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Penparcausaurus to join Archaeopteryx exhibition

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Left to right: George Barratt, Penparcau Forum; Jeff Dowse and Dai Gornall from Aberystwyth University’s Property Services Team; Nia Davies, Aberystwyth University Old College Project; and Bryn Jones, Penparcau Forum

AN 11 FOOT-LONG dinosaur built by a Penparcau community group for Aberystwyth’s annual carnival is to feature in a Jurassic heritage exhibition in Old College.

Dave the Dinosaur will be on display in the Quad alongside the main Archaeopteryx exhibition, which will be officially opened by wildlife expert and television presenter Iolo Williams at 6.30pm today (Feb 14).

The lifelike model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was made by members of the Penparcau Community Forum, an organisation set up to develop sustainable and inclusive activities and facilities for the benefit of local people.

Complete with moving jaws and a thunderous roar, Dave formed the centrepiece of the Forum’s Jurassic Penparcau float at the 2017 Aberystwyth Carnival and was awarded the prize for Best Overall Float.

Visitors to Old College will walk past Dave on their way to the main exhibition featuring Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur with sharp teeth and claws.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Archaeopteryx exhibition is on loan from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, who have also collaborated with Aberystwyth University to help showcase the institution’s own fossil collections.

​​Dave the Dinosaur: In the middle of the magnificent Quad in Old College

Dating from the late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, Archaeopteryx is believed to be the link between prehistoric dinosaurs and the modern bird.

As the exhibition is open over the school half-term and Easter holidays, interactive heritage sessions for families are being organised in partnership with Ceredigion Museum.

Children are also encouraged to bring their own toy dinosaurs when they visit and take a photo with Dave who stands seven feet tall, four feet wide and 11 feet long.

Karina Shaw, Director and Trustee of Penparcau Community Forum, says she’s delighted to see Dave the Dinosaur on public display again.

“The process of making Dave for last summer’s carnival float was wonderful. It helped to build stronger relationships in our community. It gave people a network to lean on in tough times and a group to share ideas and skills with. For some, it was a great source of therapy. For others, it was a chance to reconnect with their community and feel part of something special. It has made people proud of where they come from and all they have achieved and we’ll be able to share that now by bringing Dave to this high-profile exhibition in Old College.”

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, said: “It is wonderful to see the way in which this Jurassic Heritage exhibition has come together. We have worked in close collaboration with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the HLF to bring Archaeopteryx to Aberystwyth, and the project in turn has inspired the Penparcau Community Forum to bring Dave the Dinosaur back into the limelight once more.”

Bryn Jones is the Co-ordinator of the Penparcau Community Forum and a member of the Old College Project Boar. He said: “Dave the Dinosaur had a tremendous reception when he first appeared at Aberystwyth Carnival last year and I’m sure he will delight visitors to the Archaeopteryx exhibition at Old College. This project shows how local organisations can work together in partnership and we look forward to seeing the transformation of Old College into a vibrant centre which brings everyone together, offering employment and training opportunities as well as showcasing learning, research and enterprise.”

​​A cast of the Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx: Discovered in Germany in 1876 (Pic. Museum für Naturkunde)

The Archaeopteryx exhibition has been made possible thanks to a grant of £9,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is being supplemented with a generous gift of £5,000 from Dr Terry Adams, geologist and Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University, and £3,700 from the AberFund.

Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, added: “Thanks to funding from National Lottery players, this project has created a new opportunity for established organisations to work together for the benefit of local people and tourists. We know that there is a lot of interest in the Jurassic period and this funding means that more people will get to see and find out about important collections that wouldn’t otherwise be available in Aberystwyth. HLF is delighted to give its support”.

Dr Ian Scott and Professor Emeritus Richard Hinchliffe from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, and Dr Bill Perkins from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, are providing additional content for the exhibition.

After launch night tonight, the exhibition will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm until April 21 and admission is free.

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Ceredigion County Council’s Apprenticeship recruitment campaign is now live

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THE council’s 2019 Apprenticeship programme is now open for applications until Sunday 22 September.

A council apprenticeship gives learners the opportunity to build skills and confidence while earning a salary and gaining a nationally recognised qualification. With roles available in Business Administration, ICT Technical Support and Social Care teams, there is an opportunity for everyone.

The first year of the programme is nearing an end and has been a great success. Alanah Lloyd recently completed a Business Administration Apprenticeship. She said: “I would recommend doing an apprenticeship at Ceredigion County Council to all my friends. I enjoyed the balance of real responsibilities and having the space to keep on learning.”

Maria Lloyd, Alanah’s mother said: “When Alanah was successful with her application I was delighted. It gave her the opportunity to show her work ethic and continue with her education in an organisation where there is career progression. Alanah has now gained a permanent position at the council. I would highly recommend apprenticeships to other parents.”

Lynne Connolly, Apprenticeship and Work Experience Coordinator, Ceredigion County Council said: “This year we are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to ‘grow our own’, offering opportunities for school and college leavers to continue education in a working environment and for members of the community looking to return to work or change career. All our apprentices are paid well above the minimum apprentice wage which reflects how much we value their contribution.”

To apply and find out more visit career.ceredigion.gov.uk or contact us at apprentice@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Overall ‘excellent’ performance at Mynach Primary School

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A RECENT Estyn report on the primary school in Mynach has given the ‘Excellent’ status to each of the five inspection areas.

It was noted in the report that the school had attained ‘Excellent’ status in standards; wellbeing and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance; and leadership and management.

The report notes, ‘A particular feature is the opportunities for Key Stage 2 pupils to plan and deliver lessons for the rest of the class, focusing on specific skills.’

Joyce George is headteacher at Ysgol y Mynach. She is also headteacher at Pontrhydfendigaid Primary School and Sir John Rhys Primary School. She said, “As a headteacher, I am extremely proud of the results of the survey and very grateful to the staff, governors and those who work effectively together as a team to ensure a first class education for all pupils. I am proud of the fact that the inspectors identified pupils’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills as excellent.

It was also noted that a pioneering feature of Ysgol Mynach is the way in which teachers adapt and develop the curriculum in order to raise pupils’ independence. Working together as a wider partnership with Ysgol Pontrhydfendigaid and Ysgol Sir John Rhys, Ponterwyd is a great advantage and an opportunity to share expertise, co-design and share ideas which extend and widen the experiences of pupils across the schools.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member for Learning services. She said: “The Estyn report shows that Ysgol Gynradd Mynach has achieved exceptionally high standards. The hard work and dedication of the headteacher, staff, governors and of course the children is very evident. The school shows that a way of working together with neighbouring schools in a progressive way can produce excellent results. Everyone in the school deserves congratulations.”

The report notes that the school is an extremely close community. It also notes that the head teacher has a progressive vision that is continually focused on maintaining and raising standards of pupils’ achievement and wellbeing.

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Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Machynlleth

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ON Thursday 15 August Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed around 200 local Labour Party members from Mid, West and North Wales at Machynlleth Bowling Club. Tickets for the event had all been taken within 24 hours, and an additional video link was live streamed into the club bar to allow those who could not get into the packed venue the opportunity to hear him speak.

Mr Corbyn was joined by Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, and West Wales Regional AMs Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan, Welsh Labour Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.

Eluned Morgan AM’s passionate introductory remarks highlighted Welsh Labour’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes in education, health, housing, jobs and the environment. She urged immediate action from international UK and international governments on the climate crisis, declaring ‘The emergency is now!’

Mr Corbyn made clear that he is expecting a general election to be likely very soon and proceeded to outlined the scale of the current crisis the UK is facing, with 14 million now in poverty in the world’s 5th richest economy, and child poverty predicted by some to rise as high as 40%.

He went on to congratulate Welsh Labour on the great work that has been possible in Wales to insulate the Welsh people from the worst of the effects of Tory austerity, protecting vital NHS services and preventing the worst of school cuts, but he explained that there was only so much that could be done without the full support of a Labour government in Westminster.

“Things will be very different under a Labour government” Mr Corbyn added, saying that Labour will invest in people, with principles of equality and social justice and to demonstrate his state of readiness, with great vigour declared: “I’m up for an election anytime”.

He expressed grave concern over the effects that a reckless No Deal Brexit would have on the UK economy with particular reference to the devastating effects on Welsh industry and agriculture. He promised that Labour will do everything they can to prevent a no-deal, including the offer of a second referendum with Remain as an option, and the formation of a national unity government to prevent further political chaos.

Outlining his commitment to green industrial development Jeremy Corbyn stated that a Labour government would support the creation of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon which would bring valuable new green transitional jobs to Wales which would lead the world on renewables technology.

Mr Corby thanked everyone present for their efforts in Wales and reaffirmed his commitment to core Labour values of equality and social justice. He received a standing ovation and stayed after the event to chat and have photos taken with supporters.

A Ceredigion Labour spokesperson commented: “Jeremy Corbyn spoke passionately and inspiringly. He was full of praise for our outstanding efforts in the 2017 election and said he would be visiting Ceredigion during the next General Election campaign.”

The following day Mr Corbyn visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to see new renewable energy technology in action and learn about pioneering methods of sustainable building and farming. He also confirmed that he would not stand in the way of any future discussion of a Welsh Independence referendum, and that he was open to considering all options for Wales’future.

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