11th April 2021.
A 45-year-old male was taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.
They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.
Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference DPP/0006/11/04/2021/01/C.
Police trace burglar who left trail of oil leading to his home
A MAN was charged with burglary after leaving a trail of oil from a stolen generator leading police from a victim’s home to his own.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers were able to quickly trace Dominic William Oliver after he went on an overnight burglary spree in Burry Port in March.
The force received reports of two garage burglaries and a theft from a car overnight on Monday, March 8, with a generator, fishing rods, and two bags containing passports among the stolen items.
The combined value of the items taken was estimated to be around £800.
Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “An officer attended the victims’ homes, and was made aware of a trail of oil, which was believed to have come from the stolen generator.
“She followed it along several streets – one of which was where Oliver had stolen two bags from a car – and discovered that it ended outside a property on Dandorlan Road.
“Oliver agreed to a voluntary search being carried out, and as officers entered the property they immediately noticed a rucksack with a distinctive pattern that had been described by one of the victims.”
The search was completed, with further items suspected to have been stolen recovered from the address, and the 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of burglary within six hours of the incidents being reported.
While being conveyed to police custody, Oliver made a significant comment linking him to the theft of the generator.
He was charged with two counts of burglary and one theft, and appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, April 30.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, must complete a rehabilitation requirement, and must remain at his home address between 8pm and 6am for three months.
Sgt Davies said: “This was an excellent response, which resulted in the swift arrest and charge of Oliver, and the recovery and return of stolen property to the victims the same day the offences were reported to us.
“This has no doubt had a positive impact on the residents of Burry Port, who have commented positively on how the matter was investigated.
“Community engagement, patrols and a crime prevention leaflet drop was carried out following the investigation to offer reassurance and advice.”
Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward
FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.
The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.
This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.
From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.
The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.
Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations. The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.
Changes from Monday 3 May:
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
- People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.
Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:
- The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
- Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
- And the re-opening of community centres.
The First Minister said:
“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving.
“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.
“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.
“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”
Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.