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Head’s Blog 20th July 2018

At the end of this incredibly busy but enjoyable year I thought I would take the opportunity to thank you as parents and carers for your support and hope that, as we move forward, there will be may more opportunities for us to work together.

This is a fantastic school with our outcomes at all three key stages being extremely positive but there is still a lot for us to do.  When making statements like this, it doesn’t mean that things aren’t right but that the school itself is seeking to build on the high level of success which it already achieves.  In order to do this, the input of parents and carers is essential.

Over the past year, I have introduced a series of open meetings with parents and carers where the agenda was set by those who attended the meetings.  Whilst only a few parents and carers chose to take up this offer, the discussions held during the meetings were incredibly productive and helped guide us as staff to focus on areas which need to be developed.  These meetings will continue next year and more details will be made available in the autumn term.

One of the areas which parents and carers have asked us to develop is that of communication.  At the start of the new academic year we will be introducing a new system of communicating with you using apps (Sims Parent and Student apps)  and also Sims InTouch (which will replace MyEd).  These  will help us to be far more effective in the way in which we communicate with you.  Again, further details will be made available at the start of the autumn term.

The photo of the week shows some of our pupils who took part in our recent residential at Llangrannog – they all came back incredibly tired but eager to go again!

Thank you for your support this year.  It is a privilege to be the headteacher of such a wonderful school and I look forward to what I know is an incredibly bright future.

Have a safe and relaxing summer holiday.

 

Head’s Blog – 13th July 2018

As we approach the end of a very successful academic year, I would like to update you with some important information.  Hopefully, you will have received a copy of ‘Brynteg Summer News’ where you will be able to see a large number of activities which have taken place this year.

We are coming to the end of our second week of wearing PE kit as a result of the hot weather and the response from pupils has been excellent. They have all arrived at school wearing the correct Brynteg PE kit creating that important image of the school whilst at the same time being far more comfortable in this unusual period of high temperatures.  This is something which I will also support and see it as a sensible response to the wellbeing needs of our pupils.

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.

The school has a clear approach when it comes to mobile phone usage. Quite simply, pupils are not permitted to use their phones anywhere on the school premises.  Pupils who do not follow this simple rule risk having their device confiscated for the remainder of the day and in some cases, it will only be returned to parents and carers.  In some lessons, under the direction of the class teacher, mobile phones maybe allowed if it is felt that use will aid learning at that point.  If brought into school, mobile phones should be stored out-of-sight and are the responsibility of the pupils.

At the request of a large number of pupils, parents and carers, we will be providing a limited number of lockers for use by our pupils from September. If you are interested in renting one of the lockers (it is not compulsory) then all you need to do is visit the company’s website (www.locker.rentals) where you can select the specific location in the school and once payment is made, you will be sent the unique 4-digit code for use in the combination lock (there are no keys required).  Please do not send money to school for the lockers, this is an arrangement which is completely controlled by the company we have entered into the agreement with.

On our return to school in September, we will be embarking on our new enrichment programme.  This will involve all pupils (year 7-13) and will take place on the Week B Wednesday afternoon.  Pupils will need to sign up for activities in the coming weeks where they will be able to choose from a wide range of exciting options.

Sadly, at this time of year we often have to say farewell to staff who are leaving us and this year is no exception.  The staff who are leaving us are:

Mrs A Grabham (Deputy Head), Mr R Hopkins (Deputy Head), Miss C Nightingale (Assistant Head), Dr M Kyriakides (Biology), Mrs H Jones (English), Ms K Vallance (Welsh), Ms L Waters (RE), Mr P Benson (ICT), Mr M Gibbs (Network Manager), Mr M Donovan (Business Manager), Mrs L Hancock (Examinations Officer) and Mrs S Stacey (Attendance Officer).

The colleagues who are leaving us have all made a huge impact on Brynteg School and, as they leave, so will a great deal of experience (over 183 years to be precise).  We are lucky to have had a productive period of recruitment and I will update you with a complete list of all of our new staff at a later date.

On behalf of the Brynteg School community, I would like to thank those colleagues that are leaving for all that they have done for the pupils of our school.Finally, the photo of the week come from the spectacular year 8 Expressive Arts project which took place this week; seeing pupils having so much fun, whilst at the same time learning really did demonstrate the importance of developing similar activities in the future.

The photo of the week come from the spectacular year 8 Expressive Arts project which took place this week; seeing pupils having so much fun, whilst at the same time learning really did demonstrate the importance of developing similar activities in the future.

Best wishes

Headteacher

Ry.davies@bryntegcs.bridgend.sch.uk

Head’s Blog – 6th July 2018

What a fantastic week we have had at Brynteg!   It has been absolutely packed with activities with some of the highlights being:

Sports Days – for the first time for a number of years, we have held these events on our school site. Whilst it has been difficult trying to ensure there is adequate shade for our pupils, it has also demonstrated to us what a wonderful facility we have at our disposal.  The pupil response to has been excellent and we feel that more were able to participate as a result of the new arrangement.

Summer Prom – this was the opportunity for pupils from year 7-13 to demonstrate their musical talents – which they certainly did.  I think the most powerful aspect of this event was the fact that all pupils were encouraged to perform from relative beginners to those who are more advanced. A true celebration of the rich and varied talents of our pupils!

Transition Day – 272 pupils joined us from their primary schools as part of their welcome into Brynteg. This is the largest year group we have had for many years and they all demonstrated just how vibrant and keen they are – there certainly is a lot to look forward to.

We are coming to the end of our second week of wearing PE kit as a result of the hot weather and the response from pupils has been excellent.  They have all arrived at school wearing the correct Brynteg PE kit creating that important image of the school whilst at the same time being far more comfortable in this unusual period of high temperatures.  This is something which I will also support and see it as a sensible response to the wellbeing needs of our pupils.

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 during this period.   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.

Our photo of the week shows some of pupils enjoying the display created by our art department for The Incredible Journey which was the theme for our recent Languages, Literacy and Communication cluster project.  The look on the faces of the pupils is a real tonic!

Thank you for your support.

 

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Head’s Blog – 29th June 2018

Thank you for your support this week as we all enjoyed record-breaking temperatures!  I think allowing pupils to wear their PE kit during this period has really worked well for all concerned with pupils claiming that they have felt much more comfortable in their lessons.  This to me should be the way in which we approach ‘summer uniform’ – when the temperature gets to a point where it is simply too uncomfortable to wear uniform in the classroom then pupils should be allowed to wear their PE kit.   As was the case this week, parents and carers will be informed through social media and our new SIMs parent app if pupils are allowed to wear their PE kit (this system worked extremely well this week). Going forward, I would propose that this replaces the polo shirt and I will be informing parents and carers of our new year 7 (September 2018) of this fact.

In only 4 school weeks time we will be returning to a new and exciting year and, as you are aware, this year we are introducing our enrichment programme for all pupils (years 7-13).  The enrichment session will take place on the second Wedensday of the timetable and pupils will be able to choose from a wide variety of activities with the first round of options taking place in the next few weeks.

It is hoped that this initiative will allow pupils some freedom in a very busy timetable. There will be no examinations or tests involved with pupils (and staff) being allowed to enjoy activities without these additional pressures.  Of course, the enrichment programme will depend on the positive and mature approach from all of our pupils; it is not optional but having seen the range of activities, neither will pupils have to do something which they will not enjoy.

This is such an exciting project and I firmly believe it will make a positive impact across the school in all lessons and I am sure this blog will contain lots of information about the activities in the coming months.

The photo of the week shows members of the hockey team who are looking for sponsorship for new kit – if you know of anyone who will be able to help, please let us know.

Thank you for your support.

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Head’s Blog 22nd June 2018

As you may be aware, the school has investigated the possibility of having lockers in school for our pupils.  This was at the request of our pupils and members of the School Council.  Whilst we have a beautiful school site, it is rather spread out with the result being that pupils have to carry their bags for quite a distance during the day.

Purchasing the lockers was our original intention but it was not too long before we realised that this was way beyond our means.  Even for the basic internal lockers, the best price we could find was £92 for a block of 3 meaning an outlay of £43,000 for the whole school.  The type of lockers we have identified which are both suitable for use internally and externally are more expensive again.

Our solution has been to approach a company who will site the lockers in school for us at no cost. If parents/carers would like to purchase a locker for the year then this is done by accessing the company’s website and paying a rental fee of £15-£18 per year.  It will also be possible to specify the exact location of the locker.  Once payment has been made, an email will be sent back to the parent/carer with the location/number of the locker together with a 4 digit code which pupils will use to gain access to the locker by means of a combination lock (there are no keys involved at all).

The school will not receive any money from this venture at all but it does give us immediate access to lockers (which would not be possible if we had to purchase them outright). In an ideal world we would be able to fund the lockers ourselves and not have to charge pupils for them but sadly this is not the case.

Pupils will not be required to have a locker and it is envisaged that some will choose not to do so.  It is hoped that this initiative will make life a little easier for pupils at Brynteg.

Our photo of the week shows some of the members of our wonderful orchestra and was taken during one of the lunchtime rehearsal sessions this week.

Best wishes

 

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Head’s Blog 15th June 2018

What a week we have just had in Brynteg – at this time of year you would expect that we would begin to slow down but this is definitely not the case here!

One of the highlights of the week has been our year 7 learning project (The Incredible Journey) which was designed and delivered jointly with Brackla, Penybont, Tremains and Litchard primary schools. The week focussed on developing extended writing skills and saw joint teaching across primary and secondary with our teaches delivering in primary schools and vice versa.  This model is one which will become more important as the new Curriculum for Wales is developed.  I think that the school community is very lucky to have such a talented group of staff and to be able to work with these wonderful primary schools really is a privilege.

I am just about to discuss with our School Council the possibility of having lockers .  The company which has been identified (Locker Rentals) basically site lockers in schools themselves and then parents/carers have the opportunity to rent them for a year by contacting them directly.  There are no keys involved as all lockers have a combination lock.  If the School Council members feel that this is something which they would like then a restricted number of these lockers will be ordered in the first instance in order to evaluate how the scheme works before committing any further.

The Young Enterprise scheme is an important initiative which has been running in schools and colleges for many years now and at Brynteg, it is an important part of our provision. This year, a group of sixth form pupils formed their own company (Diverge) which developed a product known as ‘Eco-Toes’.

The group thought about children in less developed countries who walk to school without shoes and came up with a highly innovative solution to the problem.  Their idea was developing a kit which would allow schools around the world to turn as few as 8 carrier bags into shoes which can then be worn by the children.  I am sure you will agree that this is a highly innovative idea and so much so, the group made it through to the all Wales final. Sadly, they didn’t win but maybe someone out there will pick up on this fantastic idea.  As a small consolation, they have been chosen as the photo of the week.

Best wishes

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Head’s Blog 8th June 2018

We are committed to improving communication between school and home and have recently been working to develop a new system which will launch in the near future.

Whether it’s sharing information on attendance, homework and timetables or school reports and conduct, parents and carers can stay on top of their child’s progress. We will easily be able send automated alerts and notifications directly to parents’ phones. A clear dashboard gives parents an overview of their child’s school life, making for more meaningful conversation at parent/carer evenings.  The app will also allow us to efficiently manage extra-curricular activities such as school trips, homework clubs and after school activities.

Additionally, the data collection functionality within the SIMS Parent app lets us easily collect the most up-to-date contact information from parents/carers.

Working alongside the Parent app, the SIMS Student app lets students view important information, such as their timetable, homework they’ve been set and feedback once it has been marked. They can also receive alerts through the app to remind them of key information, for example, there is a careers fair happening at school tomorrow.

These apps will be fully functional for the start of the new academic year and in preparation for this, in the coming weeks you will be sent log in details where you will be given access to the apps in order for you (and us) to get used to them.

We have recently finalised our calendar for 2018-19 with some of the key dates being:

Training Day 1                                 Monday 3rd   September 2018

School Opens to pupils                Tuesday  4th  September 2018

Training Day 2                                 Monday 5th November 2018

Training Day 3                                 Friday 22nd February 2019

Training Day 4                                 Monday 3rdJune 2019

Training Day 5                                 Monday 22ndJuly 2019

Finally, at the end of the half term break, a large group of our pupils from y8 visited France led by our wonderful staff.  The feedback from the visit has been so positive with our pupils representing Brynteg School in the best way possible. Our photo of the week comes from the trip and shows the new Brynteg snail-eating champions (I think they are enjoying them).

Best wishes

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Head’s Blog 25th May 2018

That was the fifth half term out of six – the speed at which we go through academic years is incredible!  It really does only seem like yesterday that year 7 were sitting in the hall in their first assembly and now looking at them as they move around school it is as if they have been here for years.

The last week before Whitsun is always tinged with sadness as, for many of our pupils, it is the last week of formal teaching.  It is a shame that the examination boards now feel that it is appropriate to bring forward the exams as pupils in years 11-13 have been sitting external papers for a few weeks now.  It used to be the case that exams would start around Whitsun time meaning that pupils could spend the half term preparing and, also have time to celebrate the last few lessons together as a year group.  Let’s hope the powers-that-be see sense and move exams back in future years.

Even with the pressure of examinations, we have still managed to ensure that our pupils in years 11 and 13 have had celebration assemblies as a way of commemorating the end of such an important phase of their education.  The assemblies are always packed with fun as there are so many stories to tell and of course, there is also the more sombre aspect of the realisation that this will be the last time they will be together as a complete year group.

I am so pleased that we are able to ensure that our pupils are still able to experience some of the ‘nicer’ aspects of life in school, even during a completely frantic examination period.  The response from our year 11 and 13 pupils over the past few months has been outstanding and they deserve to be congratulated for this.  If their positive attitude is anything to go by, then they should be looking forward to the results days in August.

The photo of the week shows some of our year 11 pupils in their celebration assembly and it sums up just how positive this was.

I hope you have a restful Whitsun break and look forward to seeing all pupils back in school on Monday 4th June.

Best wishes

 

Head’s Blog 18th May 2018

This week pupils and staff took part in the first phase of our move from the current card system for cashless payments to our new biometric system which is due to go ‘live’ on June 4th.  This does mean  that, after half term, pupils and staff will be able to deposit cash and pay for meals simply by placing their finger on the biometric readers which are currently being installed.  Not only will this make it easier and quicker during the very busy break periods, it will also mean that there isn’t the inconvenience of having to make alterative arrangements when a card is lost or left at home.  At the moment, there is a concern that some pupils are going without lunch simply because they don’t have access to their card – the new system will stop this happening.

It is our aim to encourage more and more pupils to eat in school and are looking at reviewing the arrangement whereby pupils in years 10-13 are allowed ‘off-site’ during lunchtime. There are no plans to change this arrangement for the 2018-19 academic year but, working with the School Council, it is hoped that this will be something which we are able to do in the future.

As members of the School Council have highlighted, in order to encourage pupils to stay in school, the range, quality and price of the school offer has to be attractive.   I know that colleagues from BCBC catering are very open to suggestions and I look forward to working with them and the School Council to develop our provision further.

It is important that our pupils have the opportunity to understand and develop a healthy approach to their lifestyle.  There are healthy options already on offer in school at break and lunchtime but there is a concern that pupils are choosing unhealthy options from outside school.  Please help us to reinforce the message about healthy eating; sadly, we have very little control over what local retailers wish to sell to our pupils and therefore do need your support in order to improve the situation.

The photo of the week shows year 8 pupils enjoying science in the sunshine using quadrats and nets to calculate the biodiversity index of Brynteg school. Seeing the pupil enjoying their learning is important but it also demonstrates what a fantastic resource our school grounds are.

Best wishes

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Head’s Blog 11th May 2018

It never ceases to amaze me just how activities our pupils are when it comes to fundraising for a wide range of charities.  Almost on a weekly basis, pupils ask for permission to undertake some element of fundraising such as asking for a non-uniform day, cake sale, sponsorship and so on.  This is such a powerful statement about the compassionate nature of our pupils and makes us feel extremely proud of them as a school.  In terms of the requests for fundraising activities to be undertaken in school, I believe that these should be considered by our School Council where the pupil members of this body can decide whether or not to support an initiative and ensure that there are not too many demands on pupils (and parents/carers) for funds during the year.

Thank you to all of those who have completed and returned the permission letter for our new biometric catering payment system.  As you will be aware, permission has to be gained from parents/carers before we undertake the biometric scan and also there is the option for parents and carers to opt out of this as well.  The move to the biometric system came as a result of feedback from pupils and parents/carers who said that the current card-based system often caused problems when the card was lost and so on.  The new system will eradicate this problem and it is hoped that, in time, it will make purchasing items from our canteen much more efficient.  There is still time to return the form if you have not already done so but time is running out as the initial phase of taking the biometric readings from pupils is due to begin next week.

Plans for our enrichment programme are well underway and there is an exciting range of activities for our pupils to participate in next year.  The new programme will mean that on the second Wednesday afternoon (week ‘b’) of the timetable, the whole school (pupils and staff) will be involved in enrichment activities.  This is a major initiative for the school and one which it is hoped will demonstrate that there is still time within the busy school day to include such experiences.

The photo of the week shows some of our pupils proudly displaying the smoothies they made during their food technology lesson.  It is so good to see that pupils enjoying activities which are helping to promote a healthier lifestyle.

 

Best wishes

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