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    Head’s Blog May 4th 2018

    As we move into the final period before the examinations, you may be feeling a bit of a ‘spare part’ as your son/daughter focusses on their revision.  There is still plenty of input which you can have and often, the most basic actions can be the most effective.  For example:

    • Encourage them not to use lined paper but use plain paper – it helps as they can use it to do mind-mapping and ‘spider graphs,’ etc.
    • Encourage them to  read their text books and notes and make them into audio files on their phones, then when you are travelling or away from a desk/home they can use them to remind them about facts and rewrite and use the info to revise.
    • A good positive chat is so helpful.
    • Revision, rest and recreation all go together.
    • Fifteen minutes focused study followed by a five-minute break is better than 1 hour staring into space.
    • Find the best timings to suit their brains. Use kitchen timers or countdown apps to time their study times.  Help them to time past paper questions.
    • Give them space.  They really do have a lot of work to get through in the next few weeks – the chores can wait until after the last exam….

    Often pupils will say they have left it too late and there is ‘nothing they can do now’. It is true that the best revision is the revision that was started weeks or months ago, however, the next best is the one that is started now!

    You may have noticed on Facebook/Twitter over the past week that we have been advertising our facilities for hire.  Whether it be our pitches, halls, gyms, classrooms and so on, we would be flexible in terms of your requirements either for ‘one-off’ events or longer term, regular bookings.  If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Davies at school who will be able to discuss your requirements with you.

    Our photo of the week shows sixth form student Aisha who recently visited Cambridge University  as her prize for winning the 2017 Cambridge Uni Sociology and Photography competition. She visited Trinity, Kings, Queens+ Murray Edwards colleges and met up with Emily (an ex-Brynteg student) who is studying Psychology and Education at Homerton College.

    Best wishes

     

    Head’s Blog 27th April 2018

    Teaching is always interesting and rewarding but the period which we are now entering in school across Wales really is incredibly exciting.

    Schools across the country are beginning to plan for the implementation of the new Curriculum for Wales in 2022.  This will involve changes to learning and teaching the like of which have not been witnessed before.  At Brynteg, we have spent a great deal of time ensuring that we know and understand exactly what is required in the new model and are now beginning to think about what learning will look like in Brynteg in 2022.  I know that with the talented and dedicated staff which we have together with our amazing pupils, our response to the new curriculum model will be incredibly exciting.

    The Duke of Edinburgh award is an important part of our provision at Brynteg.  The award which involves community, physical and skills and expedition challenges really does provide many of our pupils with opportunities which they will use (and remember) for a lifetime.  We are incredibly lucky to have a team of staff who volunteer to provide our pupils with these opportunities and without this support, activities such as these simply would not take place. As part of our new enrichment provision it is hoped that many more pupils will wish to participate in the award in the future.

    Last weekend,  a group  of our pupils completed the Welsh Three peaks challenge (Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan).  The Welsh Three Peaks includes a total walking distance of 17 miles (27.4km) and an ascent of 2334 metres (7657ft), usually in less than 24-hours.  A huge congratulations to the pupils and staff who completed this and it demonstrates, once again, just how rich and varied our provision is.

    Finally, the photo of the week shows the sixth form Young Enterprise team ‘Diverge’ who this week won two awards (Innovation and Best Company award) at the the South Wales area Trade Fayre.  They now progress to the national final on June 11th  which is a  fantastic achievement and I am sure you will  all join with me in wishing  the team the best of luck as they progress to the next stage.

    Best wishes

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    Head’s Blog 20th April 2018

    As explained in a previous post, you should have received a letter this week detailing our new biometric system for use in our school canteens.  It is important that these forms are returned by the end of the week in order for us to plan the next stage of the process.  If you have any queries about the new system, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    The coming weeks are so important for all of our pupils but especially those who are preparing for external examinations. These pupils should all now be working towards these by having an effective revision programme.  It is important that, as well as ensuring that they are applying themselves to their studies, pupils look after themselves as well and, as we have said to them all, it is important that they find time to relax and have a regular break from revision.

    I am constantly amazed by the wide range of additional opportunities which our pupils are offered.  A number of these activities allow pupils to experience other countries with two recent examples being  our French exchange and skiing trip.

     

    The joint exchange between Brynteg and Bryntirion and the town of Villenave-d’Ornon (twinned with Bridgend) has been going for well over 20 years now. This year 16 of our students participated in the French exchange and were hosted by French families for a week. During their time in France they attended school and went on a number of trips in and around Bordeaux. This week the students returned to spend a week in Bridgend and have visited the Principality Stadium, St Fagans and Margam Park. They’ve also spent some time in school attending lessons and experiencing life a student in Brynteg.

    The skiing trip involved a group of 52 pupils experiencing the delights of the slopes at Peschbihl,  Austria. The trip took place in the first week of the Easter holidays and was incredibly successful with pupils already asking about the next opportunity.

    Whenever additional opportunities such as those mentioned above are organised, our pupils always respond in a positive way and are a real credit to Brynteg School.  I must recognise that without the support and dedication of a wonderful team of staff these activities would not take place and I am so grateful for all that they do.

    Finally, the last word must go to our victorious senior rugby team who won the Welsh cup by beating a very stong Ysgol Preseli side 19-10 in the final at the Principality Stadium this Wednesday.  Once again, the boys concerned really were an excellent advert for Brynteg School and both teams demonstrated just how much talent there is in Wales.  Well done boys – we are all so proud of you.

    The photo of the week shows a selection of our pupils who were unable to contain their excitement at the end of the game!

    Best wishes

     

    Head’s Blog 29th March 2018

    Once again, this week saw another opportunity to develop our partnership with parents and carers as in our year 8 science learning and teaching event.  This saw pupils, sitting next to their parents and carers to experience a science lesson which was delivered by some members of the science team.  Too often, pupils are heard complaining that their parents/carers don’t understand the work that they have to do in school and similarly, parents and carers state that things have changed so much that they find it difficult to support children at home.  Events such are these provide the perfect opportunity to address these concerns and indeed the feedback from those parents and carers who did attend was extremely positive.  It is planned to hold similar events in the near future and it would be good to see as many parents and carers as possible at these.

    After Easter, all pupils will bring home a letter explaining the move from the current card system which is used as part of our cashless catering system to a biometric system.  In order to be able to take this information from your child, you have to give your permission and the letter contains a reply slip to allow you to do so.  There is the option not to take part in this initiative and alternative arrangements will be made for those pupils but it is hoped that as many as possible will take part.

    Congratulations to the senior rugby team who overcame a very strong Dyffryn Conwy side in the quarter final of the Welsh Cup and then went on to beat Treorchy two days later! They will now have the honour of playing in the final at the Principality Stadium on Wednesday 18th April. Congratulations to the pupils involved and thank you to the staff who supported them so well.

    The caring side of our pupils never ceases to amaze me and this week we had another fantastic example of this when they raised over £300 as part of Epilepsy Awareness Day.  The day which was organised by members of the maths department, saw lots of purple themed activities going on and as well as the fun element, there was a real sense of everyone using the day to develop a greater understanding of the condition.

    It has been extremely hard to choose a photo of the week as there have been so many activities undertaken.  However, the work that pupils have been doing in the music lessons as they undertake their practical exams certainly does demonstrate that they are thoroughly enjoying their learning in this subject and a selection of these is, quite rightly the last photo of the week for this term.

    Have a safe and restful Easter Break.

    Best wishes

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    Head’s Blog March 23rd 2018

    This week it has been a pleasure to meet so many parents and carers in a range events.

    On Monday evening, an initial meeting was held with those parents and carers of those pupils from year 6 who will be joining us in September.  This provided families with some basic information and the opportunity to ask questions in order to be able to prepare for the coming months.

    My termly ‘open’ meeting with parents and carers was held on Tuesday evening and, whilst the attendance figures were nothing like the previous night, those present did ask some interesting questions about a wide range of features of our provision.  The main areas discussed were:

    • Communication about trips and visits
    • Length of notice for trips and visits
    • Welsh Baccalaureate
    • Cost of blazers (more expensive for larger sizes)
    • The expansion of the performing arts department
    • Sixth form pupils being able to use the gym in their free time
    • The enrichment programme
    • Summer uniform
    • The school’s financial position
    • Fundraising

    The number of opportunities for parents and carers to come in to school to events such as these has increased significantly over the past few months and, as we move forward, I hope that many more will seek to use these opportunities.  Please remember that should there be an issue which you would like to discuss but do not feel able to do so in an ‘open’ forum, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.

    The local authority is concerned (as we are) that pupils may be accessing school transport without a valid travel pass.  A new scheme (‘no pass, no travel’)  is due to start after Easter where all pupils who access free transport will be expected to have a valid pass.  Pupils who have lost their pass can ask for a temporary replacement from the school office,  a new pass will be sent from the LEA to the home address of the pupil concerned.  After this first replacement, future cards will be issued at a cost of £5. Please help us and the local authority to ensure that pupils travel to and from school in a safe and pleasant environment.

    The photo of the week shows ex-pupils Carys Sheard, Emma Hobby, Owain Evans and Emily Williams who received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award at St James’ Palace this week.  An amazing achievement for these obviously talented individuals and also a powerful statement about the level of commitment of staff from Brynteg who supported them along the way.

     

    Thank you for your support

     

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    Head’s Blog March 16th 2018

    Schools  are often concerned that what we are doing reflects the needs of the world of work.  Sadly, opportunities to undertake work experience are becoming increasingly hard to find as we  are finding it more difficult to free up curriculum time in an ever more pressurised situation and employers also find it difficult to commit to programmes such as these.  This is why, when an opportunity to participate in such an activity comes along, it really does cause a great deal of interest in school and the recent BBC internship which year 11 pupil Dylan participated in is a good example of this.

    Dylan really did impress his colleagues at the BBC and, as well as portraying himself in a positive way, he gave a positive impressions of Brynteg School.  Here is an extract from an email which we received from the BBC about Dylan’s placement:

    I just wanted to make you aware how impressed we’ve been with Dylan’s attitude and willingness to learn and listen when he’s been with us. He’s shown maturity beyond his years, and a quiet confidence uncommon I’m sure among his peers, which makes him a credit to his family and also his school.

     His ideas and vision have been both clear and direct, which have made working with him on the project easy and a pleasure. There are not many 16 year olds who are so comfortable, eloquent and confident when faced with fronting a piece on camera, or recording links in a radio studio….there aren’t many sports broadcasters who can do that first time!

     I’m sure whatever he sets his mind to in the future he’ll do so successfully and to the best of his ability.

    As part of his placement, Dylan produced the following video report and I am sure you will agree it is a very professional piece of work.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/43399424

    Well done to Dylan and lets hope that this is the start of even more placements for pupils at Brynteg.

    As you are aware, pupils at Brynteg have been able to wear a different uniform during the summer months which essentially means them transferring from shirts to polo shirts.  For this year, governors have decided to continue with this system but pupils do have a choice which is as follows:

    • Pupils  can wear polo shirts but (should they choose to do so) –  they will need to wear their jumpers
    • Pupils continue to wear their school shirt/tie/blazer as now and when (or if) the weather gets warmer, they will not be required to wear their blazers to school.

    Summer uniform does not apply to trousers/skirt/shoes and these remain the same throughout the year.

    I am aware that this is an additional cost and I see it perfectly reasonable to accept the latter option – indeed, I have always believed that shirt material can be cooler than the polo shirt material.  In other words, parents and carers do not need to purchase additional uniform and continue with the current uniform throughout the year.

    Should you decide to purchase the polo shirt, the two main suppliers are Euroschools and Uniform2Go.

    Please remember that next week there are a number of important meetings:

    Monday 19th March 6pm Lower School Hall – initial meeting for year 6 parents/carers (for pupils who are starting in our year 7 in September)

    Tuesday 20th March 6pm Lower School Hall – Termly Open Meeting with the Head.  This is your opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of provision in an open forum.

    Thursday 22nd  March – year 9 parents and carers evening.

    Our photo of the week is quite different in  but demonstrates perfectly how subject boundaries are being broken down by pupils themselves.   Alex is a y12  photography student and through Hannah’s (also y12) request used his camera to take a photo of her preparation of the gill plate and lamellae  – you will need to look closely but it is there!

    Best wishes

     

     

     

    Head’s Blog March 9th 2018

    Once again, can I thank you for your support last week during our ‘snow days’ as  I know  that decisions such as these place a considerable pressure  on you as a family.  It really was good to get back to normality this week with only three weeks before the Easter holiday!

    As our year 11 pupils begin their final preparations for their examinations at the end of their courses at the same time our year 9 pupils are beginning this process.  Next Tuesday (13th March), parents and carers of these pupils are invited in to school to hear about the process and also visit some classes of those subjects which are new at GCSE level.  This evening begins at 6pm in the upper school hall and it would be good to see as many pupils, parents and carers there as possible.

    At the end of last week it was a pleasure to be able to write to so many parents and carers whose son/daughter will be joining our new year 7 in September. There is an invitation for them to attend a short meeting with myself and some of my colleagues on Monday 19th March at 6pm.  During the meeting, I will briefly talk about the plans for transition over the coming months and also some of the more practical things which I know can be such a concern (e.g. uniform and so on).

    I know many of our pupils were disappointed when we had to postpone our Eisteddfod and I am pleased to let you know that we now intend to hold this for years 7,8 and 9 on Thursday 15th March.  Pupils in other year groups will be treated to an Eisteddfod concert on Wednesday 14th March as part of their Welsh lessons.  It promises to be another brilliant event at Brynteg and I am sure you will see lots of photos on our Twitter and Facebook feeds!

    A reminder that there is an Open Meeting with myself for parents and carers on Tuesday 20th March at 6pm.  This is an opportunity for you to ask questions about any aspect of our provision.  From my point of view, I would like to gather your views on fundraising for projects to improve the learning environment in school.  Again, your attendance would be very much appreciated.

    Finally, our photo of the week shows one of our year 7 pupils who had just finished reading an extract from one of her favourite books to the whole of her year group in assembly.  It was so good to hear our pupils enthusing about their reading and also how confident and articulate they are.

    Best wishes

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    Head’s Blog March 2nd 2018

    Firstly, I must thank you for your support during what has been a difficult week.  The decision to close a school is never taken lightly but, as you are aware, the local authority recommended that we close on grounds of health and safety.  I completely understand that this puts an immediate pressure on you as families when you have to make the necessary child-care arrangements but I hope you appreciate the difficult position we found ourselves in.

    I know pupils had big smiles on their faces as they left school on Wednesday knowing that they had an unplanned long weekend but this, for many was tinged with disappointment as they realised they were going to miss the Eisteddfod.  Over the past few weeks, pupils and staff have spent many hours preparing for this and it would be a shame not to rearrange this.  I plan to meet with colleagues on Monday and will let you know of arrangements for a new date through our social media feeds and the next edition of this blog (Friday 9th March).

    As many of you are aware, I hold ‘open meetings’ for parents and carers where there is the opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of our provision in an open forum.  The next meeting will take place at 6pm on Tuesday 20th March (lower school hall).  Whilst the agenda for this meeting is determined by the parents and carers who attend, I would like to discuss how we can gather support for a programme of fundraising as we seek to develop our facilities in school.  Please remember, you are free to contact me at any time should there be an issue which you would like to discuss but which you feel is not appropriate for an open forum.

    It seems strange to be talking about the summer now but I feel it is important to give you as much notice as possible about arrangements for uniform during this period.  Pupils are able to wear a school polo shirt (available from the usual suppliers) but I think it is perfectly reasonable for those pupils who wish to continue to wear their existing shirts during this period should they wish to do so.  I will contact you with more detail about the arrangements in the coming weeks but thought you need as much notice as possible should you wish to purchase the additional items.

    Once again, thank you for your support.  The weather forecast appears to be improving over the next few days but I will put a message on Twitter, Facebook, the school and local authority websites on Sunday afternoon but, at this stage, I fully expect the school to be open on Monday.

    Finally, the photo of the week shows some of our year 7 meteorologists who accurately predicted the snow days before anyone else!

    Best wishes

    Head’s Blog 16th February 2018

    What a quick half term!  It truthfully did feel as though it was only yesterday that we were all thinking about returning after the Christmas holiday.  Once again, it really has been a very productive period for us and there is much to celebrate as our pupils continue to amaze us with their talents.

    One of the highlights of this half term  was the visit to see the dress rehearsal of Tosca being performed by the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff.  The day itself was  funded by the WNO (including the transport) and this meant that we were  able to take the whole of our year 9 cohort.  The fact that all of these pupils have now had the opportunity to experience opera being performed by a professional company is fantastic, combined with the fact that this trip was free-of-charge to all pupils really is something to be proud of.  I hope that we will be able to undertake similar events in the future.

    In the last week, we have started to focus on uniform.  Most of our pupils have to be congratulated by the way in which they respond to the rules around uniform, make-up and jewellery.  However, there have been some instances where the uniform has not been to the high standards which are expected at Brynteg.  Please note the following:

    • Canvas shoes of any type are not permitted.  Shoes should be plain black and leather/leather effect.
    • Skirts should be a reasonable length (ideally just above the knee)
    • Jewellery is not permitted however, pupils are able to wear a wristwatch
    • Shirts should be worn with the top button done up and ties should be fitted accordingly

    Thank you for your support with school uniform; it really has helped to create such a positive impression of our pupils within the school and as they represent us outside.  In my next blog post (March 2nd 2018), I will update you on the plans summer uniform.

    As you may be aware, our next school production is High School Musical and this is taking place in October.  The school is already reverberating to the sounds of the songs from the show and  I have to say, that even at this early stage, it sounds amazing.  As you can imagine, staging an event such as this is expensive and to help with this pupils and staff have been busy raising funds.  On  Friday 23rd March a “Race Night’ is being held in Bridgend Rugby Club with all money raised being put towards the staging of the show.

    Please support this event if possible – tickets are available from Mrs Fender in room 19.

    I hope you have noticed the increase in activity on our Facebook and Twitter feeds which is helping us to celebrate the many positive things which happen at Brynteg. As part of this, we do try to include as many photographs as possible and have also been selecting our ‘photo of the week’ (which is one which captures the true spirit of Brynteg).  This week’s winner shows some of our year 7 pupils practising their dawnsio gwerin (folk dancing) ready to represent their house  in the Eisteddfod –

    In the coming weeks, I will inform you of the next ‘Open Meeting with the Head’ session.  As you may be aware, I started these last term as I felt it would give an opportunity to parents and carers to ask me questions about aspects of our provision in an open forum.  In addition, if there is anything which you feel you wish to discuss with me but feel unable to do so in an open meeting, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    I have now been at Brynteg for 6 months and am constantly impressed by the talents of the pupils and staff and also by the support which the school receives from you as parents and carers.  This is such an exciting time for us as a school community – there is so much for us to look forward to!

    Thank you for your support.

    Ryan Davies

    Headteacher