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Tuesday 20th October 2020

Half-term and November arrangements

Dear Parent/Carer,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. G. Rees

Headteacher

Video

Information for September

On their first day Year 7 pupils be welcomed on the main drive by a member of staff and will be shown to their form room.  Year 8 to 11 pupils should follow the one way system to their form rooms. The updated list of form tutors and rooms can be found here.

 

Date

Group

Week 1
Tuesday 1st & Wednesday 2nd September STAFF ONLY
Thursday 3rd September Year 7 & 11
Friday 4th September Year 7 & 11

 

Week 2
Monday 7th September Year 7, 10 & 11
Tuesday 8th September Year 7, 9, 10 & 11
Wednesday 9th September All pupils to return to school

FAQs

What are the timings of the school day?

The timings of the school day are as follows:

What time will my child finish school?

If you pick up your child from school please be mindful of the staggered end of the day:

Year 7:   2:48 pm
Year 8:   2:51 pm
Year 9:   2:54 pm
Year 10:  2:57 pm
Year 11:   3:00 pm

Where should my child go at break and lunch times?

For break time pupils can remain in their lesson 1 classroom or use the designated outside zones.

outside zones for pupils

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At lunchtime pupils can remain in their lesson 4 classroom or use the main hall for lunch. They will also be able to use the designated outside zones.

Does my child need to wear 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/.

The uniform suppliers, Bergoni, have recently contacted the school explaining they are currently unable to meet the current demand for a variety of reasons. Therefore, if you are experiencing difficulties purchasing uniform for your child’s start date please inform the school by email, which will be forwarded onto your child’s Progress Manager. Your child’s Progress Manager will contact you to agree a period of grace for appropriate uniform can be arranged.

Will there be food/ snacks available in the school?

The Canteen will be closed until Monday 14th September.  Pupils will be required to bring in a packed lunch until it re-opens. The vending machine will not be available for use.

eFSM arrangements

The system that has been in place during lockdown will continue until Friday 11th September (BACs or food bags).

Will the school buses / transportation be running?

Home-school transport will continue to be provided by the local authority from Thursday 3rd September. The most current guidance can be found here: Parent & Pupil school transport guidance.

If you have any queries please contact the Council’s School Transport Team

Email :  School.transport@swansea.gov.uk

Phone:  01792 636347/636348

Does my child need to wear a face covering/mask?

The Welsh Government now recommends the use of face coverings/masks for people aged 11 and above indoors where social distancing cannot be maintained, including in schools and on school transport. Pupils should therefore wear face coverings in corridors, when queuing for lunch and on home-school transport. The reason for this is that social distancing between contact groups in these areas of the school is more difficult to achieve. As pupils will be removing and replacing the face covering throughout the day it is advisable to store it in a sterilised plastic bag (ideally zip-locked) to support the hygiene of your child. Your support in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Handmade washable face coverings/masks will be available for purchase from school (£3/£4 for child/adult), and all proceeds will be used to support our community through Pontarddulais Partnership (registered charity). More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/CanolfanYBont28/posts/3413095142075378

Which days do STF pupils attend during the first fortnight?

STF pupils have been notified separately of the days that they will be attending school, these differ from mainstream year groups set out in the letter to parents.

Chromebooks / school devices

If your child borrowed a Chromebook or another school device during the lockdown could they please return it to the school on their first day back in September.