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Education

Figures highlight schools drugs issues

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School drugs: An issue for alarm.

School drugs: An issue for alarm.

THE UK’s teachers are worried about latest figures that show that hundreds of school children have been caught with drugs on school premises.

The figures compiled from 34 police forces across the UK, and obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act, show that there were more than 2000 incidents dating back to 2011. Even class A drugs such as heroine and crack-cocaine have been amongst the illegal substances seized. The query asked for the details of the type and amount of drug involved, its value and also what the type of school was from where it was seized (primary or secondary), along with the children’s ages.

Over 3 quarters of forces replied, with 28 giving details of the types of drugs involved. 18 forces identified the type of school and 13 responded to the query of the ages of those involved. Amongst these pupils involved was one of only 8 years of age. Cannabis was involved in 625 of the cases and cocaine in 27. Other drugs cited in confiscations were LSD, amphetamines and ecstasy.

There were 241 incidents involving 15 to 16 year olds and 231 involved 11 to 14 year olds. The highest number of incidents and offences between the period 2011-2014 was Hampshire with a staggering 229 cases. South Wales police reported 92 cases.

Last year an incident at Pembroke Bush school led to a pupil being hospitalised after reacting badly to a so called ‘legal high’ taken on the school’s premises.

Dyfed Powys police produced a statement reading: “The Police Schools Programme continues to deliver to a high standard to all Dyfed Powys children, by empowering our children and young people. Drug and alcohol misuse is a recognised community issue that the police face daily. Misuse of substances by young people is especially disturbing but here in Wales we are fortunate to have an established national police Programme available to all schools which aims to educate and safeguard our communities. Police Officers regularly visit local schools as part of the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme, and this offers a spiral scheme of work from 5 to 16 years of age and proactively addresses the key areas of concern around substance misuse. Additionally these police officers also devote part of their time to supportive school policing in collaboration with the schools. This can include providing advice, dealing with incidents using restorative approaches, assisting in policy development, accessing parents and delivering governor and staff training.”

Bethan James, School Liaison Coordinator for Dyfed Powys Police, added to this, saying: “The lessons themselves are designed to be both interactive and engaging and the focus is always on empowering children and young people to make informed choices based on up to date, relevant information.We encourage the children to think and talk openly and to realise that they do have the right to a choice no matter what. Over the past two school years in the Dyfed-Powys Police force area, our School Community Police Officers have delivered a remarkable 2,077 lessons to almost 48,000 pupils. All of this work is supported by a national website www.schoolbeat.org. This site is interactive, informative and very user friendly and has separate areas specifically designed for children, parents/carers and teachers.”

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Education

Canned Food UK & Tata Steel launch package design challenge

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Canned Food UK (CFUK) and Tata Steel in Europe launch the Packaging Design Challenge this week on April 24 2020.   

The challenge encourages children aged 15 and under to design and create their own pack which demonstrates packaging’s important role in protecting our food and drink.   

To take part entrants first create their ‘product’, a sponge in a freezer bag with 200ml of water and secondly, a pack for their product using materials otherwise destined for the recycling bin which have been cleaned such as cereal boxes, milk cartons or loo roll holders.  

Entrants are invited to send photos or a video to CFUK by tagging Instagram posts with @cannedfooduk or #packagingdesignchallenge or emailing competitions@cannedfood.co.uk.  

Entries should show how their packs are decorated, which parts are recyclable and if their pack survives the drop test – dropping their pack from head height to see if the product leaks.   

A winner will be selected by a panel of experts for a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers and the closing date is midnight on Monday 22 May 2020.  

The challenge launches with a live session on Canned Food UK’s Facebook page at 11am on Friday 24 April with Nicola Jones, Tata Steel’s Packaging Recycling Education manager, who normally visits schools nationwide delivering interactive workshops that showcase the benefits of packaging. 

“Lots of families would have been returning from the Easter break this week and I would have been in classrooms talking about how steel is made and why we use packaging. I wanted to continue to share these resources and the Packaging Design Challenge was the perfect opportunity,” comments Nicola.  

“It’s a straightforward activity that children can do with minimal adult supervision, that’s away from a computer screen, and at the same time, learn about how packaging protects our food and drink, reduces waste and how it’s recycled.” 

“I think the challenge will showcase the effectiveness of packaging, just like the can which has great shelf appeal, durability and of course, is infinitely recyclable,” adds Robert Fell, director at CFUK and competition judge. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s entries, especially if they survive the drop test.” 

For further information on the challenge visit cannedfood.co.uk/packagingdesignchallenge or see entries as they come in on the CFUK’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram channels.  

-ends- 

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Strictly Cymru brings dancing a-plenty to 2020

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Disabled people from all over Wales have waltzed into 2020 for Strictly Cymru – the country’s renowned inclusive dance competition.

Run by charity Leonard Cheshire, in partnership with the national governing body Paradance UK, the competition has seen dancers in both inclusive and wheelchair-specific categories compete in six heats across South Wales, in preparation for the grand final on 6 June. Strictly Cymru is now in its third year.

Winning in the inclusive categories at the Carmarthen heat on 17 January were Coleg Sir Gar students Kieron, Toby, Thomas, and Max, as well as Richard, who came independently from Coleshill Day Centre in Llanelli and wowed the judges with his Michael Jackson inspired fast feet and moonwalk. A few days later, Rebecca, Chloe, and Anesha from Heronsbridge School lifted the trophy at the Bridgend heat on 21 January.

Gower College students Daniel and Carys wowed the judges with their synchronised dancing at the Cardiff heat, while Coleg Gwent student Matthew secured a place on the final in the inclusive heat held in Newport last week.

Meanwhile, in the wheelchair dance category, dancers Chad and Ben took gold in Carmarthen and Bridgend respectively. The Carmarthen heat rang with the sound of Chad’s catchphrase of “Absolutely fantastic!”

Then, the fifth heat in Cardiff saw the youngest person to take part in Strictly to date, five-year-old Inga, win in the wheelchair category, before Robin John won the final wheelchair heat in Newport after being inspired by his partner Dianne, who was highly commended in last year’s competition grand final.

Dance instructors from Paradance UK also took the participants, who came from schools the community and Leonard Cheshire services in the area, through their paces ahead of each dance-off to give everyone the best chance at reaching the final.

Chad said: “It has been a really great two days and I’ve enjoyed getting to know new people and learn tango. I’m looking forward to the final.”

Robin John, winning at Newport, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful, I’ve tried before and lost, but it feels on a whole different planet to win a heat! I’m looking forward to the final and don’t mind which genre of dance I get, I can adapt to most things.”

Ruth Jones, MP for Newport West, was a judge at the heat there. Ruth said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect beforehand, but it was amazing. As you walked into the room the enthusiasm hit you like a wave. It was so hard to choose a winner because they were all brilliant in their own way, everybody did the maximum they could possibly do.”

Alan Dear, Head of Theatre and Arts at Newport Live, helped support the Newport heat and said: “It is the most joyful thing I have done in years.”

The heats were open to people of all ages and abilities and the overall winners of the competition will be crowned in the Ffwrnes theatre in Llanelli on 6 June 2020.  There they will receive the coveted Strictly glitter ball trophy.

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Education

Lee Waters in School Council Summit

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LOCAL Member of the Senedd, Lee Waters has held the third Llanelli School Council Summit in the Welsh Parliament for secondary school pupils from across the constituency.

Over 70 pupils from schools right across the area visited the Senedd to learn how the Welsh Parliament works and take part in debates in the old Assembly debating chamber.

Pupils chose to debate lowering the voting age and banning diesel cars. They also had the opportunity to question the Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething about their concerns and on his experiences as a Minister in the Welsh Government.

Lee Waters MS said

“Every year since becoming elected I’ve invited the school councils from the secondary schools across Llanelli to the Senedd for a School Council Summit. I’m really pleased that the event has grown and grown.”

“The pupils enthusiasm and grasp of the issues was really impressive, and it was great to hear their thoughts on some really important issues.”

“I was delighted to give pupils a chance to discuss their ideas with the Health Minister Vaughan Gething, debate issues that are important to them, and get practical careers advice learn from past pupils at their schools who now work in Welsh public life.”

“I want to show that pupils from Llanelli can succeed at whatever they choose in life, and get them involved in Welsh democracy.”

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