Thu. Apr 18th, 2019

Apel funud olaf i gadw ysgol wledig ar agor

 

“Brwydr Bodffordd”- apelio ar y Gweinidog Addysg i achub ysgol wledig

“Brwydr Bodffordd”: appeal submitted to Education Minister to save rural school

Erthygl Gymraeg. English language version below

 

MAE dyfodol ysgol wledig ym Mon- ble mae 89% o’r disgyblion yn dod o gartrefi Cymraeg- bellach yn nwylo’r Gweinidog Addysg, Kirsty Williams.

Penderfynodd Cyngor Ynys Mon gau Ysgol Bodffordd nol ym mis Rhagyr y llynedd, ond mae apel yn erbyn y penderfyniad hwnnw bellach yn eistedd ar ddesg Kirsty Williams, aelod o gabinet Llafur Cymru yn y Cynulliad.

Byddai’n eironig iawn mewn ffordd pe bai Ysgol Bodffordd – sydd wedi ei chau gan Gabinet Cyngor Mon sy’n cael ei rheoli gan Blaid Cymru- yn cael ei hachub yn y pendraw gan aelod o’r Lib Dems .

Gweinidog wedi rhagdybio o blaid cadw ysgolion gwledig

Mae’n rhaid canmol ymdrechion Cymdeithas yr Iaith yn hyn oll, gan mai trwy eu dycnwch hwy y mae’r apel hwn wedi ei gyflwyno i Kirsty Williams- a gyhoeddodd pan gafodd ei phenodi i’w swydd ddwy flynedd yn ol y byddai’n rhagdybio o blaid cadw ysgolion gwledig ar agor.

Sail yr apel yw fod Cyngor Ynys Mon wedi defnyddio y cod ymgynghori anghywir wrth fynd ati i drefnu  i gau’r ysgol sydd ag 80 o ddisgyblion ar ei llyfrau- a chanoli addysg gynradd yr ardal mewn ysgol aml-bwrpas newydd ar gyfer 360 o ddisgyblion yn nhref Llangefni, dwy filltir a hanner i ffwrdd.

Stori Bodffordd yn adrodd cyfrolau am Gymru heddiw

Mae stori Ysgol Bodffordd yn adrodd cyfrolau am gyflwr y Gymru Wledig heddiw. Mae Mon, fel sawl ardal arall wedi diodde’n enbyd dros y blynyddoedd ddiwethaf wrth i lawer iawn o bobl ifanc orfod gadael yr ynys i chwilio am waith, niferoedd y disgyblion yn gostwng mewn ysgolion ar hyd a lled yr ynys, a’r Cyngor Sir wedi gorfod cyflwyno toriadau llym i wasanaethau lleol o bob math.

Does dim atebion hawdd i’r problemau hyn ac mae swyddogion a chynghorwyr fel ei gilydd wedi cael eu gosod mewn sefyllfa anodd iawn. Mae hynny’n gwbwl amlwg i bawb.

Ond wedi dweud hynny- mae ysgolion fel  Ysgol Bodffordd, gyda chanran mor uchel o’i siaradwyr yn dod o aelwydydd Cymraeg yn drysorau prin eithriadol yng Nghymru heddiw. Siawns y dylai Plaid Cymru o bawb, sydd wedi dibynnu cymaint ar gefnogaeth Cymry cyffredin yn y Gymru wledig am gymaint o flynyddoedd fod wedi gwneud popeth posib i gadw ysgol fel hon ar agor?

Grym a diffyg grym yn y Gymru wledig

Ond mae yna gwestiynau ehangach ynghlwm wrth y stori hon hefyd yn ymwneud gyda grym a diffyg grym yn y Gymru wledig.

Un enghraifft o’r grym sydd ar waith  ydi rol y “Cabinet” o fewn Llywodraeth lleol heddiw. Wrth grynhoi grym i nifer fach o gynghorwyr ar draul gweddill y cynghorwyr etholedig, mae yna duedd anorfod i aelodau’r Cabinet hwnnw gael eu dylanwadu’n ormodol gan swyddogion y cyngor. Ac mae gan swyddogion wrth gwrs eu hagenda eu hunain mewn sefyllfaoedd fel hyn pob amser. Mae swyddogion yn cael eu denu’n naturiol at atebion mawr “arloesol”  a “glitzy” er mwyn cyfiawnhau eu swyddi eu hunain.

Mae’r diffyg grym wedyn i’w weld yn rol rhieni mewn sefyllfa fel hon. Go brin y gellid disgrifio ysgol sydd ag 80 o ddisgyblion ynddi fel ysgol fach sy’n anghynaladwy i’r dyfodol. Ysgol sydd yng nghanol ei chymuned ac yn cynnig hunaniaeth gref i bentref Cymraeg naturiol, ond tlawd fel pentref Bodffordd. Ond er gwaethaf holl ddadleuon cryf a rhesymegol y rhieni i gadw eu hysgol ar agor- doedd dim modd dwyn perswad ar gabinet y Cyngor Sir.

Polisi “one size fits all” ddim yn ateb gofynion rhieni

Mae yna beth tystiolaeth o rannau eraill yng Nghymru bod ysgolion aml-bwrpas newydd yn gallu bod yn llwyddiannus.

Ond oes rhaid cael polisi ysgolion “one size fits all” trwy’r Gymru wledig bellach? Pam na ellid hefyd cynnal model addysgol arall ochr yn ochr gyda’r model newydd, a fyddai’n rhoi dewis go iawn i rieni, a chynnig cystadleuaeth nid yn unig o ran cyflawniadau addysgol ond hefyd o ran meithrin  gwreiddiau a brogarwch ymhlith y disgyblion?

Barn Ein GWLAD:  Mae’r system “Cabinet” o fewn Llywodraeth lleol a gafodd ei gyflwyno gan Llafur Cymru wedi methu. Mae’n wrth-ddemocrataidd yn ei hanfod, ac yn rhoi llawer gormod o rym i swyddogion cynghorau sir i redeg y sioe mewn gwirionedd.

Ein polisi maniffesto ni yw creu 6 awdurdod rhanbarthol trwy Gymru, gyda rhwng 40 a 60 o Gomisiynwyr amser-llawn, wedi eu hethol trwy gynrychiolaeth gyfrannol, wedyn yn gyfrifol am weinyddu’r awdurdodau hyn .

Byddai Comisiynwyr fel hyn yn  gallu bod yn wrthbwynt cryf i ddylanwad swyddogion ac yn gallu ymateb yn fwy effeithiol i ddyheadau pobol leol yn eu cymunedau.

Rural school’s fate in hands of Education Minister

A final decision about the closure of a rural school- where 89% of its pupils come from Welsh speaking homes- will be made by the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams.

Ynys Mon County Council decided to close Ysgol Bodffordd last Christmas,but an appeal against the decision is now lying on the desk of  Lib Dem Kirsty Williams, who is a member of Welsh Labour’s ruling cabinet in Cardiff Bay.

It would be very ironic if a school closed by a Plaid Cymru controlled cabinet on Ynys Mon Council is ultimately saved by a Lib Dem minister sitting in Cardiff Bay.

The appeal has been instigated by Cymdeithas yr Iaith(Welsh language Society), who have argued that the council used the wrong consultation process in coming to their decision to close the school which has 80 pupils on its books, and centralize primary education locally at a 360 pupil strong new school at Llangefni, two and a half miles down the road.

They have also drawn Ms Williams’s attention to her declared presumption in favour of keeping rural schools open when she was appointed to the Welsh Labour cabinet at the end of 2016.

Story is symptomatic of problems facing rural Wales

The story of Ysgol Bodffordd is symptomatic of the problems besetting rural Wales today. Over the past years, Ynys Mon has lost many of its younger people who have had to move away to find employment, pupil numbers have plummeted across the island’s schools, and the county council has had to make savage cuts to public services in the wake of Westminster’s austerity agenda.

There are no easy answers to these problems and both councillors and officers have found themselves in a very difficult situation. No one can deny that fact.

But, a school where 89% of its pupils come from Welsh-speaking homes is a rare and precious treasure indeed in Wales in 2019. Surely, Plaid Cymru of all people, who have received such loyal support from ordinary Welsh speakers in Welsh-speaking Wales for so many years, should be doing their utmost to keep such schools open?

Power and lack of power in local communities

The whole saga of Ysgol Bodffordd also flags up the issue of power and lack of power in rural Wales today.

One such element in the power equation is the role of “Cabinets” in local government today. Such cabinets concentrate power in the hands of a very small number of councillors, with the vast majority of councillors now reduced to being bystanders to all intents and purposes on our local councils.

These cabinet members then  tend to gravitate all too easily towards council officers, and their own plans. And such officers are naturally attracted to large-scale “innovative” and “glitzy” answers to problems in order to justify their own positions.

The lack of power is displayed most acutely in the role that local parents have in such situations. There seems no sense or justification at all to brand a school with 80 registered pupils as being “unsustainable” for the future.

A school right at the heart of its community, giving a strong Welsh speaking village a sense of identity and purpose. But, all the parents’ well-argued and detailed arguments failed to sway the Ynys Mon Cabinet at the end of the day. Now it’s all down to Kirsty Williams.

“One size fits all policy” does not serve parents

There is some convincing evidence from other parts of Wales that new multi-purpose schools can work. But does there have to be such a “one size fits all approach”  schools policy imposed throughout rural Wales?

There’s surely an argument that there should be another smaller educational model in place as well, providing real choice for parents which can also compete against the new model not only as regards educational attainments but also in terms of the just as important element of fostering a sense of rootedness and belonging in children.

Ein GWLAD comments: The “Cabinet” system within our Local Government structures imposed by Welsh Labour has failed to deliver. It is undemocratic and gives officers much too much power to run things in reality.

Our manifesto policy is to drastically reduce the number of local authorities in Wales to 6 regional bodies, with each authority served by 40 full-time Commissioners elected by proportional representation.

Such Commissioners can serve as a counter-balance to the power of council officers and respond more effectively to the concerns of local people in our communities.

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