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Education

Deaf society calls for vital support

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deafsocietyTHE NATIONAL Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has called on the new government to provide support it says is essential for the UK’s partially deaf children.

In an NDCS survey done by parents and professionals it was found that a staggering 50% of children with limited hearing are falling behind in school. the main reasons the survey cited for this fall behind were poor acoustics within classrooms and staff that seemed to have a lack of understanding and the needs of these children. Parents completed a small online questionnaire that concluded that a child’s deafness has a major impact on their school day. Of the parents questioned, some 86% had partially deaf children who they said struggled with background noise, and the study went on to say that these children can miss up to half of what the teacher says. These findings, it states, are having a severe impact on these children’s reading, writing, spelling and spoken language. Parents also pointed out that this also has a profoundly detrimental effect on their participation in assemblies, PE lessons and group work.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the NDCS, said: “Mild and moderate deafness can often be overlooked because of a perception that it is not a serious condition or that children are ‘coping’ at school. But often these children are nodding their way through life without really understanding what is being said and missing out on vital early development.”

She went on to state that more than half of children with limited hearing failed to achieve ‘five good GCSE’s”. The NDCS estimates that an amount of around 20,000 children in schools across the UK are mild to moderately deaf. The findings also back up the opinion of the NDCS that one to one teaching is just as vital for children who have partial deafness as to those who are completely deaf.

The report came just in time for Deafness Awareness Week which runs from May 4 to May 10.

Lisa said: “The house actually feels like a home now! It is so nice waking to find that the bedding is dry and that the walls aren’t running. Since the work has been done, we’ve been living in a warm home and Charlotte’s asthma has considerably improved.”

Elaine Midwinter, npower Health Through Warmth scheme manager, added: “World Asthma Day provides us, together with our partners, with the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the vital role that warmth plays in health and wellbeing. Through our ongoing work, we’re making a difference to people like Charlotte whose health is affected by cold temperatures.”

Since being fou n ded in 2000, more than 86,000 vulnerable residents across England and Wales have been referred to npower Health Through Warmth for assistance with heating and insulation. Eligible residents do not have to be, or become, an npower customer to benefit from the scheme.

For more information about the scheme or to find out if you or someone you know could be eligible for help, visit www.healththroughwarmth.com

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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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