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How Vale Schools Are Preparing Ahead Of Monday's Return

 

After a three month hiatus, children across Wales will be heading back to school on Monday as part of the Welsh Government's "Check in, Catch Up and Prepare" strategy.

The move is designed to positively impact the well-being of pupils whilst preparing them for a similar learning environment when the new school year begins in September.

Ahead of the impending return, schools across the Vale have been working hard to make arrangements to ensure that they are as safe as possible for the pupils on Monday, with many taking to social media to share the details.

St Cyres School released a video on YouTube explaining the measures they are taking to prepare. You can watch it here:

In the video, Assistant Headteacher, Mr McDonald, goes through the signage and procedure put in place by the staff at the school to maintain safe conduct. You can find out more on their website here.

Pencoedtre High School in Merthyr Dyfan took to their Twitter account to share a letter detailing their approach. Pupils from Years 7,8,9 and 10 will be asked to attend for one day a week between 9:30am and 12:30pm. Year 12 students will attend every Friday, though opening times for this year are yet to be fully confirmed.

Pupils will be arranged into randomly generated groups of 9 with one teacher and will stay with this group for the duration of their 3 hour day.

The kids will also be expected to follow the 2 metre markings and use the hand sanitiser provided.

In further measures, classroom doors will be propped open to minimise contact with handles and surfaces, while signs have been put in place around the school to remind students and staff alike to remain vigilant with regards to the Coronavirus. You can find out more here.

Upon announcing the Welsh Government's school return date almost a month ago, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:

"We will use the last weeks of the summer term to make sure pupils, staff and parents are prepared – mentally, emotionally and practically – for the new normal in September.

“29th June means there will have been one full month of test, trace and protect, which will continue to expand. I can also announce that teachers will be a priority group in our new antibody-testing programme. As we continue to keep Wales safe, this approach will be critical.

“The evolving science suggests that warm weather and sunlight gives us the best opportunity to ensure more time in school. Waiting until September would mean almost half a year without schooling.  That would be to the detriment to the wellbeing, learning progress and mental health of our young people.

“This is and has been a worrying period for us all. I know that many will feel apprehensive. We have not rushed this work and this decision."

She continued:

“This is the best practical option that meets my five principles which underpin my decision making.

“I am also convinced that it is only by returning to their own school that we will see increased attendance from our more vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

“Working together we will secure equity and excellence for pupils as they check in, catch up, and prepare for summer and September.”

Elsewhere, Cowbridge Comprehensive School have shared photos of their preparations, saying in their tweet:

"Final adaptations made to welcome back our pupils on Monday. The staff at Cowbridge are looking forward to welcoming you all back."

You can follow Cowbridge Comprehensive School's Twitter account for more information here.

Whitmore High School also shared a letter on their social media containing news on what to expect for the return.

In the letter, the school explained that pupils should wear their uniform where possible and bring all necessary equipment for time at school. The letter also answers questions such as how children should travel to school and what time they should arrive. You can read the full missive here.

 The Welsh Government has confirmed that:

  • Pupils are expected to attend school. However, families will not be fined if they do not send their children to school this term.
  • Children and teachers who are shielding or at more risk, including pregnant workers, are not expected to return this term. This also applies for pupils and teachers who live with relatives who are shielding.

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