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Exclusive report: Welsh language courses are in limbo

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welshWITH new arrangements for the delivery of Welsh language education for adults, a few weeks from beginning, arrangements for tuition are still not finalised in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Powys.
The Herald understands that contrary to previous reports, Aberystwyth University is NOT waiting for further information and is NOT waiting for an agreement to sign.
The Herald has been told by a reliable source that the issue boils down to money. Aberystwyth University wants more, and the National Centre for Welsh Learning has refused to give it any.
It is believed that the University wants the Council to pick up redundancy costs, leaving it free to cherry pick staff.
We can reveal that the National Centre has now given the university ten more days to sign the agreement and that clock is already ticking.
The University is insisting that provisions intended to protect the interests of employees whose roles are taken over by a new provider do not apply. However, the University has claimed legal privilege in respect of that advice and refused to share it with the tutors’ employers at Ceredigion County Council.
We can confirm that the Council’s own legal advice has concluded that those protocols should apply and that the Council has set out its position in writing to the University.
The same situation applies to staff in Carmarthenshire.
If the university does not sign the agreement, there would probably have to be an emergency re-tendering exercise and the whole mess could end up bogged down in lengthy recriminations and legal proceedings.
We asked the National Centre for Welsh Learning and Aberystwyth University to comment.
A spokesperson for the National Centre told us: “We emphasise again that detailed discussions regarding the provision of Welsh language courses in Ceredigion, Powys and Carmarthenshire are ongoing between the National Centre for Learning Welsh and Aberystwyth University and a formal response is expected shortly from the University.
“The Centre is fully-committed to ensuring Welsh courses are available across Wales from September onwards.”
A spokesperson for the University said: “Discussions with the National Centre for Learning Welsh and other providers are continuing. We hope a final decision will be made by the end of June.”
In a late-breaking development, we understand that after a series of complaints to Adam Price AM, the University has claimed that agreement with the National Centre is imminent.
SEE OUR FULL REPORT in The Ceredigion Herald this week

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Free parking in Ceredigion for the three Saturdays before Christmas

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PARKNG will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas this year.

The development follows a decision made the by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 October 2018. Parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on 8, 15 and 22 December 2018.

The Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, Councillor Dafydd Edwards said, “Christmas is a very important time of year for many small businesses in our towns. This decision will support people to prepare for the festivities locally and help small businesses compete with the increasing influence of online shopping.”

The decision contributes towards one of the Council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Development of the Welsh Language at Ysgol Bro Pedr a step forward

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A CONSULTATION is to take place on the development of the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter.

On 15 March 2018, members of Ysgol Bro Pedr’s Governing Body unanimously agreed to support a consultation on the development of the medium of instruction in the Foundation Phase. In its meeting on 16 October 2018, Cabinet supported and approved the Governing Body’s decision to commence a consultation to develop the medium of instruction to Welsh in the foundation phase at Ysgol Bro Pedr.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, said, “The Governing body’s decision to seek approval to proceed to consultation supports the wider context noted in Ceredigion’s WESP, to see more seven year old children being educated through the medium of Welsh. The decision also supports the Council’s aim to teach Ceredigion pupils so that they are fully bilingual when they leave primary school and to develop this ability during their time in secondary education.”

Currently, pupils transferring from the reception class to Year 1 are taught in separate classrooms. One classroom is taught mainly through the medium of English and the other through the medium of Welsh. Implementing the decision of the Governing Body would mean that only Welsh-medium education would be provided to the end of the Foundation Phase. English and Welsh medium classes would continue in Key Stage 2.

The formal consultation will begin on 06 November 2018 with an opportunity to present views and comments on the proposal or express support for status quo. In addition, drop in sessions will also be undertaken at the school to allow parents to discuss the proposals in detail with members of the Governing Body and County Council officers.

The Cabinet decision contributes towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities within the Corporate Strategy of investing in people’s future.

If the proposal is approved following the consultation, it would be implemented from 01 September 2019. However, pupils currently receiving their education in the Foundation Phase through the medium of English would continue to do so until they enter Key Stage 2.

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Margaret Jones: 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator

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CEREDIGION MUSEUM celebrates the 100th birthday of award winning Ceredigion illustrator Margaret Jones with an exclusive exhibition.

The exhibition Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100, highlighting the career of award winning illustrator Margaret Jones on the eve of her 100th birthday, includes early sketches and unseen drawings owned by the Jones family themselves. The exclusive exhibition opens the door to this famous painter’s art, inviting visitors to discover the ideas, sketches and inner workings of her iconic paintings and illustrations.

The exhibition will feature previously unseen original prints from the ‘Arthur’ series and rare prints from unpublished work including ‘Seven days of the week’, which looks at how the names of the days of the week derive from the sagas of the Nordic Kings and Queens. Archive photo albums and unpublished books will be shown alongside the drawings and prints giving an intimate view of the artist and her life.

Ceredigion Museum’s assistant curator Alice Briggs said, “It has been wonderful to have the chance to delve through the portfolios of Margaret Jones, to discover more about her process of creating her illustrations and to learn more of her own detailed knowledge of the storytelling traditions in which she has illustrated.”

Becoming a professional painter at the age of 60, Margaret became known as one of the leading illustrators in the Celtic tradition and other folklore. Born in England, Margaret brought up her own young family in India with her husband, before being appointed as lecturer in Education Studies at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Here, her portrayal of the Mabinogi has defined the way a generation of children in Wales imagine the folklore of the nation’s past.

Professor Sioned Davies, the former Head of Welsh at Cardiff University, whose ongoing contribution to Welsh language and culture is highly influential, will open the exhibition on Saturday 27 October at 2pm. All museum visitors are very welcome to attend the official opening.

The Margaret Jones: Celebrating 100 free exhibition will run at Ceredigion Museum gallery from Saturday, 27 October 2018 until 5 January 2019.

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