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Education

Wonderful Cardiff trip for Pembrokeshire young musicians

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OVER 40 young musicians from across Pembrokeshire recently enjoyed a weekend residential trip to Cardiff as part of the Pembrokeshire Music Service String Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Band. The purpose of the weekend was to enjoy music making and, most importantly, to have fun!

Saturday started with sessions with guest conductors, Christopher Vale (Wind Band) and Roger Clarkson (String Orchestra). Christopher is a professional bassoonist who performed with the Welsh National Opera for over 30 years while Roger is a former Director of Music with the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.

The pupils worked extremely hard throughout the day, improving the pieces they are preparing for the Music for Youth Regional auditions in March.

A final rehearsal session on Sunday morning culminated in the groups performing to one another, and it was fantastic to see the improvement in pieces in only a day of rehearsing. Later, pupils watched the BBC NOW perform Faure, Messiaen and Brahms at St. David’s Hall. For many, this was their first professional concert experience.

“We are immensely grateful to the conductors for sharing their time and expertise with us this weekend” said Miranda Morgan, music coordinator for PMS who organised the trip. “This weekend has undoubtedly been a really valuable experience for our pupils in so many ways and they have been a credit to themselves and their families.”

Philippa Roberts, head of Pembrokeshire Music Service, added: “Learning an instrument and playing together in an ensemble allows each and every pupil to share and communicate a wide range of emotions, provides a strong sense of achievement and also makes lifelong friends and memories.

“I am proud that Pembrokeshire Music Service is able to continue to provide these valuable experiences for our young musicians. Many thanks to the dedicated tutors who go above and beyond to encourage and nurture the next generation of ambitious, capable and confident learners.”

The conductors were full of praise for the pupils, with Christopher Vale saying it was ‘a great pleasure to conduct the pupils of the Pembrokeshire Music Service over the weekend’.

“They worked so hard and the results were stunning! Please pass on my best wishes to all involved. What a great opportunity for the pupils to learn and develop their musical skills.”

Pupils now look forward to preparing for their Music for Youth regional festival auditions in Porthcawl at the end of March.

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Education

NEU Cymru teacher members vote to accept pay offer

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73% of NEU teacher members in Wales who responded to the union’s consultation have voted to ACCEPT the pay offer put forward by the Welsh Government, and end the dispute.

The offer put forward by Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles will see an additional payment to teachers of 3% for this academic year (2022/23), made up of 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump-sum. The offer also included an increased pay rise of 5% paid from September 2023. The Minister has also confirmed that it will all be fully funded by the Welsh Government.

Speaking about the members’ decision, NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The members in Wales have made a clear decision to accept the pay offer, put forward by the Minister in a letter dated 9 March.

“We would like to thank the Welsh Government for the constructive way in which they have conducted negotiations with the union, and we look forward to a productive working relationship to ensure that the rest of the deal, focused on workload, continues to make good progress.

“Whilst this doesn’t meet our ambitions for pay restitution every part of this offer is due to our members’ efforts – and we will continue campaigning for the Governments in Cardiff and Westminster to invest properly in this generation of children and the staff who work with them.”

David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru, said: “It is clear that a large majority of our teacher members here in Wales want to accept the deal from the Minister. They were provided with full information about the offer and have given us a definitive steer.

“This has been a difficult time for everyone in education. Our members do not take decisions to go on strike lightly, but they had to make a stand given the continuing impact of austerity, cost of living and spiralling inflation. We would like to thank all the parents who supported teachers and support staff in the action taken.

“We remain disappointed that the Minister made no offer to teaching assistants, but we know that we have raised the profile of the critical issues which affect everyone in education. Our National Executive will be considering next steps in our support staff pay campaign.”

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Education

Commissioner joins students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police custody suite construction site

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner joins construction students on tour of Dyfed-Powys Police Custody Suite Construction Site

As part of a national open doors to construction sites campaign, this week there is an opportunity for the public in Carmarthenshire to go on site with construction company Willmott Dixon, to see construction work going ahead on the new Dyfed-Powys Police Custody suite in Dafen, Llanelli Carmarthenshire as it nears completion.

Today, 14 March 2023, Police and Crime Commissioner was invited to attend one of the site tours with a group of construction students from nearby Coleg Sir Gar.

As part of the open doors event, members of the public are shown around a construction of approximately 4000m2 over two storeys, that includes 18 new cell custody suites, interview rooms, cells, charge desk, open plan office space and associated meeting rooms and a significant area for mechanical and electrical plant. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “This is a major investment for us which will see an ambitious, modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing.

“I am grateful for Willmott Dixon, for including the construction site on the menu of construction sites for the national Open Doors campaign this week.  I’ve worked extremely hard with partners over recent years to ensure that we get to this position, and it was great to be able to walk around the building today with a group of students from Coleg Sir Gar as it nears completion.”

The new Carmarthenshire Custody Suite, based in Dafen Llanelli, will offer a more sustainable environment, while also help protect natural resources.  Amongst some of the sustainable credentials of the new building will be a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

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Education

A unique learning experience for students from Pembrokeshire College

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LAST week staff and students from Pembrokeshire College were delighted to be able to officially open their teaching space at Folly Farm.

Designed for Level 3 Animal Management learners, this unique teaching facility exemplifies what can be achieved by educators and employers working in partnership.

Jointly funded by Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire College, the facility opened for learners just prior to lockdown back in February 2020. Overlooking the rhino enclosure, learners are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities including shadowing zookeepers and working with exotic species – opportunities made possible due to their location at the centre of a working zoo.

During the opening Chris Ebsworth, Folly Farm Managing Director, highlighted the excellent opportunities that are available to learners; not only in working directly with animals, but also in the wider field of conservation. Meanwhile, learner Georgia Pike gave her perspective on what the centre brings to learners. Being based at Folly Farm provides a truly unique learning experience, something that just wouldn’t be possible on the main College campus.

MP Simon Hart rounded off by cutting the ribbon and officially opening the centre. The opening was also attended by representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, Coleg Sir Gar, CITB and The John Burns Foundation (Burns in the Community).

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