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Education

UWTSD takes lead on creative and cultural education

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‘Arts taps into students’ potential’: Huw Lewis, AM

THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY ST DAVID has been announced as one of the four new Regional Arts and Education Networks in the major innovative Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government project – Creative Learning through the Arts – an action plan for Wales. 

These Networks are at the heart of Creative Learning through the Arts – the five year arts and education action plan and will deliver one of the major strands – The All-Arts and Education Offer.

The successful consortia are:

Mid and West Wales: consortium led by University of Wales Trinity Saint David

North Wales: consortium led by Flintshire County Council

Central/South Wales: consortium led by Arts Active Trust

South East Wales: consortium led by Caerphilly Borough Council

The four Regional Arts and Education Networks will be drawn on the same boundaries as the existing Regional Education Consortia. These Networks will work with schools, the Regional Education Consortia, local authorities and stakeholders in the education, arts, creative, cultural and heritage sectors in these four regions. They will increase and improve arts experiences and opportunities in schools by building bridges between the education sector and arts practitioners,; arts, culture and heritage organisations and providers; and venues such as museum, libraries and archives.

To increase and improve arts experiences and opportunities for children and young people, the All-Wales Arts and Education Offer will provide schools greater access to professional artists and arts organisations, to enhance and complement their teaching. To ensure that schools benefit fully from participating in the programme, they will be asked to nominate a senior member of staff to take the role of School Creativity and Arts Champion, who will be the link between their school and the opportunities available through the regional network.

Each network will receive between £175,000 and £250,000 for a full year’s activity in each year of the five year programme.

Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis said: “The Arts have the potential to capture a young person’s imagination and unleash their creativity. I want all learners across Wales, regardless of their background or personal circumstances, to have access to high quality arts and creative experiences.

“Today’s announcement is great news. I’m sure the four Regional Arts and Education Networks will play an important role in improving the opportunities for our young people so that they can enjoy the many benefits that the Arts have to offer.

“This project will play a valuable part in enhancing the creative arts through the education system in Wales which, in turn will support the principles of Professor Graham Donaldson’s report Successful Futures. This acknowledges the role that the arts play in providing inspiration and motivation for learners, giving them contact with the creative processes, performances and products of others and stimulating their own experimentation and creativity.”

Diane Hebb, Director of Participation and Engagement, Arts Council of Wales said: “We want to see all children have access to the arts regardless of where they live and go to school. Creative and cultural education gives our young people the enriching experiences they need at an early age while also developing the talent and creative thinking that is powering Wales’ creative industries. We need to do as much as we can to support creative and cultural education through initiatives such as this. Better partnership working and a more strategic approach is key and we look forward to seeing the results of this vital new addition to the scheme. We are delighted with the proposals that came forward and excited about working with the consortia.”

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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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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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