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Head’s Blog 18th October 2019

You may have read in the press this week stories about the financial pressure which all schools in Wales are under.  In this time of austerity and difficult financial decisions, education (along with many other services) has suffered and schools find themselves having to cope with significantly less money at a time when there is a greater need to provide a wider range of services to our pupils.

Brynteg has not escaped these pressures and it is a reflection of the wonderful support from pupils, staff, parents and carers that we continually perform at a high level despite the financial pressures working against us.  The impact that this has had has meant making difficult decisions such as not being able to develop our ICT facilities to the level which we know our pupils need, reviewinghow we provide resources such as photocopying and even basic stationery items and not investing in areas of the school in terms of decoration, furniture and so on.

As mentioned earlier, we are not the only service to feel the pressure of these harsh financial times and we are certainly not on our own as a school however, it is tough.  Sadly, what does disappear from provision in these times are often the items which you could  describe as being ‘luxury’ items but sometimes, you even notice that pressure is also being put on those items which are deemed to be ‘essential’.

It is so good to hear that there is interest in setting up a Friends of Brynteg School group with the aim of raising funds for our pupils to ensure that some of the things which we are not able to provide currently are provided in the future.  The first meeting of this is due to take place on Tuesday 22ndOctober in the Humanities Hall (off Ewenny Road) at 5.30pm. Parent, carers, other relatives, friends, members of the community are all more than welcome to attend!  Please support this important initiative as your support is needed now more than ever.

Our photo of the week shows some of our year 7 pupils who have made such a promising start to their hockey careers for Brynteg!

Thank you for your support

Head’s Blog 11th October 2019

Thank you to the parents and carers who attended the recent Open Meeting with the Head session.  There were many points discussed with some of the key points being as follows:

Communication of trips and visits.  Concern that these are sometimes only promoted through Facebook and Twitter and some parents and carers do not have access to these.

 Agreed to ensure that all communications about trips and visits are also emailed to parents and carers.

Review Meetings– positive response about these. Clarification sought about the organisation/timing.

SIMS Homework app.  It was felt that not all staff are using this and that some pupils were receiving homework which was not highlighted in the app.

Agreed to ensure that all staff have access to training/support in the use of the app (including setting submission dates and recording whether or not homework has been completed).

Reports.  It was felt that the previous system of reporting had many discrepancies (both the interim and final reports) with grades in the interim reports not matching comments in the final report.  It was also agreed that the content of the final report often lacked any real learning impact.

The new system of reporting was described as it was felt that it addressed the concerns mentioned.

A Level results.  Disappointment at the fact that our A Level results were not published alongside those of other schools (Wales Online and the Gazette).

 It was explained that the deadline for the submission of the results was missed. This was an error and disappointing as there was much to celebrate this year.

Further Reading.  The point was made that a recommended reading list for pupils (all ages) would be beneficial.

Agreed to work on this and publish through email and Facebook/Twitter.

Concern regarding cameras within toilets.

 Explained that there was no actual camera system within any of the toilets in school.

 Next Meeting:  Tuesday December 3rd5.30pm (Humanities Hall)

The photo of the week shows some of our pupils taking part in the Samba session as part of our enrichment programme.

Thank you for your support

Head’s Blog 4th October 2019

Work is just about to begin on our new Wellbeing and Reception Centre which is an exciting new development for Brynteg. This will provide a central focal point for the school which traditionally has operated as two separate schools housed on the same site.

The new centre will provide a welcoming area for parents, carers and others who are visiting our school with parking adjacent to the new main entrance and secure entry system which will allow us to monitor access to the site. A dedicated pupil reception area with access to a medical room will also give our pupils prompt and confidential access to support.

Our facilities for pupils with Additional Learning Needs (including our Nurture room) will be enhanced as they move into space which is more suitable for their learning and support needs. In addition, all members of the Pupil Support team (Mr Wade, Year Leaders, Assistant Year Leaders and the Additional Learning Needs team) will work from the central hub as well as myself, the Careers Advisor and the School Counsellor.

In order to improve security, access to the site via Heol Gam, Ewenny Road and Brynteg Gardens will not be permitted during the school day and this will be controlled by a number of automatic barriers. During school hours parents, carers and visitors to the school will be directed to use the route through the bus bay to dedicated parking spaces outside the new centre. There will not be reception areas in the Languages (lower) and Humanities (upper) school areas with all visitors using the new central area in the Wellbeing and Receptions Centre.

This move will improve significantly the access and provision for our pupils, parents, carers and visitors and combined with the other adaptions to the site will ensure that safeguarding and security procedures will become a priority and not leave our site as open as it is now.

Our photo of the week shows some year 7 pupils who are members of their year group council.  They seemed to thoroughly enjoy their first task which was to undertake research into drinks served in our canteen and coffee shop!

Best wishes

 

Head’s Blog 27th September 2019

At the end of a very wet and soggy week, it is so good to be able to celebrate some of the things that really do make Brynteg a special place in which to be.

The role of Pupil Voice is essential and we would like it to develop further in order that pupils play a key role in all of the decisions which are taken in school.  As you may be aware, the school is overseen by a governing body which has a key role in the strategic direction and therefore plays a major role in the decision-making process.  Whilst our School Council proved to be very effective over the years, it was felt that there was too big a gap between the work that they were doing and that of the governing body.  In order to remedy this, we have replaced the School Council with a Pupil Governing Body which replicates the ‘other’ governing body in every way and will become a key influencer in our decision-making process.

Over the past few weeks, candidates for the Pupil Governing Body have been involved in hustings, canvassing and so on before elections were held this week.  It is my pleasure to announce the names of the first Pupil Governors at Brynteg School:

Year 7 – Nancy Bridgeman, Henry Dong

Year 8 –  Callum James, Katelyn Crocombe, Joseff Bruckel

Year 9 –  Corbin Lowes, Thomas Ludlow

Year 10 –  Corey Clarke, Aditi Bhor

Year 11 –  James Alexander, Hannah Nadzo

Year 12 – Elsie Jones, Rhys Jenkins

Year 13 – to be announced as they have been involved in UCAS preparation

The way in which the pupils above have conducted themselves over the past few weeks has been exceptional and I certainly expect them all to make a major impact over the coming year the Pupil Governors of Brynteg School.

Our photo of the week shows some of the fantastic portrait work completed by our amazing year 9 pupils this week (there are many more on our Facebook and Twitter accounts).

Best wishes

 

Head’s Blog 20th September 2019

It was so good to see so many potential pupils, parents and carers in our Open Evening last night. It is an important evening for those families who are about to make a decision regarding the choice of secondary school and it also offers us an opportunity to show the wider community a little bit of what we have on offer.  Parents and carers have until Friday 24thJanuary 2020 to submit their application and to help with this, in addition to our Open Evening, we are also holding an Open Morning (Friday 27thSeptember) and of course, we are here to answer queries and to help with the application process at any time during the coming months.

Here is a link to the BCBC webpage with more information about secondary school admissions:

https://www.bridgend.gov.uk/residents/schools-and-education/school-admissions/apply-for-admission-to-school/

The number of pupils who are using bicycles or scooters for their journey to school seems to be increasing and this is something which we would like to encourage still further. We have two shelters which allow our pupils to store their bikes/scooters (one being at the Ewenny Road entrance and the other at the Heol Gam entrance).  Whilst this trend is pleasing, there is a concern about the number of pupils who choose not to wear a helmet.  In the past, one of the reasons for not doing so was not being able to safely store these but, with the arrival of lockers, this really does not give pupils the excuse not to wear them.  If pupils do not have a locker, then we would happily look after the helmet in one of the reception areas.

For those pupils who arrive at school by car, it is important that basic safety measures are observed at the start and the end of the day.  Parent/carer cars are not permitted on the school site at these times (there has been an increase in the number of parents and carers who are driving in to school from the Ewenny Road entrance).  We would ask that if you are using a car, please drop pupils off outside the school grounds and, if possible, a safe distance away as the entrances do become rather crowded at these times.  It has also been noted that parents and carers are parking immediately outside the gates at the Heol Gam entrance and (in some cases) on the pavement.  Again, we would ask that you park a safe distance away as this type of parking could cause a potentially serious accident.

Next week we look forward to the first of our Review Meetings which is a chance to meet the form tutor for a 10-15 minute discussion.  We strongly believe that the form tutor can be one of the most important people in the lives of pupils as they have the complete overview of the whole school experience (this is in addition to the subject-based parent/carer evenings will continue as they have in the pas)t.  We are starting this exciting new initiative with our year 12 students and their parents/carers with the first session being on Thursday 26thSeptember between 1.30pm and 6.30pm.

Our photo of the week shows some of our wonderful year 7 pupils who are standing for election to our Pupil Governing Body.

Thank you for your support

 

Head’s Blog Friday 13th September 2019

Next week we are holding our Open Evening for pupils, parents and carers who are interested in finding out about our school with a view to starting in our year 7 in 2020. The evening is aimed primarily at year 5 and 6 pupils but we would welcome visit from any year group!

During the evening, all teaching staff will be present as well as many support staff and of course,  our wonderful pupils.  There will be a brief presentation from myself at 5pm followed by a series of tours around the school led by our pupils.  There are so many activities taking place during this evening that it will actually feel like a normal day session and will hopefully give you a true taste of what our school is like.  Please help us to ensure that as many pupils parents and carers find out about our school as possible by mentioning our Open Evening to them!

Thank you for your support regarding our uniform.  You will be aware that we have had a focus on the length of skirts and it is pleasing to see so many pupils who are wearing the longer, more appropriate versions and also the large number who have decided to make the switch to wearing trousers. It is recognised that uniform is expensive and that is can sometimes be difficult to source and so your efforts are greatly appreciated.  The new approach to skirts will not simply be forgotten in a few weeks time and so your efforts now will not be in vain.

 

Our photo of the week shows some of our year 8 pupils who produced some excellent work in their Religion, Ethics and Philosophy lesson identifying links  between Christianity and Hinduism. They were so proud of their finished work, they just had to take a selfie.

Best wishes

Head’s Blog 6th September 2019

What a brilliant first week back!  It has been so good to meet with pupils new and old and if their approach to this first week is anything to go by, then we are going to have an amazing year.

Not only do we welcome new pupils at this time of the year, but also we are privileged to have some amazing new staff and I thought that it would be appropriate in the first blog post of the year to introduce them to you.

Lauren Mackie is joining us as our Deputy Headteacher and will have oversight of the curriculum, learning and teaching. Lauren is from Merthyr Tydfil and lives with her husband and two sons, William and Xavier. Lauren is a keen long-distance runner and has run a number of half marathons for various charities, such as ‘Llamau’, ‘Save the Children’ and most recently, the Merthyr Half Marathon for the charity ‘Reach’. She also enjoys Ballroom and Latin American dancing. She loves spending time with her family and particularly enjoys watching her sons play rugby on the weekends.

Mrs Mackie has a passion for teaching and believes that every child has the right to be successful in life, regardless of their personal circumstances. She is excited to be Deputy Headteacher at Brynteg School and is looking forward to getting to know all its wonderful staff and pupils over the coming weeks.

Natasha Tasker has joined our Languages, Literacy and Communication team as an English teacher.  She is an English and Creative Writing graduate about to embark on her fourth year of teaching. She has previously taught in Pencoed Comprehensive School, and is  really excited about her start in Brynteg. In her spare time, Ms Tasker is  a hobby baker and makes celebration cakes, cupcakes and pastries.

Juliette Cortais is also joining our Languages, Literacy and Communication team as a French teacher.  She is from Paris, and has been living in Cardiff for 3 years; having already spent time in Brynteg as a student teacher we are so pleased that she decided to stay! She is a keen runner, and recently completed the Cardiff 10k. She loves watching the French rugby team, and is convinced they are going to win the world cup! Ms Cortais is looking forward to working with pupils in Brynteg, and encouraging them to understand the benefits of learning a language and celebrate all that is good about France.

Our Humanities team have welcomed Tia Holmes-Dwyer as a teacher of geography.  Having worked previously in Cardiff at Fitzalan High School, the challenge of working at Brynteg really excites her and he can’t wait to put her  mark on the geography department! Outside of school she enjoys the gym and the opportunity to unwind after work. Ms Holmes-Dwyer is also a shopaholic and has an issue with shoes and all things shoe related when it comes to shopping!!!!

Mike Sadler is joining our administration team as our attendance officer.  He is a local from Bridgend but originally hails from Aberdeen. He has been working in the education environment for the past 8 years as an attendance/data officer and as a SIMS development office with the Vale of Glamorgan Authority. Mike is an avid motorsports enthusiast and is a regular Race Marshall at race tracks around the UK and Europe from classic cars to F1. Ex hockey player with Bridgend and originally with Brynteg at school and county level, even capped for Wales at indoor hockey. He is looking forward to meeting and working with Brynteg staff.

It is so exciting to be able to welcome these fantastic colleagues to our team at Brynteg.

Our photo of the week shows some of our year 7 pupils who already seem to have settled in well to life in Brynteg.

Best wishes

Head’s Blog 19th July 2019

We are so lucky to have such a talented group of staff at Brynteg but as is usually the case at this time of year, we sadly have to say farewell to some of them.  Staff who are leaving us this year are:

Kate Perna                                          Director of Learning/Curriculum Leader Geography

Louise Smith                                        Welsh (temp)

Catherine Bennion                             Welsh (temp)

Lynsey Morris                                      RE (temp)

All have  made a big impact on life at Brynteg and they will be missed.  On behalf of pupils, staff and governors, we wish them well and thank them for all that they have done.

The following staff will be joining us in September:

Lauren Mackie                        Deputy Headteacher

Natasha Tasker                       Teacher of English

Tia Holmes-Dwyer                  Teacher of Geography (temporary 1 year)

Juliette Courtais                     Teacher of French (temporary 1 year)

We are also looking forward to welcoming back Mrs Gemma Thomas, Miss Keera Davies and Mrs Bethan Cooper who are all returning after a period of maternity leave.

The staff at Brynteg really are wonderful and when you add to this the fact that we have brilliantly talented pupils, the future really is bright for our school!

Our final photo of the week for the academic year shows year 11 pupil Olivia (no. 14) who is currently representing Wales in the U16 Women’s European Basketball Championships – to say we are proud is an understatement!

I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable summer.

 

Head’s Blog 12th July 2019

Here are some extracts from the end of term newsletter which highlight some of the exciting new developments are Brynteg School.

Enrichment

We are pleased with the way in which our pupils have responded to this major initiative this year and have already made plans to add more activities suiting a wider range of interests.  Our aim is to create time during the week where pupils and staff can relax, away from the pressure of examinations and so on. To a certain degree, the actual activity which is undertaken is irrelevant, in that it is the time with the lack of emphasis on results which is important but we are working hard to ensure that pupils have more success in the choices that they make.

If you feel that you can help us in any way by providing an activity or by helping out with some of our existing activities, please contact us at the school.

Reports

We are aware that our current system of reporting needs updating to ensure that the learning needs of all of our pupils are reflected accurately in them. For example, at the present time, the grades of the pupils who have really put in a great deal of effort into their work do not seem to reflect this.  Similarly, those pupils who are ‘coasting’ are not accurately identified. A new report is in the final stages of development and will be introduced throughout the first term.

Review Meetings

At Brynteg, we recognise that the form tutor plays a crucial role in the school experience of pupils in his/her form.  At the moment, there is no formal communication channel between the form tutor and home and we feel that this is missing an important opportunity. During the new academic year, all parents and carers will be invited to 2 review meetings with their son/daughter’s form tutor.  It is very much hoped that these meetings will be led by the pupil with support from the tutor and it will give all present the opportunity to discuss areas of strength and areas for development.  These meetings will be in addition to the subject-based parent/carer evenings.

The learning and teaching structure

 Over the past few months, we have been working on developing the school in order to ensure that we have the structure in place to meet with the demands of our 21stCentury learners.

The school is now organised into 6 learning clusters as follows:

Health, Wellbeing and Wider Learning                       Cluster Leader Mr David Ince

(PE, PSE, Skills Challenge, Careers, Work-related learning)

Expressive Arts                                                             Cluster Leader Mrs Shirley Pearson

(Art, Drama, Music and Digital Competence)

Languages, Literacy and Communication                  Cluster Leader Mr Chris Jones

(MFL, Welsh and English)

Science and Technology                                            Cluster Leader Mrs Nicola McCarthy

Humanities                                                                   Cluster Leader Ms Nicola Lane

(Geography, History, RS, Sociology, Psychology, Business and Economics)

 Maths and Computer Science                                     Cluster Leader Mrs Deb Kinsey

 Each Cluster Leader is supported by a number of Learning Coordinators. In the new academic year, my weekly blog will focus on each cluster in turn where more information will be made available at that point.

In addition to redesigning the staffing structure, we have taken the opportunity to reorganise the layout of school to ensure that all learning clusters are situated together, helping to develop learning experiences and hopefully reducing the need for pupils to move so far around school.   Welsh and MFL are moving to the lower school site (known as the Languages, Literacy and Communication Centre from September) and Geography, Business and Economics are moving in to the upper school site (Humanities Centre).

 Wellbeing and Reception Centre

Work is due to begin during the summer holidays on redeveloping the current languages block into a Wellbeing and Reception centre.  This will become the reception area for the school with parents, carers and visitors accessing this through the bus bay (off Ewenny Road) during the school day (there will be no access via Heol Gam/Brynteg Gardens during the school day).  Also included in the new centre will be a pupil reception, first aid and medical facilities, a base for all year leaders and members of the pupil support team, the school counsellor, careers and so on.  New automatic barriers will be installed on the Heol Gam and Ewenny Road/Brynteg Gardens entrances which will be operated from the new centre. It is hoped that this will significantly improve the way we control access to the site in terms of safeguarding and also provide a much better and more efficient service to pupils, parents, carers and visitors.

The work is due to be completed by the end of the first half term and I will write with further details about these changes nearer the time.

Eastern Hub

Building work is due to start soon on another exciting development which will see the Eastern Safeguarding Hub being based at Brynteg.  Over 40 social workers, youth workers and Educational Welfare Officers will be based in the hub when it is complete (scheduled for March 2020).  This will move us closer to being the central hub for the community which we aspire to be and also improve our ability to draw on the wide range of expertise contained within this team.

Google

After much deliberation, we have decided to move to using the Google ecosystem from September.  In the first instance, it will be our new year 7 pupils and years 10 and 12 who will have their accounts fully provisioned with the remainder quickly following on from this.  We intend to use Google Classroom as a means for setting and receiving homework and this combined with the SIMS Parent and Student apps will allow us to ensure that all pupils, parents and carers have access to all of the homework information which is required.

Our photo of the week show the  English department and 60  of year 9 pupils just setting off for  Belgium on Wednesday for a WW1 Battlefields tour – another example of the many opportunities on offer at Brynteg School.

 

 

Head’s Blog 5th July 2019

It has been a another exciting week at Brynteg with some of the highlights being:

  • Our year 10 pupils continuing to impress those outside the school with their approach to their community project as they collected litter on the beaches of Porthcawl
  • The transition day where it seems as though we have yet another brilliant year group joining us – thank you to the huge number of parents, carers and pupils who attended the welcome evening
  • The Expressive Arts ‘Project Generation’ which was such a success with our year 8 pupils.  The learning model really is something which provides a clear sign to us of what works as we begin to plan our approach to Curriculum for Wales.  Feedback from the pupils was universally positive with many stating that they can’t wait to see what other clusters will do

Once again, thank you for your support with our uniform.  In September, some of the areas we are going to focus on are as follows:

Skirts should be no shorter than 5cms above the knee.  Girls are able to wear trousers should they wish to do so

Shoes should be plain black and leather/leather effect.  Canvas/nylon-type materials are not permitted (and this is becoming a bit of a trend at the moment

Polo shirts cease to become part of our uniform from September.  Summer uniform will involve relaxing the rules regarding the need to wear a jumper/blazer

As mentioned last week, we are planning some major changes to the way in which the school layout is organised.  One of the things we would like to do is have areas of the school allocated to particular year groups and, from this year, pupils staying with their form tutors for five years (and not changing at the end of year 9 as has been the case in the past). Having a year group together in one part of the school will bring many advantages however it does mean that for this year, a number of forms have had to be attached to different tutors. We have tried to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum but it may be the case that some tutors will have to change this year (and this will not happen again) as we move to this new system.

Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils who had so much fun as part of the Expressive Arts project this week.

Thank you for your support.