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Pembrokeshire headteacher’s reflect on GCSE results

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Students from Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

PEMBROKESHIRE Secondary School Headteachers have been reflecting on today’s GCSE results and thanked pupils and staff for their hard work in what has been an unprecedented year.

Year 11 students were unable to take their exams due to Covid-19 and missed out on many of the events and rituals of the final year of compulsory education.

One Headteacher told his students: “If you can cope with this year then you can overcome almost anything life will throw at you in the future.”

Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi (St Davids) Headteacher David Hayes, said: “I would like to pay tribute to all of our excellent Year 11 pupils who have shown outstanding leadership, resilience and determination to succeed during their final year at Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi VA.

“These have been unprecedented and uncertain times for all learners, their families and their teachers. I would like to thank them for their positivity since the early closure of school and the cancelation of the summer exams. I am extremely proud of the GCSE results that our pupils have achieved.”

Some standout performances include Head Girl Isobel Howe, who achieved 10A* and 3A and will now go on to study ‘A’ levels at Rugby School after winning a music scholarship.

Head Boy James Morrissey achieved 7A*, 3 A, 3B and a Distinction in Additional Maths and will study ‘A’ levels at Pembrokeshire College. Deputy Head Boy, Matthew Thomas achieved 1A*, 1A, 8 B and 3C and will go on to study Level Three BTEC Extended Diploma in Construction Management at Pembrokeshire College.

Zara Simpson achieved 5 A*, 4 A, 5B and a Distinction in Additional Maths and will also go on to Rugby School to study for her A Level after winning a prestigious Arnold Scholarship.

Charli Grota Ysgol Y Preseli

Greenhill School (Tenby) Headteacher Raymond McGovern said it had been a pleasure to be in school to see pupils collecting their results this morning.

He added: “There has been a real sense for celebration and this is in no small part to the fact that students know that the grades they have achieved reflect the confidence their teachers have had in their industry and commitment during the whole of the two years of GCSE study. 

“I would like to congratulate each and every one of our pupils. Not solely for their academic achievement but for their positive and enduring spirit, their tenacity, and their reliance they have shown throughout these unprecedented times. But even more than these for their care and compassion for each other and their community at possibly the most challenging times in the living memory of all but a very few of us.”  

Mr McGovern highlighted pupil Adnan Batak, a refugee who joined the school in September 2017 with no English language skills, oral or Written.

“From this starting point, he has just completed six GCSE subjects and entry-level Welsh Language,” Mr McGovern said.

“But it is his kindness and humour that is most noticeable and enduring.”

Among top performers at Greenhill were Emily Batty 9A*, 2A; Tom Davies 9A*, 3A; Freya Williams 8A*, 3A and 1B; Sam Prestwick 3 A*, 6A and 4B; Daisy Blackwell   5A*, 5A, 2 B and 1C and Natasha Hodgson who achieved 3A*, 6A, 3B and 1C grade.

Mr McGovern continued: “Whether returning to study A Levels at Greenhill, going on to College, a training placement or the world of work I would like not only to wish each and every one of them well for their future I would like to say how proud we all are of them and how they have responded to these most unusual times. If you can cope with this then you can overcome almost anything life will throw at you in the future.”

Students from Milford Haven

At Ysgol Harri Tudor,(Pembroke) the Headteacher Fiona Kite, the Governing Body and all staff congratulated Year 11 pupils as they collect their GCSE results.

Mrs Kite said: ’’We are tremendously proud of all of our Year 11 pupils in these unprecedented times, most especially during what was an unexpected and abrupt end to their compulsory schooling, with many of the final Year 11 rituals taken away from them.

“All of our pupils are unique individuals and we hope that their centre assessed GCSE results reflect their pre Covid-19 effort and attainment. 

“Almost all of our Year 11 cohort have achieved a set of results which will enable them to take up their places in the Sixth Form, at Colleges, apprenticeships or employment.

“We congratulate them all today, wishing them all the very best of luck for the next part of their academic journey with our very best wishes for their sustained and future success.’’

Haverfordwest High VC School Headteacher Janet Harries thanked pupils, staff, parents and the wider community for the support received by the school during the time interrupted by Covid-19.

Mrs Harries added: “Huge Congratulations to all our Year 11 students who have persevered in exceptionally difficult circumstances and achieved excellent results at Haverfordwest High VC School.

“Whatever their future intentions, I as Headteacher, the staff and the Governing Body are incredibly proud of them and wish them every success in their chosen pathway.  

“This has been a difficult year for them all. They have not been able to sit their examinations or have the leaving celebrations they deserve but their results are testimony to the hard work they, together with their teachers and family, have put into their studies throughout their time at HHVCS.”

Notable results at Haverfordwest High included Ioan Jones-Hughes who achieved 13 A* and a grade GCSE 8, Euan Sinclair who achieved 12 A* grades and Caitlyn Horton-Jones and Janthine Aburido who both achieved 11 A* grades.

Mrs Harries said: “We are welcoming many students back to HHVCS to continue their studies at A level and we are looking forward to seeing them on Thursday, 3rd September.

“To other students who are pursuing their studies, an apprenticeship or opportunities in employment we wish them all the very best and hope they keep in touch as they progress with their chosen pathway.”

Katey-Anne Othen from Ysgol Y Preseli

The governors and staff at Ysgol Bro Gwaun (Fishguard) congratulated all learners on their achievements.

Headteacher Paul Edwards, said: “The results our students have received today are richly deserved, and are a testament to their hard work throughout the year and in previous years. 

“Under difficult circumstances, these are an outstanding set of results, and are a fair reflection of the efforts made by both pupils and staff.

“We thank our students for their significant contribution to all aspects of school life throughout their time at Ysgol Bro Gwaun, and wish them every success as they move on to the next chapter in their lives.”

Notable successes at Ysgol Bro Gwaun include: Tomos Davies 12A*;  Joss Lerwill 11A*, 2A; Zoe LaTrobe 9A*, 1A, 1B, 1C; Libby Rands 8A*, 5A; Alonwy Roberts 8A*, 2A, 2B; Madeleine Stott 7A*, 5A; Rebecca Hall  6A*, 3A, 3B; Christopher Harries 4A*, 6A, 2B; Liliana Westrip 3A*, 7A, 2B.

Milford Haven pupils celebrate their success

Milford Haven School Headteacher Ceri-Ann Morris, said: “On behalf of staff and governors at Milford Haven School, I would like to congratulate all Year 11 pupils on their GCSE results, reflecting the efforts and commitment they have shown over the last two years and also thank their parents/carers for their support and co-operation.

Among the top performers at Milford Haven were: Ethan Hull 9A*, 4A, 1B; Ben Parr 13A* and 1A; Ferdy Stevenson-Shields 12A* and 1A; Elin Gent 9A*, 4A and 1B; Jenny Algieri 8A*, 3A and 3B and Ethan Bateman, Sam Burton, Megan Rickard, Kiatlyn Carlson and Neve Harper.

Ms Morris added: “The school is pleased to say that all pupils left school with qualifications which will help support them to follow the path of their choice, whether that be into Sixth Form, College, apprenticeships or employment.

“We wish you all good luck in your future careers. Pwb lwc pawb.”

At Ysgol Y Preseli, Headteacher Mr Michael Davies said: “On behalf of staff and governors I would like to congratulate all Year 11 pupils on their excellent GCSE results.

“I would also like to thank their parents and guardians for their outstanding support and cooperation during what has been a very difficult and challenging time for everyone.”

“Today’s GCSE results have been achieved against a backdrop of extraordinary disruption and uncertainty and pupils and their teachers must be given the credit they deserve for an outstanding set of results which are the culmination of much hard work on their part. I would also like to thank the governing body for all their support during this unprecedented time.

“We are very proud of all the young people who have worked tirelessly throughout their time at Ysgol Y Preseli and we look forward to welcoming back a large number to our growing and successful sixth form. What is important now is to ensure that all students in our care are supported and able to move forward with the next steps in their career or learning path.”

Notable performers were Katey-Anne Othen who will be returning to the Sixth Form to study English Literature, Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry; Charlie Grota who will be studying Mechanics at Pembrokeshire College and Rhys Ouseley will be studying Agriculture at Coleg Gelli Aur.

 

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Fr. Liam Bradley to become Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police

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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Haverfordwest will see some changes over the coming weeks as Father Liam Bradley, who has been the parish priest for seven years is to move from his post to become the Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police.

From Cardiff, Archbishop George Stack said in a statement: “Fr. Liam Bradley has given outstanding service as volunteer chaplain to the police in Haverfordwest over recent years.

“So much so, that he has been seconded by the Diocese of Menevia to become Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police with responsibility for a team of volunteer chaplains. He will be engaged in this work of spiritual care and pastoral support of police officers and civilian workers for a period of three days each week. He will be based at Dyfed-Powys Police Headquarters in Carmarthen.

“Whilst this means that Fr. Liam will have to stand down as parish priest of Haverfordwest, I am pleased to say that he will continue to have responsibility as chaplain to the staff and patients at Withybush Hospital for two days each week. In addition to this, he will also offer his services to the Cistercian community at Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland.

“I am grateful to Canon Pius Valummelmalayil for his invitation that Fr. Liam should take up residence at St. Mary’s Presbytery, Carmarthen.

“I have asked Fr. Matthew Roche-Saunders to assume pastoral responsibility for the parish of St. David and St. Patrick, Haverfordwest and the Immaculate Conception, Narberth, for the foreseeable future. These changes will take place after Easter.

Writing of this appointment, Fr. Liam said on the parish’s social media page: “Whilst I am sorry to stand down from the role of parish priest at Haverfordwest and Narberth, I give thanks for serving the community for the last seven years. The huge need for spiritual and pastoral support of those who work at the front line in serving our communities and keeping us safe lies behind this appointment. My voluntary work with the police has taught me how much they value such support.

“I offer it on behalf of the Catholic Church to those of all faiths and none”.

Fr. Matthew added: “I wish Fr. Liam every blessing in his new role of bringing the service of the Church to the wider world. His gifts for such outreach have been recognised in this appointment. I am pleased that he will continue to remain in contact with parishioners in Haverfordwest through his work as hospital chaplain.

“I am grateful for the mutual support and friendship we have enjoyed over the last two and a half years and look forward to it continuing”.

“Please do keep me and Fr Matt in your prayers. Pray also for each other, and treasure in each other the may gifts that each brings to our community of faith.

“This is the closing of one chapter, but beginning of something new and exciting too.

“In all things let us give glory to God who guides us by his divine providence, and supplies what we need to complete his work.”

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Failures over use of ‘filthy’ barracks for asylum seekers – inspectors

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THERE were “fundamental failures” over accommodating asylum seekers in former military barracks, parts of which were “filthy”, inspectors have said.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons visited Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire and Napier Barracks in Kent. They said both sites were “run-down”.

In a preliminary report seen by The Herald the inspectors said at both locations residents described feeling trapped in poor conditions. They feared that if they moved out they would jeopardise their only source of support and possibly their asylum cases, it was concluded.

Inspectors added: “We met many men who described feeling depressed and hopeless at their circumstances. In our resident survey, all of those who responded at Napier and the vast majority at Penally said they had felt depressed at some points.

“At both sites about a third of respondents said they had mental health problems; about a third of respondents at Napier said they had felt suicidal.”

Home Secretary has been asked by Plaid Cymru to consider her position (Image: File)

However, Home Secretary Priti Patel and immigration minister Chris Philp have both previously defended the use of such sites.

There have been repeated demonstrations in both Pembrokeshire and in Kent by people from both ends of the political spectrum, and by local residents, causing security costs to spiral.

On Monday evening (Mar 8), the department repeated its assertion that “it is wrong to say it is not adequate for asylum seekers”

Naomi Phillips, director of policy and advocacy at British Red Cross, said: “These sites are completely inappropriate and inhumane as housing for people fleeing war, persecution and violence.

“The people we’ve spoken to in Penally have told us that they didn’t receive health screenings, were given little or no information about what was happening to them, and simply do not feel safe in the barracks.

“Our worst fears about the impact on people’s mental health have been realised.”

The cost of policing the camp has been higher than expected, running into millions of pounds (Pic Herald)

The BBC is reporting Labour has said the findings are “utterly unbelievable”, and Plaid Cymru called for Home Secretary Priti Patel to “consider her position”.

Inspectors said both sites – which witnessed protests over living conditions in January – were “run-down and unsuitable”, but particularly criticised Napier.

They said given the cramped, communal conditions, “once one person was infected with Covid a large-scale outbreak was virtually inevitable” at the site.

Many men said they were depressed, and a survey found a third of respondents at both sites had mental health problems, while a third at Napier had felt suicidal.

Reacting to the findings, Detention Action director Bella Sankey said: “This is the sort of report that should make decent people consider their positions.”

She called for the barracks to be closed immediately and for “those responsible fully held to account”.

Police and protestors in stand off in Penally in 2020 (Pic: Herald)

Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “At a time when the Home Secretary and Permanent Secretary have told us they are making major changes to improve the culture and the humanity of the department in response to the Wendy Williams Windrush review, this report shows they haven’t yet learnt the lessons.”

Shadow immigration minister, Holly Lynch, said: “The Home Secretary has recklessly put the lives of all those staying at the sites, those working there, and the surrounding communities, at risk during a pandemic.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said Ms Patel “must consider her position” in the wake of the report, which highlighted “fundamental failures of leadership and planning by the Home Office”.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “During these unprecedented times we have met our statutory duty to provide asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, with suitable accommodation and three meals a day all paid for by the British taxpayer.

“We expect the highest possible standards from our service providers and have instructed them to make improvements at the site.”

The Home Office has said people should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach rather than making the crossings, and has said illegal migrants are being returned to safe countries.

The Home Office also said it had instructed service providers to make improvements to both camps. The government department has also said it is winding down use of the camps. In Pembrokeshire the policing costs alone have exceeded a million pounds.

Rooms in the camp were said to be too small for social distancing (Pic: Camp user)

 

Penally camp: Unsuitable in its current condition, said inspectors

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Eligible unpaid carers encouraged to register for COVID-19 vaccine

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UNPAID carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who are not already registered as a carer with their GP practice are being asked to complete an online registration form if they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that unpaid carers are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6, subject to certain eligibility criteria.

Revised national guidance from the JCVI describes unpaid carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 include children with severe neuro-disabilities, those who are designated Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), adults who have underlying health conditions, and those who need care because of advanced age. Eligible carers should be vaccinated in priority group 6.

Anna Bird, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Unpaid carers play a vital role offering care and support and it is in everyone’s interest that they are supported.

“For many years now, the health board has built strong links with unpaid carers across our three counties through initiatives such as our Investors in Carers scheme, designed to help organisations focus on, and improve, their carer awareness and the help and support they give to carers.

“There are over 10,000 unpaid carers registered with GP practices or the local authority across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire but we know there are many more people out there who may not recognise themselves as an unpaid carer and are unaware that support is available for them, including their eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

If you believe you may be eligible, are aged 16 or over and are not registered as an unpaid carer with your GP, please complete this online form https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/ to register your details. People without internet access can contact the health board on 0300 303 8322.

Those already registered as an unpaid carer with a GP will be contacted directly to receive a COVID vaccination and do not need to do anything further.
Please wait to be invited for your vaccination and do not contact your GP or health board to ask about your vaccine appointment. You will be contacted when it is your turn, thank you for your patience and understanding.

To find out more about the support available for unpaid carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/

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