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Education

Welsh primary school children ‘Hit the Surf’ with the RNLI

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rnliprimarySOUTH AND WEST WALES children will be joining RNLI lifeguards on the beach this week as they take part in the charity’s Hit the Surf safety programme.

 Primary school children in Pembrokeshire and the Vale of Glamorgan will swap the classroom for the beach this week as the RNLI’s Hit the Surf team arrive at Tenby South and Whitmore Bay. The RNLI Hit the Surf team will be teaching local children, aged between 8 and 12, vital beach safety tips and skills to help them stay safe on the beach this summer. Two sessions are held each day on the beaches as local children are taught the meaning of beach flags, rip currents and the dangers of tombstoning. However the highlight of each session for the kids is the chance to don their wetsuits and learn basic board skills in the sea. Elin Jones, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor said: ‘RNLI Hit the Surf is a fun and interactive programme which teaches kids vital tips and skills to help them stay safe on the beach over the summer. ‘Last year thousands of families chose to enjoy their free time in the sun and out on the beach throughout the summer holidays. The beach is a great day out for all the family, but by teaching kids the meaning of beach flags, the dangers of tombstoning and other beach safety tips, hopefully this will add to their beach experience and help them avoid any possible dangers out on the coast.’ The RNLI educational programme covers topics such as the role of a lifeguard, key beach hazards, the meaning of beach safety flags and what to do if you find yourself in trouble in the water. The RNLI team held a week of Hit the Surf sessions at Tenby South beach before the school half term and will continue the sessions this week. Over the next five weeks the RNLI lifeguards will be visiting beaches across South and West Wales. Hit the Surf will be held at Tenby South, Whitesands, Newport, Poppit, New Quay and Aberystwyth in West Wales, as well as Aberavon and Whitmore Bay in South Wales as they aim to complete the Welsh tour before the schools summer holidays.

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Education

Poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live

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Dr Siu-Ting: Specialises in amphibians

​ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERISTY​ scientist Dr Karen Siu-Ting discuss​ed poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live ​last Thursday ​(Sept ​28​).

Dr Siu-Ting is an IRC ELEVATE-MSCA Co-fund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.

Her research into poison arrow frogs feature​d​ as part of ‘Ask a Biologist’​,​ hosted by The Royal Society of Biology.

An evolutionary biologist from Peru,​​ Dr Siu-Ting specialises in amphibians and combines field work in the Amazon rainforest with laboratory and computational analyses to address biological questions.

She is currently working on a project on poison arrow frogs between Aberystwyth University and Dublin City University.

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Education

Apply for six-month traineeship scheme

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Applications open: Join the National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme

​IF YOU’D like to earn as you learn hands-on skills to prepare you for a career in practical conservation or estate management, apply now for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme.

The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, will provide two six-month salaried apprenticeships with the National Park Authority’s Ranger and Warden Teams.

Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden said: “The successful candidates will be learning the skills and experience that are essential to be successful in obtaining employment within a highly competitive sector.

“The main duties of the placement will include practical hands-on work-based experience in conservation and estate management.”

The six month traineeship will see the successful applicants learn a wide variety of skills including traditional hedgelaying and modern conservation methods that are essential to the work of the National Park Authority.

This is an extension to the original three-year project which has helped many of the 15 previous trainees gain employment​.​

The closing date for applications is October 2​4 with interviews to be held on November​ 6​.

Application packs are available from the National Park Authority’s website ​at​www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/jobs or by contacting contact Joanne Morgan by calling 01646 624856 or by emailing joannem@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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Education

Committee concerned at £12.7m error

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ALN Bill: Savings turn into costs

​A £12.7M alteration to the cost of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill has been described as concerning by a National Assembly for Wales committee.

In the original figures submitted alongside the Bill the Welsh Government identified savings of £4.8m over a period of four years if the Bill was passed.

But the estimates were challenged by children’s charity SNAP Cymru which claimed the Welsh Government had misinterpreted figures it had provided concerning disputes and resolution services. The Welsh Government admitted the error and revised the figures from the original saving to a cost of £7.9m – a difference of £12.7m.

The Finance Committee asked the Welsh Government to delay the financial resolution on the Bill, the mechanism by which government gains support to spend the money enacting the law and the government agreed.

“A £12.7m swing from a saving to a cost is very concerning, as it shows a government which doesn’t fully understand the figures it quotes,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.

“It also throws into doubt any future costs connected to Bills which come before this committee as we are left wondering whether the government has done its sums right.

“We are grateful to SNAP Cymru for highlighting the inaccuracies and acknowledge the steps taken by the Minister subsequently, but we will need further reassurance that such errors will not happen again.”

The Bill’s aim is to improve the quality of support available to children with additional learning needs through a person-centred approach which would identify needs early on and make sure the right support, monitoring and evaluation was put in place to help them.

The Finance Committee welcomed the actions taken by the Welsh Government to address the situation. But Members were concerned and surprised that inaccuracies as significant as this were raised and that SNAP Cymru was not consulted on the final figures before they were published.

The Committee acknowledges that revisions have since been made and the Minister’s assurances that the revised figures are robust, however, it is concerned at the need to have made this level of changes to the original costings.

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