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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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Crabb backs veterans of Irish Troubles

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VETERANS of the Northern Irish Troubles have been backed by Preseli MP Stephen Crabb during votes in the House of Commons.

In the absence of a functioning administration in Northern Ireland, Members of Parliament have been voting in an effort to keep Northern Ireland running.

Stephen Crabb co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Johnny Mercer MP which passed. The Secretary of State must now report on the options available to allow veterans of the Troubles to assist in a truth recovery process, for the benefit of bereaved families, without fear of prosecution.

Commenting following the vote, Stephen Crabb MP said: “This is a positive step towards ensuring the hounding of veterans is stopped. The proud, local veteran community, along with myself, have been deeply troubled by the ongoing pursuit of current and former British Soldiers for actions carried out while under orders on active service.

“I have made the point previously to Ministers that we risk a serious breach of trust with our Armed Forces by opening the door to such prosecutions. The pressures placed on a solder in conflict situations are enormous and it cannot be right that actions carried out in these circumstances are re-opened decades later by people with no understanding of what happened on the ground.“

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Identical ‘call-out’ within three days for Fishguard RNLI lifeboat

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FISHGUARD RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on Thursday evening 18 July to the very same inflatable dinghy they rescued on Monday July 15

The inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew launched at 8.45pm after the inflatable was reported drifting out to sea from Fishguard harbour. The flimsy inflatable and the young men onboard were taken under tow back to the area of Goodwick beach and they were again spoken to regarding the dangers of inflatable craft. On this occasion there was an off-shore wind and an ebbing tide which potentially presented much more dangerous conditions for the persons onboard.

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Rosslare ready to go it alone

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THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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