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Education

Panel calls for overhaul of sex education

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Kirsty Williams: Considering report

A PANEL report published today has made recommendations for a major overhaul of sex and relationships education (SRE) in Wales.

The Sex and Relationships Education Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Emma Renold of Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences, was established in March 2017 by Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams to help inform the development of high quality SRE in the new curriculum in Wales.

The panel were asked to identify issues and opportunities which could inform decisions around supporting the teaching profession to deliver high quality SRE in schools more effectively.In the report published today, the panel have described SRE in Wales as being in need of significant reform if it is to meet the needs of children and young people. Drawing upon the available research in Wales, international research and Estyn’s (2017) recent thematic review on Healthy Relationships, there were found to be significant gaps between the lived experiences of children and young people and the SRE they receive in school. While there is some promising practice, especially when schools collaborate with SRE experts and external service providers, the quality and quantity of SRE provision was found to vary widely.

Findings concluded that SRE in Wales has too strong a focus on biology, with not enough attention given to rights, gender equity, emotions and relationships. There is a lack of focus on minority gender and sexual identities and relationships, and lack of awareness and education on violence against girls and women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The panel have recommended that the Welsh Government make SRE statutoryin the new curriculum due to be finalised in 2020, with statutory guidance being essential for ensuring that children and young people in Wales have access to high quality SRE. The report sets out how this guidance should be underpinned by core principles and themes that ensure a needs-led, relevant and engaging SRE for all.

The panel have also recommended a name change to Sexuality and Relationships Education, drawing on the World Health Organisation’s definition of ‘sexuality’, with an emphasis on rights, health, and equality. This more expansive definition will also enable teachers to develop an SRE programme of learning that connects with the full curriculum, from the humanities and expressive arts to sciences and technology.

Also identified was an urgent needto establish training for teachers and other professionals involved in SRE provision, including initial teacher education, in-service training and peer education, as well as having a specialist trained SRE lead in every school and local authority, with curriculum time equitable with other curriculum subjects. Currently there are only a handful of school teachers across Wales who are extensively trained in SRE areas.

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, said: “Creating an education system which helps all our young people become adults who are healthy, confident individuals is a key part of our National Mission. We can only do this by assisting teachers to gain the knowledge, confidence and skills they need to develop the physical, emotional and mental health of their pupils.

“I would like to thank Professor Renold and the members of the expert panel for their hard work researching and producing this report. The recommendations will assist the Pioneer Schools in exploring curriculum structures and wider whole school approaches around Sex and Relationships Education.

“I will now consider the report and will publish my response early in the New Year.”

Panel Chair Professor Renold added: “If our recommendations are approved and implemented, we are confident, that over time, Wales can become a beacon of excellence for high quality SRE provision in schools with an emphasis on rights, equity, inclusivity, protection and empowerment. This report, and its extensive evidence paper is an important starting point in outlining what is needed to begin that process. There is, however, some intensive short-term and long-term investment, planning and work-force capacity building ahead if Wales is to provide children and young people with high quality SRE.

“Chairing the panel was a truly collaborative process. I was impressed by the ways in which different sectors, groups and individuals worked together, across diverse yet inter-connected fields to exploit the potential of what SRE could become as the new curriculum takes shape. It certainly makes for a very promising future for high quality SRE in Wales as the infra-structure for a whole school approach to SRE evolves.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat equalities campaigner Cadan ap Tomos said: “I know from my own experience, and from listening to young people right across Wales, that the provision of sex and relationships education isn’t fit for the 21st Century.

“This report is an excellent blueprint on the changes we desperately need to make on how SRE is delivered in our schools, and Kirsty Williams deserves a lot of credit for recognising more needs to be done and for establishing this expert panel.

“The Welsh Government needs to accept the recommendations in this report so that all young people are armed with the knowledge they need to practice safe sex and take part in healthy, respectful relationships.”

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Education

National Library of Wales stand will be hive of activity on Eisteddfod Maes

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THE NATIONAL LIBRARY in Aberystwyth is promising a hive of activity at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Tregaron from July 30 to August 6.

The library’s stand will include a unique exhibition and cinema where visitors can relax and enjoy viewing treasures from its vast moving images collection.

An exciting and diverse programme of events for families and adults will be held on our stand during the week, including gigs with artists such as Parisa Fouladi, Owen Shiers, Mari Mathias, Ynys, Izzy & Eädyth and Plu.

Other sessions will focus on health and wellbeing, including Clocsffit with Tudur Phillips and a circus workshop.

An event will be held in partnership with the charity Meddwl and singer Miriam Isaac to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing.

Literary sessions with partners include a special event on Monday, August 1 with chief poet Gwenallt Llwyd Ifan, who is originally from Tregaron. He will present a sequence of poems, recently commissioned by the library in partnership with Barddas, which are based on and inspired by the current exhibition A Oes Heddwch?

The library will also have a presence in other areas of the Maes with diverse and fascinating presentations in the societies stands, Y Lle Celf and Tŷ Gwerin.

The library’s shop will launch a series of specially commissioned products by the artists Valeriane Leblond and Ruth Jên, together with unique items based on national collections, including some relating to the Tregaron area.

Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said: “We very much look forward to seeing people from far and wide visiting us on the Maes and in the library building as we welcome one of Europe’s biggest cultural festivals here to Ceredigion.

“After a long wait, we look forward to a special and memorable occasion and we have prepared a varied and exciting programme of events, celebrating our language and culture for families, on our stand and in other areas of the Maes in Tregaron.”

Picture caption:

Pedr ap Llwyd, the National Library of Wales’ chief executive and librarian.

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Education

Harnessing the power of theatre to explore the impact of translation on court proceedings

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AN INNOVATIVE fusion of theatre and law has been adopted as a research tool in a project by Aberystwyth University academics exploring the influence of simultaneous translation on court proceedings.

The pioneering approach has been adopted by Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Law and Criminology, who is interested in the engagement between theatre and law.

Dr Huws is the lead researcher on a study which is considering the effect, significance and influence of simultaneous translation in court cases, particularly the challenges and benefits to interpretation services in instances when court proceedings are held remotely.

As part of the study, a moot court was held at the University on Monday 20 June 2022.

The simulation involved the cross-examination of the claimant (an actor) by a barrister through an interpreter, following a script of a real-life court hearing.

For the purposes of the moot court, the barrister, the claimant and the interpreter were all in different locations, in order to emulate a remote court case. A mock jury was formed of members of the public.

The event used an interactive theatre technique known as Forum Theatre, which uses theatre as a tool for challenging and changing preconceptions. Audience interaction is encouraged and different options for dealing with a problem or issue are explored through participation.

Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws explains: “In a court case, effective multilingual communication is wholly reliant on the role of the translator. And yet the importance of interpretation is not adequately understood.

“In our moot court the mock jury listened to an intense cross-examination of a claimant by a barrister, both with and without simultaneous translation. Their reactions, opinions and feelings were then analysed, facilitated by a director. This allows us to ascertain the jury’s response and understanding of a claimant with an interpreter, and a claimant without an interpreter, therefore establishing the effect and impact of the interpreter.”

Other Aberystwyth academics involved in the study are Dr Rhianedd Jewell, a Senior Lecturer in Professional Welsh with expertise in translation studies and professional translation, and Psychology lecturer Dr Hanna Binks who specialises in language acquisition and the psychology of bilingualism. Non Humphries, a PhD student within the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies is also part of the investigation team.

The research work has been funded by Aberystwyth University’s allocation of the Research Wales Innovation Fund from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.
Dr Rhianedd Jewell said: “This research is allowing us to explore how current practices might be changed for the better. Although the focus of this research is on Welsh-English bilingualism in court proceedings, many of the findings will also be relevant in other contexts in which court hearings are multilingual, including British Sign Language.”
The outcome of the research will be the subject of an online conference to be held on 21 July 2022.
The conference will be of interest not only to academics from the fields of Psychology, Translation Studies and Linguistics, Law, Criminology and Politics, but also to people working in the fields of justice and criminal justice, law practitioners, the police and translation services.

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Education

Free School Meals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will be offering Free School Meals from the Autumn term onwards to all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children.

This comes following Welsh Government’s announcement to offer Free School Meals for primary school pupils across Wales, starting with Reception classes from September 2022.

In response to the current rising cost-of-living, this is a positive step forward in ensuring that no child goes hungry while in school and tackling poverty in our County.

From Monday 5 September 2022 onwards, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Children in Ceredigion schools will be offered Free School Meals, extending the offer beyond what needs to be done by September.

Ceredigion County Council and Welsh Government are committed to implementing this scheme quickly and would ask for your patience as we build catering capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation and work towards a whole school roll-out over the next three years.

The Council are working with Welsh Government to develop a process for you to be able to request a free meal for your child/children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022, trying to avoid any unnecessary burden for you.

If your child is currently in receipt of free school meals and/or any other associated benefits, these will not be affected.

Wyn Thomas, Cabinet Member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “The Government’s aim is for Welsh Local Authorities to provide a free school meal for Reception pupils in September 2022. The Council has taken advantage of the flexibility of the scheme and so more pupils in Ceredigion will benefit from the offer of a free meal for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in September 2022 in the County’s schools.”

Further information will follow by the end of term.

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