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    Head’s Blog 20th December 2019

    Well, we have made it!  After a long (15 week) term, we have finally arrived at the end of the term and it has been an incredibly successful one.

    The last week has seemed to sum up just how much energy there is at Brynteg School so much so, pupils and staff will need the next two weeks to recover!  Activities/events this week have included:

    • Our annual Carol Service at St Mary’s, Nolton.  This was an outstanding evening where pupils from year 7 -13 performed to a packed church.  A true celebration of Christmas and a wonderful display of the talents of our pupils.

    • The Rankin Scholarship award was presented to two of our ex-pupils who left last year – Briony Thomas (Medicine – Cambridge) and Rhys Spurgeon (Medicine – Bristol).  The award recognises academic and wider community impact and both Briony and Rhys are very worthy recipients.

    • Our Santa Appeal presents were bought and delivered to BCBC to be distributed to children in the county borough who perhaps need a little support this year.  It has been the twenty fifth anniversary of this amazing initiative and this year pupils rose to the challenge once again raising over £6000 meaning at least 200 children will receive presents.  I am sure you will agree with me that this is a fantastic achievement and one of which anyone associated with the Brynteg School community should be incredibly proud of.

    On Wednesday we held our activities day where the whole school participated in trips and visits as a reward for their hard work this term.  To see so many different activities taking place at the end of such a long term really does demonstrate the hard work and commitment of the staff at Brynteg.

    After a long period of rehearsing and a very successful carol concert, members of the Expressive Arts cluster were up bright and early the very next morning and they made their way to London to see a performance of ‘9 to 5’ (which is also our school show in October 2020).  Where do they get the energy from?

    Today (Friday) we have a Professional Learning day where staff are looking at creating effective learning objectives in their lesson plan and also developing a range of oracy techniques for use in the classroom – and then we will all look forward to having a two week break!

    We return on Monday 6th January which is a week ‘B’.  The opening of the new Wellbeing Centre has been postponed until the following week and I will write to you with further details after the holiday.

    Thank you for your support this term.

    Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newyydd Dda



    Head’s Blog 13th December 2019

    Thank you for your support with uniform where the standard is, on the whole, excellent.  Despite our efforts to ask girls to wear skirts of a reasonable length, many are still wearing skirts which are far too short.  There seems to be no alternative but to ask governors to consider moving to trousers for all pupils from September 2020 and a decision will be made in the spring term.

    I would also like to draw your attention to the policy on shoes which clearly states that shoes should be plain black, with no logos and not nylon/canvas material.

    Some of the forthcoming key dates/events are as follows:

    Friday 13th December                      Christmas jumper and lunch day

    Tuesday 17th December                  Carol Service at St Mary’s Nolton (7pm)

    Wednesday 18th December           Activities Day

    Thursday 19th December                 Final Day of Term (school closes at 3.20pm)

    Friday 20th December                      Staff Training Day

    Monday 6th January                        All pupils return to school

    The response from pupils and staff regarding our annual Santa Appeal has, once again, been quite amazing.  To see our pupils working hard to raise money over the last half term (often in some quite awful weather conditions) is such a testament to their caring attitude.  As a result of their efforts, they will have impacted positively on the lives of a large number of children across Bridgend this Christmas.  The next stage of the process if where pupils all ‘shop until they drop’ as they purchase the presents next Monday which always seems to generate a great deal of excitement in school!

    Finally, here is our photo of the week.  Members of 8G seem to throwing themselves fully into their roles as part of their Christmas plays in drama!

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 6th December 2019

    Continuing with our focus on the support teams that really do make such a positive impact on our school,  the spotlight this week turns to our wonderful team of Learning Support Officers/Assistants.

    This small team supports the learning needs of pupils on a one-to-one and group basis.  They develop a deep understanding of the needs of the pupils with whom they work and really do make a massive difference to the daily lives of our pupils.  

    Probably key to their success are the relationships which they build up with our pupils.  Often, pupils will prefer to speak to someone else rather than their teacher and this is something we all understand and respect.  Such is the strength of the relationships they build up, they are able to respond to the needs of pupils far quicker than others in the school; from this point of view, their work is essential.

    Their work is quite varied and will involve them in support across all of the curriculum areas within the school.  It is often stated that if you want a true picture of what is going on in classrooms across a school then asking  a member of this team will more often than not provide you with the answer!  They can be seen preparing resources, counselling pupils, supporting with classwork and examinations, working with teaching staff to develop lesson plans and much, much more.  

    Thank you to Rachel Mann, Aminita Sharma, Vanessa Howells, Lesley Cooper, Shane Davies, Bethany Hammond Emma Palfreman, Karen Edwards, Bridie Roberts, Andrea Stimpson Jane Gray, Kate Jones and Martine Hancock. The photo shows some of the team as not only are they incredibly hard working but they are also a little ‘camera-shy’!

    This week I held my regular ‘Open Meeting’ for parents and carers.  The topics discussed were as follows:

    Homework – ensuring parents and carers have full access to resources and so on.

    Google Classroom – discussion about how using Google Classroom in the future would benefit the communication links between school and home (especially in the case of homework)

    Merits – concern about the lack of detail

    Accuracy of attendance records in school

    Set lists not being updated accurately

    Positive feedback about the new reporting system and the fact that it now recognises the effort that is put in by pupils

    The Form Tutor Review meetings were viewed as a significant improvement in terms of the level of contact between school and home and also recognising the important role played by the form tutor.

    More detailed and timely communication is needed regarding events in school

    A forward-looking calendar of trips and visits would benefit parents and carers as on too many occasions, pupils are left having to choose between different trips/visits that often overlap.

    The next Open Meeting is due to take place on Tuesday 11th February at 5.30pm and it would be good to see as many parents and carers as possible there.

    Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils who took part in a Fun Run in aid of the Santa Appeal.  It is such a privilege to be part of a school where so many pupils are thinking about others who are less fortunate than themselves.

    Thank you for your support

    Head’s Blog 29th November 2019

    This week I am  focussing on the Premises Team as the spotlight is put on our wonderful support colleagues at Brynteg School.

    The team is a small one consisting of four members of staff – Michael Bayliss (premises manager) and Rob Matthews, Kris Zurek and Pawel Feduniec who are all Premises Officers.  They have the responsibility of ensuring that the whole of the school site is safe, secure and ready for learning and teaching;  no small task on a site so large and split into so many smaller units.

    The day for the premises team starts many hours before the pupils arrive as the buildings are opened and prepared for the day.  As a result of school activities and external bookings late nights are part of the regular working week pattern for the team at the end of the day.  In addition to this, the school is open during the weekends for use by different community groups meaning members of the team have to be on-hand once again.

    Against the backdrop of financial cuts and an ever more demanding ageing  school estate, it has to be said that the work that this team has done has been quite amazing! There are exciting plans for the future as we seek to develop areas of the school and without the talent and dedication of the premises team, these plans would not even be able to be considered.  Thank you to the premises team for making such a difference to our school.

    Next Tuesday (3rd December) at 5.30pm the regular Open Meeting with the Head meeting will take place  in the Humanities (Upper) Hall.  All parents and carers are welcome to attend – the agenda is yours!

    Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils undertaking some shadow experiments in science.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 22nd November 2019

    For the last few blog posts  of this  term I would like to focus on some of the ‘unsung heroes’ at Brynteg School, without whom, the school simply would not be able to function.

    I am going to start by focussing on our wonderful team of canteen staff.  Their day starts incredibly early (7am) as they prepare breakfast and the food to be served for the rest of the day.  This is then followed by very busy morning break and lunchtime sessions before having to finish the day by cleaning and then preparing for the next day.

    The 15 canteen staff prepare and serve over 900 meals each day, with some of the most popular items being pasta pots and the famous Brynteg hotdogs.  A recent addition has been the coffee shop where we are privileged to be the only school in the borough to have such a facility; this is proving to be incredibly popular, so much so, pupils have been heard to be bargaining with each other who gets the last slice of cake on sale!

    One member of the team (Christine Thomas) has just won the the LACA Wales Region Shining Star Award for Recognition of excellence at LACA awards on October 24th. Christine has served for just under 36 years at Brynteg without any sickness or leave of absence. There are possibly some people who are reading who were served by Christine in the  70’s! This is an incredible feat and just goes to demonstrate how committed this team is.

    On Friday 13th December the team will, once again be pulling out all the stops as they prepare our annual Christmas lunch.  It would be really demonstrate just how much they are valued in our school if pupils and staff all decided to take part in this.  This is probably their busiest (and longest day of the year) – they deserve to sell out – and let’s help them to do this!

    Thank you to Kimberly, Julie, Christine T, Karen, Damien, Angela, Tracy G, Tracy O, Beba, Louise, Emma, Christine S, Deb, Claire and Kara and Helen. They really do an incredible job and their work is appreciated by the whole of the school community.

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 15th November 2019

    This has been another incredibly busy week at Brynteg. Our remembrance events started with two of our year 11 pupils representing the school at the Bridgend town service, followed by our traditional sixth form assembly where the names of all of the ex-pupils who lost their lives were read out and then, throughout the week, the rest of the school took part in assemblies led by our year 10 drama students.  Every single pupil at Brynteg took part in some way in the act of remembering those who gave their lives in the two World Wars and other wars and conflicts since with their response demonstrating a high level of maturity and compassion.

    Last night we held our year 8 parent/carer evening.  It was so good to see so many parents and carers who had the opportunity to meet with subject teachers.  This is in addition to other ‘review’ meetings with form tutors which we have introduced this year and together with the more traditional parent/carer evening, will provide a much better home/school contact.

    This week has also been Anti-Bullying week and this has provided us with the opportunity to review and current policy and work to develop this in the coming months.  This work will start with our pupils who will play a lead role in the development of the new policy working alongside and advising our governing body.  Our starting point will be to accurately define the term ‘bullying’ and as a prompt, the following definition from the Anti-Bullying Alliance will be used:

    the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online

    As you may have read on Facebook/Twitter, it is a pleasure to be able to welcome two new parent governors to our governing body.  Mr Robbie Owen and Mr Dale Richards both of whom are will be well known to many pupils, parents and carers as Deputy Headteachers of Penybont and Litchard Primary schools respectively.  I am sure their experience will be invaluable as we strive to improve Brynteg School still further.

    Our photo of the week shows Mrs Thomas’ A Level Ethics class enjoying a bit of healthy competition completing a ‘Retrieval Practice’ starter to their lesson.

    Thank you for your support

    Head’s Blog 8th November 2019

    As you are aware, on Monday we held a  Professional Learning Day for staff with pupils returning after the half term break on Tuesday. I am aware that days such as these place a pressure on home as child-care and other arrangements have to be made and I am grateful for your support. It is so difficult for staff to be able to get together for sessions such as these and for us this time is crucial.  This Monday, we focussed on the following areas:

    • Effective lesson planning with a particular emphasis on lesson ‘starters’ and creating effective learning objectives
    • Developing positive classroom relationships
    • Using Performance Management to help develop as staff

    During our next day, it is planned to look at other parts of effective lesson planning to develop our classroom practice still further.

    On our return to school after the half term break it was exciting to see work having started on the Reception and Wellbeing Centre as well as the Eastern Area Safeguarding Hub. These two developments will make a significant impact on provision for our pupils and the wider school community.  Please be reminded, once again, that parents and carers are not permitted to drive into school at the start/end of the school day; this is particularly important during this period of building work.  

    Our photo of the week shows some of the poppies created by members of the community art club at Brynteg School and Carnegie House.  This Saturday (9th November) two of our year 11 pupils will be taking part in the   family remembrance service in Bridgend Town centre where they will be laying a wreath on behalf of the Brynteg school community.

    Thank you for your support.

    Head’s Blog 25th October 2019

    Whilst last week I wrote about the difficult financial constraints we are having to deal with, this week the school received some excellent news which will make a significant difference to access to digital technology as a learning and teaching tool.

    The Welsh Government has allocated all local authorities in Wales a grant to ensure the digital infrastructure within schools is fit for 21st century learners with work beginning almost immediately.  It has long been a problem at Brynteg that, as a result of size of the campus, having good wireless coverage has been a significant challenge.  The work that will be undertaken will ensure that wireless coverage will be available in  all areas of the school and will be robust enough to allow whole classes to access the network at any one time.

    This development is significant for us as a school as we are committed to ensuring that digital technology plays an important part in the learning and teaching process for all of our pupils.  Being able to have support to develop our infrastructure also means that we will quite quickly be able to invest in the hardware (laptops/tablets and so on) for our pupils to use in class.

    Having access to technology will not replace all of the many other learning and teaching strategies which are currently employed but it will certainly enhance them and recognise that technology is such an important part of our the lives of our pupils


    Our photo of the week shows some of our pupils having fun with lego during our latest enrichment session.

    Best wishes

    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