Welsh education Twitter row apology from Western Mail

image captionLucy Owen and Jamie Roberts discuss Welsh-language education on the BBC Wales programme Welsh or English? Lucy Owen's Big School Dilemma

A newspaper has apologised after a story about Welsh-language education sparked a Twitter row.

The hashtag #despitebeingtaughtinwelsh trended after the Western Mail featured BBC Wales newsreader Lucy Owen's dilemma over where to school her son.

Some Twitter users were angered by a sentence saying rugby's Jamie Roberts had gone to Cambridge University "despite" being taught in Welsh.

The paper said any offence caused by the word "despite" was unintended.

The story was later amended on the Western Mail's website Wales Online, which also carried the apology.

Saturday's edition of the newspaper featured Ms Owen's quandry over whether her seven-year-old son Gabriel should go to a Welsh medium secondary school or an English-language one.

It came ahead of a BBC Wales programme, Welsh or English? Lucy Owen's Big School Dilemma, to be broadcast on Monday, in which the TV presenter and her husband Rhodri explore the issues many parents in Wales might face when deciding where to send their children to school.

image copyrightTwitter
image copyrightTwitter

The Western Mail story highlighted concerns - explored in the BBC Wales programme - that some parents fear pupils from Welsh-language schools might be "disadvantaged" should they enrol at universities in England.

The paper then wrote: "She [Lucy] goes to see Wales rugby star Jamie Roberts who, despite being taught in Welsh until he was 18, is now a qualified doctor and currently studying at Queens' College, Cambridge."

However, it sparked a row on Twitter, with Anglesey AM Rhun ap Iorwerth among many who o retweeted a newspaper cutting featuring the sentence.

His tweet said: "Not good.Like the woman who described someone to mam as "very Welsh,but very intelligent" #DespiteBeingTaughtInWelsh."

The #DespiteBeingTaughtInWelsh hashtag was trending around the UK by Saturday afternoon and Wales Online later published the apology.

It said: "The reporter's intention was to make the point that having to or choosing to study later in English at university did not create a disadvantage for a pupil taught in the Welsh language. Far from it, in fact. We are mortified that a different view has come across."

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