Column 19th July 2017

I had the pleasure of meeting Dame Kelly Holmes at the National Assembly where she came to tell us politicians about her initiative to help young people get their lives back on track. The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust trains world class athletes to become mentors to disadvantaged youngsters and those facing challenges in finding employment or engaging in education. It was incredible to meet such a charismatic figure who inspired the nation and continues to inspire young people around the country through their participation in the Trust’s transformational programmes.

There’s to be a new network for excellence to improve how maths is taught in schools and boost standards. The Welsh Labour Government is investing over £3.2 million in the National Network for Excellence in Maths during this Assembly term to help raise standards in Welsh schools.

It involves schools, colleges, universities and the four regional education consortia working together to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy in Wales, in support of new curriculum developments.

The Welsh Labour Government has just launched two consultation exercises which I wanted to let you know about this week. They would like to hear what you think about Mobile Animal Exhibits in Wales. This issue has come about because there have been concerns that the welfare needs of some animals cannot be met in a travelling environment. As well as performing wild animals in circuses, Mobile Animal Exhibits include travelling falconry and hawking displays, exotic pets taken into schools for educational purposes and reindeer at Christmas events. Introducing a licencing or registration scheme could improve the welfare of animals in a travelling environment and support businesses operating these exhibits in Wales to do so in an effective and appropriate way.

You can have your say here: https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/mobile-animal-exhibits

The Welsh Government is also asking for you to get in touch about the fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector which can cause major problems to people looking for accommodation. Asking tenants to come up with a deposit, a month’s rent up-front and then also “administration” fees on top of all of this can cause major financial headaches, and has the potential to drive people into debt. That’s something the Labour Government in Cardiff wants to do take action on but first they need to hear what you think: https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/fees-charged-tenants-private-rented-sector