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Pembroke Dock: Future uncertain for Catholic primary school

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THE HERALD understands that the governing body of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Pembroke Dock, is commencing a period of consultation on the future of the school. It has consulted with the trustees of the Diocese of Menevia on the governing body’s proposal to close the school permanently from April 2019 and has received their agreement to take the next steps in this process.

Parents were outside the school gates on Wednesday to demand answers, and say they are organising a meeting at the school on Friday (Sep 28)

The governers released a statement which reads: “As the school is a voluntary aided school, the proposal to consider it for closure has to be agreed by the GB and the trustees of the Diocese. However, the governing body has asked the Local Authority to provide support from officers to ensure that the requirements of the statutory consultation process are met and this will be discussed at the next meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council on October 11.

“The next stage of the process is the publishing of a consultation document with detailed information on the school which will be widely available and comments will be invited from members of the public and organisations including the Diocese and Local Authority. These comments will be considered by the GB prior to it making a final decision on the school’s future.”

A spokesperson commented “The decision has been made with great sadness, but it was felt to be the only one left to governors for a variety of reasons.

“There has been a dramatic fall in the school’s roll in recent years and we now have only 32 full time pupils at the school.

“There has been a significant drop in Catholic baptisms in the local area, reducing demand for places and the low numbers have called into question the financial viability of the school.”

A spokesperson for the Diocesan Director of Education commented “The Trustees of the Diocese of Menevia have accepted the GB’s decision with a heavy heart, and has urged all parties to work together to ensure continuity of access to Catholic education for any child whose parent desires it.

“The governing body will work towards this with the Diocese and Local Authority and to safeguard so far as possible, the employment of all those members of staff affected.”

The GB has been assured that there is sufficient capacity in other local schools to secure alternative places for the school’s pupils.

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Crocodiles to appear at Folly Farm in early 2020

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A PAIR of crocodiles is set to join the Folly Farm family and be shown off in a new enclosure. The West African Dwarf crocodiles will take their place in the Tropical Trails exhibit next February.

The fascinating reptiles are classified as vulnerable due to being hunted for their meat and having their habitats destroyed. The crocs are labelled as ‘dwarf’ in name only, as both are over five foot long at 29 years old. Folly Farm is re-homing them from Drayton Manor Park, their home for several years, as it is currently renovating its crocodile enclosures.

The female of the duo was caught in the wild as part of the illegal pet trade and seized by customs whilst her male companion was captive-bred at Barcelona Zoo. The two crocs will join sloths, bats and snakes in the Tropical Trails enclosure.

Folly Farm’s zoo curator, Tim Morphew, said: “Tropical Trails seeks to highlight the issues of habitat destruction and the illegal pet trade, so these new additions will be a flagship species for the conservation messages we’re trying to deliver. We’re designing the enclosure to replicate the swampy, forest habitats in Africa with plenty of glass viewing windows so our visitors will get a good view of these powerful creatures.”

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Community Engagement Event in Narberth

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A PART of the roll out of information about the Household Waste and Recycling Changes, Pembrokeshire County Council will have information and advice for local residents.  It is a chance to find out about:

  • Reusable Nappy Scheme
  • Absorbent Hygiene Product collections (AHP’s)
  • Availability of assisted collections
  • Kerbside Sort – New method and new containers
  • Additional recyclable household items
  • Text alerts for collection days

There will also be plans on show of the current active travel routes in Narberth and residents will be able to discuss and comment on how they work for the town and how they could be improved whilst planning for the future.

An officer from Sustrans, the Sustainable Transport Charity, will also demonstrate what has been done so far with the multi user route from Narberth to Haverfordwest and what plans there are for the future.

Cllr. Vic Dennis said

“All 3 of these pieces of work are part of the local efforts to reduce carbon and improve our environment, along with helping us to access and enjoy our environment.  I am delighted that we have staff from County Hall here to advise and answer questions as well as listen to local people.

The roll out for the new recycling and waste collection is planned for 4th November so it will be very timely to have this information available before then.  Join us in the Sports Hall at Bloomfield Community Centre, Narberth between 1-4pm on Weds 23rd October 2019.

I hope that residents from the surrounding area will also take the opportunity to join us to find out more.”

This is a part of a wide information campaign so look out for further information in the press, on social media and on the website at www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/waste-changes

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‘Man o’ war’ creatures wash up on Pembrokeshire shores

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PEMBROKESHIRE residents are being warned to be careful on beaches after sightings of stinging jellyfish.
‘Atlantic Portuguese man o’ war’ have been washed up in Freshwater East and West, Newgale, Amroth and Angle in Pembrokeshire and the coastguard are requesting any sightings to be reported to them immediately.

The creatures, which resemble jellyfish but are a species of siphonophore, cause painful stings if people come in contact with their tentacles. Similar sightings have been reported on beaches in Cornwall and Ireland and it is thought that the recent Storm Lorenzo has brought more of the creatures to the Welsh waters.

Freshwater East Coast Care Group, which has been monitoring numbers at Freshwater beach, said they had collected about 60 of the creatures so far and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has since warned people not to touch them, not to walk barefoot on the beach and to keep pets away.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park said: “If you or your dog are stung and experience severe or lasting pain seek medical or veterinary advice immediately.”

According to National Geographic, the creatures, whose scientific name is Physalia Physalis, look like jellyfish but are not classed as such because what looks like one organism is a colony of organisms, known as polyps, working together.
True jellyfish are single organisms and the ‘man o’ war’ are carnivorous invertebrates and have a gas-filled bladder which floats above the water, and tentacles which deliver their sting. The tentacles can grow up to 165ft (50m) in length so caution is advised if one is spotted at your local beach.

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