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Council criticised over education plans

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Results not good enough: Council Leader Jamie Adams said the county’s results should be better

Results not good enough: Council Leader Jamie Adams said the
county’s results should be better

THE COUNCIL has come under criticism from a number of councillors for its proposals for post- 16 education in mid and north west Pembrokeshire. At a meeting of the full council yesterday (Sept 10), councillors approved a number of recommendations but a number of councillors were unsure about how the council planned to move forward. The council discussed three matters for Haverfordwest, Welsh Medium Provision and Fishguard and St Davids as three separate items.

However, Cllr Mike Stoddart felt that all three were linked and that if they approved the plans for Haverfordwest they would be pointing the ship directly to the county town. He made an amendment on the final agenda item to get post- 16 education provided at a location in Haverfordwest, following further consultation, rather than at Pembrokeshire College. In a recorded vote, that amendment was defeated by 22 votes to 24 and the original recommendations were passed.

‘SHOULD BE DOING BETTER’ Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “We want all children to achieve their potential. I would like to congratulate all students from the county on their results but we should be doing better. In some areas the results are not good enough. “Estyn has previously challenged us on our slow progress and until me make decisions to address these matters, Estyn’s concerns will remain. “The fragmented approach is impacting on outcomes of our learners and a significant proportion of pupils are making wrong decisions at key points.”

HAVERFORDWEST – ‘ALL OPTIONS NEED TO BE CONSIDERED’

Cllr David Howlett accepted that discussions needed to go on in Haverfordwest but added: “All options need to be considered to allay the fears of the community of Haverfordwest and surrounding area. It needs to be for the benefit of the children.”

Cllr Tom Tudor said that further consultation was a ‘good thing to do’ and added that although there hasn’t been much dialogue with Trustees they are willing to meet with members of the council to discuss ways forward. Before the meeting, members of the joint board of Trustees for Sir Thomas Picton and Tasker Milward schools gathered outside County Hall on behalf of the pupils to continue to protest against the changes.

Council Leader Jamie Adams said there had been considerable attempts to arrange meetings with the Trustees but that they had refused to meet. He added: “I am not sure what jurisdiction a governing body has. There is no statutory regulation that covers governing bodies. I don’t know whether these are the views of themselves or of the trustees; the lines are getting very muddied.

“Tasker Milward is seen as a better way forward, it is the best site but there are other opportunities. It is the gift of the council to move this forward.” Councillor Myles Pepper added that he could not support the plans as there was no opportunity available in schools and added: “We have to deliver quality, this is not fair, right, balanced or proper.”

‘COUNCIL DOESN’T LISTEN’

Cllr Jonathan Nutting blasted the council and its cabinet for not listening to its residents and said that the council had ‘backed everyone into a corner’. He added: “We haven’t engaged with the real people of Pembrokeshire. No one challenges what is being said and this is becoming a real debacle.

“Everybody involved has their backs against the wall. We cannot blame the trustees, they are clear in what they say and we now know what the position is and we should discuss it with them. “The council is trying to railroad things through and we cannot honestly go the way we are being told to go.

“The people of  Haverfordwest have clearly said they don’t want their children educated in a college and we have got to listen to them.” Cllr David Simpson, appointed to the board of the college a number of years ago, said that the trust ‘were not dictating terms’ and described it as a chance to move forward. He added: “I was told by the college, when I was on the board, that they would never want sixth form education in the college because it would be bad for the people of Pembrokeshire.

“I still wonder why we are heading in this direction and I am confused as to the way we are going to go. “Pupils have said they would find it better if there was sixth form provision at the school because they have a choice of where they want to go.”

DENYING CHOICE

Cllr Stan Hudson said that the proposals would establish two tiers of education in the county whereby the people in the south have a choice and those in the north do not. Cllr Hudson went on to say: “A Level results were disappointing but most of those are going to university and I know of two who are going to Cambridge.

“I am against sixth form going to college and we would be driving the ship in a particular direction. “If we pass this, we would achieve in 25 weeks what the college has been unable to achieve in 25 years. “The choice is still there for them but these plans take away the choice for people at the age of 16.

“The Assembly government are thinking of giving 16 year olds the choice of voting and yet we are denying them the choice of where they go for post-16 education.” The recommendation to go out to further consultation for the Haverfordwest area was approved by a majority vote.

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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News

Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it is this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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News

Warrant without bail issued for Milford Haven man who failed to attend court

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A WARRANT without bail has been issued for a Milford Haven man who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Gareth James Mann, 45, of Bunkers Hill was stopped in his VW Golf on October 31, 2020 in Milford Haven.

Mann is accused of driving without a licence, insurance, under the influence of cocaine and whilst in possession of an ounce of cannabis.

Police are now instructed to find Mann, arrest him and bring him before the courts.

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