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Education

Review for Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol

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A NEW group is to be set up to review the future role of Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the Welsh Government has announced.

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which was established in 2011, provides independent oversight, management and supports the development of Welsh-medium higher education across Wales.

The activities of the Coleg support the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy and Welsh-medium Education Strategy.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams outlined how five years after the Coleg was established, now is the right time to consider its role and future development.

The new task and finish group will review the activities of the organisation and make recommendations on the way forward. The review will inform future policy and budget decisions and, as part of the Cabinet Secretary’s Progressive Agreement with the First Minister, will also consider the relationship between the Coleg and the further education sector.

Kirsty Williams said: “Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol plays a key part in making sure our young people on leaving school can continue to use the language and maintain and develop their language skills for use in future employment.

“Following five years of operation, it is now is the right time to consider the role of the Coleg for the future. That is why I am announcing the establishment of a task and finish group to review the activities of the Coleg and make recommendations on the way forward.

“I will appoint a chair in the coming weeks and representation will be sought from key stakeholders with experience and expertise in the field of higher education, further education and Welsh-medium learning.”

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s shadow education minister, said: “Extending Coleg Cymraeg’s remit to include post-16 education would be an important step in the development of Welsh-medium education. Any measure that provides greater opportunities for further education and work-based learning through the medium of Welsh is to be welcomed, but it remains to be seen how the measures proposed for review will be funded.

“We will not know how serious the Cardiff Labour Government is about increasing Welsh-medium further education opportunities until such details are known. Hopefully the proposals amount to more than false promises and are fully funded and implemented.”

Cadan ap Tomos, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Welsh language and young people, said: “I’ve seen so many of my classmates, and students across Wales, benefiting from a Welsh language higher education that might never have existed without the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

“But aspiring plumbers and carers should have just as much opportunity to learn their skills in Welsh as historians or lawyers. Expanding the Coleg’s remit would equip more young people with work-based Welsh language skills, helping the Welsh language become the language of choice in even more workplaces.

“Setting up the Coleg five years ago has had a transformational impact on the breadth and quality of Welsh language higher education. Now is the time to expand its remit so further education students can benefit too.”

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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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