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Education

Celebrating the future for Haverfordwest’s youth at Town Regeneration Project

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HAVERFORDWEST High VC School students have made their mark on the town’s Western Quayside regeneration scheme, leaving behind a gift for future generations. Year 7 pupils enthusiastically participated in a time capsule project, showcasing their lives in 2023. The capsule was buried on-site at the former Ocky White store, marking a significant milestone in the town’s development.

The initiative, led by John Weaver (Contractors) Ltd, the development contractors, not only allowed the students to connect with their town but also provided an opportunity to appreciate the archaeological discoveries made during the construction process.

Victoria Hooper, Humanities Teacher at Haverfordwest High VC School, expressed the students’ sense of privilege in being part of this historic time capsule project. She shared, “Pupils at Haverfordwest High VC School felt privileged to be making history as part of the time capsule project. They enjoyed discussing ideas, writing about life and events in 2023, and filling the time capsule with photographs, coins, a stamp, a school tie, and even an old mobile phone.”

Anthony Hayward, Construction Team Manager at Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC), expressed the council’s delight in supporting the time capsule project alongside John Weaver Contractors at Haverfordwest’s transformative development, Western Quayside. He welcomed the enthusiastic participation of the students, who actively contributed as a group in burying the capsule on-site.

Given the historical significance of the development site and its archaeological findings, it was deemed fitting to link the time capsule burial with the future of the area. Haydyn Boyce, Project Manager for John Weaver Contractors, provided the students with an informative tour of the site, which is set to be handed over in late September. He showcased the three levels of the building, offering insights into the construction challenges and how they have been successfully overcome through close collaboration with PCC and the design team.

Joan Tamlyn, Business Development Manager at John Weaver Contractors, has been working closely with Mrs. Hooper and her class since January, supporting them in developing ideas for the time capsule project. Reflecting on the students’ engagement, she shared, “The enthusiasm and excitement from the pupils has been amazing and a real pleasure to see. They’ve had such good ideas for the time capsule project, and it’s been rewarding to show them the construction of this wonderful development in their hometown.”

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region, and Climate Change, Cllr Paul Miller, expressed his delight at the progress made at Western Quayside, emphasizing the positive impact it will have on the youth of Haverfordwest High VC School and the town’s overall regeneration. He stated, “It is fantastic to see work progressing well at Western Quayside and for the young people of Haverfordwest High VC School to have a chance to be involved in the regeneration of the town, which can only benefit their futures too.”

As the time capsule rests beneath the ground, it serves as a testament to the aspirations and creativity of Haverfordwest’s young generation, embodying their connection to both the past and the promising future that lies ahead for their vibrant town.

Education

Designing a sustainable future with Dragon LNG

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KAREN WOOD, External Relations and Social Performance Manager at Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy, contacted Pembrokeshire College’s Principal, Dr Barry Walters, with an exciting work experience opportunity for graphic design learners: to create strong and informative internal graphics to visualise Dragon LNG’s journey to Net Zero by 2029.

Dragon LNG, located in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire is a regasification terminal handling up to 96 cargoes of LNG annually, capable of supplying 10% of the UK’s natural gas needs. Dragon has provided safe, reliable, and flexible services to the market since 2009 and actively contributes to community engagement via their Community Liaison Committee, Public Information Zone, and award-winning Youth Development and Training projects with partners such as Darwin, Pembrokeshire College, Milford Haven School Cluster and Pembrokeshire County Council, among other community support programmes.

Course tutor Louise nominated two talented Extended Diploma Graphic Design and Illustration learners, Thomas and Imogen. The motivated learners attended their first meeting at Dragon LNG in November 2023 and continued to engage in multiple progress meetings at Pembrokeshire College and on the Dragon LNG Waterston site. These meetings have been instrumental in shaping the project, providing the learners with real-world experience and industry insights.

As the project progressed,Imogen and Thomas were tasked with interpreting and visually representing Dragon’s 5 North Stars:

1. A safe, reliable, and flexible LNG terminal and future energies hub.

2. Enabled teams, skilled to work on a digital asset.

3. Competitive high value customer contract with new business model.

4. Decarbonisation in the Haven Energy Transition.

5. Decarbonisation and growth of Dragon Energy Ltd.

Simon Ames, Managing Director of Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy commented: “The development of the graphics for the 5 North Stars is a critical component in realising the Dragon’s vision.

“These visuals not only articulate the key steps needed to achieve our ambition of net zero and renewable energy goals whilst ensuring energy security, but also play a pivotal role in inspiring and engaging stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is aligned and motivated towards our ambitious journey. Tom and Imogen’s outstanding work in creating these representations will aid in communicating our terminal’s strategic direction effectively and compellingly.”

Thomas and Imogen effectively managed their time throughout this commission alongside completing college projects, including the course’s final graded unit and applying for university places next year.

The creative learners reflected on their experience with Imogen commenting: “I was incredibly honoured when I got asked to work on such a big project, and I am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to work in a professional environment, as not many people get a chance like this. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed taking on this project, and the experience has helped me put my future career into perspective, and what working with clients will be like! Thank you again for this amazing opportunity.”

Thomas added: “Although we were both working on it throughout almost all of our college year, I am so happy that I got to do this project. Having such an important and large-scale client is something very new, but I was happy to take the challenge, and learnt a lot about the industry and how illustrators work professionally at the same time. I’d like to thank them profusely!”

Louise, Pembrokeshire College Course Tutor for the Level 3 Extended Diploma Graphic Design and Illustration, said: “It was so interesting for us all to learn more about Dragon LNG and their future plans. Tom and Imogen responded enthusiastically to their challenge and gained some valuable experience liaising with an important client and working on a different kind of illustration. I’m very proud and pleased for them.”

The final progress meeting took place on the 20th of May at the Dragon LNG Waterston site, where Thomas and Imogen led a presentation reflecting on the experience and unveiled the finished graphics with several members of the management team. In return, Dragon LNG surprised Imogen and Thomas with an iPad and stylus to show the team’s appreciation for their efforts over the past six months.

Pembrokeshire College Curriculum Area Manager for Creative Arts & Industries, Cath stated:

“We are all so very proud of the professionalism and creative energy, flair, and traditional drawing skills and digital design finesse that both Imogen and Tom demonstrated throughout this project, from initial conception to final outcomes, and how well they worked collaboratively in communicating with this important client.”

To find out more about the art courses available to study at Pembrokeshire College please visit: https://www.pembrokeshire.ac.uk/courses/?product_tag_1=arts

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Education

Fostering Creativity in Education: StateOfWriting’s Best Practice

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Creativity is the beating heart of education, but finding an effective way to nurture creative thinking can be difficult. StateOfWriting encourages you, as an educator, and your students to unleash your creative sides with the following five practical strategies to enhance creativity in education.

1. Embrace Interdisciplinary Learning

Education stays isolated when topics are kept separate and are not mixed like ingredients in a smoothie – only when that happens is creativity born. Encourage children to find connections between subjects like art and science or history and technology. StateOfWriting is one free resource where educators can order custom-created assignments that mix the two, and students can get custom writing online. You would never expect algebra to help create a masterpiece, but sometimes, it could. 

2. Create a Safe Space for Experimentation

In case you forgot, creativity is a messy process. It’s adding a pinch of mayhem so you can discover something that works. Support an environment where students can feel psychologically safe with experimentation and failure. Teach learners that there is no creation without experimentation and no success without trial and error. Students must learn not to fear the failing grade, but instead fear the missed opportunity to learn something new. Your classroom must be a safe zone where there are no bad ideas and no stone will be left unturned in search of wisdom.

3. Encourage Divergent Thinking

Ever heard of thinking outside the box? Teach your learners to destroy the box altogether – that’s even better. Divergent thinking is about finding more than one solution to a problem; even the wildest and craziest solutions that a person might think are bananas can work in mysterious ways, and that’s actually how most inventions were born. Appropriate prompts and exercises can encourage students to think outside the box when brainstorming ideas. With StateOfWriting, students can polish those wild ideas into structured essays or consolidated arguments that can make even the harshest cynics go: “Hmm. Maybe there is something to their idea after all”. 

4. Integrate Technology in Creative Projects

Tech creativity? That doesn’t sound right, does it? But it can be! To make the most of creative assignments, provide students with digital tools and platforms where they can create. A digital museum exhibit, for example, or a multimedia presentation created with images, video, text, and music that illuminate a topic of study. Teach learners how to use these tools and platforms, helping your charges not only meet academic standards but also expand them creatively, shaping new possibilities.

5. Celebrate Diversity of Expression

There are more shades of creativity than you could find in a rainbow. Let your students express themselves in ways that are authentic to them: writing, drawing, music, dancing, and anything in between. StateOfWriting is here to support students beyond essay writing – we celebrate creativity in all forms and strive to offer resources that empower students to express themselves authentically. Be unapologetically yourself when working on your assignments, and the result will pleasantly surprise both you and your professors.

Unleashing the Creative Spark

Creativity isn’t just a buzzword. It’s the other side of learning, the spark in the corner of the professor’s eye, the impulse behind the kid asking questions. When educators turn thought into action and philosophy into exploration, students embrace the learning process. Interdisciplinary studies, safe spaces and playful experimentation, divergent thinking, technology, and the embrace of difference — these are the tools of creativity. With the help of StateOfWriting’s tools and tutors, educators can turn learning and assessment into a creative experience that lights the fires of innovation in every student.

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Education

Alun Davies says additional learning needs reforms not delivering

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THE ARCHITECT of Wales’ additional learning needs system warned the reforms are not delivering on the aim of transforming support for children and young people.

Alun Davies, who steered the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Act through the Senedd, said the reforms had to deliver a sea change in learners’ experiences.

But the Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent, who has been on the backbenches since 2017, said implementation of the legislation has not delivered some of the initial ambitions.

“It breaks my heart sometimes to listen to the stories of parents, who are fighting hard for their children and who deserve the support to flourish.”

The former minister for lifelong learning called for confirmation that children and young people do not need a diagnosis to receive support in schools and colleges.

Lynne Neagle, who previously chaired the committee that scrutinised the 2018 legislation, confirmed support should be based on need rather than a diagnosis.

Stressing ALN is very much a priority, Wales’ education secretary told her Labour colleague: “I don’t agree with your rather bleak assessment of how the reforms are going.”

Ms Neagle acknowledged challenges with consistent implementation of the reforms, which are being phased in to replace the special educational needs system.

She said the Welsh Government has invested more than £60m to support implementation, with £54m budgeted for ALN in this year.

Also during education questions on June 12, the Conservatives’ Tom Giffard raised concerns about Labour’s pledge to apply VAT to private schools.

Mr Giffard, who represents South Wales West, told the chamber the Welsh Government has not carried out an impact assessment of such a policy.

The shadow education secretary estimated the cost to Welsh schools at £18m, asking how Welsh ministers would fill the “black hole”.

Accusing her opposite number of coming up with a “back-of-a-fag-packet” calculation, Ms Neagle said the policy will actually release funding for schools.

She replied: “You should know all about black holes, given that we have a black hole in our budget of £700m as a result of being short-changed by the UK Conservative Government.”

Meanwhile, Cefin Campbell criticised Keir Starmer’s pledge to recruit more teachers given education is devolved and Labour has run Wales for 25 years.

Mr Campbell, who took over the education brief in a Plaid Cymru reshuffle last week, said a survey shows three-quarters of teachers in Wales had considered leaving the profession.

The former lecturer raised concerns about the initial teacher education incentive scheme, saying the Welsh Government has “no idea” if it is working due to a lack of evidence.

Ms Neagle said Sir Keir is well aware education is devolved, suggesting consequential funding will be used to address Wales-specific needs such as shortages in certain subjects.

She agreed about the importance of data on incentive schemes: “I’ve been very, very clear about that with officials. You can’t change policy without having effective data.”

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