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Education

Pembrokeshire College appoints Iwan Thomas, CEO of PLANED, as new Chair

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE has recently appointed Iwan Thomas, CEO of PLANED, as its new Chair of the Corporation Board.

Iwan officially took on the role of Chair on the 1 August 2021 having joined the Board in 2019. Iwan takes the helm from Caroline Oakley former Director of Nursing at Hywel Dda University Health Board, who had held the position for the last four years and to whom the College would like to pass their sincere thanks for her strong leadership and the support that she has shown to the College, its staff and learners, throughout her time as Chair.

Following a year of significant challenges for the education sector owing to the global pandemic, Iwan is looking forward his new role and commented: “Taking over this key role at this particular time is a huge privilege and also a challenge. Continuing to support our learners and staff as we emerge from COVID, yet making sure all are safe will continue to be a priority. However, placing the College at the forefront of the county in terms of its significant wider socio-economic impact through its skills development, support and partnership working with businesses, communities, and others, will be key to my focus as Chair.”

A passionate advocate of supporting communities via both skills development and promoting enterprise, Iwan has direct experience of developing the Regional Skills Partnerships model across Wales, and delivering sustainable outcomes, particularly for young people within communities.

Iwan has also sat on, and led a number of Boards, including being the Chair of Board of Trustees for three years, of North Wales Science, with responsibility for running Techniquest Glyndwr in Wrexham; a Trustee of Theatr Clwyd in Mold; and also an Advisory Board Member of the North Wales Schools Consortia – GwE. 

Dr Barry Walters, Principal of Pembrokeshire College, said “I am delighted with the appointment of Iwan Thomas as Chairman of the Corporation Board and really look forward to working with him.  I would also like to pay tribute to the work done by Caroline Oakley over the past four years and thank her for her support during her term as Chair of the Governing Body.”

Education

Schools gearing up for Shwmae Day

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THE Criw Cymraeg (Welsh Crew) at our schools in Pembrokeshire have been busy preparing a whole host of exciting activities to celebrate ‘Shwmae Day’ today! (Friday, October the 15th). 

Shwmae Day is a celebration of the Welsh language and all things Welsh. Seren and Sbarc (the Welsh Language Charter mascots) are asking children to dress as Welsh superheroes or in their best red, white and green outfits to celebrate the day and kick start their Language Charter journey this year.

Bro Ingli Welsh Crew (pictured) have organised several activities for Shwmae Day. Every child and even the staff will come to school dressed in a Welsh cape like Seren and Sbarc. The Criw Cymraeg have arranged a competition between each year for one winner to win a specially designed Seren a Sbarc water bottle. Parents will have the opportunity to have a cup of tea and Welsh cakes when dropping off their children at school in the morning and having a Welsh conversation with the Criw Cymraeg or even being taught a few phrases! The donations will be given to the Wales Air Ambulance. The Criw Cymraeg have also arranged with the kitchen for everyone to have Welsh soup and Welsh cakes for lunch.

Roch School are also dressing up as superheroes. Their Criw Cyrmaeg have arranged lots of exciting activities throughout the day for children to use their Welsh skills from crafts, mocktail making, listening to Welsh music and quizzes to teddy bear picnics. Children will have an extra surprise as they host some special superheroes at their picnic who will join them playing Welsh language games in the playground and sharing a sandwich at the teddy bear picnic.

Scores of teams have also registered for the Big Welsh ‘Dim Clem’ quiz hosted by Menter Iaith Sir Benfro for our English medium primaries. We’ll see which school will be crowned the winner!

And finally, to top off the excitement, all schools will have access to an online gig by Welsh artist Gwilym Bowen Rhys to enjoy during the day.

“What a fantastic effort by our schools to celebrate the Welsh language and to kickstart their Language Charter journey,” said Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Welsh Language. “I wish everybody a great, fun-filled day.” 

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Education

Shwmae ‘rocks’ project in the lead-up to Shwmae Day

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TO mark Shwmae Day this year, Pembrokeshire County Council and Menter Iaith Sir Benfro have come together to create a Shwmae rock trail for learners and their families to help explore their ‘cynefin’. 

Cynefin, pronounced “ku-nev-in” is a Welsh word that doesn’t have a direct English translation but is used to describe a place or habitat where people feel they belong.

Families have had the opportunity to visit fifteen historic locations in Pembrokeshire to search for special Shwmae stones which mark Shwmae Day. Shwmae Day is a celebration of the Welsh language and is celebrated annually on October 15. As such, the Welsh language mascots – Seren and Sbarc, have hidden 15 stones especially designed by Hedydd Hughes around the county at interesting places in Pembrokeshire’s history.

Catrin Phillips, one of the organisers, said: “This has been a great opportunity for everyone of all ages to get around our beautiful county and learn some of the rich history of the area and of course having a selfie!”. 

Catrin added that all the locations are also featured on a beautifully illustrated map of Pembrokeshire by Hedydd Hughes which was commisioned for learners in Pembrokeshire to discover more about our county’s fantastic legends, brave heroes and rich history. Learners can enjoy exploring the map on their school wall or by using the interactive version on www.ygromlech.co.uk

Dozens of families have already enjoyed searching for the stones and learning about Pembrokeshire. Visit www.facebook.com/shwmae to see the locations they’ve been enjoying and for clues and competition details so that you can also take a ‘Pembrokeshire Shwmae’ selfie!

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Education

Launch of Month-Long Crucial Crew

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PARTNER AGENCIES gathered at South Hook LNG recently, for the launch of what will be a month-long safety campaign with local schools, during November.

Working in partnership with the financial support of South Hook, Pembrokeshire County Council is once again bringing together teams from Road Safety, School Transport, Domestic Abuse Services, Food Safety/ Food Standards Agency, Dyfed Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire Service, Welsh Ambulance Services, RNLI, Western Power and Network Rail, providing focused safety learnings to around 1400 of our County’s school children.

Being held via video learning for the second year, schools are being encouraged to include Crucial Crew in classroom discussions, throughout November. Films from each of the Agencies provide valuable safety messages, for a range of situations in which youngsters may find themselves; from first aid and bus safety to staying safe online and whist in the vicinity of railway tracks. A visit will be arranged for each school from a partner agency in the month of November to support their learning.

“Safety is our priority in everything that we do at the Terminal, so South Hook is proud to be a long-time supporter of Crucial Crew and the important safety education that it brings to so many local young students each year” commented Hamad Al Samra, General Manager at south Hook LNG Terminal.

As part of this year’s Crucial Crew, a competition will also be launched, asking children to design a poster, highlighting some of their memorable safety learnings. Prizes will be given to both the students and the school, with the poster being used for launch of the 2022 Crucial Crew event.

County Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing and Major Events said “Pembrokeshire County Council is very proud to be a partner of Crucial Crew. We are saddened that once again we are unable once teach the pupils face to face, but grateful that through the HWB platform the partners are able to share their essential safety messages to local students throughout Pembrokeshire.”

He added “The Crucial Crew 2021 event, would not be possible without the dedication of the agencies and their staff, school staff and the continued support of South Hook LNG- which we are very thankful for.’”

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