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School nativity – danger in the manger?

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IT’S the time of year when every parent enjoys watching their little darlings perform in the school nativity play. It used to be that the show was documented by hundreds of proud parents snapping away on their cameras, but more recently school politics and privacy issues have come into play, with some schools ruling that it is unacceptable to take pictures or videos of the show.

But what is the legal position when it comes to videos and photographs of school events? Are schools able to impose a blanket ban? If you ignore the school’s photography policy, what legal action can they take against you? And if another parent shares a group shot featuring your child, without permission, can you force them to take it down.

Anthony Di Palma, Solicitor at DAS Law, looks at the photographic minefield that is the school nativity play for The Herald.

My child’s school has a photography policy which states that there is a blanket ban on taking photos at the nativity play. Is this legal?

Any owner of private property may restrict the use of photography or video equipment on the premises. If ignored, you may be asked to leave and may be deemed to be trespassing if you refuse.

I signed my child’s schools consent form stating I won’t take any photos. What legal ramifications will I face should I choose to ignore the policy?

The consent form is unlikely to be legally enforceable as a contract if there is no financial loss to the school, and there are no laws generally against taking photographs of your own or other people’s children as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing the children.

Are there any laws against sharing group shots of my child’s nativity play photos online? 

As a best practice, it is advisable that parents should avoid sharing photographs of children without obtaining prior consent of that child’s parent or guardian. However, as long as the photographs are not deemed ‘indecent’, or are likely to have the effect of harming or harassing them, then there is nothing legally stopping you from doing so.

What legal action can I take against people that share group photos of the school nativity play on social media that include my child without my permission?

You can ask the person to remove the photograph, however if they refuse there is no realistic legal action you can take. Privacy laws under the Human Rights Act cannot be enforced against other private individuals and unless you own the copyright in the photograph, or the image is offensive or indecent, then the social media site has no obligation to remove that photo if it is reported to them.

If I blur out other children’s faces can I share school play photos online?

You don’t have to blur out children’s faces in order to share them online, as the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply to photographs taken for private use and which do not identify the child (i.e. name them). However, if you would be concerned about images of your own child appearing without your permission, blurring out other children’s faces may be a sensible step to take.

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Community owned shop and café celebrated in national charity campaign

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THE story of a rural community owned café and shop in Ceredigion which ensured vital supplies of food and other essential items reached people in need during the lockdowns of 2020 is being celebrated in a campaign by a national charity.

Cletwr shop and café in Tre’r-ddol received urgent calls and emails from families worried about elderly relatives who were shielding. Volunteers and staff at the shop ensured deliveries could be made to people across the remote rural area and also hosted events to keep the community connected.

Over many years the village lost its shop, post office, café, petrol station, school and church. The community owned business opened to meet local need in 2013 and the essential role it plays was further confirmed throughout the extraordinary events of 2020.

Now the inspiring story of Cletwr and its team of volunteers working to meet local need and provide essential social connections at a time of crisis is forming part of a national campaign to promote rural community businesses led by the Plunkett Foundation.

Karen Evans, manager of Cletwr, has been recorded telling the story, which will be one of five Lockdown Stories being shared by the charity in promotion of its Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery. The businesses are all community owned and have each been innovative and committed to supporting their local community during the 2020 pandemic.

Karen said: “People have now realised how important Cletwr is, how important shopping local is, and I think they see a bigger picture of how that supports everyone in the community. It is definitely bringing the community together.”

Cletwr’s Lockdown Story is sponsored by The Retail Mutual which is a UK provider of business, home and landlord cover for independent retailers and service providers.

Plunkett helps rural communities tackle challenges such as social isolation, employment and poverty by supporting enterprises – including shops, pubs, bakeries, farms and woodlands – that are owned and run democratically by members of the community.

The Lockdown Stories were premiered at Plunkett’s virtual Community Business Fete on 24 November together with its Rural Vision Film, which are aimed at bringing the charity’s Vision for a Covid-19 Rural Recovery to life.

James Alcock, Plunkett’s chief executive, said: “The story of Cletwr is a truly inspiring one, and I am delighted that we are sharing it as part of our virtual Community Business Fete. This has been a year of touch challenges, but also one of great community spirit – and nowhere is that more evident than in the village of Tre’r-ddol.”

Kirsty Hampton, The Retail Mutual’s Mutual Manager, said: “Cletwr is a great example of the power of community, and is exactly why we are so proud to be members of Plunkett and to support the community business sector. The way they have pulled together in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic is hugely inspiring”.

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Welsh Conservatives Select Candidate for Ceredigion

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THE Welsh Conservatives have selected Amanda Jenner as their candidate for Ceredigion in next year’s Senedd elections.

 Amanda, who is a Powys County Councillor, stood for the seat in the 2019 General Election and managed to increase the Conservative vote share by more than the national average.

 Amanda is a past student of Aberystwyth University, where she met her husband, David. After University, she moved to Cardiff, completed a Masters in Law at Cardiff University and went on to become a Solicitor, working for Eversheds Sutherland.  Amanda and David later moved to Mid Wales and Amanda retrained as a Secondary School Teacher, teaching English and Law.

 Commenting on her selection, Amanda said

 “I’m so pleased to be standing once again as a candidate in Ceredigion. It’s a place close to my heart, having studied here and with our family connections to Tregaron.”

 The former solicitor lists business, farming and localism as her priorities.

 On farming, Amanda says that farmers need clarity on what financial support will be available post 2021. She says the Welsh Government must listen to their views and new schemes must be adequately piloted before being rolled out.

 She said: “I believe that our renowned quality food production is key to a sustainable Wales. Farmers are already part of the green solution and I will work to ensure their needs are not overlooked.”

 Welsh Labour’s out of touch approach to business has discouraged new start-ups, and Amanda believes the whole system needs to be overhauled. She has also pledged to work hard to ensure Ceredigion businesses benefit from a share of the Mid Wales Growth Deal package for the area.

 Turning to Localism, a campaign for major planning decisions to be made at local authority level – as opposed to by ministers in Cardiff – is also high on Amanda’s agenda. She said: “Local people know their area best. They know how large-scale developments will impact their communities. I will continue to fight to ensure local people are meaningfully consulted and listened to on all decisions that impact them.”

 As well as her council role, Amanda also works in the office of Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George. She is a governor at two schools and a co-founder of CymruFuture– a networking group for young and junior professionals.

 In her spare time, Amanda loves reading and being outdoors with her family. She is also learning Welsh and attends weekly lessons.

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Comisiynydd yn canmol addewidion i fyfyrwyr

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BYDD myfyrwyr Prifysgol Aberystwyth yn elwa ar ymroddiad newydd i gynnig cyfleoedd a chyfleusterau trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, wedi i’r Brifysgol lansio cyfres o addewidion newydd ar 20 Gorffennaf.
Mae ‘Addewidion Aber’ yn nodi wyth ymrwymiad gan y Brifysgol i fyfyrwyr Cymraeg yn ystod eu cwrs. Yn eu plith mae darparu:
– Cyrsiau cyfrwng Cymraeg o bob math ar draws y Brifysgol;
– Llety Cymraeg i fyfyrwyr, gan gynnwys yn Neuadd Pantycelyn ar ei newydd wedd;
– Tiwtor sgiliau academaidd i gynorthwyo myfyrwyr gyda’u hastudiaethau cyfrwng Cymraeg.
Dywedodd Dr Anwen Jones, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor sydd yn gyfrifol am ddarpariaeth cyfrwng Cymraeg Prifysgol Aberystwyth: “Mae ymestyn cyfleoedd a darpariaeth drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn fater o flaenoriaeth i mi’n bersonol, ac i Brifysgol Aberystwyth fel sefydliad. Rydyn ni am i fyfyrwyr gael y profiad gorau a llawnaf oll drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, ac mae’r addewidion hyn yn gam arall ar y ffordd i gyflawni’r uchelgais honno.
“Mae gan y myfyrwyr hawliau cyfreithiol pendant sy’n ymwneud â’r Gymraeg, wrth gwrs, ond rydyn ni am fynd gam ymhellach a chynnig rhagor o wasanaethau a chyfleoedd i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg yn naturiol, ac fel rhan o’u bywydau academaidd a chymdeithasol.
“Mae dyfnder ein darpariaeth academaidd cyfrwng Cymraeg yn galluogi myfyrwyr i ddilyn cynlluniau gradd cyfan drwy gyfrwng yr iaith. Yn ogystal, rydym yn cynnig profiad cymdeithasol Cymraeg heb ei ail yma.
“Mae hi’n adeg gyffrous iawn yn Aberystwyth wrth i ni baratoi ail-agor drysau Neuadd Pantycelyn i fyfyrwyr unwaith eto. Heb os, dyma gyfle unwaith-mewn-bywyd i’r genhedlaeth nesaf.”
Ychwanegodd Llywydd Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth (UMCA), Morgan Lewis: “Rydym ni fel Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth (UMCA) yn ymfalchïo fod y Brifysgol yn mynd gam ymhellach gyda’i hymrwymiadau i fyfyrwyr Cymraeg er mwyn sicrhau y cânt y profiad gorau posibl.
“Mae’n bleser i weld a bod yn rhan o’r addewidion a fydd yn hwyluso a helpu llunio bywydau’r myfyrwyr yn ystod eu cyfnod yma yn Aberystwyth.”
Mae Addewidion Aber yn mynd tu hwnt i ofynion statudol Safonau’r Gymraeg.
Mae Aled Roberts, Comisiynydd y Gymraeg, yn croesawu ac yn canmol y cyhoeddiad, gan ddweud: “Mae gan fyfyrwyr yr hawl i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg yng ngholegau a phrifysgolion Cymru ers Ebrill 2018, ac mae’n wych fod Prifysgol Aberystwyth wedi mynd gam ymhellach trwy gynnig yr addewidion hyn.
“Felly, fyfyrwyr, mae gennych chi’r hawl ac addewidion pellach gan eich Prifysgol i ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg o ddydd i ddydd. Manteisiwch ar y cyfle, a gadael i’r Gymraeg dreiddio i bob rhan o’ch bywyd yn y brifysgol.”

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