Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Education

School summer holidays could be cut to four weeks

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE councillors are to give their views on a consultation which could see the summer school holidays reduced to just four weeks, the first change to the school year in over 150 years.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s schools and learning overview and scrutiny committee, meeting on February 8, are asked to provide feedback and an official response to a Welsh Government consultation on potential reform of the school year.

It is also recommended that members’ views be used in an authority response on the wider public consultation by the council’s Director for Education, by the closure of the consultation on February 12.

A report for members states: “The school year in Wales has not changed for over 150 years. It was designed for a very different time, when going to school was voluntary, there was no national curriculum and children were expected to contribute to the agricultural economy during the long holidays.

“However, over recent years there have been many changes and improvements to education in Wales, such as a new curriculum, greater teacher professional learning, and new ways of supporting learners with Additional Learning Needs.

“Therefore, the Welsh Government has launched a public consultation to look at how the school year, terms, and holidays can work better for learners, school staff and parents.”

It stresses the consultation is not about reducing the number of holidays; a commitment has been made that the summer break will be at least four weeks.

It will also see no change to the number of hours, nor extending the school day.

A possible change in the consultation is reducing the summer break from six to four weeks; the remaining two weeks redistributed to other parts of the year.

Other potential changes include:

A fixed Easter break of two weeks in early April, regardless of when Easter falls

Four terms of roughly equal length and breaks of one or two weeks between them

Aligning term dates across Wales, and possibly with other parts of the UK

The report for members concludes: “The reform of the school year in Wales is a complex and important issue that affects the quality and outcomes of education, as well as the wellbeing and lifestyles of learners, school staff, and parents.

“It provides an opportunity for members to provide their views on the consultation with the closing date of February 12.”

The Welsh Government aims to publish the results of the consultation and the proposed changes by the end of 2024.

Education

Alun Davies says additional learning needs reforms not delivering

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading

Education

Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s model train club appeals for donations

Published

on

THE YSGOL Penrhyn Dewi Model Train Club, is reaching out to the community for donations of old Hornby 00 gauge rail tracks and accessories. The club, which has been a staple of the school’s extracurricular activities, aims to enrich its collection and create more intricate and engaging layouts for its members.

In an appeal reminiscent of a bygone era, the school has issued a traditional wanted poster, urging those with unused or forgotten model railway items to consider contributing to the club. The poster, which features a vintage steam locomotive and a railway crossing sign, reads: “Wanted: Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi VA Model Train Club is looking for donations of any old Hornby 00 2 rail track or accessories no longer used or needed.”

The initiative, spearheaded by enthusiastic students, seeks to foster creativity and technical skills through the hobby of model railroading. The club members, dressed in their school blazers, are pictured eagerly overseeing their current collection, which, while cherished, is in need of expansion to accommodate their growing ambitions.

Donations can be left at the Dewi Campus reception or, if necessary, arrangements can be made for items to be collected. The poster concludes with a heartfelt “Diolch!”, expressing the club’s gratitude in advance.

This appeal not only highlights the club’s dedication to preserving a traditional pastime but also underscores the educational value such activities offer. Engaging in model railroading allows students to learn about engineering, history, and geography in a hands-on and enjoyable manner.

As the Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi VA Model Train Club looks to the community for support, it stands as a testament to the enduring charm and educational potential of model trains. The school hopes that with the generosity of the public, they can continue to inspire and educate the next generation of railway enthusiasts.

For those interested in contributing, further details can be found on the school’s website or by contacting the Dewi Campus directly.

Continue Reading

Education

RNLI Meet the Lifeguards programme returns to Pembrokeshire schools

Published

on

THE RNLI’s beach lifeguards have been visiting schools in Wales to deliver important beach safety information ahead of the summer holidays.

The Meet the Lifeguards programme returned to schools across Wales earlier this spring. The RNLI lifeguards spoke to 26,784 pupils across 172 primary schools and seven secondary schools in the area.

In Ceredigion, RNLI lifeguards spoke to 4,133 pupils across 29 primary schools and 2 secondary schools.

In Pembrokeshire, RNLI lifeguards spoke 8,408 pupils across 48 primary schools and 5 secondary schools.

The RNLI want everyone to enjoy the coast, but to do so safely. RNLI beach lifeguards delivered water and beach safety information to the children, in preparation for the summer holidays.

The presentation includes four main safety points for the children to consider when visiting the coast.

Stop and think

Stay together

Float to Live

Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

Anthony Jones RNLI Water Safety Education Manager said: “Our lifeguards thoroughly enjoyed heading back to schools to deliver the Meet the Lifeguard talks. The 45-minute sessions are a great way for the RNLI to deliver our key safety messages to young people ahead of the summer season.

“The children are taught how to safely prepare for a trip to the coast, by encouraging them and their families to always visit a lifeguarded beach. The children are taught where is and isn’t safe to swim and how to identify risks in and around the water. 

“Lifeguards teach the importance of always staying together and never visiting the beach alone. The lifeguards demonstrate how to float to live – what to do if you find yourself in trouble in the water, and to call 999 or 112 in the case of an emergency at the beach.

“These interactive sessions are a great way for children to learn how to stay safe at the beach, to familiarise themselves with the purpose of our flags and to encourage the children to share their knowledge with their friends and families.”

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit: Lifeguarded Beaches – Find Your Nearest Lifeguarded Beach (rnli.org)

Continue Reading

Business2 days ago

RWE launches pre-application consultation for RWE Pembroke Battery

TO support their decarbonisation ambitions as part of Pembroke Net Zero Centre, RWE is progressing proposals to develop a battery...

Community2 days ago

Pembrokeshire Bluetit Chill Swimmers successfully swim the English Channel

Seven swimmers from Pembrokeshire have successfully completed their first cross-channel swim as a team representing the Bluetit Chill Swimmers. “We...

News2 days ago

Appeal for witnesses after two killed in A477 collision

DYFED-POWYS POLICE said today is appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision on the A477 between Llanddowror and Red Roses,...

News3 days ago

Two people killed, and two injured in A477 traffic collision

TWO people have been killed, and two others are in hospital following a road traffic collision between two vehicles. The...

Community3 days ago

Stunning mural by local artist graces Tenby’s oldest pub

THE WELL-LOVED Coach and Horses pub, Tenby’s oldest establishment, now boasts a stunning new mural by renowned local artist Lloyd...

Crime3 days ago

Fines imposed on gardener after Trading Standards investigation

A LANDSCAPE gardener has been fined after complaints led to a Pembrokeshire County Council Trading Standards investigation. Complaints were made...

Entertainment3 days ago

Live music event for Nia, raising money for the Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit appeal

Twenty years ago, the world lost another star to the clutches of cancer. This particular person was a member of...

News5 days ago

Youth rescued after 40-metre jump off bridge at Neyland Marina

A MULTI–agency rescue operation unfolded on Monday night (Jun 10) at Neyland Marina after a youth jumped approximately 40 metres...

Crime5 days ago

Pembrokeshire postman admits driving after taking cocaine

A PEMBROKESHIRE postman has been ordered off the roads after admitting driving on a main county A-road after taking cocaine....

Health5 days ago

St Davids residents rally to save doctors’ surgery from closure

HUNDREDS of St Davids residents gathered together on Sunday to launch their SOS Save Our Surgery campaign. Hywel Dda University...

Popular This Week