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Education

Preseli air crash crew remembered

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Pembrokeshire Aviation Group members and friends: The memorial to the crew of Liberator EV881.

RELATIVES of an RAF airman who died with five colleagues in a wartime air accident in the Preseli Hills visited the crash site on the 70th anniversary. Brian Strawbridge and his son Andrew – nephew and great-nephew of Flight Engineer Raymond Sellors – trekked up the hillside to visit the memorial placed there 30 years ago. Raymond, aged 21, was part of the crew of a four-engined Liberator bomber of Coastal Command which crashed just feet below the hill summit on September 19 1944.

There were three survivors of the nine crew. The 70th anniversary commemoration was arranged by the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group which was formed in 1984 to remember the crew of Liberator EV881, of 547 Squadron, RAF. The crash location is marked with a brass plaque. Here prayers were read by Brian Strawbridge, by Aviation Group founder member Malcolm Cullen and by current chairman Graham Clarkson.

Messages were received from Mrs Lily Allin, sister of Raymond Sellors, and relatives of other members of the crew. Later in the day Malcolm Cullen visited City Road Cemetery, Haverfordwest, to lay Poppy Crosses on the graves of four of the airmen – two Canadians and two RAF.

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Castle School, Haverfordwest celebrates 100% A*-C GCSEs

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DESPITE the challenges of the pandemic, pupils at Castle School in Haverfordwestsays it has achieved 100% A*-C grades in this year’s GCSE exams. One average, each pupil attained between one and two grades higher than the grades that were projected for them at the time of joining the school in year 7. The majority are now going on to the school’s new Sixth Form on Snowdrop Lane in Haverfordwest, which opens in September.

The school’s headteacher Michael Hughes has praised the efforts of staff and pupils, who continued to work remotely throughout the pandemic.

“Nurturing these pupils, witnessing them bloom academically to reach the attainment levels they have so tirelessly worked for, is the reason we as teachers do this job,” he said.

“With the pandemic affecting everyone, watching the statistics of cases and trying to navigate the changing Covid guidelines, it would be easy to forget that the last 18 months of our individual and business lives, equates to two years of potentially disrupted education. When you reflect on this and realise that these pupils hadn’t necessarily started studying GCSEs when their school life was turned upside down, for our Year 9s, who took some GCSEs early, and Year 11s to come away with 100% A*-C, is such a tremendous achievement. 

“Here at Castle school, we are very familiar with the process of delivering high achieving students. To us the measure of success is not simply how many A*s are awarded, but whether we have managed to enable every student to reach their true potential in every subject. It’s pretty much accepted that when a pupil enters senior school with us in Year 7, they are working towards GCSEs. In fact, we actively measure and track each individual student in every subject with this attainment in mind. However, while the final grades are the destination, at Castle school, it is the journey that is the most important. 

Castle School’s main building in Haverfordwest (Image CS)

“The pandemic prevented the tried and tested methods of teaching, challenged by remote education, so this ‘journey’ had a different route. You really have to give high praise to the students and teachers on their resilience, skills and focus. Throughout remote schooling it was imperative that pupils’ progress didn’t wane – we had no idea what these final assessments were going to look like, the goal posts kept changing throughout – exams were on, then off again.

“As educators we found out the plan on the evening news like everyone else. So we ensured that our remote education was as complete, and as close of an experience to being at school. We stuck to the same timetable, taught every lesson and delivered our schemes of work. Our school prides itself in the best possible pastoral care, so we also ensured that pupils, and staff, were as happy and healthy as possible. Knowing that each and every pupil came away with a B grade is fantastic, but the fact that we have managed to averagely enable each pupil to achieve between 1 and 2 grades higher than expected since joining Year 7 is, I feel testament to these efforts, and really all that matters to us as a school.

“Probably the most comforting fact is that we know, with high confidence, that these pupils will go on to the next phase of their lives, be that more GCSE’s, A levels, BTEC’s or the workplace, and be setup to succeed. Best of all, with the majority of pupils joining our newly opened sixth form centre, we can continue to nurture resilient, ambitious and enterprising young people.”

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Education

New specialist pre-school to open in county of Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with Portfield Special School to develop an Early Years Pre-school at Pennar for children with additional learning and complex medical needs between the ages of two and five.

The provision, which will be registered as Portfield Pre-School Pennar, will open in September, and will provide play and childcare opportunities for early years children.

The Council is currently working with parents of children who previously attended SNAP playgroup to communicate these changes. 

Portfield School will manage the playgroup ensuring specialist ALN (additional learning needs) expertise and access to additional professional support is retained. 

“We are very pleased to be able to say that several of the staff from the SNAP specialist playgroup have agreed to work with us in this partnership, so current users of SNAP will see plenty of familiar faces,” said Cllr Guy Woodham, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning.

Damian Hewitt, Headteacher of Portfield, said: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative which will provide a smooth transition into statutory education for our most vulnerable learners whilst providing early intervention and support to assist those where mainstream school may be a more suitable and inclusive option. 

“It is our intention to work with Pembrokeshire County Council to grow the service with Portfield acting as a central support hub as we work with other settings across the County.”

He went on to say: “Portfield is a county-wide resource and our vision is to work with the Council and Early Years settings to develop this model further with other satellite sites opening in the future.”  

Cllr Woodham said the partnership intends to increase the reach and accessibility of specialist support across the county. 

“Having the Early Years relationship with Portfield will give parents the reassurance that their children’s needs will be fully supported either in a specialist environment or with outreach support in their own locality,” he said.

“The opening of the pre-school in Pennar will provide the continuity of setting and staff which is so important for the learners.”

Caption

Pictured is Headteacher of Portfield Damian Hewitt with pupils

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Education

Become a wild world hero with summer reading challenge

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CHILDREN are being encouraged to become a Wild World Hero at their local library this summer.

From Saturday 10th July, children aged 4 to 11, can register to take part in the Reading Agency’s popular annual ‘Summer Reading Challenge’. 

Teaming up with WWF, this year’s theme is Wild World Heroes.  The aim is to inspire children to learn all about the natural environment and discover ways to help save the planet. 

The Challenge reaches over 700,000 children across the UK each year. 

The Reading Agency is aiming to increase its impact even further this year by reaching 1million children with its new English and Welsh language websites providing fun reading activities for all children.

Children can join the fun for free either online or by visiting a library in person.

The Challenge is to read six books over the summer holidays and the children will receive incentives along the way to encourage them to complete the challenge. 

Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF, said: “Young people are the future – and they are some of the most passionate and enthusiastic advocates for our natural world. I’m continuously inspired by our young supporters at WWF and their efforts to speak up for nature, often in wonderful and creative ways.

“We are delighted to be partners of the Summer Reading Challenge in this milestone year for environmental action.

We hope it will encourage more children across the UK to get reading, and to take positive action for the planet – our one shared home.”

Laura Evans, Library Development Officer for Pembrokeshire Libraries, said: “After such a difficult year I am so pleased to be able to offer an opportunity for the children of Pembrokeshire to have some fun over the summer.

“Although we can’t offer activities in our libraries due to ongoing restrictions, we will be giving out activity packs for the children taking part to take home.  Also look out for ideas for things to do during the holidays on the libraries Facebook page”.

Information about this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is available from:

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