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Education

Milford Haven School celebrates three years of Young Carers Project

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IN an effort to raise awareness and provide vital support for young carers, Milford Haven School launched the Young Carers Project in 2021. In the last three years the project has grown in size and now supports over 80 young carers who attend secondary school, supports their families and this year  ran a project to support young carers in their catchment primary schools. 

The project was born to provide carers with vital support to help them balance their educational journey with their caregiving duties at home. 

Young carers are pupils who provide essential care for a family member with a disability, chronic illness, mental health condition, or addiction. This often-overlooked group faces unique challenges that can impact their academic career, emotional wellbeing, and social development.

The Young Carers Project at Milford Haven School creates a supportive and inclusive environment for all pupils. It provides pupils with vital support and an opportunity to take a break from their caring duties through a tailored programme of activities and opportunities. 

The YCP also aims to give young carers a platform to share their stories and experiences. By doing so, we hope to foster a greater understanding and empathy within our school communities.

One young carer shared, “The Young Carers Project is a breath of fresh air for me. I have made friends with other young carers, I know who I can talk to in school for help and I have done fun and exciting things that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do”

This year for Carers Week 2024 the members of the YCP have been taking part in an awareness campaign to fit with the theme of this year’s event “Putting Carers On The Map”. They have put posters up around school, took part in launching a web page with information about support and created an awareness video for social media. 

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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Education

Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s model train club appeals for donations

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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.

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