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Top marks for Ysgol Casmael



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.”


Urgent warning: Flash rips at Newgale



BEACHGOERS at Newgale Beach are being warned to exercise extreme caution due to an increase in flash rip currents, which have led to numerous rescues in recent days. Lifeguards have reported a spike in dangerous currents, prompting a strong advisory for visitors to heed safety guidelines.

On Tuesday, RNLI lifeguards at Newgale Beach were involved in a series of dramatic rescues. With surf conditions of 1-2 feet and shifting sandbanks at low tide, an abundance of rip currents formed, creating perilous conditions for swimmers and surfers. Lifeguards rescued six people and assisted a further eight from rip currents, while also offering preventative advice to hundreds of beachgoers.

Senior Lifeguard George Morgan stressed the importance of visiting lifeguarded beaches, especially with World Drowning Prevention Day approaching on 25 July. “Yesterday’s events highlight why it’s crucial to follow our advice. We conducted six rescues and assisted eight more people, but also provided preventative advice to hundreds,” Morgan said.

The conditions at Newgale are particularly hazardous due to the interaction of surf, wind, and tides with the sandbanks, creating unpredictable flash rip currents. These currents can change location daily, making them impossible to predict. Lifeguards have to regularly move the safety flags and dynamically assess the beach.

Lifeguards advise swimming and bodyboarding only between the red and yellow flags, and surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding between the black and white flags. These flagged areas are patrolled by lifeguards from 10 am to 6 pm. A red flag indicates an unsafe area, typically due to rip currents.

Tuesday’s incidents began shortly after midday when a flash rip current appeared at the north end of Newgale Beach. Lifeguard Jake Rogers rescued two bodyboarders and assisted three surfers out of the rip current. Later, he helped two more bodyboarders who were struggling to return to shore.

Lifeguard George Morgan, operating a Rescue Water Craft (RWC), guided people to stay within the flagged areas. He spotted two bodyboarders being swept out to sea and assisted them with the help of Lifeguard Travis Christopher-Mullins. Later, Jake Rogers, while patrolling on the RWC, assisted a surfer and two swimmers caught in rip currents, ensuring their safe return to shore.

Near the end of their shift, Lifeguard Cai Owen rescued two bodyboarders who were caught in a rip current and far out of their depth, bringing them safely back to shore.

Stuart Penfold, Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for North Pembrokeshire, offered crucial advice for those caught in a rip current: “Don’t swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, then wade instead of swimming. If possible, swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the current, then head back to shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.”

Penfold also encouraged beachgoers to approach lifeguards for guidance if they are unsure about water safety. He emphasised that several beaches in Pembrokeshire, including Newport Sands, Poppit Sands, Whitesands, Newgale Central and South, Broad Haven, Freshwater West, Tenby North, Tenby Castle, Tenby South, and Saundersfoot, are patrolled daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Safety Tips:

  • Swim only in areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Be aware of changing conditions and unexpected currents.
  • Avoid swimming after hours or in unpatrolled areas.
  • Share this safety information with others.

Newgale Beach, while a stunning destination, currently requires heightened vigilance and caution.

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Call for landowners to check for ash dieback



WORK has been carried out across Pembrokeshire to manage trees affected by ash dieback.
Ash dieback is one of the worst tree disease epidemics the UK has ever seen and there is no treatment option.

Trees affected by the disease become brittle over time with branches breaking away.
If they are not dealt with, trees are weakened and may become susceptible to secondary pathogens which may result in total failure, presenting an immediate danger to the surrounding area.

Cllr Rhys Sinnett, the Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “Like many areas of Wales and the UK, ash dieback is prevalent in Pembrokeshire.

“It is always a shame when a tree has to be removed but this work is important for public safety.

“The Council is also highlighting important action that needs to be taken by private landowners.”

Through highway inspections, the Authority has identified trees on private land that could impact on the highway and therefore require attention.

Private landowners have a duty, under the Highways Act, to manage trees on their land that may impact on the public highway.

The Council’s Streetcare Team continues to contact private landowners to identify trees that fall within the higher category of decay.

In order to assist with this issue the Council is requesting that private landowners check their ash trees for any sign of the disease and take appropriate action.

This is especially important at this time of year, as lack of leaf growth and decayed branches will be signs of diseased trees that landowners will need to check and take action if necessary.

The Council advises that an arborist or qualified person is used to assess trees and review safe felling operations and ensure consents are in place to remove any identified trees.

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Conservation area consultation for Cresswell Quay approval expected



PLANS to hold a public consultation on making one of south Pembrokeshire’s most scenic estuarial villages, home to a CAMRA award-winning pub, a conservation area are expected to be backed by the national park.

At the July 24 meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s meeting approval is sought to initiate public consultation for designating Cresswell Quay as a Conservation Area.

Cresswell Quay, home to the Cresselly Arms, is “one of the most scenic villages within the National Park and is highly significant as a very early coal port, retaining several buildings of architectural importance,” a report for members states.

There are some 500 conservation areas, defined as “areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance” across Wales, 14 in the national park.

The report for Park members adds: “The designation of a conservation area at Cresswell Quay would recognise the special architectural and historic interest of the village and would ensure that future development either preserves or enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“The designation would introduce controls over the demolition of buildings which would require conservation area consent and affords greater protection of works to trees. Officers consider that part of the special interest of Cresswell Quay is the relationship between the village, the estuary and its wooded setting, which is unusual in a Pembrokeshire context.”

It adds: “To date, the Conservation Areas within the National Park have been designated inhouse. However, Cresswell Quay is the home of the Buildings Conservation Officer and to avoid any potential conflict of interest or wider public misconception, the public consultation will be undertaken by Linda Jones of Babb Architects, Whitland and Emily Holder, Conservation Assistant, supported by members of the Strategic Policy team.”

Initial engagement with key landowners and the three community councils of the area has already taken place, and a public drop-in event – if consultation is backed – is planned for early August.

Further information on the consultation will also promoted at events including the Pembrokeshire County Show and Martletwy Show.

Earlier this year the Cresselly Arms won the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub of the year award for the whole of Wales.

The Cresselly Arms averaged 89 points out of a maximum 120 after surveys were conducted across the country by members of other branches.

The recommendation before Park members seeks approval for a formal consultation, as well as drafting a conservation area appraisal and management plan.

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