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Ceredigion students above average at A-Level

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Ysgol Aberaeron students: Celebrating their success

Ysgol Aberaeron students: Celebrating their success

THE A LEVEL examination results published on Thursday (Aug 18) by the WJEC indicate that very high standards are being maintained in the schools of Ceredigion. 

97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 23.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.

Tables o f results show Ceredigion’s continuing trend of improvement and above-average achievement:

County Councillor Hag Harris, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services, stated: “Once again Ceredigion students have excelled in their A level results and my sincere congratulations goes to all concerned. Their success places them in a strong position to move forward to higher education, training or employment and I wish them all the best for the future.

“Schools have had to deal with a great deal of change with new specifications and assessment arrangements in many subjects. They must be congratulated on their success in maintaining such high standards whilst managing these changes.”

Mr Barry Rees, Strategic Director for Learning and Partnerships , added: “These very pleasing results are the culmination of the hard work of students and their teachers , along with the invaluable support of their families.

“These achievements must be placed in the context of an extremely high number of entries once again due to the very high numbers in Ceredigion who stay in school to study in the sixth form. I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing contribution the Welsh Baccalaureate makes to students’ achievements. In many cases, this has enabled students to access university courses of their choice.”

Hugh Thomas, Head of Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn , said: “The school is very proud of all the students, nearly all of whom have gained a place in their first choice university.

“I would like to congratulate all of our students and express my gratitude to the staff for their hard work and to the parents and the governing body for their support.

“We wish all our students every success in the future.”

“One hundred percent of pupils achieved the Level 3 threshold of at least 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent at A* – E. A total of 32% of grades were A* or A with 54% of grades at A* – B. 86% of grades were at A* – C,” Mr Thomas said.

“The school is pleased to report another set of excellent ‘A’ Level results.

“The consistent success over recent years is a tribute to our hard working students, the support of parents and the dedication of our excellent staff at Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn.”

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Education and Skills , Llyr Gruffydd , said: “My warmest congratulations to those receiving their results today, the fruit of years of hard work and study, despite the inevitable disappointment some will feel.

“We should also pay tribute to our teachers for the invaluable part they have played.”

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said: “Today is about celebrating the success of our pupils. I want to congratulate everyone receiving their results and thank them for all their hard work. This is such an important day and I wish them all the best as they make important decisions about their next steps in life.”

Staff and sixth form students were also celebrating outstanding A Level results at Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi this week.

100% of students achieved the level 3 threshold (at least 2 A Level qualifications at grades A*-E or equivalent), compared to the Welsh average of 97.3%. 37% of grades awarded were A* or A. 60% of grades were at A*-B, and 82% of grades awarded were at A*- C.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification again proved very successful with 98% of candidates achieving the full Advanced Level Diploma at grades A*-B; and 68% of the Welsh Bac grades were A* or A.

Headteacher Nicola James said: “The staff and governors are very proud of these A Level results, which are richly deserved by our hardworking students. The fact that we have so many students achieving excellent results and gaining places at top Russell Group universities across the country in a variety of disciplines is a source of tremendous pride to us all, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to raising the aspirations of our young people and to serving our community well. Every student who applied to university is now successfully moving on to the next step in their educational careers, and they are well placed to lead fulfilling and productive lives. I congratulate the students on their achievements, and I wish them all every success for the future. I thank the staff for their hard work and commitment, and I thank all the parents for their support too.”

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Llanwrda bookshop in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020

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AN appointment only bookshop in Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, which offers a beautifully curated collection of books as well as cards, wrapping paper and Fair Trade gifts, has been named on the shortlist of retailers in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020.

Books At The Dragon’s Garden says it “aims to make a visit to our shop an experience”. The shop runs a loyalty scheme for customers and offers promotions throughout the year. In addition, in its base at the market garden it uses organic compost, seeds and freshly picked vegetables and flowers. It only uses paper bags and has planted lots of pollinators in the garden to increase biodiversity.

The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), whose member trade associations represent approximately 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK between them. The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities. It is sponsored by Maybe*, an engagement platform that helps make social media work for independent retailers. The winner will be announced next month.

In addition to the main award, Books At The Dragon’s Garden has also been shortlisted for a special award to be given to the independent retailer that has demonstrated specific innovation to combat the impact of COVID-19. This award is sponsored by booost, the loyalty, gifting and promotions app.

“It was impossible to make my previous shop both safe and financially viable, so I had a radical rethink and a conversion of two old stables at my market garden meant I was able to move the entire shop to a rural location,” explains owner Mandy Tomos.

In the interim I continued to promote the business on social media and sold online via the website. I received an award as a “Local Hero” for continuing to supply my local community during lockdown. As the shop is now appointment only, it is very safe for both customers and staff, numbers are low and social distancing is easy. Contactless payment is taken outside under cover. I used social media to maintain contact with my customers and wrote a chatty book suggestion column in our local free paper every month.”

“This has been a particularly challenging year for small, independent retailers and many have come through to this point through innovation, quality of product and service, a commitment to serve their local communities and a large dose of determination,” explains Mark Walmsley, Chair of the IRC.

“As more and more people have been forced to stay home and work from home, we have seen just how much we all value local independent shops and want to see them not just survive, but also thrive. These shops offer choice, diversity and genuine customer service. And, after what has been a rather dark year, that has to be worth celebrating.”

The annual competition highlights the best of Britain’s independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities. Previous winners have included Bristol-based delicatessen Papadeli, the 2019 winner, and The Mainstreet Trading Company, a combined bookshop, café, deli & homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, which won in 2018.

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Safe Zone arrangements during firebreak

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Aberaeron Safe Zone

FOLLOWING the announcement by First Minister Mark Drakeford that introduced a ‘fire break’ across Wales, Ceredigion County Council will not be closing the roads daily within the safe zones between 6pm on Friday, October 23 and 11am on November 9.

Some aspects will remain where changes are in place 24/7 or temporary parking restrictions apply. Council owned public car parks will remain free during this period for residents and visitors alike.

Safe Zone – Recent amendments

Further minor amendments have come into effect this week, they are:

· In Aberaeron, on street parking will return between Cadwgan Place and Market Street junction.
· In Aberystwyth, there is controlled blue holder access to Eastgate from Portland Street as well as controlled access to Chalybeate Street from Terrace Road.
· In Cardigan, there will be controlled blue badge holder access along High Street.

Safe zones are reviewed fortnightly in line with the infection rate and available evidence. A further announcement will be made before 09 November.

More information can be seen on the safe zones Council web page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/SafeZones

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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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