Executive Headteachers Welcome

“Stronger Together”

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to you as Cwmbran High School’s new Executive Headteacher from January 2021, as part of a formal partnership between the school and Cantonian High School, in Cardiff. Over the past few weeks, I have visited the school on a number of occasions to introduce myself to both staff and pupils. From the time I have already spent in school, it is clear that CHS has the potential to be an excellent school that enables all pupils to achieve their potential. I have already been impressed with the dedication and commitment of staff and the warm welcome I have received from pupils.

As Executive Headteacher, I will be responsible for the strategic leadership of both schools, dividing my time between CHS and my current school, Cantonian, where I have been Headteacher for the past five years. During this time, I have been afforded the opportunity to lead the school from being underperforming to the excellent school community it is today, whereby all pupils achieve their potential. As a result, I have the necessary skills to drive rapid improvement at Cwmbran High School, to ensure it becomes an excellent school that serves the needs of all of the community. This partnership arrangement will bring many benefits to both schools, including the training and retention of staff to ensure your child has the best possible learning experiences that enable them to achieve their potential. I am committed to this role that has been afforded to me and have high expectations and aspirations of everyone who attends Cwmbran, both pupils and staff.

To support me in this role, I have appointed Mr Matthew Cook as Head of School who will be responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the school. Therefore, Mr Cook will be the point of contact should you need to discuss anything you normally would with the Headteacher.

Building relationships with families and the community is going to be essential to support the rapid improvement that is needed at CHS. I am looking forward to working closely with all parents and carers to ensure that our pupils receive consistent and clear messages around expectations, aspirations and the importance of education.

To support this work, there will undoubtedly be changes at CHS and I intend to communicate these clearly with you to enable you to support the school on its improvement journey. With this in mind, I would like to outline the arrangements for January.

Following extensive discussions, between the Welsh Government and local authorities, a common approach for the return to school in January has been agreed.

With transmission levels continuing to increase across Wales, it has been decided that there will be some flexibility built in at the beginning of term.

The school will remain closed to pupils during the first week and we will continue to provide distance learning from Tuesday 5th January as Monday 4th January is an INSET day for all staff. From Wednesday 6th January, the school will provide a provision for vulnerable learners and critical worker childcare, where we have the capacity to do so.

During this week pupils will be expected to follow their normal timetable from Tuesday 5th January, accessing their work via Google Classrooms. During the week we will begin piloting ‘live lessons’. For more information on distance learning and the protocols on live lessons, please access the school’s website: http://www.cwmbranhighschool.co.uk/home-learning/

From Monday 11th January, the expectation is that all pupils will return to school for face-to-face learning. However, this may need to be reviewed depending on community transmission rates between now and the start of term. If there are any changes to these arrangements, I will notify you via the school website and social media as soon as possible.

When pupils return to school on Monday 11th January, there will be staggered start/finish times for the first day. These are:

Year 7           08.35 am – 14.50 pm

Year 8            09.00 am – 14.55 pm

Year 9            09.30 am – 14.50 pm

Year 10          10.00 am – 14.55 pm

Year 11          10.45 am – 14.55 pm

Pupils will be in form rooms with their Form Tutors during the morning where they will be given a revised timetable and expectations will be outlined. From January 2021, all pupils will be expected to attend school in full school uniform. If your child does not attend school correctly dressed, you will be contacted, and your child will be sent home to change. I trust I will have your full support and understanding in this drive to improve standards across the school.

Usual start/finish times for pupils from Tuesday 12th January 2021:

Year 7            08.35 am – 14.50 pm

Year 8            08.40 am – 14.55 pm

Year 9            08.35 am – 14.50 pm

Year 10          08.40 am – 14.55 pm

Year 11          08.40 am – 14.55 pm

Finally, more information about issues relating to schools due to COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, is available here: https://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/AboutTheCouncil/Homepage-Stories/Coronavirus/Education/Education-and-Learning.aspx

Yours faithfully,

Mrs D Gill


(From January 2021)