End of Term, Dec 2020

Dear all,

I am writing to pupils and 6th form students in particular at the end of this term.

Events over the last few days and the decision to move learning on-line for this last week of term and the requirement for certain year groups to self-isolate; has meant that we didn’t get the opportunity, as staff, to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year at the end of term.

I therefore want to personally, on behalf of all the staff, thank you for your support since we returned in September. This has felt like the longest term ever. The response from pupils and students when asked to self-isolate has been outstanding. Diolch o galon!

Normally, as a school, we would celebrate the end of term with school assemblies, the Christmas Fayre and the Carol Service. The non-running of such events reminds us all of how different the challenges have been this term and how different school has been. I feel immensely proud of the way in which you have responded to the changes that we have put in place, especially our zoning arrangements, to make the school as safe as possible for learners and staff. Let us keep this up in the New Year – keep your face coverings safe!

I have been impressed by the way, in which each year group has responded to the need to support one another and the generosity of pupils towards others. This was seen in initiatives such as the foodbank appeal and the sending of letters by Year 9 to Care Home residents. The response to assembly tasks across the school, that have focused on Health and Wellbeing matters, supporting the two Health and Wellbeing days that took place this term, has been fantastic.

Year 7, the beginning of your journey with us has been so different; however, you have been amazing and resilient and have become important members of our school community.

Year 8, you are developing as excellent learners and there is a great future ahead for so many of you!

As staff, we will work in partnership with those of you due to complete external exams over the next few months, ensuring that you achieve all that you deserve. Staff in both Pencoed Comprehensive School and Penybont 6th Form College are committed to supporting you when we return in January. Staff will guide you through the assessment arrangements put in place, due to COVID-19, once these are in place. However, for now, take the Christmas break to unwind and catch up with a few Netflix box sets.

For those of you in Years 12 and 13 make sure you take account of the feedback provided on your progress. Feedback is only valuable if you take the advice provided on board!

As we are now in the last week of term, I would ask that you all stay safe and continue to follow the COVID-19 guidance over Christmas, so that you can protect yourselves and your families.

Staff will work with you during this last week of term as we move learning online. Make sure you sign up to lessons on Google classrooms, following your normal timetable. Make sure you check in for registration each morning between 8.40 and 8.55am. Watch out for messages from your Progress and Wellbeing Leaders and teachers who are here to support you. I hope that there will be some fun activities thrown in.

School re-opens in the spring term for all pupils at Pencoed Comprehensive School and students at Penybont 6th Form College on Tuesday the 5th of January 2021, as there is an INSET day for staff on Monday the 4th of January 2021.

Again, I am sorry that we did not get the chance to get together at the end of term and hope you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas with your families. Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!

We can be proud of what we achieved together this term. Staff and pupils working together in partnership makes Pencoed Comprehensive School such a great please to work and learn in. I so look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Yours sincerely

Edward H Jones
On behalf of all the staff.

Letter from the Head

Contingency plans for any confirmed case of COVID-19.

Since the start of the academic year, you will be aware, of the growing number of instances where pupils and/or staff have been asked to self-isolate following confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections within schools in Bridgend and neighbouring Local Authorities.

As part of our COVID-secure planning, we have prepared for such an event and have procedures in place, informed by Public Health Wales and Local Authority Guidance, to respond to any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our procedures are designed to safeguard those who are unwell; the school community as a whole; and seek to minimise any potential spread of the virus.

The process of testing and contact tracing is part of the “new normal” where schools are required to follow the guidelines carefully as part of the Test, Trace, Protect strategy that Welsh Government has adopted.

If you have not had an opportunity to review our ‘Staying Safe to make a Success of Learning” handbook (which is accessible on our website), I would ask that you do this at your earliest opportunity. The document has been updated following changes made by Welsh Government in relation to the use of face-coverings in schools.

Through discussion with headteacher colleagues, it is becoming apparent that confirmed cases are often being shared with schools via a child’s family or members of staff directly, rather than being informed by an external agency, such as the NHS Wales Test, Track and Protect Teams. This is not surprising, since the teams are reacting to the ongoing health crisis and, like many databases; there is a slight delay with information being processed.

As you may be aware, a person confirmed to have been infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be asked to indicate whom they have come into contact with. This is to ensure that these individuals may self-isolate to reduce the spread of the virus. Given our school population of pupils, students and staff is around one thousand; this has a significant impact on us.

To support the school, I should be grateful if any notification to school of any positive test results includes details received from the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect Service, including the unique reference number confirming either a positive test result or that your child has been identified as a confirmed contact. This will allow us to make contact with Public Health Wales to confirm next steps and to identify any direct contacts effectively. This information will be treated in confidence.

Should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school as a precautionary measure, some of our classes or a year group contact group may be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days since the last contact with the confirmed case. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to develop.

In such a case, parents and carers of affected pupils will be texted by the school and receive an e-mail via “In-touch”.

The school will remain open for all other pupils. All parents and carers of pupils unaffected by the requirement to self-isolate will also be notified.

Where a student may be required to self-isolate, work will be provided. This work will mirror the work undertaken by their peers in school and should be completed in line with individual school timetable.

We are reliant, more now than ever, on the goodwill of our families to support us in keeping everyone as safe as possible. Your help with this process will inform our decision-making and I thank you in advance for your support.

What to do if your child develops symptoms

Please continue to be vigilant of possible symptoms of coronavirus during this period. The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • fever (greater than 37.8°C);
  • new persistent/continuous cough;
  • and/or loss or change in sense of taste or smell

If anyone in your household develops any of these symptoms, however mild, they need to stay at home (10 days for the person with symptoms and 14 days for the rest of the household) and must follow the guidance, which can be found here.

Yours sincerely,

Edward H Jones