Education & Skills Minister, Leighton Andrews has announced his decision to support the proposal to change Cardigan Primary School to a Welsh-medium primary school.
The school, through Ceredigion County Council, published the formal proposal in March 2012. Since the local authority received objections during the statutory consultation, 28 in total, the relevant documents were forwarded to the Welsh Government for the matter to be decided by the Minister for Education and Skills.
The Council received confirmation on 9th November that the Minister has approved the proposal and was satisified that the consultation process had been carried out in accordance with statutory requirements.
The proposal will come into effect from September 2013 and will be implemented over time affecting pupils entering Year 1 in September 2012. The primarily English-medium stream will continue alongside the Welsh-medium stream for pupils currently in Years 1-6.
Cardigan Primary School has provided both a Welsh-medium stream and an English-medium stream for its pupils. In recent years fewer parents have been opting for the English-medium stream and this trend required the school to re-organise the teaching groups in order to accommodate the falling numbers within a sustainable structure. The school saw the need to address the situation in the long-term and decided to consult with parents on a proposal to change from a dual-stream to a Welsh-medium primary school. The proposed change would, the school believed, enable all pupils to become equally fluent in both Welsh and English by the time they leave the school as well as enabling the school to have a more settled and cost-effective structure.
According to the Head Teacher, Mr Robert Jenkins, "the decision will enable us to move forward as a school to help give the pupils the best possible start in life. The consultation involved a lot of careful consideration by the staff and Governing Body and I also appreciate the contributions to the process by the parents, local partners and members of the local community. In many ways the hard work starts now as we prepare to implement the change over time and secure the best possible outcomes for all our current and future pupils."
Councillor Hag Harris, Cabinet member for Education in Ceredigion County Council, added "I'm happy to receive this decision to enable the school to change to a Welsh-medium primary school. The benefits of being bilingual are widely accepted and I know the school will continue do its utmost to do its best for all pupils. The English medium stream will continue until the proposal is fully implemented and any children arriving with little or no knowledge of Welsh will be able to access specialised Language Centre courses to help them integrate fully into a Welsh-medium setting."
Eifion Evans, Director of Education at Ceredigion County Council, stated "We welcome this decision from the Welsh Government and we're glad that the Education Minister appreciates that the views of interested parties have been given detailed consideration. The change will be of benefit to both pupils and the wider community and is in keeping with the growing appreciation of the benefits of being fluent in both Welsh and English as well as enabling the school to channel further resources towards raising standards even further."