Pupils not returning before September
24th June 2020
This note is for those who have decided NOT TO RETURN to school before September.
I understand fully why you have decided NOT to return to school at the current time and I respect this position fully.
Please do not attempt to attend school in the next few weeks (w.c. 29.06.20 – 17.07.20) if you have not informed the school that you are coming back.
We have made plans that are based on the 2.0 metre social distance rule, thus the numbers of learners in a space with a teacher will be strictly limited. This being the case, we will not be able to accept any learners into school in the next phase unless a place has ALREADY been ’’booked’’.
For Health and Safety reasons, please do not attempt to attend school if you have not ALREADY informed school that you are coming in. Any child who arrives without a place will be held safely until they can return home.
22.06.20 Letter from Mr Harvey
I would like to provide you with a further update in respect of the rest of this term’s emergency childcare and ’Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ arrangements.
In order to provide appropriate school-based support for a considerably greater number of children, all local authorities have established alternative arrangements to ensure all eligible children are able to access safe and manageable school-based supervision.
Summer term school-based support arrangements
Due to potential staffing issues in many schools during the week commencing Monday 20 July, all Bridgend schools will close on Friday 17 July.
Bridgend has not taken this decision lightly. However, the safety of our learners and staff is our top priority and I am satisfied that this decision is in the best interests of both groups.
I have asked schools to reconsider their ’Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ plans and to reorganise school-based provision into a three-week timetable. Schools will aim to ensure that all pupils still receive the two full days’ school-based support we originally envisaged.
I must reiterate that it is for parents/carers to decide if their children attend school during June and July and there will be no sanctions for non-attendance.
Your child’s school will contact you shortly to confirm arrangements.
Summer holiday childcare arrangements
From today, Monday 22 June, many of the 3000 school-based staff in Bridgend will be asked to provide emergency childcare for the pupils of key workers (including school staff) in their own schools.
Please be advised that there are no plans to provide emergency childcare for the children of key workers in Bridgend during the summer break (ie from Monday 20 July to Monday 31 August inclusive).
It is important, therefore, that parents/carers who are key workers make alternative childcare arrangements for their children from Monday 20 July.
Similarly, and as previously advised, parents/carers are reminded that emergency childcare provision for eligible families only is available between 8.30am and 4.30pm, in their child’s own school, from Monday 22 June (to Friday 17 July).
Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ provision for nursery pupils
From Monday 29 June, schools will also be providing school-based ’Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ support for learners.
You will be aware that, in Bridgend, we have taken the decision to offer two full days of ’Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ provision for all learners, with the exception of the ’rising 3s’ (those nursery pupils who traditionally attend part time in their first year of nursery).
While this may be disappointing to some of you, I am sure you will understand that in making these arrangements at such a challenging time, the local authority must take into consideration the potential limited availability of school staff and therefore the risk of schools not being able to provide safe staffing levels. In the meantime, individual schools will communicate opportunities for school visits for full-time nursery pupils who have recently been offered places for September 2020, where safe to do so.
I continue to be grateful for your support and patience.
Lindsay Iorwerth Harvey (Mr)
Corporate Director – Education and Family Support
A letter from Parents/Carers from Mr Lyndsey Harvey Director of Education. An update for PCS from Mr Slade will shortly this week.
Dyddiad/Date: 12 June 2020
Thank you for your support, understanding and patience over the past three months. I am grateful to you all for everything you have done to assist your child’s learning, your child’s school and the local authority at this difficult time.
This letter will provide you with further information in respect of the recommencement of school-based learning for all pupils and emergency childcare provision for eligble children available in Bridgend for the rest of the summer term (until Friday 24 July).
Check in, Catch up and Prepare
As a result of the Minister for Education’s recent announcement in respect of the reopening of schools, the local authority is keen to work with schools and parents/carers to ensure all pupils benefit from an opportunity to check in with their schools, catch up with their peers and teachers, and prepare for the next school year.
From Monday 29 June, Bridgend schools will start to accept their own pupils to attend identified sessions at their own school.
However, not all learners will return at once and, when they do return, the school day might start and end at different times for different learners. This may include different arrangements for siblings of different ages, attending the same school.
Welsh Government ministers have stated that the total number of pupils in any school at any one time will not exceed one third of the total number of pupils who would normally attend that school. To accommodate this requirement, during the period Monday 29 June to Friday 24 July, your child will only be invited into their school on two occasions (unless they are eligible for emergency childcare at their individual school’s childcare hub).
It is important to note that, during this period, parents and carers are free to decide whether to send their children to school. Should parents/carers decide not to send their children to school during this summer term, they will not be penalised. If you choose not to send your children to school, they will continue to receive the same home-to-school support they have received so far.
When your child returns to school, there will be a focus upon pupil wellbeing and on an enjoyment of outdoor learning, where and when this is practical, in their particular learning environment.
In secondary schools, there may be a greater focus, in some year groups, on supporting pupils’ learning, in anticipation of the academic demands of the forthcoming school year.
To assist individual schools with their own planning arrangements, it would be hugely beneficial for them to know whether parents and carers are anticipating sending their children into school when invited to do so. Thanks to those who have already replied with their intent to join us. Please note we will be operating with distinct groups of children so will not be able to accommodate siblings.
I know that school teachers, school leaders and school support staff would be delighted to see their pupils on both occasions.
To establish the likely ’take-up’ of offered provision at your school, your school will:
– At our school we will be offering each group of children two days at school. We will divide the children up into groups based upon Form Classes.
– Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 can expect to each receive 2 days at school.
– In the next few days I will send home the precise details of when each group of children will be expected at school. These plans will outline the times of the day, arrangements for the days and crucially the arrangements to adhere strictly to the Social Distancing Regulations.
Once again, I am keen to do everything possible to reassure you of the local authority’s efforts in supporting the emotional and physical wellbeing of learners. The local authority is working closely with schools and its partners to ensure that guidance and support is in place to assist your child’s return to school.
Emergency childcare support for key workers only
In light of recent ministerial announcements, there will be significant changes to our emergency childcare provision which we need to implement as a matter of some urgency.
On Friday 19 June, Bridgend’s emergency childcare hubs will close.
From Monday 22 June (until Friday 24 July), emergency childcare will be provided at your child’s own school.
It is important to note that from Monday 22 June, emergency childcare will only be available between 8.30am and 4.30pm.
In order to apply for these emergency childcare places, parents/carers will now need to make a weekly application using the local authority’s online system.
The deadline for applications will be 12 noon every Wednesday for childcare for the following week.
As individual schools will also be accommodating other children on site (on a rota basis as advised by your child’s own school), places will be limited and will be capped to comply with social distancing requirements.
If you have already applied for dates from 22 June onwards, you must reapply (with the first deadline being 12 noon on Wednesday 17 June).
Parents/carers are advised that no late applications will be considered.
Therefore, it is important to note that places will be allocated on a ’first come, first served’ basis.
Parents/carers are advised that, currently, the local authority is not in a position to confirm whether emergency childcare provision will be available during the school summer holiday period (ie between Monday 27 July and Tuesday 1 September).
Further information in respect of emergency childcare provision during the school summer holiday period will be provided shortly.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all, once again, for your continuing support at a very difficult time.
Lindsay Iorwerth Harvey (Mr)
Corporate Director – Education and Family Support
Bridgend County Borough Council
’’ As I mentioned yesterday the Director of Education, Mr Harvey, has written to all school families in the Bridgend area and I am passing his letter to you. Thus far I have sent you the statement from Welsh Government and the letter from BCBC. Tomorrow I will write to all to outline our thinking as we prepare to partially reopen our school’’. As I have always said we will share what information we have will all as soon as we possibly can. There are two pieces of guidance from Welsh Government and BCBC respectively expected next week so further details to follow. AS always be careful , stay safe and I will be in touch tomorrow’’
Dyddiad/Date: 4 June 2020
I would like to begin my note by thanking you for your support and patience over the past ten weeks. I am also grateful to you all for the work you have done to support your child’s learning at home since schools closed in March.
Following the Minister for Education’s announcement yesterday, and although local authorities in Wales are awaiting further detail, I am sure that you are keen to know what the next few weeks will look like as far as schools in Bridgend are concerned.
We now know that some learners will be back in schools from 29 June and the school term will be extended by one week until 27 July. The Minister also announced that the autumn half-term break (October holidays) will be extended to two weeks. Whether this extra week will be the week commencing 19 October or 2 November is yet to be determined.
When schools reopen, they will not operate in the same way as they have done in the past. There will be far fewer learners in each classroom and, much in the same way as your child has accessed work over the past few months, schools will continue to provide personalised online learning opportunities for all learners.
Over the next two weeks, your child’s school will contact you to let you know how learners will return to school. It is important to note that learners will return to school on a ’phased return’. This means that not all learners will return at once and, when they do return, the school day might start and end at different times for different learners. This may include different arrangements for siblings of different ages, attending the same school.
I appreciate that the thought of returning to school and the preparation required might be challenging for learners and parents alike. I anticipate that many parents and learners will be anxious. Please be assured that this is an entirely natural reaction to the current situation. With this in mind, I am keen to do everything possible to assure you of the local authority’s support in ensuring the emotional and physical wellbeing of learners is prioritised. Therefore, please be reassured that the local authority is working closely with schools and its partners to ensure that support is in place to assist your child’s return to school.
Thank you, once again, for your patience and support at this challenging time.
Lindsay Iorwerth Harvey (Mr)
Corporate Director – Education and Family Support/Cyfarwyddwr Corfforaethol – Addysg a Chymorth i Deuluoedd
Bridgend County Borough Council
Please find below a link to our parent/carer survey. Please note the deadline for completion of this survey is Friday 5 June at 3pm.
Dear Learner, Parent, Carer
As half term approaches I wanted to extend my wishes to you all with the hope that you, your families and friends remain fit and healthy at these most challenging of times.
I would like to begin with a direct appeal to our learners to be patient and stick with the national advice on meeting others and social distancing. When you are young days can feel like weeks and weeks like months so I realise how you must be feeling after some nine weeks of lockdown. This being the case please remain resilient and stick with the guidance, difficult as it may be, until we have new and different advice.
As you know next week is effectively half term so please have a break from school work and relax and rest up with your families. I have asked your teachers to take a break as well so don’t expect new material on Google classroom in the half term week. I am delighted with the response to the use of Google classroom as we have endeavoured to keep learning, albeit remotely. I agree with people when they remark that we are trying to do the normal things in the most abnormal of times! Once again if you have ICT issues please seek help at [email protected] and if you need any other help then please use [email protected], any message left there will be passed on to the best person to help you.
Also don’t forget there is lots of support material available on the Student Support Google classroom. The access code is d3ket7i
Naturally there are many of us thinking of the future and the return to school, when and how that will take place. As I have always said I will share any information on this matter when I get direction form the Welsh Government or the Local Authority. We are doing lots of thinking and planning around the return to school, there will be one main aim… ..that we are all safe when back in school. I will touch upon the idea of social distancing in school and the need for the 2m distance. Think of any classroom, how many 2m diameter circles can we fit in without them touching each other? As you have realised the answer is far less than the usual number of learners that would normally be in that room – just one of the challenges ahead. I can assure you all that the school will only open when we are fully assured that the method of returning is safe for all of us.
I will write again after the break with further details as I receive them, for example how we will send school reports home this year.
If we were in school we would be preparing to say goodbye to some of year 11 and most of year 13. I appreciate that the vast majority of year 11 will be back with us in September and we look forward to meeting up again. To those in year 11 and 13 who are leaving us may I wish you all the very best for your future. I do hope those who are leaving us are as proud of PCS as PCS is proud of them. Where ever life`s journey takes you I hope you have good memories of your time as part of our school and if in the area do call in as we love to see you and hear what you are up to.
As always, thanks for your support in the most challenging of times, it’s much appreciated. I hope you, your families and friends remain safe, fit and healthy.
If you have changed your phone number, please let us know. We are not able to contact some families.
New message sent out on the 5th May 2020
Dear Learner (and Parent/Carer),
It’s been a week or so since I was in touch so I thought I would provide an update for you.
Before I begin may I enquire if you and your families and friends are all fit and healthy? I do hope so. We have been away from school for a number of weeks now and there is no imminent return on the horizon. As this is the case we will continue with the remote learning via Google classroom. I appreciate fully that this is by no means an ideal situation but we have to adapt given the unique circumstances we find ourselves in.
Mrs Hunt recently sent out additional information on the use of Google classroom in terms of you organising your work. We hope this helps reduce some of the anxiety for you (the learner) as you complete your work. The use of the ’’To do list’’ and the Calendar will help you here. Finally, in the ’’curriculum area’’ of our web site there are some useful tips and instructions for the use of Google classroom.
I would like to remind you all of the support email address for technical ICT issues, questions or concerns – [email protected]. For any other queries or requests for help please refer to [email protected] . May I personally thank all of you who have sent in messages of thanks and support – these are much appreciated.
Home or remote learning can be quite stressful for you as a learner and for parents/carers alike. Please make sure you take regular breaks, exercise and get some fresh air. It may be an idea to try something new or creative, challenge yourself to try something new!
No letter home can be complete without mention of the arrangements for those learners in years 11 and 13 who would normally have sat their examinations. The guidance we have received has been circulated, as has the latest developments. Miss Painter recently sent out details of the Qualifications Wales consultation on the principles to be considered in this years` awarding process. Our staff are looking at the data and are completing the work needed. We are awaiting final details from the WJEC and hope when all is complete the results days will be as normal:
Thursday 13th August Year 13 outcomes
Thursday 20th August Year 11 outcomes.
I do need to remind all of the advice from the WJEC that ’’there may be instances where the schools and colleges, or teachers, are put under external pressure from a candidate or their parent/guardian to influence the decision making on a grade or rank order. Any external pressure must be reported to WJEC who may investigate this as potential candidate malpractice’’… ..Schools must not release Centre Assessment Grades and rank order information to candidates, parents/guardians, or any other individuals outside the centre before results days.
The WJEC guidance in full can be found on this website:
We propose to run the normal results service from A block in terms of times and assistance. I have no idea what social distancing regulations will be in place at that time so will contact you again nearer the time.
The issue of PPE has been in the media over recent weeks and I am pleased to say our school has been helping. Mr Pettit of the Design and Technology department along with a group of volunteers has been making face shields. These have been distributed, free of charge to a variety of institutions in and around the Porthcawl area. Thanks Mr Pettit and your team!!
I would like to conclude with a few thoughts on the return to school process. Despite all the hype in the media we have had no official notification on this matter. I can assure you all that once I know further information I will share it with you without delay. I would advise all that we need to prepare for life in the ’’New normal’’ so long as social distancing regulations are in force. I am fully confident that whatever challenges come our way together we will rise and meet them collectively.
Finally, please stick to the government advice, stay safe, remain fit and healthy and I look forward to meeting you all again.
Message to Parents/Carers from the Central South Consortium
Dear parents and carers,
We have taken the unusual step of writing to you directly in order to thank you for the fantastic work you are doing to support distance learning with your children. It has been a privilege to see some wonderfully positive examples of the way young people of our region have approached the current situation, despite its complexities. Please remember that distance learning cannot be expected to mirror the school experience – to try would be detrimental to yourselves!
We want to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are working hard in collaboration with schools and organisations across Wales, to support yourselves as parents. There is a growing area of supporting materials for parents and carers hosted on the Hwb website. To make it easier for parents to find all of the advice and guidance we have created a Parent area on the CSC website. All of the information can be found here.
You will find advice and guidance on how to access and support learning. Additionally, you will find guidance around online safety and a range of additional learning materials which are freely available. Communications for parents and carers have already been released by Welsh Government and will supplemented over the coming weeks. Parents are also able to download a range of software for free via the Hwb platform, follow the links in the parent area.
As you are aware your school and indeed schools throughout the region are working tirelessly to ensure your children have access to distance learning materials. Our education professionals are, as always, endeavouring to ensure the wellbeing of each and every pupil is at the forefront of the response to Covid-19. We also know that schools are maintaining contact with children and young people across the region, this will be carried out in a variety of ways. Please remember that it is likely the phone number will be withheld, so please make sure you know the arrangements for your school.
Once again, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. Please stay safe and well at this difficult time.
Message from Miss Painter (Director of Progress) and Mr Slade 28.04.20
Qualifications and Grades Update
Our teachers are busy following a rigorous and robust internal process for awarding grades for all learners who ordinarily would have sat formal GCSE, A Level and Vocational examinations this summer, in line with Welsh Government and Qualifications Wales requirements. These grades will be based on what teachers would expect a learner to achieve at the end of the course. They need to represent a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the most likely grade that might be achieved in normal circumstances. This is a professional judgement based on the combined assessment information held for that learner and will be a holistic judgement rather than focusing on a single source of evidence.
Once again, may I respectfully remind parents/carers that your views and judgements cannot and will not be considered as part of this process and any communication to staff in relation to trying to influence your child’s grades, will not elicit a response. This is to protect the integrity of teachers’ judgements, and to avoid teachers, heads of department, and senior leaders being put under pressure by pupils and parents/carers to submit a grade that is not supported by the evidence. The examination boards will retain the right to scale grades if they feel a school has been too generous and therefore, the final outcomes may change according to the boundaries set by the examination boards. No learner or parents/carers will be able to access information regarding the grades awarded by teachers, until the formal results day in August. This is consistent with all learners across Wales.
The outcomes of learners’ performance will be made available on the original planned days for publication in August (August 13th for A Level results and August 20th for GCSE results). If school is open, we will welcome our pupils into school to receive their results; if not, we will make other arrangements as advised by the exams regulator.
We are expecting further instructions from the WJEC and Qualifications Wales in the near future and will keep you updated accordingly.
Director of Progress
Message from Mr Slade 19th April 2020
Dear Learner, Parent or Carer,
I wrote to you all at the beginning of the Easter break and said I would be in touch again once the Easter break was over. May I start with the singularly most important hope? That hope is that you, your family and friends are, and remain, fit and healthy in this most dreadful of times. I realise that many parents/ carers are essential key workers on the front line to beat Covid 19 and the whole school would like to offer the sincerest of thanks. Many of the school staff have volunteered to staff the child care settings for the children of key workers and so our thanks also go these staff.
I would like to thank all parents and carers for their sterling efforts to support their children when using our remote learning activities. I appreciate fully that supporting your children in their remote learning may be rather stressful at times, so again thank you. Parents/carers know their children best and are best placed to judge the level of remote learning that is suitable for each of their children at any particular time. Please trust your instincts and I encourage you to continue to support your child/children to participate in the remote learning in their best interests.
If I may turn next to the Learners. I realise this is a strange and difficult time for everyone. Would all learners please continue with the habit of joining in with the remote learning as before the Easter break? Your teachers are there to help so please engage with them via ’’Google Classroom’’. Please remember if you have problems then we have set up email addresses to ensure we can get your query to the correct person to help you.
1. ICT problems use [email protected]
2. For Health and Wellbeing please use the Health and Wellbeing Google classroom for your year group or the Student Support Google Classroom which is open to all. If you have lost class codes please email the above support email address.
3. If parents/carers have wellbeing or emotional support issues please direct your query to [email protected] Your query will be directed to the most appropriate person who will contact you to help.
The most common question is ’’When will we return to normal school?’’ The honest answer is, your guess is as good as mine. I do not know this at the present time. As soon as I have any confirmed details I will contact you via the usual Parent App and web site.
Lastly, I do not have details as to how grades will be determined for those learners in years 10 to 13 as we are awaiting information from the relevant authorities. Again any updates will be published on the web site and contact via the Parent App.
I would like to end where I began with the hope that we all remain fit and healthy and I look forward to meeting you again in the not too distant future.
Head Teacher. 19.04.2020
The Easter message 2020
Head Teacher End of term message Easter 2020
Dear Learner, Parent , Carer
As I write this we are facing the greatest challenge any of us has lived through. May I begin with the hope that you and your loved ones are and continue to be fit and in good health. Currently we are in a fast moving and very unpredictable position, things are changing very rapidly. Given this situation it is most difficult to provide you with concrete information as it may change causing confusion and anxiety. Please keep an eye on the school web site and the Parent App, where we will share information as we get it.
As you are aware we are using ’’Google Classroom’’ to support remote learning while school remains closed. If your child has not logged on yet then please encourage them. Any technical queries can be directed to [email protected] where help is at hand. I have decided that we will suspend the use of ’’Google Classroom’’ for what would have been the Easter break. I want learners and staff to have a break and resume ’’Google Classroom’’ on Monday 20th April. Would all learners please ensure they do their best to complete all the work currently set by their teachers.
Given the very worrying time I would like to mention the support that we have on offer. For learners there is the Student Support google classroom which is supported by staff. All learners have been sent the classroom code for this but in case they have mislaid it the code is d3ket7i. At this time I would like to widen the support available to learners and their families. Anyone requiring additional help may make contact in the first instance via [email protected]
In this email please include your name, child`s name and year group. Your e mail will be directed to the senior manager linked to the year group who will discuss the matter with the relevant Head of Year. The senior manager or Head of Year will phone you back to try and offer whatever help we may be able to muster. Please be mindful that the e mails will be monitored in normal school hours and this is not an emergency service. I realise this is not as good as face to face contact but we are trying to offer additional help given these difficult circumstances.
I appreciate that the current position for learners in years 10 to13 is very worrying. The information we have received so far has been shared via the school web site. As we receive additional information from the W.J.E.C or Qualifications Wales we will share it with you via the web site. Would you please refrain from making individual queries as we simply are unable to respond at the current time. Once I am aware of the processes involved, I will share these with you.
I am pleased and very proud to tell you that we have a large pool of volunteers who are providing child supervision for parents of key workers. This will continue over the Easter including the Bank Holiday weekend and I would like to publically thank them.
Finally, and most importantly I hope you and your families and friends remain well. I will write again after the Easter break, but please keep a regular lookout on the web page for any further updates.
With best wishes
Additional Information regarding payment for examinations
We are aware that some Parents/Carers/Students have paid the examination board for a resit unit/external examination. At the present time we are awaiting further instructions on all aspects of examinations and will of course update you when we have any news.