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Education

North Pembrokeshire school closures explained

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S education chief has explained the decision to keep six North Pembrokeshire schools closed today (Tuesday, 24th November).

The schools – which were also closed on Monday following the increased spread of coronavirus in South Ceredigion – are:

• Ysgol Preseli
• Ysgol y Frenni
• Ysgol Llandudoch
• Ysgol Eglwyswrw
• Ysgol Cilgerran
• Ysgol Clydau.

The Pembrokeshire schools are closed as a precaution as they share services – such as transport – with the Ceredigion schools.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said the decision to keep the schools closed was
based around a series of meetings yesterday involving the Authority, Ceredigion County Council and Public Health Wales.

He explained: “Due to the sheer volume of contact tracing work the Cardigan situation has resulted in – and the widespread nature of the cases now across the town – many contacts remain to be spoken to.

“The view of the Incident Management Team in Pembrokeshire was to keep the schools closed to allow the contact tracing teams time to get hold of everyone they needed to and then review the decision later today.

“Everyone can be assured that it is our intention to re-open the schools at the earliest opportunity once we are satisfied that there will be no individuals within school setting who should be self-isolating.

“There will be an announcement this afternoon about the status of the schools currently closed and teaching staff will be in touch with families to arrange blended and distant learning.

“Officers are working hard dealing with this situation and we do appreciate the inconvenience caused. However, our priority has always been tackling this pandemic and ensuring that we stop the spread of the virus.”

Mr Richards-Downes added that he was grateful to teaching staff, parents and pupils for their co-operation in what had been a challenging few days.

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Education

NEU Cymru teacher members vote to accept pay offer

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73% of NEU teacher members in Wales who responded to the union’s consultation have voted to ACCEPT the pay offer put forward by the Welsh Government, and end the dispute.

The offer put forward by Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles will see an additional payment to teachers of 3% for this academic year (2022/23), made up of 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump-sum. The offer also included an increased pay rise of 5% paid from September 2023. The Minister has also confirmed that it will all be fully funded by the Welsh Government.

Speaking about the members’ decision, NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The members in Wales have made a clear decision to accept the pay offer, put forward by the Minister in a letter dated 9 March.

“We would like to thank the Welsh Government for the constructive way in which they have conducted negotiations with the union, and we look forward to a productive working relationship to ensure that the rest of the deal, focused on workload, continues to make good progress.

“Whilst this doesn’t meet our ambitions for pay restitution every part of this offer is due to our members’ efforts – and we will continue campaigning for the Governments in Cardiff and Westminster to invest properly in this generation of children and the staff who work with them.”

David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru, said: “It is clear that a large majority of our teacher members here in Wales want to accept the deal from the Minister. They were provided with full information about the offer and have given us a definitive steer.

“This has been a difficult time for everyone in education. Our members do not take decisions to go on strike lightly, but they had to make a stand given the continuing impact of austerity, cost of living and spiralling inflation. We would like to thank all the parents who supported teachers and support staff in the action taken.

“We remain disappointed that the Minister made no offer to teaching assistants, but we know that we have raised the profile of the critical issues which affect everyone in education. Our National Executive will be considering next steps in our support staff pay campaign.”

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Education

Commissioner joins students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police custody suite construction site

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner joins construction students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police Custody Suite Construction Site

As part of a national open doors to construction sites campaign, this week there is an opportunity for the public in Carmarthenshire to go on site with construction company Willmott Dixon, to see construction work going ahead on the new Dyfed-Powys Police Custody suite in Dafen, Llanelli Carmarthenshire as it nears completion.

Today, 14 March 2023, Police and Crime Commissioner was invited to attend one of the site tours with a group of construction students from nearby Coleg Sir Gar.

As part of the open doors event, members of the public are shown around a construction of approximately 4000m2 over two storeys, that includes 18 new cell custody suites, interview rooms, cells, charge desk, open plan office space and associated meeting rooms and a significant area for mechanical and electrical plant. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “This is a major investment for us which will see an ambitious, modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing.

“I am grateful for Willmott Dixon, for including the construction site on the menu of construction sites for the national Open Doors campaign this week.  I’ve worked extremely hard with partners over recent years to ensure that we get to this position, and it was great to be able to walk around the building today with a group of students from Coleg Sir Gar as it nears completion.”

The new Carmarthenshire Custody Suite, based in Dafen Llanelli, will offer a more sustainable environment, while also help protect natural resources.  Amongst some of the sustainable credentials of the new building will be a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

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Education

A unique learning experience for students from Pembrokeshire College

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LAST week staff and students from Pembrokeshire College were delighted to be able to officially open their teaching space at Folly Farm.

Designed for Level 3 Animal Management learners, this unique teaching facility exemplifies what can be achieved by educators and employers working in partnership.

Jointly funded by Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire College, the facility opened for learners just prior to lockdown back in February 2020. Overlooking the rhino enclosure, learners are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities including shadowing zookeepers and working with exotic species – opportunities made possible due to their location at the centre of a working zoo.

During the opening Chris Ebsworth, Folly Farm Managing Director, highlighted the excellent opportunities that are available to learners; not only in working directly with animals, but also in the wider field of conservation. Meanwhile, learner Georgia Pike gave her perspective on what the centre brings to learners. Being based at Folly Farm provides a truly unique learning experience, something that just wouldn’t be possible on the main College campus.

MP Simon Hart rounded off by cutting the ribbon and officially opening the centre. The opening was also attended by representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, Coleg Sir Gar, CITB and The John Burns Foundation (Burns in the Community).

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