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Llangennech court fight looms

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Threatened by judicial review: Council will fight

Threatened by judicial review:
Council will fight

SOLICITORS acting for an unnamed disabled child are threatening to derail the Council’s plans to change the language category of Ysgol Llangennech from dual stream to Welsh medium education.

Sinclairlaw claim to be ‘leading experts in dealing with all aspects of Education Law’.

On a news release on its website, the firm states it has been instructed to act ‘on behalf of a Welsh-speaking parent’.

The letter asserts that a consultation exercise undertaken by the council was improper , as it was progressed despite having already implemented its proposals. It goes on to claim that changing the language of instruction of the school would discriminate on grounds of race and disability.

It also alleges that the Council’s approach will effect an exclusion of the English language.

Finally, the letter claims the Council’s approach is a violation of the Human Rights Act and its duty to pay proper regard to parental wishes and philosophical convictions.

However, the Council has not yet made a final decision about the change of language category to Ysgol Llangennech. The letter therefore amounts to a pre-emptive strike that seeks to prevent the Council making a decision that it would otherwise be entitled to make following a consultation.

In addition, if the arguments advanced hold any water at all, then the whole of the Welsh Government’s approach to language categorisation and school reorganisation will be in disarray.

The whole approach bears a striking resemblance to the approach of Education First, a campaign in the days of Dyfed County Council by a tiny minority of parents who wanted to avoid any Welsh-medium education that would go anywhere near to making their children bilingual by the age of 11. It may also suggest a lack of familiarity with dual stream schooling, in which it is normal for reception class children to receive tuition in the medium of Welsh as part of an approach to ensuring they are ready for bilingual or Welsh-medium instruction later in the school careers.

Certainly , the relatively small number of Llangennech residents who actually have children in Ysgol Llangennech and have been campaigning vociferously against the change of language category, affected surprise on the ‘discovery’ that their children had been receiving tuition in Welsh in reception classes for around five years.

Perhaps most startling is the much broader claim on the issue’s significance made by a spokesperson for Sinclairlaw, who averred: “During a time when the Union of the United Kingdom is a major concern for many people, the C ouncil should think again before promoting an approach which may be considered unnecessarily divisive.”

With the argument pitched in such cataclysmic terms, we asked Carmarthenshire County Council for its observations.

Education Executive Board Member , Cllr Gareth Jones , said: “Carmarthenshire County Council does not consider that its proposal to change the language category of schools in Llangennech contravenes any law. The County Council will contest any Judicial Review lodged against its proposal.

“Carmarthenshire County Council prides itself on the success of its inclusion programmes within its education service and schools. Any child with a disability will benefit from a full and proper assessment of need and provision will be made according to the needs of the individual child.”

That assessment has not yet taken place in relation to any proposed change of language category and cannot take place unless until such a change takes place. Not least as if it had already carried out such an assessment, the Council would be faced with a claim that carrying it out was an indication that the authority had predetermined the outcome of the consultation.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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