Dear Maes-y-Llan Families…

Dear Maes-y-Llan families,

Wow, where to start? What a unique academic year with even more challenges, disruptions and last minute guidance thrown our way. Indeed, since March 2020 we have all had to adapt and continually make new ‘normals’, often at very late notice. Thank you. Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We understand that much of what we asked of you might not have always made immediate sense or made things immediately easier for some of you, but all of our decisions were based on the latest government and scientific guidance, and at the centre of all our decisions was the welfare, safety and educational needs of all the children of Maes-y-Llan. Thank you.

Pride

Despite the various changes, adaptions and sometimes, completely new demands, your children adapted admirably and with resilience time and time again. We are so proud of them all. I am also proud of the staff at Maes-y-Llan. Nowhere in any teaching training course or book, are there any instructions on how to teach during a pandemic, with ever changing guidance and regulations, or how to deliver ‘blended learning’. Not only did they adapt and quickly find what suited the needs of their own individual classes best (not just following the majority or what newly self-appointed ‘experts’ from the press or social media, thought was best), they did so ensuring that the learning opportunities they provided, motivated and help consolidate and build on new knowledge. They did this so effectively that, contrary to the false narrative shared by some media outlets and social media forums, our children did not fall behind, but continued to make progress. Well done and thank you to the staff, pupils and all those home school ‘teachers’. Thank you parents. We know many of you were juggling home schooling with work and other commitments, and some of you were home schooling more than one child. Please feel free to contact the Minister of Education and hand in your time sheets 😉 you have my backing and the appreciation of all the staff at Maes-y-Llan. Thank you.

September

Whilst it has been an extraordinarily challenging year in so many ways, we end the school year full of hope and optimism for the school year ahead. On Friday 9th July, the Welsh Government published an advice notice on some key changes from September, along with updated Operational Guidance for schools in Wales https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-1-september-2021-html .

With further announcements about countrywide changes to Covid regulations and guidance to follow from the First Minister over the coming weeks, the likelihood that the above September guidance for schools will change yet again before our return to school in September. As desperate as we are to return to a pre-Covid ‘normality’, we do not want to rush decisions and inadvertently cause more disruption and confusion to pupils, staff and the wider school community.

As the September guidance stands now, doors will be open for all pupils to be welcomed back into school on Friday 3rd of September from 8:40 to 8:50 (1st and 2nd of September are staff INSET days, so no pupils in school, only staff). Breakfast club will open at the normal time of 7:50 on the 3rd of September too; however, we will continue to ask that all pupils be signed in beforehand, as is currently happening. Thank you.

As we have new, updated guidance sent through we will finalise our plans for September 2021, relaxing some current Covid procedures where we can do so safely. The changes we make, as always will start with what is safest and best for the children of Maes-y-Llan. Again, we are asking for some continued patience and support while we finalise our plans. We will update you all when we can via the school website and app.

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Further arrangements for 2021/22 school year have changed over the last fortnight because of the UK and Welsh governments’ decision to give school pupils a holiday day in the 2021-22 school year for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The official UK bank holiday for this is in the Whitsun half-term holiday, so the Government have decided to close schools for an extra day next school year. Our cluster of schools (Ysgol Rhiwabon, Acrefair, Cefn Mawr, Rhosymedre, St Marys and ourselves) have decided to opt for Wednesday 20th July 2022. With Monday 18th of July and Tuesday 19th July being staff INSET days (no pupils), we thought this would cause least disruptions to families. Because of these changes, Monday 25th April 2022 will no longer be a staff INSET day, but instead will be the first day of summer term and all pupils and staff will be in school. The last school day for pupils in 2021/22 will be Friday 15th July. A full calendar of dates will be published in September.

I sincerely wish you all a safe and relaxing summer break and I look forward to a more normal 2021/22. Year 6 families, thank you; your children are a credit to you and your extended families and I look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments and successes.

Diolch pawb

Mr Hamilton