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Aber Uni rated ‘best in Wales’

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Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 14.28.15ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY is celebrating its best ever performances in the annual National Student Survey (NSS), published on Wednesday (Aug 10).

The university is rated the best in Wales and one of the top ten higher education institutions in the UK for overall student satisfaction, according to the annual survey.

The results show that overall satisfaction amongst students at Aberystwyth University stands at 92% – that’s six percentage points higher than the UK figure of 86%.

Two departments at Aberystwyth University are rated the best in their field across the UK for the quality of their teaching – namely the School of Art and the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies, which were both given ratings of 100%, with almost every other department scoring more than 90% for overall satisfaction.

Aberystwyth University ranked joint seventh in the Times Higher Education NSS table.

The National Student Survey is carried out annually by IPSOS Mori on behalf of the UK’s higher education funding councils and gathers the opinions of final-year students at 155 higher education institutions. It asks students to score their university across a wide range of measures, including quality of teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources and personal development.

Professor John Grattan, Acting Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “The student experience has always been at the heart of everything we do here at Aberystwyth University and these results show how much effort goes into making sure that the experience they have is first-rate. They also reflect Aberystwyth’s overall aim of ensuring that our students succeed not only at university but also reach their longer-term career objectives. We have invested in our campus resources but we also focus on research-led teaching and that’s reflected in the quality of teaching here.

“Few other universities in the UK have seen the kinds of scores we are seeing today for Aberystwyth University, where students have said that they value learning and living in an exceptional environment. We have climbed more than 100 places since last year but not only is the overall satisfaction with the university at a record high, we are also seeing stellar performances across individual departments.

“The Higher Education sector has been through a big upheaval since the introduction of higher fees in 2011 and in this brave new world, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that every aspect of student learning and living in Aberystwyth is exceptional. We couldn’t have achieved these results without the hard work of dedicated colleagues right across the university.”

A new initiative has given students further opportunities to have their say across a range of issues, including teaching and learning, accommodation and campus facilities.

Lauren Marks, President of the Students’ Union at Aberystwyth University, said: “Aberystwyth has shown that it is a listening university which responds to students’ needs. A campaign asking students what kinds of improvements they’d like to see has led to changes in areas such as timetabling, feedback and assessment, and learning resources but these changes have made a big difference to the overall experience.

“There is a real appreciation of the way in which the management team here not only leads but also listens to the voice of the student body in Aberystwyth, and works in partnership with the Students’ Union. It shows that students matter and the results of the latest NSS are a reflection of the continued hard work at this university to strengthen and improve the student experience.”

Building work will soon be underway on a new £40.5m innovation and enterprise campus at Gogerddan, and exciting plans are being developed with the intention of transforming the Old College with an investment of up to £20m.

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Man accused of sexually assaulting six-year-old girls

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A FORMER Penparcau man is to stand trial accused of sexually assaulting two six year old girls.

Raymond Albert Wardall, 55, now of Blaenllynant Lodge, Queens Road, Aberystwyth, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Wardall denied a total of eight charges of sexual assault and sexual touching.

He will stand trial on November 27 and was granted bail until then.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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