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Education

Pupils still hungry after eating their school dinners

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Hungry pupils: are schools catering for enough food?

Hungry pupils: are schools
catering for enough food?

A REPORT has stated that some primary school pupils are still hungry after school lunches, with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales expressing concern that for some children this is the only hot meal they get. Commissioner, Keith Towler, said: “I recognise that times are tough on local authorities but we’re talking about a basic need here. Something is wrong with the system. For many of these children – due to their socio-economic background – this is the only hot meal they’ll get all day.

There’s been much discussion over recent years about how nutritious meals can really boost educational attainment – if we’re serious about improving educational outcomes for all children in Wales, then let’s start by getting the basics right for them.” Last year a BBC Wales survey was undertaken and found a number of councils had left the decision on extra servings either to the schools themselves or their caterers. A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have produced statutory guidance for local authorities and governing bodies including a section on suggested portion sizes.

A school lunch should provide 30% of a learner’s estimated average energy requirement. Schools and local authorities have a legal duty to comply with the statutory guidance.” The Herald spoke exclusively with Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) to find out how they are making sure enough provision is being made for their local primary schools and their pupils’ nutritional needs. A spokesperson said: “Pembrokeshire County Council’s School Meals Service currently provides a Welsh Government compliant `Appetite for Life` primary menu.

The menu fully complies with both the nutritional and food based standards set out by the Welsh Government, ensuring every pupil within the County has access to a nutritionally balanced meal, with set portion sizes. The School Meals Service acknowledges the fact that the nutrient-based standards apply to an average school lunch over five consecutive days, and relates to overall provision rather than individual consumption. Also, some pupils need to eat more than others depending on body size, metabolism and physical activity.

For this reason, if surplus food is available, pupils are able to have additional portions on request”. The Herald asked if all primary school children receive the same sized food servings regardless of age? The spokesperson continued, saying: “The primary menu is a two course set menu with a vegetarian option. The nutritional standards set by the Welsh Government for Primary schools have been calculated using a percentage split across the range of 4 to 11 years of age. The School Meals Service adheres to these standards and the suggested portions sizes, as advised by the Welsh Government, and therefore currently provides the same-sized food servings for all primary school-aged children.

However, pupils are able to have additional portions on request. The size of the servings provided is the same for all Secondary School-aged children and is based on the Welsh Government’s suggested portion sizes. No complaints have been received in relation to this policy and therefore there are no imminent plans to review it”.

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Education

Styling their way to the top

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(Left to right) Level 2 - Festival theme - work by Holly Mathias and Celebration of Colour - Level 2 and 3 – work by Leah Rees

FOUR hairdressing learners: Holly Mathias, Jenna Kilgallon, Helaina Thomas and Leah Rees, recently earned themselves a place in the next stage of the Concept Hair Magazine Learner of the Year Competition.

The candidates were invited into the College to show their fully presented entries as evidence and then submitted them remotely to the Concept Hair Magazine judges in December.

The categories for the competition were: Festival Hair, Red Carpet, Old School Barbershop, Celebration of Colour and Safari.

The unique styles allowed the learners to show off their creative hair styling skills from plaits to updos, to bold colour creations.

Charlotte Jones, Hairdressing lecturer was over the moon with the learners’ success; “We were all so impressed with the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the students who took part in the competition. Also, the students who supported the entries during the day and the models who gave up their time to be involved. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. The results were amazing!”

The students worked to COVID regulations ensuring all the correct PPE and procedures were followed.

Finalist, Holly Mathias entered three categories which included; Styling Level 2 – Festival Theme, Hair Up Level 2 – Red Carpet and Avant Garde – Safari.

Holly shared her experience; “Taking part in the Concept Hair competition, has really boosted my confidence and proved that hard work really does pay off. The support from the staff at Pembrokeshire College is outstanding. I would recommend everyone to take part in this competition as not only is it an amazing experience, but it really allows you to think outside the box and be as creative as you can! I would 100% take part in this competition again.”

Holly plans to go into full-time employment when she completes her course and hopes to one day work on cruise ships or even own her own salon.

The next stage involves the candidates submitting photographic entries on the 12th March where six will be shortlisted for the national finals which is set to take place virtually in April.

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Education

Delight as foundation phase learners return to class

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PEMBROKESHIRE Headteachers have reported very positive returns to school for Foundation Phase Learners.

All Foundation Phase Learners returned to schools on Monday, March 1st and attendance has been reported at almost 90% since.

The Council’s Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “A wide range of council services have worked together to ensure that Foundation Phase pupils have been able to return
safely to school.

“I am particularly grateful to all school staff and families for ensure that learning is now available for our youngest learners face to face.”

Headteachers remarked how schools have filled with smiles and laughter following the safe and phased return of Foundation Phase learners.

Cora O’Brien, Headteacher at Waldo Williams School in Haverfordwest emphasised how quickly learners have settled back in to a routine.

“It has been an absolute joy to hear their laughter in the playground and to observe their love of learning face to face once again. I thank everybody in the Waldo Williams School
community for working so hard to ensure that the transition went smoothly.”

Vicky Hart-Griffiths, Headteacher of Ysgol Hafan y Mor in Tenby, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome all our Foundation Phase learners back to school. They are thriving, being amongst
friends and back to a school routine.  

“All the pupils have spoken about how happy they are to have returned and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome them back and we can’t wait until we have all our pupils back in school.

“The school feels alive again and there’s a positive buzz and laughter once again echoing throughout the school.”

Gareth Lewis, Headteacher at Broad Haven CP School said children had returned “with real enthusiasm, and have been very keen to meet up with their friends.”

Mr Lewis added: “Our parents have been very supportive and positive about the return, and those with older children are very much looking forward to a wider return to schooling.”

Mr Richards-Downes said plans were now turning to more learners returning to schools in the near future.

“We are looking to the next phases of the re-opening of schools on the 15th of March as long as the government guidelines allow.”

Further details will be released in due course.

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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