We are very much looking forward to welcoming pupils in Years 9 -13 back to school on Monday  9th November. I hope all pupils have been able to participate in purposeful learning at home; I believe that, in general, engagement in activities through TEAMs has been high. We will, of course, be reviewing and consolidating this learning when they return to school.

I would like to remind all pupils that the existing timetable and operational arrangements at school will continue as normal this term. I will be holding a virtual assembly for all pupils Years 9 -11 during registration period next week to remind pupils of our expectations. This will start at 8.45 a.m. on Monday 9th November.

This will include the following messages:

  1. All pupils must wear school uniform in line with the expectations stated at the start of the Autumn Term. We are obliged to maintain good ventilation in classrooms, and this will mean opening doors and windows. Inevitably, during the winter months, this will lead to a colder classroom environment. Whilst pupils will be permitted to wear outdoor coats in class, this does not include ‘hoodies’.  
  2. All pupils will be reminded to support the school’s ‘Track and Trace’ arrangement. They have been instructed to record the list of pupils they frequently associate with at break and lunchtime. This ‘bubble nomination’ should be recorded in their planner. During set points of the day, specifically after break time and lunchtime, pupils should record any new individuals with whom they feel they have associated during these times.
  3. In all lessons and registration time students will be assigned to a seating plan to aid ‘Track and Trace’. These will be recorded electronically via Classcharts.
  4. Pupils in Years 7-11 must not leave the school site during the school day. Any incidences where pupils leave the school site or miss lessons without permission will be dealt with through the school’s behaviour policy. This will include measures such as detention after school.
  5. Mobile phones can be used for communication via TEAMs at break or lunchtime. However, they are not permitted for use in classrooms. Pupils are not permitted, under any circumstances, to take images, videos or recordings of others in school. All pupils have signed the school’s ICT Acceptable Use Policy. I will make reference to the section on mobile phones (page 9) during assemblies next week

Will pupils be sitting GCSE, AS and A level exams in 2021?

Education minister Kirsty Williams has stated that a decision on next summer's GCSE and A-level exams in Wales will be announced on Tuesday 10th November. Qualifications Wales, the exams regulator, has published its recommendations Infographic; Letter of advice to the Minister for Education.  

An independent review of the process for awarding grades in 2020 has taken place. This has also been published and also offers proposals for Summer 2021.

We will begin planning arrangements for all examination groups following this announcement, and share any relevant information with you. In the meantime, subject teams have prepared curriculum plans for Years 7-11 for the second part of the Autumn Term and these will be published (and shared with parents) today.

What should I do if my child is unwell?

We are planning and hoping for a positive, uninterrupted half term. 

While comprehensive arrangements are in place to minimise the risk of coronavirus within schools, all learners, their families, and staff play a vital role in protecting the school community. In this respect, we must ensure that we follow national guidance in relation to coronavirus at all times, as well as the specific arrangements established within each setting.

Please remember, irrespective of their year group, if your child is unwell at home, has any of the three identified coronavirus symptoms outlined below, or has tested positive for coronavirus, please do not send your child to school.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature - chest or back feels hot to the touch;
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours; and/or
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If your child has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • get a test to check if they have coronavirus as soon as possible; and
  • stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result.

In addition, please do not send your child to school if anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus, is awaiting test results, or has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days and follow the self-isolation stay at home guidance from Welsh Government.

If, however, your child does not have symptoms of coronavirus but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they do not need to self-isolate.

Attendance has been very positive throughout this unsettled period. On Monday 2nd November over 97% of those pupils in Years 7 & 8 attended school. Thank you so much for your continuing support.