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Celebrating the safeguarding work of the Wales Police Schools Programme

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Schools police officer Constable Paul Tebbutt delivered a brand new lesson called ‘Rue the day’ about cannabis possession and supply and the consequences of this offence.

THE ROLE of the police in safeguarding children and young people has been showcased at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff – at an event to celebrate the work of the newly renamed Wales Police Schools Programme. 

The focus was on the pupils in the event, giving them a chance to explore the significant role the programme plays in supporting their safety and looking forward to life after the pandemic.

Pupils and teachers met Alun Michael , Police and Crime Commissioner, along with Temporary Chief Constable Claire Parmenter (Dyfed-Powys Police), and Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle – and the event provided an opportunity for pupils to pose questions to all of them about all aspects of the programme. 

Following a review by Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables, with Welsh Government Ministers, and consultation with Teachers, pupils and parents across Wales, the refreshed Wales Police Schools Programme is demonstrating enormous commitment to children and young people – boosted by the confirmation of continuing joint funding by the Welsh Government and the Police across Wales of nearly £2 million. 

It is an example of a successful partnership working between the Welsh Government and the four Welsh Police Forces, where the aim is to safeguard the children of Wales through crime prevention education.

The programme uses Crime Prevention inputs in the classroom but also supports the whole school community aiming to:

  • Promote the principles of positive citizenship through the school environment.
  • Achieve a reduction in the levels of crime and disorder amongst young people. 
  • Educate children and young people about the risks to their health and wellbeing from online threats, substance misuse and other aspects of modern life – as well as dangers to their families and the wider community

As changes emerge in the wider environment of crime and the threats facing young people, officers seconded to schools need to be agile and flexible so Commissioners and Chief Constables agreed on a shift from a purely lesson-based approach to a ‘whole school’ one, with a wider pastoral role for the Schools Police Officers that is adapted to the specific needs of particular schools or units.

A snapshot of the programme’s success over the period September 2020 to July 2021, includes:

  • 12,141 Crime Prevention presentations and lessons
  • 91% of schools involved
  • 404,255 children and young people have had lessons and inputs from School Police Officers
  • School Police Officers helped schools deal with 7,773 incidents, keeping thousands of pupils from getting a criminal record

Faith McCready, National Coordinator for the Wales Police Schools Programme said: “We are privileged to work with schools across Wales, who invite us to deliver sessions about vitally important topics that impact on children and young people.  We are passionate that the well-being of young people is central to our work, and that they have the opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the Programme as they did at this event in Fitzalan High School.”

The review revealed very strong support for the programme, particularly from teachers and parents as well as children themselves. One head teacher said they would struggle to find the expertise or credibility on subjects which School Police Officers cover and they would not be able to sustain the competent or effective service the programme gives to children and young people at a vital point in their development as young adults. 

The fact that police officers are routinely welcomed, listened to and included in a child’s education from Reception to Year 13 is a crucial part of children’s educational journey.

A survey sent to schools across the four forces in Wales found that of the 561 children that responded, 64% stated that Schools Police Officers had positively changed their views of Police, and 74% of children felt they could speak to their Schools Police Officer if they needed help or guidance on any issues they might be experiencing.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle said: “As a government we want all children and young people to grow up healthy, safe and happy. The Wales Police Schools programme helps to educate children in a safe and engaging way about important issues. It provides an outlet for them to express their opinions on topics that can affect our lives. The programme provides engaging learning tailored to school year groups and I was pleased to be able to attend the event and to see for myself how young people interact with the programme.”

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael added: “It was a pleasure to be able to join pupils and partners, including a Welsh Government Minister, to celebrate the Wales Police Schools Programme and recognise its contribution to improving the safety and resilience of communities across Wales.

“I am particularly pleased that Fitzalan High School was chosen as the location for this celebration; it is a school I hold in particularly high regard, having served within the local communities as their MP for 25 years and now as their Police & Crime Commissioner. 

In setting out his principles for policing, Sir Robert Peel stated that ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’; this means that the police have to be really embedded in and reflect their community to be a part of it. That’s why it’s so important to have police officers in schools, because each school is a community in its own right and sits at the heart of every community. I believed this passionately when I was a youth worker, engaged with schools across Cardiff. Having a police officer spending time in every school, engaging with young people and delivering tailored prevention messages that reflect local issues is critical to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst strengthening relationships between the police and communities.”

Dyfed-Powys Police Temporary Chief Constable Claire Parmenter said: “I was delighted to be at the event to celebrate the Wales Police Schools Programme, which I think is an excellent example of partnership working between the Welsh Government, the four Welsh Police Forces and our partners in Education across Wales.

“This programme provides a wrap-around service to schools in Wales offering crime prevention, education and supportive policing services to our young people.

“Our Schools Community Police Officers are trained to deliver lessons on current themes which can impact the lives of our young people such as substance misuse, personal safety and how young people can further safeguard themselves online and via their mobile phones.  In addition to their professional training as Police Officers, our School Officers support schools in many ways through supportive policing; dealing with incidents and offering restorative resolutions including restorative conferencing when required.  

“I am grateful to our partners for their continued support in this vital area of Policing.”

At the event pupils asked some probing questions of the panel, and a lively and informative discussion was had in response to those.

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales said: “I’m a big fan of the programme having watched and taken part in several lessons over the last few years – the Wales Police Schools Programme provides really important support to our children and young people and their schools, and will continue to do so, particularly with the new curriculum.

“And most of all, and this is particularly close to my heart, the programme and the officers delivering it engage with children and young people, to make sure that children are aware of and afforded all of their human rights in schools, and they’re supported with them.

“Well done to all involved in the programme, and I’m really excited to see some of the resources and continue to follow your excellent work throughout Wales.”

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Education

Children at Richmond Park Primary in Carmarthen receive enterprise education programme

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Kayleigh Ball, Social Value Co-Ordinator Vinci Construction Uk with children from Richmond Park School

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.”

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Education

Carmarthenshire’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan approved by Welsh Government

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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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Education

Join in the fun with Carmarthenshire libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge

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CHILDREN in Carmarthenshire are being urged to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge which is all about science and innovation.

Visit any of Carmarthenshire’s libraries during the school summer holidays to meet the Gadgeteers.

Through an exciting book collection and accompanying activities, the Gadgeteers will help spark children’s curiosity about the world around them and encourage them to feed their imagination. They will be boggled by brilliant facts and be inspired by tales of creativity and invention.

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all primary school-aged children aged four to 11 and combines free access to books, and fun, creative activities during the summer holidays.

Children can sign up through their local library where they will receive their Gadgeteers core pack poster. They can set a reading goal and borrow and read books of their own choice.

Children who complete the Summer Reading Challenge are presented with a certificate and a medal.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John (pictured at Carmarthen Library with children from Ysgol Y Dderwen) said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun initiative for families during the summer holidays, and it’s free to take part.

“It can help children to improve their reading skills and confidence before they return to school in September, and it is also a good opportunity for families to explore the range of books available at our libraries.

“With plenty of options across picture books, early readers and middle grade books,

there is lots to keep children busy.”

The Summer Reading Challenge, a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK.

Children are also encouraged to explore the dedicated Summer Reading Challenge website, where they can take part in the digital Challenge and explore various online activities.

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