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Education

Lifelong learning achievements celebrated

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THE DESIRE for and the love of learning is a guiding principle for the Lifelong Learning programme at Aberystwyth University.

That was the key message from Professor Judy Broady-Preston, Director of the Institute of Professional Development at Aberystwyth University, at the institution’s annual Lifelong Learning and Learn Welsh Awards Ceremony on Monday,October 23.

The successes and achievements of students of all ages on a range of lifelong courses were recognised at the ceremony hosted at the University’s Medrus conference centre.

These included the Certificate of Continuing Education that acknowledged learners who have completed 120 credits across a broad range of subjects, and the Certificate of Higher Education, which can take between two and six years to complete on a part-time basis.

Successful students were presented with certificates by Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Professor Treasure said: “Aberystwyth University has a long and distinguished history of encouraging life-long learning not only among staff and full-time students but the wider community. It is important to recognise the commitment and the many hours of personal study that this involves and the benefits that lifelong learning brings. I’m delighted that many of our students receiving certificates here today will now progress onto higher levels of study, at Undergraduate and Masters. I wish them all well in their endeavours, and thank our tutors for their dedication to learning and for making all of this possible.”

In all,27 students were presented with Certificates of Higher Education in Art and Design, Creative Writing, Genealogy, Languages, Psychology, Field Ecology, and the Diploma of Higher Education in Field and Conservation Ecology.

Individual awards were presented to both students and staff during the ceremony in recognition of their contributions, successes and achievements.

The Rob Strachan Memorial Prize – named after the renowned mammal ecologist, conservationist and Lifelong Learning tutor who died after a short illness in 2014 – was awarded to Suzanne Ellis for her portfolio of work on the Understanding Mammals courses.

Art students Candy Bedworth and Frances Isaac were presented with the Student of the Year Award. Both were nominated for their award by their tutors and fellow students.

Candy, who lives in Mallwyd, was acknowledge for her work on an educational flyer assessment designed for students with sight impairments which was shared at the University’s Teaching and Learning Conference in July 2017.

Frances Isaacs from Llangorse near Brecon, was described as an “inspiring” artist and “encouraging and modest” as a fellow student, and someone about whom “everyone had something positive to say”.

Three tutors shared the Lifelong Learning Annual Tutor Award.

Ethel Cure, Kaori Oikawa and Patricia Aitchison were nominated for the award by their students.

Spanish tutor Ethel was described as “a gem of a teacher and an example for the language teaching profession.”

Kaori, who teachers Japanese, was described as someone who loves her subject and’encourages students to speak to give them confidence in the language they are learning’.

An​ ​’inspirational tutor who motivates everyone in the class’, French tutor Patricia was acknowledged for teaching with’humour and a light touch’.

Professor Judy Broady-Preston, Director of the Institute for Professional Development at Aberystwyth University said: “Aberystwyth has rightly been designated as a people’s university, founded as it was by ordinary people’s subscriptions. The University was established because a local community had both the desire for and the love of learning, and I am delighted that this remains true today. It is not always easy to find time to learn, but those of us who do attend courses such as these benefit in such a wide variety of ways. I would also like to pay tribute to all the staff who design, deliver and organise the courses and say thank you to them.”

The event also celebrated the work of organisations that have been promoting the use of Welsh and students who have been learning the language.

The Welsh in the Family Award was presented to former Aberystwyth Mayor and performer Sue Jones-Davies.

The Brecon Beacons National Park was presented with the Welsh in the Workplace Award, and Clwb Clonc Caersws was presented with the Welsh Group of the Year.

Certificates were also presented to students who have successfully completed their WJEC ‘Use of Welsh’ Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced qualifications, and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Welsh Language Skills Certificate.

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Education

New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest

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A NEW independent sixth form is set to open in Haverfordwest in September 2021. The latest addition to Castle School, which relocated to Haverfordwest in 2020, the new sixth form will offer 20 different A Level subjects and a BTEC in business through bespoke study programmes that include options to study online or in the sixth form. Students will also get the option to complete work and study placements abroad.

The launch of the sixth form comes after a busy year for Castle School, which relocated from Narberth to Haverfordwest in September 2020, taking over and refurbishing Glenover House, a beautiful old ‘gentlemen’s residence’ that had been empty for five years. The move enabled the school to expand and increase its educational provision.

In addition to its main building, the school has a cookery school and performing arts facility in Snowdrop Lane, and a further site on Snowdrop Lane which is being specially converted to create the sixth form centre. The site will also include an indoor sports facility for whole school use.

The sixth form is designed with flexible study in mind: as well as offering a broad range of subjects and the ability to study online from any location, it will provide instant access study support as well as face to face teaching. In addition, students will get the option to study for one of their A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, in order to experience a different learning environment.

Other milestones for Castle School this year include the opening of a second independent school, Westward House, in St Clears and the purchase of a narrow boat, which will be moored on the Avon and Kennet canal. This will give pupils opportunities for short residential trips to Bristol, Bath and beyond.

“With a floating hotel licence, our newest acquisition will enable small groups of pupils to take their studies further afield and benefit from enhanced learning, extracurricular boating skills and a look at the wider world,” said Harriet Harrison, owner of Castle School and Westward House.

“Things have been tricky over the past year, but along with many others we have seen the difficulties of a world of Covid not as an opportunity for excuses but as a time for stepping up, working harder and making things better and stronger wherever possible. Our schools are thriving, and despite being desperate to get back to normal, we have used this time to improve our facilities for all the children in our care who are coming back after these long periods of lockdown and remote schooling. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

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Education

U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education

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SCHOOLS in Wales will now teach first aid and lifesaving skills as part of the new curriculum.

Wales will join England and Scotland by introducing first aid and lifesaving kills to their national secondary education curriculum.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister had previously rejected the calls for emergency resuscitation skills to be compulsory in school.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was introduced in the secondary school curriculum in England in September 2020.

Local authorities in Scotland have also committed to introduce lifesaving skills to their secondary education curriculum.

The British Heart Foundation had backed the campaign for CPR to be taught in schools.

In a long fought battle, Suzy Davies, a Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, secured the commitment from the Welsh Education Minister in the course of debating amendments to the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which will make sweeping changes to the way Welsh children are educated.

The new curriculum for Wales is planned to come into force from 2022.

Children, parents, families and medics have long argued that regular teaching of CPR in particular will raise our children to have the skills and confidence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest if they encounter them outside a hospital setting.

The commitment was included in the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the Assembly election in 2016, and Suzy Davies, the Shadow Education Minister, said:

“After 10 years campaigning for this, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

“From securing cross-party support for this in my early days as an Assembly Member, through several debates and pitches to different Ministers, on to my own proposed legislation which found favour among Senedd Members, it was difficult to understand why Welsh Government was so resistant.

“In this country, our chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside hospital are as poor as 10%. In countries around the world where teaching CPR and defibrillator use is compulsory, those odds improve dramatically. These skills are quick and easy to learn and easy to remember.

“ Alun Davies MS – himself a cardiac arrest survivor – has rightly argued that we should be able to learn these skills at any time in our lives and that defibrillators should be a commonplace feature of our public landscape. I couldn’t agree more – but how simple it is to ingrain these skills from an early age and raise generation after generation of lifesavers.”

Under the new curriculum, teachers must follow statutory guidance made by Ministers to support various aspects of the new way of teaching. After changes guaranteed by the Education Minister, this guidance will now instruct teachers that they should teach lifesaving skills and first aid: It is no longer optional.

The mandatory teaching of life saving skills and first aid (not just CPR) has been supported by the medical profession, including paramedics and fire service co-responders, as well as charities like St. John’s Cymru, British Heart Foundation, Calon Defibrillators, Cariad and the Red Cross.

It is taught through many youth groups, including Torfaen Sea Cadets who trained Aneurin Metcalfe, the young man who saved someone’s life only this week.

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Education

Styling their way to the top

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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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