Coronavirus Latest Information
Latest updates as we receive them:
19th June 2020
14th June 2020
12th June 2020
Dear Parent / Carer
Since the announcement that schools will be returning from Monday, June 29th staff have met each day to discuss plans which will ensure we provide the best learning experiences alongside the essential personal protection and social distancing that keeps everyone safe. I can assure you that this is a very detailed and thorough process which will certainly take all the time we have between now and June 29th.
My thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our parent / carer survey earlier this week. We had close to 500 responses and whilst close to half of the responses were positive about a return to school, there remains a high number that are either undecided or reluctant at present about sending their child back to school. It was clear from all the questions raised that the way in which we manage social distancing is a key factor in whether your child returns. As you can imagine this concern is shared by staff also and I can assure you we will do all that we can to ensure the site is safe for everyone.
Our plans will be based around information from the Welsh Government and also that from the Local Authority. Next Tuesday, June 16th I will be meeting with school Governors to discuss our plan and our intention is to share that information with you once it has been agreed. It is likely we will then send out another survey to confirm your thoughts about your child returning or not.
I can confirm from the guidance already received that the expectation is that any child will most likely attend school on 3 separate occasions during the course of the opening from June 29th to July 24th. We also know that Sixth form students will not be allowed to travel between sites and that no Year 6 children will be able to visit us at Pontypridd High during those weeks. All of the final details will be presented to you next week and this will include details of how the school site and classrooms will be managed as well as times of day and how we would like students to arrive and depart.
I trust you will understand there is a great deal of planning to be undertaken in a short space of time. We are all committed to providing the safest and best experiences we can each day and my thanks to all staff for the time they are spending working this out.
As always, thank you for your support and I will be in contact again next week with final details of our plan and what that means for your child(ren) returning to Pontypridd high from June 29th.
8th June 2020
Dear Parent / Carer,
Since the announcement that schools will reopen from June 29th for a period of 4 weeks before the summer break, staff have been using what guidance is available to begin planning what we can achieve in that time.
Because of social distancing we already know that the number of children who attend each day will be reduced to no more than one third of the usual total. We know that our classrooms will only be able to accommodate between 8 and 12 students and also that each of the buses that transport the majority of children to school will have a much reduced capacity.
It would help us to plan for the reopening from June 29th if you could take a few minutes to complete a short survey we have produced. The information we receive will allow us to maximise what we can deliver given the restrictions on numbers and the availability of staff. The link to the survey is as follows;
Because of time constraints I would appreciate your replies by 10am on Wednesday this week, June 10th. It is our intention to update you further on an outline plan as soon as we can based on the information we receive from yourselves and from the Local Authority and Welsh Government.
Many thanks for your help and support in completing this survey.
7th June 2020
4th June 2020
Dear Parent / Carer
You will be aware that the Welsh Government has announced pupils will have the opportunity to return to school from 29th June for 4 weeks before the summer holidays. This means the normal 6 week summer break will be reduced by 1 week. In addition, the statement also says that the usual one week half-term break in October will now be 2 weeks.
Returning to school on June 29th will require a great deal of planning over the next 3 weeks in order for the school to welcome children safely and to provide the best learning experiences. Please note the advice is that pupils will be taught in small groups but will not be in school every day. Only a third of the pupils will be in school at any one time in order to work with social distancing guidelines.
The Minister for Education is clear that opening for 4 weeks from June 29th is the opportunity for pupils to see their teachers, reflect and catch up on their learning and prepare for September. Every child will be different and in managing this situation we will allow for individual family circumstances and parental / carer choice as to whether children attend before the summer.
I am sure you will understand that following this announcement there are many questions that still need to be answered. Staff are already discussing outline plans but our thinking will be guided by the information we receive from the Government and Local Authority. I can assure you that you will be kept informed regularly over the next 3 weeks.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
3rd June 2020
31st May 2020
24th May 2020
15th May 2020
11th May 2020
Yesterday, you may have watched the Prime Minister set out his phased plan to lift the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions over the coming months. However, the decisions made by the Prime Minister only refer to England.
On Friday of last week, the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford set out very clearly the approach for Wales where the focus remains Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Safe Lives. Therefore as a Council we are keen to ensure that employees, where they are able, continue to work from home whenever possible. We would also like you to share this message with your family and friends.
In Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid19 per 100,000 of population in Wales. If we are to reduce the virus infection rate, and protect our family and friends, and in particular our colleagues working in the NHS and social care settings, we need to continue to fully comply with the social distancing regulations and Stay at Home, whenever possible.
Welsh Government has asked local authorities to open community waste recycling centres and libraries in the future. The Council will do so only when it has put steps in place to protect users of these services and our staff.
We appreciate everyone wants to return to some form of normality again and socialise with others, but to do so safely we need to continue to Stay at Home, whenever possible, for a few more weeks, to help avoid a second wave of the virus.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment.
Chris Bradshaw Cllr Andrew Morgan
Chief Executive Leader of the Council
10th May 2020
5th May 2020 -
Covid 19 Education, Childcare & Work-Based Learning Update
Please follow the links which may be of interest to you:
4th May 2020
Parents/carers have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday 5th May to apply.
25th April 2020
20th April 2020
5th April 2020
Important information on awarding exam grades:
Please follow the links at bottom of this page.
31st March 2020
Easter emergency childcare arrangements (April 6-17, excluding Good Friday, Easter Monday and the weekend)
• ONLY key/essential workers qualify. There will be no provision for any children whose parents are not key/essential workers.
• Key/essential workers must re-apply for Easter childcare by midday on Thursday, April 2.
• The provision is for the period April 6-17, excluding bank holidays (April 10 & 13) and weekends.
• Please note, some hubs in the Cynon area have changed.
To apply for emergency Easter childcare provision, visit:
28th March 2020
Dear Parent / Carer,
As staff we have been continuously monitoring updates from the WJEC and Qualifications Wales to ensure everyone is fully informed of the procedure regarding grades for the exams that should have taken place this summer. Some of you might be aware that yesterday there was a statement released from our Minister for Education Kirsty Williams, and then in turn by the WJEC and Qualifications Wales. I have outlined some of the main points below;
Year 10 Learners:
- The exams that any learner was due to sit in Summer 2020 will not be taken again
- If this exam was modular such as for Science and English Literature learners will have a choice in the Summer of 2021;
Option 1 : Learners can opt to sit the Year 11 units only in Summer 2021, and their final overall GCSE grade will be calculated on the basis of their performance in those units.
Option 2 : Learners can opt to sit the Year 10 units in Summer 2021, along with their Year 11 units.
If learners decide to take option 2 the WJEC will also consider the grade they would have been awarded if they took option 1. The final grade they will be awarded will be the best grade.
For any learner in Year 10 who was due to sit units to complete their GCSE qualification this summer (2020), learners will be issued a ‘Fair Grade’, following the same process outlined in recent weeks for Year 11 GCSE learners. For example, This would include some students who were completing their GCSE in Music in the summer of 2020.
Year 12 Learners:
- Learners who were due to sit their AS exams this summer will not be required to sit those exams.
- AS learners will be awarded a qualification in a similar way to those taking GCSEs and A levels this summer if they do not wish to progress to A2.
- AS learners will receive a final AS grade from the WJEC this summer. This will be based on a range of evidence including teacher assessed grades. The AS grade awarded to learners this summer will not contribute to their A level results in 2021.
For learners wishing to continue to A2:
In the summer of 2021, AS learners will be given two options for their A level qualifications:
Option 1 : A student would sit their A2 units only and their final grade will be awarded based solely on their performance in those units (which will be used to calculate marks for their AS units)
Option 2 : A student sits both AS and A2 units in Year 13.
If learners decide to take option 2 the WJEC will also consider the grade they would have been awarded if they took option 1. Their final grade will be the best grade awarded from either option.
As I am sure you will agree there is a lot of information to consider here for staff and students alike. We will be analysing this information and the best way forward for each student in the week ahead to ensure all options and pathways are available so that everyone achieves their potential. If you have any questions please feel free to email Mrs Kayleigh Oliver or Mr Rhys Ivins and we will endeavour to answer any queries you may have.
27th March 2020
Dear Parent and Carer
We have reached the end of our first week of school closure and in our different ways, I imagine we are all coming to terms with a new routine and way of living. I am sure we could all share interesting experiences and challenges from the week that has past. Amongst all of that, I trust every family remains safe and well.
We have received many comments about the work that children are completing. Thank you for so many positive comments and hopefully, staff have been able to provide the help you have requested in order to access what you need. We are aware of the issues related to internet access and are discussing how we can overcome or work around this as time goes on.
I am grateful to all staff for the work they have undertaken this week. Please keep in contact and they will support your child as best they can. Please be a little patient with this as I am sure you understand my staff also have their own personal and family commitments at this time. You will find contact details for staff on our website and phone numbers to ring in an emergency. If there are any concerns please get in touch. We do not want a very challenging situation getting any worse for anyone.
Next week we shall send you a copy of our newsletter. We will publish one of these every Monday whilst our school is closed and I hope it gives a more positive view of what is being achieved by our students, some extra ideas to keep ourselves happy and all of the information around home learning.
It is likely we will learn more next week about the criteria for awarding fair grades and we will make sure everyone is aware of that. Please also look at the RCT website should you require emergency childcare next week. Our school site at Pontypridd High is not open to children from now on but childcare can be applied for and accessed at Heol Celyn Primary School in Rhydfelin. Staff from Pontypridd High will form a part of the team that provides this service.
Having already introduced our daily workout, staff will also come 'live' to your home in the morning next week with ideas for the day ahead and to share experiences about how we are spending our time. Look out for more information on this.
Thank you for your support and please keep in touch. A very positive thing about this last week has been all the video conferences we have had between staff and also with the full governing body. It has been great to speak with colleagues and to be reassured by all their work and plans for the time ahead, however long that may be.
25th March 2020
Dear Parent and Carer
This week staff have been in school to provide childcare as requested by parents and carers who qualify as key workers. In truth numbers have been low and my thanks to everyone who has tried to find alternative solutions to childcare as we have been encouraged to do by the LA and Welsh government. The situation is a very changeable one for all of us and we will communicate any further advice for childcare to you as soon as it becomes available. Alternatively please use the RCT website which will update you and provide the details you need as from Monday, March 30th.
The key message for all of us is to work within the ‘social distancing’ guidelines and limit contact and travel wherever possible. In order for us to manage this with our own staff our school reception desk will be closed until further notice. Please access the school website where you will find contact phone numbers and email addresses for all the key staff you may want to communicate with. Staff are available to receive messages and I can assure you we will do everything to help with any concern or request.
As previously mentioned, staff are already in discussions about the awarding of ‘fair grades’ but we are still waiting for formal guidance from Qualifications Wales and examination boards before we can make any real progress with this. Whilst it is unknown how long our school will be closed, I can also assure you that staff are having meetings about how we can better support home learning through more communication with your child(ren). We will provide more information on this next week as plans develop.
Please keep safe and healthy and keep in contact with staff should you have any concerns or request help in any way with the work that your child is completing.
On behalf of all staff and school governors
23rd March 2020
Guidance on the awarding of ‘Fair Grades’
We have received information from ‘Qualifications Wales’ regarding the plans to award ‘fair grades’ this summer. The full statement is attached and available on the school website. They cannot be specific about every detail but have confirmed GCSE and A Level grades will be determined after considering a range of evidence.
- This could include marks for work completed already completed; for example Controlled assessment for GCSE or AS results for A level grades
- Teacher assessed ‘fair grades’ will be based on what teachers would expect a student to achieve at the end of the course.
- Any ‘fair grade’ awarded will be a professional judgement based on all the assessment information we have for each student
- Any judgement will look at all the evidence and not just one piece of information like mock examination results.
- ‘Fair grades’ will not be issued to students in Year 10 or Year 12. In these cases Qualifications Wales and the WJEC will be looking at a variety of options. This could include completing the exams at different points in Year 11 or 13 from September.
Another consideration is when final results will be released. At present the guidance is that Qualifications Wales and the WJEC are working hard to provide greater clarity as quickly as possible and will continue to give regular updates.
As staff we are already having discussions about the information we hold on every individual student and this will obviously help to inform our judgement of grades. Important to make clear that this judgement will not just be about one exam result or one class based assessment but a whole range of information. At present I want everyone to be reassured that staff will make a professional judgement that is fair and an accurate reflection of the progress and ability each student has shown over the duration of the course. To that extent it will be our aim to ensure everyone is awarded the ‘fair grades’ they deserve.
With thanks and stay safe
Please click on link at bottom of page
23rd March 2020
Please see the link below for the latest guidance published today by Welsh Government:
‘5 things you need to know before sending your children to school or childcare: What you need to know about access to schools and childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.’
20th March 2020
If you have any queries over the coming weeks and need to contact someone, please use the following numbers:
Support Line 1: 07851963274
Support Line 2: 07707072179
Support Line 3: 07851963275
18th March 2020
Dear parent / carer
Clearly the coronavirus is having a great impact on everyone and we are all aware that at some point there may be a directive from the Government that schools will close. We are not at that point at present and as such we continue to work in as normal a way as we can. I understand why some students are absent but given the circumstances attendance remains high at the present time and thank you for your support with this.
As staff we fully understand that this is a very anxious time for each family and in particular for those who have children completing GCSE or A Level exams this summer. At present all advice suggests that the exams will go ahead if at all possible so it is important we all maintain a focus on that and assume they will go ahead. I am sure more information will be issued but log on to websites such as the WJEC examination board and Qualifications Wales to check for any updates. I assure you we will send that information through to you as soon as we have any details to pass on. If school is closed then the usual programme of revision may not be possible. As such the work that has been planned by each teacher will be very important to each child in preparing for the exams which should be taking place in May and June.
Should our School be directed to close then staff have set work for every child in each year group. This work will be made available to each student and family in the following ways;
1. On the school website
2. Through Class Charts – as a parent / carer please check you have your log-in details
3. Students will also be accessing information with staff through ‘microsoft teams’
Some of this work is already available and in the next 48 hours every subject area will include relevant and meaningful learning activities. We are aware of some children who do not have access to the internet and they will all receive a folder of paper based work and suggested learning to take home if we close.
Obviously the decision to close schools will not be taken lightly but I am very grateful to staff for the plan they have produced and I know they will make every effort to support your child should they be learning at home rather than at school.
Please check the school website and parent mail / Class charts for further updates on this very difficult and challenging situation. Thank you as always for your understanding and support and contact us immediately if you have concerns about access to the work planned for your child and your own log-in details.
The document “Home learning plan” on the school website includes email addresses for all key staff at Pontypridd High should you want to email them directly.
16th March 2020
LIST OF SITES TO SUPPORT HOME LEARNING
Resources to support remote learning:-
Biology - https://www.kayscience.com/
Free activities at home - https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/135609/list-of-education-companies-offering-free-subscriptions/
English – Young Writers competition - https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/
Home learning - https://www.tts-group.co.uk/home+learning+activities.html
Science -- https://cogscisci.wordpress.com/resources/
Physics - https://www.gcsephysicsonline.com/
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the US grade system but it’s mostly common material.
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account)
For those revising for GCSE or A Level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some eg nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills-fun and free
Creative computer programming
All sorts of engaging educational videos
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free. Web or app.
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
You Tube videos on many subjects
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Science awards you can complete at home
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online
Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional
all kinds of making.
Is in US grades, but good for UK primary age.
Listening activities for the younger ones.
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest.
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for home
Lots of free resources for primary age.
Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities
The Artful Parent
Good free art activities
A range of videos and resources for mathematics
A range of videos and resources for literacy
13th March 2020
Dear Parent / Carer,
Given a number of European countries have already taken this decision, media coverage of coronavirus is now highlighting the potential for school closures in Wales in the coming week(s). We are monitoring the situation daily and following all advice issued by Public Health and our Local Authority.
Should we find ourselves in a position where we are directed to close for a period of time it is essential that all students are encouraged to continue their studies at home. We will ensure each student in all year groups will have access to a range of work. To access this work they will need to ‘login’ to their class charts accounts and we have made sure everyone is aware of these details. They can check this with their form tutor. I would also encourage all parents and carers to access class charts in order to view all announcements by teachers. Please contact us at school to check your login details if needed.
If there is a situation where pupils do not have IT access at home, please can you encourage them to see Mrs Kayleigh Oliver or Mr Rhys Ivins for alternative arrangements to be made.
For students in Years 12 and 13 work will be emailed out from subject teachers and a clear and constant dialogue will be maintained electronically. They will not need to access class charts.
All staff are very aware that this is an anxious time for parents / carers and students. We also want to achieve the very best and if there is a school closure staff will be able to communicate with you as outlined above.
In addition we will communicate any advice from examination boards with regard to any changes. At present there is no change to the timetables. Please access the school website to read updates on the situation or contact staff using the emails below;
Mrs Kayleigh Oliver, Deputy Headteacher – email@example.com
Mr Rhys Ivins, Assistant Headteacher – firstname.lastname@example.org
5th March 2020