Friday 6th December 2019

Our Main School Assembly today was on the theme of ‘Choices’ and was led by Year 9. Our readers, Annabel and Daniel did themselves proud and we were treated to a fantastic musical item by Rachel and Sophie, who brought a wonderful rendition of ‘Someone You Love’. Megan and Elin also delivered a great bilingual report on their Sixth Form Welsh trip to Glan Llyn.

Thank you so much to our Castell Alun Friends for all the time and effort you put into making last Friday’s Festive Fair a special occasion. Everybody had glowing praise for the event and our students had a great time performing for all present also.

Really well done to all our singers who performed with Belle Voci at Hope Parish Church last Friday. I am told it was an evening to remember and many thanks to our friends at the church and Mr Searson and Miss Gittins for all the effort involved in putting the performance together.

I’d like to give a special mention to Year 13 Art and Design student Ruby, who won the ‘Curator’s Choice’ at the Young Open Exhibition last summer in Theatr Clwyd and has now been asked to exhibit her work in the Education Gallery at Theatr Clwyd in February. Congratulations also to Abbie, Ruby and Ruby, who have all secured a place on Ruthin Craft Centre’s ‘Raising the Bar’ programme. This is a great opportunity for gifted and talented Art and Design A Level students to work with contemporary artists across Flintshire and Denbighshire in the disciplines of metal work, printmaking and sculpture.

This week Chris Brayshay from Careers Wales attended our school Governors’ meeting and presented Castell Alun with a Certificate of re-accreditation for the Careers Wales Mark. The Careers Wales Mark is given in recognition of our continuous focus on equipping young people with the skills they will need in order to manage their working life, whether they leave education at 16, 18 or 21, in order that all students have the most up-to-date knowledge and understanding of working practices to make effective career choices.

We would really like to express our heartfelt thanks to Emily, Andrew and Philippa from M&S Bank, who have visited school on different occasions during the last couple of weeks to deliver Presentation Skills workshops to our Year 12 Welsh Bacc students. The development of these incredibly important life skills is essential to our students’ futures in so many ways, and we are truly grateful to friends who often assist us with specific inputs such as these.

Our thanks also go to all parents / carers of our Year 7 students who joined us in school earlier this week to discuss the progress of everyone in our new intake this year. Solid foundations are clearly already in place to ensure your children achieve well and enjoy life at Castell Alun.

Our Year 10 Welsh Bacc students faced the daunting prospect of a room full of professional ‘dragons’ this week. The students worked in teams in order to pitch their enterprising ideas to a board of highly experienced members of the local business community. We were thrilled with the level of challenge, and indeed quality of feedback and volume of praise that our guests lavished upon our students and school

during their visit. Activities such as these are a wonderful and fun way of engaging students in real-life experiences which may feel fairly demanding in the moment, but will genuinely assist all in securing employment in the future. All monies raised by each team at the ensuing Christmas market will be given to Hope House. The Christmas Market will be held on Tuesday 17th December and members of the public will be invited to attend for part of the morning session….times to be confirmed next week! Products on sale promise to be the most creative and diverse that we have ever seen at such an event. Well done to everyone involved and to Mr Swale for his work in setting up this amazing opportunity for our students.

On Wednesday afternoon our Year 7 students had a great time with a visit to the Clwyd Theatr Cymru Christmas Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk. This is an annual event for us, and, even after over fifteen years of attendance, is still one of the most popular trips we run. On this occasion, the Pantomime Dame took a shine to Mr Bevan, much to the amusement of all students and staff present!

Our Years 7, 8 and 9 Football Teams represented us in the Flintshire Plate Football Finals, held at Castell Alun on Thursday. We put on superb performances, with Years 7 and 8 winning their respective competitions and the Year 9 lads coming second in their competition. Awesome job boys!

Today our Year 13 Business Studies students were given a grilling by representatives of ‘Young Chamber’ in a set of formal interviews which will help them to prepare more fully for workplace experiences still to come. At the time of writing, we are also waiting to find out the results of this afternoon’s Year 13 Girls’ Netball President’s Cup matches….and we will report on those next week of course. Furthermore on a similar theme, our very own Becca (Year 13), has recently made the Wales Senior Netball Squad – an amazing feat – really well done Becca!

Tonight, Our BTEC Annual Dance Show will be held in our School Hall from 6pm and everyone is welcome to attend.  Similarly, the Castell Alun Christmas Concert is on Tuesday 10th December, starting at 7pm, and promises to be a memorable occasion. Although it will be possible to purchase tickets on the door, you may well wish to use our in-house Box Office service in advance, kindly run by Mrs Jan Southwell (01978 760238).

Many congratulations to a long-standing member of the Castell Alun family, former student Elinor, who recently won one of Bangor University’s Excellence Scholarships to the value of £3,500. Elinor received her scholarship from Bangor University Vice-chancellor, Professor Iwan Davies, at an Awards evening recently. Well done Elinor – we’re really proud of you!

Next week, quite apart from the aforementioned Christmas Concert on Tuesday evening, our Year 9 cohort will have a day off-timetable on Wednesday in order to attend a series of ‘Talk the Talk’ sessions, specifically designed to build self confidence and develop oracy skills. Also on Wednesday we will host a Tea Dance for some of our elderly neighbours and we will lay on both catering and entertainment for all who are able to join us.

Students in Years 12 and 13 will sit internal examinations over the next few days and all involved are busy preparing at present. We will conclude next week with a Christmas Church Service at Hope Parish Church on Friday during period 1 for all students in Year 8. Year 7 will have their service the week after.

As a school we are currently working with NEWCIS (an organisation which supports carers in the community in North Wales) on an exciting partnership. Our joint project includes ‘Dementia Awareness’ information sessions for our learners and many staff, plus various intergenerational initiatives run through the school and our local community. Additionally NEWCIS would like to invite family carers/friends of people living with dementia to attend four free ‘Creative Conversations’ sessions starting in January. This programme aims to offer creative skills using the arts, which help carers/friends to have meaningful and positive interactions with their loved ones during difficult times. The sessions are held in an informal manner and do not rely on anyone being ‘creative’! The programme is available with limited spaces and will be hosted at ‘The Horse and Jockey’ pub, Church Road, Buckley. CH7 3JQ on 21st January, 4th February, 3rd March and 31st March (Times: 11am – 1pm). To book please contact or ring 01352 752525.

Some of you may be aware that Flintshire County Council has a Welfare Reform Team, which seeks to support, promote and help households to become financially independent. The Team can help households who may be struggling with their rent, need budgeting advice or assistance with emergency type applications, require free school meals or need to contact other services which may be able to help. The Team can be contacted by email at or alternatively by visiting Flintshire Connects where an officer can make contact with the Team on their behalf. Please remember also the Council Tax Reduction Scheme mentioned in last week’s Blog, through which eligible households can receive support towards some or their entire council tax bill. Please see the following website if of interest: –

Have a nice weekend everybody.