It is truly hard to find words to begin this week’s Blog. It has been the most difficult week for so many of us, I’m sure. At school we are all trying together to navigate our way through perhaps the most demanding period of school life there has ever been at Castell Alun. For so many of you I know that this is mirrored in your homes also.
Chantelle is missed tremendously and her sudden passing is as a deep wound for the entire Castell Alun community. We mourn her loss daily and we are doing all in our power to care for her family, her close friends and all students and staff. In keeping with Mr and Mrs Jones’ wishes, the funeral cortege will come through school briefly on Monday 19th October and some of our Year 9 students and staff will be in attendance. Year 9 students will be asked to decide with their families if they would like to be present ‘curb side’.
You will probably have seen the statements we have released to the media via Flintshire Press Office. These are also available to read on our website. The immense hurt we feel in losing Chantelle will take a considerable time to process. Mr and Mrs Jones and I are in full agreement that the misuse of social media is a dangerous social disease which demands immediate national attention. We educate all students on the potential issues surrounding all forms of social media abuse, and we sincerely ask that parents / carers continue do the same, and indeed monitor child use thereof closely.
With autumn now well and truly upon us, the temperature is dropping and, as expected, more rainy weather is here. Please may I encourage students to bring a coat with them to school at all times. Due to arrangements through the day and the one way system, students will at some point need to go outside, even though briefly, between lessons, and for this a coat is strongly recommended. At lunch we will encourage all students to take fresh air where possible also, because the science suggests this is the healthiest option for all. As the temperature also falls, some students may eventually feel the benefit of a coat in the classroom, but only where windows are open and the air is fresh but cold.
We are trying hard to support the wonderful work of local councillors in managing the flow of traffic in the area around school, and more specifically, ensuring that students come to and from school in a safe way. May I please remind parents / carers of Year 7 students particularly that they can use the front car park to drop off and pick up children, and furthermore that all students should be requested to be particularly careful when crossing roads and use a designated official crossing point, where this is possible.
I’d also like to again thank all those students diligently wearing their masks when in and around the corridors. There are now but one or two who need to adhere more rigorously to this ruling and do their bit to ensure the continued safety of all. Please note that those with medical reasons are excluded and passes are issued for this purpose upon presentation of a note from parents. A tiny number of students do forget their mask regularly and are provided with one from the office – however, may I please remind all families that students should provide their own personal mask and the school-provided masks are for infrequent exceptions only.
Year 13 students have taken part in two days of fieldwork with a difference. On Monday last week students collected data from the source to the mouth of the River Dee to investigate human impacts on the drainage basin. On Tuesday our students visited Ty Pawb, Wrexham as well as looking for evidence of multi-cultural practices in the town centre. In the afternoon students visited a world heritage site. Year 13 adapted well to the new COVID health and safety regulations and successfully collected data, piloted fieldwork techniques and got new ideas for their Individual Investigations as part of their A Level studies.
Last week would have seen our Open Evening and Mornings take place. I would like to ask anyone with an interest in coming to Castell Alun to refer to this link where our ‘Virtual Open Day’ can be seen. Here you will find lots of information about the school, from the day to day running and procedures to lengthy details about individual subjects, tasks and messages from staff. My personal thanks to all the staff and those students who have worked hard to produce these at short notice. It’s really clear how proud we all are of our school!
As the school Eisteddfod for Year 7 wasn’t able to take place in July, the Welsh department held a virtual Eisteddfod for all of Year 7. Competitions included recitation of a Welsh poem, a dance competition, creating a model of something Welsh, a profile of a famous Welsh person, instrumental and singing competitions and a photography/video competition. Entries were submitted on line and were impressive to say the least. Now in Year 8, certificates have been presented to the winners, who include:
Elinor 8U – Recitation, Ester 8O- Dance, Connie 8S – Model, Cora 8U – Instrumental, Niamh 8 O – singing Calon Lan, Lucky – Writing a Poem and Charlie 8R – Profile. A big well done must also go to Jacob who won the photography competition but also picked up two other certificates in other categories. Da iawn I pawb.
Another big achievement of note comes from Millie in 8U. Millie is a keen moto cross rider andrecently she travelled to Chepstow to compete in the UK Girl’s Nationals event, where the fastest girls in the UK race in a two day event. Whilst hoping for a top 5 finish, Millie exceeded expectation and actually finished in 3rd place in the SW85CC class, making her third in the whole country. Massive congratulations go to Millie on such a fantastic achievement and we look forward to hearing about her other achievements in the future.
As we approach the weekend, may I wish you all peace and rest.
Just as this Blog is being released we have had a positive covid case confirmed in our Sixth Form. I will now address all Sixth Form students and each of them will be required to self-isolate from this afternoon until they are permitted to return to school on Thursday 22nd October. This does not mean that other household members have to self-isolate, unless they develop symptoms. Work will be set for all Sixth Form students online and this will be done using multiple approaches (‘Blended Learning’). All students will be reminded that work produced and activities undertaken could form an evidence base for teacher judgements, should it become necessary for colleagues to produce ‘Centre Assessed Grades’ again at any point in the future. Test, Trace and Protect will now contact each family individually. Thank you for your understanding. It is essential that we all play our part in bringing this virus under control.