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Neyland Community School closing early on Fridays

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NEYLAND COMMUNITY SCHOOL is giving its 300 pupils Friday afternoons off, with that time set to be used to provide further staff training.

The school posted on Facebook on Monday (Apr 8): “Following the recent consultation on the proposed asymmetric working week, the governing body have voted to make changes to the timings of the school day from September 2019 with an amendment to the start time of the original proposal.”

Monday to Friday the part-time nursery will continue to run 8.45am – 11.30am. Full-time nursery, reception and Years 1 and 2 will finish the day at 12.15pm, or 12.45pm if staying for lunch, compared to the 3.10pm finish from Monday to Thursday. Years 3 – 6 will finish at 12.25pm, or 12.55pm if staying for lunch, compared to the 3.20pm finish from Monday to Thursday.

The post continued: “Alternatively, finish time on Friday will be 3pm if your child stays for Friday activities. These activities will be put on by the school at no cost to parents/carers. Breakfast Club hours will remain the same, 8.00am – 8.45am. The Neyland Kids Club after school club facility within our school will continue to run until 5.45pm daily.”

The school states: “The aim is to further raise standards and improve outcomes for all learners across the school.
“The benefit will be increased professional learning and thus development, further upskilling the whole workforce. This will directly and positively impact on pupils through them gaining new skills and benefitting from getting a better education.
“The biggest impact on pupils’ outcomes is proven to be collective teacher efficiency, which can only happen with dedicated time.”

Pembroke Dock Community School and Ysgol Harri Tudur are two more schools that have both started closing early on Friday afternoons.
Ysgol Harri Tudur, a high school with around 1,500 pupils in Pembroke Dock, is open from 8.40am to 3.15pm Monday to Thursday. On Friday it shuts early with school running from 8.40am and stopping “formal learning” at 1.30pm.

Ysgol Harri Tudur’s website says: “Our new school day includes an early finish on Fridays to allow for an extensive programme of pupil enrichment activities, whilst also enabling professional development time to support teachers.”
Pembroke Dock Community School opens at 08:45 on Fridays and shuts at 12:15pm on Fridays or 12:45pm for pupils staying for lunch. The rest of the week it opens 8.45am with the school day ending at 3.15pm for early years and reception, 3.20pm for years one and two and 3.25pm for years three and up.

Schools wanting to change opening and closing times must abide with the Changing of School Session Times (Wales) Regulations 2009, which includes a full consultation with, amongst others, staff, parents and the local authority.
Pembroke Dock Community School consulted on shutting early in spring 2018. The local education authority said the main reason it gave at the time was: “To allow for additional time for staff training.”

Tim Pratt, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, said he could not comment on schools shutting early in Pembrokeshire: “It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the decision of an individual school to close early because we don’t know the circumstances.
“However, in general, the insufficiency of funding to Welsh schools is likely to cause situations where some schools may decide to close early.
“This saves a small amount of money in terms of keeping premises open, and it means that with constrained staffing levels, schools are still able to allocate time for planning, preparation and assessment.
“The public can rest assured that schools will always take decisions in the best interests of their students and staff despite the very difficult funding conditions. But it is absolutely vital that the level of funding is improved as a matter of urgency.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “This is a decision for schools and governing bodies.
“Schools must fully consult before making any changes, ensuring that the number of teaching hours are not being compromised and that the curriculum is being delivered in its entirety.”

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42 new officers for Dyfed Powys Police in the first wave of police recruitment

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DYFED Powys Police has a recruitment target of 42 new officers in the first wave of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase officer numbers across the UK.

The Home Office on Wednesday (Oct 9) confirmed the officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP has said that this is ‘a strong start’ to helping Dyfed Powys tackle new forms of crime and keep West Wales as one of the safest parts of the country.

Following the Home Office announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “Forty-two additional police officers for Dyfed Powys Police is a strong start to strengthening frontline policing and making people feel safer.

I praised the good work local officers do in tackling County Lines drug gang in Parliament earlier this year and asked that additional resources be provided to help them stamp out this and other terrible crimes. I’m pleased the Prime Minister listened and is delivered on his pledge to increase officers numbers.”

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.

Every single police force in England and Wales will be able to recruit additional officers this year to help keep all of our communities safer.

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplifts will be added to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

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Anti-Slavery campaigner receives medal

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A Pembrokeshire woman who has committed herself to combating modern slavery has been presented with the British Empire Medal.

Dr Anne Kelly of Saundersfoot was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

A Swansea University lecturer, she sits on the Dyfed Powys anti-slavery forum that meets in Carmarthen. Much of her work is done
through the Soroptimist International organisation.

Through her personal commitment, she is contributing to more victims of slavery being identified, recovered and supported as well as
bringing their perpetrators to justice.

It is partly through her determination and constant lobbying of MPs that the Modern Slavery Act became law in March 2015.

Dr Kelly was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, in a ceremony at County
Hall on Friday (Oct 11).

Dr Kelly was accompanied by family members.

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A letter and petition in support

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PUPILS from Milford Haven school were outside County Hall on Thursday (Oct 10) handing out letters to Councillors as they entered the main building to attend a meeting which had Milford Haven School on the agenda.

A PLEA TO DECISION MAKERS

Stevie Joseph, 14, who wrote the three-page letter said that it contained the reasons why she felt that the sixth form should stay open.
“The college is just not the same for some of us”, she said, “we need the pastoral care and support that a sixth form gives us”.

“The decline in pupil numbers is something we have noticed but Milford now has one of the biggest primary schools in Wales so its stupid to close the sixth form…. The numbers are going to go up. We should not close it now and then wait to see that improvement.”

Stevie’s classmate Rebecca said: “I would like to be in an environment where I know people. I have known these teachers for many years, and it will be weird [if I go to college and] they will not be there.”

PETITION AGAINST CLOSURE

A petition to Pembrokeshire County Council has been started on Change.org.

At the time of going to press around 500 people had signed.

Organiser Jenny did not give her last name but wrote on the page: “Milford Haven School may have to close the doors to their current sixth form department.

“The residents of Milford Haven hold the sixth form very close to their hearts as a lot of them attended themselves.

“As a community, we are all deeply saddened to hear this could be coming to an end. In previous years, this sixth form was thriving.

“As a collective, hundreds of thousands have been raised for Children in Need as well as other good causes and charities.

“Sixth form has provided pupils with vast amounts of opportunities and helped them to mature into respectable young adults. It has given students the chance to further their education in subjects they are extremely passionate about. In some instances, Milford Haven Sixth form has provided options that wouldn’t be offered anywhere else in the county.

“As it stands, if our sixth form was to close down, all pupils in year 11 and younger would have to attend either Pembrokeshire college or one of the last remaining sixth forms in the county which is Haverfordwest High which would be the closest in distance to attend.
“But in college you lose the family and community connection you have when you become part of the sixth form family.”

To sign the petition online click the link on the Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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