THE WELSH GOVERNMENT should have the power to devolve student visas to help universities attract the brightest and best, Plaid Cymru has said.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Llyr Gruffydd said that the Welsh Government is clearly failing to attract sufficient numbers of students to Wales after research found that the number of overseas students studying in Wales decreased, whilst numbers in England and Scotland increased.
He said that giving the Welsh Government the power to issue student visas could streamline the system and bring the best students to Wales.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Llyr Gruffydd said: “The decline in the number of overseas students coming to Wales is worrying. Clearly, the Welsh Government is getting it wrong. Whilst the number of overseas students in England and Scotland increased, the Welsh Government is failing to attract enough students to Wales, and it’s costing our economy around £60 million.
“Overseas students bring new skills, they enrich our communities and cultural life, and they bring important links to other countries.
“That’s why I want to see the Welsh Government have the ability to issue student visas. I want Wales to be able to target the best and brightest students to study here, to contribute their invaluable skills to our universities and to our economy.
“Plaid Cymru wants our universities to be world-renowned centres of excellence drawing people from all over the world. The current system is not working for Wales and we need to take control and responsibility for the issue.”
Work starts on new £8.25m primary school for Pembrey
WORK has started on building a new £8.25million primary school for Pembrey.
The new school building is being constructed on the recreation ground/playing field immediately adjacent to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.
It will provide high-quality teaching facilities to improve the overall learning experience for learners, as well as benefitting the local community.
The new school will have capacity for 270 primary pupils, 30 nursery pupils and will incorporate a Flying Start facility which is currently located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.
Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “We are looking forward to having our brand-new school building at Pembrey where we can continue to provide quality educational opportunities and experiences for our children.
“Everyone is excited at the prospect of learning in a modern purpose-built school that will be at the heart of the community.”
The project is part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme which aims to give every child in the county access to first class accommodation and facilities.
It is being jointly funded by Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.
The new school building has been designed by the council’s own architects and the work is being carried out by local contractor TRJ Ltd.
The estimated completion date is the autumn term of 2023.
Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I am delighted that building work has started on the new school for the community of Pembrey. Building it on the adjacent recreation ground means that we can reduce disruption as much as possible.
“The council is committed to investing in our children’s futures, and the new school building will provide the very best educational facilities for both pupils and staff and accommodation fit for 21st century teaching and learning.”
Local member Cllr Hugh Shepardson said: “I am delighted that we are making a start on the new Pembrey Primary School. The facility, which I understand will be completed next year, will provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities for our children at Pembrey and will allow our children to be taught in a modern and welcoming environment.
To date, the Modernising Education Programme has invested more than £300million in Carmarthenshire schools, including the building of 12 new primary schools, two new secondary schools, and 48 major refurbishments and extensions.
£18m to support children and young people with additional learning needs
NEW funding to support children and young people with Additional Learning Needs has been announced by Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language.
£18m will be made available to provide extra support for children and young people with ALN who’ve been affected by the pandemic and to help educational settings as learners move to the new ALN system from this month.
£10m of the funding will be used to support learners with ALN affected by the pandemic and to improve their wellbeing. During the pandemic, many disabled children and young people, including learners with ALN, continue to experience a negative impact on their mental health and difficulties accessing education.
The funding will add to existing support for ALN learners, such as intensive learning support and speech and language therapy. The funding can also be used to provide extra resources to target the impacts of the pandemic, such as mental health support and tailored support to help with attendance.
£8m will be allocated to schools, nurseries, local authorities and Pupil Referral Units to move learners from the old Special Educational Needs (SEN) system to the new ALN system, as the roll-out of the Additional Learning Needs Act continues.
The new ALN system, being rolled out over three years, will ensure children and young people with ALN are identified quickly and their needs are met. The Act makes provision for new individual development plans, designed to put the views of learners at the heart of the decision-making process, alongside those of their parents or carers.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said:
“We are determined to deliver a fully inclusive education system in Wales – a system where additional needs are identified early and addressed quickly, and where all children and young people are supported to thrive in their education.
“Schools and nurseries are already doing a fantastic job of supporting their learners, but we know they need more resources to do this. That’s why I’m announcing this additional investment to support learners to overcome the effects of the pandemic and prevent the entrenchment of inequalities on their education, employment opportunities, their health and wellbeing.”
Over £100m of new funding will help make schools and colleges Covid-secure
SCHOOLS and colleges will receive £103 million in Welsh Government funding, as learners return for the January term.
£50m will be provided via local authorities through the Sustainable Communities for Learning programme. The funding will help schools carry out capital repair and improvement work, with a focus on health and safety measures, such as improving ventilation. The funding will also be used to support decarbonisation.
£45m of revenue funding will also help support school budgets, assisting schools as they continue to deal with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and to prepare for the requirements of the new curriculum.
An additional £8m will be provided to further education colleges, to ensure learning can continue safely and ensure the most disadvantaged learners are not further impacted by the pandemic.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:
“I know schools and colleges have faced a very difficult time and everyone across the workforce has worked incredibly hard to meet the challenges of the pandemic. This funding will further support our schools and colleges to keep settings as Covid-secure as possible.
“While we want to support the sector in recovering from the pandemic, we also have to make sure we continue to plan for the future, and help all education settings across Wales fulfil our collective goals of making Wales a net-zero nation.
“The funding announced today will help us to ensure sustainability across the sector – be that the environmental sustainability achieved through decarbonisation, or sustainability in provision.”
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