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Innovative approaches to year 6 transition praised

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Pictured is the Headteacher of Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, David Haynes, leading a virtual tour of the school site.

PEMBROKESHIRE schools have risen to the challenge of supporting the transition of Year 6 learners to secondary education, despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 virus.

Normally, all Year 6 pupils (those in the last year of primary school) spend two days in late June/ early July at the secondary school which they are due to move up to the following September.

The transition days help children to prepare for the new world of secondary education by enabling them to become familiar with the layout of the school site, meeting their form teachers, negotiating the canteen and more.

The two days are complemented by other transition activities throughout Year 6 such as taster days, visits by secondary teachers to schools in their primary cluster, and classroom discussions.

However, as Acting Director for Children and Schools Steven Richards-Downes explains, the return to schools on June 29, may affect the transition processes of individual schools.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made us think very differently about the approach to transition from primary to secondary school this year,” he said.

“I am delighted that our secondary schools have responded with enthusiasm to the challenges that face transition learners in Year 6, as well as Years 9 and 11.

“We have provided our learners with a wide range of opportunities and all schools have developed new and innovative approaches to transition.”

Some examples of the ground-breaking preparations taking place include Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s online approach to transition, featured recently in the Times Education Supplement.

As well as filming a virtual tour of the school, staff are in the process of launching their annual transition project and have plans to run a live virtual transition day. “We didn’t want the children who are coming to us to feel as though they’d missed out,” said Headteacher David Haynes. “In fact we want to make sure they feel as if they’re part of something really special.”

Also creating a digital transition experience is Haverfordwest High VC School who have launched a new website for the pupils due to join in September, which Headteacher Jane Harries said has received an ‘overwhelmingly positive response’.

As well as information on a variety of subjects, there are welcoming videos by staff and pupils, introductions to learning areas and a virtual tour of the site by Head of Year 7, Lauren Davies. “The video is very much focused on the pupils themselves and making them feel comfortable and enthusiastic about moving up in September,” she said.

At Milford Haven School, a welcome video filmed has been with Headteacher Ceri-Ann Morris together with a virtual tour of the school site by Strategic Lead Rachel Mansell.

A virtual google classroom has been set up for over 200 pupils, while all prospective pupils have already received their welcome letter from the Headteacher. A dedicated website has also been transformed to include letters from current pupils to the new learners. Ms Morris explains in her video about the launch of the virtual transition project on June 1: ‘Our transition this year is slightly different and there will be a range of activities created in collaboration with our cluster of schools’.

At Ysgol Bro Gwaun, pupils have been encouraged to send in their pen-portraits and have been using Google Classroom to provide daily updates and promote communication and wellbeing amongst the year-group.

“We have been using ‘Flip-Grid’ to introduce staff and to promote further interaction,” said Head of Year 7, Emma Bowen who has been overwhelmed by the pupils’ willingness to participate and their creativity when using the e-learning platform.

Year 6 pupils due to join Ysgol Harri Tudur/ Henry Tudor School in September will be able to take part in transition visits to the school over a number of agreed set days with current primary schools from June 29, to include a school tour, as well as working on transition materials in their primary schools.

The school is also providing a video for Year 6 pupils, parents and primary schools.

Ysgol y Preseli contacted all prospective Year 6 pupils and their parents to assess how the school could help the transition process during the closure period. Based on pupils’ responses the school has created a range of help videos, a transition blog, weekly digital learning activities and designated Facebook page focusing on transition.

Deputy Headteacher Iola Phillips said ‘We have listened to pupil and parental voice and have adopted an innovative approach using the latest digital technology to create resources which will help pupils look forward to the process of joining us at Ysgol y Preseli. We have placed their well-being at the heart of all of the resources created.”

At Ysgol Caer Elen, a transition pack has been sent to the feeder primary schools as well as being shared on the school’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. The school has also created a TEAM group for all Year 6 pupils in order to share the pack and other resources.

“We are also working towards ensuring a smooth and successful transition for all prospective Year 6 pupils in Ysgol Caer Elen,” said Gareth Owens, Assistant Headteacher.

Staff at Ysgol Greenhill have been working quickly and creatively to support pupils in Year 6 with making a positive transition to secondary school while minimising disruption and focusing on pupils’ well-being.

Pupils can access the school’s ‘Google Classroom’ which has already seen a successful virtual music transition event, and the school has provided a range of curriculum related activity using the online ‘Greenhill Transition 2020’ including numeracy, literacy, and science challenges.

Victoria Thomas, KS2-3 transition leader, has started holding Microsoft Teams meetings with Year 6 pupils and staff, and the school is announcing the next phase of Year 6 Virtual Transition soon. An exciting virtual transition video is also being created.

All school websites (primary and secondary) can be accessed by viewing the following page: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/Coronavirus-Advice-and-Guidance/children-and-schools-transition-to-the-new-normal

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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All people eligible for vaccination will get theirs by end of July

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PEOPLE eligible for the coronavirus vaccine will get theirs by the end of July, the Health Minister has said.

Wales achieved its target of getting everyone in the first four priority groups vaccinated by the middle of February and is now working on offering the vaccine to those in groups 5 to 9.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with severe or profound learning disabilities or with a mental illness will be among priority group 6.

Mr Gething said that they were would make sure that no one is left behind.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 878,506 people had received their first dose of the vaccine.

59,279 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have achieved our first milestone of offering everyone in the first four priority groups vaccination by mid-February.

“We are now making progress in achieving our next milestone, which is to offer the vaccine to all individuals in priority groups 5 to 9.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group 6.

“There are challenges with identifying individuals within these groups, particularly given the JCVI language is not generally in use in Wales, and we are working hard to make sure that no one is left behind. Today we have published guidance on identifying eligible individuals in these groups and on how to support them to take up their vaccine offers.

“The JCVI has also said that some of our invaluable unpaid carers should be included in priority group 6.

“Today we have also published guidance on identifying those unpaid carers eligible for vaccine prioritisation and the process around this. I am grateful to the national carers’ organisations for their support with this work.”

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Council want your help to keep Pembrokeshire active

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is asking residents to give their views on local walking and cycling routes.

The Council aims to make journeys on foot and by bicycle easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

In order to design a network that works for all, the Council would like to get the views of as many people as possible, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle. This will help ensure the routes built for walking and cycling work for the whole community.

The consultation focuses on the main towns and villages in Pembrokeshire which have been selected by Welsh Government as the designated localities in the County. These are:

  • Fishguard & Goodwick
  • Haverfordwest
  • Johnston
  • Milford Haven
  • Neyland
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pembroke
  • Tenby
  • Saundersfoot
  • Narberth

Pembrokeshire Council is currently undertaking an Active Travel Network Map consultation (ATNM) which will run in 3 stages

Consultation 1: Residents can take part in the consultation exercise online, hosted by Commonplace at https://Pembrokeshire.commonplace.is/

The interactive map allows participants to flag issues, problems and successes on a plan of the active travel settlement and add comments. Such points could be for example, a pavement that is too narrow or a newly built cycle route that is regarded as a success.

The first stage of the consultation will close on 31 st March 2021.

Consultation 2: Following this, the second step of the consultation will see the Council share the initial findings and ask people what they think of the plans
proposed as a result of the feedback received.

Consultation 3: The third stage of the consultation will give members of the public a final say on the Active Travel Network Maps before they are sent to Welsh Government for approval. These maps will have been produced taking into account public feedback and ideas from consultations 1 and 2.

By upgrading facilities and creating new walking and cycling routes, the Council plans to make Active Travel the popular choice for local journeys, to increase the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work, improve health and well-being, and help tackle air pollution.

Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “This consultation exercise will produce an Active Travel Network Map which will be a plan of routes the Council will use to inform where improvements to walking and cycling should be made in Pembrokeshire.

“It will help to make journeys on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and people who use mobility aids and will build on the increased level of walking and cycling that we have seen over the last 12 months during the pandemic.”

See more information on Active Travel at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/fitness-and-well-being/active-travel

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