North West Wales

Anglesey Meithrin nursery education changes concern

children playing
Image caption Some parents fear some schools would not have room or resources for nursery pupils

Possible changes to Welsh-language nursery education have sparked concern on Anglesey.

Around 100 people attended a public meeting to discuss Mudiad Meithrin, which has 33 nursery classes on Anglesey employing 130 people.

It currently takes children up to three years of age, but schools may be asked to take over more nursery classes.

Parents also fear that Anglesey council may cut its grant funding for Mudiad Meithrin activities.

'Incredible problems'

The meeting on Monday evening was told it would be a "double whammy" if the Welsh-medium nurseries lost grants and children.

"I'm shocked how much the council wants to cut. It would be the end of Cylch Meithrin Talwrn," one mother told BBC Radio Cymru.

"Where are the children supposed to go? There is no room or resources at Talwrn primary school, and not enough staff."

Another parent from Cylch Meithrin Henblas said: "Our major concern is that this is a double whammy.

"They are trying to cut the grant but also trying to get children to begin school earlier.

"It would create incredible problems for us and I can't see how we could carry on."

'Best way forward'

Anglesey council confirmed it was looking at the possibility of lowering the age children begin school.

"The authority has a statutory duty to make sure that children receive 10 hours of education a week from the beginning of the school term after their third birthday," said a spokesman.

"Currently, in several parts of the island, these hours are being provided by pre-school organisations until the September after the child's third birthday - paid for through the authority - before they then move on to their local school.

"In other parts of the island the whole 10 hours are provided by the pre-school organisations."

The spokesman said the council was now looking at the possibility of lowering school starting age so that more schools can provide the required 10 hours.

"In areas where this will not be possible we will, of course, continue to work with the pre-school organisations to make sure the service is provided," he added.

"We are aware that this is a matter of concern for the providers and we will be working closely with them to agree the best way forward," he added.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) criticised the council's plans, claiming they would reduce Welsh-language education.

Ffred Ffransis, the chair of the society's education committee, told BBC Radio Cymru: "I feel that the council has got its priorities wrong, because the island's economic development plans will attract a lot of incomers.

"They will need help to integrate into the local community, and Welsh-language education is part of that."

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