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Education

Young people’s incredible musical talents celebrated at festival

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TRUMPETER Carys Wood from Haverfordwest High VC School was the overall winner at this year’s Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Ysgol Caer Elen on Saturday (November 19th), after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

More than 240 young musicians from each of the County’s eight county secondary schools, Pembrokeshire College and further afield took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

Later in the afternoon, an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a ‘Spotlight’ concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions.

During the day, every performer who placed first, second and third in their class received a badge in recognition of their achievement.

Philippa Roberts, Head of Pembrokeshire Music Service, said: “I would like to congratulate every young musician who performed and supported one another on Saturday. Also, a heartfelt thank you to Valero, the Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians and the professional and encouraging adjudicating team who continue to support Pembrokeshire Music Service and our pupils.”

Sean O’Neill, ensembles adjudicator, expressed his admiration for the day. “The standard of music making from all the young musicians was outstanding with loads of evidence of talent and potential coming through for the future! It was a great pleasure to be involved.”

Trumpeter Carys Wood, was presented with the overall winners’ cup by brass adjudicator Corey Morris. Earlier in the day, Carys performed Virtuosity by Kenny Baker.

Winner of the Open Woodwind competition was James Townsend from Haverfordwest High VC School, who performed Czardas by Monti.

The Open String competition winner was cellist Isabel Raymond from Ysgol Caer Elen who performed Tarantella by WH Squire.

The Open Jazz winner was Dylan Sanders-Swales from Haverfordwest High VC School who performed his own arrangement of Whirlybird. Dylan was also the winner of the Open Percussion class. He performed a Super Mario Medley which he again arranged himself.

The Open Piano and Harp class was won by Jencyn Corp from Ysgol Bro Preseli who performed his own composition, Yr Afon.

The Open Vocal Competition was won by Rhys Williams from Ysgol Harri Tudur, who sang “It’s hard to speak my heart” from the musical Parade.

The first winner of the new Open Guitar class was Willis Riley from Greenhill, who performed The Trooper by Iron Maiden.

The Open Vocal Ensemble class winners were Haverfordwest High VC School’s upper voices ensemble. They performed an Adele mashup of Rumour has it/Someone like you.

The Open Instrumental Ensemble competition was won by Jencyn Corp and Lefi Dafydd of Ysgol Bro Preseli Deuadd piano, performing Norwegian Dance by Grieg.

The winners of the inaugural Open Rock and pop ensemble were The Messiaens from Haverfordwest High VC School. They performed Superstition by Stevie Wonder.

The hall at Ysgol Caer Elen was packed full as family, friends, and pupils who had performed earlier in the day all stayed to support the open winners.

The invited professional adjudicators – Timothy Angel, vocal; Sean O’Neill, ensemble; Christopher Vale, woodwind; Corey Morris, brass; Karin Jenkins, strings; Bethan Harkin, piano and harp; Ben Richards, instrumental; Nick Baron, percussion, guitar and Jazz – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the County.

County Music Service events coordinator Miranda Morgan thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

“We are overwhelmed at the amount of young people who have participated in this year’s festival – we had over double the number taking part this year compared to last year which is wonderful to see. The standard of playing has been impressive throughout and it has been fantastic to extend our classes to include guitar and rock and pop ensembles this year.”

The results of the day were as follows:

WOODWIND

Grade 3 flute

1st – Tilly Laugharne – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Mali Jones-Hughes – HHVC

3rd – Erin Dando – MHS

Grade 3 clarinet and saxophone

1st – Sophie Gilmartin – Greenhill

2nd – Emily Dickinson – Greenhill

3rd – Jed Cox – Greenhill

Highly commended – Katherine Jones – Harri Tudur

Grade 4 woodwind

1st – Tom Pounder – MHS

2nd – Ollie Towe – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Bethan Packard – MHS

Grade 5 woodwind

1st – Ffion Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – Catrin Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Ela-Gwennon Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

Grade 6 woodwind

1st – Noah Jenkins – HHVC

2nd – Gemma Armstrong – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Alice Hillen – HHVC and Eryn Howlett – MHS

Open woodwind

1st – James Townsend – HHVC

2nd – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Harry Armstrong – MHS

BRASS

Grade 3 & 4 brass

1st – Elwyn Powell – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Owain Williams – HHVC

3rd – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Highly commended – Isabella Tawn – HHVC

Grade 5 brass

1st – Eliza Wood – Greenhill

2nd – Archie Noyce – Greenhill

3rd – Gwilym Jones – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Grade 6 brass

1st – Seren Barrett – Greenhill

2nd – Ioan Bromby – Greenhill and Andrew Johnson – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Jaap Harris – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Highly commended – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill, Arlo Jones – Greenhill, Kellan Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Open brass

1st – Carys Wood – HHVC (and overall 2023 winner)

2nd – Carys Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Filip Middlemist – HHVC

STRINGS

Grade 3

1st – Brooke Patterson – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Debora Calocane – HHVC

3rd – Emma Nicholas – Greenhill and Eira Kaill-Franks – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Highly commended – Janelle Cabral – HHVC

Grade 4

1st – Ruby Rapi – Ysgol Bro Preseli and Elena Gould

2nd – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Kitty Kingsnorth

Highly commended – Grace Tilbury – Harri Tudur

Grade 5

1st – Annabel John – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

3rd – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

Grade 6

1st – Seren Barrett – Greenhill and Mia Burnett – HHVC

2nd – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

3rd – Gwenna Kennerley – HHVC

Highly commended – Esyllt Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Open strings

1st – Isabel Raymond – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – Maria Cabral – HHVC

3rd – Daisy Whitfield – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Highly commended – Freya Prout – Pembrokeshire College and Ella Bromby – Greenhill

PIANO AND HARP

Grade 3 and 4

1st – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Highly commended – Martha Bhari – Harri Tudur

Grade 5

1st – Abbie Collinson – Greenhill

2nd – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen and Siddha Saini – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and Elena Gould (homeschooled)

Grade 6

1st – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Sebastian Semaani-Rodriguez – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and Megan Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Emily Thomas – Greenhill

Highly commended – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill and Isabel Ramond – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open piano

1st – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2nd – Lefi Dafydd – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Iestyn Barrellie – Greenhill

Highly commended – Jenifer Rees

DRUM KIT/PERCUSSION

Grade 3-6

1st – William Rowe – Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Sam Berry – Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Jensen Luker – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open drum kit

1st – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2nd – Libby Phillips – HHVC

GUITAR

Grade 3-5

1st – Lewis Murray – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open guitar

1st – Willis Riley – Greenhill

JAZZ

Grade 3-5

1st – Tom Pounder – MHS

2nd – Eryn Howlett – MHS

Open jazz

1st – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2nd – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Jed Davies – Pembrokeshire College

VOCALS

Popular vocals years 7-9

1st – Bella Carrol – Harri Tudur

2nd – Sophie Jones – Harri Tudur

3rd – Maisie Tennick – Caer Elen

Highly commended – Davinia Foster – Harri Tudur

Popular vocals years 10-13

1st – Millie Evans-Thomas – Greenhill

2nd – Honey Johnston – HHVC, Mia Young – Greenhill and Libby Banner – HHVC

3rd – Lacey-May Mattson – HHVC and Gwenna Kennerley – HHVC

Highly commended – Theo Butland – Harri Tudur

Musical theatre and classical vocals years 7-9

1st – Maya Welton – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2nd – Claire Hooper-Rees – HHVC

3rd – Martha Bhari – Harri Tudur and Rosabelle Chatwin – Ysgol Caer Elen

Highly commended – Caitlyn Sanders-Swales – MHS

Musical theatre and classical vocals years 10-13

1st – Ella Bromby – Greenhill

2nd – Iestyn Finch – HHVC

3rd – Mia Burnett – HHVC and Bella McCare – HHVC

Highly commended – Edie Morris – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Open vocals

1st – Rhys Williams – Harri Tudur

2nd – Eliza Jessica Bradbury – Pembrokeshire College

3rd – Megan Lloyd – MHS

Highly commended – Bethan Raymond – HHVC

ENSEMBLES

Instrumental ensemble grade 5-

1st – Ysgol Bro Preseli violin quartet

2nd – Greenhill Clarinet trio

Open instrumental ensemble

1st – Ysgol Bro Preseli deuawd piano

2nd – Ysgol Bro preseli piano a ffliwt

3rd – HHVC violin quartet

Open vocal ensemble

1st – HHVC upper voices ensemble

2nd – HHVC lower voices ensemble

3rd – Harri Tudur vocal ensemble

Rock and pop ensemble grade 5-

1st – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – HHVC

3rd – Harri Tudur

Highly commended – HHVC Band 2

Open Rock and pop ensemble

1st – “The Messiaens” – HHVC

2nd – HHVC KS4 band

3rd – Greenhill school band

Highly commended – HHVC Band #1

Ends

Contact:

Katy Jenkins

Communications

Email: [email protected]

The Council’s press releases are also available on the Authority’s Newsroom

Datganiad i’r wasg: i’w ryddhau ar unwaith

Talentau cerddorol anhygoel pobl ifanc yn cael eu dathlu mewn gŵyl

Y trympedwr Carys Wood o Ysgol Uwchradd WRh Hwlffordd oedd yr enillydd cyffredinol yng Ngŵyl Gerdd Valero Ysgolion Uwchradd eleni.

Cynhaliwyd yr ŵyl flynyddol, a drefnir gan Wasanaeth Cerdd Cyngor Sir Penfro ac a noddir gan Valero, yn Ysgol Caer Elen ddydd Sadwrn (19 Tachwedd), ar ôl seibiant o dair blynedd oherwydd y pandemig.

Bu mwy na 240 o gerddorion ifanc o bob un o wyth ysgol uwchradd sirol y Sir, Coleg Sir Benfro a thu hwnt yn cymryd rhan mewn cystadlaethau unigol ac ensemble trwy gydol y dydd.

Yn ddiweddarach yn y prynhawn, mwynhaodd cynulleidfa frwd gyngerdd yn arddangos yr enillwyr unigol ac enillwyr y cystadlaethau ensemble offerynnol a lleisiol.

Yn ystod y dydd, derbyniodd pob perfformiwr a oedd yn gyntaf, yn ail ac yn drydydd yn eu dosbarth fathodyn i gydnabod eu cyflawniad.

Dywedodd Philippa Roberts, Pennaeth Gwasanaeth Cerdd Sir Benfro: “Hoffwn longyfarch pob cerddor ifanc a fu’n perfformio ac yn cefnogi ei gilydd ddydd Sadwrn.Hefyd, diolch o galon i Valero, Cyfeillion Cerddorion Ifanc Sir Benfro a’r tîm beirniadu proffesiynol a chalonogol sy’n parhau i gefnogi Gwasanaeth Cerdd Sir Benfro a’n disgyblion.”

Mynegodd Sean O’Neill, beirniad yr ensembles, ei edmygedd o’r diwrnod. “Roedd safon y gerddoriaeth gan yr holl gerddorion ifanc yn rhagorol ac mae llwyth o dystiolaeth o dalent a photensial yn dod drwodd ar gyfer y dyfodol! Roedd yn bleser mawr bod yn rhan o’r digwyddiad.”

Cyflwynwyd cwpan yr enillwyr cyffredinol i’r trympedwr Carys Wood gan y beirniad pres Corey Morris.Yn gynharach yn y dydd, perfformiodd Carys Virtuosity gan Kenny Baker.

Enillydd y gystadleuaeth Chwythbrennau Agored oedd James Townsend o Ysgol Uwchradd WRh Hwlffordd, a berfformiodd Czardas gan Monti.

Enillydd y gystadleuaeth Llinynnau Agored oedd y sielydd Isabel Raymond o Ysgol Caer Elen a berfformiodd Tarantella gan WH Squire.

Yr enillydd Jazz Agored oedd Dylan Sanders-Swales o Ysgol Uwchradd WRh Hwlffordd a berfformiodd ei drefniant ei hun o Whirlybird. Dylan hefyd oedd enillydd y dosbarth Offerynnau Taro Agored. Perfformiodd Super Mario Medley a drefnodd ei hun hefyd.

Enillwyd y dosbarth Piano a Thelyn Agored gan Jencyn Corp o Ysgol Bro Preseli a berfformiodd ei gyfansoddiad ei hun, Yr Afon.

Enillwyd y Gystadleuaeth Leisiol Agored gan Rhys Williams o Ysgol Harri Tudur, a ganodd “It’s hard to speak my heart” o’r sioe gerdd, Parade.

Enillydd cyntaf y dosbarth Gitâr Agored newydd oedd Willis Riley o Greenhill, a berfformiodd The Trooper gan Iron Maiden.

Enillwyr y dosbarth Ensemble Lleisiol Agored oedd ensemble lleisiau uchaf Ysgol Uwchradd WRh Hwlffordd. Fe wnaethon nhw berfformio cymysgedd Adele o Rumour has it/Someone like you.

Enillwyd cystadleuaeth yr Ensemble Offerynnol Agored gan Jencyn Corp a Lefi Dafydd o Ysgol Bro Preseli, Deuawd piano, yn perfformio darn gan Grieg.

Enillwyr yr ensemble Roc a Phop Agored cyntaf oedd The Messiaens o Ysgol Uwchradd WRh Hwlffordd. Fe wnaethon nhw berfformio Superstition gan Stevie Wonder.

Roedd neuadd Ysgol Caer Elen dan ei sang wrth i deuluoedd, ffrindiau, a disgyblion oedd wedi perfformio yn gynharach yn y dydd i gyd aros i gefnogi’r enillwyr agored.

Roedd y beirniaid proffesiynol gwadd – Timothy Angel, lleisiol; Sean O’Neill, ensemble; Christopher Vale, chwythbren; Corey Morris, pres; Karin Jenkins, llinynnau; Bethan Harkin, y piano a’r delyn; Ben Richards, offerynnol; Nick Baron, offerynnau taro, gitâr a Jazz – wedi’u plesio’n fawr gan safon uchel a chryfder cerddoriaeth ysgolion ar draws y Sir.

Diolchodd cydlynydd digwyddiadau Gwasanaeth Cerdd y Sir, Miranda Morgan, i’r beirniaid, yr athrawon, y rhieni a’r myfyrwyr am wneud yr Ŵyl yn gymaint o lwyddiant.

“Rydym ni wedi ein syfrdanu gan y nifer o bobl ifanc sydd wedi cymryd rhan yn yr ŵyl eleni – roedd dros ddwbl y nifer yn cymryd rhan eleni o’i gymharu â’r llynedd sy’n wych i’w weld. Mae safon y chwarae wedi bod yn drawiadol drwyddi draw ac mae wedi bod yn wych ehangu ein dosbarthiadau i gynnwys ensembles gitâr a roc a phop eleni.”

Roedd canlyniadau’r diwrnod fel a ganlyn:

CHWYTHBREN

Ffliwt gradd 3

1af – Tilly Laugharne – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2il – Mali Jones-Hughes – HHVC

3ydd – Erin Dando – MHS

Clarinet a sacsoffon gradd 3

1af – Sophie Gilmartin – Greenhill

2il – Emily Dickinson – Greenhill

3ydd – Jed Cox – Greenhill

Canmoliaeth uchel – Katherine Jones – Harri Tudur

Chwythbren gradd 4

1af – Tom Pounder – MHS

2il – Ollie Towe – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Bethan Packard – MHS

Chwythbren gradd 5

1af – Ffion Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

2il – Catrin Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

3ydd – Ela-Gwennon Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

Chwythbren gradd 6

1af – Noah Jenkins – HHVC

2il – Gemma Armstrong – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Alice Hillen – HHVC ac Eryn Howlett – MHS

Chwythbren agored

1af – James Townsend – HHVC

2il – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Harry Armstrong – MHS

PRES

Pres gradd 3 a 4

1af – Elwyn Powell – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2il – Owain Williams – HHVC

3ydd – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Canmoliaeth uchel – Isabella Tawn – HHVC

Pres gradd 5

1af – Eliza Wood – Greenhill

2il – Archie Noyce – Greenhill

3ydd – Gwilym Jones – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Pres gradd 6

1af – Seren Barrett – Greenhill

2il – Ioan Bromby – Greenhill ac Andrew Johnson – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Jaap Harris – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Canmoliaeth uchel – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill, Arlo Jones – Greenhill, Kellan Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Pres agored

1af – Carys Wood – HHVC (ac enillydd cyffredinol 2023)

2il – Carys Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Filip Middlemist – HHVC

LLINYNNAU

Gradd 3

1af – Brooke Patterson – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2il – Debora Calocane – HHVC

3ydd – Emma Nicholas – Greenhill ac Eira Kaill-Franks – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Canmoliaeth uchel – Janelle Cabral – HHVC

Gradd 4

1af – Ruby Rapi – Ysgol Bro Preseli ac Elena Gould

2il – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen

3ydd – Kitty Kingsnorth

Canmoliaeth uchel – Grace Tilbury – Harri Tudur

Gradd 5

1af – Annabel John – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2il – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

3ydd – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

Gradd 6

1af – Seren Barrett – Greenhill a Mia Burnett – HHVC

2il – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

3ydd – Gwenna Kennerley – HHVC

Canmoliaeth uchel – Esyllt Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Llinynnau agored

1af – Isabel Raymond – Ysgol Caer Elen

2il – Maria Cabral – HHVC

3ydd – Daisy Whitfield – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Canmoliaeth uchel – Freya Prout – Coleg Sir Benfro ac Ella Bromby – Greenhill

Y PIANO A’R DELYN

Gradd 3 a 4

1af – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2il – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

3ydd – Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Canmoliaeth uchel – Martha Bhari – Harri Tudur

Gradd 5

1af – Abbie Collinson – Greenhill

2il – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen a Siddha Saini – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi ac Elena Gould (addysg gartref)

Gradd 6

1af – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2il – Sebastian Semaani-Rodriguez – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi a Megan Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

3ydd – Emily Thomas – Greenhill

Canmoliaeth uchel – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill ac Isabel Ramond – Ysgol Caer Elen

Piano agored

1af – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2il – Lefi Dafydd – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Iestyn Barrellie – Greenhill

Canmoliaeth uchel – Jenifer Rees

CIT DRYMIAU/OFFERYNNAU TARO

Gradd 3-6

1af – William Rowe – Penrhyn Dewi

2il – Sam Berry – Ysgol Bro Gwaun a Jensen Luker – Ysgol Caer Elen

Cit Drymiau agored

1af – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2il – Libby Phillips – HHVC

GITÂR

Gradd 3-5

1af – Lewis Murray – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2il – Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Gitâr agored

1af – Willis Riley – Greenhill

JAZZ

Gradd 3-5

1af – Tom Pounder – MHS

2il – Eryn Howlett – MHS

Jazz agored

1af – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2il – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3ydd – Jed Davies – Coleg Sir Benfro

CERDDORIAETH LEISIOL

Cerddoriaeth leisiol boblogaidd blynyddoedd 7-9

1af – Bella Carrol – Harri Tudur

2il – Sophie Jones – Harri Tudur

3ydd – Maisie Tennick – Caer Elen

Canmoliaeth uchel – Davinia Foster – Harri Tudur

Cerddoriaeth leisiol boblogaidd blynyddoedd 10-13

1af – Millie Evans-Thomas – Greenhill

2il – Honey Johnston – HHVC, Mia Young – Greenhill a Libby Banner – HHVC

3ydd – Lacey-May Mattson – HHVC a Gwenna Kennerley – HHVC

Canmoliaeth uchel – Theo Butland – Harri Tudur

Theatr gerddorol a cherddoriaeth leisiol glasurol blynyddoedd 7-9

1af – Maya Welton – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2il – Claire Hooper-Rees – HHVC

3ydd – Martha Bhari – Harri Tudur a Rosabelle Chatwin – Ysgol Caer Elen

Canmoliaeth uchel – Caitlyn Sanders-Swales – MHS

Theatr gerddorol a cherddoriaeth leisiol glasurol blynyddoedd 10-13

1af – Ella Bromby – Greenhill

2il – Iestyn Finch – HHVC

3ydd – Mia Burnett – HHVC a Bella McCare – HHVC

Canmoliaeth uchel – Edie Morris – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Cerddoriaeth leisiol agored

1af – Rhys Williams – Harri Tudur

2il – Eliza Jessica Bradbury – Coleg Sir Benfro

3ydd – Megan Lloyd – MHS

Canmoliaeth uchel – Bethan Raymond – HHVC

ENSEMBLES

Ensemble offerynnol gradd 5-

1af – Pedwarawd ffidil Ysgol Bro Preseli

2il – Triawd clarinet Greenhill

Ensemble offerynnol agored

1af – Ysgol Bro Preseli deuawd piano

2il – Ysgol Bro Preseli piano a ffliwt

3ydd – Pedwarawd ffidil HHVC

Ensemble lleisiol agored

1af – Ensemble lleisiau uwch HHVC

2il – ensemble lleisiau is HHVC

3ydd – Ensemble lleisiol Harri Tudur

Ensemble roc a phop gradd 5-

1af – Ysgol Caer Elen

2il – HHVC

3ydd – Harri Tudur

Canmoliaeth uchel – HHVC Band 2

Ensemble roc a phop agored

1af – “The Messiaens” – HHVC

2il – HHVC KS4 band

3ydd – Band ysgol Greenhill

Canmoliaeth uchel – HHVC Band #1

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Education

Estyn decision to scrap headline gradings has ‘lifted a burden’ on schools

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Estyn’s decision to remove gradings such as “excellent”, “adequate” or “needs improvement” from inspection reports has lifted a burden on schools, a committee heard.

Owen Evans, Estyn’s chief inspector, told the Senedd’s education committee that feedback from schools since scrapping the headline gradings has been overwhelmingly positive.

Giving evidence on Estyn’s 2022-23 report, Mr. Evans said the new approach has led to a far more professional dialogue with schools about what’s working and what’s not.

“I think that’s been incredibly refreshing,” he said. “There are several layers of pressure that come with an Estyn inspection of a school….

“The removal of summative judgements and the fact that you’re going to be labelled with that one word, has lifted a burden on the sectors that we look at.”

‘Outlier’

However, Mr Evans stressed that removing gradings must be seen as a trial.

He said: “We are a bit of an outlier. We are still the only inspectorate in the British Isles that has removed summative judgements and a lot of eyes are on us about how this is working.”

Mr Evans, who has been in post for two years, added that Estyn is likely to carry out a review to ensure the reforms have led to further improvements.

He said it was important to introduce parental reports given the removal of gradings, suggesting that reports for learners themselves could also be on the horizon.

Asked about Estyn’s funding, which has increased from £11.5m in 2021-22 to £16m currently, Mr Evans told the committee the uplift was due to the pandemic.

‘Backlog’

He told the committee the interruption created a huge backlog and Estyn needed to increase capacity to finish its six-year cycle of inspections by the end of the current academic year.

Mr Evans said 90%-plus of the uplift has gone on additional inspections and inspectors.

Arguing the additional funding should become a part of the inspectorate’s baseline budget, he told MSs that Estyn will start visiting schools twice every six years from September.

He explained that the main inspection has been slightly curtailed, so Estyn can afford to have an interim inspection after three years rather than a “big bang” every six.

“It’s imperative the budget stays at that or slightly higher,” he said. “But we realise there’s a lot of pressure on the system – we have to demonstrate the value of what we’re doing.”

‘Self-evaluation’

Laura Anne Jones, for the Conservatives, raised concerns about an emphasis on self-evaluation, saying: “I don’t think anyone’s going to mark themselves badly.”

Laura Anne Jones MS speaking in the Senedd
South Wales East MS Laura Anne Jones MS is the Conservative shadow education minister

Mr Evans shared the shadow education minister’s concerns as he warned that self-evaluation is not yet strong enough within schools for Estyn to rely on it.

The chief inspector, who was previously S4C’s chief executive and a senior Welsh Government civil servant, warned that the pandemic continues to cast a shadow.

Mr Evans said variability between schools has widened, raising attendance as an example.

“Some are coping and some are not,” he told MSs: “I think the social contract between schools and parents has, to a degree, broken down.”

‘Stubborn’

Claire Morgan, a strategic director at Estyn, said average attendance is 87.5%, meaning pupils are missing 12 days of education in an academic year “which is far too much”.

She called for more to be done to tackle “stubborn” attendance issues, saying successful schools have a strong community focus.

Mr Evans said exclusions are rising while the number of children and young people going into pupil referral units has doubled since the pandemic.  

He said pupil referral units are no longer helping learners return to mainstream education.

He said: “The wave of anecdote I hear – from everyone from headteachers to teachers and caretakers to support staff – is behaviour, particularly out of the classroom, has worsened.”

‘Relentless’

On Wales’ poor performance in the latest Pisa results, Mr Evans said he was disappointed but not shocked as he called for a “relentless” focus on standards.

He said the results reinforce Estyn’s previous annual reports, which have long raised concerns about numeracy, science and literacy.

Mr Evans suggested a focus on the new curriculum has taken away from subject specialism.

Asked about the impact of poverty on attainment, he said the pupil development grant can make a difference but he suggested the funding is being used to plug budget gaps.

The chief inspector also raised concerns about “great deficiencies” in recruiting teachers in terms of the Welsh language and secondary school subjects such as maths.

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Education

Castle School closure certain now rescue plan has failed

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PARENTS have been informed that the highly regarded Castle School, a beacon of independent education since its establishment in 2009 in Cresselly, is on the verge of closing down, with no rescue plan in sight.

The institution, which began with a mere 22 secondary-aged pupils, saw significant growth over the years, relocating to Narberth in 2015 and later to Haverfordwest. The school, known for its broad curriculum catering to pupils from the age of three to 18, prides itself on an ‘exceptionally high academic performance’, boasting an average of 95 per cent A*-C grades at GCSE.

Despite its academic success, the school announced earlier this month that it would be shutting its doors to the majority of its pupils come July, though it will remain operational for current GCSE and A Level students until their examinations are completed the following year.

Harriet Harrison, the headteacher and proprietor, expressed that the decision to close was made with a ‘heavy heart’ and after considerable deliberation. The news has left many parents in a scramble to secure alternative educational arrangements for their children.

A glimmer of hope appeared when Dr Mark Boulcott, a local dentist and retired army officer with a daughter at the school, presented a rescue plan. “I am doing what I can as quickly as I can. I am doing my very best to stop the closure of a great school,” Dr Boulcott stated, signalling his commitment to prevent the closure.

The school was envisioned to transition into a charitable organisation, with Dr Boulcott collaborating with Mrs Harrison until the end of this academic year before assuming full leadership in July. Unfortunately, this plan has been rendered unviable, with Dr Boulcott disclosing that from a business standpoint, the school’s recovery from the Covid crisis was insurmountable under the current conditions, making the prospect of taking over ‘untenable’.

In an earnest letter to the parents, which was obtained by The Pembrokeshire Herald, Dr Boulcott lamented that the challenges of establishing the school elsewhere were too great, necessitating a considerable investment and an estimated two years to navigate bureaucratic hurdles.

“It is with regret that without immediate extensive capital investment, something we do not have, school purchase resurrection or reorganisation is impossible,” Dr Boulcott concluded in his correspondence with the parents, effectively extinguishing the last embers of hope for the school’s survival.

As the community grapples with the impending loss of Castle School, the situation underscores the continuing pressures faced by independent educational institutions in the post-pandemic landscape.

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Education

Childcare students beat to the rhythm in inspirational drumming workshop

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE’S Childcare students recently had the enriching opportunity to participate in a captivating drumming workshop led by Lox, where they not only delved into the vibrant rhythms of African drums but also gained insights into Lox’s philanthropic endeavours through his charity, Love Your Neighbour.

The workshop offered an immersive experience into Lox’s upbringing in Kenya, where drums were not just instruments but integral components of culture and community. Through engaging discussions, Lox shared his journey and shed light on the impactful work his charity undertakes, particularly in supporting social and educational projects in Kilfi, Kenya.

Lauren Owen, a Childcare lecturer at Pembrokeshire College, expressed her enthusiasm about the session, stating, “During our session with Lox, we were able to learn about the importance of music in our lives and the significance of offering musical opportunities to children. We discussed the role of music in self-expression, celebration, and community cohesion.”

Students echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the value of incorporating music into children’s developmental activities. One student remarked, “The session gave us so much to think about – valuing music as a key developmental tool for children, as well as considering the wider impact music can have on us all. A big thank you to Lox.”

The workshop not only provided an avenue for cultural exchange but also equipped students with practical insights into incorporating music into their childcare practices. They learned key musical rhythms and explored ways to integrate music for children’s holistic development, fostering creativity, expression, and social interaction.

Moreover, discussions on the barriers to education faced by young people in Kenya offered a broader perspective on global challenges and the role of education in fostering positive change.

To find out more about the Childcare courses offered at the College, please visit: www.pembrokeshire.ac.uk

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