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Cabinet Secretary opens new school

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THE NEW Gelliswick Church in Wales VC Primary School has been officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM.

The school – which opened its doors to pupils and staff in the New Year – represents a £12 million investment in education in the Milford Haven area.

It is one of several new schools which have been built – or are being built – in Pembrokeshire under the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme, a collaboration between Pembrokeshire County Council and the Welsh Government who are sharing the funding.

The 515-pupil school replaces Hakin Community and Hubberston VC schools.

As well as a new build primary school, the facility provides an Early Years Unit for around 60 pupils; a Complex Needs Unit for 24 pupils and other facilities accessible to the local community.

A new 3G sports pitch has also been laid adjacent to the site.

Mrs Williams was welcomed to the school on Friday by Council Chairman, Paul Harries, and headteacher Nick Dyer along with the chairs of the School Council, pupils Mali Anne-John and Holly Pyart.

She told guests: “I am so proud that Welsh Government has been able to support your new school with match-funding of almost £5.5 million from our 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.

“This £1.4 billion programme represents the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s. It will mean the replacement and refurbishment of over 150 schools and colleges by 2019.

“This investment will also continue from 2019 onwards with further funding of £2.3 billion to ensure our education estate continues to improve while supporting our national mission to provide an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence.

“We all have a duty to our children not only to provide inspiring learning environments and the best foundation for their development but also to respect diversity in education setting.”

Earlier musical items were sung by the Gelliswick Community Choir comprising parents, grandparents, pupils, staff and other members of the public.

The choir’s formation has helped unify the new school.

After unveiling a plaque, the Cabinet Secretary toured classrooms and met pupils and teaching staff.

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Burton Ferry: Public advised to avoid oil on beach

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MEMBERS of the public have been asked to avoid a section of the beach at Burton Ferry following the discovery of oil on the shoreline.

Officers from the Public Protection team at Pembrokeshire County Council have put up warning signs advising people that part of the shore between the Jolly Sailor and the NATO jetty has been contaminated with oil. 

The County Council and other agencies are investigating the source of the oil. Work to clean up the beach will be starting soon to ensure there is minimum impact on the public and the environment.

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Stephen Crabb MP speaks out in 40 hour Brexit debate

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has spoken out against a so-called ‘No Deal Brexit’ which would see Britain leave the EU next March without a transition period or an agreement in place for the rules that will apply to trade after next March.

He defended his support for Brexit and said that he had promised on the night of the Referendum in 2016 to implement the result and do it in a responsible way which protects the economy of Pembrokeshire.

Speaking on Wednesday night in the House of Commons, Mr Crabb drew attention to the risks facing local industries like oil refining and the ferry ports connecting to Ireland if Brexit is mishandled.

“How we leave the EU really does matter to the lives of people who work in these sectors,” he said.

He warned of “very serious and specific reasons” why a No Deal Brexit would be “very bad news indeed” for the Valero oil refinery in Pembroke. He described the closure of the Murco oil refinery in 2014 as a “horrible” time for the County and said that he could not vote for anything that would create new risks for Pembrokeshire’s last remaining refinery.

Mr Crabb said that no responsible Member of Parliament for Preseli Pembrokeshire could vote for No Deal and look their constituents in the eye again.

He closed his speech by saying that he would vote for this “imperfect” deal because a perfect Brexit does not exist and Britain needs a way forward from the current divisions and argument.

FOR MORE SEE THIS WEEK’S PAPER

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Welsh Assembly Government will probe Bay City Deal

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THE WELSH Government has announced an independent investigation into the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Ken Skates, issued a written statement this evening which said that the UK and Welsh Governments had agreed the project required ‘a rapid and independent review’.
While Mr Skates’ statement is upbeat about the progress made on elements of the Deal, saying ‘all partners are committed’ to its success, the review will cover due diligence and governance in respect all aspects of the deal.
The statement concludes the review will ‘ensure that governance and oversight at programme and project level are robust’. If the review identifies weaknesses, it will recommend measures to strengthen them.
The Cabinet Secretary’s statement follows suspensions of staff from Swansea University who were concerned in elements of the Deal’s delivery, particularly the £200m+ redevelopment of the bog at Delta Lakes into a Wellness Village and Life Sciences Centre.
The move follows a call for the WAO to examine the web of companies and the tendering process made by Carmarthenshire Labour Leader, Rob James.
Carmarthenshire blogger Jacqui Thompson has highlighted potentially serious issues affecting due diligence on the Delta Lakes project. Pat Dodd Racher of West Wales News Review has also probed the project and highlighted a series of overlaps between personnel in different parts of it.
If governance and failures are identified or due diligence is shown to have been less than optimal sub-par, Mark James CBE, the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council who also heads up the City Board could find himself considerably embarrassed.
The Wellness project has been the subject of a number of articles in The Herald which have examined the corporate backgrounds of the County Council’s development partners in the project.
Tomorrow’s Herald digs further into the tangled web of connection between key individuals concerned in the Deal and particularly at Delta Lakes.

Exclusive By Jon Coles, Senior Reporter

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