Last week of term arrangements

Friday 11th December

Last week of term arrangements

Dear Parents/Carers,

Firstly, many thanks for your patience and support during this fast-changing educational landscape. Yesterday evening you should have received both a link to a Welsh Government announcement, and a letter from the Director of Education; the two forms of communication explained next week’s school arrangements at a national and local authority level, respectively. The purpose of this letter is to give clarity to next week’s arrangements for Pontarddulais Comprehensive School.

From Monday 14th December the school will transition to a distance learning model where pupils will follow their normal timetable remotely from home. Due to November’s national fire break and year groups previously self-isolating all year groups have experienced this aspect of the school’s blended learning model. Here is the link for information required for learning from home: Pupil Area – Pontarddulais Comprehensive School (pontcomp.co.uk)

Provision for vulnerable children will be available at each school and if critical workers need emergency childcare for pupils in years 7 and 8 then contact the school to check eligibility. A childcare place must be booked at least 24 hours in advance so that resources can be put in place and the booking can be confirmed, as necessary. However, due to both year 7 and 8 year groups currently self-isolating the earliest booking for Year 8 is Tuesday 15th December and for Year 7 it will be Friday 18th December.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YEAR 7 PARENTS/CARERS : Due to an additional Covid-19 positive case in Year 7, and the changing of the necessary self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 days this means that they can return to normal activities on Friday 18th December. The new 10-day rule brought the date forward to Tuesday 15th December initially, however yesterday a newly reported case pushed the date back to Friday 18th December.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YEAR 8 PARENTS/CARERS: Due to the changing of the necessary self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 days they can return to normal activities on Tuesday 15th December.

It is pleasing to report how well Year 11 pupils have applied themselves to their mock examinations over the last two weeks. Experiencing the process of preparing for a series of exams will certainly benefit them in the longer term. Well done Year 11! Due to a small number of Year 11 pupils having to self-isolate they will now be able to sit their mock exams when they return to school in January. The practical assessments scheduled for next week (Art, Music, French and Spanish) shall also be postponed to the first week of the new term in January.

Please be aware any pupils that have agreed emergency childcare eligibility for next week would not physically follow their normal timetable but instead will be supervised separately in a designated classroom where they can access their normal timetable online. Eligible children in school next week should bring their own packed lunch.

Reinforcing the importance with your child to be at home and learning until 18th December, during school hours, is crucial not just for your child’s education but also to support the community’s collective efforts in reducing the current infection rate.

Please report to the school immediately if your child tests positive for Covid-19 (this applies equally to years 7 and 8 who are currently self-isolating). The school would then contact relevant parents if further self-isolation is necessary. Please do not assume that NHS TTP will contact the school on your behalf.

I hope you share my gratitude to the outstanding professionalism, commitment, care, and integrity school staff have demonstrated during this most challenging of terms. Likewise, pupils have shown an elevated level of social responsibility and kindness to one another through following Covid-19 safeguarding measures. Your role in reinforcing these important messages, and consistently providing your child with masks is hugely appreciated and has significantly contributed towards the safe and smooth running of the school.

All pupils should be returning to school on Monday 4th January. We have all learned, during the last few months that circumstances can change quickly so please be mindful that your child’s return date could yet be amended. If that is the case, we shall endeavour to communicate the change as quickly as possible. I recognise that the rising local infection rates and the potential of having to self-isolate over Christmas has caused concern amongst pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community. We have heard of many accounts where pupils have not met their grandparents since March and would be devastated if they would have to self-isolate again due to another positive case in their year group and therefore not able to meet with their extended family on Christmas Day. We are confident that the ever-improving blended learning provision will ensure a high-quality continuity of learning until the end of term.

I hope now we can all look forward to spending Christmas with our family, and loved ones, with an added degree of reassurance. Finally, I would like to wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable festive break. Please contact the school if you have any queries.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. G. Rees

Headteacher