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Education

Exciting new cross-border project of traditional skills training

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Alan Jones from Pembrokeshire Thatch and Carpentry Services.

AN EXCITING programme of traditional skills training and education is underway in Carmarthenshire as part of Ancient Connections – a cross-border arts and heritage project linking Wexford and Pembrokeshire.

The Tywi Centre has been delivering traditional building skills training in Wales since 2009, but this new project provides an opportunity to work with experts and communities over in Ireland.

During the project the Tywi Centre will work with heritage specialists in both regions to develop training and produce educational resources. Crafts such as lime plastering, traditional carpentry, thatching, and stonemasonry will be the focus.

Workshops are open to anyone with an interest in built heritage, old and listed buildings and participants will be supported by workshops and seminars on topics such as essential repair and maintenance, improving energy efficiency and understanding the process of applying for consents for work.

As part of the project, six people with an interest in working in the industry will also be selected to follow an exciting programme of training and work experience. They will follow courses relating to a range of skills that are essential for the appropriate repair and maintenance of older, solid walled buildings. They will also be able to put their new skills into practice by working alongside skilled crafts people on real heritage projects.

The Tywi Centre is based in Llandeilo and is part of Carmarthenshire County Council. Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs and Planning Policy, Cllr Ann Davies said: “It is so important that people have the skills and knowledge to repair and maintain older buildings for future generations to enjoy.

“The built heritage of both North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford is spectacular, and this cross-border project will provide a number of exciting opportunities for local people to learn new skills from experts within this sector, and create plenty of opportunities for future work.”

An event celebrating the built heritage and the wonderful craftspeople who keep them in good repair will be held at the end of the project. This will be an opportunity for people to learn about traditional crafts, try their hand at something new, and to meet people who can support them to care for their buildings appropriately.

Ancient Connections is led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme.

Ancient Connections Project Manager Rowan Matthiessen said: “We are thrilled to be working with The Tywi Centre. The work experience programme is particularly exciting, and we hope that it will create new jobs in the heritage building sectors in both regions.”

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Education

St. Michaels School celebrates excellent A-Level results

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St. Michael’s pupils with their 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.

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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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