I hope you had a good break over the Christmas period. The new term is only 5 days old and the holiday seems quite a distance away!
Already this week, some of our pupils have sat external examinations as year 11 completed their GCSE English Literature paper; they really did work hard and deserve to achieve good grades. It must be remembered that when (hopefully) we took the time in the Christmas holidays to relax and unwind, these pupils were busy revising. Some would say that this is good preparation for the pressures which they will be facing in later life but surely there are times of the year when pupils should be able to take a complete break from their studies?
There is a high level of interest (quite rightly so) in pupil wellbeing at the moment and this is something which we constantly place at the top of our agenda at Brynteg. However, there is such a lot of pressure from examining bodies and sadly, it seems that pupils (especially from year 10+) are faced with a constant stream of examinations and controlled assessments. This not only places the pupils under a great deal of pressure but it also means that the curriculum becomes choked with preparation for examinations and a lot of the ‘extra’ activities tend to fall by the wayside. There also tends to be a pressure to ensure that the content of courses is delivered often meaning that deeper, more meaningful learning experiences have to be sacrificed.
Our pupils achieve very good results but there is a cost associated with this as highlighted above and this really is not sustainable. At the moment, our curriculum model is being reviewed and one of the key considerations is to ensure that there is more time for pupils to enjoy their learning and, in-particular, to access health and wellbeing opportunities as part of this model and not as an ‘optional extra’. This is an exciting development and one which places the wellbeing of our pupils at the centre of our thinking around planning as we move towards implementing the Curriculum for Wales. What would help is if the examining bodies relaxed the immense pressure on our pupils, allowing us to be even more creative and wellbeing-focussed in our approach.
Our enrichment programme is just one way of ensuring that pupils and staff spend a little time during the week free from the pressures of examinations and assessments. The smiles you see on the faces of the participants really does demonstrate how important this aspect of our provision is and is quite rightly our first ‘photo of the week’ for 2020.
Finally, our new Wellbeing and Reception centre is opening on Monday. If you need to access the school during the day, there is only one entrance point and this is via the bus bay off Ewenny Road (signs will guide you to the new reception area). Please note that this replaces the existing reception facilities in the languages (lower) and humanities (upper) school and there will be no visitor access to these areas from Monday. As part of this development, we have also had a new telephone system installed and our new main contact number is 815559 – again, this will take effect from Monday.