Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, is once more backing the annual Safer Internet Day.
Rebecca Evans has been recognised as an official supporter of Safer Internet Day and campaigns on internet safety. In her role as a Mid and West Wales Assembly Member, Rebecca has long championed the issue in the Senedd, and has led debate in the Chamber in the safety of children online.
Mrs Evans said: “I am pleased to lend my support Safer Internet Day 2016. The Internet is a wonderful, valuable resource. It can be an enriching learning environment, helping develop knowledge, skills, ideas and global citizenship, as well as being a forum for socialising and entertainment. But there is also a darker side.”
Rebecca Evans has highlighted the challenges and dangers posed to children and young people online by cyberbullying, online grooming, easy access to explicit adult material which may be extreme or violent, and the pressures of modern trends such as sexting.
Rebecca Evans said: “By educating children and those who protect and support them about the safe use of the internet – including recognising danger and the importance of privacy settings and content blocks, for example – we can make the internet a much safer place.
“By helping children to put what they see and experience online into context offline we can build their resilience. There is a huge amount of very good work already taking place in Wales by the Welsh Government, parents, schools, the third sector, the police and others.
“We need to keep redoubling our efforts and working together to protect children – and Safer Internet Day gives us a chance to do just that.”
Safer Internet Day takes place on 9th February.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly Candidate for Gower, has welcomed progress made by Gower schools after the Welsh Labour Government released the results of its National School Categorisation system. The categorisation sees schools being put into one of four colour coded support categories on an annual basis in order to determine the level of support it needs.
Under the system there are four categories - green, yellow, amber and red. Schools in the green category are already doing well and are deemed to be in need of the least support while schools in the red category are those identified as needing the most support. Each school’s category is determined by a range of factors including the quality of its leadership, its performance data, self evaluation by the school, and its wider capacity to improve.
Rebecca Evans said: "I am pleased that primary and secondary schools across Gower are continuing to improve. Improvement at Casllwchwr, for example, has been recognised not only in the categorisation, but also in the recent Estyn school inspection.
"Raised standards of education across the constituency are the result of strong leadership from the Welsh Government, and hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff who strive to ensure that their pupils are supported to achieve their full potential. It is also a tribute to the work of the Labour administration in Swansea which, despite savage cuts from the Westminster Government, is doing all it can to support schools and young people.
"The increase in the attainment of pupils eligible for free school meals is also something which is to be welcomed, and lays the foundation for further progress.
"This all follows on from last summer's GCSE results which were the best we have ever seen in Wales. Tribute must also go to our pupils who are working so hard week after week."
More than half of secondary schools across Swansea are green and none are red. Thirty seven of the seventy nine primary schools across Swansea are also green, compared to twenty nine last year, and just two are red.
Welsh Labour Gower candidate Rebecca Evans has congratulated Coed Bach Park on their achievement in being awarded the 'Getting Active in a Fields in Trust Site' award, in recognition of the wide range of sport and physical activity opportunities available in the park, which is provided by the Council, the sports clubs, the Friends and other partners.
This is a national award which included competition from all regions of the UK.
The Friends organise a number of activities and events which encourage increased usage by the local community, and have been instrumental in securing significant grant funding towards improvements in the range and quality of facilities and opportunities available, including a full upgrade of the tennis courts, working with the Not in Education, Employment or Training Team to improve walking opportunities in the park, developing an upgraded BMX facility, and providing new accessible play equipment as part of the upgraded play facility.
The Friends are set to formally receive their award at today's council meeting.
Rebecca Evans said:
"This is an outstanding achievement for Coed Bach Park.
"Facing stiff competition from regions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, winning this award is something everyone involved in the running of the park can be very be proud of indeed."
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has welcomed the news that patients with suspected heart problems will in future have access to cardiology services closer to their homes, reducing waiting times and pressure on hospitals as part of a new initiative unveiled by Welsh Labour’s Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
Rebecca Evans said: "The demand for hospital cardiology services is increasing. Until now, all patient referrals have all been managed by consultant cardiologists. However, a significant proportion of people who have been attending hospital-based services only need a diagnostic assessment and reassurance or advice about a management plan, rather than formal review by a consultant cardiologist. This has involved some patients having to travel considerable distances to hospital on more than one occasion for assessment.
"This exciting new pilot community cardiology scheme in Swansea involves specially-trained GPs managing people with heart problems, allowing consultant cardiologists to deal with patients who have more complex conditions. This will help deliver further cuts in waiting times to see consultant cardiologists."
The Welsh Labour Government is investing the majority of what is a £1m funding boost for the Heart Disease Delivery Plan in new community cardiology services. This will provide diagnostics and assessment closer to people’s homes in primary care. Triage for these tests and reporting will be carried out by GPs with a special interest in cardiology, supported by consultant cardiologists.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Gower candidate for the Assembly elections, has welcomed the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant, to Gower once again this week.
The two took the opportunity to visit Down to Earth's Little Bryn Gwyn project, near Llanrhidian, where sustainable training facilities are currently under construction.
The project, which has benefitted from Welsh Government funding, offers a diverse range of people - particularly from groups sometimes seen as 'hard to reach' or from disadvantaged backgrounds - the opportunity to get hands-on and use traditional and sustainable methods to construct buildings of a commercial standard.
Rebecca Evans said: "Both the Natural Resources Minister and I were impressed.
"Down to Earth is a tremendously exciting project, offering people the chance to gain accredited skills and grow their confidence in a wide range of areas that grab the attention of potential future employers - such as team working, for example.
"The project is also committed to sustainability. It is very much in the spirit of the Welsh Government's commitment to the wellbeing of future generations, helping us work toward a more prosperous, resilient, healthier and more equal Wales - a Wales where we have strong communities with a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language, and where we are mindful of and responsive to global challenges.
"I look forward to visiting again and seeing the project continuing to take shape!"
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, is encouraging businesses in the constituency to ensure they benefit from £2.4m of European Union funding which has been secured by the Welsh Government to develop the skills of employees in 100 business across South West Wales.
Led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the £2.4m Growing Workforces through Learning and Development project will deliver accredited work-based learning programmes to support the ongoing professional development of over 550 employees in the region.
Urging Gower businesses to register to take part, Rebecca Evans said, "This is a great opportunity for businesses in Gower to invest in their workforce to help them improve their skills and productivity. It is good news for employers because they will improve their performance by having a better skilled and more motivated team, and it is good news for employees because they will know that they are valued and are being supported to progress. All of this is good news for the bottom line."
People taking part will be supported to improve their skills and productivity in a range of business areas and achieve higher education qualifications in professional practice.
In addition to the £2.4m EU funds, the three-year project has been part-funded by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and a contribution of over £500,000 from the private sector.
Rebecca Evans said, "This is another good example of why our membership of the European Union is so important for businesses in Wales. Alongside having unfettered access to a market of half a billion people in Europe, the EU also helps us invest in the skills and careers of people in Wales so that Welsh businesses can grow and prosper."
Around £350 million of EU funds are being invested in Wales over the next five years to raise skills and drive productivity in workplaces.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has welcomed the news that two Welsh Government schemes are being expanded to further increase the number of people able to access superfast broadband in Gower.
Rebecca Evans said: "Wales is already leading the way with the provision of superfast broadband.
"Thanks to a combination of commercial roll-outs and the Welsh Government's investment in the Superfast Cymru programme, all exchanges in Gower have now been fibre enabled with the single exception of Penmaen which is due to be enabled in March this year.
"Over 530,000 premises in Wales now have access to fast fibre broadband, including more than 81% of premises on the Penclawdd exchange, and 83% on the Bishopston and Gowerton exchanges as part of the Welsh Government's Superfast Cymru programme.
"The Superfast Cymru and commercial roll-outs have been successful in ensuring that the vast majority of premises in Wales will be able to access superfast broadband, but there are still some that will not. That is why today's announcement is important."
The Deputy Minister for Technology and Skills, Julie James, has announced changes to the Access Broadband Cymru and Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher schemes which will expand the availability of superfast broadband and will make faster internet speeds available to all homes and businesses across Wales.
For a two-year period, the Access Broadband Cymru scheme will be available to all homes and businesses across Wales which currently do not have a superfast connection.
This scheme will fund, or part-fund, the installation costs of new broadband connections for homes and businesses in Wales which deliver a step change in download speeds. There will be two levels of funding depending on the speed required, £400 for download speeds of 10Mbps and above and £800 for 30Mbps and above.
A range of technologies can be used to deliver superfast speeds including satellite, wireless and 4G.
The Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher is being opened up to businesses across Wales to help them meet the initial capital costs involved in installing ultrafast broadband services. The maximum grant available will be £10,000. This scheme was previously only available to businesses located in the Enterprise and Local Growth Zones.
Rebecca Evans added: "The expansion of these schemes is great news for both residents and business people in Gower. This is a serious investment on the part of the Welsh Government in business and in learning, as well as one which will also allow more people to access the many entertainment opportunities that superfast connectivity brings."
Full information is available on the Welsh Government website.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has welcomed the news that two more schools in Gower will assist with curriculum design and development in Wales through the Pioneer Schools Network.
The Welsh Government has today announced that Ysgol Bryniago and Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr will join Llanrhidian Primary School and Pontarddulais Comprehensive School in leading the way in curriculum design and development. This work will complement the other two strands of the Pioneer Schools Network - the strand working on a Digital Competence Framework, and the strand delivering the New Deal for the Education Workforce.
Rebecca Evans said: "This is an exciting opportunity for these Gower schools to be engaged in designing and developing a new curriculum for Wales. Pioneer schools have a crucial role in ensuring that the Welsh Government's ambitious and exciting future for education in Wales is realised.
"At the heart of our new curriculum will be the aim of ensuring that our children are ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives. We want them to be enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work, and ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world. The curriculum also has a role in helping our children to be healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society."
A new curriculum for Wales is being developed with education professionals across Wales with the aim of it being available to settings and schools by September 2018.
Making the announcement of the new curriculum design and development Pioneer Schools, Education Minister Huw Lewis said that the initiative "will help to ensure that the Welsh Government's ambitious programme of reform reaches its full potential, and delivers a first class education service for all our children and young people in Wales."
A further announcement providing an update on the appointment of additional Pioneer Schools focussing on the New Deal for the Education Workforce will be made later this month.
According to new figures released today by The Fostering Network, 500 new foster families are required in Wales this year to ensure the provision of stable, secure and loving homes for children in need of foster care.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour candidate for this year's Assembly elections in Gower, is asking local people to consider whether they could provide a home for one or more foster children.
Rebecca Evans said: "Without more foster families coming forward in 2016 there is a real danger that some children and young people in need of foster care will find themselves living a long way from their birth family, school and friends. This can be traumatic, upsetting and unsettling.
"Foster children may also be split up from brothers and sisters, or be placed with a foster family which doesn't have quite the right mix of skills and experience to meet their individual needs, risking a breakdown in the placement. A wider pool of foster carers will help make sure the child or young person gets the right placement first time."
The Fostering Network says that there is a particularly urgent and ongoing need for foster families to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and sibling groups - although foster carers who choose to foster children and young people from groups that are sometimes thought of as 'hard to place' know how rewarding it can be.
Rebecca Evans added: "We are seeing a rising number of children entering foster care. Couple this with the fact that around 12 per cent of foster carers retired or left fostering last year, and there is a clear need to recruit more foster carers. We also need to consider how we can better utilise the current pool of foster carers to best meet the needs of the children and young people in foster care.
"Foster carers provide an invaluable service, and I am full of admiration and appreciation for the contribution they make in offering children and young people supportive and happy homes that they may not otherwise have. I am asking people across Gower who don't already foster to consider whether they could be one of those additional 500 foster families that Wales needs this year to offer a safe, stable and loving home to a child who needs one."
Prospective foster carers will receive training and support from their fostering service before they foster. They will need a range of skills, including patience, the ability to listen, being a team player and being able to advocate on behalf of a child, a sense of humour and much more besides. If you think you have what it takes to become a foster carer, visit couldyoufoster.org.uk today.
Notes to editors:
4,255 children live with over 3,650 foster families across Wales.