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Ancient ceremony to mark new primary school development

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Guests at the ceremony included pupils from Hakin Community and Hubberston VC schools: They will be moving to the new school when it opens early next year.

SCHOOLCHILDREN from Hakin Community and Hubberston VC schools have taken part in a ceremony to mark the development of a new primary school currently under construction at Gelliswick Road.

Pupils from both schools visited the site of the £12 million project, which was formally named Gelliswick Church in Wales Voluntary Controlled Primary School by Cabinet earlier this week.

It is one of several schools which have been built, or are being built, under the 21st Century Schools Programme – a £120 million initiative between Pembrokeshire County Council and the Welsh Government to build state-of-the-art schools.

The new school will provide:

  • a new build primary school for 480 pupils
  • an Early Years Unit for around 60 pupils
  • a Complex Needs Unit for 24 pupils aged
  • some facilities accessible to – and shared by – the community.

A new 3G sports pitch adjacent to the site has already been handed over to the Council.

The youngsters were among guests at a ‘topping-out’ event marking the structural completion of the building by contractors Willmott Dixon.

The ancient ceremony is said to ward off evil spirits and bestow good fortune on a property.

The pupils contributed by pouring wine, oil, corn and salt on a small yew tree. They will be among those children moving into the new school when it opens at the end of the year.

In Saxon times a yew tree branch was placed in the uppermost part of a new construction as a symbol of completion.

Wine symbolised fertility and wisdom and oil promised liberty and prosperity. Corn would ripen and grow prosperity into abundance and the salt equated to purity and hospitality.

Welcoming guests, Willmott Dixon’s Operations Director, Ian Jones, said the event marked the halfway point of the contract which was slightly ahead of schedule, thanks to the team led by Martin Bennett.

“This is an important milestone in the building’s construction, both for ourselves and Pembrokeshire County Council,” he said.

He revealed that 168 tons of steel had gone into the frame of the new school while 3,000 tons of concrete had been poured into its foundations. Walls had been covered with 65 tons of plasterboard.

Mr Jones went on: “I am pleased to say that 78 per cent of the goods we have used on site have been procured in Wales and that we have given 272 weeks of employment to those who were previously jobless while also offering 81 weeks of work experience.”

County Council Leader, Jamie Adams, said the Authority was involved in the second largest 21st Century Schools Programme in Wales and that the money spent in investing in the education of children was worth every penny.

Under the scheme, the County Council has already opened four new schools and are in the process of building five others around Pembrokeshire.

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Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road

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A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5)

A man was seen holding onto the outside railings of a bridge, talking to police officers.

The police said: “We are dealing with an ongoing incident, with concern for the welfare of a male, which has meant the A487 between Cartlett Road and Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest has been closed.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

There are reports of long queues for motorists in and around Haverfordwest with some drivers messaging The Herald saying “Town is gridlocked.”

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James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils

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JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found not guilty of all charges at Swansea Crown court today, following a lengthy trial (May 4).

The charges, now dismissed, had related to his time as a Haverfordwest primary school teacher, between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Oulton had described the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.

He confirmed he had made a formal complaint against one officer involved.

Speaking after the verdict, James Oulton said: “I am glad two years and eight months of hell for my family, colleagues and friends has come to an end.”

“I’m just glad it’s over and that the jury came to the right verdict.”

The press was only able to report on the prosecution case, but not the defence case – because Oulton him self via his barrister had made an application to the court for a press restriction.

The Herald feels that this press restriction on the reporting of both sides of the case, once granted, was unlawful, and is appealing to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.

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Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week

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NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of action against knife crime, police have said.

Dyfed-Powys Police has released its results from Op Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, during which officers across the force took part in activity to crack down on crime involving blades.

The week was led by the force’s roads policing units (RPU), with a focus on targeting operations in key areas throughout the four divisions.

Neighbourhood policing teams were instrumental in engaging with shopkeepers, creating educational videos for communities on social media, and working with RPU on joint patrols in crime hotspots.

Inspector Andrew Williams said: “There have been some excellent results forcewide  from this year’s Op Sceptre, and as a result of the increased proactivity in key areas, there has also been a vast amount of other offences detected.

“This was thanks to some outstanding work by roads policing units, neighbourhood policing teams, the joint firearms unit and response officers.

“Our approach was to educate our communities on the laws around carrying and selling knives, and the dangers associated with having a blade on your possession, which was backed up with operational activity across the force.

“This has been very well received, and will be continued during the next operation.”

During the week 20 stop searches were carried out, resulting in seven arrests and numerous weapons being seized.

Twelve people were arrested for drug driving following stop checks on vehicles, one of which led to the discovery of a cannabis cultivation in the Cardigan area.

Traffic offence reports were issued to 41 drivers, and two people will be dealt with for failing to stop for officers when requested.

Neighbourhood policing activity saw engagement with 95 shop owners and community leaders, with officers and PCSOs reassured to find that most businesses were complying with the Challenge 25 policy. Those who were not will be dealt with accordingly.

Insp Williams said: “Our work to tackle knife crime will continue as we consider intelligence logs that were submitted during the operation and develop targeted plans to deal with concerns in our communities.

“We would also like to remind people that while our knife amnesty has now concluded, the best way to dispose of an unwanted blade is to take it to your local recycling centre.”

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