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School accused of double standards

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Standing up to sexism: Union President accuses Ysgol Bro Pedr

Standing up to sexism: Union President accuses Ysgol Bro Pedr

WHEN 14-YEAR-OLD Bethan was prevented from going on a school trip following an incident in school, her mother, UWTSD Student Union President Abi Jenkins was horrified to find out that Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter, had taken its decision without hearing Bethan’s side of the story.

Abi told us: “Just before the end of term, I called the school to ask them if there was still a place for the children on the trip to Oakwood. They came back and said that there was a place for Iwan but not for Bethan due to an incident the previous week.

“Bethanhadn’tmentionedanything to me and so I asked her about it.”

Bethan told her mother that the previous week, a boy at school had repeatedly suggested that a girl’s place was at home or in the kitchen and that was where she should be. In response to persistent goading, Bethan finally told the boy where to go and what to do when he got there.

Abi said: “She was reluctant to tell me because she knows she shouldn’t have sworn however she was also confused.

“Working with the Students’ Union, I have spent a lot of time raising the profile of women, fighting inequality, researching barriers to progression etc. I have always taught the children that it is absolutely wrong to discriminate against or insult people on the basis of their gender, sexuality or race.”

Abi explained: “Bethan told me that she felt that this message was completely contradictory to that given by the school and she asked me why swearing is worse than making derogatory comments to someone because of their gender.

“My response to her is that it isn’t and I was furious to hear that she had spent a day in isolation, and had been banned from the trip while the boy and his friends had not even been disciplined.”

Abi’s response was to take Bethan, her siblings and friends to Oakwood on the day Ysgol Bro Pedr went there. She told us: “Bethan knows it was wrong to swear and was punished for it, but I will not stand for injustice. I made it very clear that I was not taking Bethan to Oakwood because her behaviour was okay, but because the other child’s behaviour wasn’t and he was still going.”

When Abi contacted the school, she says that she was told that it was unaware of Bethan’s side of the story. Abi was then told there had been a repeat of the incident the day before the Oakwood trip, that the school was taking it seriously, and would be dealing with it in September. The boy concerned was, however, still going on the trip.

On the trip to Oakwood Abi and her daughter wore tee shirts spelling out their feelings about the situation: “I don’t regret using a censored expletive on the T-shirts because I did it for impact and it worked. There are now hundreds of people discussing the problem of sexism in schools.”

Reflecting on her personal experiences at University as a student and a student officer, Abi said: “In the higher education sector we talk a lot about how we can effectively tackle lad culture.

“However this just goes to show that lad culture is not something that is bred in sports teams at university but in the playground and classrooms of our schools. I put no blame on the child that made the comments, my anger is directed straight at the school who I believe have a duty to educate our children on the values of respect and equality.”

She concluded: “In my view Bro Pedr has demonstrated that instead, they have rules in place to stop swearing but are doing nothing to deal with the more serious issues that are likely to impact on our children’s lives as they grow older.”

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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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