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Ceredigion Learning Services’ focus on learners with Autism

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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 sen@ceredigion.gov.uk

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Penrhyn-coch Brownies compose song

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PENRHYN-COCH Brownies were congratulated for composing a new Welsh language song recently. The workshops were part of a program of Welsh language workshops organised by Cered – Menter Iaith Ceredigion.

Following a series of workshops with the young singer, Mari Mathias from Talgarreg, the girls decided to compose a song. ‘Yn yr Haf’ was recorded with the girls singing and Mari on the guitar. All the group members received a copy of the song on CD.

Rhodri Francis, Cered’s Development Officer said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the group and we congratulate members on their masterpiece. Thanks also to the leaders for their enthusiasm in securing opportunities for the members to socialise in Welsh outside of school hours.”

Cered’s main aim is to support, influence and develop the use of the Welsh language in Ceredigion through partnership and co-operation, to establish the best possible foundation for the development of the language in the society and community.

Wendy Reynolds, leader of the Brownies unit in Penrhyn-coch said: “The experience has been amazing for the girls and they’ve had a lot of fun doing activities through the medium of Welsh.”

Follow all the news about the wider work of Cered, through liking the Facebook page @ceredmenteriaith or follow on Twitter @MICered.

For more information on Cered, phone 01545 572350 or email cered@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Theatre caravan coming to Aberystwyth

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THE SMALLEST cinema in a theatre caravan will be on the Promenade in Aberystwyth for three Saturdays this summer.

Staff from Ceredigion Museum, together with the Friends of Ceredigion Museum, will be hosting a series of free entertaining events in and around the theatre caravan on July 28, August 4, and August 11 between 12pm and 4pm.

Sarah Morton, the Events Organiser for Ceredigion Museum said, “We have a series of short local films from the National Film and Screen Archive which links to our summer exhibition relating to the seaside at the museum, in the old Coliseum Theatre. The two minute films show people on the beach and promenade in Aberystwyth as well as Y Borth. We will also have singing from the Showtime Singers to add to the entertainment.

“We will be situated in and near the bandstand and hope to be able to bring some of the traditions of a typical coastal break back to life.”

Besides the theatre caravan, there will be a Guess-the-Object held in the bandstand with museum staff to aid in identifying the mystery objects.

For more details about the caravan and the entertainment, contact Sarah Morton at Ceredigion Museum on 01970 633088

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Surprise presentation for retiring cook

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AFTER feeding hundreds of children in her role as cook at Ysgol Eglwyswrw for the past 40 years, Mrs Anona Williams is finally hanging up her apron. But there was a shock in store for Mrs Williams when she arrived at the school for one of her last days at work on Tuesday (Jul 17).

Cameras from the S4C magazine programme, Heno, were present to capture her receiving a special award from music conductor and presenter, Alwyn Humphreys.

She started at her post in 1978 and during that time has fed three generations including her own niece and nephew and great-niece and great-nephew.

Headteacher, Edryd Eynon, said Mrs Williams would be sadly missed.

“We will miss her delicious meals and her caring nature,” he said.

“She spoils all the children and is like a grandmother to them. Her contribution to the school is priceless.

“She ran the breakfast and the Cook It clubs and ensured all pupils had an exciting experiences working with food and preparing many delicious recipes.

“Every sports day she would prepare and donate coffee, tea and her famous scones and all the money she raised would be given to school funds. She did this for 40 years.

“Mrs Williams will be sadly missed at Ysgol Eglwyswrw not only for her delicious food – especially her pizza and coleslaw – but also for her caring and loving character. We wish her all the best for the future.”

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