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‘Ambivalent’ label blamed on admin error

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admin errorMILFORD HAVEN Councillor, Viv Stoddart has received an apology after her views regarding the amalgamation of Hakin and Hubberston schools were misrepresented by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Cllr Stoddart told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Despite ticking the box for opposing the merger of the two schools, and attendant comments against the proposal, some functionary labelled me in the public document as “ambivalent.” Given the strong feeling amongst my constituents, this label is potentially damaging. The explanation from the Council was an admin error.”

Kate Evan-Hughes said in an email to Viv Stoddart: “Further to your comments regarding misrepresentation of your views in the consultation document, I have now been able to undertake a review of the correspondence and your online submission and can confirm that you did indeed make it clear that you objected to the option to amalgamate Hakin and Hubberston schools. Please accept my apology for this.”

“To remedy the situation the Cabinet member will make it clear at the start of the agenda item that we have received correspondence from you that your views have been misrepresented and that due to an administrative error the report will need to be amended to reflect the error. This will ensure that there is a formal minute of the change and this will then in turn be available publicly via the Council website.”

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday, February 10, Jamie Adams, leader of the Council, told committee members: “I have received a letter from Cllr Viv Stoddart which I will read out to you”.

Cllr Stoddart’s letter read: “The responses the authority has received are articulate, thoughtful, and responsible. Over 90% of the comments from the Hubberston School community are against the proposal to merge the two schools. The proposal needs to be set in context. Hakin and Hubberston are a single community.

“Parents are as one in supporting a long-overdue new build for Hakin Community School. This was promised when Hakin Infants and Juniors agreed to amalgamate in 2010/11 under the umbrella of the 21sC schools programme. The drive to amalgamate Hakin CS and Hubberston VC School came from this authority only last year, not from the community. There is no grass roots support for a merger, which will destroy much-valued parental choice. As the director reports, there is little appetite for the proposal. Hubberston School governors have been steadfast in their opposition to a merger.

“Estyn says that both schools currently offer a sound basis for developing primary education in the area in the future. Large schools do not automatically perform better than small schools. There is ample research to say this is not the case. And within the county Wolfscastle Community Primary School with just 36 pupils was recently ranked fourth amongst the best primary schools in Wales. It was the only one in the county to make the top twenty. Estyn also notes that the key factor in a school’s success is good leadership.

“There is a precedent for maintaining Hubberston as a separate school. Llangwm and Burton schools amalgamated some time ago, and are now housed as Cleddau Reach VC School (193 pupils aged 3-11) in a new building on the edge of Llangwm. Hook (94 pupils aged 3-11) which is less than a mile away from Cleddau Reach chose not to merge.

The authority seems comfortable with this situation, and the education provided by this thriving small school, which is akin to the good education provided by Hubberston VC school (134 pupils aged 3-11).”

The statement concluded: “If the consultation process is to be meaningful, I ask you to fulfil the promise this authority made three years’ ago to the community: to construct new premises for Hakin Community School; and to listen to the many voices in the community who oppose the proposal. They wish for Hubberston VC School to continue as a very successful, all-through primary school.”

There were three recommendations in the report: To establish a single all-through medium school, to retain the status quo and to deliver a new build just for Hakin School.

However, after considering the letter from Cllr Stoddart and the view that there was little support for those proposals, it was decided that they should defer from making a decision to further consider the options available.

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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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Haverfordwest: Police promise extra patrols for GCSE results night

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THERE will be an increased police presence in Haverfordwest tonight, in response to an anticipated influx of young people who will be celebrating their GCSE results.

Parents are being asked to go over their child’s plan for the evening, before they head out. Sergeant Haydon Mathias is overseeing the operation.

He said: “It’s a big day for teenagers, and we understand they want to celebrate after all of their hard work.

“We’ll be there to make sure they do that safely, and without disrupting others.

“This is usually a busy night for us, and historically we have seen crime and anti-social behaviour rise. You’ll notice my team out and about from early this evening to stop that happening. They’ll be seizing alcohol from anyone they suspect is under the age of 18, and dealing with any other issues that arise.

“We’re asking parents to take the reins and discuss plans before your child goes out. Make sure you know where they’re celebrating, who they’re with, and how they’re getting home. It’s useful to make sure your child’s phone is fully charged, in case of an emergency.

“I encourage anyone with concerns to come and speak to an officer or Police Community Support Officer around the town, or contact Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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Llangwm Church Donation Box Stolen

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St Jerome’s Church: Second theft in a year!

 

A DONATION box has been stolen from a village church, the second theft from the historic building in a year.

The donation box at St Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, is believed to have been taken in the last few weeks.

The box is usually kept next to the Talking Tapestry of Langum, a project which tells the story of the village’s origin with the invasion of the Flemish in the 12th century and its later history.

Pamela Hunt of Heritage Llangwm said: “This theft is the second from St. Jerome’s in a year.

“If anyone has seen or knows anything, then please let the police know.

“If they feel unable to do that, but would like to contact us at St Jerome’s Church, then email info@heritagellangwm.org.uk

“We will treat your contact in the strictest confidence.”

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