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Education

British Council endorses International English Centre

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THE INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH CENTRE at Aberystwyth University is delighted to receive its latest accreditation from the British Council.

The British Council visited the University in March as part of its UK-wide Accreditation Scheme and published its full report this month.

The scheme gives an assurance of quality to international students who are taking or are planning to take courses in English as a foreign language in universities and colleges and schools in the UK.

Institutions are inspected on a four-yearly basis, with unannounced interim visits organised between inspections.

The inspection team assess the standards of management, resources and premises, teaching, welfare, and care of under 18s, with accreditation awarded to organisations meeting the overall standard in each area inspected.

Director of the International English Centre (IEC) at Aberystwyth University, Rachael Davey, said: “We are extremely pleased with our latest positive inspection report from the British Council. It notes Aberystwyth’s strengths in the areas of staff management, student administration, quality assurance, learning resources, course design, learner management, teaching, care of students, accommodation, and leisure opportunities. Thanks are due to the dedicated team at the International English Centre and other staff across the University who work hard to ensure all our students receive quality teaching and an excellent student experience.”

The British Council’s 2017 accreditation report notes that ‘

resources for learning and teaching are of very high standard and excellent technological equipment and support is available ‘.

The latest report arrived during another busy summer period for the International English Centre at Aberystwyth.

A group of senior students from Nguyen Tan Thanh High School in Hanoi, Vietnam, introduced to the University by British Council, Hanoi, have been getting a taste of university life in Aberystwyth.

The 16 and 17-year-olds arrived in Aberystwyth University on 16 July and have been staying in student accommodation at Fferm Penglais.

During their three-week visit, the Vietnamese students have been having English language lessons as well as taster sessions in seven different academic departments across the University.

Student Tong Thi Thanh Thuy said: “I love the IEC staff – the teachers are so dedicated and everyone is so kind. I had amazing experiences in the academic departments, and being here helped me to improve my English and become more mature. I will definitely recommend Aberystwyth to my friends.”

Other groups spending time in Aberystwyth this summer include students from Nanchang Institute of Technology in China who are taking a course in English with Water Conservation, delivered in collaboration with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES).

Students from Hohai University in China are also spending six weeks in Aberystwyth following an English with Environmental Science Course, which again is organised jointly by the IEC and DGES.

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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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