Education Adviser, Dr Don Taylor from the Department for International Development (DFID), has been on Island for a week, monitoring progress in raising the quality of teaching and learning in the schools, assessing progress in training and up skilling the labour force, and commenting on draft budget estimates for 2015-16.
This is Dr Taylor’s annual visit to the Island, having last visited in November 2013.
During his stay, Dr Taylor has been visiting the four Island schools and meeting teachers, specialist staff, SHG officials, and Councillors on the Education Committee. He commented:
“This is my third annual visit to St Helena and it is good to see real improvement over the past three years, particularly in the GCSE results at Prince Andrew School. The schools, Adult and Vocational Education Serviceand Enterprise St Helena are working well together to equip young people with the skills they will need to lead healthy and productive lives.”
Dr Taylor departs the Island tomorrow, Tuesday 14 October 2014, and will produce a short report on his visit for DFID and SHG officials.
DFID provides financial support for education on the Island through the recurrent budget of SHG and technical support through additional funding for teacher training, advisory teachers, and senior managers.
Executive Council will meet tomorrow morning, Tuesday 14 October 2014, in the Council Chamber.
The meeting will be open to the public from 9.30am for two Open Agenda items:
Application for Outline Development Permission for the proposed Solar Farm
Request for Discharge of Condition 1 pursuant to Development Permission 2013/92 – Rupert’s Rockfall Assessment
Executive Council Members are: Lawson Henry, Wilson Duncan and Leslie Baldwin. Councillors Nigel Dollery and Brian Isaac are acting Exco Members while Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean and Ian Rummery are on overseas business and leave.
The Education Directorate would like to remind the public of their programme currently showing on Local TV 1.
The Directorate has been working closely with the Nursery Classes and Crèches to develop appropriate practice to give all children the best start on their journey of learning to read. Parents have a very important role to play in this process. Reading does not begin when a child brings home a reading book – it starts much earlier.
The programme, made by the Education Directorate, looks at this process, what is currently being done, and what else parents could be doing to help their child.
Catch the programme again this week at the following times:
There are 36 days left for applicants to apply for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Chevening Scholarship programme.
Established in 1983, the programme offers outstanding scholars from around the world to study postgraduate courses at UK universities. Talented professionals from St Helena are urged to apply for this round of UK Chevening Scholarships.
The programme provides full or part funding for full-time courses at postgraduate level, normally at a one-year Master’s level, in any subject and at any UK university.
SHG’s Social Services Policy Development Officer, Dr Cilla McDaniel, negotiated with SHG and the Chevening Scholarship panel to complete the taught component of her Doctorate in the span of a year (normally allocated for a Master’s Degree). Dr McDaniel completed her eight taught modules and began her thesis in the first year of her Social Policy course at the University of Bristol. In this way Chevening paid for all tuition and thesis fees, and SHG subsidised the following years. Dr McDaniel was motivated to complete her studies in a shorter time than the allocated 5 years.
Now a Doctor of Social Science (Social Policy), Dr McDaniel said of her experience:
“This was the first time I was able to experience full university life – previously I studied through distance learning. It was enlightening to interact and work with people from diverse backgrounds and countries.
“My Doctorate in Social Policy has given me the recognition that compliments many years of knowledge and skills and enables me to work at a high level. I am in a position where I can effectively advocate for a better way of life for the people of St Helena. The Chevening Scholarship gave me a wealth of opportunities and I will continue to keep in touch as an alumni member.
“I would strongly recommend this scholarship to anyone regardless of age or background.”
Pamela Constantine also received part-funding from the Chevening Programme. Pamela did a degree in Business and Administration through the Education Directorate Post – School Scholarship Fund and was awarded funding for her final year at university from the Chevening programme, graduating in 2004.
Pamela spoke of her experience:
“It exposed me to new ideas, and gave me diverse theoretical knowledge about the subject. If anyone is apprehensive about applying for a Chevening scholarship, I think you should go for it, it opens you up to different opportunities and experiences and allows you to meet and relate to a wide range of students from around the world. There are also advisors who are there to take care of you during the programme.”
The next round of Scholarship studies will commence in September 2015. Interested persons have until 15 November 2014 to submit their applications. For more information visit: www.chevening.org/apply.
The St Helena Public Solicitor’s Office has for the last two months been receiving valuable on-Island support from qualified UK Barrister, Emma Gilsenan.
Supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Overseas Territories Programme Fund, Emma arrived in July 2014 (on her second visit to the Island), to assist the Public Solicitor’s Office. Emma’s role has been to provide training to the Lay Advocates, draft a training manual, and support the trainee Public Solicitor, Aldhelm Garner, with criminal, civil and human rights cases across the broad spectrum of services provided by the Office.
With two new Lay Advocates recently appointed (Tony Green and Geoff Dawson), Emma has been delivering intense training to them, supported by the Public Solicitor and fellow Lay Advocate Ivy Ellick. As the role of a Lay Advocate is to provide advice and guidance requested by people in a confidential manner and representing that person in court if necessary, Emma has been training the Lay Advocates in Criminal Law, Practices, Procedures, Advocacy and Client Confidentiality and Ethics.
“I have recently participated in rigorous training with Argent/Goldsmith Chambers and Middle Temple in London as part of my pupillage. During the course of training with the Lay Advocates, I have been passing some of what I have learnt on, to hopefully assist them in performing their role.
“The Lay Advocate scheme is unique to St Helena and Ascension Island. It is very important, that on such small Islands, people who are giving their own time to assist members of the public are valued. Lay Advocates understand the community and can provide valuable support and assistance to people involved in the legal system. The Public Solicitor’s Office is an office that is independent of Government and advises and supports individuals in the community. This support and advice is extended to Lay Advocates in their role in the legal system.”
To complement the training Emma has also produced an introductory training manual in criminal law as a reference guide for the Lay Advocates in their practice going forward.
“The Public Solicitor’s Office has a wide remit and deals with a broad range of cases including, but not limited to, Criminal, Prison Law, Employment, Civil, Family, Child Care and Human Rights. The Office is therefore very busy and the team are very dedicated to assisting the community and providing a quality independent legal service.
“We are very grateful to the Lay Advocates for giving their time to the community, enabling them to have a voice, access to justice and understand their rights as citizens and individuals.”
Emma holds a Law Degree and has a wealth of experience in Law. She completed her Bar Exams with the College of Law in London and was called to the Bar of Middle Temple in 2008. Emma has worked in the legal team of UK Charity, The Howard League for Penal Reform, in Criminal Defence Firm GT Stewart Solicitors in London and has also recently completed a pupillagewith Argent/Goldsmith Chambers. In 2013 Emma first visited St Helena to support the Public Solicitor’s Office with their preparations for Supreme Court.
Emma departs the Island on Wednesday 8 October 2014 and will be assisting with training and support to the Lay Advocates on Ascension Island. Emma will return on 5 November 2014 to assist with this year’s sitting of Supreme Court and deliver further training.
Customs Officers, Juliette O’Dean and Rosemond Fowler, will depart the Island today (8 October 2014) to undergo training in St Lucia on implementing St Helena’s first Automated Data System (ASYCUDA).
This web based system will improve efficiency and speed in the acceptance and clearance of cargo, import duties and other paper transactions. It also provides for the faster and more streamlined clearance of goods, and for payment online. The system allows for a one-stop gateway for HM Customs and Excise business, providing both Government and Merchants with trade figures and statistics in ‘real time’ which is invaluable for budgeting and planning.
Head of Information Technology, Jeremy Roberts and Juliette O’Dean have previously undergone their initial training in Geneva to ensure the system could be firstly installed and the initial phase of the system implemented.
Head of Customs and Port Control, Jon Holland said:
“Unlike other locations, St Helena has had the minimum of ongoing hands-on technical support when implementing ASYCUDA. The first step has been completed but we are too remote for trainers to be sent to the Island for the system to effectively progress to the next phase.
“St Helena will be moving away from the current standard international trade classification codes to the International Harmonized System codes and staff will need hands-on training to implement them as the current codes are not compatible with the ASYCUDA system – the training in St Lucia will enable this to move forward.”
Notes to Editors:
The ASYCUDA system was funded by the Department for International Development.
The system to be used on St Helena is the most up to date version of the software and was designed by a dedicated team from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The system can be found in over 100 jurisdictions worldwide but this is the first time for it to be introduced on an Island as remote as St Helena. (NB Montserrat is smaller than St Helena and has the system).
Prince Andrew School commemorated its 25th Anniversary in a special assembly held at the school on Friday morning, 3 October 2014.
Invited guests, staff and students were welcomed to the assembly by Head Teacher, Paul Starkie, who remarked on the significance of the occasion and spoke of events taking place this year to celebrate 25 years since the opening of the School.
HE Governor Capes too recognised this special occasion and spoke of the importance of Prince Andrew School to the education of our young people and to the development of St Helena.
A number of presentations followed from the Director of Education, Colin Moore, former Chief Education Officer, Basil George, and Vice Chairman of the Education Committee, Nigel Dollery. Paul Starkie relayed a message from the Chairperson of the Parent Teacher Association, Father Dale Bowers, who was unfortunately ill and could not attend. There were also reflections and memories shared from former Prince Andrew School staff and students. A video message had also been received from former Head Teacher John Birchall, who spoke of the initial preparation for the opening of the school.
Through the guest speakers’ presentations, audience members were given a brief history of the school and the important role that leaders of Prince Andrew School have played over the years, and the challenges of change prior to the school’s opening.
Guests, staff and students were reminded of the importance of teachers and the influential role they have in the lives of students and the school as a community.
Throughout the assembly there were musical pieces from the Prince Andrew School Choir and students.
Student President, Lizemarie Robbertse, and Vice Student President Chrystabel Greentree closed the ceremony by sharing perspectives on the future of the school and the importance of students striving for success.
Following the assembly guests were invited for light refreshments in the school foyer, prepared by VRQ Food Students.
Speaking about the assembly, Head Teacher, Paul Starkie said:
“The assembly on Friday was a celebration of the foundation of the school and to all those who were involved in the successful launch and the ongoing development over its 25 year history. The memories were vivid and passionate by all those who participated as former leaders, students and staff. We look forward to another 25 years where we will continue to inspire our students to achieve their full potential.”
Director of Education, Colin Moore added:
“Prince Andrew School has successfully served the community for the past 25 years and Friday’s ceremony was a fitting event to recognise this important anniversary.
“It was particularly enjoyable to listen to the stories that past and present staff and pupils presented and to participate as the School and the community joined together in a collective celebration of educational achievement.”
The Governors Office has once again been invited by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to submit recommendations for HM the Queen’s Birthday Honours for St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
Persons wishing to submit nominations for the 2015 Birthday Honours are reminded that the overriding principle is that honours are awarded on merit for exceptional achievement or any service recently carried out over and above what normally is expected. Where possible, nominations should place emphasis on voluntary services. It should also be noted that age is not a factor in awarding honours and younger members of the community who have made an outstanding contribution or have given exceptional service, should not be overlooked. It is important that nominations are kept confidential and that nominees are not made aware that they are being proposed for award of an Honour.
Nomination forms are available from Mrs Carol George, Corporate Services Executive Manager and completed forms should be returned to the Executive Secretary, Honours Committee, in a sealed envelope, marked confidential, by Friday, 7 November 2014.
In a special reception held last evening (Thursday 2 October 2014), at Plantation House, His Excellency Governor and Mrs Capes paid tribute to the hard work of Darrin and Sharon Henry with the South Atlantic Media Services Ltd (SAMS).
With the support of a small but dedicated team, Darrin, the outgoing CEO of SAMS, launched the Sentinel newspaper on 29 March 2012. The SAMS website followed soon after on 1 April 2012 and on 13 February 2013 they launched their first hosted radio show on SAMS Radio 1.
Two years later Darrin steps down as CEO as he and Sharon move on to a new adventure.
In the presence of invited guests, including Councillors, Darrin and Sharon’s family, the Sentinel team and SAMS Radio 1 voluntary presenters, Governor Capes spoke of Legislative Council’s decision to establish SAMS Radio and The Sentinel as ‘unquestionably one of the most important and positive acts in the recent history of St Helena’.
Governor Capes said:
“Councillors recognised, rightly, that St Helena needed an objective, modern and sustainable media operation. It was clear that this would be especially important at a time of major change as the Island prepared for air access.
“Darrin and Sharon Henry, two Saints and two of the best people you will meet anywhere, stepped up to the challenge. Over the past few years they have worked incredibly hard for St Helena.
“To say that they have succeeded in their work is an understatement. Through SAMS Radio and the Sentinel they have given Saints, here and around the globe, access to a quality news service that they can trust, a service that is professional, objective and dependable. Along the way they motivated, trained and mentored many young Saints who helped to establish and run both the radio station and the newspaper.
“I think you might agree that to develop a newspaper and a radio station from scratch would be a huge challenge for anyone. More than that, from the word ‘go’ Darrin insisted on setting and maintaining high standards.
“The result is a quality media operation of which St Helena can be proud. A media operation with a strong community focus to give Saints, and all those with an interest in St Helena, an accurate and unbiased account of who and what makes this Island tick.
“As many of you will know, apart from the huge challenge of setting up a new media operation, Darrin and Sharon had to contend with the efforts of a handful of sad people who sought to undermine their work. A handful of sad, gloomy people, unable to accept change.
“Of course, as strong and confident Saints, Darrin and Sharon conducted themselves with dignity and were able to bat away the nasty jibes.
“As always, let’s stay positive and hope that one day the sad ones will ditch their dark cloaks of doom and gloom to experience how much better life is with a positive attitude.”
Governor Capes then went on to present Darrin and Sharon with a framed copy of the very first edition of the Sentinel newspaper.
In his speech on the night Darrin recognised the challenges of running the Sentinel and setting up SAMS Radio 1, but reflected on the enthusiasm of the Sentinel team, the success of the service and the good memories that he and Sharon have from serving the community of St Helena to the best of their ability.
Prince Andrew School is pleased to announce the introduction of their new radio show on SAMS Radio 1.
This exciting initiative, hosted by former Prince Andrew School student, Liam Yon, celebrates the talents and interests of Prince Andrew School students.
The ‘News and Views’ show aired on Mondays, following the 7pm ‘News and Notice Board’, enables students to share their views on a range of issues (both local and global), informs parents and the wider community about news and forthcoming events at Prince Andrew School, while also helping participating students to develop their public speaking skills.
The show is repeated on Sunday afternoons.
Head Teacher, Paul Starkie said:
“The show has had a tremendous start and is an important forum for Prince Andrew School to reach out to the local community. We hope to involve different students each week.”
Director of Education, Colin Moore added:
“This is an excellent way of turning up the volume of the voice and opinions of young people and will make excellent listening for the local community.”
The school has also recently launched a new website www.pas.edu.sh providing a window into the life of Prince Andrew School.
The school website contains essential information for both parents and students, including news on curriculum subjects together with photo galleries on events and activities.