It gives me enormous pleasure to initially announce our categorisation as a “Green school,” following a series of visits prior to Christmas from our challenge advisor, Mr Vaughan Davies. This judgement, alongside a Grade A for “Improvement capacity” is the highest a school can be awarded and a reflection of the continued excellent work going on at Bassaleg School. Mr Davies wanted to highlight in particular the extraordinary positive relationships between pupils and staff, the dynamic pedagogy in place to develop pupils’ skills and the extensive and effective structures in place to support pupils in their general wellbeing. We are of course very proud of such comments; I wanted to share them you.
Further wonderful news comes in the form of a recent visit from advisors at Welsh Government who confirmed that Ms Gray, one of our Pastoral Support Officers (PSOs) has been shortlisted as one of only three finalists in the Welsh Government’s Professional Teaching Awards in the category of Youth Work, following our nomination to WG in November 2018. This is such a fabulous achievement for Ms Gray and brilliant recognition for the exceptional care, support and guidance she gives our young people on a day-to-day basis. Ms Gray would very much want me to say this nomination is recognition of the exceptional provision in place across the school to help and support your sons and daughters and a reflection of the growing priority we place on promoting their wellbeing in every sense. Well done Ms Gray; we wish you every success for the final three!
In keeping with the theme of Health&Happiness@Bassaleg, I’m thrilled to be writing this amidst some wonderful “Random Acts of Kindness” taking place across our school community this week. 12AKI have been busy collecting for the local food bank whilst 12BB have been supporting staff on duty all week. 7HWS and 10LAL have chosen to write personal notes of thanks to some of their teachers who have impacted on them; Year 10 have been actively raising money and awareness for water aid; 8ATA volunteered to help our lunchtime supervisor at the end of lunchtime clear the hall of litter and generally tidy the canteen whilst 8FSC have written pledges to help tidy the school, hold doors open, thank bus drivers and say a few more good mornings to try to help brighten someone’s day. At a time when Mr Maughan and I are about to launch with staff the powerful impact Donaldson’s new curriculum will have on developing ambitious, enterprising, ethically informed and confident citizens I feel very lucky to be leading a school full of such wonderfully giving young people.
And it is very much an exciting time for us in preparing for curriculum change. As a curriculum pioneer school, we are very well placed to guide and support our learners through such change and feel confident that preparations staff will make over coming months will ensure your sons and daughters are motivated, challenged and inspired by the curriculum at Bassaleg School. As part of my learning walks this half term, I too have been inspired by the innovative ways in which learning is activated across the curriculum; only last week was I privy to a dissection of a lamb’s heart in a year 10 chemistry lesson as pupils made use of the visual stimulus to explore risk factors for cardio vascular disease and lifestyle changes which would impact on this; one pupil went on that lesson to construct a role play between a doctor and patient applying to a real life context what he had learned – simply brilliant!
Canvassing opinion on what your sons and daughters have said is brilliant, leads me on to the impending refurbishment of both Forge and Griffin canteens to include the sixth form “Hoffi-Coffi.” Students and staff were delighted with the news from Chartwells of investment coming our way as soon as February half term to redecorate and re-floor these dining areas which are so desperately in need of an upgrade. I’m even more pleased to tell you that this is separate to the significant investment we expect to see in coming years to improve the quality and condition of our site in general. As this is a feature of the school which has exercised pupils quite rightly for a number of years, it seemed fitting to give the student council complete autonomy of the design brief – I cannot wait to see the improvement!
With so many events packed into this term, I just want to finally take this opportunity to thank you as parents for your continued support in coming along to so many scheduled evenings this half term and supporting events such as the gym and dance display this week which very fittingly saw our talented and inspiring young stars pay a wonderful tribute to our much-loved Lucy Ellis. And it is on this note that I will leave you with some news “hot of the press!” In keeping with our Health&Happiness agenda and to continue to raise awareness of mental health and Sepsis, I am very proud to announce a team of 37 staff from Bassaleg have entered the Cardiff half marathon “as one team” in memory of the late Tom Rowe and Lucy Ellis. I have been reliably informed that we are at present the second largest team competing in what now is one of Europe’s largest half marathon events; we are excited and dreading it in equal proportions right now but come October, know this – we will be ready and doing Bassaleg School proud!