It has been a long and challenging year. We have never experienced anything like this before. Who would thought we would be where we are now a whole year and a half after the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in the UK? I certainly did not. It has been tough to say the least.
It has been especially tough for our pupils. Worries about friends and relatives contracting the virus and constant reminders in the media that they are falling behind and becoming a “lost generation” have certainly made them anxious. They have been concerned about their parents who were furloughed or were made redundant, having to make ends meet with less money. All this has further fuelled their anxieties. Then, after lockdown, when they did come back to school, TTP sent them home again to self-isolate for ten days. It has just been so, so difficult for all our pupils and their families.
We are now planning for the return of pupils after the summer break in September. We simply do not know what the Covid situation will be by then. What we do know is that cases are increasing and some experts are predicting a surge over the summer. The letter you have received this week outlines the measures we will continue to have in place in September and changes we are making which will affect you as parents.
One change for September is the appointment of a new Deputy Headteacher to Ysgol Craig y Don. You will remember that Mrs Elaine Gelling, our previous Deputy left the school back in March last year – at the height of the pandemic – to take up a new role as Headteacher at Ysgol Glanwydden. Over the last three weeks, we have conducted lesson observations and interviews for the new Deputy here at Ysgol Craig y Don and I am very pleased to announce that Mrs Sarah Coy was the successful candidate. Mrs Coy is currently Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Sandycroft in Flintshire. Originally from this area, she attended Ysgol Morfa Rhianedd primary school in Llandudno and Ysgol Creuddyn. She brings a wealth of experience to the role and we are all looking forward to welcoming her to the school.
There are also some members of staff leaving us at the end of this term. Mr Dylan Owen our caretaker will be heading off for pastures new and we wish him all the very best. He has dedicated himself to the role whilst he has been in post and I can safely say that the school grounds have never looked so neat and tidy. Certainly not during my time as Headteacher. Mrs Regan Jones our school cook will be returning to her degree studies and we wish her all the very best with her academic ambitions. I am sure we would all agree that her team in the kitchen have done a sterling job during a very challenging period of time. Mrs Sawicz will be leaving as Mrs Jensen comes back from her sabbatical course and we thank Mrs Sawicz for all she has done for the pupils in her class during the last few months. And of course, Mrs Sophie Durkin won’t be with us for a while as she and Mr Durkin will be embarking on an adventure of their own. Their first baby is due in September and we send them all the very best wishes from everyone at Ysgol Craig y Don.
It has been a busy couple of weeks. There have been lots of activities and visitors to the school. We’ve had sports days, trips to the beach, a magic show, adventure days in the garden, a visit to the Little Orme and much more. We have tried to make the end of term as memorable as possible for our pupils. All the staff have put in a fantastic effort throughout the year, especially during the last few weeks, and all this while having to adhere to Covid restrictions and keeping your children as safe as possible. I would like to thank every single one of them for all their hard work, dedication and support throughout this most challenging of times.
I want to give a special mention to Mrs Walsh and Mrs Thay who have dealt with all manner of challenges with efficiency and a great deal of patience. The office has been incredibly busy every day. Many would have crumbled but they have ensured that emails are dealt with, communications are sent out, phones are answered, children are collected and dispatched, they have supported the staff in innumerable ways and all this on top of all the daily admin tasks they undertake. The school, and me in particular, could not survive without them. Thank you Mrs Walsh and Mrs Thay for everything you do.
I would also like to thank you, the parents, who have shown incredible patience and understanding over the last year and a half or so. Organising childcare and work commitments around last minute notices of self-isolation must have been a nightmare. I thank you too for working with us to make the online learning provision such a success.
Last, but by no means least, I want to give a huge, massive thank you to all our pupils. They are amazing. No other group of young people have gone through anything like this, certainly not since the Second World War and the evacuation of children from the cities. It has been an awful time for them, and I am saying to every single one of them that we will always be here to provide the support and compassion they will need to succeed and thrive.
I will leave you with a short video showing some highlights from this last half term. As you can see, the pupils have made many special memories.
So here’s wishing you all a well-deserved and much needed summer break. Stay safe and healthy and we will see you all back here in September for what will hopefully be a more normal school year.
Iwan Lloyd Jones