Friday 2nd July 2021

As you will be well aware, we have all had a trying time this week as we have had a number of Covid positive cases in both Years 12 and 9 and now one positive case in Year 8 also. We can only continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we follow Test, Trace and Protect and Public Health Wales guidance. Of course, we would all prefer a scenario in which all students are being taught in school, face-to-face, at all times, whilst being safe and protected from the virus. There will doubtless be further guidance and announcements to this end over the course of the summer in preparation for the start of the new academic year in September, and students and staff health and wellbeing remains our highest priority.

Plans are nearing finalisation for the next academic year, and the school will re-open for two staff training days on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd September. I will write to inform you of other points to note early next week, however as we have once again been unable to undertake a full induction for Years 7 and 12, and we have a very busy summer ahead of us moving into the new building when it becomes available, I would also like to inform you that on Friday 3rd September, the school will be open for induction for Years 7 and 12 only. Therefore, all students will actually return to school next academic year on Monday 6th September. It was wonderful to see a large number of our Year 6 students engaging online in a chat with current Year 7 students this week and asking all kinds of questions about life here at Castell Alun. They are excited about joining us and we can’t wait to have them here!

As promised in last week’s Blog, attached are a number of Duke of Edinburgh trip photographs from the Silver Expedition held last week. Students really enjoyed all three days of the expedition and it was clear that they improved their skills increasingly throughout the trip. Even though it rained a lot on the Friday, students kept their spirits up at all times and the degree of excellent teamwork evident was highly impressive. The weather improved over the weekend with time at the Carrog Campsite allowing students plenty of opportunities to enjoy glorious sunshine, outdoor cooking and lots of fun together. As you may be aware, we run Bronze, Silver and Gold Expeditions each year as a school, and have more participants in these trips than all other schools across North Wales. Well done everybody and thanks to Mr. Evans and Miss Breeden for their partnership with Wildside Expeditions and accompanying this trip.

A new club for Year 10 students has started – ‘Enterprise Club’. Club members are taking part in the ‘Young Chamber £100 challenge’, which has been designed for schools across West Cheshire and North Wales in order to convert an initial investment (donated by the Chamber) of £100 into as much money as possible for a good cause. Our students have decided to raise money for Hope House, a charity that is closely linked with the school, to provide care for terminally ill children along with support for their families. ‘Sweet Link’, the Enterprise Club’s chosen name, will be selling a selection of goodies at Year 7 Sports Day to raise funds on Friday 9th July. It’s wonderful that students can develop business acumen whilst supporting tremendous causes such as our friends at Hope House.

We have a few sporting heroes to tell you about this week. Zak (Year 7) has been competing in triathlons since he was 8 years old and trains for at least six hours per week with Cadence Tri based in Buckley. Zak has competed all over Wales and the North West of England. His latest success, including his first open water lake swim, secured him a place representing the North West Region in a high profile prestigious competition. To give you a better context, only four students were chosen from the whole of the North West to represent the area – what an amazing achievement! Zak is an incredibly self-disciplined young man and his drive, determination and resilience make him an excellent student both in sport and in school.

Oscar (Year 7) represented Castell Alun at the Regional Schools Skiing Event at Llandudno last week. There was tough competition from other schools from both race registered and non-race registered skiers, though Oscar kept a cool head and skied two strong runs to secure a brilliant podium place. Oscar’s result puts Castell Alun on the map for Schools’ Skiing competitions and we hope to be able to build on this solid foundation with other students in subsequent competitions. Oscar began skiing on dry slopes at the age of 7 and intends one day to become a Ski Instructor. Thank you Oscar for all of your efforts and your talent will doubtless be rewarded further in the future. It would be wonderful if this could be the beginning of further skiing successes for Castell Alun.

As a reward for the brilliant effort of our 22 girls from Years 7 and 8, and of course Year 10 Coaches Louise and Seren, we will be hosting a visit from Welsh International Football star, Elise Hughes, next week. We are proud of the way girls’ football has reached new heights at Castell Alun and truly hope that more female students will participate in this scheme in the near future.

As already mentioned our Year 7 Sports Day is just around the corner, and it is very disappointing that our planned Year 8 event will now not be able to take place this year due to a Year 8 bubble isolation. Please note that next week is also the last week for after school clubs this academic year.

May we please remind you once again that any parents/carers who have requested Decision Making Records have until Monday 5th July to submit an appeal for a Centre Determined Grade, should they so wish.

Have a nice weekend!