Friday 23rd October 2020

This week has seen a great mixture of emotions across school, as I indicated in yesterday’s letter. We will all continue to find ways to deal with the loss of a loved one. Today we have a pink and black school, as everyone has dressed in Chantelle’s favourite colours.

As we welcomed back our Year 8 and 9 students this week, online lessons continued for the Sixth Form. The announcement from Welsh Government means that, with the exception of Years 7 and 8, the rest of our students will remain at home for the week after half term. Though this is by no means an ideal situation to be in, new learning will continue for all as lessons are delivered through blended learning both in school and online via Google Classroom. Students at home will continue with their standard curriculum and teaching staff will be online to deliver learning experiences in various ways and support students during their lesson time.

The week after half term is an important one for a number of our students who are sitting GCSE examinations in Maths and English, for them the break will provide the opportunity for time to revise and prepare further, but also, importantly, time to rest as well.

Our Year 11 German students recently had an experience of one of Germany’s most famous celebrations – ‘Oktoberfest’. With the help of Miss Anna Jones their German teacher, the classroom was transformed and students were able to learn more about the German culture and practise their language skills. Students learned about German specialities and were able to use their language skills to ‘order’ German food and drinks from the menu, even sampling some snacks, if they ordered correctly! Students also listened to traditional German music and held a ‘stein’ holding competition, without the beer of course! The lesson was also accompanied with videos of the various traditions that take place in what was a truly immersive German experience. Students even took away with them a ‘Lebkuchen’ memento….although I suspect some did not reach home!

Sadly, like many events this year, the Mini London Marathon, an event which usually takes place before the main one, was also cancelled. The event is normally held across the last 3 miles of the course in London and allows young athletes to experience road racing, often for the first time, with many of Wales’s top endurance athletes themselves having taken part in the past. Unable to hold the event in London, this year Virgin Money, the sponsors of the event, have been encouraging children across the country to take part in the event in schools. As always, the PE department here at Castell Alun have risen to the challenge and have had students from Years 7-11 taking part during their PE lessons over a two week period. The challenge itself involved either running or jogging over 2.6 miles and all those who took part were awarded a certificate. Really well done everyone!

We are doubtless all ready for a break. As we go into half term we would wish all families a safe and well deserved rest. This has been such a difficult half term in many ways and we will continue to face further challenges in the weeks and, likely, months ahead. The national lockdown could make it difficult to enjoy time-off in the fashion that many of us normally would, but with due care for ourselves and those around us, I hope you are able to find ways to be refreshed.

Do take care everyone, and thank you for all you have contributed to the school community over this half term.