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    Head’s Blog 24th May 2019

    This week we held our first literary festival which culminates today with the whole of our year 7 cohort experiencing the delights of the Hay Festival.

    This week, our pupils will have experienced:

    “Meet a Sport Journalist” with Callum Ellis

    “Meet a Journalist” with Gareth Lewis, Rebecca John and Kate Scott-Williams

    “Meet a Play Wright” with Jon Berry

    This really has been a special week and is something which I know pupils will always remember. Grateful thanks must be extended to the wonderful staff team at Brynteg who somehow, always seem to find the energy to provide such a superb range of opportunities and in-particular to Mr Jones and Mrs Fender who have led this new initiative wonderfully.

    Our pupils who are sitting examinations really have impressed us in the way which they have applied themselves.  The exam season seems to creep earlier every year and this adds to the pressure that our pupils are placed under as they lose the essential revision time which they traditionally had in the run-up to Whitsun.  As a school, we are making representations to the WJEC and to the Children’s Commissioner about this and would welcome your support should you feel able to do so.

    Please remember that Monday 3rdJune is a training day and pupils return to school on Tuesday 4thJune.

    Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils in our pop-up ‘reading café’ which we introduced as part of Literary Week.

    Best wishes

     

     

    Head’s Blog 17th May 2019

    As the academic year seems to be flying by, your thoughts may be turning to the new year and purchasing items of uniform and so I thought it timely to remind you of our uniform guidelines and to alert you to some changes.

    One of the areas of concern with our current uniform is the length of girls’ skirts which, in many cases is far too short.  Having skirts which are so short is simply not practical in school and this will change in September.  Should girls choose to wear skirts then these should no shorter than 5cms above the knee and must be worn as intended, not rolled up at the waist to make them shorter. Skirts will continue to be part of our uniform for the next year however, if it is felt that there is still an issue with the length of skirts then governors will be asked to consider removing the option  to wear a skirt with all pupils wearing trousers from September 2020.

    This is important for parents and carers who are considering purchasing skirts as often, those that are on sale are too short, made of the incorrect fabric (stretchy) and so on.  Hopefully, informing you of this change at this early stage will help you to be able to plan your uniform purchases carefully.

    The other change (one which you are already aware of) is the fact that polo shirts will no longer form part of our uniform in the summer – during that period pupils will not be required to wear their blazers/jumpers.

    Girls Uniform Boys Uniform
    Skirt Plain mid/dark grey – Sensible length – no more than 5cms above the knee
    Trousers Plain mid/dark grey, straight cut (no turn-ups, no black or flared) with a navy, black or grey belt if needed. Trousers should not be tight, short or jean type material Trousers Plain mid/dark grey, straight cut (no turn-ups, no black or flared) with a navy, black or grey belt if needed. Trousers should not be tight, short or jean type material
    Shirt Plain white shirt/blouse Shirt Plain white shirt
    Blazer Official School Blazer Blazer Official School Blazer
    Jumper Plain navy v neck with school badge. Neither sweatshirts nor hooded tops are acceptable Jumper Plain navy v neck with school badge. Neither sweatshirts nor hooded tops are acceptable
    Ties Lower School – Broad stripes. Upper school – Narrow stripes. Clip on ties prefered Ties Lower School – Broad stripes. Upper school – Narrow stripes. Clip on ties prefered
    Socks Dark grey or grey tights. Grey or black socks to be worn with trousers Socks Dark grey or black
    Shoes Black sensible shoes(not trainers or any type of boots). Shoes Black sensible shoes(not trainers or any type of boots).

    Thank you for your support with our uniform as, on the whole, the standard is extremely high.

    Our photo of the week shows some of our y9 pupils enjoying the recent Techniquest workshops and is another example of the fantastic range of opportunities which are offered to our pupils.  Next week, my blog will focus on our first literary festival which we are all eagerly awaiting  – watch this space!

    Thank you for your support

    Head’s Blog 10th May 2019

    This week the  external exam season began in earnest.  It really does only feel like yesterday when I was speaking to year 11 pupils and saying that the year would ‘fly by’ – and it certainly has!

    Exams are important but not more important than wellbeing.  I want all pupils to do well, do the best they can but to appreciate that, as long as they have tried their best, then that is good enough.  The pressure on young people is immense and even though some journalists seem to suggest that it isn’t the case, exam pressure is mounting year-on-year.  There is a role for everyone to ensure that pupils are supported over the coming weeks, whether that is by giving the time and space they need, by ensuring there is a plentiful supply of custard creams to hand or by some simple words of encouragement – this support can all make a difference.

    Our pupils have been bombarded with revision tips and advice over the past few months and so here I have taken the liberty of sharing with you what I think are the top pieces of advice for parents and carers:

    • Agree the balance between work and social life and stick to the agreement. Again, flexibility is the key – if a special night comes up, agree that they can make up the work at a specified time
    • All students fall behind, feel demotivated or overwhelmed, or struggle with the balance of social, work and school demands at times. When your child feels like this, berating and threatening them will have a negative effect. Talk to them about the issues, acknowledge their feelings and adopt a sensible attitude in wanting to find a solution
    • Be flexible – use the 80/20 rule. If your child is sticking to what they are supposed to be doing 80% of the time, they will be doing alright
    • If your child asks for your support, encourage them by helping them to see the difficulties in perspective. Teenagers often take an all or nothing ‘catastrophic’ approach to difficulties – “I’ve messed up this essay, I might as well give up.”

    Exams can be stressful for parents and carers too but please remember your support is invaluable!

     

    Our photo of the week shows Year 7 pupils starting their exciting 3-year science project with Trio Science Cymru.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 3rd May 2019

    What a start to the term with our year 9 rugby team winning the final at the Principality Stadium!  The team are real credit to the school and to their parents and carers and really did demonstrate what can be achieved with determination and hard work.

    We also heard this week about the successes of a number of our other pupils/ex-pupils:

    William (Year 8). Who, during Easter achieved his black belt in Taekwondo.

    Eloise who is currently competing with her team RSD Celebrities in the world summit dance in Florida

    Ex- pupil Alice Stride, who has just received an amazing review for her spectacular performance in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at Chichester College!

    This is just a small sample of the wide range of talent we have at Brynteg.  Please remember to send us details of any achievements of your son/daughter from outside school to us in order that we may celebrate this with all members of the school community.

    This week saw the launch of the draft Curriculum for Wales which we will be delivering to pupils from September 2022.  As a school, we are committed to using this to help transform the learning and teaching experiences for all of our pupils.  You may be interested in looking at the draft proposals at the following website:

    https://hwb.gov.wales/draft-curriculum-for-wales-2022/a-guide-to-curriculum-for-wales-2022/

    Finally, our photo of the week shows our year 9 rugby team, suitably nourished after having a pre-match breakfast at Café No. 11 – thank you to them for being such good supporters of the school and well done to all pupils and staff involved.

    Head’s Blog 12th April 2019

    This has been another wonderful term where we have seen so many success stories in all aspects of our provision.  Our pupils continue to demonstrate just how incredibly talented they are and this makes Brynteg School such an exciting place in which to be!  I have selected some important pieces of information for you below but please remember to visit our Facebook and Twitter accounts which are updated regularly as well as sending emails and other messages home through the SIMs system.

    Summer uniform

    On return after the Easter holiday, pupils in years 8,9,11 and 13 can wear polo shirts to school should they wish.  Pupils in years 7, 10 and 12 should continue to wear their shirt and tie but are not required to wear their pullover and blazer.  Last year, whilst agreeing the purchase of polo shirts was an unnecessary additional expense, members of our School Council wanted a phased approach to the removal of them.  This will be the last year that polo shirts in any year group will be allowed.

    Jewellery/Mobile Phones

    Please note that the only item of jewellery that is permitted in school is a wristwatch.  Whilst the impact that digital technology can have in the learning process is recognised, there is a clear mobile phone policy in school whereby pupils are able to bring them but they must not be seen/used during the school day unless permission is given from a member of staff.  This also applies to headphones and pupils should not walk around school with these on display.

    Attendance

    It is essential that pupils attend school regularly and that, if possible, planned absences are taken outside school time.  This year we have introduced a new system for requesting absences during term time whereby parents and carers are requested to complete an ‘Absence in Term Time’ form and return to myself at least 4 weeks before the planned absence.  Of course, I fully understand that sometimes it may not be possible to give this period of notice but I would stress that the form needs to be completed for all requests.

    Eisteddfod and Sports Day

    As you are aware, recently we held our y7-9 Eisteddfod at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl which was a huge success and it is something which will hopefully become a regular part of our calendar.  Following this, it has been decided to hold our Sports Day at Lecwith Stadium Cardiff, again primarily involving pupils in years 7-9 but this time some pupils in year 10 will be involved as well.  Both activities provide our pupils with an experience which I believe they will remember for a long time and their importance is unquestionable.  However, there is a cost to these and in these times of severe financial constraints, funds have to be raised in order to provide these activities.  This week, Thursday 11thApril  is a non-uniform day and the funds raised from this will contribute to the cost of sports day.  The PE department are also planning other activities but if you have any ideas as to how funds could be raised in order to provide these activities, please contact me at the school.

    IT

    Governors met recently and discussed how a significant level of investment is required in order to provide our pupils with the most up-to-date access to digital technology in the classroom.  There is a plan to do this in the coming months but, once again, there is a need to raise funds in order to ensure that access to technology is uniform across the school.  One of the areas which we know needs investment is that of our wireless network as, at the moment, it is too unreliable and indeed in some part of the school, coverage is non-existent.  Whilst governors have plans to improve access to mobile devices, this will not have the desired impact if the wireless coverage is not sufficient to meet the needs of our pupils and staff.  If you are aware of anyone who would be able to sponsor our wireless network, or who is able to provide us with a solution to this problem, please ask them to get in touch with me at the school.

    Coffee Shop and lunchtime plans September 2019+

    Recently (in partnership with the BCBC catering team and Argies Coffee) a new coffee shop was opened in the upper school canteen.  This is available for our sixth form to use throughout the morning and the rest of the school at break/lunchtime.  Please encourage your son/daughter to use this facility – the quality of the drinks and food which are available really are comparable to any of the coffee shops you would visit outside!  However, if it isn’t used, there is a chance that this facility could be withdrawn.   This is all part of our programme of developing our facilities as we move to a situation where the only pupils who will be allowed out for lunch will be our sixth form.  From September 2019, pupils in year 11, 12 and 13 will be allowed out of school at lunchtime and in September 2020 only years 12 and 13 will have this permission.

    Deputy Headteacher

    Mrs Lauren Mackie was recently appointed as our new Deputy Headteacher and she will start with us in September.  Mrs Mackie is currently Assistant Headteacher at Mountain Ash comprehensive school and before that was a Head of English and English teacher at a number of other schools in South Wales.

    Key Dates

    Pupils break up on Thursday 11thApril and return to school on Monday 29thApril. School is closed for May Day on Monday 6thMay and our next Professional Learning (Training) Day is Monday 3rd June.

    As we approach the examination and national test season, I would like to stress how proud I am of all of our pupils as they work so hard in preparation for these.  There is a terrific amount of pressure on young people at the moment and, whilst examinations and tests are important, I do hope they remember that, as long as they can say they tried their best, then they should feel happy in what they have done. It is also important for pupils and parents/carers to remember that there is a brilliant team of staff at Brynteg who are only too willing to help and support over this period.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time and don’t think that we are ever too busy to deal with an issue!

    The photo of the week shows some of our pupils obviously developing their own approach to the folk dancing activity as part of their enrichment session!

    I wish you and your family a safe and relaxing Easter break.

    Head’s Blog Friday 5th April 2019

    This week I would like to use the blog to focus on the success of our pupils in two different activities.

    As part of our enrichment programme, pupils who have little or no experience of playing an instrument have been involved in our Plastic Band (where they have the opportunity to play a range of basic training instruments).  Such has been the success of this activity that this group along with Brynteg Brass took part in the Music for Youth event at the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl.  The event involved pupils from across the county and where each group performed to a panel of judges who provided feedback at the end of the performances (it was not a competition but a celebration of youth music).  The performance of our pupils was outstanding with some super feedback from the judges. As well as recognising the talents of our pupils, the judges also commented on the unique enrichment programme we have at Brynteg and how it provides pupils with an important opportunity to experience activities which they may otherwise not have access to.

    Our year 9 rugby team played Newbridge in the semi-final of the Wales Schools’ Cup and won.  This now means that they will play in the final at the Principality Stadium just after the Easter holiday.  Again, this demonstrates the wealth of talent we have at Brynteg and the fact that the long tradition of sporting excellence continues. More details of the final will be made available in the coming week and, if you are able to make it, I am sure the team would welcome your support.

    Brynteg is such a wonderful school and I am so proud of the fact that there is such a wide variety of experiences on offer.

    The photo of the week shows some of our brilliant pupils thoroughly enjoying the experience in the Music for Youth Festival.

    Best wishes

     

    Head’s Blog 29th March 2019

    Next week parents and carers are invited  to come along to the termly Open Meeting with the Headteacher which takes place on Wednesday 3rdApril at 5pm in the Upper School hall.

    This is an opportunity  to raise issues with me in a public forum. The meeting will also be used to feedback the results from the recent parent/carer questionnaire.   Some of the other things which you may wish to find out more about are:

    • the plans to develop the way in which we report progress to you
    • a new system of regular review meetings with form tutors for all pupils and their parents/carers
    • plans to remodel the school and develop a new central reception and health/wellbeing area

    This really is your meeting where you have the opportunity to take control of the agenda.  Please remember, if there is anything you would like to ask but feel that it is not appropriate to do so in a public forum, then you are more than welcome to contact me at any time and I will make arrangements to see you.

    The photo of the week shows some of our pupils who are building their own hovercraft as part of the enrichment programme.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 22nd March 2019

    It is important that we  always look for ways to positively influence the wellbeing of our pupils and staff in a school system that has so many external pressures.  As you are aware, we planned to hold formal internal examinations in the coming weeks for pupils in years 7-9.  These would be in addition to the national reading and numeracy tests which are also due to be sat in May.

    The additional pressure of sitting internal examinations in a formal setting (mainly in the Sports Hall) is unnecessary and something which we can control.   The decision has therefore been taken to move the examinations to a class-based situation where pupils will still sit the planned papers but within familiar surroundings.  The class-based tests will take place during the allocated exam period but not necessarily following the planned timetable which was distributed earlier (pupils will be informed by their teacher when these are to take place).

    This simple change will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our pupils whilst, at the same time, still allowing them to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in a more informal situation.

    School is about so much more than classroom-based learning and at Brynteg, there are so many extra-curricular opportunities which are offered to pupils.  This week a visit to Poland was organised by our Religion, Ethics and Philosophy department where, amongst other things our pupils:

    • Visited the Galicia Museum where they met a concetration camp surviror
    • A tour of the permanent exhibitions and buildings at the Auschwitz I-Main Camp and the original camp buildings in Auschwitz II-Birkenau
    • Experienced a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine and of Krakow City

    Visits such as these provide pupils with experiences that they will never forget.  I am most grateful to the staff at Brynteg who willingly give up so much of their time in order to provide such opportunities to our pupils.

    Our photo of the week shows our pupils and staff with a survivor of the holocaust who they had the privilege of meeting.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 15th March 2019

    Thank you to the 198 parents and carers who completed our online questionnaire regarding all aspects of our provision.  The results are now being analysed and they will be presented during the ‘Open Meeting with the Headteacher’ which is taking place on Wednesday 3rdApril at 5.00pm.  During the meeting it is not only intended to present the findings, but also to discuss with you what is planned to be done in order to address the issues identified.

    There are a number of exciting developments taking place at school all with the aim of providing our pupils with even better provision.  For example, at the present time we are currently reviewing our reporting system, developing a new and more balanced calendar of events, discussing how we can offer parents and carers more 1 to 1 feedback and so on.  This certainly is an exciting time at Brynteg and it is so important that parents and carers take every opportunity to play a key role in this.

    Our year 9 option process continues as the option form is now live.  All pupils now need to complete this form and ensure that it is returned by Friday 29thMarch.  Hopefully, pupils, parents and carers have all found the information contained in the online course booklet, the advice given in special assemblies and the discussions with teachers last night’s parent/carer evening as helping with the decision.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at school should you require any further assistance with this decision.

    The form can be accessed using the following link:

    https://goo.gl/forms/x4vzvoBZBcWPcNAf1

    A number of parents and carers have queried the position regarding wearing polo shirts after Easter – here is an extract from the newsletter which was sent out in July 2018 which I hope clarifies the situation:

    As your thoughts may be turning to purchasing uniform for next year, it is important to explain to you the new arrangements for the post-Easter period.  Pupils in years 7, 10 and 12 will continue to wear their shirt and tie – there will be no requirement for them to wear a jumper/blazer.   This means that parents and carers will not have to purchase polo shirts in these year groups for what is, a relatively short period of time.  As these years progress through the school, so will the new arrangement.  Pupils in years 8,9,11 and 13 (Easter 2019) can wear polo shirts if they have already purchased them but this is optional – they may well wish to continue with the shirt and tie arrangement as described above.   In addition, a reminder that the transition arrangements for moving to our new school uniform have now ended and on our return in September, all pupils will be required to wear the school blazer.

    Our photo of the week is another from our recent Eisteddfod.  The festivities continued this week as we held our Eisteddfod celebration concert where, once again, our amazing pupils demonstrated how talented they are.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 8th March

    What an amazing first week back!

    On their return to school on Monday, pupils will have noticed that they upper school canteen has been transformed to include a coffee shop.  This was work which was done by the BCBC catering team during the half term break and arose out of requests from the School Council.  Pupils and staff now have access to a range of hot and cold drinks as well as some far too tempting sweet and savoury snacks.  The coffee shop is open for our sixth form pupils to access it throughout the day, with the rest of the school having access at breaktime.  The input of our colleagues from BCBC is greatly appreciated as this has meant that our pupils are starting to see a real difference in the quality of the facilities they have at school.

    Our lower school Eisteddfod took place yesterday in the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl.  It was decided to hold the event in this way in order to allow pupils to experience the feel of a house competition as a group of over 700. The quality of the performances was outstanding and what was really impressive was the way in which so many of our pupils took to the stage for the first time in order to help their team. Mention must also be made of the fantastic quality of the off-stage entries, which really did demonstrate the wide range of talents of our pupils.

    Finally, thank you to the 200 parents and carers who completed the online questionnaire about our provision.  The findings from this are now being compiled and will be communicated via social media and used as a focal point of the next Open Meeting with the Head which is taking place on Wednesday 3rdApril at 5.30pm.

    Please remember, as previously informed, we are not moving to wearing polo shirts after Easter.  Pupils will only need to wear their shirt and tie to school during the warm weather and, as was the case last year, in extreme conditions, pupils will be able to wear their PE kit.

     

    Finally, the photo of the week shows one of the many stars of the Eisteddfod who obviously completely enjoyed the event.

    Best wishes