Ysgol Bro Hyddgen language consultation begins

Consultation on plans to introduce the county’s first fully bilingual all-age school in north Powys have begun, the county council has said.

Powys County Council is proposing a phased transition to Machynlleth’s Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, from a dual-stream school to a bilingual school, where the teaching would be through the medium of Welsh. Cabinet gave the go-ahead in November to start formal consultation on the plans

Now the council is asking for views from the public on the proposal, which would provide all pupils with two languages from the very start of their education and enabling them to become fully bilingual.

If it goes ahead, the proposed change would be introduced on a phased basis, year-by-year, starting with the school’s Reception class in September 2022. Additional support would be provided to pupils to improve their Welsh language skills including opportunities for immersion education which has proved very successful in other counties.

The proposed change would not affect those pupils already at the school – pupils currently accessing English-medium provision at the school would be able to continue to access this provision until they leave school.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: “Ysgol Bro Hyddgen is located in a traditionally Welsh-speaking area and its English-medium stream is the only English-medium feeder primary provider in the catchment area.

“One of the aims in our Strategy for Transforming Education in Powys is to improve access to Welsh-medium provision across all key stages. We also have an objective in the strategy to move schools along the language continuum.

“In order to meet these aims and objectives, we want to move Ysgol Bro Hyddgen along the language continuum. This would ensure that all pupils attending the school have the opportunity to become fully bilingual, fluent in both Welsh and English, therefore contributing to the Welsh Government’s aspiration to achieve a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

“We are developing a fantastic new community campus for Ysgol Bro Hyddgen and the Dyfi Valley community that will be a flagship development not only for the area but also for the county and Wales. Alongside this development we want to give every child the advantages that a bilingual education provides from the very beginning.

“However, it is important that the people of the Dyfi Valley and the wider area have they say on these proposals and I would urge them to send their views so that they can be considered.”

To respond to the consultation, visit https://en.powys.gov.uk/transformingeducation and follow the links to give your views online.

Alternatively, you can respond to us in writing by emailing school.consultation@powys.gov.uk or via Post at Transforming Education Team, Powys County Council, County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5LG.

The consultation will close on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.