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ATL Cymru say national tests need improvement

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Assessment concerns: Are national tests consistent?

Assessment concerns: Are national tests consistent?

AT THE END of 2014, Association of Teachers and Lecturers surveyed its members to see what impact the new National Reading and Numeracy tests was having upon teaching and learning. The results, they claim, showed that more work needed to be done before the tests could be, ‘accepted as an unquestionable help to classroom practice’. In the survey it was reported that over 60 percent of teachers believed that the Welsh Government was far more concerned with generating data to assess school performance than to inform subsequent teaching or help with tracking pupil progress.

The report went on to say that although nearly three quarters of teachers had tried to use the results of the tests to inform their teaching over 25 percent reported that either the results were not shared with them or that, the results didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know. On the reports generated for parents, 50 percent of teachers said they were not satisfied, and argued that the reports were not readily understandable and teachers were similarly divided over the suitability of the tests, with just over half reporting that not all their pupils could access the tests.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Dr Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru, said: “Assessment is crucial to that process of teaching and learning, but the value of the new testing regime still needs to be proved. “The Welsh Government needs to heed the legitimate concerns about the consistency and suitability of the tests. We hope that the tests are not simply about providing data for some flawed league-table type comparison of schools.” A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We welcome this survey and the positive responses from some ATL members.

The tests and the data they provide are fundamental to raising standards in Wales and schools can use the diagnostic information from the tests to identify learners’ strengths and areas for development. “It is pleasing that ATL members agree with this and that 72 percent of teachers surveyed say the tests have informed their teaching. The information provided by the tests means that a school can intervene if a pupil is falling behind, and also stretch the more able pupils. “We continue to believe the best way to ensure learners make regular progress is to make sure they never fall behind. This can only be achieved through rigorous monitoring and assessment of a pupil’s progress which is why we introduced our reading and numeracy tests. “We do provide for the range of learner abilities within testing, which is why schools can arrange for a learner to take the test for a younger age group if they think that is appropriate.”

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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Three arrests as suspected cocaine worth £12,000 seized in Milford Haven

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POLICE in Milford Haven have disrupted the supply of cocaine in the town in a major operation which saw people detained and a large quantity of drugs found.

Three people were arrested and suspected cocaine worth up to £12,200 was seized, police said.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant at a house in Hubberston on the evening of Friday, June 11, “where 122g of what is believed to be cocaine was found.”

This is estimated to have a street value of between £9,760 and £12,200 depending on its purity.

The occupant of the address – a 59-year-old man – was not present at the time, however he was later arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

He has been released under investigation pending the result of forensic, digital and financial enquiries.

As enquiries progressed, officers made two further arrests over the weekend.

A 33-year-old man from Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession of an offensive weapon after police stopped the car he was driving.

A quantity of white powder was seized by Greater Manchester Police during a warrant at the address he gave officers in custody.

A 27-year-old woman from the Stockport area was also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Both have been released on bail with the condition not to enter Pembrokeshire.

Detective Constable Phillip Jones said: “This was a significant drugs seizure, and we will continue our enquiries with the view to securing a swift outcome.

“I would like to thank all officers involved over the weekend for their dedication and diligence.”

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Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

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EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop.

Fire fighters rushed to Park Road Fish & Chip Shop after a blaze broke out late on Tuesday morning (Jun 15).

Emergency services are still at the scene. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

Diversions for traffic are in place.

Four fire appliances responded to the blaze at the Tenby chip shop (Image G Davies Photography)
Fire fighters take off BA kits after the blaze was put out (Image G Davies Photography)

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