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Education

Older learners return to school

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OLDER learners in primaries and secondaries across Carmarthenshire have returned to school.

All primary school year groups are now back in the classroom for face-to-face learning.

Headteacher at Ysgol Y Bryn in Llanelli Stephen Thomas said it had been a pleasure to see all pupils return to school.

“Our pupils came back to school with beaming smiles and these have continued throughout the week,” he said. “After speaking with many of the children, they are expressing how happy they are to be back with their friends, to be back in the classroom with the teachers, off devices and how nice it is to be able to get out of the house and find some routine again.

“The focus for us now is reconnecting pupils with their friendship groups, promoting physical exercise daily following long periods of a lack of activity and simply allowing time for pupils to build their self-esteem and be happy again.

“We will continue our planned learning journey with the pupils, and I must say they have been fantastic getting back down to business. They have shown a real appetite for learning since returning to school and we are looking forward to seeing the progress they make for the remainder of the academic year.”

Secondary schools have welcomed back learners in years 11 and 13, as well as offering some flexibility for learners in years 10 and 12.

Pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 are also being given the opportunity to check-in with their teachers ready for a full return after the Easter holidays, as long as coronavirus rates continue to fall.

Headteacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman Nerys Nicholas said the school has welcomed back learners in a phased return which would help them to prepare for the summer term.

She said: “It has been lovely to welcome back our older pupils onto the school site in a phased return programme since March 15 which has promoted increased confidence in all stakeholders.

“This period before the Easter break has allowed us to rekindle those positive relationships onsite which form the heart of the school community here at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman. Seeing familiar friendly faces, even behind the face coverings, has been wonderful.

“Both staff and pupils have been eager to re-familiarise themselves with health and safety strategies and to re-focus on the challenges ahead. I thank everyone for their continued co-operation, and we all look forward with hope to a full re-opening of schools in the summer term.”

The safety measures in place in all schools have been reviewed in line with Welsh Government’s latest operational guidance. Face coverings, social distancing, classroom bubbles and frequent handwashing/sanitising are now part of the new normal, along with lateral flow testing.

The testing is being offered to learners in years 10 to 13, along with all school staff to carry out at home twice a week; and the aim is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate to prevent more people from catching it.

However, it is important to remember that the purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have already been put in place in schools, and a negative test result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other measures to help reduce transmission.

Director of Education and Children’s Services Gareth Morgans said: “It is wonderful to see so many of our learners back in the classroom with their teachers and friends.

“We will be supporting our schools to help pupils with their learning, and to focus on their wellbeing which is equally as important. It has been an extremely difficult year for everyone, but our young people have been affected by the pandemic in a number of ways, and we must not forget how hard it has been for them, not seeing their friends and teachers, and unable to take part in the various activities they enjoy both in and out of school.

“I would like to thank all our schools and teaching staff for all their hard work this past 12 months, the dedication and resilience they have shown has been extraordinary. And I would also like to thank parents too for all their support and co-operation, having to juggle work with helping their children with home learning and all the other family pressures I know has not been easy.

“By working together we can keep our schools safe and open, and we can welcome back even more children after the Easter holidays.”

For further information on schools during the pandemic including further information on lateral flow testing please visit the Carmarthenshire County Council website: carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

Education

Work to start on new £7.4m primary school for Pembrey

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WORK will start on building a new £7.4million primary school for Pembrey before the end of the summer term.

The new school building will be constructed on recreation ground/playing field immediately adjacent to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

It will provide high-quality teaching facilities to improve the overall learning experience, as well as benefitting the local community.

The school will have capacity for 270 primary pupils, 30 nursery pupils and incorporate a Flying Start facility which is currently located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “We are looking forward to having our brand-new school building at Pembrey where we can continue to provide quality educational opportunities and experiences for our children.

“Everyone is excited at the prospect of learning in a modern purpose-built school that will be at the heart of the community.”

The project is part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme, and will be jointly funded by Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

It has been designed by the council’s own architects and the work will be carried out by local contractor TRJ Ltd.

The estimated completion date is the summer term of 2023.

Director of Education and Children’s Services Gareth Morgans said: “We are delighted that work will soon start to build a new school for Pembrey which will provide state-of-the-art facilities and accommodation fit for 21st century learning.

“Building the new school on the adjacent recreation ground means that we can reduce disruption as much as possible and at the same time extend the school site to provide the facilities that the pupils and staff deserve.”

The recreation ground is currently held in trust by the council, but will be transferred to Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council, in order to secure the use of the land for the new school.

Local residents and other interested parties in the community have been consulted as part of the process.

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Education

Older learners return to school

Published

on

OLDER learners in primaries and secondaries across Carmarthenshire have returned to school.

All primary school year groups are now back in the classroom for face-to-face learning.

Headteacher at Ysgol Y Bryn in Llanelli Stephen Thomas said it had been a pleasure to see all pupils return to school.

“Our pupils came back to school with beaming smiles and these have continued throughout the week,” he said. “After speaking with many of the children, they are expressing how happy they are to be back with their friends, to be back in the classroom with the teachers, off devices and how nice it is to be able to get out of the house and find some routine again.

“The focus for us now is reconnecting pupils with their friendship groups, promoting physical exercise daily following long periods of a lack of activity and simply allowing time for pupils to build their self-esteem and be happy again.

“We will continue our planned learning journey with the pupils, and I must say they have been fantastic getting back down to business. They have shown a real appetite for learning since returning to school and we are looking forward to seeing the progress they make for the remainder of the academic year.”

Secondary schools have welcomed back learners in years 11 and 13, as well as offering some flexibility for learners in years 10 and 12.

Pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 are also being given the opportunity to check-in with their teachers ready for a full return after the Easter holidays, as long as coronavirus rates continue to fall.

Headteacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman Nerys Nicholas said the school has welcomed back learners in a phased return which would help them to prepare for the summer term.

She said: “It has been lovely to welcome back our older pupils onto the school site in a phased return programme since March 15 which has promoted increased confidence in all stakeholders.

“This period before the Easter break has allowed us to rekindle those positive relationships onsite which form the heart of the school community here at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman. Seeing familiar friendly faces, even behind the face coverings, has been wonderful.

“Both staff and pupils have been eager to re-familiarise themselves with health and safety strategies and to re-focus on the challenges ahead. I thank everyone for their continued co-operation, and we all look forward with hope to a full re-opening of schools in the summer term.”

The safety measures in place in all schools have been reviewed in line with Welsh Government’s latest operational guidance. Face coverings, social distancing, classroom bubbles and frequent handwashing/sanitising are now part of the new normal, along with lateral flow testing.

The testing is being offered to learners in years 10 to 13, along with all school staff to carry out at home twice a week; and the aim is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate to prevent more people from catching it.

However, it is important to remember that the purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have already been put in place in schools, and a negative test result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other measures to help reduce transmission.

Director of Education and Children’s Services Gareth Morgans said: “It is wonderful to see so many of our learners back in the classroom with their teachers and friends.

“We will be supporting our schools to help pupils with their learning, and to focus on their wellbeing which is equally as important. It has been an extremely difficult year for everyone, but our young people have been affected by the pandemic in a number of ways, and we must not forget how hard it has been for them, not seeing their friends and teachers, and unable to take part in the various activities they enjoy both in and out of school.

“I would like to thank all our schools and teaching staff for all their hard work this past 12 months, the dedication and resilience they have shown has been extraordinary. And I would also like to thank parents too for all their support and co-operation, having to juggle work with helping their children with home learning and all the other family pressures I know has not been easy.

“By working together we can keep our schools safe and open, and we can welcome back even more children after the Easter holidays.”

For further information on schools during the pandemic including further information on lateral flow testing please visit the Carmarthenshire County Council website: carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

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Education

New £4.3m school for children and staff at Ysgol Rhys Prichard

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CHILDREN and staff at Ysgol Rhys Prichard have moved into their new £4.3million school – and they couldn’t be happier.

The primary school has relocated to the former Ysgol Pantycelyn secondary school site increasing its capacity to 240 pupil places with provision for an external Cylch Meithrin integrated into the new school building.

As well as providing bright and airy accommodation and state-of-the-art facilities, it also includes a large hall which can be shared with the community of Llandovery, a rugby pitch, multi-use games area and hard and soft play areas.

Children and staff at Ysgol Rhys Pritchard have moved into their new £4.3m school

Headteacher Edward Davies said: “ Moving to a newly modernised site, will provide a welcome boost that will enable the teachers to deliver an even higher standard of support to pupils. As well as providing fantastic outdoor space, the building also has a range of indoor facilities, including a modern science and technology room, which will help deliver the areas of learning of the new curriculum.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school and continuing with the strong links to the local community. A bright new future awaits us all.”

The project has been delivered as part of the Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme and is jointly funded by Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

A further £350k community hub capital grant was secured from Welsh Government to provide the leisure facility which was integrated into the new school building.

Children ‘couldn’t be happier’ in their new school

The building was designed by the council’s own architects and the works were carried out by local contractors Lloyd & Gravell Ltd.

To date, around £295million has been invested in accommodation and facilities at schools across Carmarthenshire, including building 14 new schools and 47 major refurbishments and extensions.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I am delighted that pupils and staff have moved into their new school which I am sure will inspire and improve their overall learning experience.

“This project offered a unique opportunity to utilise and recycle a redundant secondary school site to significantly improve primary school provision within the area, with improved facilities to share with the local community making the school a community hub for the town of Llandovery.”

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