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Education

Education Minister to quit Senedd in May

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KIRSTY WILLIAMS, Wales’ Education Minister will not stand in next year’s Senedd elections.

Ms Williams, who holds the constituency seat for Brecon and Radnorshire was first elected to the then-Welsh Assembly in 1999.

“After much reflection, I have decided not to stand as a candidate in the next election,” she said.

Kirsty Williams is highly-regarded and seen as being perhaps the ablest of the current Welsh Cabinet.

Her departure from the Senedd in May could spark a Cabinet reshuffle by Mark Drakeford.

Mrs Williams said: “There is of course sadness in making this decision, but also a strong sense of pride. Above all else, I’d like to thank the people of Brecon and Radnorshire for their support over the last two decades.”

Writing to her local constituency party, Kirsty Williams said: “Next May it will have been 22 years since I was first elected to represent the people of Brecon and Radnorshire.

“The local party, and then the constituency, placed its trust in me – a young, female, Welsh Liberal Democrat, new to elected politics and for our new parliament. It remains the proudest day of my political career.

“And for us to keep winning and keep achieving for our community, has been the honour of my life.

“To be the parliamentarian for Brecon and Radnorshire and in Powys is not to own the seat or constituency, it is to be a steward of it – following in the footsteps of Welsh Liberal giants and hopefully being able to pass on and support another generation.

“I know that my pride in being the first female leader of a Welsh political party was shared locally and nationally, and I hope it was a small inspiration to others. Working with my party colleagues in the Senedd, we worked diligently to hold the Government to account.

“Despite being an opposition party, we turned campaigns into policies that changed lives across the country.
“This included the introduction of the Nurse Staffing Levels Act and the Pupil Development Grant which continues to support our most disadvantaged pupils.”

Kirsty Williams said it had been “an immense honour to serve my country as Education Minister”.

“Every day I have been inspired and uplifted by the shared commitment across the country to be ambitious for all our learners,” she said.

“‘Our national mission’ has been the biggest programme of education reform since the Second World War. It has been a nation-wide collective endeavour.

“The support I’ve received from civil servants, private office, and Ministerial colleagues has been invaluable and unstinting.

“Over the last four years, we have fought to raise standards for all children, to reduce the attainment gap and to get some pride and confidence back into Welsh education. Working together,
our improved performance in national and international assessments, radical student support changes and investment in teachers, is proof that education is truly Wales’s national mission. Being
the family of a politician is never easy. I must thank my husband and three wonderful daughters for the patience, and at times resilience, that they have shown over these years.

“My late parents started the interest in politics and current affairs with lively debate around the kitchen table, and I know they would be proud of how their granddaughters are already strong independent women with their own opinions!

“It is with them in mind that, after a great deal of thought and reflection, I have decided not to stand as a candidate at the next Senedd election. The next candidate, and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, will have my abiding support and I will be out there campaigning as ever.

“There is, of course, sadness in making this decision, but also with a sense of achievement and pride. Above all else, I would like to thank the people of Brecon and Radnorshire for their support over the last two decades. Diolch o Galon. I may be biased, but I am in no doubt that our constituency is truly the greatest anyone could have the privilege of representing.”

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Education

Ysgol y Preseli in Crymych named Welsh secondary school of the decade

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NEWS that Ysgol y Preseli in Crymych is the Sunday Times Welsh State Secondary School of the Decade has been welcomed by the local authority.

The school is named in Parent Power, the Sunday Times Schools Guide, which identifies the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK, ranked by their most recently published examination results.

The news will be published in The Sunday Times and online this Sunday, November 29th.

Nick Rodrigues, the deputy editor of Parent Power, said: “This bilingual school has risen around 300 places in our rankings since 2012 and now stands 186th overall. Last summer’s results were the best we had captured. The school is consistently moving in the right direction.

“Head teacher Michael Davies and deputy head Iola Phillips are both retiring this year which makes it especially poignant that Ysgol Y Preseli wins the Welsh State Secondary School of the Decade award. It marks the end of a fantastic era of dedication by two exemplary educators and is a fitting testament to their hard work.

“Under their leadership teachers have fostered productive working relationships with their pupils ensuring they are highly motivated.

“Officials noted during its last Estyn monitoring that ‘Ysgol y Preseli is an extremely homely community with an inclusive and caring Welsh ethos’ and emphasised teachers’ conscientious aim to support every pupil, making clear why this school is the perfect recipient for our Welsh State Secondary School of the Decade award.”

Cllr Guy Woodham, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that Ysgol Preseli has been awarded Welsh State Secondary School of the Decade.

“This is a fantastic achievement and recognises the hard work and dedication of the whole Preseli education community. It is particularly poignant and timely that this comes as the Head and Deputy Head retire. My thanks and congratulations to all who have contributed to this award.”

Head teacher Michael Davies said it was fantastic news for everyone associated with Ysgol Y Preseli.

“To be ranked the top Welsh State Secondary School of the Decade is an incredible achievement,” she said.

“This is the culmination of ten years of hard work and I would like to dedicate the award to all the team at Ysgol Y Preseli, governors, senior management, staff, pupils, parents and the Pembrokeshire community.”

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Education

Partial closures for two schools due to staff absence

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TWO Pembrokeshire schools are partially closed today (Monday) due to staff absence.

At Ysgol Harri Tudur/ Henry Tudor School (Pembroke), years 7-9 and Sixth Form should attend as normal but Years 10 and 11 are asked to learn from home. 

Please visit the school website for further information www.yht.wales  At Spittal VC School Class 2 (Reception, year 1 and year 2) is closed to all pupils for Monday.

Learning tasks will be posted through the usual system.

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Education

Help shape new Pembroke library

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COUNTY residents are being asked to help shape the design and services on offer for a new library for Pembroke.

The new Pembroke Library will be part of the planned major redevelopment of the South Quay site in the town.

As well as the library, the development is proposed to include the Henry Tudor Visitor Centre, café, community rooms and garden.

Libraries now offer much more than books, offering a place to access computers, attend events, study and get information.

Pembrokeshire County Council is launching a survey to discover what is important to the local community to help inform the design of the library and shaping services available.

The survey is online at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/ Print copies will be available from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Libraries.

The survey is open to all adults in Pembrokeshire and respondents do not need to be members of the library.

It is hoped that many people from Pembroke and the surrounding areas in particular will get involved.

The closing date for responses will be Sunday, December 20, 2020.

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