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Dear parent / carer,
No doubt you will be aware of the announcement earlier today that from 6.00pm on Thursday this week (September 17th), RCT as a County Borough will go into a ‘local lockdown’ because of concern over the rising cases of coronavirus.
This means that people will not be able to enter or leave the area of RCT without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education. It is important to state that our school will remain open ‘as normal’ as under these conditions both staff and students can travel to Pontypridd High each day.
We are all aware of the ways in which coronavirus is transmitted and whilst the vast majority of our students are showing excellent levels of respect and responsibility, it is another opportunity for us to emphasise the importance of good personal hygiene, maintaining a social distance and wearing a face covering when appropriate to do so. Our understanding is that a review of this ‘lockdown’ will be held in two weeks time.
As always my thanks for your continued support.
Statement regarding the confirmed case of Covid-19 at Pontypridd High School
Dear Parent / Carer,
A great deal of time has been spent by staff ensuring our school is safe and ready to welcome back all children this week. I am very pleased with the way in which our expectations have been met and on the whole our students have been a credit to themselves, showing how responsible they are and their respect for others.
In the two weeks since we returned to school this September we have been operating an ‘interim’ timetable as outlined in the plan we published before the summer break. In that plan we stated that our intention was to move to the full, ‘normal’ timetable for the academic year ahead from Monday, September 14th. We also stated that we would review this decision based on our experiences in school and the wider circumstances within our community and the LA. Clearly the situation has not progressed as planned in our area of South Wales and at present we are all being encouraged to live in a more ‘restricted’ way with fewer contacts.
On the basis of all this I can confirm that we will not be moving to the new timetable from next Monday. Instead we will continue to operate the ‘interim’ model with students working in their contact / year groups. We will continue to have staggered break and lunchtimes. The start of the day will be 8.30am for everyone with the end of the school day continuing to operate as it has in these last two weeks. My thanks to everyone for their co-operation with the ‘drop-off’ and ‘pick-up’ arrangements – they are working well and congestion has been limited at the school gates. A more detailed version of our present plan and provision can be found on the school website.
Though we are going to continue with the ‘interim’ timetable, we are going to make some minor changes because we are aware that it has some restrictions on what children are learning. As such, from Monday, September 21stwe will;
- Increase access to English, Maths and Science lessons in Years 7 and 8
- Continue the focus in Year 9 on core subject lessons, which at present we believe is a positive factor. We appreciate option subjects need to be delivered but we have the advantage of starting our options a year early and as such we will commit more time to them as the situation improves, hopefully after half-term.
- Give additional access to option subjects in Year 10 alongside the core
- Continue to provide the full curriculum to Year 11, 12 and 13 students
Now that we have all returned to school and we have established a way of working that keeps everyone as safe as possible, I can assure you we are reviewing our provision to ensure time is not lost and progress is made by each child. I trust you will understand that we cannot provide everything in the way we would normally do, but all staff are making every effort to provide the best quality experiences you would expect and the children deserve.
Collectively we should reflect on a very good start to the new school year. Despite all the challenges we face, our children are showing the levels of resilience they will need and every member of staff will support them all the way.
Thank you as always and enjoy your weekend.
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August 29th, 2020
Dear Parent / Carer
You will be aware of the recent announcement from the Welsh Government that Local Authorities and Schools should make the decision about the use of ‘face coverings’. In response to this RCT have now confirmed that they strongly recommend face coverings be worn by all secondary school staff and students. Therefore I can confirm that at Pontypridd High we will be expecting students and staff to wear a face covering on our return to school next week. This will help to keep everyone safe and healthy when moving around common areas of school buildings including corridors, lifts, stairwells, toilets, canteen areas where physical distancing is unlikely to be maintained. Advice also says that staff and students can remove face coverings when seated in classrooms, participating in lessons and when outside school buildings. In addition to wearing a face covering at certain times and places in school, all secondary aged children who will be using school transport must also wear a mask. One re-usable face covering will be issued to your child(ren) for their first return trip home. Please note that for the initial trip into school, drivers will issue a disposable face mask for pupils to wear until they collect their reusable mask. Please note that a refusal to comply with this expectation, good hygiene and where possible social distancing could jeopardise your child’s place on school transport. Your support in reinforcing this message with your child would be greatly appreciated. Students who travel to school on public transport must wear a three layer face covering as mandated by the Welsh Government. The wearing of face coverings will not remove the need for staff and students to respect the 2m social distancing and good hand hygiene wherever possible but face coverings are an added safety measure to prevent transmission of the virus. In order to support the wearing of face coverings we have produced a school policy that is available for you to read on our website. The policy provides more information on our expectations and the circumstances when some students may be exempt from wearing a face covering. This includes situations such as:
• where a child is not being able to put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
•if putting on, wearing, or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
•where interacting with someone who uses lip reading to communicate, or who has social communication impairments In terms of an appropriate face covering I imagine that most people will be wearing a face mask and not a face shield or visor.
I would encourage everyone to purchase their own masks if at all possible though we will have a supply in school which can be given to students as required. Face masks can be made of cloth which means they can be washed and reused. Others are made of paper and are disposable. The World Health Organisation recommends that a ‘paper’ face mask should have at least 3 layers. All face masks supplied and distributed at Pontypridd High will be made up at least 3 layers. It is recognised that there will be occasions and situations which will need to be managed on their individual merit and context. Please note that where students plan to use their own face mask, the mask must be plain, with no words or pictorial or symbolic representations that may be considered controversial and/or would detract and possibly cause offence to others in our school. In such circumstances, the student will be asked to wear a plain face mask supplied by the school. I appreciate that it is late in the day to be informing you of all these details but I know you will understand the reasons for this. I would ask that you take time to read through the school policy on our website and if possible make sure your child(ren) has a face covering (mask) ready for their first day at school next week.
Please visit our school website to access the following information: - our school ‘Face Covering’ policy - a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document produced by the Local Authority about returning to school this September - a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document produced by the Local Authority on the issues surrounding examinations this summer and in the year ahead - Our school plan for all year groups from September 2nd next week.
If there are any issues or concerns please contact staff at school on Tuesday next week and I am sure we can help to resolve anything before children start attending from Wednesday, September 2nd. As always, thank you for support with this matter.
Given the exceptional circumstances everyone has faced in recent months I would like to congratulate each of our students who have achieved success with their GCSE results. It is testament to the commitment of all students that such a high standard has been achieved by so many. Your achievements at the end of this Year 11 are highly credible and much deserved.
Pontypridd High School
A Level Results 2020
Given the exceptional circumstances everyone has faced in recent months I would like to congratulate each of our students who have achieved success with their A level results. It is testament to the commitment of all students that outcomes at both A*/A and A* to C have improved significantly on last year. The Skills Challenge Certificate results are exceptional with most passing at A* or A grade. In addition I also want to congratulate the many students who have achieved very good grades at the end of their A/S Year 12 studies. In terms of our Sixth Form provision these results are very encouraging for the year ahead.
Given all considerations and decisions, particular mention of our A Level results must be given to Isobelle Preston with A*A*A*A and Tom Penikett with A*A*AB along with Emilie Williams and Aled Moore with A*A*AA, Seren Hopkins A*A*A*BB, Abby Watkins A*A*AB, Megan Groves A*AAA, Liam Hooper A*A*AA and Billie Mai Cox A*AAC. Similarly impressive results were achieved by Abby Watkins A*A*AB, Seren James A*AAB, Maia Davies A*A*BC, Katie Lloyd AAAD and Cara Watkins with A*ABB. Congratulations also to William Mansell A*BBB and Leah Nicholas A*BBB, Michael Bowen AAB, Chelsea Harvey AAB and Josh Hughes AAC who all performed to a very high standard.
As Headteacher I am very much aware that a major part of this success is a result of the very positive relationships and partnerships we have established with each family over a number of years. As always the commitment from all students, staff and the support of each family is greatly appreciated.
In 2020 everyone has been challenged in a way that no others have experienced before. We are very proud of all our students and this year more than any other they should consider themselves unique in every positive sense of the word. This is now the time to look forward and make the very best of the opportunities that lie ahead and to that extent I am pleased that students have been able to access a place in higher education of their choice.
Mr Bill Davies, Chair of Governors wanted to acknowledge what has been achieved and he congratulates all of the students on their results in addition to thanking staff for their continued hard work and support which ensures Pontypridd High School continues to provide a very successful Sixth Form provision.
We thank those students who are now leaving us for their contribution to our School and wish them well as they move on to new challenges beyond Pontypridd High.
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