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Letter from H Ridout - Headteacher


Friday 19th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to update you on Ysgol Bryn Castell’s progress towards the ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ provision for pupils to reconnect with education and learning from Monday 29th June. The staff team are working exceptionally hard to develop our plans whilst still awaiting final, definitive, guidance from the Welsh Government; you may have seen reports in the media that there still remains some debate over whether schools are open from week commencing 20th July which makes planning quite challenging.

In preparation for the re-opening of the school we are in the process of collecting information and carrying out thorough risk assessments, in-line with both Welsh Government and Local Authority guidance, to identify how we can best-manage and reduce potential risks in order to prioritise the safety, health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff.

The ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ provision for pupils at YBC will be tailored to individual pupil needs and is based on the following key principles;

  • Pupils attending this provision will have a minimum of two visits to school; the length of these sessions will vary according to pupil need.
  • The model consists of small groups (‘bubbles’) of pupils, based on half-class numbers of pupils.
  • There will be a maximum of a third of pupils on-site at YBC at any one time.
  • Individual ‘bubbles’ will have separate entrance/exit points, with designated toilet facilities and timetabled use of outdoor areas.
  • The initial visit for many pupils is likely to be no more than 3 hours; this will increase over time for most pupils.
  • Year 11 and Year 13 pupils will be offered the opportunity to return to school as part of their transition to next steps of learning; this will be managed on an individualised basis according to individual pupil need.
  • If it is identified that a pupil is safest being supported at home, then alternative provision will be offered including bespoke provision off-site and/or live streaming sessions with two staff alongside the distance learning offer for pupils.


Pupils who are unable to or would prefer not to attend ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ provision on-site will continue to be supported at home through our distance learning package.


For those pupils who will be attending ‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ sessions at the school there will be new routines, more frequent hand washing, hand sanitising and social distancing. As you will also appreciate, some staff will be unable to physically return to the school site which may also mean that preferred staff are not available to support your child with this reconnection. In preparation for this we will be working with Parents and Carers to identify the best way to support and prepare pupils for this.  

We recognise that this is a worrying time for pupils and Parents/Carers and could well be overwhelming for a number of our pupils. The school will share individual plans for pupils early next week and will also be facilitating a number of virtual meetings with Parents/Carer to try to answer some of your concerns and queries.

A reminder that YBC’s childcare hub provision will operate as normal alongside the check in and catch up sessions. However, access will be limited to those pupils who have accessed the childcare hub in weeks 1 to 13 of lockdown. For children of keyworkers who have been accessing the hub provision at YBC, arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, our biggest priority remains as the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff and we will continue to act in the best interests of your children as we move forward, together. Thank you for your support, encouragement and feedback.


Stay safe and best wishes,


Mrs Helen Ridout and all at Ysgol Bryn Castell