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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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Education

Industry collaboration will give local stuidents ‘head start’ in clean energy jobs market

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A NEW course preparing students for the future renewables’ jobs market has been launched by Pembrokeshire College. Two global renewable energy companies – EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy – have joined forces with Pembrokeshire College and designed a course to raise awareness, transfer real-world sector knowledge, and inform career journeys for 16-18 year olds.

The 2-year course – Destination Renewables – will educate learners about renewable energy technologies,​ including wave, tidal, onshore wind, solar and offshore wind and associated project development processes. This collaboration with industry will help to bridge the skills gap and showcase the diverse range of careers within the sector, all the while supporting net zero targets and maximising regional benefits.

Pembrokeshire is already a centre for energy, having played host to established technologies such as gas and petrochemicals, and is now providing a home for emerging sectors in renewables. EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy are themselves developing Gwynt Glas, up to 1 GW of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Nancy McLean of EDF Renewables UK who is leading the Gwynt Glas project, said: “With an increasing focus on tackling climate change and securing energy supplies, renewable technologies have to be developed and rolled out quickly, and we need to build a skilled workforce to deliver our plans. The partnership with Pembrokeshire College helps us to develop homegrown talent and meets the Welsh Government’s aspirations to develop green skills to achieve net zero. In addition to developing the Gwynt Glas floating offshore wind project, EDF Renewables UK is investing in onshore wind, solar, and battery projects right across Wales, so future career opportunities are plentiful.”

Chris Williams, Head of Development UK and New Markets at DP Energy, said: “There is a wealth of renewables expertise in the County, which is one of the reasons why we recently opened our UK headquarters here in Pembroke Dock. By introducing learners to the many career pathways within renewables we believe we can build the workforce needed to support projects like Gwynt Glas and DP Energy’s wider ambitions in Wales including tidal, onshore wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen. Having this skill base is crucial for Wales to maintain its position as a leader in renewable energy generation and technology development and is knowledge that can be exported across the world.”

Pembrokeshire College is the County’s largest provider of post-16 education and Head of Engineering, Arwyn Williams, said: “The College is delighted to be working so closely with industry to develop the talents needed for future careers in a sector that is so important to all our lives, and one which already has an established home right here in Pembrokeshire. Like our delivery partners – EDF Renewables UK and DP Energy – we are keen to maximise the regional benefits that renewables projects can bring, and we will focus our efforts on developing a skilled local labour force to work across all disciplines.”

Destination Renewables is underpinned by the Skills and Talent programme of the Swansea Bay City Deal, jointly funded by the Welsh and UK Governments, alongside private sector investment. Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum will support the renewables industry in the delivery of this private sector and education partnership to manage high-quality industry content standards and ensure a positive learner journey.

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Education

Finalists revealed in the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru

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THIS WEEK, 29 education professionals from across Wales have been revealed as finalists of the fifth Professional Teaching Awards Cymru.

The awards celebrate inspiring education professionals across Wales. Pupils, colleagues, and parents have nominated the extraordinary education professionals in their lives, and the nominees have now been shortlisted to 29 finalists across ten categories.

The nominees in South West Wales include:

Laura Buffee (Haverfordwest High VC School, Haverfordwest) for the Pupil (or Pupils’) Award for Best Teacher

Iona Llyr (Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth, Llanelli) for Inspirational Use of the Welsh Language

Pembroke Dock Primary School (Pembroke Dock) for the Betty Campbell MBE award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities’ – a new category for this year.

The Pupil (or Pupils’) Award for Best Teacher is given to those nominated by pupils – past or present – who feel they have made a huge difference to their life in school.

The award for ‘Inspirational Use of the Welsh Language’ is for education professionals who have inspired pupils and colleagues to use and enjoy the Welsh language.

‘The Betty Campbell MBE Award’ has been named after Wales’ first black headteacher, and recognises an individual, team or school that has demonstrated an outstanding awareness of the importance of an inclusive education in their classroom.

The new award has been welcomed by Betty’s daughter, Elaine Clarke, who said: “The Award is a wonderful way to promote inclusion of all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and we are sure the recipients will continue to be inspired and develop future generations in the footsteps of our mother.”

The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “The calibre of this year’s nominations has, as ever, been outstanding. They demonstrate the breadth of inspiring education professionals we have here in Wales and it’s important we recognise that.’

“We have so much good work promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by schools and educators across Wales, and this is recognised by the new Betty Campbell MBE award.’

“I look forward to celebrating these fantastic individuals who go above and beyond for their profession.”

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Education

Pembrokeshire schools celebrate the great outdoors

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THE FIRST Outdoor Celebration Day to be held since 2018 was hosted by Pembrokeshire Outdoor School (PODS) at Scolton Manor on Thursday, May 26.

The PODS partnership, which is co-ordinated by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, is a network of specialist organisations, head teachers and local authority advisors. Its aim is to support schools in encouraging children to become fully engaged with and confident in their local environment.

This year’s Outdoor Celebration Day was attended by 130 students from Croesgoch CP School, Gelliswick Church in Wales VC School, Golden Grove School, Johnston CP School, Lamphey School, Neyland Community School, Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, St. Oswald’s VA Primary School and St Marks School.

After introductions and a welcome talk by Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees, each school was awarded a Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools award by Tegryn Jones, CEO of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, and Chairman of Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools, Graham Peake. This was in recognition of their progress and achievements with outdoor learning over the last few years.

Pupils had the chance to participate in workshops in the woods and on the lawn with PODS, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, the Foundation Phase Team at Pembrokeshire County Council, Darwin Centre, Sport Pembrokeshire and Tir Coed. Activities included mini beast hunts, building with natural materials, fire craft, Tree identification, bush craft and commonwealth activity games.

Bryony Rees said: “The event was enjoyed by all, with one pupil commenting that he had the best day in the ‘nature playground’. Representatives from Sustainable Schools, Keep Wales Tidy (Eco-Schools) and the National Trust were also on hand to connect with teachers, share ideas and discuss how outdoor learning in schools could be developed in line with the National Curriculum for Wales.”

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