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All the latest news from Monmouthshire County Council.

Monmouthshire continues trend of effective council services

Monmouthshire County Council

Monmouthshire County Council has delivered improvements in more than 80% of the measures used to assess the performance of Welsh local authorities.  This is one of the headline messages in the council’s annual improvement plan ‘How We Performed in 2014-15’.

The council’s annual improvement plan has been published on its website monmouthshire.gov.uk with printed summaries available in its one-stop-shops in Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow, Monmouth and Usk.  Overall, the plan shows improvements are being made in services while acknowledging that more needs to be done to deliver progress in some areas and ensuring that savings are made so that the council can deliver a balanced budget.

Improvements reflect better results at key stages of education; reductions in the numbers of people delayed in hospital while social care arrangements are made and maintaining a high recycling rate.  The council has also seen, for the third consecutive year, a reduction in indicators ranked among the lowest performing local authorities in Wales.

Commenting after councillors agreed the plan, Council Leader Peter Fox said:

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Village celebrates official launch of new primary school

Monmouthshire County Council

Raglan’s brand new £4.5m primary school was officially opened on Thursday 22nd October.  Unveiling the plaque at a ceremony attended by over a hundred people were the Right Reverend Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth and County Councillor Brian Strong, the Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council.

Raglan Church in Wales VC Primary School has been part funded by Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme and built as part of the council’s 21st Century School programme.  It heralds the launch of other 21st Century standard schools in Monmouthshire with secondary schools at Caldicot and Monmouth scheduled to open within the next two years.

Councillor Strong said: “The village of Raglan will find that the wait for a new school will be well worthwhile.  It has been constructed using the same plaza design implemented within Caldicot’s recently-opened Dewstow Primary School and will truly be a community facility with flexible spaces offering opportunities for local events.”

Cabinet member for education, Councillor Liz Hacket Pain, added: “Raglan is a community famous for its historic castle but there is also an ancient church dedicated to the early educationalist St Cadoc the Wise.  I hope that in years to come people will look back on this day and recognise it as a significant occasion in the village’s journey towards educational excellence.”

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Monmouthshire County Council’s biggest challenge yet

Monmouthshire County Council

Councillors and staff from Monmouthshire County Council are to engage with residents, businesses and organisations over shrinking public service budgets and increasing funding challenges for next year’s services.

The council will be visiting groups and talking to communities at a number of venues in the county’s towns and villages to share ideas and receive community feedback, with public meetings planned for November.  The sessions will inform the community of the serious challenges facing the council and inform them how it plans to work with the public as well as town and community councils to try and maintain services.

The public meetings will outline the effect of budget cuts and allow discussions on the council’s 2016/17 budget with councillors and staff.  The council is inviting involvement from all members of the community to discuss the ideas that have been formulated.  Meetings will take place in each of the county’s towns as follows:

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Monmouthshire’s libraries offer informal groups for men

Monmouthshire County Council

Monmouthshire County Council is running informal groups for men in its libraries.

The groups will meet at Abergavenny Library from 10am to 12 noon on Wednesday 6th and 20th May, Caldicot Library on 6th and 20th May from 2.30 to 4pm and Monmouth Library on Tuesday 28th April, 12th and 26th May from 2pm-4pm.  Men’s groups will be set up in the county’s three other libraries in September.

While library staff are considering a quiz challenge between groups, talks on local history, archaeology, healthy eating with recipe ideas, complementary therapies and other activity sessions they are keen for men who attend to say what should be offered and what would attract them to come to a library-based group.

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Role of Monmouthshire’s young people recognised

Monmouthshire County Council

Monmouthshire’s Chairman, Councillor John Prosser has acknowledged the contribution made towards community activities by the county’s young people.

At an event in Monmouth’s Shire Hall on 15th April he awarded recognition certificates to representatives and individuals from the area’s youth organisations.

Among these were members of the Engage to Change Youth Council - young people instrumental in ensuring participation and engagement with their counterparts across the county, participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, members of inclusive volunteers running provision for young people with learning and physical difficulties, youth club volunteers assisting the running of youth clubs, and three performers from the Gwent Music Support Service.  Councillor Prosser also welcomed and recognised members of the Air Training Corps, Young Firefighters, Police Cadets, Sea Cadets, St John’s Ambulance and Army Cadets who have assisted him at council meetings and commemoration events during his year of office.

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Council receives go-ahead for new schools in Caldicot and Monmouth

Monmouthshire County Council

Formal approval this week by the Welsh Government of funding for two new secondary schools at Caldicot and Monmouth has been widely welcomed as Monmouthshire’s £80m educational investment programme - funded 50% by Welsh Government and 50% by the county council - provides the green light to deliver the two new schools for 2017.

Sarah McGuinness, Chief Officer for Children and Young People commented: “This really is an exciting time for the whole of Monmouthshire; this programme delivers not only modern teaching and learning environments for our students but provides a civic asset that can benefit the whole community it serves in many ways”.

This is the first of two stages in Monmouthshire’s 21st Century Schools strategy, with the development of two other secondary schools in Chepstow and Abergavenny pivotal to the next round of government funding for 21st Century Schools programmed for 2018. As part of the first round of approved 21st Century Schools funding, a new primary school for Raglan will be opened in the 2015-16 academic year and the council has made a financial commitment to the new Welsh-medium secondary provision located at Newport’s Duffryn High School. Designs for the new secondary schools can be viewed in County Hall in Usk and it is planned to establish further exhibitions and digital media links throughout the county in the near future.

Headteacher of Caldicot, Susan Gwyer-Roberts is delighted with the confirmation of this investment in the school by the Welsh Government. She said: “This will allow us to develop even further enhanced learning opportunities for our pupils while promoting the vision and national priorities for education in Wales.”

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