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Carmarthenshire’s GCSE Results Top Welsh Average

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SECONDARY school pupils in Carmarthenshire are celebrating GCSE pass rates above the national average again this year.

Almost 71 per cent of pupils have achieved a grade C or higher, with 21.3 per cent awarded the top A*- A grades – both higher than the averages for Wales.

Their achievements have been praised and congratulated by Carmarthenshire County Council education chiefs who said the hard work and dedication shown by both pupils and staff has ensured richly deserved success.

Standards in English Language and English Literature continue to improve across the county, with 63.5 per cent and 80.5 per cent of entries, being awarded a C grade or above.

Pupils continue to achieve strong progress in their Welsh language skills with 72 per cent of entries in Welsh Language and 88 per cent of entries in Welsh Literature attaining a C grade or better, an upward trend that bucks the national trend.

Pass rates in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths have also continued to improve and surpass the Welsh averages.

Cllr Glynog Davies, Executive Board member for Education and Children’s Services, has congratulated pupils.

“Once again our Carmarthenshire pupils continue to achieve great success in their examinations at Key Stage 4 due to their considerable efforts, and the perseverance of their schools,” he said. “The progress achieved provides our pupils with a firm foundation as they move on to their future learning and career opportunities. I would like to sincerely thank all parents and staff for their support in securing such pleasing achievements.”

Gareth Morgans, Director for Education and Children’s Services, added: “I offer my warmest congratulations and thanks to all pupils, their families and school staff for their ongoing commitment and support towards securing today’s successes. Having visited Queen Elizabeth High School in Carmarthen this morning I saw first-hand how important these outcomes are for our young people.  

“Our examination results highlight how effectively our school staff are embracing change during this period of educational reform and how dedicated and skilled they are in ensuring that each pupils’ individual needs are successfully met. Our results represent the positive impact of working together in effective partnership across Carmarthenshire, the ERW region and nationally, to ensure the highest levels of achievement and progress for all.

“We will continue to ensure that teachers are well supported as they inspire our young people to develop their skills and knowledge through engaging and challenging learning experiences.”

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Council continues with Storm Dennis clean-up

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CARMARTHENSHIRE’S clean-up operation following Storm Dennis is continuing

Crews have been working hard to clear debris left by the floods, with specialist contractors being drafted in to help in some areas.

A full assessment of the damage caused is being carried out and inspections of affected roads, verges and bridges on major routes will be completed by the end of the week.

A Support Fund has also been set up for residents and businesses in need of financial support.

All homes in Carmarthenshire affected by the floods can receive support and advice, with a £200 advance to those most in need.

Business support officers have contacted more than 100 businesses who have previously been affected by floods to offer assistance if needed; with rate relief also being sought from Welsh Government. The majority of businesses affected have now been able to re-open.

Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole has today taken part in a Welsh Government summit being held today (Wednesday) to discuss the disruption and damage caused by Storm Dennis along with representatives from other local authorities, Natural Resources Wales, the emergency services, businesses and voluntary groups.

Cllr Dole said: “I would like to thank staff who are working hard in the aftermath of the storm to clear up affected parts of the county and who are advising and supporting residents and businesses.

“A Support Fund has been set up to help those most in need of financial support and I would urge anyone affected to please get in touch.

“A full assessment of the damage is underway, and, as well as working with partner agencies, we will liaise with Welsh Government to ascertain what resources are available.”

For more information or to apply for the Support Fund visit the council website or call 01267 234567.

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Carmarthenshire Labour call on county to sort out school buses

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LOCAL representatives Lee Waters MS, Nia Griffith MP and Cllr Rob James have again called upon Carmarthenshire Council to step in to restore school bus services across the county, after it has become clear that they have the power to do so.

Lee Waters MS and Nia Griffith MP stepped in to ask the UK Government to grant an exemption to the new regulations to allow parents and the council time to come up with a permanent solution in Carmarthenshire. A letter received by Lee Waters and Nia Griffith from the Secretary of State for Wales makes it clear that an exemption already exists that would allow Carmarthenshire to step in. The exemption was made available to all school transport procured by or on behalf of a school on 31 December last year.

Before these exemptions were granted school pupils in Carmarthenshire had seen many of their school bus routes cut, as a result of the introduction of regulations from the UK Government. The regulations, passed in 2000 and phased in, restricts the types of vehicles that bus companies could use to ensure that all vehicles can accept wheelchairs. The changes have caused a number of school bus routes to be axed with around 500 pupils directly affected. As a result children have been left with long walks to school in the dark and rain, or having to catch service buses that are more expensive and don’t provide an adequate and timely service.

The Labour Group on Carmarthenshire Council, led by Cllr Rob James have been pressuring the Plaid Cymru leadership to take initiative and commission replacement services since this exemption was announced, but the Plaid Cymru leadership have maintained that they aren’t able to do so.

Lee Waters MS said: “We have written to the UK Government to ask them to allow school bus services to keep running as before, but they’ve written back pointing out there’s nothing stopping Carmarthenshire Council from commissioning buses themselves.

“It would be simpler if the UK Government were to take action but there is a way that Plaid Cymru in Carmarthenshire could sort things out, but it’s clear they won’t act.

“Meanwhile, it’s the children who are suffering”

Nia Griffith MP said: “It’s now crystal clear that Carmarthenshire Council could step in to restore the buses. The only thing holding them back is reluctance on the part of the Plaid Cymru leadership.

“I’m particularly frustrated because we’ve pointed out that the Council could solve this by contracting a service for weeks now, and they’ve refused to budge. Because of that, Carmarthenshire could now be at the back of the queue and pupils will be left stranded.”

Cllr Rob James said: “The children and families affected by the administration’s inaction deserve an apology. We have always known that it was the local Council that could step in and support pupils – it’s baffling that they are still refusing to do so.

“In the coming weeks we will be tabling a vote in the Council to restore lost school buses and I hope all Councillors will vote with their conscience.”

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More investment on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway

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The final stage of recovery works to repair damage caused by Storm Callum on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway.

A highly complex programme of phased works has already been completed in one of the worst hit areas at Cwmduad, when a landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Repairs as a result of the storm have also been carried out at Bronwydd.

Some 20 miles of the A484 was affected by the extreme weather conditions in Carmarthenshire in October 2018 stretching from Carmarthen to Cenarth.

Phase two of the support works have now started at other affected areas at Henallt Bends, Pante South, Llwyfan Cerrig Station, Foelfach, Tirgwili/Rock and Fountain, Mile End, Nantclawdd, the A484/A475 junction, Gelligatti before finishing at Flatwood in Cenarth.

Works will include felling damaged trees, providing foundations for new safety barriers, stabilising embankments and installing new highway drainage chambers.

Carmarthenshire Council secured funding from Welsh Government to carry out maintenance of the highway in response to detailed inspections following the storm.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This has been a very complex operation covering over 20 miles and involving a number of agencies. Whilst the safety of the public is paramount, every effort will be made to ensure these essential works are carried out with as minimal disruption as possible until they have been completed. We understand that this has had a major impact on the local community and road users, and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation whilst these recovery and repair works are being carried out.”

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