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Campaign to save threatened Cardiff specialist school

Meadowbank School is under threat Credit: ITV Wales

Parents have been talking to ITV Wales News about their campaign to keep a specialist school in Cardiff open.

Meadowbank School helps 4 - 11 year olds who have significant speech and language difficulties. It is the only school of its kind in the capital.

Cardiff Council are now considering closing the school because there has been a 'significant' decline in pupil numbers.

The charity Afasic Cymru has told ITV News that many parents in Cardiff don't realise that a specialist school exists and that it is an option for their children. Cardiff Council say parents are told about all schools, including Meadowbank.

Watch Megan Boot's report:

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Calls for Welsh teachers to look abroad to find jobs

New teachers in Wales are being warned they may have to consider working elsewhere in the UK and even abroad because of a shortage of job vacancies.

The recruitment firm Eteach say such a move could make thousands better teachers in the long term and help strengthen the education sector in Wales when these teachers eventually move back.

Latest figures from the Welsh Government show over 1400 students completed a course in ITT (Initial Teacher Training) in 2013/14.

There are calls for these newly-qualified teachers to start their careers overseas or in England, where over a third (37%) of schools are facing a shortage of teachers.

According to Eteach, 3,395 jobs were available in Wales between May 2015 and April 2016. That's compared to over 30,000 in England and over 48,000 at international schools abroad.

We should take a leaf out of the book of what the Australians and New Zealanders have been doing for years - they want their young people to go out into the world and bring that experience back and improve their own country.

That's what we're looking at - giving our young graduates the opportunity to experience another culture, another way of working, another way of living and when they come back to Wales they're going to be better teachers"

– Paul Howells, Director of Eteach

Claims of extremist views in Cardiff classroom

Fitzalan High School Credit: Google Maps

A former teacher has told a national newspaper that they encountered extremist views in a Cardiff classroom.

In an article on the 'Mail on Sunday', the teacher writes that some of the students thought those behind the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and the murder of Lee Rigby, were heroes. Whilst the teacher adds that the majority of students were 'lovely' and 'respectful', they claim the school failed to respond effectively to those showing extreme views.

In a statement to ITV News, the school says that is not the case:

"Anyone who knows Fitzalan would not recognise the picture of the school that is being painted here. In a recent peer review, visiting teachers recognised how positive the atmosphere is at the school.

"Fitzalan is a very popular and over-subscribed school, serving a diverse community. The school population is made up of children and young people from 40 different nationalities and a number of religions.

"The school is actively engaged in the work of Prevent. It is fully committed to the safeguarding of children and young people and it works proactively on countering extremism.

"Staff are fully trained in how to identify the early signs of extremism. They understand the work of Prevent. They know how to respond and they know how to get help, guidance and intervention.

"Where concerns arise, the school is quick to respond and follow up appropriately. Prevent staff are complimentary of the work being done at Fitzalan."

– School Spokesperson
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