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Education

Meeting called as governors demand post-16 choice

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School changes: Taskers site could become a new Welsh Medium School

School changes: Taskers site could become a new Welsh Medium School

THE PARENT GOVERNORS of both secondary schools in Haverfordwest have united to try and ensure the retention for 6th form choice in the county town.

Current proposals are that sixth form provision will be in future provided at Pembrokeshire College. The governors have released a statement following Pembrokeshire County Council approving the second stage of the consultation exercise into the re-organisation of secondary school education in the county.

The governors are also encouraging parents, and friends of the schools to attend a meeting at Sir Thomas Picton School Hall on Monday March 2 at 7pm.

In the statement the governors said: “The joint governing bodies of Tasker Milward and Sir Thomas Picton Schools are extremely concerned with the removal of sixth form provision from the new 21st Century School and that Post 16 Education will only be provided in a new integrated Sixth Form Centre as part of a formal collaboration between the County Council and Pembrokeshire College. A public meeting has been called at Sir Thomas Picton School Hall on Monday March 2, at 7:00pm and the focus of the evening will be about 6th Form Choice retained within the school environment. The Parent Governors want to retain the option for CHOICE and need everyone to engage in the consultation process which is due to commence on March 10, for an eight week period. The main concern of the Governors of both schools relates to the proposed loss of a ‘Sixth Form’ element within the school. Sixth formstudents – with their maturing outlook – help to round off a school. They are often looked upon as leaders by the younger pupils and they do have immense influence within the school. Their attendance not only assists the financing of the school but their learning abilities also stretch the staff within the school. The mere fact that a sixth form exists within a school ensures that from year 11 onwards the continual educational development of the pupils and students is maintained. Where strengths are identified invaluable guidance can be provided for sixth form choice. The joint governing bodies of Tasker Milward and Sir Thomas Picton Schools are concerned that the removal of sixth formprovision from the new 21st Century School will have a detrimental effect, not only upon the school as an entity, but also upon students opportunities thereafter. This argument will be put to the County Council during the consultation process. The public meeting has been called at the Sir Thomas Picton School Hall on Monday March 2, at 7pm and we trust that you will pass on this information to the families of those youngsters who are already on the ladder to secondary education – as it is these pupils who will be amongst the first to encounter the radical proposals of change. We understand that the next meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council is to be held at County Hall Haverfordwest on Thursday March 5.”

A council spokesperson told The Herald: “We note the press release from the governing bodies of Sir Thomas Picton and Tasker Milward schools, and we look forward to their active participation in the consultation, which will start on Monday March 23.”

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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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