As nature often has to adapt in times of crisis – learning different ways of living and surviving – our society is now changing and adapting during this time of global crisis.
I know that so many areas within society, and occupations, are changing and operating creatively and flexibly at the moment, but in this blog I would like to focus on the area that is most relevant to me. As a school leader in Wales, I would like to express my pride at the way in which schools have completely adapted in such a short space of time, with the incredible staff within those schools working in completely new ways overnight.
Schools have been transformed from being the social epicentre of every child’s life, to being almost virtual schools, with platforms that offer educational support digitally and flexibly. Our schools continue to support the vulnerable learners and families in various ways. The education system here in Wales also ensures that all learners who are entitled to free school meals continue to receive that support, including during normal school holidays.
The secondary education sector here in Wales, in a robust and organised manner, is also facing the challenge of the Summer examinations being cancelled. As an educational leader at this time, I am convinced that everything will be done over the coming months to ensure that all learners within the system will have a fair deal this summer. We at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, like every other school across the country, strive to present important information in a detailed and balanced way to learners and parents, whilst seeking to support and allay concerns.
In addition, of course, schools across Wales are now open, providing care and support for the children of key workers, throughout what would normally be an Easter holiday. This is a key duty to ensure that the essential services, and the system nationally, continue to operate effectively. I would like to point out again that I am proud of the way in which the education system has taken on these new responsibilities and challenges.
I was yesterday on duty at Ysgol y Llys in Prestatyn, playing my part in supporting that particular hub, to support the learners within our area. There was a sense of pride and positivity in the support given to the children who came there – all in a caring and safe environment. Ysgol y Llys is one of three hub schools across the Ysgol Glan Clwyd Cluster, along with Ysgol Twm o’r Nant and Ysgol Dewi Sant, and I would like to say a big thank you to the excellent work done in the three hubs by the dedicated and flexible staff of all the schools in the cluster. But this commendable work that I see within our cluster schools, is repeated across Denbighshire schools, and beyond that across all schools in Wales. Many thanks to everyone for this hard work and perseverance in such difficult times.
What is striking about this new national campaign is the unity in the goal, despite the diversity of our backgrounds. These teams of staff that currently support our schools, offering care and support, are very diverse teams of staff – administrative, support and teaching staff. The primary and secondary sectors are also together in this struggle and share expertise and enthusiasm. This is all happening now as we have the common goal of trying to overcome this crisis – and as we aim together to realise the truism I see on the posters of optimism by the children – ‘Daw Haul ar Fryn’.
Schools are also now involved in campaigns to support hospitals and health boards, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). It was our privilege at Ysgol Glan Clwyd to be able to donate over 120 safety glasses to Glan Clwyd Hospital, and it was great to see the photo on Twitter of the staff of the cardiac unit at the hospital – all using our equipment. Ysgol Glan Clwyd’s Design and Technology Department, like many other schools in the area, are also using our 3D machines to produce protective masks. It is a privilege to be part of this campaign, and I really hope that when this virus has disappeared from the land, that this spirit and these principles will continue.
So, during the normal Easter break, I would like to thank everyone within our education system for their flexibility and positivity. Together we will come through this crisis stronger – ‘Fe ddaw haul ar fryn!’ – things will get better!
Be responsible, be safe.
Ysgol y Llys, Prestatyn
Staff Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Diolch