Friday 31 July 2020

Victory for Language Campaigners in Pontypridd School shake up

There appears to have been a major legal precedent made on Welsh Language Education   after a  £37m schools reorganisation in the south Wales valleys has been quashed after a judicial review.

The BBC report that 

Several schools in Pontypridd would have been shut and replaced with two "super schools" for children.

Sixth forms would also have closed and concentrated at one school and a further education college.

But a High Court judge ruled that Rhondda Cynon Taf council had failed to take into account the impact of changes on Welsh medium education.

RCT leader Andrew Morgan said the council's overriding objective had been to "positively transform the delivery of education, through the mediums of both Welsh and English".

Earlier this month the council's 

Council leaders had said the reorganisation would improve the quality of education but protesting parents took them to judicial review.

In his judgement, High Court judge Mr Justice Fraser said the council had broken rules by not referring the closure of a sixth form to the Welsh Government and had failed to take into account the impact on the future of Welsh language education.

"The fewer pupils who enjoy a Welsh medium primary education, the fewer are likely to attend Welsh medium secondary education," the judgement said.

"Such pupils are "lost for ever", he added

Last year  Plaid Cymru  

She was joined byyjer   local councillors   Michael Powell of the 

She said the campaign to safeguard Welsh-medium education in north Pontypridd was not opposed to change and it was not to save Ysgol Pont Sion Norton in its current state or oppose the creation of a new school.

But she said there were “concerns that it will lead to a reduction in the number of Welsh-medium schools in Pontypridd”.

She said there is likely to be an increasing demand for places in the area and this proposal would remove Welsh-medium education from north Pontypridd.

“Parents will now choose English-medium education for their children’s education because of the increase in travel time and lack of public transport links,” she added.

She said children in north Pontypridd would have to catch two buses and Estyn had raised concern about travel times.

Lawyers for the campaigners argued that the Welsh language version of the relevant laws were clearer than the English language version about the requirements and responsibilities of the council.Barrister Rhodri Williams QC said: "This is indeed a landmark ruling for the significance of Welsh legislation in Wales.

"Never again will it be sufficient to argue that the English language version of a statute dictates what the meaning of the law is.

"From now on, all those concerned with the proper implementation of legislation in Wales will need to bear in mind both language versions.

"At long last, true equality before the law for Wales's two languages has been established by the courts."

Cathy Lisles, of campaign group Our Children First (Ein Plant Yn Gyntaf), said they were delighted the reorganisation had been squashed.

"This is not just a victory for concerned parents and pupils in Pontypridd but for all in Wales.

"We hope and trust that rather than continue the legal fight, the council will reach out to us and work constructively going forward to improve education for all in RCT."

'An important issue'

Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts, said the case was an "important issue for the future of Welsh-medium education"

"This case makes it clear to councils that in all cases, pupils must be able to continue receiving education with at least equivalent standards and opportunities in their chosen language," he said.

"This is not an option, but mandatory in Wales."It also states clearly that, with any proposals that are going to have an effect on Welsh-medium education, a thorough impact assessment must be carried out. This is not optional either."

The council said it would need to consider the content of the judgment fully, before determining how to respond to the decision.

Mr Morgan said: "Throughout this process the overriding objective of the Council has been to positively transform the delivery of education, through the mediums of both Welsh and English in the Greater Pontypridd area, by delivering significant investment, which would improve the opportunities available to young people."

This may well be a major legal precedent .

For two long Welsh Medium Education  has  found their growth hampered  by having new schools inheriting  former English Language Schools that are old and whilst not  dilapidated do not match up.

This has improved and New Welsh Medium Schools also mean new buildings , but even  then it means that the centre of the catchment area moves and pupils who once had  such a school in their village , find that the new building involves travelling miles to the new building.

Hopefully we have a mandate for change and indeed seek to resolve the issue by making all Schools in Wales Welsh Medium or bilingual.

Thursday 30 July 2020

Will new Independence Parties in Scotland further or hinder a Indy2 Mandate?

The Free Kirk, the wee kirk the kirk without the steeple.” 
The Auld Kirk, the cauld kirk, the kirk without the people.” 

It's nor really for me  a Welshman to tell fellow 

The history of the  


Arguably the situation started with The 


The pair of rhyming jibes remain from the time of the heated split of the Disruption in 1843 when about a third

So we have the news tht a new pro-Scottish independence party has been created ahead of the next Holyrood elections.

The Independence for Scotland Party - based at a Glasgow address - was registered as a political party in May.

It's understood the party will be putting regional list candidates forward in a bid to ensure a majority of pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood.

Disability Rights activist Colette Walker has been listed as the leader of the new party.

Speaking to 

Joan McDowall is listed as treasurer with Victoria Johnson described as the nominating officer.

Taking to social media earlier this week, Walker told how it was a "great honour" to be leading the new party.

She wrote: "it’s a great honour to a founder member & leader of this new independence for Scotland party . It’s been a lot of hard work , But to achieve an independent Scotland is well worth it .

"Will keep you all posted with further developments ."

It may not be alone Tommy Sheridan, an Indy activist, socialist and former MSP hinted that he may support the concept of the new Alliance for Independence party but expressed concern about their target for another referendum. Alliance For Independence formally launched with former SNP MSP Dave Thompson at the helm this month.

Part of the argument for another Party than the SNP is that it would maximise rather than split the Independence Mandate after the 2021 elections.

The theory is that with the SNP  winning the vast majority of Constituency seats they will struggle to get the numbers on the Regional lists , and some how by voting for an Independence Party on the Regional lists could see the ISP or AIP securing enough regional seats to give Independence a mandate.

It's an intriguing though dangerous scenario , even if it was to work then  unionists would exploit the split in Independence Parties and seek to promote division.

But of course its up to voters in Scotland to make the choice , but as we see a growth of electoral interference  by outside bodies in the UK and other democracies , it could be that the plan to maximise the Independence mandate with more than one pro party could result in scuppering the whole Independence dream. 


Wednesday 29 July 2020

How much does Boris Johnson's response to Covid affect us in Wales?

I took some  stick yesterday (some of it tightly) after i put this on Twitter  and got the sort of reply 

Has anybody noticed that Wrexham and Flintshire are close to England with its higher infection and death rate? Could Boris be responsible for part of the Welsh figures?
Replying to and
This has nothing to do with England. I hope this is a joke? In England local response to outbreaks is working alot better and there is more transparency. This may be difficult for some people in Wales to comprehend.

Some did correct me over  the spike in Wrexham

Replying to and
You can’t blame him. The blame rests purely with Rowan Foods, PHW, HSE and the inept duo of and . Well done to and for shaking them . credit her also. I will be voting for her at the Senedd elections

Nevertheless although in   June, Public Health Wales confirmed that outbreaks of Covid-19 had occurred at two meat processing plants in north Wales.

One was declared at the 2 Sisters factory in Llangefni, Anglesey, while the other was at Rowan Foods on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

To date there have been more than 300 cases identified at Rowan Foods following extensive testing of staff and tracing of their close contacts.

This outbreak was certainty a contributing factor to the Covid-19 stats for Wrexham spiking in June and into July.

Dr Chris Williams, incident director for the coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said the testing programme at Rowan Foods had now concluded.

They have done all the tests they were going to do, and my understanding is that there are now 313 positive cases identified there," he said.

"All the cases that we find are transferred into the 'Test, Trace, Protect' programme so that they will find their close contacts, households and otherwise and ask them to isolate for 14 days, and then if they become symptomatic to test them as well."

Dr Williams said that while the outbreak was associated with the plant, the virus was likely to have been brought in by someone in the community.

He said that public health infection teams started noticing a "pattern" of cases associated with Rowan Foods which prompted the need for all employees to be tested.

It is likely that the current high cases in the Wrexham  and Flintishire area are still connected to the packing plant

nevertheless Wales Online report 

Hundreds of drivers were fined for travelling into Wales' tourist hotspots during lockdown - including from England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

More than 600 fines were issued to people from England by the four forces.

But the majority of tickets were issued to drivers from within Wales - a total of 1,168.

Most fines were issued by Dyfed Powys Police, which issued 401 tickets to travellers from England.

North Wales Police ticketed 189 drivers from England. It was the only force to fine more English than Welsh drivers.

South Wales Police and Gwent Police ticketed 19 and eight drivers from England respectively.

But only 36 residents of Wales were fined for travelling into England.

The figures, released on Monday by the National Police Chiefs Council, cover the period between 27 March and 25 May.

During this time people were encouraged to not travel further than five miles from home.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics puts the total number of deaths at 2,501, as it includes all registered deaths in care homes and people's homes - and when doctors suspect coronavirus has been a factor.

The PHW figures do not include deaths of residents from Powys in hospitals in England.

Deaths by health board area in Wales, Covid-19
Transparent line

Chris Williams, PHW's incident director for the pandemic, reminded the public that face coverings are now mandatory on public transport in Wales, and also reiterated the Foreign Office request for all visitors returning from Spain to self-isolate for 14 days.

He also said there was "no significant updates" on outbreaks at food processing sites in Llangefni on Anglesey, Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent, and at plants in Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil.


Officers often reported drivers from England were unaware there were different rules in Wales.

 The BBC Website provide an interactive map cases and deaths in your area? 

I still stand by my main argument that Boris Johnson's early  easing of Lockdown in Wales together with the failure of the mainstream media  to point out that  Wales had not completely and still have not followed suit.