Autumn Lockdown #2

Dear Parents and Guardians

I hope you’re all keeping well during this current lockdown period. Thank you once again for your willing support for the school; it’s great to see so many year 11 pupils attend the numeracy revision sessions over the half term holidays. I’m grateful to the Maths Department for organising the sessions and to our parents for ensuring that our pupils attend these online sessions.

This is another lengthy blog. If I could write shorter ones, I would do so! However, these blogs for parents reflect how complicated secondary school life is at the moment! Many thanks for your support and your patience in reading all the important details which involve all aspects of life at Bro Edern. And with years 9-13 being educated at home once again next week, there are lots of things to clarify for parents!

Positive Case

We have been notified that another pupil in year 11 has tested positive for COVID-19. This is in no way related to the previous positive case a few days ago. The result was released to the family and the school was informed immediately. As with the previous cases, we thank the family for their willingness to help the school and the authorities. We have followed the Track and Trace guidelines carefully and have worked with the county and the experts at Public Health Wales to protect the whole Bro Edern family.

The situation this week:

The positive pupil has not been in school since Friday 16 October, due to symptoms in the family at that point. The pupil was not showing any symptoms when he was last in school, therefore the good news is that no-one else from Bro Edern needs to self isolate over the remainder of half term.

Year 7 & 8 Chromebooks

The year 8 Chromebooks are about to arrive. We received confirmation from the county just before half term. We are now expecting them imminently next week.
We have also received confirmation from the county that the year 7 Chromebooks will arrive by early December.

Like the iPads for pupils in older years, these devices are an integral part of Bro Edern’s teaching and learning strategy, as a digital pioneer school. New parents may not know that Bro Edern was included in the 2019 #EdTech50 list as one of the schools making the best use of digital technology in the UK, one of only 5 schools in Wales listed:
http://www.ednfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/EDTECH-50-SCHOOLS-2019_compressed.pdf

Pupils will use their Chromebooks in daily lessons and use them for homework, and for any blended learning. There is one device per pupil, and it will be every pupil’s responsibility to look after their Chromebook. The same system with 1:1 devices works very well in the older years of school and we look forward to ensuring that year 7 and 8 pupils have the same experiences.

As you know, parents won’t need to pay for the Chromebooks, just contribute towards the cost of the insurance, with a payment of £50. The same system exists with the iPads. The insurance payment is now live for year 8 parents on ParentPay – see photo. A minimum payment of £10 is required, in order for your child to access their brand new device.

We want year 8 pupils to start making full use of their Chromebooks as soon as possible after they arrive, so we ask you to pay the first insurance instalment on ParentPay by 5 November, so that pupils can bring them home the following day.

A link with the Chromebooks’ Acceptable Use Policy is to follow soon for parents. Pupils will also fill one out in school.

School Uniform

Thank you very much for ensuring that your children arrive at school in the correct uniform. Remember that all belongings need to be marked with your child’s name; this makes it much easier for your child to find a lost item of clothing! With the weather getting ever colder, please remember that your child needs a school jumper every day to keep warm in lessons. As before, no coat is allowed in lessons.

As we need to leave doors and windows open to aid air circulation in our fight against COVID-19, we have relaxed our no coat in the building rule a little. When going from lesson to lesson, and especially in the canteen during the lunch hour, your child will be allowed to wear a coat. The canteen and café can be very cold places with the doors and windows open.

Speaking Welsh

Mrs Furci has recently sent you a letter about speaking Welsh. If you have not yet had the opportunity to read the letter, here is the link again:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/110vpfj40BuwWgoLYAkrXPWuv7wLX5wbQ/preview

There is a parental questionnaire as part of the letter:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnmE_NEiUlFAA6l-TboKrHqCvtXqB5vGOUYGSn0-jAqRr5Hw/viewform 

Thanks for taking the time to complete the questionnaire. The information is important to us.

The Urdd

In Mrs Furci’s letter, we urge our families to join the Urdd. If you haven’t had a chance yet, then please consider joining the Urdd in order to support the organisation at this crucial time. Things are very difficult for the Urdd at the moment, with Glan-Llyn and Llangrannog closed, and so many activities having to be cancelled. A family can join for £25 or it’s £9 for an individual. It’s easy to join online: https://www.urdd.cymru/en/join/

Arrangements after Half Term

Years 7 and 8 in school

We will return to Week 1 on the timetable after half term. The buses will run as usual for years 7 and 8 (and year 11 pupils sitting exams).

After half term, we will follow the usual daily routine for years 7 and 8, with the official school day starting at 8:35am and ending at 3:25pm. Pupils will follow their usual timetable throughout the day and lunchtime will continue to be at 11:53am for year 7 and 8 pupils. Pupils will eat their packed lunches in the classroom, and any food bought in the canteen will eaten in the hall, as usual. Food will be served in the canteen before school starts in the morning and at lunch time. There will be no food available at break time. Please make sure your child’s ParentPay account is topped up with enough money in good time. It can take up to 24 hours for the money to appear on the account. Free school meals arrangements continue as before. Full details in a previous blog.

Live learning at home for years 9-13

As you know, the lockdown period for year 9 to 13 pupils means that our older pupils will not attend school for the first week after half term. Live lessons will be provided for these pupils throughout the day. This is quite an undertaking for any school, but at Bro Edern we have put these arrangements in place to ensure that our pupils’ education is not disrupted and that they have the best possible chance of success. This is especially true for all our exam year pupils.

Our decision to go with live learning also comes from the parental feedback on our lockdown questionnaires, where there were countless requests for “lessons on Zoom” in order to take pressure off parents. The lessons will not be hosted on Zoom, but rather on Google Meet, but the result will be the same.

During the last week before half term, we spent a lot of time anticipating any technical problems and spent two days troubleshooting any potential problems. Hopefully this means things will run smoothly …

Daily Timetable

During the first week after half term, our daily timetable will become important for families of year 9-13 pupils at Bro Edern, as you discover the joys of our 53-minute lessons!

There will be no registration session at home, so pupils will log onto their first lesson at 8:54am. All pupils will need to be punctual in every online lesson. They should join the lesson at the very moment the lesson begins. This means that they should not join early nor late. There are two different lunchtimes, as usual, because the teachers will also be teaching years 7 and 8 at school. Unfortunately, siblings will not be able to eat lunch at the same time, if one is in year 9 and the other is in year 10+. Apologies for this.

Lesson 1: 8:54

Lesson 2: 9:47

Break 10:40 – 11:00

Lesson 3: 11:00

Lunch for year 9 // Lesson 4: 11:53 for years 10-13

Lesson 4: 12:46 – 13:39 year 9 // Lunch for years 10-13

Lesson 5: 1:39

Lesson 6: 2:32

IMPORTANT: Live Learning Instructions

VERY IMPORTANT: Full bilingual instructions on the Live Learning procedures for pupils and parents can be found in the link below. Please would you sit down with your child and go through all the instructions slowly before Sunday night? It will be too late on Monday morning, there is far too much to read! Here are all the details:

https://sites.google.com/hwbcymru.net/disgyblionbroedern/cyfnod-clo-tachwedd

Genius Bar @BroEdern

Just like at the Apple store, we will be running our own version of the Genius Bar over the next week! If any technical problems arise as year 9-13 pupils try to log onto a live lesson, here is the form for you to fill in, in order to notify us of your “digital problem”. The form is only for those pupils who are unable to access Google Meet for their live learning. You will be contacted as soon as is practically possible:

https://forms.gle/kwunpxGDYXhucEpS7

This is a form to notify us of Google Meet problems and live learning issues only. All other problems should be referred to your child’s head of year, as usual.

Live Learning Contract

The live learning contracts have now been sent out to parents and pupils several times. Thank you to the hundreds who have completed them. We now have a short list of pupils who may not access their lessons, due to a lack of contracts. This is your last chance to complete the contracts. A full explanation of how to complete the contract if there is a problem with a particular clause can be seen in a previous blog. You should agree, and then add your comments in the final box. We will draw up the final list of pupils who do not have two contracts in place by this Friday. We need one version from the pupil and the other from one parent:

Parental contract: https://forms.gle/p8B753Aq17JDuY647

Pupil contract: https://forms.gle/hs3XEBazfv9cuywt5

Year 11 pupils who are sitting exams

Among all the excitement after half term, a brave group of some 50 year 11 pupils have chosen to sit their Higher Tier Maths Numeracy exams early. I would like to thank them and the Maths Department for their hard work over the last few weeks in preparing for these exams. The half-term early morning sessions seem to have been a real benefit for pupils. We know that these pupils need every support as they prepare for the exams, so I hope you agree to us putting together this sensible and supportive timetable for your child.

Please note that in accordance with Welsh Government rules, year 11 (and everyone else) should remain out of the reach of friends / peers / any others. This definitely means no Hallowe’en party! If any year 11 pupil needs to self isolate for any reason, this will mean that they will not be able to attend school in order to sit the Maths exams.

First week back plan for year 11 pupils sitting Maths Numeracy exams:

Monday 2 November:
Independent work at home. Lesson 1: An online Maths revision session and instructions on how to revise Maths effectively for the rest of the day. Pupils to revise independently lessons 2-6. No other lessons for these pupils. They should make good use of this revision time – they need a plan!

Tuesday 3 November:
Arrive at school, in full school uniform, by the usual time of 8:35am. Maths exam at 9am in the sports’ hall. Arrangements need to be made for pupils to leave school immediately after the examination. The exam lasts 1 hour 45 mins, so most pupils will be finished by 11am. Pupils entitled to extra time will be finished by 11:30am at the very latest. Return home and attend lessons 5 and 6 online from 1:39pm.

Wednesday 4 November
Independent work at home. Lessons 3 and 4: An online Maths revision session and instructions on how to revise Maths effectively for the rest of the day. No other lessons for these pupils.

Thursday 5 November
Arrive at school, in full school uniform, by the usual time of 8:35am. Maths exam at 9am in the sports’ hall. Arrangements need to be made for pupils to leave school immediately after the examination – please see Tuesday. Return home and attend lessons 5 and 6 online from 1:39pm.

Friday 6 November
Online lessons throughout the day.

Year 11 pupils not sitting the Maths exams will attend all lessons and follow their normal timetable for the whole week. 6 lessons a day – Monday to Friday.

Inset Days

We have 6 In Service Training (Inset) days to take during this academic year. The days in September were preparation days for COVID-19, so they don’t count this year. At the moment, we have arranged the following 4 dates for you to note:

Monday 4 January 2021 (immediately after Christmas)

Friday 26 March 2021 (last day before Easter – date for the whole cluster)

Monday 19 July 2021

Tuesday 20 July 2021

The final day of the summer term for pupils, therefore, will be Friday 16 July 2021.

There are two more days to be arranged for later in the year. We will decide on the dates when we find out what exactly is happening to the summer exams. Our plan is to organise these days during a time that will cause the least disruption to our pupils’ education. We’ll let you know about the two final days as soon as possible.

Summer Exams

The summer exams are in the headlines again today, but please note that the story being reported in the news stems from the new Qualifications Wales letter which outlines various recommendations for the summer. The final decision has not yet been made. If you would like to read the letter with the recommendations, it is here:

Kirsty Williams has now announced that she will be making her official announcement about the summer exams on 10 November, after everyone has returned to school.

Parents’ Evenings

We are currently putting the final touches to our arrangements for our parents’ evenings this year. It is clear that we will not be able to hold them at school, therefore they will need to be virtual evenings, held online. We have already held one successful online evening for the parents of year 7 pupils and their form tutors, and we will use the lessons learnt from that night to plan the rest of the evenings.

The dates in the calendar for parents’ evenings are:

Year 12/13 – Thursday 7 January 2021

Year 11 – Thursday 19 November 2020

Year 10 – Thursday 14 January 2021

Year 9 – Thursday 28 January 2021

Year 8 – Thursday 25 February 2021

Year 7 – Thursday 11 February 2021

We’re also in the process of arranging a Sixth Form Open Evening for Year 11 pupils and parents. The date for this is Thursday 26 November 2020. This evening will also be held online.

We will also be organising an Options Evening for year 9 pupils, the date for which is Thursday 4 March 2021. We are also currently anticipating that this evening will be held online.

Obviously all the dates mentioned above are dependent on the situation of the pandemic at the time; if for any reason our arrangements need to change, we will let you know as soon as we can.

Fighting on Instagram

I would like to confirm that the school is aware of the video clips of fighting pupils that have recently appeared on Instagram. Many thanks to the parents who have contacted us to mention this. We are saddened that the situation has appeared from nowhere after years of no fighting in Bro Edern. It seems that a very small minority of pupils are organising fights in order to film them for social media. We have managed to close several Instagram accounts, talk to the relevant parents, and deal with the pupils in line with the school’s discipline policy. We have also been in contact with the police. If all parents could discuss this matter with their children and check their children’s mobile phones to remove any unsuitable footage, we would be very grateful. We would like to remind you that the use of mobile phones during the day is banned at Bro Edern.

EasyFundraising

Before you get to grips with your Christmas shopping, please remember the EasyFundraising app that allows you to raise money for the school’s Cyfeillion (PTA) without it costing you anything. Search for Cyfeillion Bro Edern PTA within the app. By doing your usual online shopping, parents have already raised nearly £12 for the school in just over a week! This will become a significant sum over the course of a year. 55 parents have already registered – it would be nice to see more, especially as it costs you nothing.

You can also get a reminder for your browser on your home computer. We are trying to promote this far and wide before people start to get to grips with their Christmas shopping. Feel free to pass the details on to family and friends. The more the merrier!

Here’s the Bro Edern link: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/cyfeillionbroedernpta/?utm_campaign=raise-more&utm_content=cpl

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screenshot-2020-10-18-at-16.01.36-4.png

The Cyfeillion are also in the process of organising a Christmas raffle, with a number of fantastic prizes already offered to us. Please get in touch if you would like to donate a prize to the raffle. Tickets will go on sale online through the PTA Events website soon.

Parent-Governors

Thank you to those of you who have already shown an interest in becoming a parent governor for Bro Edern. Five of you have done so which means there is room for one other representative before we need to hold an election. If you would like to be a parent governor please remember that you must complete the nomination form at the link below and return it to school by Friday October 30. No nominations received after this date will be accepted. Full details of the process in a previous blog.

https://forms.gle/ftDg1LxhGzG8qVq38

Aerosol / Deodorant

Here’s a reminder from last week’s blog:
Have you had the opportunity yet to buy a roll-on for your child?

Because our pupils are not always able to change after PE lessons, due to the current guidelines, pupils have been asked to bring a deodorant for the end of PE lessons. However, from now on, all parents need to ensure that pupils only bring a roll-on deodorant to school. There are so many health and wellbeing issues with spraying a deodorant can, and they can cause serious respiratory problems and health implications for some pupils and staff. This has been the case recently, therefore we need to clarify and formalise our rules. We will confiscate any aerosol can deodorants from now on. Roll-ons only – please buy one for the PE kit bag over half term! Many thanks once again for your cooperation in keeping everyone in the Bro Edern family safe and sound. 

Cant a Mil

Due to the current restrictions, Cant a Mil and many other shops are currently closed. However, if you need any Welsh language books and cards, you can still order through cantamil.com 24/7 and your order will be posted. The actual shop at 100 Whitchurch Road reopens on Tuesday 10 November.

Autumn Tunes

And finally … here’s a reminder of the link to our playlist of songs suitable for Hallowe’en and the autumn:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5VOWJCKkOGzbzComtHMHVJ

Also here is a list called Pwmpen (Pumpkin), which has been put together for Hallowe’en by the singer Yws Gwynedd. Just the right thing for your family Hallowe’en Party under the latest strict lockdown conditions! Have fun with your bobbing apples …

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Eg2RZWq2BQoQl4sLB8qPj

Best wishes to you all and thanks once again

Iwan Pritchard
Headteacher

Gadael Ymateb

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