Victory For Welsh Medium Education - Secondary School to Open in Newport


The local authority for the city of Newport, located adjacent to the English border in southeast Wales, has a population of 140,000 with 30,000 claiming fluency in the Celtic tongue. This is the city that infamously claimed in April 2013 that in spite of the government statistics to the contrary, that Newport was unable to comply with Welsh language guidelines of the Welsh Language Act 1993 because it could not find enough Welsh speakers.  The 1993 Act governs how Welsh-speaking citizens receive public services in the language of their choice.                         

Things are turning around and it appears guaranteed that there will be no shortage of Welsh speakers in future. Now comes the announcement that, in addition to three Welsh-medium Primary Schools operating in the area, a Welsh-medium Secondary School is to open.  The first of its kind in Newport, the new secondary school will be accepting 90 pupils for the 2016 term.  The Parents for Welsh medium Education (Rhieni Dros Addysg Gymraeg-RhAG), made the following announcement on their web page:

“RhAG and local parents have welcomed Newport City Council’s cabinet decision today to give the go-ahead on plans to open the authority’s first Welsh-medium Secondary School. ….The new school is a partnership between Newport City Council, Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government… and will accept 90 pupils in September 2016.  Elin Maher, a local parent and chair of RhAG Newport stated: "Newport City Council's decision today is the culmination of decades of campaigning, educating and hard work. Parents, teachers and officials have contributed to the realization of this decision. At last, we will now have a local Welsh-medium Secondary School for our children. Lynne Davies, a local parent and chairman of RhAG stated: "This long-awaited decision is warmly welcomed today. Whilst Welsh-medium education is under threat or falling behind in other areas, it is significant that the South East is leading the way. This marks a new and exciting period for the Welsh language in this area, where the linguistic challenges are plentiful, and yet despite this, significant progress is being made. Today is indisputable proof of that. "

The Parents for Welsh-medium Education work to improve Welsh-medium education for pupils throughout Wales and are to be congratulated on this victory for the Celtic tongue of Wales.  The Welsh tongue has suffered in the area around Newport due to its proximity to the English border. In fact in the recent  past there were moves to annex this part of Wales to England, which makes the the opening of its first Welsh-medium Secondory School so significant. 


Map showing the proportion of  Welsh speakers in Wales, showing the relatively lower proportions in areas close to the border with the longest history of English settlement and influence. Newport located on the river inlet shown in the lower right above in the extreme southeast - Compliments of Wikipedia

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