Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back
The big day has arrived!
Yes, the day many of you have been waiting for since Monday 23 March, the day your child can finally return to Bro Edern! We are really looking forward to seeing them.
For others, you may be sending your child back reluctantly, and this blog, and the videos included in the blog, aim to reassure you and explain exactly what will happen over the next three weeks before the summer holidays. We will also explain the steps the school has taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
Others have decided not to send their child back to school before the summer, and we understand that this has been a difficult decision for you, and respect your choice. In this blog, you will also find the online learning arrangements for the rest of the term.
Throughout the preparation period, we have followed Cardiff Council and Welsh Government guidelines thoroughly. We have risk assessments in place, and statutory tests have been carried out by relevant officers on specific issues e.g. gas and water.
The guidelines state that a maximum of only one third of our pupils may be in school at the same time, but this is also dependent on a number of factors e.g. size of classroom space. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, we will be using half the school’s rooms at a time which gives us a maximum of 160 pupils on any given day, bearing in mind that the socially distanced capacity of most rooms is under 10. The Hub and Welsh Immersion Unit pupils are in addition to this figure, and when all added up, this comes to a third of the school’s pupils attending each day.
Arrangements for the First Week
For the first week, commencing Monday 29 June, pupils will be in school for only half a day. You should have received an individual text message with your child’s name, explaining which day your child’s bubble will be at school. Year 7 and 8 pupils will be with us in the morning, and should arrive between 8:30 and 9am. On arrival at school, a member of staff will be on duty and pupils will be sent to a designated entrance, depending on the location of their room. They will need to wash their hands thoroughly on arrival. Year 7 and 8 pupils leave the school site on a staggered basis, after 11:30 am.
Years 9 and 10, the afternoon session pupils, need to arrive between 12:30 and 1pm. They will be released gradually at the end of the day from 3 to 3:15 pm. Afternoon pupils will use completely different rooms from morning pupils. Throughout the day, cleaning staff will be busy cleaning and disinfecting the communal parts of the building, and classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned between each use.
If you have one child in the morning session and the other in the afternoon session this week, you are welcome to drop the afternoon child off at 11:30 while collecting the morning child. They can stay on the block one yard until we start accepting afternoon pupils. They will need to keep a distance of 2m from anyone else on the yard at all times.
Beginning and End of the Day
It is essential that we continue to respect the rules of social distance at all times. For this reason we ask you to regularly remind your child of the need to ensure two metres between each person. This is also why we are asking you to arrive at a certain time and we will be staggering the exit at the end of the day. We will all need to be patient as we send pupils out gradually, to keep everyone safe.
Sixth Form Arrangements
We have worked hard to provide suitable year 12 provision before the summer. Pupils will attend school for one day a week per option subject. You should have received the arrangements early last week.
Week 1, which is the week commencing 29 June:
Arrive through main reception and registration – 9:45 – 10:00am
Wellbeing and subject catch up session 10am – 12pm
Weeks 2 and 3, which are the weeks commencing 6 and 13 July
Arrive through main reception and registration 9:15 – 9:30am
Subject session – 9:30am – 1:30pm
2 breaks of 10 minutes will be timetabled for each group
Here is the document sent out to you with the Sixth Form’s arrangements. Please check carefully to see which subjects are on which days:
We are in the process of trialling some online live learning for some Sixth Form lessons during weeks 2 and 3. Some subjects will be part of the trial. The only pupils eligible to take part in the trial are the 9 pupils whose parents have stated on the form from the outset that their child cannot return before the summer. Even then, it is only applicable if their subjects are part of the trial. Some staff are shielding between now and the summer, therefore their classes may also be part of the trial. Before online live lessons can take place, all pupils and their parents will need to sign an online live learning contract. Details and contracts are to follow this week, in preparation for weeks 2 and 3.
The Hub – Children of Key Workers
The Welsh-medium Hub in Glantaf, for the children of key workers, came to an end on Friday June 26. Responsibility for running a Hub for Bro Edern pupils has now been transferred back to us. However, the same Hub application rules still apply, namely that parents need to be accepted by the county, before a pupil can attend our Hub.
For the eligible year 7,8,9 pupils, the Hub will be held in T7 and T8 and will be open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. We have a staff rota ready to run the Hub for the next three weeks. As a starting point each day, pupils will need to complete their online learning set daily by their subject teachers. This means that Hub pupils need a pencil case and their school iPad (years 8 and 9) every day. Year 7 may use the computers available. These will be disinfected regularly.
Unlike in Glantaf Hub, Cardiff Council will NOT provide food or drink for any Hub in the city from Monday onwards, and our canteen is not open to purchase any food or drink. It is therefore very important that your child brings plenty of food and water to our Hub from Monday 29 June.
Bubbles -v- The Hub
On any given day, your child can attend their year’s bubble OR the Hub.
In accordance with the rules, a pupil cannot transfer between their year bubble and the Hub within the same day. If they would like to attend their year bubble on their allocated day, then they are welcome to do so, but then on that day this week they will need to leave school at 11:30am, with everyone else. The following day, they can return to the Hub for the whole day. During weeks 2 and 3 they would need to leave school from their year bubble at 3pm with everyone else. If you work all day and your child needs to be here until 4 or 4:30, then the Hub is the only option for them, to avoid cross contamination between bubbles and the Hub within a school day.
Content of Sessions
The government has emphasised that the focus for the three weeks before the summer holidays is: check in, catch up, prepare for September. That’s what will happen in our session in the first week. We have planned tasks with a focus on oral work, so that the pupils immediately get back into the habit of speaking Welsh to each other. Pupils in small group bubbles will have the opportunity to talk about the last three months, their work, their frustrations, their successes, their aspirations and any difficulties they may have had with particular tasks. They will have the opportunity to discuss any technological problems (iPads, Google Classroom, passwords) and help will be on hand to solve those. From what the pupils say to staff about their work, we will proceed to plan weeks 2 and 3 in light of pupil feedback, and this will also help us refine our online learning provision. In week 1, there will also be an opportunity to familiarise everyone with the new layout of the building and the one way system around the school. The new measures are likely to be in place for a while, so this will be a way of preparing the pupils for September. Entrances and exits will be clearly shown to pupils, and we will discuss arrangements for fire drills under the new system. Pupils will be with the same teacher for the three weeks, and always in the same room.
Online learning is still in full swing this week, week 1, with teachers setting daily tasks for year 7,8,9,10, although staff will also spend 3 days in school with their bubbles. Contacting members of staff from now on will require patience, as they will no longer be available all day to respond to queries and e-mails. This week’s year 12 lessons will all take place live at school.
Year 10 will continue to receive online subject lessons for the 4 days they are at home during weeks 2 and 3, and will be expected to compete in the main Eisteddfod competitions. These tasks will be set as their normal homework within certain subjects, so that they have a fair chance of competing.
New work will be published on the year 7 website for 4 days this week, Monday to Thursday. This is to take into account the fact that the vast majority of pupils will be in school for one day, and at home for 4 days, therefore only 4 days’ work is required. We envisage a pattern such as e.g. if your child is in school on Monday, then they will be doing the Monday website work on Tuesday, Tuesday’s work on Wednesday, Wednesday’s work on Thursday and Thursday’s work on Friday, because there will be no new work on Friday. Adjust the pattern, according to your day!
Arrangements for Weeks 2 and 3
When your child arrives at school during weeks 2 and 3, they will need to arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 am. The same procedure will be followed for entering school as the previous week. There will be two breaks and a lunch break during the day, and pupils in your child’s year will all have their break and lunch at the same time. Only one year will have their breaks at the same time, and this will be tightly timetabled, to protect everyone. Lunch must be eaten in the classroom, and afterwards everyone will have the opportunity to go out for a short break on the yard. No ball games will be allowed at all, in order to minimise contact. The day will finish at 3pm and pupils will leave the building gradually between 3pm and 3:15pm.
During week 2, year 7,8,9 pupils will be given virtual Eisteddfod and Mabolgampau tasks to complete for the 4 days they work from home. We have expectations in place in terms of completing Eisteddfod homework tasks and taking part in the Sports’ Day, therefore all pupils are expected to undertake the tasks fully. The list of competitions will be published this week, so that pupils can plan the order in which they will complete their tasks in week 2. There will be individual, class and house rewards and prizes, so every point counts. The success of each house every year really depends on how many pupils have completed their homework competitions, and this year will be no different. Points are awarded for each suitable task submitted to every competition, with special marks for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each competition. The main competitions such as the Chair and the English Trophy will be open to all pupils, from years 7 to 10 and 12. These will be awarded live online in the final week, so that the pupils can be part of the a virtual ceremony and listen to the adjudication.
During week 3, the last week of term, we will be running a health and wellbeing week for year 7,8,9 pupils so that they have the opportunity to undertake different tasks which help their health and wellbeing and educate them about this important aspect of their life. Specific tasks will be published for pupils to follow.
The Welsh Immersion Unit
The Immersion Unit will be based at our Learning Centre for the next three weeks. By now you will have received information from Miss Rhian James about the relevant day, if your child attends the Immersion Unit. The Immersion Unit pupils will be in school from 9:30am until 3pm, therefore need to bring a packed lunch with them.
Food and Drink
For the first week, with the exception of the Immersion Unit, pupils will not be in school long enough to require a meal, but they should bring a snack and plenty of water with them. Cardiff Council is not opening the canteen, and because of this the school vending machines will not work. Neither can we provide water for pupils. This means that for the second and third weeks, pupils will need enough food and drink for the whole day.
In the returning to school questionnaire some weeks ago, you were asked if the school bus was the only way for your child to return to school. Thank you to the parents who responded. Places have been reserved for your child on the appropriate bus. As stated in the questionnaire, very few pupils are able to travel on school buses at present, due to social distancing reasons: approximately 8 pupils on a 52 seater bus and 14 pupils on a 70 seater double decker bus. We have had to provide NAT with the list of names of pupils with reserved places, so only these pupils will be allowed to travel by school bus. If you have any queries about buses over this period, please contact Mr Alan Williams by e-mail: AWilliams@ysgolbroedern.cardiff.sch.uk
During the first week, the buses will transport year 7 and 8 pupils in the morning and take them home at 11:30am. Unfortunately, the buses will not run in the afternoon during week 1. During weeks 2 and 3 the buses will carry all pupils who have applied for a seat on the bus to school in the morning, and home in the afternoon.
The Government states that we must always wash our clothes after being in contact with other people. Also, many pupils may have grown out of their current uniform and you will not have been able to buy new items while the shops are closed. Because of this, your child will not need to wear school uniform during the last weeks of term, but will always need to come to school in clean clothes.
Please note that some areas of the school are extremely hot at this time of year, so your child should wear light clothing. They should also bring sunscreen to school with them for the lunch break.
The virus can live on the surfaces of objects, but studies of COVID-19-like viruses show that after 72 hours, the risk of catching the virus off an infected surface is significantly reduced. In order to minimise the chance of catching the virus, it will not be possible to share any equipment with other pupils. This includes chairs and desks. There will be chairs set with gaps of two metres between them and your child will have to remain seated throughout the sessions. A school iPad and pencil case must be brought each time pupils attend school. Any photocopying by staff will be done at least 72 hours before the session.
Because we have put measures in place to ensure a distance of 2 metres at all times, and because we expect pupils to follow this, the county guidelines say that no pupils or staff need to wear masks at school. If your child will be travelling to school on a public bus, and therefore cannot adhere to the two metre rule, your child will need to wear a mask while travelling.
If you would like your child to wear a mask at school, they are welcome to do so at all times.
Health and Safety
The county’s health and safety officer has visited the school three times in three weeks, in order to jointly plan a risk assessment for the period. The school has also been tested to make sure that the gas and water are safe for us to reopen.
All planning for the reopening of the school has focused on social distancing, and the key rule of 2 metre distance between each individual. This has been quite a challenge, as you can see in our video below. It must be emphasised that the 2 metre rule still applies in Wales, and that only England is planning to reduce this to 1 metre in the near future.
School life is not what it used to be, and for this reason we have produced a video for parents to watch with their children, before returning:
And the English version of the video is available for you, as parents, here:
Obviously, a host of new rules and expectations have emerged overnight, as we work together to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 virus. By now, everyone should be familiar with them. These are in addition to the school’s usual expectations. As with any organisation, we need to have a set of expectations to keep everything in order and to keep everyone safe. Currently this is more important than ever.
The rules about respect, fairness and Welshness are as important as ever, but also, as a result of the new regulations, any pupil who deliberately compromises the safety of people on the school site, whether they are pupils or staff, must leave the premises.
If your child shows any COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay at home and follow the steps: Test, Trace, Protect. Once they have been tested for the virus and have a negative result, they can return to school.
If the test result is positive, your child must continue to self-isolate for at least seven days from when the symptoms started. Everyone who lives in the home, but has not yet shown any symptoms, has to self-isolate for 14 days from the day the symptoms started.
If your child’s result is inconclusive, you will need to arrange another test and continue to self-isolate.
If your child shows symptoms at school, we will make arrangements to send them home as soon as possible and will always follow the relevant guidelines.
Due to the current restrictions, it is no longer possible for parents to come to our school reception without notice. Please contact us by phone, or e-mail, in the first instance. If you are not sure who to send your message to, please e-mail the school’s central e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please bear in mind that many staff are now back to teaching all day.
If you have made arrangements to visit a member of staff at the school, you will need to come to the school reception, and use the hand sanitiser at the entrance before going any further. If there are people already at reception, you will need to queue outside.
Croeso Nôl / Welcome Back
It has been a long time since we last saw our pupils, and despite everything, we as staff are all looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school safely. Here is the staff Welcome Back video for your children:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for all their efforts in keeping Bro Edern going for the past three months. The amount of work achieved by the staff has been an amazing effort, and I think we can be very proud of what we have achieved on behalf of our pupils.
But also, in conclusion, a huge thank you to you as parents for your continued support for us as a school. I understand that the lockdown has not always been easy, and I would like to thank you sincerely for persevering, and for your undiminished support for us as a school over this period. Who would have thought that on Friday the twentieth of March, when we last saw your children, that they would have three months of home learning, before we saw them again? These have been strange times.