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Plenty of questions for Executive Board

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Carmarthenshire County Council: Executive board will discuss Llangennech school

Carmarthenshire County Council:
Executive board will discuss Llangennech school

THE MONDAY (Jun 20) meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board promises to be a lively affair, with an unprecedented number of questions from members of the public.

30 questions, including 11 referred to the Executive Board by the Education Scrutiny Committee, with 19 questions addressed directly to Executive Board Member for Education Councillor Gareth Jones.

The questions all concern plans to discontinue Llangennech Primary and Junior Schools, replace them with a Community Primary School, and change from dual stream to Welsh medium education – a topic The Herald has covered extensively in the past.

The questions themselves are fairly evenly split between those in favour of the change and those who oppose it. A number of points are raised, including the perceived difficulty children with special educational need have in learning more than one language, the safety issues involved in transporting children to an English medium school out of the village, and a lingering belief on the part of those opposed to Welsh medium education in Llangennech that the transition is ‘a done deal’.

There are also queries about what is regarded as a ‘surplus’ of Welsh medium school places in the area – something The Herald has also previously discussed in greater depth.

However, those who are more supportive of the change include one non-Welsh speaking parent who expresses her pride that her Welsh medium-educated children have grown up bilingual, while others express concern over declining Welsh usage in Llangennech over the past 20 years and point out that support is available for non-Welsh speaking parents whose children attend Welsh medium schools.

It is also pointed out that research has shown children who grow up speaking two languages have higher IQs than their monolingual counterparts, and that educational outcomes in the core subjects in schools, including Llangennech, are better in the Welsh medium stream at present.

The campaign against the change to Welsh medium education in Llangennech has received widespread media coverage, with the story being covered by national news outlets including BBC Wales.

One of the objectors, South African-born Anglican vicar John Plessis, memorably compared the proposals to apartheid, while leading protestor Michaela Beddows said that the village ‘would be divided’ as a result.

Llangennech is 39% Welsh-speaking.

It was also claimed by protestors that Carmarthenshire County Council had somehow been acting illegally in educating their children in Welsh – something that had been happening for five years before anyone brought it up.

This led to a response from Cllr Gareth Jones which described the allegation as ‘completely untrue’.

Cllr Jones also expressed concern that ‘some people have taken to naming individual members of school staff on social media and are making unfounded personal criticisms of them.’

“It is important that the debate is conducted objectively, fairly and with respect for others,” he added.

The Executive Board is due to make their recommendation on the proposal at Monday’s meeting.

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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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