[lg policy] Councillor says he can trace weakening of Welsh language in Holyhead to one event 42 years ago

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Apr 12 12:12:25 EDT 2019

Councillor says he can trace weakening of Welsh language in Holyhead to one
event 42 years ago

Cllr Bob Llewellyn Jones says he thinks he knows why latest Estyn report
found that "very few" children at town's secondary school speak Welsh at

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Gareth Wyn-Williams
<https://www.dailypost.co.uk/authors/gareth-wyn-williams/>Local Democracy

   - 09:35, 11 APR 2019
   - UPDATED11:06, 11 APR 2019

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[image: Holyhead, Anglesey]Holyhead, Anglesey (Image: Daily Post Wales)
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The opening of a Welsh medium secondary school in the late 1970s may have
harmed the strength of the language in Anglesey’s main town, a councillor
has claimed.

Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern opened its doors in 1977, with its language policy
noting the majority of its education was provided through the medium of

Previously, most pupils from the north west rural  areas attended secondary
school either in Holyhead <https://www.dailypost.co.uk/all-about/holyhead>
 or Amlwch <https://www.dailypost.co.uk/all-about/amlwch> .

But with Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern having since taken over the bulk of the
area, several pupils are also bussed in from Holyhead where the town’s
Ysgol Morswyn Welsh-medium primary also serves as a feeder school.

According to the 2011 Census, of those who were born in Wales, 52.2% of
the  town’s population could speak Welsh.

But according to a veteran councillor, children from largely Welsh speaking
communities no longer being educated in Holyhead has caused damage to the
language within the town.

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi, the town’s secondary school, maintains a bilingual
language policy but the latest Estyn report noted that “very few” pupils
speak Welsh at home with “most” not using the language outside of the

“I don’t have much faith in the planning system due to what’s happened in
the past,” said Cllr Bob Llewelyn Jones, during a discussion on new
Supplementary Planning Guidance which is claimed should help bolster Welsh
speaking communities in terms of new planning applications.
[image: Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, Holyhead]
Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, Holyhead (Image: Google Maps)

“I remember back to what happened in Newry Beach (£100m marina project) and
would like to know if there’s anything radical in the document that will
actually make a difference to the Welsh language?

“If you look at Holyhead and the street where I was brought up in, everyone
spoke Welsh.

“But thanks to several decisions made over the years we’ve seen a lot of
Welsh speaking people taken out of Holyhead following the opening of the
new school in Bodedern.

   - Holiday park staff asked not to speak Welsh at work 'for purposes of
   guest safety'

“When we had the old National School the language was bolstered by people
coming in every day from the surrounding rural communities and hearing the
language spoken every day.

“But what happened when Bodedern opened was the Welsh speakers no longer
came to Holyhead.

“I can’t see how the school would have done much to bolster the language in
Bodedern but what would have happened had the Welsh school been based in
Holyhead? It would have had a much more positive impact in my view.”

But Cllr Gwilym O Jones, who represented Bodedern pre-boundary changes,
said  he disagreed with Cllr Llewelyn Jones.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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