Friday 10th July 2020

Bore da.

The Minister for Education in Wales yesterday made her announcement about all students returning to school during September. We welcome this news, as we have been working on a number of possible scenarios in preparation for September, and we can again assure you that the continued safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff and the successful teaching and learning experiences of our students will be at the heart of the plans which we will share with you as soon as we are able. We are told that Welsh Government will publish their guidance containing the detail of an overall plan on Monday next week.

We’ve had another successful week in our phased return to school. Students have continued to adhere most impressively to all the social distancing and safety measures that have been carefully put in place and have embraced the changes to the school day admirably, and we really couldn’t have asked for more from them. We now look forward to a wider return in September and the start of the new academic year.

As laid out in the initial guidance set by Welsh Government and Flintshire LA, these sessions have been aimed at catching up and checking in. It is much appreciated to hear from so many of you as to how beneficial these sessions have proven. Indeed, hearing from the students themselves really has made all the hard work and rigorous preparations more than worthwhile. Thanks again must go to all those working, often behind the scenes, who enable this to happen. This has truly been a team effort at Castell Alun.

In this week’s second sessions, the focus remains on wellbeing, with additional input on maintaining motivation, the skills needed for the continued use of ‘blended learning’ and preparation for September.

I’m sure many would agree that distance learning has, at times, been demanding for all, students, parents / carers and staff alike. Going forward into September, ‘blended learning’ will continue to feature to some extent as we see much more face-to-face teaching supplemented by home learning tasks, and staff will continue to develop safe strategies for a variety of approaches to this as they work to find ways of keeping this both engaging and stimulating for all.

CAFA have asked us to let you all know that they continue to raise funds for school via their recycling activities and that you can bring in CDs, DVDs and clothing (in a separate bag from the discs) on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st July and drop them off via the side doors to the School Hall between the hours of 8am – 6.30pm. CAFA are amazing at providing much needed funds for school purposes and we would all be exceptionally grateful for all contributions…..and we know it’s been hard to clear the clutter over recent times!

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Given current circumstances, sadly this year’s School Sports Day has not been able to go ahead as planned, and this is indeed a great shame, as it’s one of the highlights of the school year for so many students and indeed staff. In response however, we are delighted that the PE department have been promoting our ‘Virtual Sports Day’ with students via Google

Classroom. In line with the tradition of Sports Day, the competition will still take place in tutor groups, where those competing win points for their form.

In all there are six events in which to compete. These include:

· 1km run

· Paper Aeroplane throw

· Standing Long Jump

· Standing Triple Jump

· Speed Bounce

· Star Jumps

The PE staff have expertly demonstrated the skill and dexterity needed for each activity, even courageously including their own scores for each event! The deadline for entries has been extended to Monday the 13th July, so there is still time for those who haven’t yet done so to compete and add much needed points to their tutor group score, you never know it might just make the difference!

Entries must be submitted via Google Forms, which is on the classroom task page. Once the deadline has passed, results will be combined and the winners will be announced next week. Pawb lwc!

In true Castell Alun fashion, the staff have also been keen to join in the competition. Disappointed at not being able to demonstrate their athletic prowess on the field this year, a ‘Staff Relay’ (of sorts) has none the less taken place, the results of which will soon be available for all to view!

As an example of some of the fantastic work which is still going on across all subjects, Year 7 Artists have been recycling toilet roll tubes and utilising any other materials they can get their hands on, to create their own three-dimensional mini models. Students’ were asked to link their design to the current theme of ‘The Natural World’ and we were really impressed by their fabulous craft skills and creative efforts. Shown are just some of the many fantastic examples of the work submitted.

And finally, well done Ella (Year 10)! We’ve just received the fantastic news that Ella has achieved the Coleg Cambria School Link Learner of the Year 2020. The event takes place each year with learning teams asked to nominate learners that access the school link provision at college. This is truly testimony to her hard work and effort throughout the course. Considering that approximately 1000 students access this provision over the whole of NE Wales, that really puts into perspective the scale of her achievement! Massive congratulations Ella for such an impressive achievement.

We will be back in touch again next week with more news of the September return to school.

Have a lovely weekend.