September 2020 return to school arrangements

Friday 17th July 2020

End of term and September 2020 arrangements

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope you and your family are well. Firstly, I would like to thank the whole school community for its support and resilience throughout the challenging past few months. As we reach the end of a highly unusual academic year it would be remiss not to thank parents/carers for the way in which they have supported their children through home learning. Parental survey feedback has been particularly useful in evaluating our provision and adapting accordingly. Collectively we can take pride in how we have worked together to support not just our pupils but the wider community during the coronavirus pandemic. We have all played our part in reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The re-opening of school has been successful in allowing pupils to ‘catch-up, check-in and prepare’. A special thanks to those parents who were able to transport their children to school to assist with what could have been logistically a very difficult situation. Since their return, pupils’ attitudes and engagement towards their learning has been exceptional. It has been wonderful to be able to welcome back pupils who have spoken positively in terms of how the sessions have supported their blended learning, as well as allowing them to safely catch-up with their peers.  For those pupils who have not attended since re-opening learning packs have been hand delivered by school staff who kindly volunteered their services.

I would also like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to members of staff who will not be returning in September. After working in the school for twenty-two years, Mrs. Mary Roberts (LSA) is retiring. She has always had the best interests of pupils in the front of her mind and will be missed by pupils and staff alike. Miss Nia Miles (Assistant Headteacher) has secured a year’s seconded position with the National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL) focussing on curriculum innovation, starting in September.

End of year reports are now accessible for all pupils (from Year 7 to Year 10 ) through Insight. The reports follow the usual ‘interim’ report format that includes target level/grades supplemented with other attainment and attitudes to learning information. Please contact the school if you are having problems accessing these reports.

Parents of Year 11 pupils will also have a letter explain how GCSE results will be distributed on Thursday 20th August. We know your child will be excited to collect their results this summer, but results day will be very different than in previous years due to the public health challenges involved in potentially bringing together large groups of young people to collect their results. However, we have made the decision to invite pupils into school to collect their results in person in a controlled way.  There shall be an option to have the results sent electronically if preferred – more information to follow.

Arrangements for September 2020

We recently received national guidance and supporting documentation from the local authority to help the school plan for September. Yesterday you would have received a letter from Nick Williams, Swansea’s Director of Education, which explained general plans for September. In order to help you plan ahead I would like to share our draft phased return with you now. Please be mindful that we reserve the right to make changes based upon a range of external factors that may present themselves from now until September i.e. a change in the rate of Covid-19 transmission within the wider community. As you already know the national expectation is that all pupils should be back in school by September 14th. The rationale behind a phased return is to evaluate our risk assessments, on a daily basis, and to build confidence in pupils and staff with regard to the safeguarding measures in place. All pupils should be back in school by Wednesday September 9th onwards. The current phased return plan is below:

  • Tuesday September 1st : Staff only – Planning and preparation days;
  • Wednesday September 2nd : Staff only – Planning and preparation days;
  • Thursday September 3rd : Year 7 and 11 pupils attend;
  • Friday September 4th : Year 7 and Year 11 pupils attend;
  • Monday September 7th : Year 7, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils attend;
  • Tuesday September 8th : Year 7, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils attend;
  • Wednesday September 9th : Year 7, Year 8 ,Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils attend.

We look forward to welcoming Year 7 pupils who would have unfortunately missed out on the usual transition week. Having less pupils in school on their arrival should help with their induction into the school community. More information to support transition can be found here: https://pontcomp.co.uk/year-6-transition-2020/

There remain aspects where we are still seeking further clarification such as transport arrangements that we shall keep you informed of as soon as that information becomes available. Please bear in mind the points below for return in September:

Uniform – normal uniform rules will return in September in line with national guidance; details and a reminder of the school’s uniform policy can be found here: https://pontcomp.co.uk/uniform/

As explained in yesterday’s letter from the Director of Education “School meals will restart on 14 September. Until that time all pupils will need to bring a packed lunch for the first two weeks of term. “. Pupils will also have a 15 minute break during the morning session.

Prior to pupils attending in September more details will be planned and shared such as safeguarding measures that will include one-way systems, staggered lunch times and other measures to keep pupils in ‘contact groups’ wherever possible.

The school’s values of inclusion, respect and resilience have been the bedrock of the school community’s approach during the ongoing pandemic. Pupils, parents/carers, governors and staff have pulled together to keep each other not just safe but to ensure that education continues. I would like to pay tribute to so many of the school staff who have; volunteered to work through their holidays since March, provided emergency childcare (including pupils from our cluster primary schools), developed a whole new blended learning approach, recorded video lessons, used innovative methods to give pupils feedback through a range of assessment methods, produced learning packs, hand delivered learning packs to pupils’ homes, delivered food parcels, made phone calls to check in on pupils plus many other innovative ways of supporting pupils since school closure.

I recognise that it took time to develop our blended learning provision, your feedback has been instrumental in supporting us to improve. Please be assured we have learned a great deal from this experience and staff training shall be focussed on developing these techniques during the autumn term. The legacy of these resources will continue to support pupils for years to come through home learning, catching up and revision. In case there is a requirement for school closure in the future we will be in a far stronger position to support pupils with immediate effect.

Finally, a huge thankyou for your patience and support through what has been a challenging and frustrating time for so many people. I sincerely hope you and your family can enjoy some relaxation during the school holidays and we look forward to welcoming back all pupils in September.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Gareth Rees

Headteacher