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Education

WG trebles funding for teacher support

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WALES’s Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles, has announced that funding for mental health and well-being support for school staff will be trebled in the next financial year.


The spending on support for school staff will increase from £350,000 in 2021-22 to £1.25 million in 2022-23. The Welsh Government plans to increase this funding year-on-year to over £3 million by 2024-25.


The increased funding is part of the Welsh Government’s ‘whole School approach’, with total funding for schools, for pupils and staff, increasing to £12.2 million in the next financial year. The funding will be more than double the level compared to the start of the pandemic, from £5 million in 2020-21.
The Welsh Government’s whole-school approach aims to support the emotional and mental wellbeing of learners and staff in schools.


The funding will aim to tackle waiting lists, increase support for younger children and provide more training for support staff in schools, including on the impact of Covid19.


New funding will also be targeted towards well-being support for learners in Pupil Referral Units, with £1.45 million announced over the next three years.


Jeremy Miles said: “Covid-19 has presented new challenges for schools and learners, as we all adjusted to changes to the way we live our lives. The pandemic has emphasised the need for us to build resilience, by strengthening and widening the support net for learners and staff.


“As well as continuing to provide support for children and young people, the next phase of funding aims to boost support for school staff in particular, by trebling the support next year.


“We have invested in increasing support during the pandemic, but I am clear that this is not a one-off, short-term measure – I want to build up the support year-on-year, to make it easier for staff and learners to access the support they need, when they need it.”


The Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “The last two years have had a tremendous impact on everyone in Wales, including teachers and other school staff.


“It is vital to recognise that by supporting their emotional and mental wellbeing, we can help our young people reach their full potential.  This is why we convened the Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group on a whole-system approach to wellbeing in 2018 and why it will continue to drive delivery and improve provision in this area.


“It is fantastic we have been able to treble investment in emotional, mental health and well-being support to help everyone in the education system.


“This funding will ensure more people can access the support they need, reducing the number of those feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where they can seek help and advice.”


David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru, said: “Pressure on the education workforce has never been higher, with Covid-19 still having an impact in our schools.


“In an NEU Cymru survey last year, 80 per cent of respondents said that work had an impact on their mental health, with 60 per cent saying work had made their mental health worse since the pandemic.
“Our members tell us there is a significant lack of support measures in place for workers experiencing poor mental health. Workload is the single most important factor in terms of pressure.


“Alongside tackling workload, this extra money should mean that schools are able to identify and support staff with their wellbeing.


“We’re asking schools and local authorities to work with union representatives and use this opportunity to audit the wellbeing of the education workforce in every workplace. This money should help them make sure the findings of such an audit can be acted upon, and make a difference to staff.


“NEU has our own mental health charter which we are asking every workplace in Wales to adopt and puts the wellbeing of staff at the heart of the school.”

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Education

Crymych Panthers hold Boccia competition

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CRYMYCH Panthers Boccia Club recently held their first in-house Boccia competition, with eight members competing in two categories: BC1&2 (participants with a physical impairment) and BC8 (participants with an intellectual impairment).

Games were played in a round robin style competition. The final of the BC1&2 between Racheal Bailey and James Pugh was a very close game with James winning by 3 points to 1. The BC 8 final was between Yvonne Berry and Dewi Evans. Dewi won by 10 points to nil, back on form as a former Welsh international Special Olympic team member.

The competition was sponsored by Andrew Scott Davies of Pembroke who took part in the 2021 CARTEN 100 bike to assist the club.

Andrew Scott Davies presenting the winners and runners up with their trophies. All participants received a certificate of attendance.

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Education

Top of the stops: Llangwm lollipop lady wins national award

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LLANGWM school crossing patrol officer Lisa Brock has won a Road Safety Wales award for 25 years of dedication to helping children cross the road to the village primary school.
To celebrate her achievement, a giant walk to school event took place this week with hundreds of pupils and parents taking part – much to Mrs Brock’s surprise!
The walk was followed by the presentation of a plaque in assembly, where Cleddau Reach VC headteacher Rhys Buckley thanked her for ‘keeping children safe and making a difference to their day with a smile and a kind word’.
“Lisa is someone who does her job because she cares,” said Mr Buckley. “She cares about the children, their families and her community deeply and you only need to look at the work produced by our pupils in tribute to her to see that this level of care and affection is very much reciprocated.
“Every community needs a ‘Mrs Brock’ and we’re very grateful that she’s ours!”

Mrs Brock receiving her award from Helen Luff from the Council’s Road Safety Team, with pupils Lottie, Leo, Tilly, and Mrs Brock’s grandsons Jacob and Oliver. Jacob and Oliver said they were very proud of their grannie. Also pictured are (left to right) Headteacher Rhys Buckley, Ziggy the Zebra – Pembrokeshire’s road safety mascot – and Chair of Governors Barry Childs.


Some of the tributes by the children included:
‘Mrs Brock is always smiling and happy even in the wind, rain, hail and even heat. You are the reasons we are not flat pancakes on the road. Thank you, Mrs Brock.’

‘We all love Mrs Brock. She is the best lollipop lady in the world!’
‘I will never forget when my sister dropped all of her things in the middle of the road and you stopped the cars from coming. Thank you for always being there.’

Mrs Brock started as school crossing patrol officer as her two boys were nearing the end of their primary education. She has since become a huge fixture at the school, also taking on roles as a higher level teaching assistant in the junior classes and lunchtime supervisor.

“It is the children that give me the most pleasure,” she said. “They are all so polite and keen to have a chat with me. It’s not just the current pupils either; past pupils and many of the local families all come and say hello to me too when they see me on the crossing.”
Chairman of Governors Barry Childs said Mrs Brock’s relationship with the children was ‘outstanding’.

“Every child past and present speaks of her with tremendous affection,” he said. “She has time and a smile for everyone. She is credit to the school.”

Kirstie Donoghue, Road Safety Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council, describes her as ‘one of the many unsung heroes guiding Pembrokeshire’s children safely across our roads”.
“Lisa has been a devoted school crossing patrol for 25 years,” she said.
“She is reliable, hard-working and a true asset of our team, and we are hugely appreciative of her commitment over the years.
“We are delighted and proud that Lisa has won this award for her service and contribution to road safety in Pembrokeshire.”

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Education

Funding for music education trebled to the tune of £13.5m

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Every child will have the opportunity to benefit from music education as part of the Welsh Government’s plans for a national music service, which will help ensure no child misses out due to a lack of means.

As the National Plan for Music Education is published, the Minister for Education has confirmed funding will be trebled, with £13.5m being invested over the next three years.

The plan will make access to music education fairer and more consistent across Wales, with a particular focus on learners from low-income households and those with Additional Learning Needs. Support will be available for children and young people to access and progress with music tuition, with learners from disadvantaged and under-represented groups supported to join music ensembles.

The plan includes a number of key work programmes such as:

A review on music tutors’ terms and conditions, to ensure they are treated equitably and are recognised properly.
A ‘First Experiences’ programme to offer children in primary schools a minimum of half a term of musical instrument taster sessions, delivered by trained and skilled music practitioners.
A ‘Making Music with Others’ initiative, including opportunities for children and young people in secondary schools to gain industry experience through working alongside musicians and creative industries
A new national instrument and equipment library to support access to a resource bank to be shared across Wales.
These programmes will be rolled out from September 2022, supporting schools and settings to give all children and young people from the ages of 3 to 16 the opportunity to learn to play an instrument as well as singing and making music in our schools and our communities.

The National Music Service will operate as a ‘hub’, with the Welsh Local Government Association co-ordinating the Music Service’s programmes with a wide range of organisations. It will help schools and settings in their delivery of the Curriculum for Wales and provide more diverse opportunities for children and young people to experience music outside schools and settings.

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea to see a cluster of primary school children taking part in a ‘Play Along’ session led by Swansea Music Service.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“The establishment of a National Music Service for Wales is an important commitment in our Programme for Government and I’m delighted that we are delivering on this pledge.

“Learning an instrument was a formative part of my upbringing and a lack of money should not be a barrier to any young person who wants to learn to play music. We are fortunate in Wales to have a strong tradition of school, county and national ensembles, and we want to make sure that our children and young people are able to play a full part in these. This funding will support music services in schools and within the community to help nurture our young musical talent.”

The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:

“Our vision is for all children and young people across Wales, regardless of background, to have the chance to learn to play an instrument. The plan we are publishing today, backed by funding, will help deliver that vision.

“For too long, the chance to learn an instrument and develop musical skills has been for those few whose families and carers who can afford tuition. I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to access music tuition, and that’s why we’re making this significant investment to deliver a range of activities for our children and young people to learn and experience the joy of music.

“The development of the National Music Service will ensure that we nurture our next generation and continue to produce new talent and showcase Wales to the world.”

WLGA Chief Executive Chris Llewelyn said:

“We are proud to work with the Welsh Government on delivering this vital service to children across Wales. Many families in Wales can’t afford an instrument, and this funding will go a long way to opening doors to children across Wales to have the opportunity of learning an instrument.

“Playing an instrument and reading music is a very important skill for a child, and music brings enormous joy to children. Local authorities believe that children across Wales will have better access to instruments, and this plan will develop many future talented musicians, and support pupils to develop their musical skills.”

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