It’s not every day that the First Minister and the manager of the Welsh football team come to school. But that’s what happened at Ysgol Glan Morfa in Splott on Monday, as the Welsh Government came to Splott to launch a new strategy to grow the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050.
First Minister Carwyn Jones and Wales Football Manager Chris Coleman were joined by Welsh Language Minister Alun Davies and FAW Head of Public Affairs Ian Gwyn Hughes, plus Lauren Richards from the Urdd, to launch the strategy.
One of the key stands of the strategy is to increase the proportion of children in Welsh medium schooling. Ysgol Glan Morfa will be in the vanguard of that effort – the school is projected to double in size over the next seven years as it moves to a new purpose-built school at The Maltings in September 2018.
Pupils from Year 6 – some of whom had dressed in Welsh football kit – had an opportunity to ask questions of the panel before going for a coaching session led by Coleman and Richards. The questions covered the Welsh language, how the government’s strategy will achieve its targets, what was the best part of Euro 2016, and what makes a good footballer! The Welsh media was in full force for the event with TV cameras, radio and print journalists attending.
A brief rain shower curtailed the children’s training session, but it couldn’t dampen the pupils’ enthusiasm for the visit of the Welsh manager.
Mr Coleman told pupils that he used to look after his football boots so that they would last up to two years and also confessed that his favourite Euro 2016 game was Wales v Russia (though most people think his favourite was against Belgium).
Coleman was appointed team manager of the Wales national team on 19 January 2012 and has achieved great things with the Welsh Football Team since, taking them to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 (the team was eventually knocked out of the tournament by Portugal, who went on to win the whole thing!).
Having two such prominent Welsh figures visit a school in Splott is fantastic for the profile of area and the pupils of Ysgol Glan Morfa. Following on from a superb Community Fair on Saturday the 8th July, the school is riding high!
“It has been a fantastic morning and a wonderful showcase for us all associated with Ysgol Glan Morfa,” said Headteacher Mr Tomos.
Photographs by Louise Clarke
Additional reporting by Gareth Price, Chair of Governors, Ysgol Glan Morfa.