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Top marks for Ysgol Casmael

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YSGOL CASMAEL in Puncheston are celebrating after being given an excellent report by school inspectorate, Estyn.

The rural north Pembrokeshire Primary school was inspected in November last year, and the report, published on Thursday, praised the school for their accomplishments.

The school was rated ‘Excellent’ in all five inspection areas.

Praising the school, the report said: “Leadership is strong and innovative and is developing the school as a very successful creative community, which makes the most of its local area to enrich its pupils’ education.”

“All members of staff have very high expectations to ensure the well-being and progress of all individuals.  This creates a healthy learning environment, in which all pupils are encouraged to work hard and create work of a high standard.  Nearly all pupils are extremely polite and treat each other and adults with a high level of respect.”

“Staff work together very effectively to plan an exciting, creative and stimulating curriculum for all pupils.  They provide practical and interesting experiences that engage nearly all pupils’ interest in full.  This helps pupils to develop as ambitious, confident and knowledgeable learners.”

Speaking specifically about standards at the school, Inspection Area 1, the report pays particular reference to the numeracy skills.  “More able pupils solve increasingly complex problems, for example when calculating the volume of different cylinders and prisms successfully”, giving this area and excellent judgement.

With regards to wellbeing and attitudes towards learning at the school, Inspection area 2 was again awarded an excellent judgement, the report states, “Nearly all pupils behave excellently in lessons, during break times and during periods while working independently.  Nearly all pupils are very keen to attend school daily, as they enjoy the exciting activities and the care that is available to them.”

Inspection area 3 is focused on Teaching and Learning Experiences, here inspectors praised the teachers for providing an “Exceptionally stimulating and creative curriculum for pupils, which develops their skills very successfully across all areas of learning.  Effective planning methods are preparing staff and pupils well to introduce the new curriculum.”  This again received a judgement of excellence.

A fourth excellent judgement was awarded for area 4, Care, support and guidance.  “The school promotes the importance of good behaviour, courtesy, respect and commitment very successfully.  As a result, pupils behave well consistently, are very polite and respectful towards each other and visitors, and apply themselves conscientiously to their activities….  All pupils have an individual development plan, class teachers give the content of these careful consideration when planning their lessons. “

Finally, Inspection area 5 makes a judgement on the leadership and management of the school.  “The head teacher has high expectations of herself, staff and pupils.  Her vision focuses clearly on supporting pupils’ wellbeing and developing ambitious and confident learners in a creative and Welsh environment…There is a strong sense of teamwork in the school…The school is an effective learning community in which staff learn from each other in a supportive environment…the school is innovative in developing a creative and stimulating curriculum that engages nearly all pupils’ interest in their learning.”  This area was also given a judgement of excellence.

Mrs Amanda Lawrence, head teacher at Ysgol Casmael, said: “I believe a team approach is essential to the success of any school, but particularly to a small school like ours, in a rural area.”

“Through working collaboratively with all stakeholders, we are ensuring that all pupils receive the best possible experiences in a homely environment, with a strong yet inclusive Welsh ethos.”

“I am so grateful to have the support of a strong team of highly experienced practitioners, a strong governing body, alongside supportive, appreciative parents, but above all I am grateful to our pupils, the individuals who make our journey towards a new curriculum in Wales so vitally important.  As we are receptive to their ideas, so they too are eager to take on board changes in our pedagogy with excitement and enthusiasm, this is what energises us as a staff to keep expanding our horizons.”
Mr Russel Evans, chair of Ysgol Casmael’s governing body, said: “On behalf of the Governors of Ysgol Casmael, I would like to thank and congratulate the school on their recent extremely successful and impressive inspection report.
As a governing body we are very aware of the hard work of the teaching staff and of the pupils in reaching these standards, together with the continued and constant support of the parents, non-teaching staff and the friends of the school.
As a school which values its community role, we are aware that the success of this school is dependent on everyone connected with our educational provision playing their part in our success and development.
May I also thank my fellow Governors for their hard work over the years and for their support to the school.”

Community

Controversial windfarm on edge of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park refused

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YET again, the ill-sited Rhoscrowther windfarm on edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has been refused consent, much to the joy of campaigners

The Chair of Pembrokeshire Branch of The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW), Mary Sinclair, has responded with relief to the decision by Julie James, the Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, to refuse planning permission for the Rhoscrowther windfarm on the Angle Peninsula, on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The Branch’s detailed objection (below) catalogued a 25-year sequence of 15 various proposals, appeals and decisions on or near the site, every one of which ultimately resulted in refusal of consent.

Mrs Sinclair said: “This must surely now be the end of developers’ misplaced attempts to industrialise this cherished landscape, and to desecrate the setting of the Angle Conservation Area, whose inhabitants can now look forward to freedom from such schemes.

“The decision justifies CPRW’s persistent argument that wind turbines are out of character with the landscape and visual qualities within and adjacent to this narrow National Park – which needs – and has – the highest level of protection.”

She added: “Nevertheless, we support the development of far-offshore wind resources in the Celtic Sea as a more realistic way to address the impacts of Climate Change – it is now high time that developers transferred their efforts to this purpose”.

Following an online Hearing under the new procedure by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) the Inspector’s Report also agreed with CPRW’s Hearing Statement (below) that industrial scale (126m = 413ft) turbines could not be justified in this location because of the nearby oil refinery.

The applicants’ attempt to down-play the adverse impact of the rotating blades on the Grade 1 listed St Decumanus church was also countered by the Inspector who concluded that ‘the visual change in the tranquil and peaceful setting of the church would result in a substantial level of harm’.

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Fflecsi Pembrokeshire bus service is set to expand

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TRANSPORT FOR WALES (TfW) is expanding the fflecsi service in Pembrokeshire, allowing more communities across the county to benefit from demand responsive transport.

Working in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, the new fflecsi zone replaces the current 315 bus service and will connect villages and hamlets in the Dale Peninsula to Milford Haven and Haverfordwest – integrating with wider public transport routes.

The expansion begins on Monday 30 January and will link up with the highly successful fflecsi service in north-west Pembrokeshire, which has seen an increase in passenger demand since it began operating in September 2020.

Together, the two zones will cover a large portion of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, offering visitors to the area an accessible, environmentally friendly transport alternative to some of the county’s most popular destinations, including the Wales Coastal Path.

TfW also supports the operation of the fflecsi Bwcabus service, which connects rural villages in central Pembrokeshire to Haverfordwest, Fishguard and its ferry port, as well as operating zones which serve parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

fflecsi Pembrokeshire is a demand responsive bus service which does not have a fixed route and timetable but an operating zone which enables passengers to be picked up and dropped off anywhere within that fflecsi zone.

Rather than passengers waiting at a bus stop for a bus to turn up, they can book a journey in advance using the fflecsi app, or by calling 0300 234 0300.

Passengers are informed where to catch the bus and at what time it will be arriving – the pick-up point will be near as possible to the location of the passenger.

Andrew Sherrington, Head of Bus Network and Service Development, said: “fflecsi has grown to become a dependable public transport choice in rural Pembrokeshire and its expansion will now allow more people across the county to access the service for everyday journeys and to make important travel connections.

“Passenger numbers continue to grow and in August and September of this year, figures were more than double what they were for those months in 2021.

“We know that fflecsi is highly valued by the rural communities it serves across Pembrokeshire, and it is a vital part of TfW’s commitment to providing a multi-modal transport network that encourages more people to make use of public transport.”

Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “This is a really positive intervention by the County Council in order to protect a service for rural passengers in this part of the county and ensure that they continue to have access to key urban areas.

“The fflecsi Pembrokeshire scheme has proved extremely popular in the north of the county both for tourists and local people and we hope to see this success maintained when the new zone is introduced.”

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Community

Grant to renovate a community swimming pool in Cardigan

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CARDIGAN Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall have received a Capital Grant to undertake much needed renovation work.

The Sport Wales Capital Grant of £207,000 from Welsh Government was secured by Ceredigion County Council to fund essential capital works at Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall.

The grant will enable the Swimming Pool to upgrade its Pool Plant Equipment and Air Handling Unit, insulate the roof above the toddler pool and purchase new Pool covers.

Matt Newland, Chairman of Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall Trustees, said: “The swimming pool and hall trustees are delighted to announce that we have received a grant from Sports Wales to carry out much needed works to the pool to enable it to continue running. The trustees would like to thank Ceredigion County Council for their assistance and support. Cardigan Swimming pool and hall is run by the trustees committee for the benefit of the community. It is an essential resource and this grant will help secure our future.”

Katie Proven, the newly appointed manager of the centre also welcomed the news: “This investment will help us make much needed efficiency savings, reducing our energy costs and environmental footprint. This is excellent news for the people of Cardigan”

Councillor Catrin M.S Davies, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services, said: “Ceredigion’s leisure facilities which are run by the community are an important part of the opportunities available for our residents to be active and have fun as a family, group of friends or individually. By working together, Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall and the Council have secured a significant investment that will enable the pool to continue to contribute to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents in the county.”

More information on the plans can be seen on Ceredigion County Council’s website: https://council.ceredigion.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=291&LLL=1

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