Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Could history be a thing of the past?

Published

on

history a thing of the pastTHE WELSH Government’s Education Minister has launched a controversial new policy that could force schools to prioritise literacy and numeracy over all other subjects.

History, geography, and even science, could be side-lined as the Welsh Labour Government gets tough on alleged falling literacy and numeracy standards in our schools.

The new policy, known as the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) is being introduced this term across both primary and secondary schools. The central idea of the framework is that ALL subjects across the curriculum will now be required to have embedded planning that takes account of literacy and numeracy skills.

Unlike in previous thinking, whereby teaching objectives were limited to those of the subject being taught, this would mean that additionally each subject teacher would also need to assess pupils’ achievements in literacy and numeracy, that some teachers feel is even being prioritised above the subject itself. One teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said:

“This would mean that if I was teaching a lesson in history where I wanted my pupils to understand as to why the Holocaust happened, it would not be enough just to know they could explain this.

“Additionally, I would also have to plan for them to show me they were using literacy or numeracy skills as well, depending on how I could fit such an objective in. I think in such a lesson, surely, an understanding of such an awful and complex event is the objective, not for example as to whether they can spell Holocaust or not?”

The teacher added:

“The problem with this new framework is that it just adds more work to an already over-subscribed workload that teachers simply do not have the time to do.

“I got into teaching history to teach history, it is what I am qualified to do. You have to ask who is supposed to assess these additional numeracy or literacy objectives? Will it be me, who is not a specialist in these areas?”

More worryingly the teacher continued by stating:

“I attended a course for the LNF only a fortnight ago where I was told by the Course Leader that in the next five years it was possible that all primary teaching would be centred around literacy and numeracy, and all other subjects would be planned around these two core subjects.

“It is very worrying. It is all very well just teaching children to read and write, but if they do not have a much broader education and learn about the world, and people around them, then what will they have to write about?”

The Welsh Government responded to The Herald:

“The LNF has been designed to support teachers to embed literacy and numeracy across the curriculum. The LNF is made up of clear, precise expectation statements which will enable teachers and schools to judge with far more precision how learners are progressing and what specific support they require.

“If learners are not supported to develop excellent literacy and numeracy skills from the beginning of their education then they will not be able to access the subject specific knowledge within the National Curriculum Programmes of Study.

“We have issued guidance which explains that the LNF should be taught in subjects where there is a natural fit and there is no need to contrive ways to include literacy and numeracy into subjects where it simply doesn’t fit.

“We have also produced exemplar materials and classroom tasks which give teachers examples of how the LNF can be taught in a way that supports the wider curriculum and enhances the programmes of study for all of the subjects within the National Curriculum.

“We have seen many examples of schools that are teaching literacy and numeracy skills as part of the wide and varied curriculum which develops both learners’ skills and subject based knowledge in a joined up way”.

On the issue of teachers’ abilities to teach outside their subject areas, the Welsh Government went on: “The National Support Programme (NSP) offers tailor made support to schools in implementing the LNF, this could include developing the literacy and numeracy skills of teachers. The NSP also disseminates good practice examples of how schools can deliver the LNF in a meaningful and interesting way.”

Over the next year the Education Department will be anxious to see whether such a policy can start to achieve its aims. Parents and teachers will hope it does not detract from the importance of the learning of other subjects, essential to a holistic education for our country’s young people.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Fishguard RNLI launch to assist sailboat in difficulty

Published

on

FISHGUARD RNLI was tasked to assist a yacht which was heading for Aberystwth and which had departed Fishguard harbour early on Saturday 03 December.

The 23-foot sailboat, ‘Misty Blue’, with two crew and a dog aboard, had suffered engine and steering problems when it was four miles N.E. of Newport, having set off into a brisk north – easterly wind from Lower Town quay earlier in the day. After the crew had contacted H.M. Coastguard, the Fishguard RNLI all-weather lifeboat, with seven volunteer crew, was tasked and launched at 1.00pm arriving on scene at 1.25pm. The yacht was at this stage heading back to Fishguard under sail and the lifeboat provided an escort until reaching half a mile off the Fishguard breakwater when a towline was attached to the yacht and the lifeboat then brought the yacht alongside the end of Lower Town quay, once again, at 2.40pm .

After ensuring the yacht were safely moored the lifeboat then returned to its station, arriving at 3.00pm.

Continue Reading

News

Port promises to work with council to solve Lower Priory flood risk

Published

on

THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has promised to “stand-by and support” the Local Authority and its consultancy firm Capita in carrying out any recommendations made which could mitigate flooding in Lower Priory.

Tom Sawyer, CEO of the Port, said that he recognised that people who were affected by the floods in 2018 were clearly “desperately upset.”

“Its clear that we stopped communicating [with the flood victims]”, he said.

But the Port now has confirmed it is willing to work with its partners, and those affected, to do what is necessary to improve drainage to mitigate future flood risk.

Whist The Port of Milford Haven still denies any liability for the serious flood four years ago, communications had since improved, he said.

“It’s true that every time it rains heavily, I do worry about Lower Priory and Havens Head” – Mr Sawyer said.

But a meeting has taken place at the now renovated Priory Inn public house – which was also flooded to a height just below the downstairs ceilings – to update residents on progress.

The Port’s management have walked around the Priory Pill with residents, The Herald has been told.

In 2019, Members of the County Council’s Services Overview Committee probed the Port Authority’s actions in relation to the lakes.

The Council heard that a report by civil engineering consultants Atkins had concluded that obstruction of trash screens leading from Lower Priory did not materially contribute to the extreme flooding which took place both there and at Haven Head in November 2018.

Over three days of torrential rainfall, fourteen properties were flooded at Lower Priory and there was significant flooding at Haven Head.

An emotional moment in 2018: Stephen Crabb MP with Ian Bannister from Lower Priory clearly upset by the damage caused as his daughter Natalie looks on (Pic: Herald)

The Port Authority continues to deny any liability for damage caused by the flooding.

However, at the time Hakin Councillor Mike Stoddart pointed out that Atkins’ assessment was based on evidence produced by Milford Haven Port Authority.

Councillor Stoddart alleged that Atkins’ finding could not necessarily be relied upon. He noted that the Port Authority had an obvious interest in saying the trash screens were not obstructed in order to support its claim it was not liable for the damage caused by the flood.

Defending the Port Authority’s position, both Andy Jones and Tim Bownes, said the report found that the major factor in the flooding was the large increase in levels of silt in the lakes at Haven Head and Lower Priory combined with high tides and unprecedentedly levels of rainfall.

Under further questioning from Mike Stoddart, Mr Bownes conceded that the electronic flood warning system had been a casualty of the flooding and had stopped recording the water volumes at Lower Priory well before the peak of the inundation.

When one resident produced photographs of a truck tyre in front of a trash screen taken in February which remained in place six months later, he was tersely told that the presence of the tyre did not count as an obstruction of the trash screen.

The resident shook his head in disbelief, while several councillors wondered what did constitute an ‘obstruction’.

It is obvious to this newspaper that the only viable solution to the flood risk problem would be increased capacity for the culverts under Havens Head Business Park – and this could cost many millions of pounds.

Milford Haven Cllr Stephen Joseph has observed that a large amount of infill had taken place at the lakes.

He suggested that this, combined with the development of Haven Head over a former tidal plain contributes to the risk of flooding.

Some of those affected by flooding were not insured, or their insurance companies have refused to pay out.

Those families or individuals still out of pocket years later, including the landlady of the pub where the meeting took place, are still fighting for compensation.

Stephen Crabb MP visits flooded resident (Pic: Herald)
Continue Reading

News

Port CEO promises to invest millions in new pilot boats and more pilots

Published

on

THE PORT of Milford Haven’s new Chief Executive has been in post for only eight months, but already the new boss is promising major changes.
Tom Sawyer took up his post at the end of April.
In an exclusive interview with The Pembrokeshire Herald, the CEO of Wales’ biggest port says that there will be some major changes
Most significantly, there will be a huge investment – “in the millions” – in “on water capability” at the port – meaning new pilot boats and a dramatic increase in pilot numbers.

It’s seemingly a huge turn in fortunes for the port.

As recently as August 2014, the port cut the number of pilot boats on duty to a single crewed vessel – There were talks of pilots striking.
At the time, The Herald was contacted by several crew who have said that they have been offered voluntary redundancy ‘to go’.
The Port had said it was looking to cut costs as the amount of cargo coming into Milford Haven has been decreasing following the closure of Murco refinery.

Currently, issues surrounding energy security in the UK and Europe driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to an uplift of 30% in the number of ships berthing in Milford Haven.
Tom Sawyer said on Monday (Dec 5): “We are making a major investment in “on water capability” at the UK’s western energy gateway.
“In a major investment, we will be purchasing at least two new pilot boats and upping pilot numbers.
“It’s a medium-term plan which should be implemented by late 2024,” Mr Sawyer explained.

Port boss has big plans: Tom Sawyer

The promise of new pilot boats will be welcome news for both operators and pilots.
In 2018 a multi-million-pound project to replace the older pilot vessels ran into trouble – after the three boats were deemed ‘unfit for purpose’ by some crew members.

“These boats were rushed out, and were not fit for service”, a source at the Port told this newspaper.

The then brand-new vessels, which were built in Pembrokeshire by Mainstay Marine Solutions at a cost £3.6m, were involved in incidents which led to questions over the operational safety of the craft.
Tom Sawyer says that he is investing in people, safety and resilience and reliability at the port.
He said: “We are putting people into difficult situations. Marine transport involves controlled collisions. We are dealing with hydro-carbon ships kissing pilot boats and jetties.
“We want new pilot boats and an increase in pilot numbers to boost the confidence our teams have. We are investing in resilience and reliability.
“We need to be capable – having well trained pilots, the right boats and equipment.

Asked to confirm how many new vessels the Port of Milford Haven would be commissioning, Mr Sawyer said: “If we were not purchasing two new boats I’d be surprised.
“Better boats are now available, and we want to go out there and get them.
“Some weather conditions mean we can’t get ships in – we can at least make sure we have the best ability to recover.”

In a move which is surely to be welcomed, Mr Sawyer said that crews would have a say in the specifications of the new vessels.

Investment to increase capacity: South Hook LNG

The port boss suggested that some of the older pilot boats may be used as “inside vessels” – as patrol launches for use inside the haven.
There is no doubt that LNG has revived the fortunes of the port.
South Hook LNG will soon receive its 1000th tanker – a milestone the port says it’s proud of.
Another accolade is that the port has never turned away or diverted an LNG ship – every single one has berthed successfully, without exception.

And now, the Government of Qatar is investing millions of pounds in the expansion of the South Hook LNG terminal as the UK becomes more dependent on shipments of the liquefied fuel imported from abroad.
To accommodate around 25% more liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from around the world, Qatar is upgrading to meet demand – increasing the Terminal’s redelivery capacity to 812.5GWh/d.”

All of this extra activity will benefit the local area. As well as new boats, and the creation of new jobs in the way of pilots and probably support crews, extra revenue will be shared out in the local area for community projects and charities.
Staff at the Port of Milford Haven will also benefit from the Haven’s revival in fortunes. The new CEO has promised that he will share the results of all this new activity.

Citing the dangers of pilots climbing onto tankers in rough weather using ladders – Mr Sawyer promises an increase in sea survival and safety training.
“People should be safe and be able to make good decisions” he said.
Expressing how he intends to motivate the personnel he manages, he said: “If we have a good year, he said we will share this with our people and the wider community”
He said that this would incentivise the workforce at the port to safely deliver efficiencies and improve results.

The new pilots and boats are expected to be operational by late 2024, according to Mr Sawyer.

St Brides: Pilot boat in Milford Haven
Continue Reading

News4 hours ago

Fishguard RNLI launch to assist sailboat in difficulty

FISHGUARD RNLI was tasked to assist a yacht which was heading for Aberystwth and which had departed Fishguard harbour early...

News11 hours ago

Father and son jailed for their part in family drug operation in Carmarthenshire

A FAMILY who set up a sophisticated cannabis factory in rural Carmarthenshire, which estimated to have brought in £4.3m during...

Business11 hours ago

£3m funding scheme for marine, fisheries and aquaculture projects announced

A £3 MILLION funding scheme to support the fisheries, marine and aquaculture sectors is now open for expressions of interest,...

Business2 days ago

Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre fined £2.3m for ‘woeful pensions advice’

THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY (FCA) has fined Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre Limited, which was based in Saundersfoot, £2,354,331 for unsuitable advice...

News2 days ago

Appeal after pedestrian suffers serious injuries in collision

OFFICERS from Dyfed-Powys Police are investigating a collision between a car and a pedestrian, who was using a walking frame,...

News3 days ago

Six jailed for trafficking cocaine and cannabis to Pembrokeshire

SIX people have been jailed for their parts in an organised crime gang (OCG) which trafficked large quantities of cocaine...

News5 days ago

Missing person appeal: Have you seen Eryl?

POLICE are looking for help with locating a missing woman from Pembroke. 68-year-old Eryl may be wearing jeans and a...

Business6 days ago

Pembs CBD UK’s first high street store partnered with medical cannabis clinic

THE PEMBROKESHIRE CBD CENTRE has become the first high street CBD company in the country to be in partnership with...

Business7 days ago

New facilities to support the growth of Celtic Sea FLOW take another step forward

LAND management works have begun at Pembroke Port signalling the start of another important phase in the £60 million Pembroke...

News1 week ago

Oriel y Parc Christmas Market to make a cracking comeback

SHOPPERS searching for homemade gifts and festive fun should make their way to St Davids on Saturday 3 December, for...

Popular This Week