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    Head’s Blog 28th June

    I would like to thank all of the pupils, parents and carers for the support we have received this week. The situation which we have heard about through the media is tragic and our thoughts must be with those who have been so deeply affected.  The school is quite a different place now, one which is looking forward in terms of developing all aspects of provision and making the school the best it can be for all of our current  pupils and those who will join us  in the future.

    On Tuesday evening we held our Summer Prom which is where our music department showcased the huge array of talent that we have in the school.  It was so pleasing to see pupils involved from every age group and level of ability.  Particularly pleasing to see was the pupils who, for many, this would have been the first time that they had performed on a stage infront of an audience.  This demonstrates just how important music is to our school and it is an area which we are going to nurture and grow as part of our future plans.

    The news that April and Luke (two of our year 9 pupils) won an award in the English Speaking Union Shakespeare competition last week really was special.  The competition involved schools from across the UK and this achievement really did demonstrate, on a national scale, that our pupils are second-to-none.

    Finally, we held our annual sports day in the wonderful surroundings of Leckwith Stadium on Monday.  The response from the pupils was outstanding and it convinced us that activities such as these are worth undertaking on a regular basis.  The PE team who spent so many hours organising the event deserve a particular mention for their hard work.

    Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils thoroughly enjoying their enrichment session as part of Mrs Morgan’s Marching Band!

    Head’s Blog 21st June 2019

    Thank you to all of our parents and carers who have commented so positively on our move to ensure that the length of skirts is suitable in the next academic year (no more than 5cms above the knee).  I know that this will be quite a change for some of our pupils but, as I have stated previously, there is the alternative of wearing trousers should the change to the rule around skirts be deemed to be too difficult.  I have been informed by one of our suppliers (Uniforms2Go) that the skirts they provide are of the length required and am awaiting a response from the other.  Thank you for your support with this matter.

    I mentioned last week that we are in the process of constructing a new Wellbeing and Reception centre in school. In addition to this, we are also moving around some of the other areas in school in order to offer our pupils a better and more efficient learning experience.  Changes include:

    • Upper School becomes the Humanities Centre
    • Sixth Form moving to a new Sixth Form Centre (off the Brynteg Gardens entrance)
    • Lower School becomes the Languages, Literacy and Communication Centre (English, Welsh and MFL)
    • Year groups/form rooms will all be situated together (as opposed to being distributed across the school
    • It is felt that all of this work will bring huge benefits to our pupils and staff and these changes will be in place from the beginning of September.

    Please remember that next week I am holding an open meeting with parents and carers (Wednesday 26thJune at 5pm Upper School).

     

    Our photo of the week shows members of our  Clwb Cymraeg  proudly showing off their new badges and lanyards.

    Best wishes

     

    Head’s Blog 14th June 2019

    As we near the end of the examination period, our thoughts are turning to planning our new academic year and to make all aspects of our provision even better.

    One area of concern for us is the layout of the school and the fact that it is so open, with no real reception area. This obviously poses safeguarding concerns as well as not creating the most welcoming environment as parents, carers and visitors enter the school. Our proposal is to locate a central reception area which will serve the whole school, located near within the current languages block.  This will be part of a Wellbeing Centre which will also house a pupil reception, medical room, counselling and interview rooms, our additional learning needs facility and so on.

    The Wellbeing Centre will also be a base for all of our year leaders (as opposed to them having offices throughout the school).  This means that during the day, parents, carers and visitors will be able to use the bus bay entrance to park outside the reception/wellbeing centre and then have access to a range of services.  Automatic gates will be positioned on the other access points and will be closed during the day meaning we will be able to manage traffic flow and visitors into the school.

    We are working closely with colleagues from BCBC on this project and, whilst we would like the work to be finished in time for the start of the new academic year, the deadlines we are working to mean that it is more realistic to expect that the new facility will be ready by October half term.  I would hope that you would see that this is a major improvement in the way that the school is organised and  I am sure that pupils, staff,  parents, carers and visitors will see a major improvement in the way in which we operate.

    There is a lot more which I would like to share with you  and I will do so in the coming blog posts.  There will be an opportunity to discuss these developments (amongst other things) in the next Open Meeting with the Head which will take place on Wednesday 26thJune at 5pm (Upper School).

    Our photo of the week shows some of our brilliant year 7 pupils during the Religion, Ethics and Philosophy visit to Nolton Church.

    Best wishes

     

    Head’s Blog 7th June 2019

    One of the key pieces of feedback  I have received from parents and carers over the past two years is that more opportunities to meet with staff would be very beneficial.  Next year, we are introducing a system of ‘review meetings’ where pupils, parents and carers will have the opportunity to meet with form tutors to discuss progress in all aspects of school life and to set targets to move forward.  The review meetings  will be in addition to the traditional subject-based parent and carer evenings and will take place on two occasions throughout the year.

    The form tutor is in a unique position in that they have a complete oversight of all aspects of provision for the pupils in the group. In a way, we wish to replicate the experience of primary school where the pupil, parent/carer and the one class teacher have such a productive relationship.   The type of conversation they can have in a review meeting will hopefully pull the whole of the experience at Brynteg together in one coherent package and place pupil wellbeing and happiness at the core.

    Once again, this is a demonstrates the way in which we are looking forward at Brynteg.  We want all of our pupils to achieve to the best of their ability whilst at the same time enjoying every single moment of their time with us, the form tutor has a key role to play in this and the new review day model will help develop this further. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

    Our photo of the week shows Benjamin and Ethan  who completed the 5K charity Race for Life on Sunday 2nd June raising £110.  Our pupils are quite brilliant!

    Best wishes

     

     

    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