Welsh-medium education plans - councils face 'legal challenges'

Some county councils are guilty of mal-administration in drafting their plans for Welsh-medium education and the Welsh Government should start from scratch with the whole process, according to language campaigners.   

The calls come following the release of a letter from the Welsh Language Commissioner to Minister Alun Davies which stated: "I do not believe that the majority of these plans will lead to a significant increase in Welsh-medium education provision, nor in the number of children and young people who receive their education through the medium of Welsh.". She also stated that a number of local authorities haven't consulted with her and that "at least some of the information that is required in accordance with the act and the Welsh Government's supplementary statutory guidance was missing in the majority of the plans, with some very significant omissions." 

 Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which has encouraged each of its local branches to respond to the plans, claims that many local authorities have ignored the Welsh Government target to create a million Welsh speakers'.  The group also believes there are significant flaws in the process of drafting the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and has asked for the framework to be overhauled  

In a letter to Alun Davies, the Minister with reponsibility for the language, Toni Schiavone, Cymdeithas yr Iaith's education spokesperson says 

"Local members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith have worked tirelessly to respond to the consultations on these [plans], but it's clear that there are serious deficiencies in the vast majority of counties.   

"We believe that many councils are guilty of maladminisration by ignoring the Government's target to create a million speakers and by rushing through faulty consultation processes. Indeed, the Welsh Language Commissioner has drawn attention to flaws in the plans and the drafting process which are so serious that we believe some authorities are bound to face legal challenges. 

"In light of the Commissioner's damning comments, we believe that you should demand that counties go back to the drawing board with a focus on the need to meet the Government's national targets. And, if they are not willing to show the necessary ambition, the Government will have to consider setting targets from the top down."