February 12th 2021 Chwefror 12ed

Dear Parents and Carers / Annwyl Rieni a Gwarchodwyr,

We reach half term and I’m sure there will be a collective sigh of relief heard across the Vale of Clwyd from parents, teachers, staff and indeed pupils. It is a time to pause, switch off and recharge for everybody. Screens can be put away and focus can be channelled elsewhere.

Preparations have taken place this week, in order to ensure the return of our Foundation Phase pupils from Wednesday 24th February, happens as safely as possible. I am eagerly looking forward to them coming back and getting to see and hear the hustle and bustle of full classrooms once again. First of all though, a nice lie down in a darkened room wouldn’t go amiss for a little while, accompanied by some liquid refreshment and I’m sure this sentiment resonates with many of you. Have a lovely week and then we can start on what will hopefully be a short road back to normal operations here at Rhos Street.

Parents; a big thank you for your efforts this term with remote learning. Teaching pupils is a highly specialised profession that requires training and most importantly lots of experience to deliver with confidence, so it’s been a tall order for you all. No doubt you will have experienced many frustrations while you navigate the blurred lines between being a parent and supporting your child with their schoolwork. I have been with you on that journey with my youngest child too over recent weeks, so I empathise with you all. It’s not easy!

I’m also hugely grateful to the support staff here at the school, who have pooled together over the half term to deliver the childcare to our Key Worker and Vulnerable pupils in the hall, while teachers have been in their class focusing on supporting remote learning. They have cared for pupils ranging from 3 years old to 11 in great numbers who have a great range of abilities and needs, in an environment very different to that of normal class teaching and indeed, the more direct focus of being supported at home. This is no small feat in such circumstances. Despite those challenges, they have done their best to ensure that each pupil has engaged with their schoolwork as much as possible and facilitated opportunities for pupils to get on with their work independently, despite the bustling environment and the very social nature of the provision in place. I’m sure the parents of those pupils will and indeed have, echoed that gratitude I have for the efforts of support staff in providing care, enjoyable activities and support with the children’s work and of course their wellbeing over the last six weeks.

While chidcare has been going on in the hall, teachers have been in their empty classes, preparing work, collaborating while planning, recording videos and responding to pupil’s efforts through marking and feedback. Their efforts in providing such a high quality package of remote learning which has been engaging and varied, has I’m sure, made things easier for you at home. The lovely feedback you have provided via email or through the wellbeing phone calls, has been a real tonic for the teachers in this period of uncertainty. One thing that shines through during these times, is how much Rhos Street’s staff cares about the pupils in their classes. They care about their progress and they care about their wellbeing and again, I’d like to thank them.

I’d also like to thank the pupils. I know it’s not easy being at home all the time and while I know that there are many online tools they have to keep in touch with their friends at such a time like this, it’s never the same as seeing them in person. I’m sure they’ve all been cheesed off and fed up, but from teachers’ conversations with you, it seems they’ve taken things in their stride well. However, they need to be in school and I’m hopeful they will all be back in soon. That day can’t come soon enough for me, with the caveat that we are in a safe position to do so. Fingers and toes crossed!!

ALN Changes – Please refer to the letter attached on behalf of the North Wales Consortium, regarding changes to the system with regard to the Additional Learning Needs support offered to pupils.

PTA Sponsored Challenge – I have emailed details of the challenge to you this week, including the link to the Just Giving page as an option for contributing safely in these times of Covid-19. The primary purpose of the challenge is to get pupils out in the fresh air, getting away from their screens and focusing on their wellbeing. Of course, any amount donated, however small will be very much appreciated, but as ever there is no pressure!

Nursery – I’d like to remind any parents who want to register their child for the Nursery Class for 2021-22 that they have a week left to do so. I’d advise sorting this as a matter of priority, as indications are that places will be at a premium.

Free School Meals – For your information, free school Meal payments paid on the 15th February will be for the half term week (15-19th February). After that, the current weekly payments will carry on every Monday based on previous attendance at school. The payment on Monday the 22nd February will be based on your child’s attendance during the week beginning 1st February and the payment on Monday the 1st March will be based on your child’s attendance during the week beginning the 8th February.

Students of the Week – The end of term Student of the Week roster is a long one and that can only be a good thing! ALL of Reception, Darcie, Lucas, OscarW, Rayne, Lola, Hannah, Nimrod, Alex, Lilly, Isaac and Sebastian (Bl1), Scarlet, Ryan, Mia-Rose, Katelyn, Romeo, Jay, Leala, Poppy and Ruben (Bl2), Jade, Aidan, Merry, Sofia, Mia and Liam G (Bl3), Holly, Lilly, Trystan and Kemal (Bl4), Barkley, Ben, Ella May, Elliott, Emily, Finley, Isaac, Kian, Lacey and Tiffany (Bl5), Urte, Noah, BenC and Chloe. Well done to them all!

Yours sincerely / Yn gywir,

Bryn D. Jones, Headteacher / Pennaeth