Headteachers Blog Friday 16th July2021
A very big thank you to all the staff for all their hard work this year. They have done a fantastic job of educating our learners, despite all the interruptions and challenges that Covid has brought. They have ensured that pupil wellbeing remained a priority following the return from lockdown. They all deserve a well-earned rest over the holidays.
Staff have also done their utmost to ensure that the pupils have really enjoyed their last week of school. They planned so many exciting and enjoyable activities to ensure a successful end to the school year.
The grant application to the Arts Council of Wales for the artist in residence was successful and the children have really enjoyed working with the artist. He is going to create a montage of their work and frame it for September. Hopefully we can show parents the finished piece, even if it is only on the school yard. Now that I have made the first application for this grant I will be proficient in doing so for the future.
We are so proud of our Year 6 pupil Voltaire as she moves forward to the Alun. We look forward to hearing wonderful things about her and I am sure she will catch up with Esme.
We have also been working hard behind the scenes to ensure a positive return to school for pupils in September. Flintshire have recommended that some Covid safety measure remain in place for the first two weeks.
The only changes will be:
A very big thank you to parents and learners for all the fabulous support you have given us over this last year. We have had such a challenging year but we have been supported by our wonderful families. The families we have give our school a real feeling of Community.
We are really pleased to tell you that Miss Gunes will be working full time from September.
Mrs Jones has been acting Caretaker for a while now. The role was advertised and we interviewed for this role Wednesday evening. Her interview went well and she has been appointed on a permanent basis.
Mrs Pierce wanted to reduce her hours. We advertised 6 ¾ hours of this administrative role as a job share. Following an advert, we interviewed for this post on Wednesday evening as well and Mrs Roberts was successful. She will be joining us on a part time permanent basis in September.
I would like to wish you a very enjoyable summer and I look forward to seeing everyone on Friday 3rd September. Nursery will start on Monday 6th September.
We look forward to seeing everyone in September.
Janet Meaden, Headteacher
Headteacher’s Blog – July 9th 2021
Foundation Phase have been learning about bees this week, and have enjoyed taking part in a National Competition. They have been designing a bee garden. To do this they have had to find out what is needed in the garden to attract bees. They have been looking at the shape of a honeycomb and have used this opportunity to find out about tessellation. They have created a fantastic piece of art of a large honeycomb. They have all also enjoyed making and eating honey cakes! Delicious and so good for practical Maths skills and team work.
In Key Stage 2 they have written Olympic poems based on the opening ceremony. They have looked at symmetry and reflecting shapes and mirror lines.
In P.E the firm favourites is still dodgeball. Miss Mitchell made the most of this on her last day to join in and then they had a wonderful afternoon building Crumble circuits.
The highlight of course for Key Stage 2 has been the visit to Robinwood Activity Centre. The children really enjoyed their visit, it was a long day for them but they challenged themselves with every activity and kept going until 6pm! I think the highlight of the visit was the giant swing, they were all really brave asking for the swing to go to the top. They all also enjoyed the caving activity, especially playing hide and seek zombies and sardines. Although, for some I think the highlight would be Mrs Foster getting dunked in the piranha pool.
Headteacher’s Blog 2nd July 2021
Another lovely but extremely busy week. Everyone has been really enjoying the Outdoors.
Miss Gunes held another very successful "Mystery Monday". This week the children had a quiz and when the first letter was taken from each answer it spelled out Saint Mary.
Nursery and Reception have been thinking about the "ng" sound. They have had a wonderful time threading "ng" words on string.
Storytime was ‘The Great Pet Sale’ and they were able to choose a pet to buy. A real bargain as they are counting in pennies.
They had a wonderful time on the field playing ‘Duck,duck, goose’ and lots of ball games.
Miss Gunes showed them where we are trying to create a Forest School area.
Year 1 and 2 have been finding facts about a variety of animals and they created a wonderful class book about pets. They made sure they practiced using their key words whilst writing about pets.
Within Maths the focus has been using money and giving the correct change. They have been using some real world examples to practice.
The most exciting part of the week was a visit from a long, friendly corn snake. Everyone had some great questions to ask and Miss Gunes even had a hold. All the pupils designed their own twirly snakes which contained lots of facts.
The older pupils had a great game of rounders on the school field. They have all started writing poems about the Olympics.
The maths work has been linked to this – they have been looking at calendars to plan events.
They also really enjoyed designing some mascots for the Olympics.
A busy week all around. I had to complete a three day first aid course from Wednesday to Friday this week. I was so relieved to pass! Friday afternoons are not the best time for theory tests.
Headteacher’s Blog 25th June 2021
A big thank you to Miss Gunes for doing a brilliant job of organising Mystery Monday. This remained a mystery to everyone until the very last moment when the plans were revealed.
All the learners who stayed, had the opportunity the build a bug hotel. Everyone really enjoyed the activity and the chance to share the garden space. Having smaller groups of learners meant they could share the space in their separate bubbles.
Foundation Phase pupils have been enjoying sharing ‘The Mixed-up Chameleon’ as a class story. They have been completing a variety of activities based on this.
Early Years pupils have been thinking about the qu sound with the quiet Queen hiding under her quilt! Years one and two are still working hard on all their spelling patterns.
Key Stage 2 pupils have also been busy, they have been writing their letters to their Friends in Ysgol Nannerch. Most of the pupils have chosen to publish their work digitally but one pupil has chosen to showcase her wonderful handwriting – da iawn ti Tess!
They also held a mini Olympics and had a wonderful time recording the data, timing sprints and long-distance runs. They measured their throws with the Javelin and Shotput. They then used the data to work out who the winners were. We practiced our Maths skills working on data that mattered!
Pupils celebrated this with a fun game of rounders!
Within Science they are planning a fair test with a real-world impact- Is there a difference between value and high-quality batteries.
The pupils’ prediction is that the bulbs will be duller using the ‘value’ batteries. All will be revealed on Monday when they conduct the experiment.
Headteacher’s Blog – June 18th 2021
We have really seen a change this week in the message coming from other schools. The schools in our area are definitely being affected by the increase in Covid rates.
Previously we were starting to feel a little frustrated at our bubbles, but now that the rates are rising, particularly within educational settings, we are keen to remain in our separate bubbles.
Most of the school staff have received both vaccines and are testing regularly, and if we have any visitors to our setting we are asking them to do the same, or be able to ensure a social distance at all times.
This week, Year 1 and 2 have been thinking about adjectives to describe pets as part of prior learning to write a persuasive letter. They have also been using their matrix skills to make mud pies using non-standard and standard measures.
We have been reflecting on St Frances of Assisi and the care he gave to animals. We have had a visit from the Cat's Protection to talk about caring for cats.
We had a real treat in the sunshine and enjoyed a fruity ice lolly!”
Key stage 2 have built circuits for electricity within Science. They have used the fantastic ‘Crumble’ package and have started looking at coding and programming. They have been researching using atlases to research host cities for the Olympic Games. They have also put them on a timeline. Following further research, they have mapped out gold post boxes and researched Olympians.
Key stage 2 are also enjoying working on letters to their pen-friends in Nannerch School. I was hoping to take the older pupils to Nannerch for a jointly planned Friday. The current increase in Covid cases has stopped this from happening. We might be able to plan something early next year.
The teaching staff continue to work with other local schools in the Consortium to map out our preparation journey for the New Curriculum 2022. This is a very exciting time in education.
Headteacher’s Blog – June 11th 2021
Another lovely week in school, everyone is really enjoying the sunny weather. This is where our school comes into its own with the fantastic outdoor facilities. Pupils have enjoyed taking their learning outdoors and also benefitting from being outside during playtimes and lunch times
The highlight in Foundation Phase this week has been a special visitor – Jake the parrot. Unfortunately, Jake has lost his voice, he chatters all day in Miss Gunes’ house but was oh so quiet in school!
Everyone is really enjoying finding out about pets, in school. they have been reading one of my favourite stories by David Walliams, ‘There’s a snake in my school’. Year 1 and Year 2 have been doing some work on adjectives linked to the story. They have also been using their wands to think about magic ‘e’ and the big change in words when it appears.
In Maths some Early Years pupils have been working out which pet is heavier / lighter. This has been extended for older pupils to include standard and non-standard measurements.
Pupils have also had to work hard in the outdoors being eco-friendly and maintaining the school garden. They have had so much fun doing this!
Key Stage 2 pupils are now focusing on the Olympics. They are completing lots of research at the moment which really helps to improve their reading skills particularly skimming and scanning. They are reading ‘Toad Rage’ by Morris Gleitzma, which is one of the texts recommended by the GwE Literacy Advisor.
Key Stage 2 pupils have also been really pleased to receive some ‘penpal’ letters from pupils in Ysgol Nannerch. I am so looking forward to the time when we can get both sets of pupils together again.
Pupil Voice chose dodge ball for their P.E. activity. It was great fun but everyone ended up hot and sweaty afterwards!
A big thank you to Tim, who sent a little gift in on Thursday morning. He created a pin hole camera in a box and Tess brought it into school. The class had a real buzz watching the solar eclipse safely using this box method.
A big well done to our student teacher, Miss Mitchell, who is doing a great job of practicing her Welsh skills alongside pupils. She has also been delivering some wonderful lessons in Key Stage 2.
Mr Hodby has also been doing a good job in Foundation Phase. He delivered a really good P.E lesson on the yard. He is also enjoying teaching lots of activities; you can tell he particularly enjoys Numeracy.
Headteacher’s Blog 28th May 2021
The pupils have watched the Translators Service provided by the Diocese to celebrate the translation of the Bible into Welsh. Pupils have all received a copy of ‘The Gospel of John’ from the Diocese.
We had a review of teaching and learning within the Federation. The teachers have identified that they need to put the Four Purposes back at the heart of learning. This was Professor Donaldson’s vison behind the introduction of the New Curriculum. The Key Stage 2 classroom had a display, and Miss Gunes has created an illustrated display for the Foundation Phase pupils.
This week, Nursery and Reception have been working hard with ‘Z’ words. They even met Zebi the Zebra, Miss Gunes’ old childhood toy. They loved the bag if items starting with a ‘Z’. They have also enjoyed playing outdoor number games, especially checking that the zebra had the correct number of stripes.
Years 1 and 2 have been practicing their consonant, vowel, consonant words and have used them to make their own silly sentences.
They have completed a lovely ‘headline activity’ writing words in lower and upper case.
Within our personal and social activities, they have been taking turns. The whole group enjoyed a game of ‘Outdoor Pass the Parcel’, Faraday was beaming when she won the main prize. We have been discussing having worries and what we can do to help ourselves and the need to tell someone.
We have celebrated ‘Pentecost’ with some lovely craft activities as well as acting out the story.
Sorry Miss Gunes and Mrs Foster, but I think their highlight has been ‘Aura’ coming in to lead some football sessions in school.
Key Stage 2 have been continuing with their descriptive writing about the island. They are now editing through self and peer assessment and are typing up their final drafts.
The pupils have had lots of fun exploring probability and conducting investigations using dice and Starbursts. Mrs Foster enjoys using ‘sweets’ to support her. I still remember her observation lesson using ‘Smarties’.
The pupils have been researching earthquakes as part of their topic on ‘Japan’. They have been collecting data on the magnitude of earthquakes in Japan during the last month.
The pupils have quickly become experts; it is amazing how much they knowledge they retain.
I am always so impressed at how they work together as a group. They really support each other and this really increases the depth of their learning.
We need to raise some funds to replace the boardwalk in our lovely school garden. This is quite an integral part of the garden for pupils and it would be greatly missed if we needed to remove the boardwalk. We will be asking the pupils for their ideas as to how we can raise some funds towards it. We love our school garden and Foundation Phase pupils use it constantly.
Headteacher’s Blog – May 21ST 2021
This has been another busy week in school with pupils enjoying their learning.
Foundation Phase have had a very interesting week. I think the highlight has been learning all about the lifecycle of a frog. They did persuade Mrs Foster to sneak a tadpole into school for them. They are really enjoying the learning especially publishing their work on the computer. I am always so impressed with their enthusiasm for learning. This shows how much they enjoy being part of the busy Foundation Phase environment.
I loved the five little speckled frogs in the garden, this clip can be seen on twitter.
Miss Gunes has been enjoying playing Outdoor Games ‘Chwaraeon Buarth’ in Welsh with lots of enthusiastic pupils joining in with her.
Key Stage 2 are still really enjoying the new Chromebooks and it is wonderful that there are enough for one each/ they have been completing some descriptive writing about Kensuke’s Kingdom. Within Maths they have had a focus on multiples and factors. In Science they have completed some activities on food chains and food webs.
I think the most exciting time of the week has been creating a ‘Go Fund Me’ page for Kanzanjima disaster relief. Please follow the Go Fund Me Link to see the page they have created.
I was hoping we could start to move away from having everyone in two separate bubbles. Flintshire are encouraging us to be cautious because of the new variant.
Headteacher’s Blog – May 14th 2021
The weeks are rushing by!
I am so relieved to hear that the Covid rates are continuing to improve in the area and that there are more opportunities for us to take part in our usual activities.
Personally I am waiting for a review of Welsh guidance for schools so that we can hopefully move away from having separate bubbles. I know the pupils really miss the chance to socialise together as a whole school.
We have had lots of smiling happy faces in school this week. The children are really enjoying all the work with the teachers. The Key Stage 2 class are really appreciating the extra ICT resources; they were especially excited by the arrival of the new Chrome books. We have received these by way of the Government grant, that ensured we had enough resources to accommodate the skills needed for the new Digital Competence Framework.
It is great to walk into both classes and see how much the pupils are using the ICT resources to support their learning. This is an area of strength that we have identified as part of our self-evaluation process. We have noticed a significant improvement in pupils’ skills since ‘Lockdown’, this has been a really positive aspect as a result of the Home Learning.
I think my favourite activity this week has been the upcycled insects that Foundation Phase created. I am not sure Miss Gunes would agree though! They were quite demanding to make. The Early Years pupils are currently making their own recipes using ingredients found outdoors – I don’t think I will volunteer to taste – test these!
The Key Stage Two class have had a busy week. They have been recording data on the school field. Which involved counting lots of dandelions. The children loved being outdoors and weren’t put off by the terrible weather this week! The island of Kazanjima has also began to receive aid, the children have been helping by giving the locations on the island coordinates.
Da iawn pawb.
Headteacher’s Blog 7th May 2021
I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend, despite the weather on Monday! The key stage 2 pupils are really enjoying their work on Japan linked to Kensuke’s Kingdom. They wrote some very impressive cinquain poems on Tuesday for Mr Hodby. They were able to use a very impressive digital tool to share their knowledge of that poetry form, at the end of the lesson. Key stage 2 pupils having access to the garden has been a big hit. Mr Southall (supply teacher) said it was a big hit with him as well. Mrs Foster has been taking advantage of some outdoor training alongside Ysgol Nannerch’s Miss Roberts. Mr Williams and Mrs Roberts from Ysgol y Llan, Whitford were also on the training course. They were all based in Nannerch on Wednesday, Nercwys on Thursday morning and Ysgol y Llan on Thursday afternoon. The key stage 2 children were pleased to see Mr Williams. Foundation Phase have missed the garden this week, but they have enjoyed having the school yard to play on with all the super playground markings. They have also enjoyed having bikes and trikes and all the big bricks etc on the yard. Miss Gunes also gave them some very exciting sorting tasks. They have written some very impressive diary entries about Zog the Dragon.
Headteacher’s Blog 30th April 2021
We have missed the sunshine this week. We have still been spending lots of time outdoors but it’s much nicer in the sunshine. This really is a lovely time of year, we are looking forward to planting flowers and vegetables in the raised beds. Thank you to Emma (Milly & Kenzie’s Mum), and Dave & Natasha (Macie’s parents) for donating sunflowers and vegetable plug plants to school.
The school playground has been transformed this week; we have had some new Welsh signs to encourage ‘Gemau Buarth’ (Welsh playground games). Mrs James and Mrs Elliott have received training from the Welsh Advisors. Miss Gunes and myself as Welsh speakers can remember these games from our school days. We have also had our new playground markings. Mrs Foster is smiling as she now has a bright new court. These markings were the result of a grant application on a Friday afternoon! I was really pleased when we gained the £1000 and that we could put it towards something for the children to enjoy.
It is lovely to hear the Key Stage 2 are enjoying time in the school fields, as they have really been missing the garden. Mrs Foster has further Outdoor Training next week –this is called ‘Taking the Curriculum Outdoors’. She is very good at doing this anyway but I am sure she will have even more ideas afterwards. Mr Southall will be taking the class, he is proving a very popular ‘supply teacher’ with both pupils and staff. Miss Kubow has been snapped up by Bryn Gwalia School. This is wonderful news for her but we do miss her.
Miss Gunes and Mrs Gillett have previously had forest schools training and they are currently trying to think how they can take further advantage of the school field. If you remember we were planning on having many trees planted over 12 months ago now just before the first Lockdown. This was postponed until December 2020, but unfortunately due to the very dry Spring over half of them had died. The remainder were planted but I don’t think all of these have survived the Winter.
Headteachers Blog 23rd April 2021
As a school we have really taken advantage of the fact it is Outdoor Learning Week- pupils have spent so much time outside enjoying all of their learning tasks/
This made life a little easier for me as Headteacher on Tuesday morning as we had prospective parents who wanted to visit school with their little girl. I am unable to take visitors into school for the time being, due to Covid, they can only peep into the classroom from the doorway. They are able to view the outdoors though so it was lovely for them to see all the children taking part in various learning activities.
The little girl was a bit shy to begin with but she was quickly welcomed by our children. Some of them recognised her from Sunray, and she was soon enjoying her visit, The Early Years were completing an activity to create a nest. years 1 and 2 were completing indoor tasks and Key Stage 2 pupils were completing an outdoor Maths activity on angles. They had examples of angles hidden around the school yard which they had to locate and measure using a protractor. The older pupils were then challenged to say whether it was an acute, obtuse or reflex angle. The older pupils were able to explain the difference between the different types of angles and label them accurately.
Years 3 and 4 were looking for right angles in the real world. The student teacher, Miss Mitchell, had planned and delivered this lesson and I did tell her it was wonderful to see. The Maths lesson was as challenging as ever and as it had been completed outdoors it was even more enjoyable. completing the work outdoors has a very positive impact on pupil well-being.
My challenge to myself has been on the days I have been in Nercwys I have tried to make sure I have been free to help Mrs Bridges take the Key Stage 2 children out on to the school field. I am sure they will continue on the days I am in Nannerch now. Pupils have really enjoyed making the most of our fantastic surroundings. The pupils were a delight and were very keen to follow our rules so that they could go to the field on a regular basis. Pupils are really enjoying developing their netball and basketball skills.
the foundation phase pupils are working very hard to dig out the raised beds in the garden. They will then decide what they are going to plant in them. We will have to wait and see.....
Miss Gunes is looking at sharing one of my favourite Julia Donaldson stories, Zog, with the children next week. I think she is going to measure how loudly they can roar!! We had all better prepare ourselves for a noisy week.
Headteachers Blog 16th April 2021
It has been lovely to see all the pupils back in school after the Easter break. They have been full of tales of their holiday. Their adventures have been a lot more local and they obviously have been enjoying meeting up with friends outdoors and celebrating birthdays etc. We have some pupils looking forward to birthdays, and one child in particular is hoping for a hamster called Fluffy! I hope the family are planning for the new member.
We have welcomed the improved weather and being able to spend a lot of time outdoors particularly in Foundation Phase. A member of staff has been off sick this week, so a big thank you to Mrs Gillett and the Foundation Phase team for making sure that everyone enjoyed their return. Our new pupil, Melissa, has quickly settled into school life with lots of care and cuddles from big sister, Phoebe.
We are really pleased that Mrs Allen is back in school. she did say she was a little anxious about her return following shielding. This changed completely when she saw the children beaming at her and calling her name.
Mrs Allen is going to be working with small groups
Hoping everyone has a lovely weekend and are able to enjoy the pleasant weather forecast.
Headteacher’s Blog – March 26th 2021
Have a lovely Easter!
The children and staff all deserve a really enjoyable break. The children are looking tired; it will take a little time to build up their learner stamina for the busy school days once again.
It’s been wonderful to have a taster of normality by having a full school for these two weeks before Easter.
We have had some wonderful creative work during the time we have returned to school.
The Diocesan book ‘Tell me a Dragon’ has inspired a wonderful ‘Mantle of Expert’ on the missing Komodo dragon in Foundation Phase. Key Stage 2 have been fantastic at using the Outdoors to complete so many investigations.
We have enjoyed the Easter egg fun, making the most of the little thing that we can still enjoy!!
I am optimistic that we can have a wonderful Summer term. We will have some extra small group activities to support our learners where needed, however we can certainly have lots of fun making the most of our lovely outdoor areas.
The staff have been focusing on the New Curriculum planning lots of activities based around the Four Purposes. Schools were asked to produce some resources for GwE to share across the North Wales region. Our Schools Advisor was very complimentary about those and the same can be said about the standard of the planning for next term. It is very much a team approach across the Federation. A well planned and enjoyable Curriculum for all the pupils focusing on the New Curriculum.
Week Commencing 15/03/2021
It is so good to have all our pupils back in school. We all feel so much better for having some normality and routine back in our lives.
I am sure some of the pupils were feeling a little anxious and a little overwhelmed on their return. I hope we have successfully managed to reassure them. We are certainly buzzing as a staff to be teaching as usual. I loved the Foundation Phase Easter Gardens and all the Outdoor Dragon Maths, well done everyone! I have loved seeing everyone really engaging with being back in school again.
We very much appreciate our Parent Governors and they have really come into their own this last week. They have been advising on the Breakfast and After School Club dilemma. They asked me to take it to all Parents by conducting an online parental survey.
Thank you very much for responding to this and doing so very promptly. This survey has now closed. The result was taken to the Health & Safety committee who have made a recommendation for the full Governing Body meeting next Wednesday.
As the pupils have returned, our first consideration has been ensuring Wellbeing, and re-introducing our classroom routines to try and support learners’ resilience. Flintshire were very supportive of schools adopting this approach.
We are currently assessing our individual pupils’ skills and where we need to focus in the Summer Term. Staff expertise mean this happens on a daily basis whilst teaching and observing our pupils and it is super to see the skills pupils have developed during lockdown and home learning.
We are very lucky that our parents support our pupils and the school so much. As a federation it is important that we now take up the reins of your child’s learning and equally important for you at home to concentrate on home routines and having some fun once again! We will monitor your child’s progress carefully and we are being mindful not to send too much work home as ‘homework’ as pupils are finding a whole day back in school very tiring. Learner stamina will improve with our strong home/school partnership.
We all really appreciated the fact that our Parent Governor, Hayley Laidlaw-Wilson gave all the KS2 pupils the wonderful pack for Science week. That was fantastic, I didn’t dare tell Thomas, my son, as he still really misses being a pupil at Nercwys. We live so far away though that it was becoming too difficult to
manage. He really misses his Nercwys friends. The children here really are very fortunate to have such lovely friends to socialise with
I am so disappointed that we are losing Julie Jones who serves our lunches. Julie has worked here for over 10 years. She is employed by NEWydd but very much a member of our team. Following their reorganisation, she has had to choose between schools, and unfortunately for us Bryn Gwalia were able to offer her more hours. She will be a big loss to our school. We do wish her well for the future. I am not totally sure when she will finish at Nercwys.
As a staff we are also focusing on preparing for the New Curriculum. This is a very exciting time to be working in education. I am really looking forward to this gradual introduction.
The New Curriculum very much focuses on the pupil. Professor Donaldson, when we was designing it, was very clear that it needed to be pupil led. We no longer have a prescriptive curriculum which is content driven. We can now focus on the pupil, their interests and their development. We all had update training last week and we will continue to take advantage of any opportunities for our staff to take part in any further training offered.
Mrs Foster is really looking forward to further training on using the Outdoors to support the curriculum at the beginning of next term. Miss Gunes and Mrs Gillett are already Forest School trained. Lots of exciting things to look forward to as we move closer to normality.