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Pembrokeshire College management excels



Proud of the college team: Sharron Lusher

Proud of the college team:
Sharron Lusher

THURSDAY November 5 will see the NSMW team serving school meals to the Members of the National Assembly for Wales. We will be situated in the Neuadd in the Senedd, which houses the public reception and information area, and was conceived as an orientation and event area when the home of the Assembly was designed and built earlier this century. It will be a terrific opportunity to show the quality of a modern school meal to both the AM’s and members of the general public.
Cardiff Council Education Catering are producing an exciting menu of mains and desserts from both their regular primary and secondary menus that will reflect both the ethnicity of the city as well as some traditional Welsh favourites. In addition they will select a number of their chefs and support staff to produce the food in the Senedd on the day and we will be uploading the final choice of dishes shortly so keep checking the site. Assembly Member for Arfon in Gwynedd, Mr Alun Ffred Jones has sponsored the event (it is a requirement that any event in the Assembly building has to have a Member sponsor it) and said: “I am delighted to be involved with National School Meals Week and happy to sponsor the LACA event at the Senedd.
Teaching children from a young age about the benefits of healthy eating and living, while making the learning fun and enjoyable is what makes this initiative so important. “Research has shown that children, who have had a healthy, nutritious lunch, concentrate better, have improved behaviour and increased educational attainment. Holding high profile events helps to put this message across via the various media channels and informs parents, resulting in improved uptake.” The LACA Wales committee are delighted that such a high profile event is taking place at the heart of Welsh Government and that school meals are being shown in such a positive light.
Chair Toni Edwards commented: “The Welsh LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education) Region is absolutely thrilled that the Assembly Member for Arfon in Gwynedd Mr Alun Ffred Jones is sponsoring us to attend the Senedd for National School Meals week. School meals are an important part of the school day and this high profile event will help highlight the exceptional work that goes on across Wales.
“Welsh school meals pack in all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a child’s healthy development and this event will enable us to showcase our success and hopefully encourage more parents to take up the offer of meals for their children. The whole Region is looking forward to the event, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how successful Wales has become in supplying excellent meals for our young customers.” It will be an outstanding way to celebrate all that is great about our industry in such an iconic location and will be the high point of what should be another successful National School Meals Week.
COLLEGE leaders have been judged as ‘Excellent’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Estyn following a recent inspection of the College-led work-based learning Consortium – *B-wbl.
Estyn’s inspection team (the same common framework which covers school, colleges and workbased learning) judged the College’s leadership as ‘highly effective in setting clear strategic direction for the delivery of their work-based learning contract’. The current performance was rated as ‘Good’ with the Prospects for Improvement as ‘Excellent’. In total there were 10 ‘Good’ judgements and 5 ‘Excellent’ judgements. The college management team were identified as having a clear focus on effective collaborative working and the improvement of learner standards across all Consortium members. Pembrokeshire College Principal, Sharron Lusher has commended the College staff on their achievements.
“I’m so proud of the College team who have worked tirelessly to ensure all our learners in the Consortium have every chance of succeeding. Our results show that the dedication and support of an excellent team of staff across all our Consortium partners has played a key role in ensuring we deliver high quality learning and teaching. To have this endorsed in such a positive way by Estyn, with all areas being judged as either excellent or good is such a boost for the Consortium team.”
Work-based learning which is part financed by the European Union Social Fund, provides apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships in the workplace across a wide range of industries in south and mid Wales, including construction, engineering, business and management, veterinary nursing and forestry management have recently been added. The Consortium’s success rate is 2% above the national comparator at 86%. This result is down to a highly skilled and qualified workforce who are committed to ensuring learners progress well on their programmes. Estyn inspectors noted the effectiveness of learning and teaching and reported: “Tutors and assessors have good subject knowledge, suitable occupational skills and industry knowledge Partnership working and the learning environment were also given excellent judgements, the latter reflecting the honest and inclusive culture embedded in the Consortium’s values and ethos.
There are over 5,000 consortium learners, with a few now opting for the higher apprenticeship programme as an alternative to university. Former soldier and student Stephen Thomas was selected for the higher apprenticeship programme at Valero. Simon Cuff who is a health and social care apprentice at Marlowe St David’s Educational Unit, has reached the finals of the Higher Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015. “As a new partner in the Pembrokeshire consortium, the College Merthyr Tydfil were delighted to be involved in the inspection, which has commended the high quality programmes delivered across the consortium for all learners,” Deputy Principal, Jonathan Martin.

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New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest



A NEW independent sixth form is set to open in Haverfordwest in September 2021. The latest addition to Castle School, which relocated to Haverfordwest in 2020, the new sixth form will offer 20 different A Level subjects and a BTEC in business through bespoke study programmes that include options to study online or in the sixth form. Students will also get the option to complete work and study placements abroad.

The launch of the sixth form comes after a busy year for Castle School, which relocated from Narberth to Haverfordwest in September 2020, taking over and refurbishing Glenover House, a beautiful old ‘gentlemen’s residence’ that had been empty for five years. The move enabled the school to expand and increase its educational provision.

In addition to its main building, the school has a cookery school and performing arts facility in Snowdrop Lane, and a further site on Snowdrop Lane which is being specially converted to create the sixth form centre. The site will also include an indoor sports facility for whole school use.

The sixth form is designed with flexible study in mind: as well as offering a broad range of subjects and the ability to study online from any location, it will provide instant access study support as well as face to face teaching. In addition, students will get the option to study for one of their A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, in order to experience a different learning environment.

Other milestones for Castle School this year include the opening of a second independent school, Westward House, in St Clears and the purchase of a narrow boat, which will be moored on the Avon and Kennet canal. This will give pupils opportunities for short residential trips to Bristol, Bath and beyond.

“With a floating hotel licence, our newest acquisition will enable small groups of pupils to take their studies further afield and benefit from enhanced learning, extracurricular boating skills and a look at the wider world,” said Harriet Harrison, owner of Castle School and Westward House.

“Things have been tricky over the past year, but along with many others we have seen the difficulties of a world of Covid not as an opportunity for excuses but as a time for stepping up, working harder and making things better and stronger wherever possible. Our schools are thriving, and despite being desperate to get back to normal, we have used this time to improve our facilities for all the children in our care who are coming back after these long periods of lockdown and remote schooling. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

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U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education



SCHOOLS in Wales will now teach first aid and lifesaving skills as part of the new curriculum.

Wales will join England and Scotland by introducing first aid and lifesaving kills to their national secondary education curriculum.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister had previously rejected the calls for emergency resuscitation skills to be compulsory in school.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was introduced in the secondary school curriculum in England in September 2020.

Local authorities in Scotland have also committed to introduce lifesaving skills to their secondary education curriculum.

The British Heart Foundation had backed the campaign for CPR to be taught in schools.

In a long fought battle, Suzy Davies, a Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, secured the commitment from the Welsh Education Minister in the course of debating amendments to the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which will make sweeping changes to the way Welsh children are educated.

The new curriculum for Wales is planned to come into force from 2022.

Children, parents, families and medics have long argued that regular teaching of CPR in particular will raise our children to have the skills and confidence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest if they encounter them outside a hospital setting.

The commitment was included in the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the Assembly election in 2016, and Suzy Davies, the Shadow Education Minister, said:

“After 10 years campaigning for this, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

“From securing cross-party support for this in my early days as an Assembly Member, through several debates and pitches to different Ministers, on to my own proposed legislation which found favour among Senedd Members, it was difficult to understand why Welsh Government was so resistant.

“In this country, our chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside hospital are as poor as 10%. In countries around the world where teaching CPR and defibrillator use is compulsory, those odds improve dramatically. These skills are quick and easy to learn and easy to remember.

“ Alun Davies MS – himself a cardiac arrest survivor – has rightly argued that we should be able to learn these skills at any time in our lives and that defibrillators should be a commonplace feature of our public landscape. I couldn’t agree more – but how simple it is to ingrain these skills from an early age and raise generation after generation of lifesavers.”

Under the new curriculum, teachers must follow statutory guidance made by Ministers to support various aspects of the new way of teaching. After changes guaranteed by the Education Minister, this guidance will now instruct teachers that they should teach lifesaving skills and first aid: It is no longer optional.

The mandatory teaching of life saving skills and first aid (not just CPR) has been supported by the medical profession, including paramedics and fire service co-responders, as well as charities like St. John’s Cymru, British Heart Foundation, Calon Defibrillators, Cariad and the Red Cross.

It is taught through many youth groups, including Torfaen Sea Cadets who trained Aneurin Metcalfe, the young man who saved someone’s life only this week.

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Styling their way to the top



FOUR hairdressing learners: Holly Mathias, Jenna Kilgallon, Helaina Thomas and Leah Rees, recently earned themselves a place in the next stage of the Concept Hair Magazine Learner of the Year Competition.

The candidates were invited into the College to show their fully presented entries as evidence and then submitted them remotely to the Concept Hair Magazine judges in December.

The categories for the competition were: Festival Hair, Red Carpet, Old School Barbershop, Celebration of Colour and Safari.

The unique styles allowed the learners to show off their creative hair styling skills from plaits to updos, to bold colour creations.

Charlotte Jones, Hairdressing lecturer was over the moon with the learners’ success; “We were all so impressed with the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the students who took part in the competition. Also, the students who supported the entries during the day and the models who gave up their time to be involved. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. The results were amazing!”

The students worked to COVID regulations ensuring all the correct PPE and procedures were followed.

Finalist, Holly Mathias entered three categories which included; Styling Level 2 – Festival Theme, Hair Up Level 2 – Red Carpet and Avant Garde – Safari.

Holly shared her experience; “Taking part in the Concept Hair competition, has really boosted my confidence and proved that hard work really does pay off. The support from the staff at Pembrokeshire College is outstanding. I would recommend everyone to take part in this competition as not only is it an amazing experience, but it really allows you to think outside the box and be as creative as you can! I would 100% take part in this competition again.”

Holly plans to go into full-time employment when she completes her course and hopes to one day work on cruise ships or even own her own salon.

The next stage involves the candidates submitting photographic entries on the 12th March where six will be shortlisted for the national finals which is set to take place virtually in April.

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