Mid Wales villagers must organise own transport to English-language school

Parents from a Mid Wales village who want their children to be educated in English will have to organise their own transport to a chosen school.

Ysgol Dyffryn Trannon. Photo: Google Streetview
Ysgol Dyffryn Trannon. Photo: Google Streetview

A proposal has been made by Powys County Council to change Ysgol Dyffryn Trannon in Trefeglwys into a Welsh Medium school.

At the moment the school has both Welsh and English language classes.

A consultation was held from the end of February to mid-April on the proposals, which is to use a phased approach starting with the reception class in September 2022.

In total 80 responses were received, but no breakdown of those for and against the proposal is included in the report.

At a learning and skills scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, assurances were sought that parents in the village will be told the transport implications of changing the school’s language category.

School transformation manager Marianne Evans explained that when the report was written there were 109 pupils at the school with only 12 in the English stream and none of these were in reception or year one classes.

Ms Evans said:  “Over a number of years we’ve had discussions with school governors about the sustainability of the English stream there.

“We decided as part of the transformation process aligned with the ambition to increase the number of Welsh speakers and improve access to Welsh medium education across the county, to proceed to full consultation.”

Councillor Kath Roberts-Jones asked whether transport would be available to take those who want to be educated in English to the nearest primary school?

Ms Evans replied that the council hoped that every child in the area choose to attend the school.

Councillor Roberts-Jones, said “Agreed, but what if you have a family coming into the area that refuse it?”

Firstly, Ms Evans explained the child would be provided with “trochi” (immersion) education.

This is intensive education course on speaking, writing Welsh and understanding the culture, so that a child has the level of understanding needed to be able to be taught in class.

Ms Evans said: “Parents can choose whichever school they want and if there’s space available, they can attend that school, but transport is a different matter.

“If Ysgol Dyffryn Trannon is the nearest school for pupil then we would only transport them there.

“Any parents who wish to have an English medium education could apply to whichever of the other three schools in the catchment (Caersws, Llandinam, Llanidloes), however we would not be providing the transport they would have to make their own arrangements.”

Councillor Roberts-Jones, stressed: “That needs to be made clear to them.”

Recommendations from the scrutiny committee will be added to the report which will go to a cabinet meeting for a decision on Tuesday, June 22.

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