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Ceredigion Learning Services’ focus on learners with Autism



MONDAY 26 March marked the start of World Autism Awareness Week 2018. To coincide with this, Ceredigion Special Educational Needs/Additional Learning Needs (SEN/ALN) team arranged for renowned speaker and journalist, Dean Beadle, to give a presentation to an audience of school staff, learning services staff and partnership agencies on Monday, 26 March. Dean shared his humorous and insightful personal experiences of learning and living with autism in order to further raise awareness of autism and its educational implications.

Dean’s presentation forms part of a wider professional development programme of further extending awareness and understanding regarding meeting the needs of pupils with autism within Ceredigion schools. This includes providing a specific training course which enables a member of support staff to undertake the role of ‘Autism Champion’ within their school as well as supporting schools to work through the national ‘Learning with Autism’ project.

Additional grant money has been allocated by the Welsh Government via their Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Innovation Project. This forms part of the Welsh Government’s ALN Reform agenda which will replace the current SEN Bill and Code of Practice from September 2020 onwards. Ceredigion County Council’s role was to develop more innovative ways of providing outreach services in order to further raise schools’ capacity to meet the needs of pupils with ALN. Ceredigion’s SEN/ALN team chose to focus on further increasing schools capacity to meet the needs of pupils with autism more effectively as this specific group of vulnerable learners continues to be a focus in Ceredigion as well as nationally. A team of specialist staff was supported and one of the project elements was to develop and trial an Autism Champion training package.

The training course was developed and delivered by representatives from a range of specialist services, including Educational Psychology, Speech and language therapy, Occupational therapy as well as SEN/ALN advisory teachers and specialist teachers from specialist resource centres within Ceredigion. The training has now been delivered to a number of teaching assistants from Ceredigion schools which included all seven secondary schools and 31 primary schools.

The aim of the Autism Champions is to further increase schools capacity in supporting pupils with autism and provide advice to teachers as well as playing a key role in supporting their schools to work through the ‘Learning with Autism’ programme and achieve the National award for Autism Aware Schools developed by ASDinfo Wales, the national website for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Nine Ceredigion schools took part in an initial pilot to use the Learning with Autism resources in order to raise awareness of ASD/Autism across all members of their school community. Some of these schools have now successfully attained the National Award with others close to submitting. With the additional resource of the Autism Champions, Ceredigion’s SEN/ALN team are encouraging these schools to work towards this award by the end of July 2018. Dean Beadle’s presentation is part of this focus on further extending Ceredigion’s schools and learning services staff’s awareness of autism.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member for responsibility for Learning Services said, “The ‘Learning with Autism’ programme is a great step towards raising further understanding and awareness of Autism and to ensure that Ceredigion schools are fully equipped with meeting the needs of pupils with autism more effectively. The Council is committed to supporting and providing an inclusive education for all children living in Ceredigon.”

For more information contact the Special Educational Needs Department on 01970633710 or email

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Stoned Dihewyd driver reached ‘frightening’ speeds of 120mph



A DRIVER who raced along country roads at speeds of up to 120mph has today received a suspended prison sentence and a driving ban.

Nico Royan, aged 37, admitted dangerous driving, driving with an excessive amount of cannabis in his blood, driving with a tyre without the required degree of tread and possessing a small quantity of cannabis.

Swansea Crown Court heard how shortly before midnight on April 19 Royan overtook an unmarked police car on the A487 near Llanrhystud at 100mph.

The officer began to pursue Royan, who reached 120mph on a narrow, twisting road with high hedges concealing entrances to properties.

After a mile the officer activated blue lights and Royan pulled over.

The court heard the officer could smell cannabis and Royan admitted he had been smoking the drug. Just over 5 grams of the drug were found in a bag in the front passenger footwell.

And an inspection showed the the rear offside tyre was below the legal limit for tread.

During police interviews after his arrest Royan, a sound engineer, accepted that his driving had been dangerous.

His barrister, Ian Ibrahim, said Royan now understood he had been stupid. But he knew the road well and at that time of night there was no other traffic about.

His only motive, said Mr Ibrahim, was that he was in a hurry to get home.

Royan, of The Caravan, Felinfeinog, Dihewyd, was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and banned for three years.

He must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work for the community and £480 in costs and a surcharge.

Judge Keith Thomas said the speeds reached by Royan would have been dangerous even on a motorway and, on country roads, were positively frightening.

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£12,000 found in drugs bust to be retained by police



POLICE have successfully obtained an order allowing them to retain £12,000 in cash seized in a drugs bust in Aberystwyth for six months whilst they investigate.

On October 19 at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court, the CPS, on behalf of Dyfed-Powys Police, said that they had reason to believe that the money they found in a raid at a residential address on St Davids Road, Aberystwyth, is recoverable property – as it was found with a substantial amount of prohibited drugs.

The money had been seized from Sadik Miah – he was not in court for the hearing.

The order was made under section 295(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

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Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect



DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.

Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.

“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.

“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at

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