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Education

Engineering the future

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Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.58.33A UNIQUE partnership between UWTSD, A-Level students, the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) and local businesses is helping to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

The ‘Big Bang’ is the largest annual event scheme in South Wales for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) where professional engineers from link companies work with a team of Year 12 students and their teacher for 5-6 months on a real engineering problem.

The scheme continues to reap rewards with Bishop Vaughan sixth formers becoming the latest students to win a top engineering and science award for designing a glass bottle sorting device.

The team of eight pupils competed against 75 other teams from across South Wales, and won the ‘Best Application of Engineering and Technology’ award, and were also nominated for ‘Best Working Prototype’ at the Engineering Education Scheme for Wales linked with STEM.

Their award was presented to them by Mr R. Cater from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

GlassTech, a local recycling company based in Neath, challenged the students to create a device to recognise different coloured glass bottles and then sort them to relevant containers, working with UWTSD, the team used everyday technology to solve the problem in the form of a Web Cam.

The team had to prepare a technical report and present their solution to senior engineers and academics at the ‘Big Bang’ awards day.

Their solution and display for the working model gathered a lot of interest especially from Carwyn Jones AM.

The students; Phoebe Hughes, Morgan Thomas, Keefe Montebon, Joseph Robinson, Rhys Brannan, Baptin Syriac, Joel Baiju and Eloisa Maristela have also been awarded the Gold Crest award, for their hard work and excellent technical report, receiving extra 70 UCAS entry points for getting into university.

Student Keefe Montebon said: “It was such an amazing experience and it has inspired us all to go on to higher education and achieve even more.”

Pam Berry – EESW West Wales Coordinator said: “The team worked incredibly hard and received excellent support from UWTSD lecturers Richard Morgan and Dr. Arnaud Marotin. UWTSD has been an excellent supporter of EESW, hosting workshops to enable students to develop prototypes.”

Karen John from Glass Tech added: “These are a remarkable group of youngsters and engineers of the future. I am absolutely impressed at how professional they are. I would love to invite the students, their teacher and the UWTSD lecturers to Glass Tech to see the industrial process and commercial tonnage and issues glass recycling face. I am sure one of these bright sparks will come up with a solution.”

UWTSD lecturer Richard Morgan said working with the teams from Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive School and Gower College Swansea, alongside fellow lecturer Dr Arnaud Marotin, had been as been a positive and rewarding experience this year.

“The teams have demonstrated exceptional levels of commitment and professionalism and have had exposure to some of the excellent facilities and resources on offer within the Engineering department at UWTSD,” he said:

“The fantastic achievements at the recent Engineering Education Scheme Wales competition are a testament to the first-rate efforts of the team members and the support and encouragement provided by staff at the school and the college.

“Both Arnaud and I have been delighted with the way in which these industrially focussed projects have strengthened the links between schools, colleges and the university. Engineering graduates are in high demand and it’s reassuring to see such enthusiasm and talent. We are sure that we have been witnessing some of ‘tomorrow’s engineers’ in action.”

If you have an interest in engineering, every September UWTSD also host a three day residential engineering and design event called ‘Head Start’, at our Swansea Campus for Year 12 and 13 students.

Participants have the opportunity to experience university life while working on exciting challenges using a range of industry level facilities and equipment at the university.

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Education

New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest

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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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Education

U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education

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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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Education

Styling their way to the top

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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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