Message from our Headteacher
It is at this time of year that I like to take a look back and take stock of what we’ve achieved. This year, however, has been like no other and so I find myself reflecting on what has been a very different but nonetheless accomplished time. This has, without doubt, been a testing time for all of us. We have all had to live and work within constraints that, as the New Year dawned just over six months ago, would have been unimaginable. Schools are certainly no exception.
On Wednesday 18th March, the Education Minister announced that all schools in Wales would be closed with effect from Friday 20th March. This came as a devastating blow for all but in particular for Year 11, as it quickly became apparent that Thursday March 19th would, in fact, be their final day here at YGTCS.
By Wednesday 25th March, the school had opened a new provision, namely the ‘Hub’, for vulnerable children and children of frontline key workers, and mobilised an entire timetable of distance learning, which went online that same week and has been maintained ever since.
In reality, YGTCS has never closed. The Hub remained open throughout Easter and half term, including bank holidays, fully staffed by colleagues coming in day after day to work with children who needed them. We organised the delivery of free school meals and food parcels, liaising closely with the outstanding team at Tredegar Task Force. Every day, staff have set, monitored, marked and helped pupils with distance learning tasks across the curriculum. They have contacted families to check that pupils are ok. All of this has been undertaken whilst balancing the needs of home-schooling their own children, managing their own health and wellbeing, and coping with the anxieties that we have all felt in this time of unprecedented national and international crisis.
Over the past three weeks, we have welcomed pupils back into school and it has been a real delight to walk the corridors and see classrooms once more filled with pupils and teachers learning and working together. Many of our pupils haven’t physically seen each other since the school closed. The ability to resume those friendships in person, to ask, “How was your lockdown?” and to compare lockdown haircuts has been invaluable. The social side of being in school is essential and it was joyous to see smiles on faces as they caught up with each other.
The returning pupils and staff have been fantastic. Everyone has adhered to the systems and ensured that we all played our part in keeping everyone as safe as possible. It has been a great team effort, and the first step on the road towards a full reopening – whenever we are permitted to do so. Our position at YGTCS is that we will always aim to open as widely as possible, with as many pupils as we can, within the guidelines set out by Welsh Government (WG). We will continue with that ambition but we will not risk the safety of our pupils and staff. At this point in time, we do not know what YGTCS will look like in September, but as soon as we are updated by WG, we will certainly share this information with you.
I would like to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am and to offer my thanks.
I am grateful for the incredible team around me; the Senior Leadership Team who stepped up to solve unfathomable problems, to mobilise teams, to share the load; the administration and support staff who have ensured the wheels of the school have kept turning efficiently and effectively; the site team who have maintained our buildings and grounds, helping to adapt them for social distancing and new COVID-19 guidelines; the pastoral team who have cared for our most vulnerable pupils; and, of course, the teachers who have, countless times and in countless ways, made a positive difference to our pupils, operating within the constraints laid out for us during the crisis – and we will, naturally, continue to do for as long as this situation lasts.
I am grateful to the Governing Body, who have put their full weight behind the staff, supporting the crisis management response we have amassed.
I am grateful to the parents and families in our community, whose support and comments in recognition of the work that has been done have been greatly valued. In turn, we recognise the investment of time and effort that parents and families have put in to supporting the distance learning process, whilst going through the turmoil of personal difficulties that this crisis has brought with it.
And finally I am grateful to all of our pupils. Their response to this situation has been humbling. They have been appreciative of the school’s support; they have done their best to keep on top of distance learning; they have supported one another; they have taken on challenges and developed their skills and abilities. Most of all they have coped with a simply unimaginable situation with resilience and determination and this gives me the highest of hopes for our recovery, and for a better future.
Times continue to be hard for everyone at the moment but I have much to be grateful for, so thank you. Diolch yn fawr pawb!
The staff at Ysgol Gyfun Tredegar Comprehensive School would like to take this opportunity to thank our Senior Leadership Team for their superb guidance and support during a very challenging time. We wish them a restful summer and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve as #TeamTred from September onward. Diolch yn fawr iawn!
Created with images by Paweł Czerwiński - "I was on my way back home after work. I was thinking about a way to splash a bunch of different colors in the water at the same time with one hand and the other operating the trigger or the remote. And I constructed this primitive multi-color device :)" • Ian Stauffer - "Heavens thrown room" • Hello I'm Nik 🎞 - "A quote that couldn’t be truer." • Debby Hudson - "Artist tools" • Robert Mathews - "untitled image" • David Clode - "A garden like arrangement of beautiful glowing soft corals in a dark tank at the Cairns Aquarium." • Giammarco Boscaro - "untitled image" • National Cancer Institute - "Couple Clasping Hands" • Fabiola Peñalba - "Reading in bed" • Volodymyr Hryshchenko - "Game multi-colored cube on a white background. Game concept with copy space for text" • Dave Clubb - "I love this - a signpost in a Welsh-language festival in Cardiff in July 2018. Plenty of places to go…! To find out more about the festival, check out the @tafwyl twitter account." • Artem Beliaikin - "untitled image" • Artem Beliaikin - "Vintage globe close up in the antique store on Bali island, Indonesia." • Derek Truninger - "Hands on a guitar neck" • Jon Tyson - "Hola sign" • Unknown - "Thank You Signage · Free Stock Photo"