The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrat Group on Powys County Council, Cllr James Gibson-Watt, has condemned the council Cabinet’s decision today (Tue 14th March) to close Welsh medium education at Brecon High School as:-
‘a thoroughly retrograde step, brought about in large part by a lack of support for the school by the Local Education Authority (LEA) over a number of years’.
Continuing, Cllr Gibson-Watt said:
“Over the past three years the Council has conducted two previous botched consultations on the future of the Welsh stream at Brecon High School and provided free transport to take pupils from the Brecon area to the Welsh medium provision at Builth Wells High School, 20 miles away. In addition, for the past 20 years the local authority has failed miserably to invest in the school’s buildings and infrastructure. It is now in a very poor state and is it any wonder that pupil numbers in both the Welsh and English-medium streams have fallen?”
“Instead of threatening to close the Welsh stream, Powys County Council should have demonstrated its commitment to Welsh medium education in south Powys by investing in the school’s facilities. With over 170 pupils attending Ysgol y Bannau, situated directly opposite Brecon High School, and Sennybridge CP School 9 miles away, if the high school had been properly supported pupils numbers in the Welsh stream would surely have been sustained.”
Cllr Gibson-Watt concluded:
“With the promised re-building of the high school over the next couple of years the Council had a golden opportunity to revive Welsh medium provision in Brecon, as well as giving all of the young people in the Brecon area the high school facilities they deserve. That opportunity has been tragically missed.”