Headteacher's Blog - July 2019

I am absolutely over the moon to be able to share our Estyn report with the school community today; please click on this link to read the full report available on the Estyn website:

I couldn’t be more proud to announce that we have been judged as “Good – strong features, although minor aspects may require improvement” in four categories and “Excellent – very strong, sustained performance and practice” in the category of Care, Support and Guidance. It gives me great pleasure to share with the school community some of the comments made by Estyn about our school:

  • The Headteacher has a clear vision for the school based on developing a sense of community. Central to this vision is care, support and guidance to promote the wellbeing of pupils. The Headteacher shares her vision successfully with staff, governors, pupils and parents. The senior leadership team support the Headteacher well and share her sense of commitment to the values of the school. This has created a collaborative culture where staff work together beneficially towards a common purpose.

  • There is a comprehensive range of provision to develop pupils as ethically informed citizens, their understanding of moral issues, to support them with mental and physical health and develop a culture where equity and diversity are celebrated and embraced.

  • A particular strength is the focus on mental wellbeing in the school.

  • A notable feature of the strength in wellbeing provision is the successful leadership skills demonstrated by pupils, including those with additional needs, across a wide range of roles.

  • Teachers foster productive working relationships and have an infectious passion for their subjects which motivates and inspires pupils.

  • The school plans its curriculum skilfully and pupils benefit from a wide range of extra-curricular experiences. A notable feature of the school’s work is the way in which it encourages pupils’ active involvement in all aspects of school life and the wider community.

  • The school’s planning for literacy development across subjects in strong. In particular, paired and group work is used skilfully to develop pupils’ oracy skills. This has contributed very well to pupils’ ability to discuss their ideas and speak articulately in lessons and around school.

  • Pupils show grit and determination when faced with challenge and persist when work becomes difficult.

  • The school has strong systems in place to communicate with parents and carers who receive communication through a wide range of routes that they find easy to access.

  • The school has successfully created a strong culture and ethos of professional learning.

  • The school is very successful in securing a caring, supportive and inclusive ethos.

  • As I’m sure you can imagine, we are all absolutely delighted. In particular, it is most rewarding to have Estyn recognise that learning, wellbeing and developing a real sense of community lie at the very core of our ethos. It’s why it came as no surprise that our very own Emma Gray, Pastoral Support Officer was successful in being awarded the Welsh Governments’s top prize for youth work in schools; we are so very proud of the pastoral care we give to our young people and feel confident that our is a nurturing environment in which everyone can grow.

It was also wonderful to hear Estyn comment on how our pupils develop a strong sense of responsibility through our raising significant amounts of money for local and national charities. Our Health&Happiness@Bassaleg agenda has raised an extraordinary excess of £10,000 this year – an incredible effort I’m sure you will agree, so thank you for your continued support of such events. Speaking of events, our summer newsletter will showcase once again the vast number of enrichment activities in which your sons and daughters have engaged through the second half of the academic year. Our Music ensembles departed for a truly special trip to Belgium on Saturday, following on from their magical visit to the Birmingham Symphony Hall last Friday. Those of us present at this year’s summer concert had shivers down our spine listening to the power of our fabulous wind band in their build-up to that special occasion. There really has been a buzz around the “Expressive Arts” area of learning this term, not least because of the excitement surrounding auditions for the eagerly anticipated production of “Beauty and the Beast” at Christmas – huge congratulations to absolutely everyone who has secured a place in what is our biggest cast yet!

It is an exciting time, not just for “Expressive Arts” but for all Areas of Learning as we embrace a new curriculum for Wales. We are incredibly proud to have been identified as one of only 16 schools across the whole of Wales to secure the title of Innovation School status. As part of our planning and preparation for the new curriculum, we have undergone a leadership restructure and I’m pleased to be able to navigate you to our website for much more detail about staff in key positions leading aspects of school improvement. I am very grateful for continued feedback on how we can develop further our communication with parents and I know you have unanimously appreciated and enjoyed the surge of Bassaleg “news” on our twitter feed in particular. I personally have enjoyed sharing and celebrating the successes of our students’ achievements with you, as well as using the platform as a continuous thread for information.

Can I finally take this opportunity to thank you all for your kind words of support in what has been an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding first year as Headteacher of Bassaleg School. I very much look forward to building on our successes next year. Most importantly, have a fabulous summer break everyone; take time to rest, relax, recharge and have fun with your loved ones. I’ll be setting off for Paris on my bike for charity on Monday, but planning lots of R&R after that!

Happy holidays to one and all!


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