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Head Teacher struck off

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Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 14.48.46THE FORMER Head-Teacher at Ysgol Gynradd Eglwyswrw was struck off by a disciplinary panel in Cardiff on Thursday (Jan 28) after being found guilty of professional misconduct.

An Education Workforce Panel found that Shan Harries had inflated Year Six pupils’ test results in order to avoid an adverse report from Estyn, the body responsible for the inspection and regulation of education and training in Wales.

Ms Harries had previously admitted telling an administrator to amend the results, but denied improving them. Ms Harries argued that it was within her rights as head teacher to adjust the results to reflect the achievements of its pupils.

The panel was told that Mrs Harries had earlier denied adjusting the results during an investigation of her conduct by Pembrokeshire County Council.

A member of school staff told the hearing that Mrs Harries had told her that the marks had to be made to look good ‘because we don’t want Estyn coming back again’.

Recommendations had been made following an earlier Estyn inspection and presenting officer Cadi Dewi told panel members that Mrs Harries was ‘underpressure because of that and she knew they were going to visit the school the following year’.

While the Estyn report for the school had been good overall, the panel was told that Mrs Harries was concerned about a specific recommendation relating to Welsh writing for pupils at Key Stage Two at the school.

Evidence given before the panel indicated that there was considerable tension between Mrs Harries’ approach to attainment issues and other members of the school teaching staff.

Speaking to the panel, Mrs Harries’ Deputy Head Tim Davies said: “She said we had to raise the standards of writing in the school. All pupils in Year Six had to reach Level Four.

“I remember saying that there were going to be some children who would struggle to achieve this given the cohort of children we had.”

Mr Davies also referred to at least one ‘heated’ conversation with Mrs Harries about increasing the level of attainment expected of the school’s students to unreasonable or unrealistic levels.

Reading a statement from Ms Harries, her solicitor Esyllt Green said: “I dedicated my entire life to my work as teacher and head teacher at Eglwyswrw County Primary School, and I am fully aware of the full extent of my actions.

“I relive it every day and night and I am full of remorse at what has happened.

“I had to deal with all the rumours and gossip that naturally occurs when a head teacher leaves a school suddenly in a close knit community.

“My picture appeared on the front page of the local newspaper which made the situation worse but the comments that appeared beneath the online story were supportive.”

EWC committee chairman Richard Parry Jones, said: “We are satisfied on the basis of Ms Harries’ admissions and our findings that her conduct amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.

“Registered teachers are to act with honesty and integrity and to uphold their conduct in teaching.

“That is the decision of the committee following detailed consideration of the evidence presented to us.”

Ms Harries was made the subject of a prohibition order, which will prevent her from teaching in any capacity. She has 28 days to appeal.

A member of school staff told the hearing that Mrs Harries had told her that the marks had to be made to look good “because we don’t want Estyn coming back again”.

Recommendations had been made following an earlier Estyn inspection and presenting officer Cadi Dewi told panel members that Mrs Harries was: “under pressure because of that and she knew they were going to visit the school the following year.”

While the Estyn report for the school had been good overall, the panel was told that Mrs Harries was concerned about a specific recommendation relating to Welsh writing for pupils at Key Stage Two at the school.

Evidence given before the panel indicated that there was considerable tension between Mrs Harries’s approach to attainment issues and other members of the school teaching staff.

Mrs Harries’ deputy head, Tim Davies, told the panel Mr Davies said: “She said we had to raise the standards of writing in the school. All pupils in year six had to reach level four.

“I remember saying that there was going to be some children who would struggle to achieve this given the cohort of children we had.”

Mr Davies also referred to at least one ‘heated’ conversation with Mrs Harries about increasing the level of attainment expected of the school’s students to unreasonable or unrealistic levels.

Mrs Harries denies any dishonest intent, while a picture has emerged at the panel hearing of increasing pressure being brought to bear on head teachers by Estyn demanding that certain levels of attainment be met regardless of past results or experience at schools inspected.

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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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Community

Environmental projects supported by Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund

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PROJECTS involving worm composting, community planting and solar panels were just some of the projects that recently received support from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.

More than £140,000 was awarded to eight projects at the committee’s January meeting with the next deadline for applications set for 12 noon on 23 March.

Clynfyw Care Farm was successful with an application for a vermicomposting project, which will create a quality rich sustainable compost that can be used to improve soil conditions organically. This will support local vegetable producers and sequestrate carbon in the process.

The Newport Area Environment Group will receive funding to lead a community planting project promoting decarbonisation through biodiversity.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy secured financial support to research a Pembrokeshire-wide Energy Efficiency program, with the aim of reducing energy use and tackling fuel poverty by increasing and normalising the uptake of low carbon life choices.

Funding for photovoltaic (PV) panels was agreed for projects submitted by Herbrandston Sports and Recreation Association, South Ridgeway Community Association, Neuadd Gymuned Bwlchygroes Community Hall, Ramsey Island Nature resort and Visitor Centre, and Crymych Rugby club, who all received funding to help harness solar energy.

Directors from Clynfyw Care Farm said: “Thanks to funding from SDF, this worm composting project will be a useful tool for engaging with people, reducing CO2 and teaching a simple sustainable process with important stages in a safe, supported environment. Once established, vermicompost will be available for purchase in local outlets, providing an environmentally-friendly alternative for local growers.”

Applications for funding are encouraged from not for profit groups, including village halls, community councils and environmental groups in the county who have a project that will contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

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News

Council: Despite a rise Pembrokeshire still has lowest council tax in Wales

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCILLORS have voted to back a recommendation of a 3.75 percent increase in Council Tax for the coming year.

The increase equates to an extra 82p per week for Band D properties.

Pembrokeshire will still have the lowest Council Tax in Wales with Pembrokeshire Band D Council Tax payers paying £214.11, or £4.11 per week, less than the average across the country.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, the Cabinet Member for Finance, said the increase had been reduced from a proposed 5 per cent to 3.75 per cent to reduce the impact on Council Tax payers.

Introducing the budget to members, Cllr Kilmister said to go for a figure below 3.75 per cent would inevitably lead to much higher rises in future years.

Falling below 3.75 per cent would also lead to cuts in Council services, Cllr Kilmister said.

He added: “A reduction in services and staff numbers will affect the poorest in our communities the most. I believe we have a duty to these people.”

Councillors also voted for Council house rents to be increased by 1.5% for the coming year plus increases of up to 50p per week where properties are not at target rent levels.

The votes were taken at the full meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council held on Thursday, March 4.

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