Friday 12th June 2020

Bore da. Thank you so much to all parents / carers who completed our Return to School Survey, and where relevant, the School Bus Use Survey so promptly this week. Having indicative data really does help us in our planning in times such as these. We received further guidance from Kirsty Williams, Education Minister for Wales, on Wednesday, and we are now able to make final adjustments to our initial plans for the return to school which as you can imagine we have discussed in detail over recent weeks.

Today you will receive an email with an attachment which will help you to understand our plan for returning to school. We will also place this information on our website. In essence we will bring back students in Years 7-10 and Year 12 for ‘check-in’ sessions focussed on wellbeing and induction to the new ‘blended’ learning way of working from Monday 29th June for 4 weeks. This will be on a rota basis and we will clearly detail which students are to be invited in on specified days shortly. During the first 2 weeks all students whose parents / carers are comfortable for them to come in to school will be seen once in their designated ‘bubble’. All sessions on the school campus will be primarily pastoral in nature and last for a morning in order to allow students to go home for lunch and provide time for rigorous school cleaning. We will still run our distance learning model concurrently with the planned face-to-face sessions in the school building.

We will, of course, send out further explanatory information, and thank you once again for the patience, understanding and support you have shown over the recent weeks specifically.

With the reopening of school now scheduled, we are really looking forward to seeing everyone again. Student engagement with work set on Google Classroom remains generally pleasing in most subjects, and some teaching staff have decided to pre-record certain learning activities for some of their groups.

In Art this week Year 8 have been inspired by Italian Artist – Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Students have been encouraged to ‘play with their food’ (with permission of course!) to create their own characterful portraits. Fantastic work has been produced by so many students, and you can see wonderful examples from Sophie, Rhys, William, Abi and Michael.

In news from our English Learning Area, students in Years 7-9 were challenged to participate in various Young Writer’s competitions recently. The 3 categories were:-

1. SOS Sagas: Missing – write a gripping and mysterious 100-word mini saga.

2. Through Their Eyes :- write a postcard poem from someone or something’s point of view.

3. Spine Chillers – write a tense and atmospheric mini saga to thrill your readers.

Lily (Year 9) received the highest praise for her SOS Sagas in the creative writing competition, with Georgia (Year 8) also winning a top spot in the Through Their Eyes poetry competition and Morgan (Year 7) being triumphant in the Spine Chillers competition. All 3 students will have their entries published in a national anthology later this year, which is a fantastic achievement, when you consider that well over 11,000 students put entries forward! Our amazing winners have all received certificates and bookmarks. Superb effort everyone – we’re so impressed!

Also in English, last week a number of Year 8 students were revising adjectives. Then they had to create an ‘I am,’ piece of artwork using a list of positive adjectives that they had created to describe themselves. Here are some wonderful examples of first class work, created by Archie, Ffion, Holly, Joseph, Niamh, Darcey, Bethan, Megan, Georgia, Evie, Bronwen, Emily and Nathan. Thanks everyone – keep up the great effort!

May I remind all Year 11 and 12 students, both from Castell Alun and indeed other schools, that Mr Davies, Assistant Head and Director of Sixth Form Studies, and Miss Cronin, who assists Mr Davies, are available for advice with regard to all matters related to Sixth Form studies and admission. As I wrote last week, universities are now once again accepting applications for courses.

By means of a further reminder, we are working with North Wales Police in a national initiative, known as ‘Encompass’, to support children and young people who have been involved in or witness to a domestic abuse incident. Encompass aims for a school to be alerted of a child’s exposure to domestic abuse as early as possible so to enable immediate support. You can find out more information on the Encompass website –

So, as we look to changing times and excitement grows over seeing friends in school again, I hope you all keep well and you also rest assured that we are doing all in our power to ensure the welfare of our students and staff upon our planned return to the campus.

Have a lovely weekend.