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Education

Pembrokeshire ‘leads the way’ in Traveller and Gypsy education

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Holistic approach: Monkton School celebrating success

Holistic approach: Monkton School celebrating success

A REPORT by the education watchdog Ofsted has called for better support for children from Roma and Gypsy backgrounds.

Ofsted surveyed three local councils and 11 schools with a large intake of Roma pupils from Eastern Europe, producing a report that said: “The schools and local authorities reported to inspectors that many Roma pupils initially had difficulty in adhering to school routines and meeting expectations for good behaviour, especially where the pupils had little prior experience of formal education.”

Ofsted went on to recommend that ‘local authorities should ensure that there is a dedicated and knowledgeable senior leader who can push forward the local authority’s strategies for improving outcomes for Roma pupils.’

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, told The Herald: “The majority of school leaders are only too aware of the challenges involved in supporting the children of Roma families. The report makes some sensible points which NAHT supports, notably the recommendations for the department to be more responsive to in-year changes to the number of pupils on the school roll. Schools need to be able to get money more quickly when Roma children join them part way through the school year. We know that rapid intervention and sustained support are vital to improving the outcomes of all children no matter their background.”

Despite these issues, Pembrokeshire has been cited as a very good example of how an holistic approach can help to give young people from the traveller community an education and thus find jobs.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “The Pembrokeshire Gypsy Traveller Education Service provides support to 196 gypsy travellers, show-ground, or circus children and their parents throughout Pembrokeshire. The service provides training on gypsy traveller culture to schools, health professionals, police and other groups.

“The majority of gypsy traveller pupils are in mainstream education (91 per cent). The Priory Project currently educates the other 9 per cent of pupils. They comprise 11 to 18-year-old gypsy traveller children educated in Monkton. One of the most celebrated achievements recently has been the graduation of four members of the gypsy traveller community with Foundation Degrees. Three of the graduates are Learning support Assistants and are continuing to study to achieve a BA in Education and Social Inclusion. The Education and Social Inclusion degree courses are delivered by Trinity St David University in Carmarthen but are held in Monkton Priory CP”.

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Education

Beach Wheelchair scheme boosted by Bournemouth University students’ animation

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PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority’s Outdoor Mobility Project is being promoted online thanks to an animation produced by students for Bournemouth University students.

The animation, which has been created for BFX, the UK’s largest computer game and animation festival, features the type of specially designed beach wheelchairs that are available to hire at various locations around the Pembrokeshire Coast.

The Park Authority’s Pembrokeshire Outdoor Mobility Project also includes mobility scooters and all-terrain wheelchairs, which are available at inland locations including Carew Castle, Castell Henllys Iron Age Village and Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids.

National Park Authority Health and Well-being Policy Officer, Hannah Buck said: “We were absolutely delighted to be chosen to be part of the competition and blown away by the quality of work and attention to detail shown by the students.

“The students have been brilliant to work with and really understood our brief and we are and are delighted with the finished animation, which will help spread the word about the range of equipment available to hire around the National Park.

The animation titled ‘A Day at the Seaside’ sees an elderly mother and her son looking at old photographs of a family holiday to Pembrokeshire in 1982.

The mother indicates her use of a walking stick would make a return trip impossible, but the son appears with a beach wheelchair and the two are able to enjoy a day on the beach just like they had done 40 years previously.

The animation competition winners will be announced during the BFX Festival in November.

The team behind the animation are Janet He, Koey Leung, Malachi Dempsey-Clark, Maria Bartucca and Soraya Assadian, with music by Jess Ward.

To find out more about the BFX Festival competition visit www.bfxfestival.com/competitions.

To watch the video, find out more about the beach wheelchairs and to find out how to pre-book, please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/beachwheelchairs.

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Education

New free school meals policy launched at Ysgol Bro Preseli in Crymych

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A NATIONAL scheme to roll out free school meals to the youngest learners in primary schools in Wales has been launched today (Wednesday, 7 September) by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Sian Gwenllian MS at Ysgol Bro Preseli in Crymych.

In Pembrokeshire, the rollout will include learners in:

full time nursery

• reception

• and years 1 and 2 pupils in primary schools

Known as the Universal Primary Free School Meals, the policy is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

The agreement will see free school meals extended to ALL primary school learners over the next three years.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “No child should go hungry. Families throughout Wales are under huge pressure because of the cost-of-living crisis and we are doing everything we can to support them.

“Extending free school meals to all primary schools is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.

“I’m really pleased to see how our schools have embraced this and the speed at which they and our public services have worked together to begin providing free school meals.

“We know younger children are more likely to be living in relative income poverty, which is why the youngest of our learners will be the first to benefit.”

Cllr Guy Woodham, Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language, said Pembrokeshire County Council were delighted to support the policy.

“Families are facing difficult times with the increasing everyday costs of living, so free, nutritious school meals for our youngest learners are great news,” he said. “No child should come to school hungry or be hungry during the day.

“We’d like to encourage parents of children in full-time nursery, reception and years 1 and 2 in primary schools to take advantage of this fantastic scheme from Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.”

Ysgol Bro Preseli Headteacher Mrs Rhonwen Morris said: “As a school we aim to provide all learners with the same opportunity to thrive. We nurture learners from a young age; academically, socially and physically.

“We welcome such a progressive scheme ensuring that learners are provided with a nutritious balanced diet that will support all aspects of their education, progress and wellbeing.

“We look forward to seeing this scheme being extend to all primary school learners over the next three years thus ensuring equity for all in primary education.”

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Education

Blue Gem Wind support Pembrokeshire College with new BTEC Engineering Course

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BLUE Gem Wind are supporting Pembrokeshire College with a BTEC Engineering course aimed at providing a pathway to renewables for 14-16 year-olds. The new course, which begins in September, will be delivered in partnership with other local renewable energy companies and is supported by the Skills and Talent strand of the Swansea Bay City Deal.   

Mike Scott, Project Managing Director at Blue Gem Wind, explained. “The offshore wind sector around the UK is progressing at a pace that is already seeing skills shortages, particularly in engineering roles. As we continue to develop Wales’ first floating wind project it is crucial that we play a meaningful role in supporting Pembrokeshire’s future generations to get ready for a career in floating offshore wind.”

David Jones, Stakeholder Manager, added, “We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the college and other local renewable energy companies to deliver this exciting new course. This focus on 14-16 year-olds will complement our primary school STEM related programme.”

Hayley Williams, Curriculum Development Manager at Pembrokeshire College, said. “Pembrokeshire College is very excited to offer this unique collaborative programme to learners from Milford Haven School and Ysgol Harri Tudur. Blue Gem Wind will bring real life examples of floating wind engineering challenges for the pupils to consider, and the type of job roles and thinking needed to solve them. Enthusing young people about the emergence of new career pathways will help future-proof a skilled workforce for the renewable energy sector in Pembrokeshire.

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