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Education

Cabinet agrees on Pupil Referral Unit scheme

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ON MONDAY the IPPG Cabinet endorsed a recommendation that, subject to consultation, the County Council changes its current specialist provision for pupils with Behavioural Emotional Social Difficulties Pupils. 

The Cabinet considered no detailed or comprehensive report on the proposal, which was accompanied by a document that contained no information about how much the change in provision would cost or how it would be funded within the existing education budget. The Cabinet member with responsibility for the scheme made a very brief presentation of the recommendation, stating that: “There is a very small minority that need long term specialist support”. The IPPG’s wish to cut the Pupil Referral Unit stems from an Estyn inspection in July 2013 which judged that the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) was in need of significant improvement. Described as “re-providing”, the Cabinet has tacitly endorsed cutting provision at the PRU site in Neyland and moving pupils with BESD and anxiety disorders into main stream schooling. As the Pembrokeshire Herald reported previously, neither the training nor recruitment of staff to deliver the “re-provided” service are in place, and no “consultation” has taken place at all.T The decision endorses, retaining existing Key Stage 1 and 2 provision for up to 32 part-time pupils. The changes require new registration with the Welsh Government while further provision will be developed for pupils within secondary schools and through six special school placements commissioned for Key Stages 3 & 4. Again, no detail of the scheme was provided and it appears as though the IPPG Cabinet are either in possession of information not made public or are not concerned about having neither financial information nor details of the “re-provision” when making their decision. Council leader Jamie Adams added: “The PRU should have a revolving door policy, in many places this has not been happening. It is far more important that pupils are referred to the service. It can be incredibly disruptive for a child to be removed from education”. Cllr Huw George said: “Early intervention is key. It must be better for the child and the school but this will bring positive outcomes”. As no information has been placed in the public domain regarding the rationale underpinning the cut, the basis for the IPPG Cabinet’s confident pronouncement on an apparently uncosted and un-resourced policy ahead of a “consultation” is yet to be tested.

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Education

A practical lesson for primary school pupils on the problem of plastic pollution

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A PEMBROKESHIRE primary school came up with a novel way to educate its young pupils about the problems of plastic pollution.

Goodwick CP School took its year 2 and 3 pupils to Fishguard Leisure Centre where the swimming pool was filled with plastic waste. The lesson was the idea of class teacher Miss Davies,
whose is teaching the effect of plastic on the environment and particularly the sea.

The children worked together to clean the pool of single use plastic, collecting more than ten bags of rubbish.

The school posted on Facebook: “Miss Davies’ class had a bit of a shock when they arrived at the swimming pool for a swimming lesson today!

“The pool was unfortunately full of plastic.

“It gave the children an insight into what it must be like for marine life living amongst plastic pollution.

“They then worked together to clean the pool.

“Thank you to Richards Bros for getting the children there and back, and to the staff of the leisure centre for allowing us to do this.”

Photos of the lesson were shared nearly 3,000 times from the school’s Facebook page.

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Education

Milford Haven: Major award presented to Gelliswick School

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A SCHOOL which has put family and community engagement at the heart of school life has been recognised with a prestigious national award.

Gelliswick Church in Wales VC Primary School was announced as the winner of the ‘Closing the Gap’ category in the 2019 Inspire! Adult Learning Awards.

The school was nominated by Springboard, a Learning Pembrokeshire
project which runs a wide range of courses for adults and families in targeted areas.

Laura Phillips, Springboard Co-ordinator, said family activities take place at the school every day of the week and the community room is the very first thing you can access when you enter the building.

“When the local authority took the decision to close the two schools serving the communities of Hakin and Hubberston there was some resistance and uncertainty,” she said.

“Before the new school’s official opening, the Headteacher secured funding to support projects to build bridges between the communities, who were anxious about their children moving to a new school.”

Headteacher Nick Dyer said the challenge was to ‘reach out to parents in a way that would bring the community together and to do this in a way that would mean not just a smooth transition to the new school, but would be transformative in terms of skills, ambition and future prospects’.

“That’s why we made a commitment from the outset to support family learning,” he said.

Enjoying family learning at Gelliswick School. More than 70 courses have been delivered at the school since September 2017.

More than 70 courses have been delivered at the school since September 2017, engaging 187 adults aged between 18 and 81.

Courses help adults develop their essential skills and their capacity to support their children in English and Maths. The school has also funded a range of courses that embed essential skills in a creative way.
In preparation for the launch of the new school, the community also came together to produce stained glass windows, a photographic legacy book and a community choir also emerged.

Nick Dyer explains, “Leaders at the school recognise that for children to truly learn, they must be motivated by knowing that others, and most importantly their families, believe in them.

“It is a powerful thing for children to see adults choosing to learn. It is especially powerful if those adults are their own parents and they are learning together.”

Carol Mayled from Springboard is responsible for engaging families on the courses, “I see my students battle all weathers to come into school and learn new skills, either for themselves or with their children,” she said.

“Gelliswick School is a place where my students feel comfortable coming to. They come because they want to and because they want to make a difference.”

Community engagement at the school is now so strong that parents have helped to raise over £16k to support family activities. Parents are volunteering their time as crèche workers to support other families to access family learning and others are qualifying to become Learning Support Assistants in the school.

Laura Phillips added: “Gelliswick School has put the community at the heart of its development and thanks to that, the heart is pumping stronger than ever!”

Enjoying family learning at Gelliswick School. More than 70 courses have been delivered at the school since September 2017.

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Education

Prestigious Open University award presented to Monkton Primary School

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MONKTON Priory Primary School’s successful mission to engage parents and the wider community in adult learning has been recognised with an Open University 50th Anniversary award.

The school won the OU50’s Special Award Category as part of the Inspire! Adult Learning Awards.

Head teacher Shelley Morris set out to provide adult education in the community by creating Launch Adult Learning in 2012.

She said: “The project has a clear purpose – achieving the best outcomes, raising attainment and aspirations for children within the setting and this goes hand in hand with providing opportunities for learning, skills and qualifications for parents.”

A wide range of accredited courses are available as well as foundation degrees in partnership with UWTSD (University of Wales Trinity St David). Site Safety training is also available which has proved invaluable for those seeking work in local industry.

“The courses are designed to give parents and the wider community the skills and confidence to find employment,” said Shelley.

To date, 1,546 adults have enrolled on classes, 79 students have achieved a foundation degree, and 53 students have gained a full BA degree – 18 of which are from the Gypsy and Traveller community. Four year-groups also run in the evenings.

“Learning together is our school motto,” said Shelley Morris. “The children see that education doesn’t finish when you become an adult. Seeing their parents and other adults studying sends a powerful message about the importance of learning, and has a hugely positive impact on the lives of both the child and the adult.”

A free crèche is also available to remove one of the main barriers to learning – which in itself is a source of training, with accredited crèche worker courses and a learning centre available thanks to Launch co-ordinator Kellie Bellmaine.

“We now have a pool of qualified crèche workers and they’ve accessed employment not only with us but with partner organisations,” said Kellie.

The celebratory OU50 awards aim to recognise organisation and individuals delivering learning in a unique and engaging way or opening up access to education in their community.

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