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Welsh Language Education

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will arrange to discuss with each of the eight local education authorities in Wales the impact that Government policies are having on Welsh language education.

No. My right hon. Friend and I have already discussed the educational implications of our policy, including the question of specific grant for bilingual education, with representatives of the Welsh Joint Education Committee.

Will the Under-Secretary accept that the Government's policy on bussing children to school could have a serious adverse effect on those areas with centralised bilingual, or Welsh language, primary and secondary schools, which attract children from large catchment areas? In his negotiations, will the Under-Secretary ensure that no local authority cuts back on transport to those schools, because that could kill them off?

We are aware of the special transport problems for both denominational and bilingual schools. However, the transport subsidy on school buses will remain very substantial. I note, with a modicum of satisfaction, that Gwynedd county council has informed the Welsh Office that it considers the latest rate support grant settlement to be fair.