£30 million fund for Welsh-medium schools must be expanded to meet demand

Every council bids to expand Welsh-medium education

Funding to expand Welsh-medium education is failing to keeping pace with demand, according to figures released to Plaid Cymru.

The Welsh Government recently announced a further £30 million of capital funding would be made available as part of an agreement with Plaid Cymru. This was specifically to meet growing demand for Welsh-medium schools.

Statistics released by the Welsh Government to Plaid Cymru’s shadow education secretary Llyr Gruffydd show that councils have applied for three times the amount available to build or expand Welsh-medium schools.

A total of £103m has been applied for with all 22 councils putting in a bid – ranging from £640,000 from Ynys Môn to £14m by Neath Port Talbot.

Local Authority LA Total (£million) Local Authority LA Total  (£million)
Anglesey 0.64 Merthyr Tydfil 1.83
Blaenau Gwent 7.00 Monmouthshire 1.89
Bridgend 2.60 Neath Port Talbot 14.03
Caerphilly 6.13 Newport 13.70
Cardiff 7.40 Pembrokeshire 5.95
Carmarthen 4.09 Powys 5.18
Ceredigion 7.72 Rhondda Cynon Taf 3.57
Conwy 1.29 Swansea 4.86
Denbighshire 2.12 Torfaen 6.10
Flintshire 3.05 Vale of Glamorgan 1.55
Gwynedd 1.11 Wrexham 1.30
Total bid cost: 103.11

Mr Gruffydd said: “The fact that every council has put in a bid for this capital funding is revealing – there is demand that needs to be met throughout Wales. That’s why we in Plaid Cymru pushed for this additional funding in this year’s budget. We recognise that this is a growing sector and needs capital investment in the form of new schools, extensions and upgrades.

“It’s clear from the level of applications that there is unmet demand and we need to see sustained and ongoing investment in the Welsh-medium sector. Some councils will be disappointed when the final announcements are made in the autumn but I will be pushing the cabinet secretary to maintain this level of capital investment.

“If the Welsh Government is serious about reaching a target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, then meeting the demand amongst parents for Welsh-medium education is an essential step towards that goal.”

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said: “The total cost of these proposed bids has exceeded the funding envelope.  Individual proposals are currently being reviewed and assessed.  We hope to announce the successful bids in the autumn.”

 

 

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