Friday 25th September 2020

Next week would have been Open Evening here at Castell Alun. Each year we look forward to the opportunity to open our doors to prospective students and parents and to showcase everything we are proud of. However, given current circumstances, this year’s event will instead be a virtual experience. From October 1st both prospective and current students and parents will be able to access, via the school’s website, a selection of presentations and videos, which give a taste of life here at Castell Alun. Each Learning Area has produced a selection of videos and presentations taking students through the various subjects, providing them with a flavour of what is on offer at Castell Alun. There are also videos on key pieces of information, including details about school transport, general tours of areas of the school as well as an address from Ms Janice Jones, Student Development Manager for Year 7, and my overview of who we are and what is important to us as a school family. The new school prospectus is also available online and information will be distributed to primary schools, as always, for prospective parents in preparation for the evening.

 This week Year 7 and 10 have completed their CATS testing. As part of national testing, which assesses students’ verbal, quantitative and non-verbal ability, the results are used to help with setting in some subjects and this data also assists greatly with monitoring student progress going forward. Year 10s were sitting these in light of having missed the tests last year. Both year groups did very well and, particularly Year 7 who were experiencing the exams process for the first time. Well done all.

I would like to praise again the efforts of students in adhering to all the safety measures that are in place. We appreciate this has taken a bit of getting used to, but now it is becoming the norm, although it is important that we remain vigilant and continue to help protect ourselves and others around us by continuing to follow all the rules put in place in particular the sanitising of hands when entering and leaving the building and classrooms, following the one way system around the school and the wearing of face masks when moving between lessons inside the building. I would also like to encourage parents to ensure that students have all signed up to their Google Classroom pages for all their subjects. Going forward, Google Classroom will be increasingly used as a resource, most notably for posting homework tasks and, at times, providing work for students working from home in different contexts. All students have been issued with codes to join their relevant classroom pages and should by now be signed up. If any student is having difficulties with this, or in accessing Google Classroom, they should speak to their relevant teacher who will be able to help them.

We have been highly fortunate with the weather since the start of term, which has made break and lunch times as well as movement around the building both pleasant and relatively straight forward. However, as Autumn is now upon us, as we have seen this week, the weather has clearly started to change.  Students need to ensure they have a suitable coat with them during the school day to help them stay dry and warm when outside.  Whilst we do have contingency in place for wet weather days, when students will need to stay inside due to really poor weather, under current circumstances it is clearly important that students are exposed to as much fresh air as possible, therefore unless extreme, we will be encouraging students to go outside and for this a coat, both waterproof and warm is recommended.

The Governors’ appointment of the permanent position of Headteacher is unable to take place at present due to the restrictions being placed upon schools. The process will resume when restrictions are lifted and sufficient procedures can be put in place to ensure that the process is suitably safe, robust and rigorous.

To conclude, it is wonderful to see the Year 7 tutors groups return today which have been self-isolating. The smiles on faces are as we predicted, and the camaraderie and joy being shared amongst members of the 2 groups is evident to all.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.