Monday, 21 December 2009

RCT's disasterous education plans

Rhondda Cynon Taf council has recently unveiled their plans to "transform" post-16 education. Their proposals include the creation of bilingual tertiary colleges, but have many significant weaknesses. Plaid Cymru representatives in Rhondda Cynon Taf met to discuss our response to the plans. We agreed the following statement.

The proposals, as they affect both English and Welsh medium education, have been prepared with indecent haste and a lack of consultation.

Welsh medium education, which is the best way to produce fluent Welsh speakers, will be downgraded. Bilingual colleges will not provide the comprehensive range of Welsh medium provision which includes pastoral care and extra curricular activities.

Insufficient detail has been provided on future provision for young people with special needs and mature students over 19.

RCT council has made it clear it will seriously consider funding the scheme under a Private Finance Initiative if money is not available from the Assembly Government. That means a huge financial burden on future generations, and a potential downgrading of staff terms and conditions as well as job losses.

Education is still the best route out of poverty. RCT’s young people deserve the best education available. These proposals will not deliver that.

In addition to this statement, Plaid Cymru councillors have tried to call the RCT cabinet decision to progress these plans in for scrutiny. They were voted down. We have been in contact with pressure groups, parents groups, teachers, trades unions, council officials and WAG to campaign against the further development of the plans. There is universal opposition.

There are workable alternatives. We can only hope the council will be prepared to consider them.

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