Friday 15th May 2020

Sixth Form Artwork

Bore da! I really hope you are all keeping well. You will now be aware that I will be moving on to a new position with the advisory body, GwE, from September 2020. This was not a decision I took lightly, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Castell Alun and have always appreciated your unceasing support. Working with such fantastic students and staff has been an absolute privilege and I will miss everyone a great deal. The Governing Body has appointed Mr Paul Edwards, currently Acting Deputy Head, to the position of Acting Headteacher from September. Mr Edwards will be most ably supported by a highly experienced Senior Leadership Team through the challenges of next term. In these days of national uncertainty we are most fortunate to have highly professional, experienced and thoroughly committed staff throughout our school, and this allows us to face the future with a strong degree of confidence and reassurance as we seek to follow governmental and local authority direction and ensure the safety and continued provision of education for all.

We have heard from a great many members of the school family over the past week, often with encouraging stories, but unfortunately also at times with deep sadness. Some of us have been touched deeply by the illness or tragically the passing of someone close. You are all in our thoughts and please do let us know how we can support you through such times.

Having entertained all kinds of audiences, both in school and in the general public, our highly successful and extremely popular Year 9 rock band, LIES, are also ‘playing their part’ to raise money for the NHS. The lads have recorded a cover version of ‘My Hero’ by the Foo Fighters and, if you’d like to watch these massively talented musicians (and if possible donate some money to a great cause!), please follow here.

Some of the work being produced by our Sixth Form artists is just amazing! We sometimes really can’t believe what a pool of talent we are so fortunate to work with at Castell Alun. Wonderful work Heather – Architectural Study (Year 13), Jessica – Microscopic World Introduction (Year 12), Jessica – Pencil Portrait (Year 12), Katie – Mixed Media Portrait (Year 13) and Ruby – Architectural Study (Year 13).

It’s tremendous, but equally no great surprise, to see our students doing so much to look after and help other through these tough times. You may have seen Heather, Year 11, in the news this week. Heather, who is training to become a dancer has brightened up the weekends of her neighbours with a weekly dance show in her street. She choreographs her own pieces and has performed both modern and ballet dances in her street so far. We’re very proud of you Heather!

As many of you will be aware, our staff have been using their personal exercise time to complete the ‘Run Solo Alderhey Challenge’. The hospital is very dear to so many of our hearts and continues to do wonderful work in extremely hard circumstances. Our staff challenge is to complete 4500 miles which would in reality actually take us to Mount Kilimanjaro! To date, staff have run or walked 3356 miles in total. We are therefore well on the way to achieving the target and we have one week left. At the time of writing. We’ll let you know whether we overcame the challenge next week!

It’s always great to hear news about former students. We are so proud of all you and your respective successes! I’d really encourage everyone to watch the following clip about Keira. Keira is on course to participate in the Paralympic Games in the discipline of Taekwondo, and I am convinced that you will find her story truly humbling and awe-inspiring.

Thanks to everyone who shared in some way in our school VE Day celebrations on Google Classroom, and thanks also to everyone involved in the organisation of all that was done from Hope Parish Church. There is a powerful dynamic created, albeit often tragically through sacrifice, which spans backgrounds and overcomes differences when we remember the fundamental message of love behind VE Day and other such moments in time.

This week, Year 8 have been doing Blackout Poetry and the quality of submitted work has been superb. Our students have been so creative in producing a new text from an existing one, with many students firmly grasping a real opportunity to shine in ways which some have previously found quite challenging. When regarded from a perspective of innovation, rather than being overly concerned about small spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, so many of the numerous pieces we have received have been out of this world! Congratulations and thank you so much to Emily (Zebra), Ryan (World), Ruby (Coronavirus), Isaac (Friend) and Sophie (Space / Moon).

Please remember everyone, it’s OK not to feel, or be, perfect! Everybody has found, and is finding, the adjustment to new circumstances difficult. If you’d like a bit of online support, perhaps take a look at :-

HeadspaceMobile app

CalmMobile app

Young Minds

As we now know, there will be no imminent return to schooling in Wales. We are reviewing our Continuation of Learning strategy weekly and remain in contact with households via different sources, but please do let us know if you feel that there is anything of which we should be aware. The wellbeing of our children and staff is of paramount importance at all times, and this forms the basis of our guide as we continue to plan for the times ahead. Returning from lock-down will doubtless be a far more protracted and complicated process than entering it was, and we are largely reliant upon the advice of specialist national advisory bodies, teaching unions, examining bodies, Flintshire Local Authority and, of course, the Welsh Assembly Government to that end.

It looks like the weather is warming up again! I hope you all keep well and enjoy a pleasant weekend.

Year 8 Black Out Poetry