CONSULTATIONS on the future of education provision at three Ceredigion primary schools are now open and views are being sought.
In line with Ceredigion County Council’s School Review Policy, and due to a fall in numbers, budget deficit and a review of school provision in the area, Cabinet decided at its meeting on July 10 to cease to maintain education provision at Cilcennin Primary School in the centre of the county, and also at Beulah and Trewen Primary Schools in the south of the county. These decisions commence the consultation process which is now open until November 7.
The Cabinet Member responsible for Learning Services, Councillor Catrin Miles said, “Whilst the Welsh Government sets the overall policy and legislative framework for school organisation, Councils have a responsibility for the planning and management of school places and must secure efficient provision so as to focus resources on improving education outcomes for young people.”
Full consideration have been included in these consultations to comply with the requirements of the updated Welsh Government School Organisation Code which comes into force on 1 November.
Councillor Catrin Miles continued, “It is essential that we consult fully on the proposals to cease education provision at Beulah and Trewen Primary Schools and Cilcennin Primary School. There were careful consideration of the relevant factors of education in the area by the Schools Review Panel and Cabinet to ensure the sustainability of the educational provision in Ceredigion for the future. This is now the opportunity for the local communities to comment on the proposals.”
Arrangements will be made to consult with pupils, including those of any affected schools. The information provided will be presented in such a way that is relevant to their age and level of understanding, which will allow them to reach an informed opinion.
The consultation papers can be seen on www.ceredigion.gov.uk/consultations. Views can be expressed or further questions asked, by either completing the response form at the end of the document or in writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ceredigion County Council, School Services, 2nd Floor, Canolfan Rheidol, Rhodfa Padarn, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UE. Respondents can call 01545 570881 for a paper copy. Views are to be received by 7 November 2018.
A Consultation Report will be presented to Cabinet for decision on the proposals on 18 December. If a decision was to be made to cease provision at the three schools, there would be a Statutory Notice open for objections in January. The Cabinet decisions contribute towards realising the Council’s corporate priorities of investing in people’s future. The Full Council will make any further decisions on these matters after the consultation process.
Drakeford confirmed as First Minister
MARK DRAKEFORD was confirmed as the new First Minister after a vote in the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday (Dec 12).
Carmarthen-born Drakeford succeeds Carwyn Jones as Welsh Labour leader, after Jones resigned on Tuesday.
Mr Drakeford, 64, has styled himself as a ’21st Century socialist’, and throughout his leadership campaign promoted continuity and stability as a candidate, having worked as a Welsh Government special advisor under Rhodri Morgan and being the only Welsh Government cabinet minister to support Jeremy Corbyn when he ran for the UK Labour leadership in 2015.
The AM for Cardiff West has been in the Assembly since 2011, becoming Health Minister in 2013 before becoming Finance Secretary in 2016.
Mr Drakeford grew up in Carmarthen, and was educated at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School for Boys. He then went on to study Latin at the University of Kent, before working as a probation officer and Barnardos project leader in west Cardiff.
Mr Drakeford went on to pursue a career in academia, lecturing at Swansea University, and then becoming a professor of social policy and applied social sciences at Cardiff University.
His first experience of electoral politics was as a councillor on the old South Glamorgan County Council, before serving the Cardiff ward of Pontcanna between 1985 and 1993.
Mr Drakeford was one of the two candidates, alongside Eluned Morgan, to have produced a manifesto during the leadership campaign, setting out many of the policies he hopes to introduce. These include an extension of the smoking ban to outdoor areas such as restaurants and town centres, the cutting of emissions through greater emphasis on public transport and building on Superfast Cymru – a scheme to rollout 733,000 homes and businesses across Wales.
The manifesto also proposed installing drinking fountains across Wales, double allotments, and piloting a ‘baby bundle’ – similar to baby box schemes in other countries with a package of essential items.
Mr Drakeford also suggested introducing a committee to advise the Welsh Government on the Hinckley Point power plant in Somerset, as he has spoken of his scepticism regarding nuclear power.
The new First Minister has also backed proposals put forward by economist Gerry Holtham to fund elderly social care in Wales through a tax. An annual review of PFI contracts across the Welsh public sector would be introduced, and the 22 councils across Wales would be kept as they are.
One issue that has been subject to much debate is the potential for the M4 Relief Road, but Mr Drakeford’s manifesto does not mention it specifically. Instead, it states a commitment to dealing with congestion, citing the A40 in Mid and West Wales, the A55 in the North and the M4 in South Wales.
The other two leadership candidates, Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan, had both backed another referendum on whether the UK leaves the EU, yet Mr Drakeford is less set on another vote, saying he would only back it should the final deal fail to protect workers’ rights.
As Finance Secretary, Mr Drakeford has been in charge of much of the Welsh Government’s approach towards Brexit so far.
In Wednesday’s vote, Mr Drakeford was backed by 30 AMs, with 12 voting for the Conservatives’ Paul Davies and nine supporting Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price.
Are you a £1m Euromillions winner? Time is running out to redeem prize
A LAST ditch attempt is being made to locate a mystery local winner of an unclaimed £1 million pound lottery ticket.
Time is running out to find the owner of the winning ticket from the Euromillions draw bought in Ceredigion on June 22, 2018 – with Millionaire code MDLG 86259.
The winner has until Wednesday, December 19 to claim their life-changing prize.
Andy Carter, senior winners’ advisor at The National Lottery, said: “Time really is running out for the winner of this prize, but we are still hopeful that someone will come forward to claim the money. We’re urging everyone to check their old tickets or look anywhere a missing EuroMillions ticket could be hiding. This life changing prize could really help to make dreams become a reality.”
If no-one comes forward with the winning ticket before the prize claim deadline, then the prize money, plus all the interest it has generated will go to help National Lottery-funded projects across the UK.
The National Lottery changes the lives of individuals as well as communities – players raise, on average around £30 million for National Lottery-funded projects every week.
Euromillions UK Millionaire Maker creates two UK millionaires in every draw. For every EuroMillions line played, UK players automatically receive a Millionaire Maker Code printed on their ticket.
Ceredigion alone has around 1,675 individual National Lottery grants that have been awarded to help projects across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.
With all National Lottery draws, players only have 180 days from the day of the draw to claim their prize if they have the winning ticket. Anyone who has any queries or who believes they have the winning ticket for any of The National Lottery draws within the 180 day deadline should call the National Lottery line on 0333 234 5050 or email email@example.com.
Anyone concerned about lost or unchecked tickets may like to consider either setting up a National Lottery Direct Debit or playing online at www.national-lottery.co.uk.
Free equipment and training for Ceredigion clubs
TUESDAY (Dec 11) saw the launch of a new partnership between learning technology solution specialists Aspire2Be and six Ceredigion rugby clubs as part of the Scarlets’ Three Counties, Three Years strategy. The initiative, courtesy of Scarlets, invites Ceredigion rugby clubs and schools to participate in a pilot project providing free analysis equipment, software and training worth over £20k.
The initial pilot project will work with Aberystwyth Rugby Football Club and Ysgol Penweddig, with a funding application written for remaining clubs once the pilot is completed. ‘Analyse That’ training with Ysgol Penweddig will take place at Penweddig Comprehensive School the afternoon of Tuesday 11 December, with Aberystwyth RFC having their training in the evening on their home ground too.
The ‘Analyse That’ training programme which is run and designed by Aspire 2Be, and the pilot has been sponsored by the WRW Construction Group, one of Scarlets’ long standing sponsors sponsors, and forms part of Scarlets’ Three Counties, Three Years strategy, where the club is supporting local rugby teams and young talent across Ceredigion.
The campaign was kick started this summer where the Scarlets are making a difference across three participating regions; Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, county by county. Ceredigion will take Year One’s focus with emphasis on strengthening partnerships across local clubs and businesses to make a difference in the region’s wider communities. In addition to local partnerships across Ceredigion, the Scarlets have dedicated their 2018-19 away kit colour scheme to the region featuring its coat of arms, sandy beaches and vivid blue seas.
Part of the Aspire 2Be Team is former Scarlets coach and now leading media pundit, Sean Holley. Sean said on the overall training programme experience: “The modern rugby person now has an increasing awareness of analysis and is more digitally aware.
“The innovative ‘Analyse That’ initiative in collaboration with Aspire2Be now makes it easier and more affordable for community clubs to access what can be an expensive aspect of the game. The Scarlets should be applauded for entering into this partnership and I can’t wait to work with the Ceredigion clubs and schools to help upskill and improve their rugby experience in this initial pilot.”
Digital skill development is very much at the forefront of Scarlets’ Three Counties, Three Years campaign. Rural counties like Ceredigion often suffer from digital exclusion. The Scarlets hope this programme with the Swansea based firm Aspire2Be will help locals acquire digital skills in an engaging way.
Speaking on the benefits this training programme will bring to the community, Dai Rudge of Aberystwyth RFC said: “We are very fortunate that our club can be involved with such an innovative training initiative and partnership with Aspire2Be and the Scarlets.
“It’s great news that the Scarlets recognise a digital skill need in Wales and have partnered up with a Welsh tech company to provide digital opportunities for our rugby community. We’re also grateful to the WRW Construction Group for supporting the funding of the pilot.”
Nia Lloyd, Scarlets Community Manager said of the training. “We want all our community teams at every level, to strive to improve performance but in the absence of detailed analysis and feedback protocols being available at each club, a major aid to that improvement is missing.
“Our research leaves us in no doubt how useful these resources would be but few clubs can afford the hardware, the software or the training necessary to provide it. With our Three Counties programme we are hoping that the partnerships that the Scarlets have established between Aspire2Be and WRW Construction Group pave the way for more clubs and schools in the region to experience the exciting and useful analysis equipment and software.”
Those clubs who did not win the £20K prize will be offered the opportunity to send selected members on an exclusive training course free of charge under the guidance of Sean Holley and Aspire2Be. Participants will learn how to obtain additional training and equipment budget to participate in Ceredigion’s growing digital performance analysis community.
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