Students turned up for first day of A levels to be told they can’t take Welsh

Students at one school turned up on the first day of term to study their A levels and were told they couldn’t take Welsh.

The three pupils at Porthcawl Comprehensive had been told last term that three was the number needed to be able to run the course.

They were then told that they might have to travel to a nearby school in Bryntirion, Bridgend, to take the subject.

But when they returned to school last week, their parents say they were told that this couldn’t happen because of a timetable clash.

The parents say their children are upset and Welsh language group Cymdeithas yr Iaith described it as “heartbreaking”.

Mum Jo Aitchison is upset that her 16-year-old son Ewan can’t take the subject.

She said: “He really wants to take Welsh because he enjoys the language and wants to use it alongside a career in medicine.”

She said that the teenagers had first been told they could study Welsh at Porthcawl and later told in June that the class was being cut because of funding.

At the time, she said, the school said they could have lessons on two afternoons a week at a secondary seven miles away in Bridgend, Bryntirion.

She said: “But he went in on the first day of school this term and was told that it wouldn’t be possible because of a timetable clash.

“We don’t blame the school, they would love to be able to provide the subject but it is a matter of funding.

“It is a real shame that they are not able to continue to learn the language they want to.”

Tamsin Davies from language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “This is a heart-breaking situation. If the government is to reach its target of one million Welsh speakers, we cannot afford to deprive a single pupil of fluency in the language.

“Students who study A-level Welsh are the teachers and key workers of the future who will ensure that the language prospers. Over recent years, there’s been a fall in the numbers going on to study the A-level.

“We will be writing to the education secretary asking her to intervene in this case, and to ensure that more young people over the age of sixteen go on to study Welsh.”

The pupils want to stay at Porthcawl Comprehensive

The pupils want to stay at Porthcawl Comprehensive
(Image: Western Mail)

Dad Robert Bailey said his 16-year-old daughter Lauren may have change school in order to study the subject.

Dad-of-two Robert, 54, said his daughter was upset and may have to go to Pencoed School to study Welsh.

He said: “It’s mind boggling that us parents and our children have to sort it.

“The council have not been very forthcoming and basically said ‘you will have to sort it out yourself’ which to me is kind of terrible.”

Bridgend Council said a drop in sixth form numbers at the school has affected the amount of money received from a Welsh Government grant.

A council spokesman said: “Due to a general fall in student numbers, there was a 7.4% budget reduction in the council’s post-16 grant allocation from Welsh Government for the 2018-19 financial year.

“At Porthcawl Comprehensive, sixth form numbers declined from 290 to 242, and this has affected the school’s allocation from the overall grant.

“Once an allocation is made, each school must decide which courses it will include in the timetable for a given year.

“If a subject is removed, affected pupils have a right under the Learning and Skills Measure (Wales) 2014 to appeal the headteacher’s decision.

“Every year the council works with headteachers to make sure A level Welsh is available to all students through collaborative working arrangements between schools.”

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/porthcawl-comprehensive-welsh-a-level-15119529