By Hannah Griffiths and Rhys Taylor
Members of Editorial team WICID!
Many say that your school days are the best days of your life, and spending them in sixth-form are the best of them all. Young adults have had the choice of whether to stay on in school or go to college for many years. They say, Sixth Forms offer a welcoming and friendly environment – a family that you have been part of since the age of 11.
But for many students in Rhondda Cynon Taff that choice will soon be nonexistent they won’t have a choice. Instead they will be going to a ‘Tertiary College’ in Rhondda, Cynon and Taff sectors, with no option of a school sixth-form. This will result in schools shutting their doors on sixth-form and possibly the deterioration of Welsh medium education at post 16.
With the announcement by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council about Post 16 education, plans have been announced that sixth-forms within schools will be replaced by three new state of the art tertiary colleges.
The council say that the colleges will give students more choice, right across the border, as whether it be Maths or Carpentry. It is believed that students perform better in Sixth-form Colleges than in normal Sixth-forms estimating a 100% pass rate!
But if the course is available for you in school shouldn’t you be able to carry on your education where you have spent most of your days and where you feel most comfortable?
Entering year 11 and sitting your GCSE exams are hard and stressful enough and with the decision whether to go to college or to stay on in school to study A levels it doesn’t make it any easier. With the council making the decision for you, your stress levels can be lowered! For many this isn’t a strong enough argument, this plan could deprive future students of choice.
Welsh medium Secondary Schools are also worried about the implication of Welsh medium education in RhCT.
They say that for students who are studying through the medium of welsh this decision will affect them much harder. As the course they may wish to study may not be taught through the medium of welsh. This has raised the question will the colleges provide for everyone’s needs?
As an example, an A-level teacher with a class of 20 pupils, 4 of whom have Welsh as their first language isn’t going to teach the class bilingually. It’s highly unlikely that Welsh medium classes will be an option as it would mean higher costs for the authority.
This will result in the 4 who wish to study through the Welsh language being deprived of that option.
Not only will this affect the pupils but also could see many teachers across the borough loosing their jobs. The council may also intend on closing some secondary schools because of the low numbers.
Parents who have sent their children to welsh schools say that it will be the bi-lingual set up of the colleges that will phase out the Welsh language. Would the Council be willing to fund a Welsh Medium College?
Despite Welsh infants & primary schools bursting with enrolments, RCT don’t seem to be taking any notice and are not making adequate provision for the language in post-16 education.
So, post 16 education will soon be changing. But is it in the right direction?