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Valleys college in 'special measures' for poor performance

Tonypandy Community College has been placed in 'special measures' by education inspectors for its poor performance. In a report published on Friday by Estyn - which inspects quality and standards in education in Wales -

In a report published on Friday by Estyn - which inspects quality and standards in education in Wales - said current performance is judged to be unsatisfactory because:

  • Performance in indicators that include English and mathematics are weak, well below expectations and significantly below that of similar schools
  • Performance in the majority of non-core GCSE subjects is weak
  • A number of groups of pupils significantly underperform, such as boys in English,boys and girls in mathematics, and more able pupils across many GCSEsubjects
  • The low level disruption caused by a few pupils disrupts the progress of other pupils in a minority of lessons
  • Over half of pupils do not make sufficient progress in lessons
  • Too many pupils’ literacy skills are weak and their numeracy skills are very weak
  • The quality of teaching varies too much.

The school has been told to draw up an action plan which shows how it is going to address the issues. Estyn will monitor the school’s progress on a termly basis.

Tonypandy Community College is a mixed 11 to 19 community school serving Tonypandy and its surrounding area in Rhondda Cynon Taf. There are around 750 pupils - with 170 are in the sixth form.

Many of the school’s pupils come from the nearby villages of Cwmclydach, Llwynypia and Penygraig. Around 26% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is higher than the national average of 17.5%. Nearly a half of pupils live in the 20% most deprived areas of Wales.

More: Colour-coded schools: How does it work?


Attempt to improve housing stock given investment boost

The Welsh Government is investing a £20 million to improve the Welsh housing stock and bring thousands of derelict and inhabitable properties back into use.

It's part of an attempt to tackle social issues and to help meet housing demand in Wales.

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, today launched the Home Improvement Loans scheme, which will offer loans to home owners and landlords to improve poor quality housing across Wales.

£10 million will be provided over two years to offer interest-free loans of up to £25,000 per property.

Latest figures suggest there are around 23,000 empty properties in Wales.

Lesley Griffiths said:

“One of the biggest issues facing the housing sector at the moment is the lack of homes for sale or for rent. Empty homes are not only a wasted resource, but they can also attract vandalism and anti-social behaviour and can spoil the appearance of our neighbourhoods.

“Today’s funding announcements clearly demonstrate our commitment to meeting Wales’ housing need.”

Health staff work for free to support Ebola fight

Health workers in north Wales are working for free this weekend to support colleagues tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Many of the staff have agreed to work additional weekend sessions in the Eye Units at Abergele Hospital and Ysbyty Gwynedd to help the Health Board deliver quicker treatment for patients and to reduce the numbers on waiting lists.

They have all agreed that their payments should be donated to support the on-going medical work to tackle Ebola.

Consultant Eye Surgeon Claire Morton said:

"We have all been very impressed by the courage and selflessness of colleagues who have volunteered to go out to the affected region to care for people affected by this terrible disease."

Prof Matt Makin, the Health Board's Medical Director, said:

"I think this is a very noble gesture by our Ophthalmology teams. This is an idea that they came up with themselves, and one that says a lot about the spirit and compassion of our health service staff and the sense of loyalty that professional colleagues feel towards each other."

Two members of staff from the Health Board have already spent time out in Africa, working on the response to the Ebola outbreak, and a further two members of staff will be heading out to Africa in the coming months.

Read more: Ebola battle 'moving to end phase' as new cases fall


Weather warnings in force

Credit: Ian Lang/ITV Cymru Wales

Yellow, be aware, warnings for ice and snow are in force for much of Wales along with one warning of strong winds for South and West Wales.

Snow has closed the The A542 Horseshoe Pass between Llangollen and Llandegla.

In Powys the B4355 is closed in both directions because of ice and snow between Dolfor and Felindre.

The Llangynidr Mountain Road is also closed because of snow between Llangynidr and Ebbw Vale.

The warnings are valid until 11.00am but there are more warnings of snow for Sunday and Monday.

  1. Tom Sheldrick

Parents and pupils celebrate St Davids school reprieve

Hundreds of parents and pupils turned out this morning to protest against controversial plans to close the only secondary school in the city of St Davids.

Ysgol Dewi Sant was under threat, as part of plans to reorganise education and improve performance in Pembrokeshire.

But, the council then offered the school a reprieve - in an unusually quick victory for people power.

Tom Sheldrick reports:

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