Many parents may find their children will be refused a place at a school in Caerau, despite living in the catchment area.
Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Caerau is the only Welsh-medium primary school serving the area. There are 30 reception class places available every year but demand for Welsh-medium places in Ely and Caerau has exceeded supply for the past five years. In 2015 21 children were refused acceptance, and in 2016 this rose to 25.
Ceri McEvoy, Director of Development for the Rhieni Dros Addysg Gymraeg group (RhAG) (Parents for Welsh Medium Education) says they’re “losing children because there aren’t enough spaces”.
She says: “30 places catering for such a largely populated area is not sufficient. The council hasn’t really got to grips with the demand … because of the lack of places, I would argue that the current situation is having an adverse effect on that growth and stifling it.”
The Chair of Governors for Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Caerau Owain Rhys says “more and more people want their child to have a Welsh-language education.”
He added: “Some parents perceive it as a better education … and over the past 20 years the status of the Welsh language has changed immeasurably. Now there is a much more positive image of the Welsh language and this affects demand.”
Labour Councillor for the area Peter Bradbury says having a local Welsh-medium primary school to suit demand has been a priority. He says parents who want to send their children to a Welsh-medium school should have that possibility and he is working with the council to make necessary provisions. One suggestion has been a two-floor elementary.
He says the increase in demand for Welsh schools may also be a response to the lack of good English-medium secondary schools in the area.
He says:“It guarantees a place in a good secondary school in Plasmawr. Parents might be reluctant to send their child to English-medium primary schools because the catchment area is for Glyn Derw and Michaelston, which have traditionally not been seen as good schools.”
He says the current development of the secondary school in this area may take the strain off.
The council have been approached for a comment.
Parents will find out if their child has got a place for the 2017 admissions on April 18th.