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St Davids: Minister opens new school

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A NEW school for three to 16-year-olds on the St Davids peninsula has been officially opened.

Ysgol yr Eglwys yng Nghymru Penrhyn Dewi in St Davidsthe first of its kindoperates across the three sites formerly known as Ysgol Dewi Sant, Ysgol Bro Dewi and Solva Community School.

A plaque commemorating the event was unveiled earlier today (Nov 30) by Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning.

Also in attendance was the St Davids Cathedral Dean, The Very Reverend Dr Sarah Rowland-Jones.

Penrhyn Dewi is the first Church in Wales secondary phase school to open since the 1920s and the Church’s first ever 3-16 school.

The former Ysgol Dewi Sant site has seen £4 million investment into a part-new build and remodelling of teaching accommodation. The contractor was WB Griffiths and Son of Haverfordwest.

Post-16 provision for pupils is available at the new sixth form centre in Haverfordwest as part of a formal collaboration between the County Council and Pembrokeshire College.

Penrhyn Dewi opened its doors to pupils in September.

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 Diocese of St Davids also contributed to the funding of the new school.

Baroness Morgan – whose family hails from St Davids – was welcomed to the school by Council Chairman, Aden Brinn and headteacher, David Haynes.

At the official opening ceremony, musical items were performed by the Cathedral Choristers and the school choir.

She told guests: “It is a pleasure to officially open Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and I am delighted that the Welsh Government’s has made such an important investment in education in Pembrokeshire by contributing £3.4 million to the £4 million cost of renovating the school.

“The most ambitious school building programme since the 1960s, Band A of our 21st Century Schools and Education Programme will see an overall investment of £1.4billion, including over £120 million for Pembrokeshire.  Band B will see a further £2.3 billion invested, starting next year.

“Our pupils deserve the best learning environment to help them achieve their best and I’m so pleased Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi delivers this across the three campuses.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved, and wish Mr Haynes, his staff and pupils the very best of luck for the future.”

The Minister later toured the new school meeting pupils.

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School staff video spreads positive message to students

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A VIDEO featuring hundreds of Pembrokeshire educators, teachers and support staff is spreading a positive message to their students and around the world.
The video, set to the Madness hit ‘It Must Be Love’, features all staff from the education world in Pembrokeshire from hub schools to staff in their own homes, writing uplifting and supporting messages to their students.

It has been a difficult time for teachers, staff and students, with schools closed for the vast majority of pupils due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the video underlines that the education world, including teachers, is thinking of their students and urging them to remain upbeat.
Positive messages include ‘keep moving forward’, ‘keep calm, stay safe, look after each other’, ‘keep smiling’ and ‘we will get through this’.
There are also messages of support for key workers and NHS staff.
And the final video – which went from idea to release in just two days – has been a hit on social media, reaching more than 33,000 people in less than a week.
It has attracted supportive comments from Canada to Australia.
Educators rallied to the call to get involved in the Together Educate project which was the idea of Kelly Monroe, Schools Curriculum Manager with Really Pro who provide innovative alternative education services to secondary schools across the county.
Kelly, along with teachers from HHVC school Kate Hudson-Brown, Mollie Hughes, Rhian Owens, and videographer Dean Harries from We The Dee set about getting all educational staff involved in the project.
As well as filming at hubs which have remained open to cater for children of key workers, such as Milford Haven and Haverfordwest High School, an essential ingredient was to get school staff who are currently are at home to join via video link.
And when the time came, the response from the educational world was incredible.
“We didn’t really know what the response would be,” Kelly explained.
“But when we turned on we were absolutely blown away.
“We had to get extra screens just to try to fit everyone in. We had about 300 people wanting to get involved.
“The whole idea was about bringing people together and what shone through is the way that teachers and school staff are missing their students, missing the buzz and the noise of school life and missing what they are fantastic at – educating and teaching.”
The messages that have flooded in following the video have been full of support.
One from a NHS worker said they had suffered a bad day but the video had greatly lifted their spirits.
Kelly added: “The response has been overwhelming. It was a balancing act to bring some joy without being flippant at the situation.
“It was eerie filming in some of the empty classrooms and corridors.
At times I felt quite tearful and overwhelmed because when you love this profession seeing an empty classroom is actually hard to absorb especially when you know what’s going on outside in the world, and you care about the kids.
“But the video’s aim was not to focus on the situation but be full of positivity and the message is that those classrooms and corridors will be full of life again.
“We may not know exactly when but they will and when they are all the amazing educators, support staff and teachers will be there ready to greet our pupils with energy and gratitude”
Together Educate Facebook page has also re-released a video entitled ‘The Gift of Kindness’ filmed in Milford Haven School with Really Pro and the staff and pupils from the school which was originally shared on social media in December 2019.
The video has taken on extra meaning in the current circumstances.

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Pembrokeshire suspends car parking charges for NHS, health and social care workers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is to waive charges in its car parks for NHS, health and social care workers from Thursday, April 2.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licencing and Major Events, Cllr Phil Baker, said: “We are very aware that the car parks provide our NHS, health and social care workers with access to essential services such as food and medical supplies.

“The Council will, from today, waive car park fees for this group of workers and this will remain in place during the current lockdown.

“These critical workers will be encouraged to display supporting evidence in their windscreen, such as photocopies of their work pass – with any sensitive information removed – or a letter of evidence from their employer as their parking permit.”

Councillor Baker said the decision would be reviewed in line with Welsh and UK Government guidelines.

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Public bus services change in Pembrokeshire

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Due to the current situation there are a number of changes required
to public bus services in Pembrokeshire.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing
and Major Events, Councillor Phil Baker, said: “Changes are required
in order to respond to the Coronavirus situation, and to continue to
maintain services to key locations such as hospitals, GP surgeries,
pharmacies and certain food stores.

“The timetable information on the Council’s website will be kept up-to-
date but unfortunately it is not possible to update the information
displayed at all bus stops.

“These arrangements may be subject to further change at short
notice, and I would ask that anyone wanting to use public transport
services to please visit our website or ring 01437 764551 for the latest
up to date information.”

The one-day-a-week timetable for Coastal Buses (387/8, 400, 404
and 405) will remain until further notice.

Both Community Transport and the Bus Buddies service are

A full list of all public bus services in Pembrokeshire and the current
service provision is listed below. A number of services will be
operated on a dial-a-ride basis.

suspended until further notice.

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