Welsh Language Teaching (Independent Schools)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th July 1974.

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Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan 12:00 am, 29th July 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the requirements for the recognition of independent educational establishments teaching Welsh.

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

The same requirements apply for the recognition of independent establishments teaching Welsh as for other independent schools.

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his reply, but is he aware that if we are to safeguard the future of the Welsh language and its culture we shall have to spend more money on bilingual education?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

The Government are very much aware of the need to help the Welsh language, and that is why my right hon. and learned Friend recently gave a £15,000 grant to the Welsh Special Playgroups Association.

Photo of Mr Neil Kinnock Mr Neil Kinnock , Bedwellty

Does my hon. Friend consider that the maintenance of independent schools, with all that this means, is the same thing as or is necessarily helpful to the maintenance of the Welsh language by the necessary procedure of assisting the education of children through the Welsh medium? Is it not the case that the general attitude of the Government towards independent schools should be maintained regardless of linguistic considerations and that we are committed to provide education for children in their native tongue whatever their language?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

The present Government have a great deal of concern for the future of the Welsh language, and my hon. Friend has summed up the situation very nicely.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas , Merioneth

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the way to ensure effective education through the medium of Welsh is not by a proliferation of independent establishments but through the creation of alternative-choice establishments within the State sector? In view of this, will he undertake to study the possibility of extending facilities for the teaching of Welsh and for teaching through the medium of Welsh at secondary, college and university level?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

I take the hon. Gentleman's point of view seriously. The Welsh Education Office has never missed a trick in advancing the situation in the way he has described. The Schools Council, with a vast series of investigations, has been most helpful in this matter.