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An inspector calls

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inspector calls

Awards praised: Gold Award aspiring Pembrokeshire youngsters.

An inspector calls PEMBROKESHIRE’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has been highly praised in a recent inspection. Assessors of the prestigious award scheme joined a group of 32 Gold Award aspiring Pembrokeshire youngsters while on a gruelling hike in a remote part of Scotland.

The 16-18 year old youngsters – from Greenhill, Tasker Milward, Sir Thomas Piction, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, Ysgol Dewi Sant and Pembrokeshire College – were taking part in a fournight expedition in the West Highlands when the inspector called. DofE youth workers and adult volunteers supervising the trip were given just one day’s notice of the inspection!

Reporting afterwards the report by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service said it had been a pleasure to meet the youngsters and that all aspects of the operation appeared to have been carefully planned and considered with appropriate controls in place.

“The Inspector noted the obvious enjoyment and satisfaction that the young people he spoke to were getting from taking part in their expedition,” the inspection report said. “Despite some days of indifferent weather and the challenging nature of their expedition they appeared to be revelling in the experience and had developed a strong supportive ethos within the group.

It was evident that the training and practice expeditions that the groups had completed had paid dividends in this respect. It was a pleasure to meet up with these young people. No blisters, no moans and lots of laughs.” Cllr. Sue Perkins, Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding said she was delighted at the Inspection report: “Both the youngsters and the Pembrokeshire County Council youth workers, who run the scheme are to be congratulated and praised for their hard work and dedication,” she said.

“Pembrokeshire has a large number of Bronze, Silver and Gold Award winners every year, which reflects hugely on the calibre of everyone involved.” Pembrokeshire has always had the highest number of Duke of Edinburgh award winners- as a percentage of the county’s youth population – than any other county in Wales. In 2013/14 there were 231 Bronze Awards, 72 Silver Awards and 32 Gold Awards.

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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