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Education

Pembrokeshire College teacher announced as winner of national teaching award on BBC’s The One Show

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David Jones, Learner Transition Co-ordinator of Pembrokeshire College is announced as the gold winner of the Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education in the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards on BBC’s The One Show ahead of Saturday’s awards ceremony.

David Jones, Learner Transition Co-ordinator at Pembrokeshire College has been announced as the gold winner of the Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education in the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards on BBC’s The One Show. David has been recognised for his unwavering commitment to his students and the wider school community in Pembrokeshire.

David was nominated and selected as the gold award winner from thousands of nominees based on his inspirational teaching, contributions to his school and community, and influence among colleagues, as assessed by judges.

The exciting news was broken to David at one of the College’s touch rugby games, where he and his students were surprised by a special guest – Welsh international rugby player Nicky Smith. Nicky and Kevin Duala from The One Show then announced that David had won the Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education, with two of David’s former students handing him the award.

For over six years, David has passionately served vulnerable learners with diverse needs. He’s on a mission to empower every learner, celebrating their skills, talents, and diversity, reflecting his motto ‘Let us show you what our students can do’. With a wealth of experience, he dedicates 100 hours of his spare time annually to support and coach young adults, including those in the justice system, to shine in competitions. Outside his job, he launched a unique independent living competition which allows learners with complex needs to showcase their talents and gain national recognition for their skills and abilities. He was applauded for his ability to empower students and break down barriers.

During a week-long celebration (20-24 November) honouring inspirational educators across the country, BBC’s The One Show will announce seven of 16 gold award winners of the Pearson National Teaching Awards to shine a light on their amazing achievements.

This Saturday (25 November), the awards ceremony, known as the ‘Oscars’ of the teaching profession will be hosted by presenter and radio broadcaster Gaby Roslin. The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration that honours the outstanding achievements of educators. It’s run by the Teaching Awards Trust, an independent charity now in its 25th year, and sponsored by Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. These awards celebrate the transformative impact of education, shining a spotlight on the pivotal roles of teachers, support staff, colleges, schools and early years educators and the work they deliver every single day.

Michael Morpurgo, author, former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “We all know that a great teacher can enrich your life, can help you rise to the challenge, believe in yourself, find your own voice. I know that because it happened more than once to me. That’s why these Teaching Awards are so important and important to me. Every year, without fail, we see nominations which move and inspire us and this year we have seen stellar examples of life-changing role models for young people. I want to once again congratulate the winners of the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards and thank them for the incredible impact they have on our communities.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Schools at Pearson UK, said: “It’s an honour to celebrate and express gratitude to our teachers and the incredible impact they have on our communities. The hard work that goes into teaching and showing up for students day in and day out cannot be underestimated. Congratulations to all winners and thank you for your continuous efforts.”

Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education, said: “The impact of a teacher on a child’s life can be immeasurable – I know it was for me. I am so grateful to all the staff in our schools and colleges for everything they do. This year marks 25 years of the Teaching Awards Trust, which is a huge landmark. Teachers change lives and we should all feel a sense of gratitude to those we are celebrating today. Thank you again and congratulations.”

Matt Waring, Education and B2B Channel Manager at Logitech, Sponsor of The Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education says: “Educators are at the forefront of student development which is especially impactful in special needs education. They nurture and inspire students daily, instilling confidence as they prepare for the future. We take great pride in our partnership with the Pearson National Teaching Awards and extend heartfelt congratulations to [award recipient] for this well-deserved recognition.”

Education

Exam success celebrated with Learning Pembrokeshire

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ADULT learners celebrated their exam success with Learning Pembrokeshire at its annual awards ceremony recently.

The event, organised by members of the Learning Pembrokeshire Adult Community Learning team was kindly hosted by Pembrokeshire College, co-members of the adult learning partnership.

Learners who attended had gained accreditation in Digital Skills, Maths, English and English as a Speaker of Other Language. Hardworking tutors from the Essential Skills, ESOL and Springboard teams were very happy to take the opportunity to present certificates to their hardworking learners and celebrate their progress on their lifelong learning journey.

As well as staff and learners, the event was attended by Stephen Richards-Downes, Director of Education and Erica Williams from the Strategic Migration Partnership at the Welsh Local Government Association. Master of Ceremonies for the morning was Tomos Hopkins from Welsh for Adults and their Welsh choir was kind enough to add their voice to the event.

The range of qualifications attained included Agored Cymru Units and Awards, Essential Skills Wales Level 1 and level 2, BCS ICDL, GCSE and Life in the UK.

Special mention was given to the achievements of young people from Futureworks’ programmes around the county.

A warm welcome extended to our newest cohort of ESOL learners from Afghanistan, who are just beginning their learning journey with Learning Pembrokeshire.

A range of work created by learners in other non-accredited classes such as Sewing, Stained Glass, and Art was also displayed.

If you are interested in finding out more about free Essential Skills and ESOL classes, please call the Freephone 0808 100 3302.

To find out more about the wide range other classes including GCSE, Health and Well-being classes, Languages and General Interest contact your local Community Learning Centre, visit the Learning Pembrokeshire page on the Council’s website or Facebook. Or you can call Central Services on 01437 770130.

Captions: Learners are presented with their awards by Learning Pembrokeshire

The annual awards ceremony was held for adult learners at Pembrokeshire College

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Education

Primary schools enjoy a taste of opera at three special performances

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PEMBROKESHIRE MUSIC SERVICE brought the ABC of Opera to Haverfordwest for school children to enjoy a special live performance recently.

ABC of Opera, founded by renowned opera singer Mark Llewelyn Evans, performed The Crazy Classicals and the Curse at three shows on 9th and 10th July.

Almost 1,000 primary school pupils delighted in the fusion of pantomime and opera where the evil Queen of the Night, escaping from Mozart’s Opera the Magic Flute, tries to banish music for ever. Featuring a host of classical composers and Trevor the Trunk, they work together with the children to stop her.

The cast comprised of seven professional opera singers, with the orchestra being made up of staff from Pembrokeshire Music Service, senior pupils from County music ensembles and invited guests.

Head of Pembrokeshire Music Service Philippa Roberts: “Pembrokeshire Music Service is delighted to partner with ABC Opera to bring an exceptional live music experience to our students, giving pupils a fantastic introduction to Opera in a fun and engaging environment.

“This initiative, made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Music Service Wales, saw our staff and pupils performing side by side in the orchestra along with professional vocalists.”

ABC of Opera aims to deliver invaluable life lessons to children and young people through a lively exploration of the lives and music of the great composers, building character, celebrating difference and encouraging creativity. “Any Body Can with ABC.”

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Education

Ysgol Harri Tudur bans mobile phones starting September 2024

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STARTING September 2024, pupils at Ysgol Harri Tudur in Pembroke will no longer be allowed to bring mobile phones to school. This decision follows a consultation with parents, guardians, and carers that concluded on July 1.

The consultation process began on June 26, when the school sent out a letter to parents and carers, inviting their opinions on the matter. The letter highlighted growing concerns about the negative impact of mobile phones on students’ education, safeguarding, mental health, and well-being. It noted, “There is increasing evidence of the negative impact that mobile phones have at school on learners’ education, safeguarding, mental health, and well-being. Covid has certainly made the situation worse, with the reduction in face-to-face relationships.”

Previously, the school operated an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy, requiring students to turn off their phones and leave them in their bags. However, enforcing this policy proved to be challenging. The letter explained, “Alerts from social media platforms, emails, texts, and calls during the school day create an environment which is very difficult for learners to resist checking and responding to. Mobile phones allow learners to play music, games, and take photographs and video clips. The latter places learners at risk of cyber bullying.”

The issue sparked a lively debate on a local Facebook group. Some contributors raised concerns about students with medical conditions who need their phones for glucose monitoring, medicine reminders, or well-being journals. One user pointed out, “It’s difficult for people with a medical condition, who need to have their phone with them.”

On the other hand, many welcomed the ban, hoping it would reduce dependency on devices, decrease cyber-bullying, lessen peer pressure to own the latest models, and encourage students to engage more with each other. One parent commented, “Plenty of other schools already implement this policy – and it works.”

Another parent emphasised the importance of allowing pupils who are being bullied in other ways to contact home.

Ysgol Bro Gwaun in Fishguard has already implemented similar policies with reported success. Haverfordwest High is also considering a mobile-free approach.

Additionally, Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi in St David’s, Pembrokeshire, has seen significant improvements since implementing a similar policy. Pupils now hand in their phones at the start of the school day, which has led to better attendance, behaviour, and learning. The school’s police liaison officer reported a 75% reduction in phone-related issues, and both exclusions and bullying incidents have decreased dramatically.

For emergencies, the Pembroke school advises parents to contact Reception or email [email protected]. If learners need to contact home urgently, they are encouraged to speak to their Pastoral Leader or any senior member of staff.

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