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County schools ‘responding well’

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Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 09.40.56CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has hailed significant improvements in the county’s schools in the most recent set of school categorisation tables issued by the Welsh Government on Thursday, January 29.

The categorisation scheme has replaced the much criticised banding system, although there have been substantial complaints about last minute changes to the categorisation criteria skewing the results of some schools.

The categorisation scheme is in four tiers: Green, Yellow, Amber, and Red.

Schools in the green category are already doing well and are deemed to be in need of the least support while schools in the red category are those identified as needing the most support.

Each school’s category is determined by a range of factors including the quality of its leadership, its performance data, self-evaluation by the school and its wider capacity to improve.

Nineteen of Carmarthenshire’s schools, including Bryngwyn Secondary school and St John Lloyd Catholic Comprehensive School, have been placed in the Green category, while none appear in the Red category.

Education Executive Board Member Cllr Gareth Jones said: “Today’s National School Categorisation System outcomes have shown that more schools across Carmarthenshire are responding well to the support provided by ERW and the Local Authority.

“There has been an 8% increase in the number of schools in the green/ yellow categories and there are no schools who need intensive support (red category).

“We congratulate our learners, school leaders, staff, governors and parents on this improvement.”

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said: “We shouldn’t make any specific judgements on the basis of categorization results alone. Schools in the green category may still need support in certain areas, while there is undoubtable excellent teaching and learning taking place within aspects of those schools placed in yellow, amber and red. We must see categorization as part of the wider evaluation of schools, and more specifically as a way of identifying what support is needed, rather than a simple mechanism for judgement.”

Managing Director of the Regional Education Consortium (ERW), Betsan O’Connor, said: “The primary purpose of the system is to identify the appropriate level of support for each school according to need and to ensure that, in partnership with schools and local authorities, we are able to direct our support and resources most effectively to secure the improvements necessary in our school system.”

Education Minister, Huw Lewis, said: “This is not about crude league tables or labelling schools –it is about directing the right support to schools that need it and ensuring improvements right across our school system. Ultimately it is about raising standards and supporting our schools to self-improve.”

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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