End of term at last!
At last, it’s the end of term, at the end of the most remarkable year in my teaching career. In one of the blogs at the beginning of the lockdown period, Miss James mentioned that we as a staff had not studied the pandemic module as part of our teaching practice course … However, I now feel like I am a graduate of the subject. The 2 metre measuring stick and I have become big mates!
I would like to thank you as parents for all your help and support over the last few months – supporting your children from home, encouraging them, convincing them and threatening them to do some work. I realise it has been a challenging time for many. But it looks as if the virus is on the retreat and we will, sometime in the near future, be able to return to life as before at Bro Edern.
Check in, catch up …
Thanks to those of you who have sent your children back to school before the summer. It has been wonderful to have pupils in school again and it has given us all a taste of the interesting challenges and logistics that lie ahead in September. We have an indefinite period ahead where things will still be different. We will need to continue to take firm steps to protect both pupils and staff and I thank you in advance for your help in preparing and supporting your children and the school with this.
Over the past three weeks, pupils have had the opportunity to do what the government branded “check in, catch up, prepare” and that has been invaluable to all involved. Government guidelines were clear that pupils were not to receive their usual lessons. This has enabled us to look at aspects of our pupils’ wellbeing after such a long time away from school. It has also given us the opportunity to evaluate our distance learning provision, and the pupils have given us lots of useful information about their favourite resources, their favourite tasks and the tasks which have allowed them to make the most progress. During this time, pupils have also created a list of their 10 top tips for Bro Edern teachers, while evaluating the period of online learning. We will work through the pupils’ feedback and implement many of their suggestions as we further develop the school’s digital and blended learning.
Eisteddfod and Mabolgampau
Thank you also for supporting your child with the virtual Eisteddfod competitions and the Mabolgampau last week. There were some stunning results, such as the year 10 boys cycling over 100km and many of our runners had particularly good times. With regards to the Eisteddfod, congratulations to the winners of the major literary awards: The Chair – Alys Grant, The English Trophy – Eos Jones and the Drama Trophy – Lleucu Evans. Congratulations also to everyone who made the top three in the homework and performance competitions. There is so much ability in Bro Edern in so many different directions – we are very fortunate to have such talented pupils. Congratulations to everyone! Here are some of the winners:
The Welsh Language
A very encouraging thing over the past three weeks has been the pupils’ willingness to speak Welsh and the fact that they continue to do so fluently and confidently. Some may be a little rusty, but with all the speaking practice in lessons over the last three weeks, we can see that our pupils’ Welsh is as good as ever. It is important that they continue to practise their Welsh and watch S4C programmes regularly over the summer. They should take every opportunity to hear Welsh and use the language often. We encourage you to listen to the words of Professor Enlli Môn Thomas of Bangor University, which should be encouraging for all parents:
#HerYrHafBE Summer Reading Challenge
This year we are launching #HeryrHafBE (the Summer Challenge) for Bro Edern pupils. We are not setting formal homework, but we want them to read as much as possible over the summer, and enjoy reading books of their choice. They can read in both Welsh and English. Remember to tweet the photos to @BroEdern with the hashtag #HerYrHafBE so we can see the variety of books and reading locations. The staff will do the same!
When they have finished reading a whole book, you should fill in this form, so that we can celebrate the reading achievements of all our pupils in September:
In September we will be awarding Joe’s ice cream vouchers to our most avid readers. We have included pupils leaving year 6 in the challenge too!
Thanks to all the staff
At the end of the year, I must publicly thank all the staff at Bro Edern for all their hard work during the year. It has not been easy, but the efforts from all directions have been heroic. Danny and Carl, who are responsible for the site, along with the cleaning staff, have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have been able to reopen safely. With all the new regulations that appeared overnight, it has been a great achievement. Office staff have also been a constant support to us over the last few months, and all teaching and support staff have worked round the clock to ensure that Bro Edern pupils have the best possible opportunities to succeed from home.
In June, when a University College London report was published, stating that pupils in Wales were at a disadvantage with a lack of lockdown learning, our staff decided to gather the Bro Edern lockdown statistics. We have brought these stats together in one video to celebrate all the work that has been accomplished at such a challenging time. The statistics are pretty amazing – enjoy the video:
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the last week of school, we’ve had all the results of the Eisteddfod, the Mabolgampau and now the election of our new prefects. Everyone received the link to vote on Monday and Tuesday of last week, and thank you to everyone who watched the videos of the six candidates before casting their vote.
It gives us great pleasure to announce that our head prefects next year are Lleucu Evans, Ffion Hodder and Bobbi Kerfoot. The deputies will be Carys Fox, Chloe Lewis and Chloe Thomas.
We wish them well as they embark on their work. Congratulations to you all!
At the end of a school year, there will inevitably be some staff changes, and it is disappointing that the pupils are not able to say goodbye officially to staff leaving us this year.
Best wishes to Mr Tom Hancock (PE) at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, to Miss Catrin Thomas (Art) at Ysgol Bryn Tawe in Swansea, to Mrs Rhian Borde-Davies (RE) at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, Mr Trystan Williams (ALN) at Ysgol Plasmawr, Mr Ceri Morris (PE) at Ysgol Glantaf, Mr Wayne O’Leary (Maths) back in the Carmarthen area, Mr Evan Wynne (English) in Manchester and Mrs Rhian Booth (Science) who is setting up a business, but is staying local! We also wish Mrs Siân Muliro (ALN) well as she is embarks on a teaching course, and to Mr Joseph Peace (ALN) who is embarking on a new career as a product engineer.
Many thanks to them all for their contribution to life at Bro Edern over the last few years.
With the school continuing its annual growth, and with many more pupils entering year 7 than leaving year 11, we will be welcoming many new staff in September this year. We look forward to welcoming them to Bro Edern:
- Miss Elin Lloyd (Welsh) – she started on 1st June
- Miss Megan Rose (English)
- Mr Gruffydd Davies (Maths)
- Miss Victoria Edwards (Maths and Humanities)
- Miss Enid Evans (Science)
- Mrs Lowri Jones (MFL / Welsh)
- Miss Elain Ainsworth (MFL / Welsh)
- Mr Eurfryn Lewis (Art)
- Mr Hywel Williams (DT)
- Mr Jordan Bishop (PE)
- Miss Amy Nicholls (PE)
- Miss Grace Goode (RE)
- Miss Ashleigh Gibbons-Green (RE)
- Miss Ela Rowlands (Geography)
- Mrs Meriel Powell (ALN Co-ordinator)
We will also welcome Mrs Tirion Jones back from her maternity leave and Miss Lisa Ladd (Maths) back from her sabbatical in Australia.
If you have a child in years 11, 12 or 13, you should have received a text message from the school explaining that the results days this year will be virtual. This was decided following guidance received from the government and the local authority, due to social distancing reasons and the fact that we cannot pass envelopes into the hands of pupils. The results will be released to pupils via their e-mail @ysgolbroedern, as explained in our message to you. If there is any problem with access to your child’s school e-mail then you should have already contacted the technician: firstname.lastname@example.org
Should the guidelines change during the first three weeks of the summer holidays, and you have an option to collect the results from school, then we will contact you to explain this. If we are able to set up a ‘normal’ results day in August we will certainly do so.
13 August is the Sixth Form results’ day, 20 August is the GCSE results’ day.
A virtual results day provides us with a problem regarding collecting the iPads of year 11 pupils and also collecting all the books borrowed by your child and owned by the school. We will prepare a form that will ask you to choose a convenient time for your child to return school property during the period from August 14 to August 21. You will be asked to put all the equipment in a plastic or paper bag to return it. We will then be able to quarantine the property before distributing it back to specific departments. If we are able to have a ‘normal’ results day, you will need to return all school property in order to receive the results, as previously explained to pupils before lockdown.
The intention is to hold a support clinic, as usual, the day after the results, for pupils who need help and advice in deciding on the next step, or making any arrangements. The dates will be 14th August (Sixth Form) and 21st August (Yr 11). We are waiting to hear what the plan will be for these days. It will depend on the medical advice at the time. Currently the intention is to hold sessions in school, where you may need to book a slot, or we may need to run them virtually. We will let you know in due course, but the usual support will certainly be available to our pupils.
Arrangements for September
We are very much looking forward to September, when the school will begin to return to some sort of routine. However, guidance for schools is constantly changing, and much of the details for September are still unclear at this time. The lifting of lockdown restrictions over the summer could mean an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, which could mean a complete change in the guidelines before September.
However, we have our general plans in place, and this is how they look right now. Because of all the changes, the rules changing all the time and the fact that we will have so many new staff, we will need 2 preparation days at the beginning of the year. Because we expect the need to remain socially distant, we will welcome our new year 7 first to the site, along with year 12, who need to settle into the Sixth Form and make their final decisions about their A level courses.
- Tuesday 1st September – Preparation Day – no school for the pupils
- Wednesday 2 September – Preparation Day – no school for the pupils
- Thursday 3 September – Year 7 and 12 Transition Day
- Friday 4 September – Year 7, 11 and 12 Transition Day
- Monday 7 September – Years 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13 only
- Tuesday 8th September – Years 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 only
- Wednesday 9th September – Everyone
- Thursday 10 September – Everyone
- Friday 11 September – Everyone
Welsh Language Immersion Unit
Year 7 pupils who will be joining the Welsh Language Immersion Unit will start in Bro Edern on Monday 7 September and the year 8 Immersion Unit pupils will join us on Wednesday 9 September.
School Uniform in September
Currently, the Welsh Government’s guidelines are that school uniform is not required as school attendance is always required in clean clothes. This would mean buying 5 sets of uniform, or parents washing clothes every night. I am not prepared to ask parents to do this. Therefore, in Bro Edern, pupils have returned since 29 June in their own clothes in order to comply with the ruling. The guidelines may change over the summer, but in order to provide reassurance and support to pupils and parents, we have decided that the first day that pupils need to wear school uniform will be Monday 5 October 2020. This is also true of the PE uniform. We did not want parents to be torn as to whether they needed to buy uniform urgently or not, so this should remove the pressure for now. This means that families will not need to rush to YC Sports over the summer nor stand in queues in town in order to buy shoes.
Once we are back following the school uniform guidelines, please follow our footwear guidelines carefully. Trainers and anything with a visible logo are not allowed, and shoes need to be leather, or look like leather. The transition website has full guidelines and photos:
We will contact you at the beginning of September regarding any change that will take effect from 5 October.
For pupils in receipt of free school meals, a school uniform grant is available if your child is starting in year 7 or year 10:
Welcoming our new Year 7
We are really looking forward to welcoming our new year 7 in September. We appreciate the fact that the pupils have not finished their primary schooling in the usual way, with many of the exciting experiences associated with the end of primary school completely impossible this year. We have very close links as a cluster, so we are confident that pupils will have opportunities to see their primary teachers even when they start in Bro Edern. It is very disappointing that year 6 and 7 pupils will not be able to attend Llangrannog this year, but we hope that year 7 pupils will be able to visit Glan-llyn when they are in year 8.
You have already received a letter explaining that pupils have been assigned to different classes and houses for September. They are:
- 7 Hafren 1 – Mr Paul Thomas (Science)
- 7 Hafren 2 – Miss Catrin Francis (MFL)
- 7 Rhymni 1 – Miss Elain Ainsworth (MFL / Welsh)
- 7 Rhymni 2 – Mr Steffan Jones (PE)
- 7 Taf 1 – Miss Elin Lloyd (Welsh)
- 7 Taf 2 – Miss Enid Evans (Science)
The Head of Year 7 is Mr Gary Ellis: GEllis@ysgolbroedern.cardiff.sch.uk
Due to GDPR regulations, you will understand that it is not possible for us to share class lists with you. Thanks to the parents who have contacted Mr Ellis before the end of term to find out in which class their child will be, following the letter sent to you.
September Teaching Arrangements
The recent period has been a challenging but exciting one as we have developed different online teaching strategies. Although face-to-face learning will take place from September onwards, we do not want to lose momentum with the elements of virtual learning that have proven successful. As such, we will continue with elements of virtual learning that will support face-to-face learning in the classroom so that your child gets the best of both worlds.
We will be arranging devices for years 7 and 8 as soon as possible in the new academic year. We are aware that there is a shortage of devices at present, due to the high demand for technology over recent times and the fact that factories producing digital technologies worldwide have had to close for a period of time.
With regard to practical lessons, the guidelines are still changing, but for now we can confirm that the content of the practical lessons will be different. Lessons will have fewer practical elements, and we will need to evaluate all practical activities to assess health and safety risks. However, we are very aware of the importance of practical lessons in the pupils’ timetable and I can assure you that we will do what we can to ensure that the practical elements continue in some form. Inevitably, we will prioritise pupils in years 10 – 13.
School Buses in September
At present, we have no confirmation of the bus arrangements for September. We know they will travel, but there is no confirmation yet of how many pupils can travel on the buses at the same time. Once the situation becomes clearer in August, we will contact you.
School Canteen in September
Cardiff County Council has confirmed that they will not be opening school canteens in the county at the beginning of September. This means that your child will need a packed lunch and you will need to make sure that they have enough water for the whole day.
The arrangements for pupils receiving free school meals will remain as they are at present. You will continue to receive vouchers, so you will also need to provide a packed lunch for your child.
The county’s current intention is that the canteen will re-open on 14 September. During this time, the county is also taking the opportunity to make some changes to our canteen, which will hopefully mean less queuing time for pupils.
Currently, the guidelines state that pupils need a staggered lunch time, so the intention is to split lesson 4 into two, with some pupils following the lesson pattern 1, 2, 3, lunch, 4, 5, 6 and the rest following the pattern 1, 2, 3, 4, lunch, 5, 6.
Year 13 and UCAS
Is your child re-thinking the plans of going to university? Thinking of deferring for a year? Thinking of applying again for October 2021? Obviously there is no right or wrong answer here, but the current suggestion is that many year 13 students will reconsider their original choice for October 2020. If your child is therefore thinking of not going to university this year, then the advice is to accept or defer the place for a year, but not to cancel the place in order to reapply. This is because far more students are expected to apply for university places in October 2021. Please contact Miss Land and attend the support clinic if you are unsure of what to do.
Year 12 >> 13 Arrangements
We are very pleased that we were able to arrange for year 12 to return to school for three days for each of their A level subjects before the summer. Staff say that it has been very valuable to have direct contact with pupils before the holidays. Pupils who have not been able to attend need to contact other members of their classes to catch up with the work before September.
The recommendations for next year’s A-level pupils at year 12, when they are in year 13, have now been published by WJEC and Qualifications Wales. Looking at the first draft, exams are virtually unchanged, so it looks like our pupils will be examined in all aspects of their courses, in line with the original specification. There are some minor changes in some subjects, but the qualifications remain essentially the same. We are awaiting final confirmation.
For the year 12 Bac course, all work completed during the lockdown period are tasks that need to be sent to WJEC. Before the school closed, the Citizenship Challenge was ready to be sent to WJEC and this will be sent immediately, when the next window opens for submission of work.
The Employability element of the Enterprise Challenge should have been completed during the lockdown – most pupils have completed this. The Innovation Proposal element of the Enterprise Challenge has also been started and work will continue on this in September.
A few changes have been announced regarding the Bac requirements for year 12. WJEC is allowing everyone to omit one challenge, due to time lost. This means that we will now need to send EITHER the Citizenship Challenge OR the Community Challenge to WJEC. The Enterprise Challenge and the Project remain compulsory. This means that pupils do not need to complete their community hours (which will be nigh on impossible in most cases), if they have not already done so, as they can send in their Citizenship Challenge instead. For those pupils who have completed both challenges in full, we will – in discussion with the individual pupils – select the best challenge, with the highest mark, to send to WJEC.
The main Bac task in year 13 is the Individual Project and pupils will be fully briefed on the best way forward with this in September.
In the Year 12 Google Classroom Miss Land has uploaded 7 documents linked to UCAS arrangements for university applications. Normally, we would have held a UCAS evening for parents before the summer holidays, but all the information is in the documents for you. These documents should answer all your queries. If you would like to discuss anything further, you are welcome to arrange a meeting with Miss Land or Mrs Rhys Roberts in September.
Year 10 >> 11 arrangements
The guidelines for the 2021 GCSE examinations have also been published in draft form and school staff have been busy responding to the consultation which was open for 6 days. There are some minor changes to some GCSE courses, with some elements about to be omitted or modified. Following the consultation, we are awaiting the final decision in the various subjects and will pass this information to your child in early September, once confirmation has been received.
We have now sent reports to everyone in school, year group by year group, over last few months of lockdown. They have been sent to pupils’ @broedern school e-mail addresses, apart from year 7 pupils this week, whose reports have been sent to their parents’ ClassCharts app. Your child’s report will appear in the app under ‘Announcements’.
Moving away from Handbooks (Llawlyfr)
In September we will begin a new digital system of recording homework, using the Classcharts app. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, then please remember to do so over the summer. You will also need to remember to use the specific code that has already been sent to you so that you can see your child’s homework. If you are unable to find the code then please contact Mr Gary Ellis: GEllis@ysgolbroedern.cardiff.sch.uk
New year 7 parents will be issued with their codes in September.
The agreements you usually sign in the handbook will be sent to you through ParentPay from September onwards.
For those of you who still used to fill the green absence slips in the handbook, pupil absences must now be reported, as most already do, by phoning the school on the first day of your child’s illness.
The useful information at the back of the handbook will now be stored on the Wal Bro Edern, which will be accessible from our new website. Everything that used to be in the handbook will be housed in a new digital location, ready to be shared with pupils in September. If you think that your child would still benefit from having a book or diary to note their homework tasks, then obviously feel free to send them to school with one.
We are delighted to be launching our new website ready for September. Thanks to Mr George for all his hard work. Here you will find all the school information in one place, for the convenience of pupils, parents and staff alike. The address will be broedern.cymru and the site will develop over the coming months to become an accessible and useful destination for all.
Take time to explore the site – the answers to many of our parents’ most frequently asked questions will now be on the website!
And we’re done! Another year comes to a close. And this huge update comes to a close, for now. We will send you information of any developments in due course.
I would like to wish you and your families all the best for the summer. Take care.