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Progress, but significant concerns in Pembrokeshire’s schools

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A CLAIM in an online BBC news report that an Estyn inspection of Pembrokeshire’s schools found performance in literacy and numeracy is ‘poor’ is WRONG.

The fifteen-page Estyn report into Pembrokeshire County Council’s handling of education in our county does not contain that assertion, The Herald can confirm.

The Estyn report says that Pembrokeshire’s education is IMPROVING but that the rate of improvement is too slow, inconsistently achieved, and there is too much variation in standards in schools.

The report does, however, state that literacy and numeracy was something the County’s schools needed to improve upon.

Estyn has left the local authority with clear recommendations. These include:
• raising standards in literacy numeracy and Welsh second language.
• improving outcomes for learners eligible for free school meals.
• improving teaching and leadership
• evaluating its work and planning for improvement.

The Estyn report states that Pembrokeshire’s education service is causing ‘significant concern’. However, our Friday print edition will contain an interview with both Cabinet Member Guy Woodham and Acting Director of Education Steven Richards-Downes which suggests that concerns are being addressed and that the Council has been repeatedly reassured by Estyn it is on the right track.

There are significant challenges for Pembrokeshire’s schools which should not be downplayed. There is a significant disconnection between the performance of primary schools and secondary schools and a growing feeling that pupils in Key Stage 3 are let down by being in ‘a holding pattern’ between the end of their primary education and the start of their GCSE courses.
Strong progress has been made in child safeguarding and the report recognises a much-improved picture in that respect.

Pupils’ behaviour in ‘a minority of secondary schools is not good enough’, the report’s authors state. They also state that poorly-behaved students are the subject of a disproportionate number of short-term exclusions from school.

Councillor Guy Woodham, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, commented: “While there is recognition by Estyn of the progress made since 2012, the pace of change across the local authority has been inconsistent and has not taken place fast enough.

“In going forward it is important that all those involved in education now focus on urgently raising performance outcomes and improving the quality of teaching across all our schools.
“Our ambition remains the same that every learner achieves more than they thought possible.”
Our detailed coverage is in this Friday’s paper

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First coronavirus (COVID-19) case confirmed in Wales

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THE FIRST coronavirus case confirmed in Wales, in a patient who had returned from Italy – taking total UK cases to 17.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, has confirmed that a patient in Wales has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr Atherton said: “I can confirm that one patient in Wales has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

“All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are being taken.

“I can also confirm that the patient had travelled back to Wales from Northern Italy, where the virus was contracted.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents. Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.”

No further information is being released at this time to protect patient confidentiality.

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Monkton: Large fine for trader found illegally carrying scrap metal

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man pleaded guilty to illegally carrying scrap metal.

Edmund Thomas Paul Boswell, of Castle Quarry Road, Monkton, has been fined a total of £2,250 by Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts.

Boswell’s lorry was stopped in the Llawhaden area during a joint operation between Dyfed-Powys Police and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on 21 June 2019.

The lorry was full of scrap metal loaded in a dangerous manner.

NRW officers carried out checks and found that Boswell was not a registered waste carrier.

He was given advice on how to register officially as a waste carrier with NRW and as a scrap metal dealer with Pembrokeshire County Council, but failed to do so and was summonsed to court.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay NRW and legal costs bringing the total to £2,250.

Gavin Bown, South West Operations Manager, of NRW, said: “Mr Boswell refused to cooperate and become a registered waste carrier.

“We’re taking a tough stance against waste crime and illegal operators. Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk and undermines legitimate businesses and the investment and economic growth that go with it.
“Waste regulation is necessary to make sure every effort is made to eliminate or reduce waste, prevent pollution and protect people, nature and the environment from hazards.”

Anyone who transports waste as part of their business needs to be registered as a waste carrier.

Those who arrange for waste from other businesses or organisations to be transported, disposed of, or recovered, need to be registered as a waste broker.

Anyone who buys or sells waste, or uses an agent to do so, needs to be registered as a waste dealer.

Gavin Bown added: “I would encourage people to report any concerns they may have about illegal waste carriers operating in their area to NRW on 0300 065 3000. All reports are confidential and the incident line is open 24 hours a day.”

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Haverfordwest High School ski trip updated statement

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Haverfordwest High VC School is closed for a pre-arranged Inset day today (Wednesday, 26th February) for staff training.

The school is intending to re-open tomorrow (Thursday) in line with guidance from Public Health Wales.

The family of two pupils who went on a family trip to Northern Italy over half-term have also sought advice from Public Health Wales. Although the family visited the region of Veneto, they did not visit the quarantined town of Vo. The advice for them is the same as for other people who have visited Northern Italy – that they do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath or fever. Neither of the pupils have presented any symptoms.

To view the statement released by the school yesterday (Tuesday), please visit https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom/haverfordwest-high-school-ski-trip-statement

* For the latest advice on coronavirus, please visit the Public Health Wales website at https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/

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