Friday 4th September 2020

Finally, the start of the new academic year is upon us! In what will undoubtedly prove to be a somewhat different start to the school year than normal, it is nonetheless as most eagerly awaited! Staff across the Castell Alun family have been busily preparing for the new year, and from the classrooms to the canteen, corridors to the car park, no area of the school has been left unprepared for the safest and most positive return of all our students and staff that we can reasonably and realistically have.

Whilst we await the return of all our students on Monday, this week has marked the beginning of the academic year for two of our year groups at opposing ends of their academic careers. First of all, Castell Alun happily welcomed its new intake of Year 7 students on Thursday. Having missed much of the usual preparations for starting high school, including induction sessions and days, many of our new Year 7s came to Castell Alun for the very first time, in what was both an exciting and action packed first two days. Having spent time meeting their new group tutors and getting to know the rest of their tutor group, the first day included a tour of the school, adhering to the new one way system, and familiarising themselves with the numerous health and safety measures which have been carefully put in place. Friday saw the first lessons take place, which for students and teachers alike, was a much-welcomed return to some semblance of normality as classrooms were fully utilised for the first time in months.

Thursday also saw the equally welcomed return of Year 12. We were so pleased to see so many of our previous Year 11 students return to school. Having not been here since March, it was a joy to see so many returning faces and to also welcome so many new students who have decided to study in the Sixth Form here at Castell Alun. Like with Year 7, and our returning students on Monday, time was spent going over the new regulations put in place for the continued safety of everyone here in the Castell Alun family, with students also spending time with their new group tutors before eagerly commencing their Sixth Form studies.

These first two days welcoming back Years 7 and 12, have been hugely beneficial to our new intake, providing them with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with both the school and the safety measures in place for the new year. Come Monday, when we welcome the remaining year groups, they too will spend time going over the systems and processes that have been put place to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff.

The time and efforts of so many members of staff, during both the summer term and the summer holidays, make us extremely confident that we are as fully prepared and as ready as we can be for the start of this the new academic year. Many thanks and appreciation must go to all those members of staff who have been involved in this, for their hard work and dedication. We now look forward to welcoming all our students back on Monday.

We will share much more information with you as we are able, but for now, the main message is that we want all of our students and staff to feel as happy and safe as possible upon their return to the building. Over time tweaks will be doubtless be required to processes and we will all need to be adaptable and flexible in our approaches to certain things, but we will endeavour to apply common sense in our decision making and do all in our power to ensure that risks are reasonably mitigated and students can once again enjoy their learning experiences on the premises.

Thank you for your understanding and support on the next stage of the journey. They are both very much appreciated.

Enjoy your weekend.