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‘U-Turn’ over school meals rise

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IT WAS confirmed this week that a 10p daily rise in the price of school meals will not be implemented this financial year, following what opposition councillors have described as a ‘U-turn’.
At Monday’s meeting of the Executive Board (Mar 26) Cllr Glynog Davies the executive member for education said that following pledges made at previous Full Council meetings he had met with officers to see if there were other alternative savings which could be identified.
“There is a concern that another increase would be detrimental to the service, leading to less children having school meals,” he explained.
The price hike – which would have been the fourth in as many years – would have seen CCC’s school meals become among the most expensive in Wales.
Cllr Davies explained that officers had identified other areas to compensate for the £190,000 that the 10p increase would have brought in. These were: £50k from a reduction in the responsive maintenance budget within the Catering Service; £50k from allocated funding for budget ‘growth’ areas, and £90k from a number of smaller savings including a reduction in senior management & back office costs.
Cllr Davies told the Executive Board that he was ‘proud’ of the school meals service offered by CCC. “I am assured that the standard of food is excellent, healthy and nutritious which our young people in the schools need,” he added, explaining that the next step would be an advertising campaign to inform parents of the benefits of school meals.
The original rise was criticised by several councillors on the Labour benches, and Shadow Executive Member for Education and

Cllr Glynog Davies (Pic: Herald)

Children Cllr Bill Thomas said that the group were ‘pleased with the decision:
Pupils and parents in Carmarthenshire will be relieved that the Plaid/Independent Coalition’s latest U-turn will mean that there will not be an increase in the cost of school meals when they return from their Easter break,” he told The Herald.
“Last year’s price increase has already led to fewer children taking school meals.
“Labour Councillors have been speaking against the increase since it was first announced as part of the draft budget. Therefore we are pleased that good sense has prevailed and the planned above inflation increase has been stopped.
“After the U-turn on using Welsh Government funding to buy new car parking machines instead of making parking free, this is the second U-turn by the Plaid/Independent Coalition in a few weeks. Labour Councillors are calling for a “hat-trick of U-turns “ to be completed by giving schools fair funding and not expect them to make £2.3 million of cuts. The £500,000 fund for schools to apply for is of course welcomed, but that is not going to go far between the 122 schools in the county.
“By funding schools fairly, Labour Councillors think this would go towards giving children in our county the best foundation.”

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Education

Carmarthenshire students celebrate A Level and A.S. results

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council wishes to congratulate all of the county’s students that are receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today, Thursday 18th August 2022.

Whilst this year has seen a return to exam-based results, following two years of assessment-based grading during the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers have still had to contend with the ongoing impact of the last 2 years.

A total of 98.6% of A Level students in Carmarthenshire achieved A*-E, which is higher than the 97.3% in 2019 when exams were last sat.

Across Carmarthenshire, a total of 40.1% of A level students have received A or A* this year, which is vastly higher than the 24.9% when exams were last sat in 2019.

After 2 years without examinations, students at AS Level also had the opportunity this year to show what knowledge they had learned and skills they had developed, through a combination of exams and assessments, applicable to different courses. 91.8 % of AS students in Carmarthenshire achieved A-E grades which, again, is higher than in 2019.

Cllr. Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language said: “Congratulations to every single student receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today. These young people and their teachers have worked extremely hard, within the uncertain climate that exists due to the pandemic, and they should be very proud, as am I, of their fantastic achievements.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, teachers and support staff of Carmarthenshire as well as their families for their hard work over the last two years.”

In a joint statement, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters and Director of Education and Children’s Services, Gareth Morgans added: “Congratulations to our A-Level and A.S. students for their, well deserved, excellent results. The last two years have been very challenging for students, teachers, support staff, families and friends and we are grateful to everyone for their commitment and support to each other during this period.

“These young people are a credit to their schools and our county, and we wish them every success for the future.”

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Education

St. Michaels School celebrates excellent A-Level results

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St. Michael’s pupils with their A-Level results

ST. MICHAEL’S School, Llanelli, is extremely pleased to announce another year of successful A-Level results, with 80.2% of all grades awarded either an A* or A grade.

The vast majority of pupils have earned a place at their chosen university to study courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Economics.

This is the first year that traditional exams have resumed since the Covid-19 pandemic began with the majority of lessons in the first part of the A-Level being delivered online rather than in a classroom environment. This makes the results even more of an achievement considering the circumstances.

Headmaster Mr Benson Ferrari said: “We offer our sincere congratulations to our outgoing Year 13 class on the publication of their A-Level results, demonstrating that our pupils have worked so hard despite the challenges of returning to a conventional assessment approach.

“They approached the situation with resilience and dedication, which has resulted in grades that are truly representative of their ability.  I am confident that they will all go onto achieve great things at university and in their working lives.  

“We wish them the best as they move to this new and exciting stage of their education.  The preparation which St. Michael’s has provided will be built upon, along with our values and principles providing a lasting framework to tackle the challenges ahead.”

In 2020, St. Michael’s School was awarded The Sunday Times Welsh Independent School of the Decade and this was in part due to the excellent exam results that the school receives each year. 

St. Michael’s was also ranked 13th in The Times 2019 Co Ed League Table for UK Independent Schools, which was the last time that the results were published. The school hopes that this year’s results will continue to secure their place in the 2022 league table which will be published later this year.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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