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Education

Success for Coleg Sir Gâr students

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Gold: Ebony Evans

Gold: Ebony Evans

TWO STUDENTS from Coleg Sir Gâr have won gold in two national skills competition heats in the carpentry and health and life sciences categories.

Inclusive Skills is part of Skills Competitions Wales and is backed by the Welsh Government- designed to celebrate vocational skills for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities to help equip them with essential life, learning, and employability skills for the future.

Ebony Evans, 17, from Cross Hands, and Joshua Kerr, 18, from Ammanford, are just two of 11 Welsh youngsters who have been perfecting their skills in a bid to win a medal. Across a range of vocations, these budding skilled individuals could be chosen to represent Wales and Coleg Sir Gâr in the carpentry and health and life sciences categories at this year’s Skills Show in Birmingham this November. Competing against youngsters from across the UK, the pair could potentially join 82 Welsh competitors to be part of Team Wales.

Ebony competed against one other student, completing a series of health and life science challenges within a 40 minute time period, including preparing a healthy meal plan which accommodated different religious dietary requirements. Ebony, who is studying an A level in health and social care, said she is thrilled to have won.

“I’m so pleased to have won the competition; I feel like all my hard work has paid off and I’m excited about maybe going on to the next stage.

“We studied a range of different cultures in college and had to remember their dietary requirements while making sure the meal plan was well balanced and healthy. I feel really proud of myself and it’s made me think more about a future career in health and social care.”

Joshua, who studies an entry level qualification in timber products, completed a series of carpentry challenges to win his gold medal by making a small wooden box using different joinery methods and demonstrating safety in the workshop. He said: “Being successful in this competition has made me think of all the different things I could do with a carpentry qualification; there’s so many options in the woodwork trade. For now, I’m going to concentrate on getting to the next stage of my competition journey and making my family proud of me.”

Inclusive Skills forms part of the Welsh Government’s Skills Competitions Wales, designed to promote the importance of vocational skills with the aim of boosting the overall skill capabilities and prosperity of Wales.

Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, said: “The Inclusive Skills competitions are a great way to not only help young people show off their skills but also test their abilities and become more independent. It’s important to promote inclusive competitions and raise the profile of students with learning difficulties, helping them become work-ready and broadening their career options and aspirations.

“I’m proud that 2016 sees the highest number of competitors Wales has ever sent to the Skills Show in Birmingham and am confident that Ebony and Joshua will help to boost the country’s team in the final heats.”

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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