MAJOR restoration works are being carried out at Carmarthenshire Museum – one of the county’s cultural gems – with a £1.2million council investment.
The former Bishop’s Palace in Abergwili is of huge historical and architectural importance and contains unique collections of fascinating art and antiquities from Carmarthenshire’s rich past.
Essential repairs are being carried out to the roof and chimneys, as well as the stonework and dormer windows to make the museum watertight. Restoration works are also being carried out to the main entrance porch and to improve access.
It coincides with the £2.34million Tywi Gateway Project to restore and transform the Bishop’s Park and former palace outbuildings to create a café and learning space. The park’s historic paths, walls and plantings will be re-instated and repaired and new access to the walled garden and Great Meadow will be created. The project has received £1.27million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
It marks the beginning of an exciting restoration journey for the museum itself, with ambitious plans to improve the shop/reception area and restore the Bishop’s dining room gallery, subject to successful grant funding.
The museum galleries will be closed to the public for up to 12 months whilst the works take place, however the park will remain open throughout. Planned events will also be held including ‘behind the scenes’ access to the Bishop’s Library every second and fourth Wednesday of the month with talks and highlights from the special book collection. Researchers are also welcome to submit requests to see items from museum collections during the closure.
Scaffolding will go up next week (Monday, February 3) and the collections will be relocated to a safe place during the restoration works.
There are bats living in the roof of the museum and as a protected species some of the works will be carried out under a special licence from Natural Resources Wales.
Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “This is the first major step in a long-term plan to care for these historic buildings and park.
“It is unfortunate that we will have to close the museum to the public whilst the repair works take place, but these are essential works that must be carried out to protect both the museum building itself and the unique collections within.
“We are improving conditions in the museum, and we need to make changes to the way the service is delivered so that the collections are better managed and are more accessible.
“The new visitor centre and park restoration will reveal hidden histories and open up new places to enjoy and explore.
“It is an exciting time for the museum and long-term it will undoubtedly improve the visitor experience for both residents and visitors.”
Whilst Carmarthenshire Museum is closed, activities will be held at other locations; mainly Parc Howard, including the launch of a new community curated Llanelly Pottery Gallery, the opening of a Gallery of Childhood with interactive Victorian inventions and amusements, and a touring exhibition and engagement programme celebrating women’s sporting heritage in Carmarthenshire. Learning programmes are also being developed in partnership with Oriel Myrddin and the Tywi Gateway Trust.
To keep up-to-date with the restoration of Carmarthenshire Museum, and other news and events follow @CarmarthenshireMuseums on Facebook and @CarmsMuseums on Twitter.
St. Michaels School celebrates excellent A-Level results
ST. MICHAEL’S School, Llanelli, is extremely pleased to announce another year of successful A-Level results, with 80.2% of all grades awarded either an A* or A grade.
The vast majority of pupils have earned a place at their chosen university to study courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Economics.
This is the first year that traditional exams have resumed since the Covid-19 pandemic began with the majority of lessons in the first part of the A-Level being delivered online rather than in a classroom environment. This makes the results even more of an achievement considering the circumstances.
Headmaster Mr Benson Ferrari said: “We offer our sincere congratulations to our outgoing Year 13 class on the publication of their A-Level results, demonstrating that our pupils have worked so hard despite the challenges of returning to a conventional assessment approach.
“They approached the situation with resilience and dedication, which has resulted in grades that are truly representative of their ability. I am confident that they will all go onto achieve great things at university and in their working lives.
“We wish them the best as they move to this new and exciting stage of their education. The preparation which St. Michael’s has provided will be built upon, along with our values and principles providing a lasting framework to tackle the challenges ahead.”
In 2020, St. Michael’s School was awarded The Sunday Times Welsh Independent School of the Decade and this was in part due to the excellent exam results that the school receives each year.
St. Michael’s was also ranked 13th in The Times 2019 Co Ed League Table for UK Independent Schools, which was the last time that the results were published. The school hopes that this year’s results will continue to secure their place in the 2022 league table which will be published later this year.
Children at Richmond Park Primary in Carmarthen receive enterprise education programme
CHILDREN at Richmond Park Primary in Carmarthen have embarked on an enterprise education programme provided to the school by VINCI Building, the UK construction division of VINCI Construction, which is delivering upgrades and infrastructure works at Withybush General Hospital under the joint venture IHP, the alliance between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine.
VINCI Building has partnered with 2B Enterprising to provide the children with an innovative enterprise skills programme called The Bumbles of Honeywood. This programme is exclusively focussed on primary education and is delivered in collaboration with commercial business partners through the 2B Enterprising Corporate Engagement Partner programme. To date this unique model has partnered 70 businesses with 170 schools across the country educating over 10,000 children.
The aim is to help children develop enterprise skills from an early age and to boost awareness of the careers available in construction. As well as supplying the package, VINCI Building’s team have visited the school to talk about their work and have arranged for pupils to visit VINCI Building at work.
The Bumbles of Honeywood programme has been developed by entrepreneurial business leaders and experienced educators with extensive input from teachers. Cultivating entrepreneurship and enterprise skills from a young age shows huge value in equipping pupils for their future lives and careers. Lesson plans have been created to ensure teachers can map the learning to their curriculum – not only hitting entrepreneurial skills criteria but supporting other areas of learning such as Oracy, Literacy, Numeracy and Modern and Foreign Languages.
The programme is built around a series of beautifully illustrated books and interactive extension activities that explore the enterprising nature of honeybees and other characters to help children develop skills such as resilience, problem solving, leadership, communication, and teamwork.
Russell Flowers, regional director for VINCI Building, said: “This is an exciting programme that raises awareness about careers and supports the communities we work in. We want to encourage more young people, in particular more young women, to consider careers in construction, and this programme will help us to achieve that. Our teams really enjoy their visits to the schools and are impressed by the children’s energy and enthusiasm. This is a great investment in our future generations.”
Helen Wyn Luff, Headteacher at Richmond Park Primary said: “As a Carmarthen school, very local to Glangwili Hospital, we have been thrilled to be able to welcome VINCI Building and The Bumbles of Honeywood into our school.
“The children adore the characters in The Bumbles of Honeywood programme which is thoughtfully devised and provides the children with stories and activities which are both fun and informative.
“VINCI Building have also supported us in our Maths Week – a week where all classes focussed fully on developing both practical and reasoning skills. A visit from staff at VINCI Building really helped bring aspects of this week to life. The children were very enthusiastic about this project and about meeting people from VINCI Building to find out more about their work. This programme not only gives the pupils vital skills for their future lives; it also gets them thinking about what career they could aspire to.
“We look forward to exploring the Bumbles of Honeywood further and working closely with VINCI Building.”
Jayne Brewer, 2B Enterprising CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with VINCI Building to bring The Bumbles of Honeywood into five more schools. Enterprise education is increasingly being recognised as a key requirement, and something that should start from a young age. Our Corporate Engagement Partners play a vital part in this, helping to inspire and educate pupils by giving them real life examples of enterprise in action. As well as helping the pupils gain valuable life skills, VINCI Building are introducing them to the wide array of job opportunities that exist in construction and raising awareness of the exciting building projects happening in their area.”
Carmarthenshire’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan approved by Welsh Government
A PLAN to develop Welsh language skills in children and young people in Carmarthenshire over the next 10 years has been approved by Welsh Government.
The Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) sets out how Carmarthenshire County Council will increase bilingual education in schools across the county.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles MS has approved the plan which
shows how the council will develop Welsh language provision in its schools.
Based on outcomes and targets set by Welsh Government, it includes more nursery and reception children being taught through the medium of Welsh; more young people studying for qualifications in Welsh as a subject, and subjects through the medium of Welsh; increasing provision for learners with Additional Learning Needs; and increasing the number of teachers able to teach Welsh and through the medium of Welsh – with continuing support to develop staff through a comprehensive and flexible training programme.
Carmarthenshire, like all local authorities in Wales, have to submit the plans to Welsh Government as part of its target to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Cllr Glynog Davies said: “ I am delighted that the Minister has approved our plan ready for September. However, it is important to stress that this will be a gradual journey over the next 10 years.
“This plan is about increasing the opportunities for children and young people to become bilingual, and all the benefits that brings with it.”
The council will be working closely with schools and local communities to implement the plan which will see 10 schools moving to becoming Welsh language education over the next 10 years creating an opportunity for at least a further 300 learners to be educated bilingually.
Cllr Davies added: “We want to build on the excellent work that has already been carried out in our schools, increasing the number of people of all ages who can speak Welsh, and creating strong and sustainable bilingual communities.”
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