Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Education

Welsh students promised more help with living costs by Welsh Government

Published

on

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT says it will increase student maintenance support by 9.4% for the 2023/24 academic year, subject to regulations being made.

The average full-time Welsh student can claim £10,710 in maintenance grants and loans, which will rise to £11,720 thanks to this increase.

This will apply to full-time and part-time higher education students from Wales, who began a course on or after 1 August 2018.

Living costs support is rising in line with the National Living Wage, which is unique to Wales. In contrast, the UK Government has announced a 2.8% increase for students ordinarily resident in England.

The Welsh Government continues to provide the most progressive student finance system in the UK. Welsh undergraduate students have less to repay on average than their English peers as they can access our generous living costs package of grants and loans.

The highest level of grant support is given to those students most in need. A substantial part-time student support package is available, giving students from all backgrounds the chance to study part-time.

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

“Living costs should never be a barrier to studying at university. This increase in support will ensure that students from all backgrounds are able to access higher education.

“Despite continuing budget pressures, I have ensured that the value of support is increased accordingly at this time of exceptional cost-of-living pressures.”

Continue Reading

Education

Handling of Manorbier School fire aftermath an ‘absolute disgrace’

Published

on

SENIOR members of Pembrokeshire County Council should apologise to staff at Manorbier School for not visiting following last year’s fire, a committee has heard.

Manorbier Church in Wales VC School and its adjoining school house was severely damaged by a fire on October 11, which broke out in the school roof space.

Pupils and staff were successfully evacuated with no injuries.

At Monday’s (Feb 6) Schools Learning and Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet Member for Education Guy Woodham said repairs and the insurance position – partly the responsibility of the council and partly the Diocese of St Davids – were being progressed as “a matter of urgency”.

County councillor for the ward Cllr Phil Kidney raised concerns about a lack of any senior members of the council visiting the school and the plight of the neighbours, who he felt had not been properly supported.

“The couple were 12 months away from retirement; they went to work that morning and due to a fire in a council-run building they lost everything,” he said.

“It’s too important to be embarrassed, it reflects very, very badly on the council. I don’t think they’ve been treated fairly; I hope the diocese can come to the rescue here and help them out.”

Cllr Kidney continued: “Make no bones about it, this could’ve been headline news on the six o’clock news, it really could’ve been.

“The response from the council – if I’m brutally honest – has been very poor; that’s the first time I’ve heard anything from the Cabinet member for education today, we’ve not seen him, the children have not seen him, the chief executive has not been down.

“We’ve had a lot of correspondence from Senedd member Sam Kurtz and MP Simon Hart has been on the phone but to date we haven’t had anyone from the council, nobody thought to come to Manorbier.

“The headmistress and staff down there feel totally undervalued, totally unsupported.”

He added: “If this was a school in Haverfordwest or Tenby there would’ve been suits everywhere, you wouldn’t be able to move.”

Cllr Rhys Jordan said to Cllr Kidney: “I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the cabinet member has only got hold of you knowing this is coming to this committee,” adding on record: “Either himself or the leader [Cllr David Simpson] should write a letter of apology.”

John Cecil, of the diocese, had earlier said the insurance claim was being dealt with by the proper department, adding: “I can assure you it is being dealt with appropriately.”

The local authority’s Chair of Scrutiny for Schools and Learning, Cllr Huw Murphy called to see the School for himself in early January and as a result had the matter added to the agenda for the Scrutiny meeting.

“As chair of PCC Schools and Learning Scrutiny the children, parents and staff at Manorbier School have my utmost sympathy and it’s disappointing that the Cabinet Leader on Education has not yet visited the scene to see for himself the severity of the devastation,” he said following the meeting.

“I implore that both PCC and the Church of Wales instigate repairs as soon as possible,” added Cllr Murphy.

Continue Reading

Education

Redevelopment of Portfield School moves towards next stage

Published

on

THE NEXT stage in improving facilities for pupils at Portfield School will be decided by Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet’s first meeting of 2023.

The submission of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for plans to improve the condition of school buildings and increase capacity at the school for children and young people with complex needs is recommended for approval by senior Councillors on Monday, 9th January.

The OBC for Portfield School was considered by the Sustainable Communities for Learning Strategic Programme Board in December and the current estimated cost of the project is £30,307,000 including cost of achieving Net Zero Carbon.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s contribution towards the project is £6,651,293 as a result of a 75 per cent Welsh Government intervention rate on all special school related projects.

Cabinet will note that a reduction in the overall 21st Century School Band B Programme capital envelope results in a £3million funding shortfall that will potentially be mitigated by design efficiencies, value engineering, reinstated Welsh Government funding or prudential borrowing.

Cabinet will meet at 10am and the meeting will be webcast.

Continue Reading

Education

Sex Education campaigners fail in legal challenge to Welsh Government

Published

on

THIS WEEK (Dec 22), the High Court rejected an application to allow parents to withdraw children from the Welsh Government’s Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum.

The Court considered five claimants’ assertions that the RSE code overrode parents’ right to withdraw children from lessons that include RSE elements. The parents appeared under the campaign group Public Child Protection (Wales).

Each claim failed on each of the four grounds argued before the Court.

Reaching her decision, Mrs Justice Steyn said: “Teaching should be neutral from a religious perspective, but it is not required to be value-neutral.”

She ruled there was no common law right for parents to withdraw children from lessons, as the right to withdraw existed only under the previous statute the Welsh Curriculum replaced.

Campaigners claim they wish to preserve parents’ roles in educating their children about relationships and sexuality. However, the real issue for the campaigners is LGBTQ+ education, the only element of RSE referenced in the headline of a press release issued by PCP after the ruling. The headline repeats an untrue claim about the age at which such education would begin.

Groups with other agendas have latched onto the controversy and published bizarre, obscene, and exaggerated claims about what RSE teaching will contain.

Examining what the Welsh Curriculum’s RSE guidance contains shows those claims are baseless.
Despite malicious and publicity-seeking interventions regarding RSE, some parents undoubtedly feel their sensitivities have been marginalised and disregarded in pursuit of social and political agendas to which they take exception.

Moreover, the case highlighted the Welsh Government’s ability to listen only to views it finds congenial.

Paul Diamond, the standing counsel for the Christian Legal Centre, represented the campaigners.

The Christian Legal Centre’s intervention in high-profile cases involving religion and parental rights has attracted heavy criticism from some judges and lawyers for allegedly preying on vulnerable parents and “casting a fog over the facts and drilling into our deepest and most primal fears” while “pushing their own agendas”.

The misinformation around the Curriculum came in for direct criticism by Council for the Welsh Government, Jonathan Moffett KC.

Taking aim at how campaigners have framed their arguments, Mr Moffett said: “Hyperbolic rhetoric, which has been a feature of the claimants’ case throughout, is unhelpful.”

Mr Moffett said the claimants had failed to identify “what allegedly unlawful teaching” the new Curriculum would adopt and instead “resort to broad assertions”. He continued: “The claimants have not pointed to any passages in the code or the guidance that authorise or positively approve teaching that advocates or promotes any particular identity or sexual lifestyle over another, or that encourage children to self-identify in a particular way.”

Jeremy Miles, Wales’s Minister for Education, said: “I welcome the Court’s decision which found in favour of the Welsh Ministers on all grounds.
“We have been clear that RSE is intended to keep children safe and to promote respect and healthy relationships. Now more than ever, our children need our help in protecting them from harmful content and people online.
“RSE should provide young people with confidence to say no to bullies, to call out harassment, and to understand that families come in all shapes and sizes. Parents can expect the teaching their children receive to be appropriate for their children’s age and maturity: this is a legal requirement.”
Vivienne Laing, from NSPCC Cymru/Wales, said: “We welcome the decision made in the judicial review so that the rollout of mandatory teaching of Relationships and Sexuality Education in Welsh schools can continue.”

Kimberley Isherwood of PCP Wales: Says she will fight on (Image: FIle)

Undaunted by the scale of the campaigners’ defeat, a spokesperson for PCP (Wales), Kim Isherwood, claimed: “The evidence we provided to the Court referenced and highlighted concerning levels of betrayal, deceit and false claims made by the Welsh Government, but it appears as though the Judge agrees with them – not only do we parents not have rights, but they were never there, to begin with.

“The team is preparing the appeal; the higher the Court, the louder the message.

“This is not a loss – this is another level of exposure.”

For the Full response from the Welsh Government: CLICK HERE

The Jeremy Vine show explains why parents in Wales were taking legal action against the Welsh Government:

A video explaining why many were opposed to compulsory RSE lessons in Wales made by The Christian Institute:

Continue Reading

News21 hours ago

Households and businesses off the gas grid to receive energy bill support

£200 energy bill support to begin arriving with households off the gas grid across Great Britain.Businesses using alternative fuels will...

Health23 hours ago

Health unions cancel strikes after Welsh Government’s pay offer

HEALTH unions in Wales postponed strike action due for this week following an improved pay offer from the Welsh Government.This...

News24 hours ago

Huge 13% rise in fire service costs for council taxpayers in mid and west Wales

TAX payers in Mid and West Wales will pay 13% more towards the region’s fire service in 2023-24 compared to...

News2 days ago

Freshwater West cordoned off over night due to ‘item of ordnance’ being found

EMERGENCY SERVICES were called to Freshwater West on Sunday, after a potentially dangerous item was found. The area remained sealed...

News3 days ago

Community backs fundraiser to help injured Pembrokeshire paramedic

OVER six thousand pounds have been raised to support a local paramedic who was badly injured in a road traffic...

News5 days ago

Wales v Ireland travel advice from Transport for Wales

TRANSPORT FOR WALES is offering rugby supporters rail and bus services for Wales’ opening game of the Six Nations against...

Business5 days ago

Planning approved for change of use in Tenby’s ‘drinking quarter’

THE RESTROSPECTIVE planning applications made by Mike Evans were granted approval by national park planners. A former national park member...

News5 days ago

MP’s call for better County rail links to boost tourism

PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has called on the Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to improve rail services into Pembrokeshire as...

News6 days ago

Dyfed-Powys police precept to rise by 7.75 per cent

POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has announced a 7.75 per cent rise in the Dyfed-Powys Police precept for 2023-24,...

Business7 days ago

Ferry staff concerned over rumours Pembroke Dock to Rosslare route coming to an end

CONCERNS are growing amongst Irish Ferries staff operating out of Pembroke Dock as rumours continue to circulate that the company...

Popular This Week