Tuesday 20th October 2020
Half-term and November arrangements
I hope you and your family are well. Firstly, I would like to thank you for how you have supported the school by reinforcing the key messages, with your child, concerning keeping each other safe. Generally, the manner in which pupils and staff have collaboratively changed their practices has been outstanding and to the benefit of all.
You have probably heard that, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Welsh Government have announced a two-week coronavirus firebreak. Schools will close for half-term as normal. Furthermore, we have two INSET days planned for Friday 23rd October and Monday 2nd November. Therefore, the last day for pupils to attend school this half-term is Thursday 22nd October.
- Year 7 and Year 8 pupils should return to school on Tuesday 3rd November.
- Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils should return to school on Monday 9th November.
Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils should continue to learn from home from Tuesday 3rd November. Pupils should then follow their normal timetable from home facilitated by teachers communicating through Microsoft Teams to run live lessons, where appropriate. We shall be building on our blended learning provision from the summer term, and have learned from how Year 11 pupils were able to continue their learning during their recent period of self-isolation. We learnt that this approach significantly improved pupils’ levels of engagement whilst allowing for a heightened level of interaction between teachers and their classes. The approach also helped pupils organise themselves through having a clear timed structure to their day. You shall be receiving a separate letter from Mr. Lewis (Curriculum Coordinator) that shall explain in more detail how this updated provision will work. We shall continue to evaluate and improve our blended learning approach. It is important we have your up to date details so that we can contact you via the Insight app. If you are unsure please contact the school. This method of communication is becoming used more by staff to make contact with parents regarding individual pupil issues.
Yesterday evening the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, stated that she will decide by, and explain, what this firebreak means for next year’s examinations during the week beginning Monday 9th November. The full Tweet can be found here: https://twitter.com/wgmin_education/status/1318220250526175232
The two upcoming staff INSET days will allow staff to receive training to further improve our blended learning provision. Moreover, staff have been receiving training throughout the term to allow for an improved blended learning experience for your child. The INSET days had previously been calendared for these dates in anticipation of a possible second wave.
It is of huge credit that pupils, with very few exceptions, have respected all new and additional safeguarding measures. The level of social responsibility they have shown has been extremely encouraging, it reflects a maturity and thoughtfulness to their fellow pupils and staff, that deserves recognition. However, we are all mindful that we must not become complacent. There is a comprehensive range of documents referring to our Covid safeguarding measures on our website that can be found here: https://pontcomp.co.uk/return-to-school-september-2020/. A quick reminder of some of the more significant Covid -19 related safeguarding measures are shown below:
- a one-way system installed;
- designated outside zones for each year group;
- designated break and lunch indoor areas for classes/year groups;
- designated toilets for each year group;
- staggered lunchtimes;
- staggered end of the day;
- compulsory wearing of masks in all communal areas;
- regular sanitising/washing hands;
- desks/chairs sanitised between classes;
- high touch areas (e.g. door handles) sanitised throughout the day by cleaning staff.
Please continue to provide your child with clean face coverings/masks. It is interesting and pleasing to see so many pupils choosing to spend break and lunch outside, this may be to each year group having their own zones. Additional litter bins and benches have been used to cater for this extra demand. Please be assured that inside zones are available for all pupils during break and lunchtimes.
Pupils eligible for free school meals shall be provided for, through the half-term and the week commencing Monday 2nd November. Those pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 shall be provided with a meal in school whilst those in Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 shall either receive a BACS payment or a food bag delivery.
Parents/carers dropping off or collecting children from school should maintain social distancing and should leave the vicinity of the school as soon as possible. Many thanks to parents/carers who have followed these principles, which is a huge help in getting pupils into and out of the school safely. Please remember that pupils should only be driven to and from school by their parents or a member of their immediate household (people whom they live with) unless it is by a relative or friend who is providing childcare where there is no other option. Welsh Government have published useful guidance related to the coronavirus firebreak that will come into force at 6:00 pm on Friday 23rd October here: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-firebreak-frequently-asked-questions#section-53247
We are very grateful for your continued support by helping to provide an environment underpinned by our core values of inclusion, respect and resilience leading to excellent pupil outcomes. If you have any concerns, please contact the school. Finally, please be reassured that the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff remains our top priority.
Mr. G. Rees