I do hope you are all keeping well. We have had a number of messages from Welsh Government in recent days and I’m sure we’re all trying to do the best we can to understand and implement them in order to look after those we love.
I have just emailed all families with the letter from Flintshire County Council which explains the rationale behind the decision to stay with remote learning for the first week back in January. Monday 4th January remains a training day and so all provision will begin on Tuesday 5th January. If you are a ‘Critical Worker’ and no suitable provision can be made for your child(ren) for this 4 day period, please do email school at your earliest convenience giving your profession and name(s) of child(ren) on firstname.lastname@example.org . It is essential that we collate this information accurately.
Parents / carers of students in Years 11 – 13 will now have received further information about both internal and external assessments and the time frames which have been set for the delivery of these. School staff eagerly await much needed further specific detail, which we are told should be with us in January. Year 11 in-house trial assessments are currently planned for mid-January.
Our Sixth Form students have now completed their mock examinations – well done to all, and thank you for the responsible way in which you have conducted yourselves on campus throughout the exam period.
It is likely that further local / national announcements will be made in the coming weeks, which we will interpret and share with you all as soon as we are able.
Year 7 French Project
The Castell Alun French Department has recently joined forces with a school on the outskirts of Paris, in a French Twinning Project. As part of the project, students from 7M have been writing Christmas cards to their corresponding students in France and have recently received their replies. This has been a wonderful opportunity for students to practise their French writing skills and also build relations with students outside the school and indeed the country! Students were really excited upon receiving their replies and have enjoyed the experience.
A couple of pieces of good news and support from business within our local community….
The current COVID restrictions and the very strict health and safety protocols that we are following, have meant that teaching and learning, like so many other things, has had to be adapted. In particular practical subjects have had to overcome even more restrictions as a result of the current pandemic. The usual practical lessons have had to be developed, with the difficulty of not being able to share the use of materials and equipment being one of the biggest problems which has had a significant impact. In response to this DRB Group Limited, in Deeside, have very kindly donated 10 full tool kits to the Castell Alun Engineering Department to help support our students at this difficult time. The department and students are most grateful to DRB Group Limited for their very generous donation, particularly as this will hopefully soon enable more of our students to be able to engage fully with the practical side to the course, which is so vital. TATA Steel has also most kindly donated a further 3 sets of Engineering tools for which we are so very grateful.
New Curriculum for Wales, Science and Technology
In a similar piece of good news, Anwyl Homes (Llay development) have also announced that they are going to fund a start-up package for resources and equipment needed in support of the Science and Technology Departments’ new Areas of Learning and Experience project on Solar Energy. As part of the New Curriculum for Wales, set to be introduced in 2022, Castell Alun, like all schools across Wales, is already working to redesign the existing KS3 curriculum in line with the changes which will soon come into effect. This includes the move to more project based work and a more collaborative approach across subject disciplines for our younger students. The Science and Technology Learning Areas have already been working on a number of projects and this kind and much appreciated donation from Anwyl Homes will go a long way to help ensure that our learners get the best experience possible.
Many thanks go out to DRB Group Limited, TATA Steel and Anwyl Homes. Such kind support goes a long way and will undoubtedly have a substantially positive impact on learners here at Castell Alun.
This term has been tremendously demanding for all. We have experienced the very deepest sorrow and in addition faced the most difficult circumstances known to education in recent history. Sands seem to shift on a daily basis and it has not always been easy to interpret and implement national guidance. Yet despite all of this, our entire school community has come together in ways which I can’t begin to explain in order to find an appropriate path through everything. I am at a loss for words in attempting to express my thanks to everyone who is part of the wider school family.
Please look after yourselves this Christmastime. There are better days ahead once the winter is over, and we must hold our nerve and do the right thing in our collective desire to keep each other going in the coming weeks.
We can, and will, do this together.