I do hope you and your wider families are managing to keep well….and keep going! January is now nearly over, and although February can be a tough month even in a standard year, we usually notice a significant change in March. I always feel it helps to have positive things to focus on and look forward to.
We are told that the Minister will make a further announcement today about the return to school for students in Wales. At the time of writing this has not yet happened, although we have heard of the plans Boris Johnson has outlined in England. As I mentioned last week, we also know that schools will be awarding Centre Determined Grades later this academic year to students due to complete examination courses.
We are all incredibly mindful of the impact that the current situation is having upon the mental health of many of our students. It is not an understatement to say how fantastically so very many of them have been coping with remote learning, and as staff we are genuinely appreciative of the toll this can take, especially over a prolonged period of time. As a direct result of your feedback during copious supportive and informative emails and conversations in recent weeks, and in light of the fact that next week marks Child Wellbeing Week, we are going to use the week beginning Monday 8th February as a Wellbeing week for our students.
In this week no new learning will take place, instead we will take the opportunity to give all students the chance to catch up and complete any work they may have which is outstanding, but also an opportunity to check in with their teachers to see how they are doing. All teachers will still be ‘in class’ online during their standard lessons, as determined by the timetable, and it is expected that students will still ‘attend’ their lessons, whether to ask for support, agree a way forward or receive help with questions relating to work already set.
Whilst no ‘new work’ will be set and therefore no ‘new knowledge’ imparted, there will be extension tasks and perhaps light-hearted activities for students to complete if they feel they are able to undertake extra challenge and if they are up to date with all of their work. We feel strongly, especially given the current circumstances, that the half term break should be exactly that, a break to allow students time away from the demands of remote learning and an opportunity to refresh, ready for the next half term. As we wait for further guidance from Welsh Government, the anticipation is that the current remote learning situation could continue for a short while yet and, as such, it is important that students are allowed to enjoy their half term and have a break so that they are replenished and able to pursue new knowledge gains in the coming weeks. Thank you for your support in looking after all students in this way.
Year 7 Welsh Wordles
The Welsh department have been setting work over the last few weeks designed to give students an opportunity to work away from their screens. Students in Year 7 have been asked to make a ‘wordle’ (producing art from words) using Welsh words connected with leisure time. The response, as always, was really impressive and Robyn in 7E, Alex in 7M, Menna in 7T and Lois in 7M have in particular produced some really inspired and impressive pieces of work, just a sample of the hard work and effort being produced by Year 7. Da Iawn!
Year 8 Geography
In Geography, Year 8 are currently studying weather and climate. One task this term was to write a weather forecast. The department has been particularly impressed by the level of effort put into the task, with many exceptional pieces being submitted. In particular, Joe in 8S created a video forecast that included excellent references to the current lockdown activities such as socially distanced walks and key worker journeys. Well done to Joe for your work and thinking creatively in filming your efforts for submission. Well done also to everyone else completing the task.
Year 9 Art
Year 9 students have been engaging well with their remote learning this week and have been developing their drawing skills by producing detailed, tonal, pencil drawings of their favourite treats. There was a superb effort all round, clearly demonstrating that there are some highly talented artists in the year group. Included on this page are some particularly impressive examples.
So we now look to February, perhaps with a small amount of gradually developing confidence that better times are coming. I was struck by something I read this week which I would share with you to close this week’s Blog.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us,” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
I truly believe we can, and will, do this!
Looks like there could be a bit more snow this weekend. Wrap up warm and enjoy all that you can