Speeches recovered from the Conservative party’s online archive More…

Graham: Funding vital to future of schools in Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"The Welsh Conservative group will support this motion and feels that the establishment of a committee would greatly enhance the understanding of all Assembly Members.

If the Assembly fails to ensure the correct application of equitable policies with regard to primary education, the impact upon our communities will be greater than almost anything previously experienced, particularly for our rural and Welsh-speaking communities.

The urgent need to review the funding and provision of primary education arises from the need to respond to demographic changes, which will eventually reach beyond the education portfolio.

The number of children being born in Wales peaked during the 1960s, with an average of 45,000 children being born each year. This has fallen to an average of 31,000 per year since 2000. These changes will impact upon secondary, further and higher education services in Wales.

However, it is at nursery school, infant school and primary school level that we must begin to address the issues arising from these demographic changes. These schools are more than just bricks and mortar. They not only initiate the first steps on the road to lifelong learning and social integration, but are at the heart of every community, probably even more so in our rural areas.

The fall in primary pupil numbers is now being most felt most acutely in Gwynedd, Powys, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, where there are 87 per cent of the schools in Wales with fewer than 25 pupils, and half of those with fewer than 100 pupils.

We need to adopt an investigative approach to the educational needs of Wales. We want something that is flexible and not fixed upon a rigid model of educational provision.

We need to encourage and support creative solutions to the educational needs of communities, and ensure that decisions are made after full and open consultations that clearly demonstrate efforts to address the concerns of communities.

We must consider longer statutory consultation periods whenever the closure of a school is proposed.

We must also ensure that wider Assembly initiatives are not placed in jeopardy, especially those designed to protect rural communities, such as those providing affordable housing.

The investment to provide these homes could be undermined if these communities do not have a local school. We need to establish a committee to advise the Assembly on all these issues and to establish the funding streams to sustain our education systems at every level and in every community.

Since 1997, 10 special schools have closed in Wales, despite the fact that the number of children with special educational needs has increased by 7 per cent.

School standards and behaviour in the classroom are closely linked. Bad behaviour is often born of frustration. If children leave primary school unable to read, write or add up properly, they will find it hard to participate fully in class at secondary school.

If bright pupils are not intellectually challenged in the classroom they are more likely to get bored and to cause trouble.

A lack of basic numeracy and literacy skills is a real problem. Today, a quarter of children still leave school unable to read properly. There is overwhelming evidence to demonstrate that traditional teaching methods are the most effective means of teaching children to read, write and add up.

This proposal will help to identify an accurate response to an immediate problem.

"Bydd Grwp Ceidwadwyr Cymru yn cefnogi'r cynnig hwn ac mae'n teimlo y byddai sefydlu pwyllgor yn gwella dealltwriaeth holl Aelodau'r Cynulliad yn fawr iawn.

Os na fydd y Cynulliad yn llwyddo i sicrhau bod polisïau teg yn cael eu rhoi ar waith yn iawn yng nghyswllt addysg gynradd, bydd yr effaith ar ein cymunedau yn fwy bron nag unrhyw beth yr ydym wedi'i brofi o'r blaen, yn enwedig i'n cymunedau gwledig a Chymraeg eu hiaith.

Cyfyd yr angen taer i adolygu'r broses o gyllido a darparu addysg gynradd o'r angen i ymateb i newidiadau demograffig, a bydd hyn yn y pen draw yn ymestyn y tu hwnt i'r portffolio addysg.

Cyrhaeddodd nifer y plant a anwyd yng Nghymru ei benllanw yn ystod y 1960au, gyda chyfartaledd o 45,000 o blant yn cael eu geni bob blwyddyn. Mae hyn wedi disgyn i gyfartaledd o 31,000 bob blwyddyn er 2000.

Bydd y newidiadau hyn yn effeithio ar wasanaethau addysg uwchradd, pellach ac uwch yng Nghymru. Er hynny, dylem ddechrau mynd i'r afael â'r materion sy'n codi o newidiadau demograffig yn ein hysgolion meithrin, babanod a chynradd.

Nid brics a mortar yn unig yw'r ysgolion hyn. Nid yn unig y maent yn dysgu ein plant i gymryd eu camau cyntaf ar y ffordd i ddysgu gydol oes ac integreiddio cymdeithasol, ond maent hefyd wrth galon pob cymuned, i raddau mwy fyth i bob golwg yn ein hardaloedd gwledig.

Mae'r gostyngiad mewn niferoedd yn yr ysgolion cynradd bellach yn cael ei deimlo waethaf yng Ngwynedd, Powys, Ceredigion, Sir Gaerfyrddin a Sir Benfro, lle mae gan 87 y cant o ysgolion Cymru lai na 25 o ddisgyblion, a hanner y rheini â llai na 100.

Rhaid inni fabwysiadu dull ymchwiliol o ymdrin ag anghenion addysgol Cymru. Mae arnom eisiau rhywbeth sy'n hyblyg ac nad yw'n seiliedig ar fodel anhyblyg ar gyfer darparu addysg.

Rhaid inni annog a chefnogi atebion creadigol i anghenion addysgol cymunedau, a sicrhau y gwneir penderfyniadau ar ôl ymgynghori'n llawn ac yn agored gan ddangos yn glir ein bod yn ymdrechu i ymateb i bryderon cymunedau. Rhaid inni ystyried cyfnodau ymgynghori statudol hwy bob tro y sonnir am gau ysgol.

Rhaid inni hefyd sicrhau nad yw cynlluniau ehangach gan y Cynulliad yn cael eu rhoi yn y fantol, yn enwedig rhai sydd wedi eu cynllunio i warchod cymunedau gwledig, fel rhai i ddarparu tai fforddiadwy.

Gallai'r buddsoddiad i ddarparu'r tai hyn gael ei danseilio os nad oes gan y cymunedau hyn ysgol leol. Mae angen inni sefydlu pwyllgor i gynghori'r Cynulliad am yr holl faterion hyn, a sefydlu'r ffrydiau cyllido i gynnal ein systemau addysg ar bob lefel ac ym mhob cymuned.

Er 1997, mae 10 o ysgolion arbennig wedi cau yng Nghymru, er gwaetha'r ffaith bod nifer y plant gydag anghenion addysgol arbennig wedi cynyddu o 7 y cant.

Mae cysylltiad clos rhwng safonau ysgolion ac ymddygiad yn yr ystafell ddosbarth. Mae ymddygiad gwael yn aml yn digwydd o ganlyniad i rwystredigaeth.

Os yw plant yn gadael yr ysgol gynradd yn methu darllen, ysgrifennu neu adio'n iawn, bydd yn anodd iddynt gyfranogi'n llawn yn y dosbarth mewn ysgol uwchradd. Os nad yw disgyblion galluog yn cael eu herio'n ddeallusol yn yr ystafell ddosbarth, maent yn fwy tebygol o ddiflasu a chreu helynt.

Mae diffyg sgiliau rhifedd a llythrennedd sylfaenol yn broblem wirioneddol. Heddiw, mae chwarter ein plant yn dal i adael yr ysgol heb allu darllen yn iawn.

Mae hyn yn dystiolaeth ddiymwad mai dulliau dysgu traddodiadol yw'r rhai mwyaf effeithiol o ddysgu plant i ddarllen, ysgrifennu ac adio. Bydd y cynnig hwn yn gymorth i ganfod ymateb manwl gywir i broblem amlwg."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech