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Miles pledges support to help working class boys reach their full potential

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WELSH Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Miles has said that a Welsh Government under his leadership will do more to help working class boys thrive and achieve their full potential.

Mr Miles said he firmly believes every child’s capacity to aspire is equal. To help every child realise their potential, a government he leads will continue to have unapologetically high expectations in education. To deliver that, he is committed to progressively increasing the share of the Welsh Government budget spent on schools.

As Welsh Labour Minister for Education, Miles has supported schools to open their doors to parents and carers to learn how to cook low-cost meals, and understand more about financial maths and internet safety through the community focused schools programme – all of which has a positive effect on supporting their children’s learning.

But he said the evidence for the attainment challenges facing some working class boys in particular “argues for fresh, bespoke approaches.”

These include:

  • Making early years a bigger priority than ever before – with the aim over the long term that all young children, wherever they live, can benefit from access to high quality universal child care and support, with parenting support.
  • Drive up standards by driving down unnecessary workload by freeing and supporting teachers and teaching assistants to do what they excel at – focussing on the needs of their learners and delivering excellent teaching.
  • Driving up standards of literacy and numeracy as the best way to access the richness of Wales’ new curriculum, and opportunities in life.
  • Take forward the work to improve the links between schools, colleges and employers – ensuring young people receive high quality work experience so they understand the new jobs available in the economy, and the skills they’ll need to do them.
  • Build on the strong commitment to further education, delivering reform of vocational qualifications with improved progression pathways, informed by a new vocational education and training plan, and an ongoing national assessment of future skills needs aligned to our economic policy.
  • Extend apprenticeships provision and prioritise this as resources become available.

Jeremy Miles said: “I grew up in a working class family during the 1970s and 1980s when times were incredibly tough for many people. The miners’ strike in 1984 had a profound effect on my school friends who were the sons and daughters of striking miners. The poverty and inequality I saw with my own eyes has left a deep mark on me, and has shaped the political beliefs I hold today.

“I firmly believe every child’s capacity to aspire is equal. A good education is the most precious asset we can give anybody in today’s world. Investment in education is the best economic policy and it is the best social justice policy. And that’s why increasing the funding we provided to schools is one of my main priorities.

“By doing so, we will do our all to give each child the best start in life, whatever their background – because it is the right thing to do, and the best investment in our future as a nation.

“I’m particularly determined that a Welsh Government I lead will do more to support working class boys to thrive and reach their potential. Some of that is about having a curriculum that enthuses them to learn and role models to inspire. It’s also about addressing the link between attainment and the support learners have at home. I want to raise aspirations, and ensure our early years providers, schools, colleges, employers and wider society play a full part in giving them every opportunity to succeed.”

Community

Police launch urgent search for missing 16-year-old in west Wales

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POLICE are actively searching for a missing 16-year-old boy, known only as Kobi, who has not been seen since last week. The teenager has connections across various towns in west Wales, including Llandeilo, Carmarthen, and Cardigan.

Kobi, described as tall with shaved black hair featuring a purple tint, was last spotted in Llanelli. Authorities have urged the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the boy immediately.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued a public appeal, stating: “Can you help find Kobi, who has been reported missing? Kobi is 16 years old, and described as tall with shaved black hair which has a purple tint.”

Anyone with information on Kobi’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police without delay, as concerns for his welfare continue to grow.

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Community

Feedback wanted on regional transport vision

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VIEWS are wanted on the future of transport in South West Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, a case for change that’s been developed for a regional transport plan is now open for public feedback until Monday August 26.

The case for change shows how the plan is essential to support the ongoing economic development of the region, while recognising its diverse communities and varying transport needs.

Aims of the plan include improving walking and cycling routes to local services, as well as achieving a shift away from private car usage to more sustainable forms of transport. Affordability will be at the centre of the plan to ensure access to transport is available to all.

Comments on the case for change will help inform a draft regional transport plan that will also be consulted on when it’s ready for feedback.  

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro plans for an integrated bus and rail network will continue to be developed alongside the regional transport plan’s delivery in future. 

The rail metro elements are projected to add over a million journeys to the rail network, helping move more people out of cars and onto public transport than any other scheme in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Chairman of the Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) for South West Wales, said: “Adding to an outstanding tourism offer, South West Wales is undergoing a time of unprecedented investment, thanks to developments like the Celtic Freeport and £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
“These schemes – in combination with many others – will help create thousands of jobs for local people and attract even more investment to South West Wales in future, but we’ve also identified that our current transport network needs significant improvement to keep pace with these developments, while also better meeting the needs of local people in all the region’s communities – both urban and rural.
“The case for change – which also highlights the importance of affordability, climate change considerations and low-carbon transport – is intended as a guide to help inform the emerging regional transport plan.”
Cllr Darren Price, Carmarthenshire Council’s Leader and Chairman of the CJC’s transport sub-group, said: “The transport network is at the heart or our region. It takes us to work, education, healthcare and leisure and social activities both throughout South West Wales and further afield.
“It affects everyone, which is why we’re opening up our case for change for the regional transport plan for public feedback.
“With the population of the region also expected to increase in the coming decades, we need a transport system that accommodates existing and future developments in a way that supports sustainable travel choices, economic activity and social inclusion across the region.”
Head to www.cjcsouthwest.wales/consultation for more information and the opportunity to give feedback.
Email [email protected] if you have any queries.
Paper copies of the feedback form and consultation materials are available at:
Carmarthenshire: Ammanford Customer Services Hwb on Quay Street, Carmarthen Customer Services Hwb on St Catherine’s Walk or Llanelli Customer Services Hwb on Stepney Street.
Neath Port Talbot: Neath Civic Centre, Port Talbot Civic Centre or The Quays on Brunel Way in Baglan Energy Park.
Pembrokeshire: County Hall in Haverfordwest.
Swansea: The Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road.

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Community

Freshwater West named The Times newspaper Beach of the Year

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FRESHWATER WEST has been named Wales’s Beach of the Year, according to the annual best beaches guide by The Times and Sunday Times. The comprehensive guide, now in its 16th edition, lists the top 50 beaches in the UK and will be available in print on 21st July.

Chris Haslam, the award-winning chief travel writer for The Times and Sunday Times, described Freshwater West as “a wilderness of dunes, sand and rocks that draws surfers from across the world to ride its winter waves.” Haslam has personally inspected all 50 beaches on the list over the past eight weeks.

The guide evaluates the stunning beauty of the UK coastline using a meticulous 11-point checklist. This includes water quality, cleanliness, accessibility, parking facilities, lifeguard presence, hygiene standards at restrooms and showers, and dog-friendliness. For 2024, only beaches rated as “excellent” for water quality by national environment agencies have been included, and the guide exclusively covers mainland beaches.

Here are the best beaches in Wales according to the guide:

  • Wales’s Beach of the Year: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanddwyn, Anglesey
  • Porth Iago, Gwynedd
  • Penbryn, Ceredigion
  • Mwnt, Ceredigion
  • Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
  • Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire
  • Mewslade, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Oxwich, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan

Chris Haslam reflected on his travels, saying, “My Jack Russell, Dave T Dog, and I have journeyed 5,583 miles and explored 543 beaches. The 50 beaches that made our list are graced with outstanding natural beauty, superb infrastructure, and a clear sense of pride from those who live, work, and play there. I’m still in awe of the beauty of the UK coast. From Kynance to Caithness, and Brancaster to Benone, the beaches of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the most magnificent on earth.”

For more details, visit The Times and Sunday Times Best UK Beaches.

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