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Education

School teacher benefits from higher apprenticeship

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Sharlaine Quick-Lawrence: Encouraging others to take up a higher apprenticeship.

Sharlaine Quick-Lawrence: Encouraging others to take up a higher
apprenticeship.

WITH Apprenticeship Week just around the corner, a young teacher from Crymych is encouraging others to consider undertaking a higher apprenticeship to help springboard their career development.

Apprenticeship Week which runs between March 9 and 13, celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals and businesses and celebrates the skills and talent of apprentices to employers and the public.

Welsh speaker, Sharlaine Quick- Lawrence, 28 from Glyneath has been teaching Drama and Welsh at Ysgol Preseli in Crymych for the last 7 years and has held the post of Head of Drama for the past five years after receiving a promotion at the age of just 23. However, after being given the opportunity to undertake a higher apprenticeship in Middle Management in September 2014 she is hoping to use her new skills and qualifications to advance her career even further.

Sharlaine said: “I have always been very ambitious so despite only being a teacher for 7 years, I am always looking to take on new challenges and enhance my skills, qualifications and experience in order to progress my career. I wasn’t actually aware that higher apprenticeships were available for school teachers, so when our head teacher, Mr Michael Davies suggested that some of us undertook a Level 5 apprenticeship in Middle Management with Cambrian Training, I jumped at the opportunity to upskill.”

Sharlaine is among the first cohort of apprentices to join the ILM Leadership and Management Course, a flagship course being delivered for the first time in an educational setting in the medium of Welsh.

She continued: “The course is teaching me a huge variety of new skills in areas like data analysis, leadership and management, as well as helping me to understand the different business approaches to running a school including team structures and theories. I am finding it all really interesting while it is also helping me with areas like goal setting, issues management and team leadership. These skills are not only helping to improve my confidence, but also providing me with the experience and qualifications I need to help develop my role as Head of Drama. I look forward to testing out some of the theories I have learned over the last few months by putting them into practise.”

Although juggling studying for her apprenticeship with her full-time day job is sometimes a challenge, Sharlaine is confident that the apprenticeship will provide her with the qualifications and skills she needs to continue making headway in her career.

Sharlaine said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and, although it’s difficult fitting everything in at times, I’m already finding that I’m applying a lot of the skills and practises I’m learning on a daily basis. It has been even better that I have been able to do my apprenticeship in Welsh.”

Latest figures from the Welsh Government reveal that Higher Apprenticeships have witnessed a dramatic surge in popularity, with the latest figures showing that 3,320 Higher Apprenticeship starts were created in 2013/14 compared with 2,275 in 2012/2013 and just 280 in 2011/12.

Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said: “In Wales, the number of people taking up an apprenticeship is on the rise and I’m encouraged to see so many young people realise the benefits of studying for this nationally recognised qualification. I’m also really pleased to see employers and training providers offering a range of apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh and bilingually. Apprenticeships are a practical way to earn a wage and gain valuable skills that are transferable across the world of work. Available across a range of sectors, apprenticeships are designed with the help of employers so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you really need to do that job. Apprenticeship Week highlights the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. There is support from the Welsh Government available for businesses considering taking on an apprentice, including help with training and assessment costs.”

In the run up to Apprenticeship Week, the Welsh Government is running a campaign to urge more businesses to consider apprenticeships for staff and is encouraging organisations of all sizes and across a range of sectors to support the recruitment of apprentices.

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Education

New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest

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A NEW independent sixth form is set to open in Haverfordwest in September 2021. The latest addition to Castle School, which relocated to Haverfordwest in 2020, the new sixth form will offer 20 different A Level subjects and a BTEC in business through bespoke study programmes that include options to study online or in the sixth form. Students will also get the option to complete work and study placements abroad.

The launch of the sixth form comes after a busy year for Castle School, which relocated from Narberth to Haverfordwest in September 2020, taking over and refurbishing Glenover House, a beautiful old ‘gentlemen’s residence’ that had been empty for five years. The move enabled the school to expand and increase its educational provision.

In addition to its main building, the school has a cookery school and performing arts facility in Snowdrop Lane, and a further site on Snowdrop Lane which is being specially converted to create the sixth form centre. The site will also include an indoor sports facility for whole school use.

The sixth form is designed with flexible study in mind: as well as offering a broad range of subjects and the ability to study online from any location, it will provide instant access study support as well as face to face teaching. In addition, students will get the option to study for one of their A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, in order to experience a different learning environment.

Other milestones for Castle School this year include the opening of a second independent school, Westward House, in St Clears and the purchase of a narrow boat, which will be moored on the Avon and Kennet canal. This will give pupils opportunities for short residential trips to Bristol, Bath and beyond.

“With a floating hotel licence, our newest acquisition will enable small groups of pupils to take their studies further afield and benefit from enhanced learning, extracurricular boating skills and a look at the wider world,” said Harriet Harrison, owner of Castle School and Westward House.

“Things have been tricky over the past year, but along with many others we have seen the difficulties of a world of Covid not as an opportunity for excuses but as a time for stepping up, working harder and making things better and stronger wherever possible. Our schools are thriving, and despite being desperate to get back to normal, we have used this time to improve our facilities for all the children in our care who are coming back after these long periods of lockdown and remote schooling. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

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Education

U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education

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SCHOOLS in Wales will now teach first aid and lifesaving skills as part of the new curriculum.

Wales will join England and Scotland by introducing first aid and lifesaving kills to their national secondary education curriculum.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister had previously rejected the calls for emergency resuscitation skills to be compulsory in school.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was introduced in the secondary school curriculum in England in September 2020.

Local authorities in Scotland have also committed to introduce lifesaving skills to their secondary education curriculum.

The British Heart Foundation had backed the campaign for CPR to be taught in schools.

In a long fought battle, Suzy Davies, a Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, secured the commitment from the Welsh Education Minister in the course of debating amendments to the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which will make sweeping changes to the way Welsh children are educated.

The new curriculum for Wales is planned to come into force from 2022.

Children, parents, families and medics have long argued that regular teaching of CPR in particular will raise our children to have the skills and confidence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest if they encounter them outside a hospital setting.

The commitment was included in the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the Assembly election in 2016, and Suzy Davies, the Shadow Education Minister, said:

“After 10 years campaigning for this, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

“From securing cross-party support for this in my early days as an Assembly Member, through several debates and pitches to different Ministers, on to my own proposed legislation which found favour among Senedd Members, it was difficult to understand why Welsh Government was so resistant.

“In this country, our chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside hospital are as poor as 10%. In countries around the world where teaching CPR and defibrillator use is compulsory, those odds improve dramatically. These skills are quick and easy to learn and easy to remember.

“ Alun Davies MS – himself a cardiac arrest survivor – has rightly argued that we should be able to learn these skills at any time in our lives and that defibrillators should be a commonplace feature of our public landscape. I couldn’t agree more – but how simple it is to ingrain these skills from an early age and raise generation after generation of lifesavers.”

Under the new curriculum, teachers must follow statutory guidance made by Ministers to support various aspects of the new way of teaching. After changes guaranteed by the Education Minister, this guidance will now instruct teachers that they should teach lifesaving skills and first aid: It is no longer optional.

The mandatory teaching of life saving skills and first aid (not just CPR) has been supported by the medical profession, including paramedics and fire service co-responders, as well as charities like St. John’s Cymru, British Heart Foundation, Calon Defibrillators, Cariad and the Red Cross.

It is taught through many youth groups, including Torfaen Sea Cadets who trained Aneurin Metcalfe, the young man who saved someone’s life only this week.

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Education

Styling their way to the top

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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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