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AM questions schools shakeup meeting validity

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Expressing concerns: Paul Davies AM

Expressing concerns: Paul Davies AM

LOCAL Assembly Member Paul Davies is questioning the validity of the Extraordinary Council at County Hall on the January 29, 2015.

The AM is voicing concerns that Pembrokeshire County Council may have not complied with the new School Organisation Code set out under the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

Mr Davies said: “I want to see an education service in Pembrokeshire that’s fit for purpose and delivers real outcomes for pupils across the County. Any shake up of the current service provision must follow the correct procedures and engage with local people and their elected representatives. I am not convinced that this is the case, and I have therefore written to the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, following concerns that the extraordinary council meeting may be invalid.”

The AM added: “I have asked for evidence that the Council have complied with the new School Organisation Code and that each of the proposals have met the criteria. In light of these circumstances, I believe it’s only appropriate that the meeting is called off until robust evidence is provided to demonstrate that the Council has complied with the Code.”

Responding to the statement by Paul Davies AM, the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, said: “I am pleased that Paul supports our ambition for an ‘education service that’s fit for purpose and delivers real outcomes for pupils across the County’.

“However in relation to his concerns around the process we have followed, he is mistaken. We have carried out extensive informal consultation prior to tomorrow’s meeting which will determine the options that will then be subject to statutory formal consultation.”

Cllr Jamie Adams

Cllr Jamie Adams

Cllr Adams continued:  “I have written to Paul to confirm that the suggestion that we have not complied with the School Organisation Code is incorrect.”

An examination of the relevant legislation indicates that the Council must jump through a considerable number of hoops before getting to the point where it is ready to move forward with its radical plans for the future of secondary education.

The stage which the Council appears to have reached at this point is that, having completed a review, it now seeks to move forward with a formal consultation process.

The statutory consultation period is 42 days of which 20 must be school term days. After that period, the Council must publish consultation report. Within 13 weeks of the end of the period allowed for responses (and in any event prior to publication of the proposals), the Council must publish a consultation report. In addition, once the Council decides to proceed with a proposal they must publish the proposal by way of statutory notice.

Having published its proposal, the 2013 Act requires that anyone wishing to make objections to a school organisation proposal has the opportunity to do so. To be considered as statutory objections, objections must be made in writing or by email, and sent to the proposer within 28 days of the date on which the proposal was published.

In addition the Council must consult with children and young people affected by the changes and with schools similarly affected. This would appear to mean that every school in the county will need to be consulted as the plans reveal a significant change to post-16 education in Pembrokeshire, with Pembrokeshire College being ultimately responsible for its provision.

The Council appears to have based its current position by reference to previous ‘informal’ consultations predating the review’s start in October 2014. The School Organisation Code states: “From time to time proposers will have conducted ‘informal’ consultation with particular stakeholders at an earlier stage in the development of proposals. Such consultation must not be seen as a substitute for any part of the formal consultation processes.”

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Business

St David’s Day boost: Pembs creamery launches new Welsh milk price

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PEMBROKESHIRE CREAMERY, which is set to begin production this spring, has used St Davids’ Day to launch its new milk price for Welsh milk.

Using the industry-recognised Liquid Standard Litre the company has announced an April milk price of 38.5 pence per litre.

Pembrokeshire Creamery will be the only liquid milk bottling facility in Wales certified to supply Welsh supermarkets. Ultimately this will be local Welsh milk, produced, processed and distributed from this new development.

Eliminating the need for transporting milk to England for processing, Pembrokeshire Creamery significantly reduces food miles, streamlines the supply chain, creates new skilled jobs in Pembrokeshire, and bolsters local farming communities. This efficiency enables Pembrokeshire Creamery to offer producers who have already committed, and those following the project as it develops, a competitive milk price from April 2024.

Mark McQuade, managing director, Pembrokeshire Creamery said: “It seemed fitting, on St David’s Day, to launch an April milk price for Welsh milk which we hope will be sufficiently competitive to attract farmers from across the region to consider us as a potential customer.

“We will be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales enabling us to offer an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores.

“This unique selling point gives Pembrokeshire Creamery, and the farmers who work with us, a strong point of difference in meeting the needs of both retailers and consumers who increasingly value locally-sourced produce,” he said.

The development of Pembrokeshire Creamery has been supported by the Welsh Government and the EU RDP-funded Food Business Investment Scheme. Additional funding has been supplied by HSBC.

(Cover Image: Mark Sinclair)

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News

Seren shines in shooting sports, breaking records and winning medals

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SEREN THORNE, a young talent from Letterston, has been making waves in the world of 10m air rifle precision shooting. A former student of Ysgol Casblaidd, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, and the sixth form at Haverfordwest’s VC High School, Seren is currently furthering her education in music at Cardiff University. However, it is her achievements in shooting sports that are capturing the nation’s attention.

Seren’s journey in shooting began at the tender age of 8, initially with the pistol as part of her participation in the Pony Club tetrathlon. Her transition to the air rifle in 2020 marked the beginning of an illustrious path in this discipline. Since then, Seren has not only embraced the sport but has excelled at it, demonstrating an exceptional level of precision and composure.

Her hard work and dedication bore fruit in November when she clinched two gold medals at the Welsh Championships. At this event, Seren not only topped the podium but also broke the Welsh and British junior women’s qualification record, setting a new benchmark for aspiring shooters.

However, Seren’s achievements did not stop at the national level. In February, she represented Great Britain at the Junior World Cup in Granada, Spain. There, she added to her medal tally by securing an individual silver medal and breaking the British junior women’s final record. Seren’s success continued as she contributed to a mixed team bronze medal, once again breaking the previous British junior record.

More recently, Seren participated in the British Open Championships, where she was crowned the British junior women’s champion and won the British confined open women’s championship. These victories are a testament to her skill, determination, and the promising future she has in the sport of shooting.

Seren Thorne’s achievements are not just personal victories but also a source of pride for her community in Letterston, her schools, and indeed for the whole of Britain. As she continues to study and train, the nation watches eagerly to see how far this talented young shooter will go.

Seren’s journey in shooting sports is a vivid reminder of the dedication and hard work required to excel at the highest levels, and she is undoubtedly a rising star to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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Crime

Detectives investigating the death of boy, 15, near Lampeter

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Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 15-year-old boy at a location near Lampeter on Friday afternoon (March 1), the force has confirmed.

The family is being supported by specialist officers.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for H.M. Coroner.

The police issued a statement saying: “We are aware of concern in the community, however as an investigation is ongoing we would ask that support is given to the family by not speculating on the circumstances surrounding the death.”

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