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Education

New alliance with Big Learning Company

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Exciting times: Collaboration hailed

THE UNIVERSITY of Wales Trinity Saint David has signed a strategic partnership with one of the UK’s leading digital learning organisations.

The big Learning Company (BLC) will support the Institute of Education’s plans for teacher education and further enhance the opportunities available to partner schools and Yr Athrofa staff.

It is anticipated that the university’s Yr Athrofa will work with BLC to provide new digital education content, teacher development programmes and state-of-the-art education technology.

The partnership will also see the creation of Yr Athrofa: Cardiff, a new satellite centre for the institute’s work in the welsh capital.

Yr Athrofa: Cardiff will be based at BLC’s headquarters in Tramshed Tech, near Cardiff Central Railway Station.

BLC and the university have already announced a partnership in relation to Yr Egin, the university’s creative and digital media cluster based on the Carmarthen campus.

BLC is working with the Welsh Government to expand the number of ‘Code Clubs’ in Wales and has attracted high praise from Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.

Professor Dylan Jones, Director of Yr Athrofa, welcomed the partnership and the many possibilities it brings.

He said: “BLC has developed a strong reputation as a leader in the field of digital learning and technology and we are delighted to be working so closely with them.

“Their expertise will be invaluable as we look to further develop our professional learning partnership of schools across Wales and we are exploring a number of exciting projects to support our new teacher education offer.

“Having a permanent base for Yr Athrofa in Cardiff will open new doors for us in the Welsh capital as I’m sure colleagues will also benefit from having a BLC presence in Carmarthen.

“These are exciting times for Yr Athrofa and the signing of this agreement is further evidence of our lofty ambition for teacher education in Wales.”

Louise Harris, Chief Executive of BLC, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to cement our long-standing relationship with UWTSD – one of Wales’ foremost HEI’s in the field of education and training – to develop teacher education and the EdTech sector generally in Wales.

“Working in tandem with the university’s Yr Athrofa: the Institute of Education on innovative digital services, technology products and high-level digital content across the whole of the education sector, this new strategic partnership will create a range of exciting possibilities for both parties: both through the creation of Yr Athrofa: Cardiff at BLC’s headquarters in the heart of the Welsh capital at Tramshed Tech; and through working closely with Yr Athrofa in Carmarthen to deliver digital training and education services.”

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Education

Apply for six-month traineeship scheme

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Applications open: Join the National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme

​IF YOU’D like to earn as you learn hands-on skills to prepare you for a career in practical conservation or estate management, apply now for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme.

The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, will provide two six-month salaried apprenticeships with the National Park Authority’s Ranger and Warden Teams.

Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden said: “The successful candidates will be learning the skills and experience that are essential to be successful in obtaining employment within a highly competitive sector.

“The main duties of the placement will include practical hands-on work-based experience in conservation and estate management.”

The six month traineeship will see the successful applicants learn a wide variety of skills including traditional hedgelaying and modern conservation methods that are essential to the work of the National Park Authority.

This is an extension to the original three-year project which has helped many of the 15 previous trainees gain employment​.​

The closing date for applications is October 2​4 with interviews to be held on November​ 6​.

Application packs are available from the National Park Authority’s website ​at​www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/jobs or by contacting contact Joanne Morgan by calling 01646 624856 or by emailing joannem@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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Education

Poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live

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Dr Siu-Ting: Specialises in amphibians

​ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERISTY​ scientist Dr Karen Siu-Ting discuss​ed poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live ​last Thursday ​(Sept ​28​).

Dr Siu-Ting is an IRC ELEVATE-MSCA Co-fund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.

Her research into poison arrow frogs feature​d​ as part of ‘Ask a Biologist’​,​ hosted by The Royal Society of Biology.

An evolutionary biologist from Peru,​​ Dr Siu-Ting specialises in amphibians and combines field work in the Amazon rainforest with laboratory and computational analyses to address biological questions.

She is currently working on a project on poison arrow frogs between Aberystwyth University and Dublin City University.

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Education

Committee concerned at £12.7m error

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​A £12.7M alteration to the cost of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill has been described as concerning by a National Assembly for Wales committee.

In the original figures submitted alongside the Bill the Welsh Government identified savings of £4.8m over a period of four years if the Bill was passed.

But the estimates were challenged by children’s charity SNAP Cymru which claimed the Welsh Government had misinterpreted figures it had provided concerning disputes and resolution services. The Welsh Government admitted the error and revised the figures from the original saving to a cost of £7.9m – a difference of £12.7m.

The Finance Committee asked the Welsh Government to delay the financial resolution on the Bill, the mechanism by which government gains support to spend the money enacting the law and the government agreed.

“A £12.7m swing from a saving to a cost is very concerning, as it shows a government which doesn’t fully understand the figures it quotes,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.

“It also throws into doubt any future costs connected to Bills which come before this committee as we are left wondering whether the government has done its sums right.

“We are grateful to SNAP Cymru for highlighting the inaccuracies and acknowledge the steps taken by the Minister subsequently, but we will need further reassurance that such errors will not happen again.”

The Bill’s aim is to improve the quality of support available to children with additional learning needs through a person-centred approach which would identify needs early on and make sure the right support, monitoring and evaluation was put in place to help them.

The Finance Committee welcomed the actions taken by the Welsh Government to address the situation. But Members were concerned and surprised that inaccuracies as significant as this were raised and that SNAP Cymru was not consulted on the final figures before they were published.

The Committee acknowledges that revisions have since been made and the Minister’s assurances that the revised figures are robust, however, it is concerned at the need to have made this level of changes to the original costings.

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