It was lovey to see the hall full once again for our St David’s Day service on Thursday, thank you to everyone who came along. I am sure you will agree that there was a great deal of talent on show. We had our Brass Band, who are being led brilliantly by Mrs Liz Jones and Mrs Skillander, Nerys and Sophie who just amaze me every time I hear them play, all the classes with their fantastic Welsh performances and Maria and Matilda who delivered their recitations so confidently in front of all the parents and grandparents. We also had the opportunity to announce the winners of our Art and Handwriting Eisteddfod competitions, where even more talent was displayed.
Many of the children above took part in the Flintshire Urdd Eisteddfod competition on Saturday at Bryn Coch, including, Elin Hogg (Violin), Maria and Matilda Turner (Recitation) and Sophie Fry and Nerys Davies (Brass). I have been told that all of the children performed well, and I was very pleased to hear that, Nerys, Elin and Matilda all came first, and Sophie came second, with all four of them going through to the regional finals later this term. We are very proud of all of the girls who took part and represented Ysgol Owen Jones so well.
As you aware, there has been a lot of publicity recently regarding the financial future of Flintshire Schools and I am sure many of you are concerned how this could impact Ysgol Owen Jones and therefore your children’s education over the coming years. We have had some more positive news over the last week or so, with Flintshire County Council now no longer setting a ‘cash flat’ budget next year which would have meant an equivalent 3-5% drop in budget for many schools. Thankfully, Flintshire County Council have worked extremely hard over the last few months to ensure that more money can be allocated to schools which has meant that schools are now in a much better position going forwards for 2018/19. I feel however, that it is important to inform you, that the future projections regarding school budgets in Flintshire are quite bleak. Therefore, I believe, as I am sure you do to, that it is essential that schools, parents and local councillors work together to campaign and fight to ensure that the schools receive the funding that is necessary to ensure the education that the pupils receive is the very best that it can be, which is something we strive to achieve every day at Ysgol Owen Jones. Many parents across Flintshire are beginning to campaign against the Welsh Assembly Government and I will keep you abreast of any meetings that you may want to attend so you can air your views to ensure our children get the best possible education.
One of the things that I was keen to develop when I took over as Headteacher was to try and bring the curriculum alive for the children and for them to take part in events that will inspire them. One of the ways we have tried to do achieve this is by working with Theatre Clwyd this year which has been a real success and which the pupils have responded really well to. Class 5 shared their performance of ‘Branwen’ with parents before Christmas which received lots of positive comments. Class 4 have created their own chocolate advertisements which were filmed, and Class 3 have been working on a performance based around their topic of the Celts. We will be sharing these two performances with parents in the near future which I am sure you will enjoy and see the benefit of the pupils developing their understanding of topics through drama.
Another way to engage the pupils is by bringing in visitors and organising events or special weeks that are different to the usual day-to-day life at school. One of our focuses this year is around Extended Writing and to help develop the pupil’s skills and interest in writing we are having a ‘Writing week’ starting on Monday 12th March. Throughout the week the pupils will have the opportunity to take part in a range of writing and reading activities including a visit from David Webb, a children’s author who has written many popular books. We are also going to be holding a parents’ awareness meeting after school where David Webb will share the work he has done with the pupils and some of the pupils will share other work that they have been completing in class. There will then be an opportunity for you to go into the classrooms to see the work that your child has produced that week and throughout the year. We are really looking forward to the week and I am sure the children will be inspired and gain a lot from it. I hope some of you will be able to join us on Thursday 15th March to get an insight into how we are developing the pupils writing skills and to celebrate the work that the children are doing.
I hope you all have a good week and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday or Wednesday at our Spring Term parents’ evening.
I will update you again soon.