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Castle School, Haverfordwest celebrates 100% A*-C GCSEs

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DESPITE the challenges of the pandemic, pupils at Castle School in Haverfordwestsays it has achieved 100% A*-C grades in this year’s GCSE exams. One average, each pupil attained between one and two grades higher than the grades that were projected for them at the time of joining the school in year 7. The majority are now going on to the school’s new Sixth Form on Snowdrop Lane in Haverfordwest, which opens in September.

The school’s headteacher Michael Hughes has praised the efforts of staff and pupils, who continued to work remotely throughout the pandemic.

“Nurturing these pupils, witnessing them bloom academically to reach the attainment levels they have so tirelessly worked for, is the reason we as teachers do this job,” he said.

“With the pandemic affecting everyone, watching the statistics of cases and trying to navigate the changing Covid guidelines, it would be easy to forget that the last 18 months of our individual and business lives, equates to two years of potentially disrupted education. When you reflect on this and realise that these pupils hadn’t necessarily started studying GCSEs when their school life was turned upside down, for our Year 9s, who took some GCSEs early, and Year 11s to come away with 100% A*-C, is such a tremendous achievement. 

“Here at Castle school, we are very familiar with the process of delivering high achieving students. To us the measure of success is not simply how many A*s are awarded, but whether we have managed to enable every student to reach their true potential in every subject. It’s pretty much accepted that when a pupil enters senior school with us in Year 7, they are working towards GCSEs. In fact, we actively measure and track each individual student in every subject with this attainment in mind. However, while the final grades are the destination, at Castle school, it is the journey that is the most important. 

Castle School’s main building in Haverfordwest (Image CS)

“The pandemic prevented the tried and tested methods of teaching, challenged by remote education, so this ‘journey’ had a different route. You really have to give high praise to the students and teachers on their resilience, skills and focus. Throughout remote schooling it was imperative that pupils’ progress didn’t wane – we had no idea what these final assessments were going to look like, the goal posts kept changing throughout – exams were on, then off again.

“As educators we found out the plan on the evening news like everyone else. So we ensured that our remote education was as complete, and as close of an experience to being at school. We stuck to the same timetable, taught every lesson and delivered our schemes of work. Our school prides itself in the best possible pastoral care, so we also ensured that pupils, and staff, were as happy and healthy as possible. Knowing that each and every pupil came away with a B grade is fantastic, but the fact that we have managed to averagely enable each pupil to achieve between 1 and 2 grades higher than expected since joining Year 7 is, I feel testament to these efforts, and really all that matters to us as a school.

“Probably the most comforting fact is that we know, with high confidence, that these pupils will go on to the next phase of their lives, be that more GCSE’s, A levels, BTEC’s or the workplace, and be setup to succeed. Best of all, with the majority of pupils joining our newly opened sixth form centre, we can continue to nurture resilient, ambitious and enterprising young people.”

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Public urged to take part in Council budget consultation

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MEMBERS of the public are being urged to participate in Pembrokeshire County Council’s budget consultation 2022-23.

Launched this week, the consultation asks the public where they think the Council needs to spend money, and where it can save it.

As part of the process, the Council has created an online budget simulator, which includes videos from Cabinet members talking about the financial pressure in their portfolio areas.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, Cabinet Member for Finance, encouraged all those interested in how the Council spends its funds to take part in the consultation.

“It’s very important that we hear from as many people in Pembrokeshire as possible,” he said.

“Like other Councils, we are once again facing significant budget pressures and understanding community and household priorities is vital in helping us to make the difficult choices necessary in setting the 2023-23 budget.

“We look forward to hearing from you.”

How to take part in the consultation:

Teams Live Stream event
Join a Teams Live Stream event on Wednesday 1st December from 7pm – 8pm. Put your budget questions directly to Cllr Kilmister or the Council’s Director of Resources, Jon Haswell, or listen to the discussion. Questions are welcomed in English and Welsh.

Budget Simulator
Give your views on the budget priorities for 2022–23 by using our Budget Simulator which is available at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/

Download the survey and return to County Hall
Alternatively you can download and complete our hard copy Information and Response Form. Once complete please return to surveys@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or Pembrokeshire County Council, Policy & Partnerships, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

The consultation will end on Wednesday 5th January 2022.

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Milford Haven Council cancels annual Christmas lights switch-on event

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Council cancels Christmas lights

MILFORD Haven Town Council have announced that they will be cancelling the official switching on the Christmas lights event this year.  

The Christmas lights in Milford Haven will be turned on Wednesday, December 1 at 7pm. However, unlike previous years, this will not be an official event. 

In the past, the event would see Father Christmas switching the lights on while on a balcony at the Town Hall. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the official turning on of the lights is unable to go ahead.

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County Hall to be lit up in orange as part of UN campaign

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COUNTY HALL is being lit up in orange tonight (Thursday, 25 November) to highlight the United Nations campaign against gender violence #OrangeTheWorld: End Violence Against Women Now!

The UN is holding 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from 25th November to 10th December 2021 under the global theme set by the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE campaign.

Among the local groups supporting the worldwide campaign are Soroptimists International Haverfordwest which requested the illumination. “This is a campaign that, as a women’s group, we feel it very important to support,” said member Susie Blacklaw-Jones.

Council Leader Cllr David Simpson supported their request, saying: “This is an incredibly important issue and we are grateful to Soroptimist International Haverfordwest for helping to draw attention to the campaign and raise local awareness.”

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