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Mr Ed returns

Ysgol Penglais: popular teacher reinstated AN ART teacher at Ysgol Penglais,

Aberystwyth, has successfully appealed against his sacking. Richard Edwards – known as ‘Mr

Ed’ – was dismissed just before the end of the last school year after being found guilty at a disciplinary hearing of gross misconduct. In July, the popular teacher’s sacking

caused a protest at the school involving over 100 students, which led to Police already on the school campus being called to control the crowd and restore order. The calls to reinstate the teacher

escalated into an online campaign heavily criticising the decision and the launch of a petition calling for the dismissal to be overturned. At a hearing held on Tuesday,

September 14, at the council’s offices in Aberystwyth, the decision to dismiss Mr Edwards was overturned. The Herald understands that part of

the disciplinary proceedings relates to Mr Edwards’s dissent from management decisions relating to reorganisation of teaching resources at the school. However, Mr Edwards has been

given a formal warning as to his future conduct and demoted from his post as head of the art department. The council confirmed the appeal

panel had not upheld the initial decision and instead imposed a final written warning and a demotion. A spokesperson said: “The council

supports and advises the governing body of Penglais School to ensure the correct implementation of policies and procedures in dealing with staff disciplinary issues. “The council can confirm that a

disciplinary appeal hearing was held on Tuesday, 13 September, to consider five allegations of misconduct against Mr Richard Edwards. “The appeal panel decided not to

uphold the original decision to dismiss and amended the sanction that was applied to a final written warning and a demotion from head of department to classroom teacher. Arrangements are now being made for Mr Edwards to return to his post.” The NASUWT union said Mr

Edwards accepted the new terms and was “delighted” with the result.

Call for VAT cut for Wales’ Tourism industry


of Parliament for Ceredigion and Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has renewed calls for a cut in the rate of VAT paid by the tourism and hospitality industry after a meeting of industry representatives in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 13). The All-Party Parliamentary Group

on Tourism and Hospitality in Wales, Chaired by Mark Williams MP, met in Parliament for a special-round table with Welsh businesses to discuss key issues facing the industry as part of the British Hospitality Association’s Hospitality and Tourism Day. The tourism and hospitality

industry employs three million people throughout the UK, and in 2015 alone Wales attracted 970,000 international visitors spending £410 million, employing around 242,000 people. The Liberal Democrats passed a

motion supporting a cut in VAT on tourism at its Autumn Conference in

Bournemouth in 2015, which would bring the UK in line with many European countries who currently have a reduced level of VAT for tourism. Mark said: “The Liberal Democrats

have been calling for the government to reduce the level of VAT to help our tourism and hospitality industry to compete with those business on the continent. This would have a hugely positive impact on many small tourism businesses in Wales, and help increase tourism and employment in many of our seaside towns. “By reducing the level of VAT,

we would not only be helping local businesses, but also helping to raise extra tax in the long-run through an increase in tourism and spending. This is something that I hope the new Government will give serious consideration to, and I will continue to strongly pursue this, along with many other Parliamentary colleagues, in the months ahead.”

3 News

County council may have to reveal ‘sensitive’ information

AN ERROR in the procedure

used by Ceredigion County Council to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request could mean the Council will be compelled to reveal information for which it has previously claimed commercial confidentiality as a reason for non- disclosure. The information relates to the

almost £2m contract the council entered into with leading business consultancy and accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) titled ‘Risk and Reward’. The contract ran from the summer

of 2015 to April 30, 2016. A Freedom of Information Act

request was made by a member of the public on June 6, giving the Council twenty days to respond. Crucially, it is within that twenty day period that the Council must review the information and, if it is to claim commercial confidentiality as a reason for non- disclosure, state that some information is to be withheld on that basis. The twenty-day period ended at the latest on July 6. However, the Council delayed

responding to the request until it was prompted to do so by a formal complaint regarding its failure to respond as required or at all by the latest date upon which it could claim the information was exempt from disclosure.

It was, however, only on August

5 that the Council both replied in full and claimed that some information was exempt from disclosure. The error was spotted by Herald

columnist Draenog, whose article can be read on pages 62 and 63 of this week’s newspaper. The Council had redacted any

details of projects or services upon which it had sought PWC’s advice. In the meantime, this newspaper’s

deputy editor had made a separate request for a comment made to Ceredigion County Council asking for details of those areas of the council’s activities covered by the contract, details of those areas of work in which proposals made by PwC are being actioned and details of future plans to put those proposals into practice. The council were also asked for

a comment as to whether the council considered that it had received good value and anticipated significant financial benefits from PWC’s involvement. In response we were told that key

staff were unavailable to reply by our deadline. We will detail the council’s

response to those matters and those raised by Draenog’s observations in next week’s Ceredigion Herald.

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