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Strike hits secondary school

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schoolSIR THOMAS PICTON SCHOOL will be closed all day on Tuesday (July 1) as a result of the industrial protest. Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director for Children and Schools, Jake Morgan, released a letter to parents offering no sympathy or support for the strike. He said in the letter:

“The action is in support of a national policy which requires all teachers to be appointed on their current rate of pay when they decide to move jobs. All authorities in the region are of the view that schools need to retain some flexibility about starting pay, particularly in relation to relief teachers. It has not been explained why Sir Thomas Picton has been targeted when other schools have the same policy. No school in Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot or Swansea has decided to take the same action despite the fact that the teachers who go on strike will not be out of pocket as their lost pay will be made good by their trade unions. The Governing Body of STP are meeting on July 9 where concerns will be considered. Given this, it is of great concern to the Authority that children and their families are disadvantaged prior to the governing body even having the opportunity to consider the concerns.”

However, the NAS/UWT responded with the following statement from Executive Member, Neil Butler, who said: “The simple issue is that the Governing Body of STP introduced a pay policy that is unacceptable to us, along with the NUT. Members asked us to take action at STP. There is also action being taken at Welshpool High School, Powys. This is an attack on teachers’ pay and we will take action in any school that has passed this policy.”

Gareth Lloyd, Wales Officer, NUT told the Herald: “It was with great reluctance that the NUT members at Sir Thomas Picton decided, alongside their colleagues in the NASUWT, to take industrial action. We met as trade unions with Jake Morgan, the Head of Sir Thomas Picton and the Chair of Governors today, to try to negotiate an agreement. They put a proposal to us which we put to our members. Following our meetings with our members we put a counter proposal to the authority which they rejected. They feel distressed that the recent letter from the ERW consortia is filled with inaccuracies and did little to help negotiations.”

“Our members feel very strongly about the principle of pay portability. This principle has been adopted in sixteen of the twenty two local authorities across Wales and endorsed by three of the four consortia. Only ERW has rejected the principle of pay portability. In terms of Pembrokeshire, this will mean that teachers applying for vacancies in the county will be offered less than their counterparts in the rest of Wales, for the same post. We are concerned that this will effect the long term education of the pupils. We do not take industrial action lightly but members in a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and the rest of the ERW region have contacted us with concerns over this proposal. Penglais School governors in Ceredigion averted strike action by adopting pay portability without exemption.”

“We are due to meet with Jake Morgan early next week and later that week present our case for pay portability to the full governing body. We are and have been prepared to negotiate with relevant stakeholders”

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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