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St Francis praised for education technology

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Edtech 50 Schools: Celebrates schools making the best use of education technology

ST FRANCIS CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL in Milford Haven has been named as one of 50 educational institutions that are using making the best use of education technology in the UK, as part of the Edtech 50 Schools initiative.

The Edtech 50 Schools initiative is a celebration of the work going on in schools across the UK that use education technology to support teaching and enhance learning. Edtech 50 Schools is supported by Intel, Jisc, NetSupport and in partnership with the Chartered College of Teaching, Independent Schools Council and TES. It highlights digital flagship schools who demonstrate a focused sense of what is useful to them in terms of technology – whether it be in supporting teaching, cutting teacher workload, collaboration across staff teams or consolidating knowledge, enhancing creativity and broadening experiences across the curriculum.

Developing the use of ICT and helping the school community to become digitally literate is a priority for St Francis Catholic Primary School. It was the first in Wales to achieve the gold award of the Welsh Second Language Charter; one of the targets for which is ICT based. St Francis Catholic Primary School has devised a project where Welsh and ICT have been brought together, enabling staff and pupils to become competent Welsh digital learners. As well as providing an indoor learning environment by creating ‘Y Stiwdio’, effective use of Skype is made in classrooms to support Welsh speaking with classes across the county. More generally, pupils are fully involved in peer support through a Digital Leaders scheme. They were even tasked with evidencing their own impact using OneNote to store evidence for the gold award. Through Clwb HWB, parents are also engaged in improving their digital skills, including a chat of the month competition – Sgwrs y Mis. From the teachers’ perspective, staff are increasingly buying into to the positive impacts of technology, whether through sharing good practice, reducing workloads or developing a whole school planning tool in OneNote.

One judge commented: “The use of technology to develop immersive language is of a high quality. The school is clearly outward looking as they share their knowledge and application of educational technology with others.”

Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education, said: “I am truly delighted that Welsh schools have been recognised as part of the Edtech 50, as a result of their hard work in embracing the digital challenge.

“As part of our National mission for education in Wales, we have committed to provide our learners with high-level digital skills. I want all of our learners to grow up to be digitally competent, allowing them to evolve into enterprising, creative and critical thinkers, giving them best chance in life. That’s why we’ve made digital competence a key part of our exciting new curriculum, due to roll out in 2022.

“There is much happening in Wales to support this commitment, including The Digital Competence Framework (DCF), the Hwb learning platform, our ‘Cracking the Code’ programme, and the new online personalised assessments. Additionally, the Technocamps programme gives our learners the opportunity to develop computational thinking and coding skills, inspiring them to consider a future in computer science, and beyond.

“We are also aware that increased digital connectivity comes with its risks. That’s why we’ve introduced our Online Safety Action Plan, that outlines the work we’re undertaking to enhance online safety in Wales to keep our children and young people safe, and ensure they have the skills they need to live safely and successfully in the 21st Century.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leaders coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 2nd June, as follows:

‘I want to thank everyone for the continued support to myself, Elected Members and officers of the Authority.

‘We have all experienced many challenges over the years but this continued struggle is very testing for all. We continue collectively to work together to ensure we, in Pembrokeshire, remain safe and avoid catching Covid-19

‘It is clear that we still have to remain “local”. There is no remit for travelling outside our local community. You will have read and heard clear guidance on only travelling five miles from home.

‘As always and where you can, please exercise from your home. The more we can do to reduce the spread of the virus, the better we will all fare in the long term.

‘I want to highlight that today marks the 50 th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge. This was indeed a tragedy as lives were lost and it is a sad chapter in Pembrokeshire’s history.

‘As in any incident, people can, and do, rebuild and also learn lessons. After Covid-19 the new “normality” will look different from what we were used to. But we will all move forward and regain Confidence.

‘I’m sure, like you, I question how I should be tackling this issue. Should I be doing more? The answer is simple and direct – we need to ensure social distancing is maintained; wash our hands regularly and listen to the advice given by experts.

‘Remember: ‘Stay Strong and Stay Local.’

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