Three Wrexham schools have made the journey to Llandudno Junction to learn all about the Welsh Government.

Wrexham schools visit Welsh Government’s Llandudno Junction office

Pupils from Victoria Primary School, Ysgol Pontfadog and Ysgol Rhiwabon got the opportunity to understand how Wales is governed and get an overview of the Welsh Government and how the organisation works.

They also heard all about the Welsh Government’s office in Llandudno Junction, which is the greenest building in the Government’s estate.

Pupils from Victoria Primary and Ysgol Pontfadog even got the chance to be the Welsh Government and were asked which departments were most important to them and how much money they would give to the different portfolios if they were in power.

Year 12 students from Ysgol Rhiwabon were split into groups and given a specific ministerial portfolio and asked to set out a new manifesto for that area which they then presented back to their fellow pupils, which brought up lively debates on different issues.

The Welsh Government welcomes school visits to its office in Llandudno Junction on a regular basis as part of its role in engaging with the community.

Education Minister Leighton Andrews said:

“I’m delighted to hear that pupils from North East Wales have made the journey to the building in Llandudno Junction to learn all about the Welsh Government. The building is a valuable education and information resource for all ages from across North Wales.

“It’s vitally important that school children are able to get an understanding of the issues the Welsh Government are responsible for and how the decisions that are made impact on their lives. Having the building in Llandudno Junction offers them that opportunity.”

Pat Gooding, 14 – 19 Director of Studies/Welsh Baccalaureate Co-ordinator at Ysgol Rhiwabon said:

“This was our second visit to Llandudno Junction and on both occasions the students had a really valuable experience which enhanced their understanding of national politics which is one of the elements studied in the Welsh Baccalaureate.

“The activities were well-organised and engaged the students. We hope to visit with our Year 12 students in the next academic year.”

John Hughes, Headteacher at Victoria Primary School said:

“It was a wonderful experience for the children to be able to get a real understanding about how the Welsh Government works.

“We will certainly be arranging another visit to the Llandudno Junction office.”

The face of school leaders is changing, with new figures showing a huge surge in the number of women Read More

The archetypal “demon” headmaster, complete with cane, gown and mortar board, is etched in the memory of pupils the world over.

But the familiar face of school leaders is changing, with new figures showing a huge surge in the number of women applying for the top jobs.

Women now make up almost a third of Wales’ secondary headteachers and a profession traditionally dominated by men is becoming far more competitive.

Statistics released by classroom watchdog the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) have revealed a doubling of female school leaders in just eight years.

In 2004, the GTCW Annual Statistics Digest showed just 16.5% of secondary heads in Wales were women – compared to the current 31.7% level.

Last year’s rise was the biggest to date and took the total number of female secondary heads in Wales to 70.

And the upward trend looks set to continue with increasing female interest in the National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH).

Gareth Jones, secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, welcomed the changing position.

He said: “Over the last decade, the gender balance at middle leadership positions in secondary schools has changed significantly and thus the more equitable gender balance in senior leadership, as revealed by the GTCW data, was to be expected.

“In the early 1990s, virtually all middle leadership positions were occupied by men but that has changed significantly and any barriers which existed at that stage are gone.”

Helen O’Sullivan is headteacher at Tonypandy Community College in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where the proportion of female school leaders is nearer 50:50.

She said women had become more aspirational and the role of headteacher had changed in ways that has made the job more attractive to female teachers.

“The role of head has changed and is much more diverse than it used to be,” she said.

“Many years ago, the role of head was very different and they were far more removed. Today, successful leaders need to be more visible, have a higher profile and have stronger people skills. These are skills that many women naturally have.

“In my experience, female candidates for headship are presenting themselves with stronger skill sets than in the past. They will have done a number of different roles within the school and have undertaken extensive professional development.

“Working with a team of staff gives you the opportunity to have a real impact and change people’s lives. But regardless of gender, the role of headteacher is very demanding so both male and female heads need the full support of their families in order to do the job effectively.”

Eithne Hughes, headteacher at Ysgol Bryn Elian in Conwy, said: “I believe women teachers are now more confident about seeking headship positions and that is helping remove the glass ceiling which women will more readily aim to break through.

“It’s important that we achieve gender balance among head-teachers so that education benefits from what both men and women bring to leadership.”

Dr Philip Dixon, director of education union ATL Cymru, said the statistics were “encouraging” but added that although women continue to dominate the teaching profession in Wales, more must be done at the highest level.

“There are probably a variety of causes for the change, but more family-friendly policies, greater awareness of the need for gender balance and the crumbling of any sort of ‘old boy’s network’ seem to be having an effect,” he said.

“However, we should not be complacent. It is still not acceptable that, while around two thirds of the workforce in secondary schools are women, just under one third of heads are female.”

Katy Chamberlain, chief executive of Chwarae Teg, which promotes the role of women in the Welsh workforce, said: “This is very good news which shows that investing in the right type of professional development gives women the skills to achieve their full potential.

“I hope the trend towards greater gender balance in secondary school leadership continues to accelerate. Not only does it provide valuable role models for other female teachers, it also encourages female students to aspire to senior positions in whatever career they choose.”

The publication of data by the GTCW coincides with the deadline this month for public sector bodies in Wales to publish their Strategic Equality Plans, designed to ensure equality across the Welsh workforce.

Too few people understand the work involved in bringing up a baby and should be given more information on raising children, a Government-commissioned review has concluded.

Would-be parents must be made aware of the importance of meeting a baby’s emotional and social needs during their early years to ensure they grow up to be rounded, capable adults, according to MP Graham Allen’s report on early intervention.

He calls for a new National Parenting Campaign to be established to inform parents and the wider public about good parenting skills.

Mr Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North, was tasked in July last year with leading the inquiry, which will look at how to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds the best start.

His report, which draws on international evidence, says the quality of a child’s relationships and learning experiences in the family has more influence on their achievement than any innate abilities, material circumstances or the quality of their nursery and school.

Research suggests that warm, attentive, stimulating parenting strongly supports a child’s social, emotional and physical development, it says, while children who spend their early years in impoverished, neglectful or abusive environments often do not learn empathy or social skills, which can lead to problems later in life.

In his report Mr Allen calls for a “change of culture around parenting … the way in which parents interact with babies, children and young people”.

He says: “Many parents have a strong desire to do the best for their children but many, especially in low-income groups, are ill-informed or poorly motivated on how to achieve this.”

All parents need to know how to “recognise and respond to a baby’s cues, attune with infants and stimulate them from the very start, and how to foster empathy”, the report says.

It adds: “Parents in particular need to know whom to turn to for help and where to find them, and how to foster a positive home-learning environment, as well as the usual physical information about breastfeeding and avoiding smoking, toxic substances and stress.”

While there is a lot of information available, parents can find it hard to know what to trust, Mr Allen says.

He adds: “Too few of those thinking of embarking on parenthood understand how to build the social and emotional capability of a baby or small child, and awareness among the wider public is virtually non-existent.”

Mr Allen calls for local charities, employers and others to work with experts to take fresh action, such as raising awareness of the responsibility of good parenting among would-be parents and helping the public to understand the importance of developing social and emotional skills in the early years.

He recommends a new National Parenting Campaign “as the crown jewel of the Big Society project, pursued with enough passion and vitality to make it irresistible even to the most jaundiced”.

The MP adds: “I recommend the creation of a broad-based alliance of interested groups, charities and foundations to ensure that the public, parents, health professionals and, especially, newly pregnant women are aware of the importance of developing social and emotional capability in the first years of life, and understand the best ways of encouraging good later outcomes for their children.”

This would be done locally rather than led by central government.

The report also says that 11 to 18-year-olds should be taught the skills “to make good choices in life”.

“They may teach young people what it means to make and sustain relationships and to have a baby,” it says.

The review notes that children who do not learn good social and emotional skills in their early years, and grow up with poor outcomes, can often pass this on to future generations.

The aim of early intervention is to break this cycle, it says.

Mr Allen said: “There isn’t anything more important than effective parenting, raising the next generation to achieve for the country as well as themselves.”

Staff Report

QUETTA: At least one person has died in a blast reported at Karani Road of the city on Thursday.

Crowds gathered at the scene after the blast.

Rescue teams rushed towards the scene and security forces cordoned off the area soon after the blast.

Eyewitnesses told media that the blast occurred when the forces were checking a person. SAMAA

suicide blast in quetta at charni road

blast in quetta at kirani road

 injured in a blast in quetta at kirani road more news updates 26th april 2012 in evening tile at 6:45 pm after blast cover the area security forces 

QUETTA: At least one person has died in a blast reported at Karani Road of the city on Thursday.

Crowds gathered at the scene after the blast.

Rescue teams rushed towards the scene and security forces cordoned off the area soon after the blast.

Eyewitnesses told media that the blast occurred when the forces were checking a person. SAMAA

The future of Bearwood College has been secured after a dispute over its lease

The future of independent school Bearwood College has been secured after a dispute over its lease.

Bosses at the school have now successfully bought the Victorian building in Bearwood Road from the Royal Merchant Navy School Foundation.

Bearwood College reassures parents over High Court battle

Stephen Aiano, headmaster of the school in Sindlesham, said: “The senior management team and the whole of the college staff are thrilled, and we look forward to building on our many strengths and successes. The college’s scholars benefit from a large site with extensive playing fields and the use of woods and the lake.”

The sale of around one quarter of the foundation’s property and land to Bearwood College was completed on Tuesday, March 27.

The agreement brings an end to a long-standing dispute between the two parties, who have been at loggerheads since 2008 over the terms of a proposed lease.

Elizabeth Langley, chairman of governors, said: “This is a positive outcome after a long period of negotiation, giving Bearwood College a secure future on a unique site.

“This provides an exciting platform for future growth and development of the school.”

The college had leased the building and grounds from the foundation, but since the split of the Royal Merchant Navy School in 1981, no firm contract has ever been in place.

The school premises were guaranteed for the college and the foundation was required to grant a lease. Although a scheme was drawn up, it was never put in place and the two parties fell out.

John Adey, chairman of trustees, said: “The proceeds of this sale will allow the foundation to pursue its charitable objectives of helping with the education of needy British children with Merchant Navy parents.”

Commander Charles Heron-Watson, secretary of the foundation, added: “We are delighted now to be able to look to the future and to extend our charitable footprint to be able to help more children.”


KARACHI, April 25: Of 18,506 small growers who entered a draw to win tractors on subsidised rates under the Sindh government’s Prosperous Sindh and Prosperous Hari programme, as many as 6,000 were chosen at a ceremony held at the Chief Minister’s House on Wednesday.

The draw was performed by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

The growers are being provided a total of Rs1.6 billion subsidy, between Rs0.2 million and Rs0.3 million on each tractor.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that as agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy, the government was doing a lot to increase yield of various crops. It was for this reason that Sindh had to import wheat three years back was not only meeting its need in wheat, sugar and other crops but was also in a position to export.

The chief minister called upon investors and agriculturalists to encourage agro-based industries, which was essential for progress of the province.

Referring to the complaints about an increase in prices of fertilizers, seeds and other inputs, Mr Shah asked for suggestions from the Sindh chamber of agriculture to bring down the prices.

He said the federal government was insisting on levying agriculture tax but the Sindh government was not in favour of imposing tax at the rate applicable on industrialists, as there were other taxes on agriculture. He said instead of slapping new taxes there was a need to focus on fair collection of taxes across the board.

About water shortage in the province, he said this shortage was temporary and more water would be available next month.

In reply to a question, Agriculture Minister Syed Ali Nawaz Shah told Dawn that the government was encouraging small growers to adopt modern technology to increase production.

He said half of the 6,000 tractors were reserved for the farmers who had up to 25 acres of agricultural lands while the remaining were for those who owned more than 25 acres.

Chamber of Agriculture President Dr Nadeem Qamar and Sindh Abadgar Board President Majeed Nizamani highlighted problems of the agriculture sector.

Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Aijaz Ali Khan explained the policy of the department and stated that Rs650 million had been earmarked as subsidy to the agriculture sector.

Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Information Minister Shazia Marri, Adviser Zubair Motiwala, Chief Secretary Raja Mohammad Abbas and others were present on the occasion.

KARACHI, April 25: Sindh Senior Minister for Education Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq has said that 19 thousand teachers would be recruited to meet shortage of teachers in educational institutes of the province in collaboration with the World Bank.

In a statement issued on Wednesday he said that his department believed in recruiting these teachers based on merit and added that the vacancies had been advertised.

He said that they had taken into consideration financial difficulties faced by young applicants and had thus reduced the form fees from Rs300 to Rs30 – an amount received solely as bank charges.

He also said that the vacancies would be filled at the union council level and forms would not be accepted for those union councils where there were no vacancies.

The senior minister argued that certain anti-education elements were conducting a baseless propaganda against positive initiatives taken by his department.

He emphasised the fact that all vacancies would be filled on merit and the applicants should have faith in the education department and not heed rumours.—PPI

KARACHI, April 25: Free surgical treatment was provided to 171 cataract patients at the Civil Hospital Karachi by a seven-member Chinese medical team under the Bring Light Tour programme on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Headed by Prof Wang Jum of the Beijing Tony Ran Hospital, the team comprising two doctors, two nurses, an official and an engineer also provided medicines to the patients.

The visiting team, which had earlier carried out 300 surgeries at the Mayo Hospital of Lahore, will implant intraocular lens in 200 cataract patients in Karachi and complete their job by Thursday.According to a senior CHK official, Dr Munir Quraishy is coordinating with the Chinese team. He conducted pre-operation examinations of the patients, who reported at the hospital’s OPD or were referred from various hospitals in the city, said the official.—Staff Reporter