Parents to take language case to House of Lords: English-speakers are seeking to overturn a Welsh council's policy on bilingual education Fran Abrams reports

PARENTS who have refused to have their English-speaking children educated in Welsh are to take their case to the House of Lords.

The parents have campaigned for five years to overturn Dyfed County Council's bilingual education policy, under which English-speaking children in predominantly Welsh-speaking areas must attend Welsh language schools. Pupils there are not taught in English until they are seven, after which they have lessons in the subject.

Six thousand of Dyfed's 33,000 schoolchildren attend schools at which they are not taught in their mother tongue. While some parents are happy with the rules, others say they mirror the old system under which Welsh pupils were forbidden to speak their native tongue.

John Latter, spokesman for the group, known as Education First, said it would take its case to the European Court of Human Rights if it fails in the House of Lords. Last week, the Court of Appeal rejected the parents' claim that Dyfed's policy was illegal.

All children should be able to learn in their first language when they started school, Mr Latter said. There should be bilingual schools instead of the existing single-language ones, or, failing that, children should have free transport to the nearest school which teaches in their first language. 'Most Welsh-speaking children live in the areas where the Welsh medium schools are, but there are cases where parents would prefer their children to be educated through Welsh and the facility isn't there. I would support their case too.'

Jill Sherwood, one of the campaigners, does an 18-mile round trip from her home in Llangolman to take three of her 10 children to an English primary school in Narberth. She says she was happy to accept the new policy when it was introduced at her local school six years ago, until she realised that teachers were refusing to speak English to her son, Dominic, then aged four.

Dyfed has denied that teachers speak Welsh to children even when they cannot understand it, and maintains that its policy is a flexible one.

John Thomas, chairman of the education committee, was 'delighted and satisfied with the outcome of the judgment but we regret this matter had to go to such lengths and expense to justify Dyfed's legal application of the policy'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Buyer

£19000 - £21225 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Duties will include assisting t...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Membership Manager

£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Advisor / Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This position will in the main ...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the top Cosmeceutical br...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks