July 17th 2020 Gorffennaf 17eg

Dear Parents and Carers,

I’m sitting at my desk on the last day of term, reflecting on what has been a tumultuous year. We all had to deal with the terribly sad and sudden loss of Jill before Christmas, before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis took increasing hold of our lives in every aspect. When the school year started in September, none of us had any idea what would be ahead of us, yet here we are having made it to the end of the summer term, still standing, still fighting the good fight and still ready for whatever comes next!

However, like everybody – staff and parents alike, I am delighted to be able to press pause, to switch off and step back from matters to do with school even if it is just for a little while, before planning resumes for opening in September. Everybody has played their part and I’m grateful to staff, parents, pupils and Governors for their ongoing efforts. We need to continue to pull together in the same vein going forward and I have no doubt that we will. There is a triumph in adversity and I told much the same to my staff this week; that they can hold their heads up high, knowing they have done great things in unprecedented circumstances. Many people from many different walks of life have stepped up superbly in this crisis and I hope this is one thing that will be remembered when all the dust settles. Those people include our Key Worker parents, whose childcare provision comes to an end today at the school. We are proud to have helped Key Workers in the Ruthin area to undertake their crucial work.

One would hope that home learning on the scale it has been taking place is coming to an end. The huge progress made in this area is one that surely can be built upon, but aligned more closely to the ongoing class activities, particularly if we do have to endure further restrictions at some point in the future. My thanks again go to you parents for the efforts made to support your child during this period. I know it hasn’t been easy, but I’m sure your endeavours have been very worthwhile and I have every confidence we will get everybody up to speed and back in the swing of things in no time, come the new term.

In terms of our staff, I wish Mrs. Lewis well as she begins her period of maternity leave in September, we wish a happy BIG birthday to caretaker Mr. Thomas over the holidays and I’d also like to thank Jayne Mayers who has superbly supported Class 2 and filled the gap left by the loss of Jill. We also look forward to welcoming Miss Sproston back from her period of maternity leave in September. Best wishes also go to cleaner Sophie Green, as her baby will be born over the summer!

Because of COVID-19, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard any news on the new yard, but I’ve sought an update from the Local Authority and have been provided with the following message:
“Work on the new yard is expected to start in the autumn of 2020. During the lockdown, work on the design of the yard and preparation of the tender documents has taken place. Progress has been impacted by the lockdown period but it is now intended for the tender for the work on the new yard to be published at the start of August 2020.
The site compound and access is planned to be created through Welsh Government land and the construction site will be securely segregated from the school. This will ensure the safety of site users and will enable the work to take place independently from the school.
A further update will be sent to confirm the appointment of contractor and start date of the work.”

There is also a Reading Challenge taking place this year and I have attached further details to your emails. I’ll also provide a link to a Sustrans active travel questionnaire, gathering information with the aim of increasing the number of pupils travelling actively to school. The survey will also help measure how Covid-19 has impacted on active travel uptake.

The partial reopening has been a big success and it’s been lovely to share some photos on Twitter of the pupils in class, on the field, on the yard and down at The Living Classroom. A special mention for Year 3 pupils who wrote to various Key Workers and had a lovely reply from the Glan Clwyd Intensive Care unit. I’m sure their letters lifted the spirits of all who read them.

We also got to say goodbye to our Year 6 pupils this Monday as they assembled, socially distanced, to come forward and receive their hoodies. Many of them have recorded goodbye videos and I’ll be sending a link to that video to Year 6 parents later today.

So there we have it! The end of year like no other, but with plans in place for hopefully calmer, gentler times in the near future. I’ll be in touch over the holidays as plans evolve, but in the meantime have a brilliant summer with your loved ones. Look after one another, stay safe and enjoy yourselves!

Yours sincerely,

Bryn D. Jones