Our Roarsome Spooky Disco

The children had a wonderful time and looked wonderfully scary in their costumes and make up at the Halloween Disco last night. We would like to thank all the PTA, volunteer parents and staff members who helped make it such a success. Everyone worked very hard with the preparations, stalls and ensuring all the children had a spook-tastic and rearmost time. Mr Golding & Miss Cadman were extremely impressed with the huge effort that had clearly gone into all the costumes and make up. 

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Parents @ Ysgol Y Ddraig

As our second week draws to a close we have lots of exciting things to share and look forward to over the forthcoming term.

This week saw the first meeting of our newly amalgamated PTA. Elections for roles within the PTA were held and we are please to announce that our new Chair is Mrs K Patterson, our new Treasurer is Mrs N McDonagh and our new Secretary will be Mr G Sparkes. The PTA discussed planned events for the year ahead and we also explored how the PTA could support the school throughout this year. Thank you to all those who were able to attend. If you are interested in supporting or joining the PTA please contact either school.

On the 28th and 29th of September we will be holding parent talks for any parents wishing to come along, meet the team and find out a little more about the way we are organizing learning this year. It is also an opportunity to discuss and look ahead to the national assessments that children partake in each Summer term. We are offering two talks per day – the first at 915am and the other at 5pm. Monday 28th will be for Foundation Phase at the Foundation Phase main hall and the 29th will be for Key Stage 2 parents, to be held in the main hall at the Key Stage 2 site.

Parent Evenings will be held during the last week of half term for Foundation Phase and during the first week back for Key Stage 2. We are hoping to pilot a new booking system whereby parents will be able to book their own appointments online; enabling parents to have greater input into times that suit best.

After half term we will be looking for opportunities to invite parents into some Stars Assemblies so that we are able to share and celebrate the successes of the children.

Thank you to all those parents who applied for a role as a parent governor and congratulations to our five successful parents who are: Mr James Emery, Mrs Claire Millar, Mrs Rachel Hillier, Mr Phillip Hibbert and Mr Nathan Mullet.

All of our classes had a chance to visit the new build site before any of the major works start. We were all able to see the outline of the building, look at the most recent plans and spend some time talking with the contractors. Our next step is to select our Construction Crew who will be the ambassadors for the duration of the building project. We would also like to offer an opportunity for parents to see the outline of our new build, meet with the site management team and visit the site. There will be an opportunity for parents to come along and visit the site between 2.30pm -3.30pm on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th. All Welcome!

New Term – New School

Our first week back has been a very busy one indeed. Our classes have enjoyed their time with their new teachers, friends and beginning to get used to the new routines. The children have been fantastic and look exceptionally smart in our new uniform. We will be sending out a weekly newsletter with news, updates and reminders for parents. It is our ambition to become a paperless school and we request that all parents provide the school with an email address so that we are able to email the newsletters. This not only improves efficiency, is more eco-friendly but also ensures that the newsletters reach parents. Needless to say there may be a few questions as we all get used to the new systems. We are still using our ysgolyddraig@gmail.com email address for general enquiries but if you have any specific questions about Foundation Phase please contact Miss Cadman at ddraigfp@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk or call the Foundation Phase site on 01446 792755. Equally for Key Stage 2 please contact Mr Golding at ddraigks2@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk or contact the school on 01446 792368.

We have had our very first Stars Assemblies and our winners are on our first newsletter. Every week a ‘Star’ from each class will be chosen by the class teacher and presented with a certificate. In addition to our stars we will also be rewarding our children’s positive behaviour with our Golden Book and a Golden Ticket draw.

Before too much longer the much awaited building work will begin on our new school. Please follow it’s progress and updates on this blog.

Ysgol Y Ddraig – Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQ is being developed as an outcome of…

  • Our Joint School Council meeting
  • School Councillors have begun collecting questions
  • Staff meeting
  • Mr Golding visiting classes

How big will our playgrounds be?

During the building phase those at the LLanilltud Fawr Site will have temporary playground spaces made by the builders and those at the Eagleswell site will have full use of the extensive grounds. In our new school each Foundation phase class will have it’s own outdoor area, we will have several hard playground areas, an enclosed football/basketball court, timber trails, open green and planted areas. In addition to all this we will have access to the Llantwit Learning Community facilities that are available across the whole site.

Will we have more PE equipment?

Firstly, we need to find out what we already have. After this we need to work with the children to investigate what we would like and then we can start planning what equipment we need to get.

What colour will the classrooms be?

We don’t know yet but will make sure they are bright and stimulating learning environments. 

Can we have after school and breakfast clubs?

Yes. We will have both breakfast and after-school clubs during the build and wen we move into our new building. 

Will the school dinners be nice?

Yes. It is important that Mr Golding keeps working with the School Council so that they can discuss the things they would like to change, develop and improve. This doesn’t necessarily need to be about school dinners but is important for lots of aspects of our new school.  

Can we have a rugby team? Where will we play?

Definitely. We can train in our own playgrounds, use the LLC pitches when available and hopefully attend tournaments at other schools and sites too. 

Will there be a First Aid person?

Yes. There are a number of adults who are currently trained in First Aid and Mr Golding would also like to ensure that children have opportunities to be involved in appropriate First Aid training themselves too.

Will we still see our friends?

Yes. Even if you are not with all your friends in your new class you will have many opportunities to meet up with them during the day. This may includes breaks, lunch, group activities, joint class learning, clubs and trips. 

How many children in each class?

We will have a no more than 30 children in each class. This means we have space for 60 in each year group.

Will we have teachers we haven’t met before?

Yes and no. Yes you could have teachers that you may not have met yet but there will be chances to meet your new teacher and get to know them a little better during this Summer term, before you move classes for September. 

Will the way we are taught change?

Many of the ways you learn already will be the same and I am sure that there will also be some new and exciting activities and ways of learning ahead. 

Can we have new computers?

Yes. We don’t know what they will be yet but we will be looking to develop technology in our new school. We won’t have a computer suite but every class will have access to technology so that it can be integrated into all of your learning.

Will the year groups be mixed up?

Yes. We will be mixing the children from both schools into new classes. We will try our very best to ensure that you have a balance of old friends in your new class as well as those who will become your new friends.

Will we have more Art equipment?

Yes. It is important that we give all children the right resources and opportunities to be creative (not just in Art but in Music, Dance and other art forms too) and learn both thought creativity and learn about creativity. There is a new curriculum being developed for Wales and it looks very likely that it will have a large focus on learning with and through ‘The Arts’. 

Please keep following our FAQ as it will be added to when new questions arise. Diolch.

Our Joint School Council & their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Both school councils have recently met as a joint School Council to look at the changes ahead, share their ideas about transition into our new school and collect any questions about next year and beyond. the activities we divided into smaller mixed groups. The first activity involved us mind-mapping and discussing key words and phrases that sprang to mind when we thought about the new school and the changes we faced. There were lots of interesting conversations during the mind-mapping and some of those discussed include: – 

  • Changes
  • Nervous
  • Excited
  • Emotion
  • Independence
  • Uniting
  • Appearances
  • Joining
  • New Friends
  • Old Friends
  • Teachers
  • Rules

FullSizeRender-10After reflecting upon these main areas around change the groups then developed questions that they and their friends thought were important. Once back in school they were then going to collect more questions from their classes. There was a wide range of questions that the children felt were important to ask. These ranged from questions about the learning, classroom layouts and the technology to questions about the size of the new build and types of new clubs.FullSizeRender-9

FullSizeRender-7For the third and final task was an opportunity for the groups to come up with ideas that they thought would help us get to know each other and ensure that we work together both before and once we are in our new school. These ideas were: – 

  • Joint sports activities
  • Cake Sale
  • BBQ
  • Trips
  • Discos
  • Art Festival
  • Performing plays
  • Skyping
  • Meeting new teachers and children
  • Joint playtimes
  • Fun-days
  • Writing pen portraits for future classmates

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The next steps were to go back to school and collect questions from children and adults so that we can add them to our FAQ page.  

Ysgol Y DDraig – 2015/16

It is the decision of the Governing Body and the Headteacher that from September 2015 the school will organised as:

  •  Foundation Phase at the Eagleswell site
  •  Key Stage 2 at the Llanilltud Fawr site

As an outcome of feedback and discussions with parents we have decided that we will continue with the existing Nursery provision at both sites. In some cases existing parents may want to move their child to the alternative Nursery site in order to help with their family arrangements. In the first instance, moving location is an option for parents currently on roll and then on a priority and capacity basis for new admissions from September. As you will understand there is a vast amount of organising that needs to be put in place for September and there is a maximum capacity in each of the Nursery settings, as such we would very much appreciate it if you could contact Mr Golding (ysgolyddraig@gmail.com) with your requests to switch Nursery sites before Friday 8th May and we will make every effort to accommodate

There will be a staggered start times between the two sites and we are currently working out the exact timings to ensure that it is as convenient as possible for parents who will have children at both sites. We are also looking at the most suitable way to provide transport for children and between the sites. This will enable parents to drop off and collect children conveniently at one of our sites regardless of which Key Stage they are in.

All of the staff are extremely supportive and determined to ensure our new school has the very best start in September in order for us to provide an excellent education for all of the children in our care.

We would like to thank everyone for their comments, questions and ideas on the process so far and are all looking forward to the next steps in our journey.

We will share the specific timings of the school day, wrap around care and transport options very soon. We would like to thank all parents for their comments and for sharing their concerns throughout this process

Workshops – Monday 20th April – Bethel Baptist Church Hall

We are currently exploring a number of options for the organisation of Ysgol Y Ddraig from September. We believe it is important that we consider the very best ways in which we can provide the best learning experiences, integrate the children, the staff and begin to build the culture and vision of our new school from the outset.

We are all aware of the many logistical challenges that we face for September 2015 and we would like to work with parents to try to reach the best possible solution to these challenges. We will hold a Parent Forum on 20th April with two opportunities to attend – one at 4 p.m. and another at 6 p.m. – Bethel Baptist Church Hall. There will be workshop groups to discuss ways forward on the following topics:

  1. Start / Finish times
  2. Wrap around care
  3. Transport
  4. Communication
  5. Transition

All parents are invited and welcome to attend. This is an excellent opportunity to contribute and help us develop the best solutions and ways forward for everyone.

Mums, Dads, Meetings & Designs

We have met with parents to share the current designs and layout of our new building. We held two meetings, the first @Eagleswell and the second @llanilltudfawr – both meetings proved successful as opportunities for parents to ask questions and raise any concerns.

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The points discussed include: –

– Safety of children/adults during the construction phase, the delivery of materials to the site and the movement of machines and vehicles.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS THAT NEED TO BE AT THE HEART OF OUR ORGANISATION AND DECISION MAKING GOING FORWARD.

– Access in and out of the school via small entrance gates that open directly onto a main road. How can we best ensure all, but particularly younger children are as safe as possible?

AGAIN, THIS NEEDS CAREFUL CONSIDERATION AND PLANNING ONCE WE HAVE COMPLETED THE PLANNING APPLICATION STAGE AND BEGIN TO ORGANISE THE LOGISTICS AND OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES.

– Where will parents and children congregate to drop off and collect children? (as the initial intended access point is narrow and open onto the main road).

THE CONTRACTORS HAVE AGREED TO CONSIDER HOW WE ARE BEST ABLE TO SUPPORT MAKING THIS AS SAFE AND AS EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE.

– Where will staff park for the construction phase (YEAR 1)

TBC

– Can we ensure there is adequate cycling and scooter storage to encourage children to still cycle and scoot to and from school?

YES

– Parents themselves said there was a job to be done to encourage all parents to not add to the already challenging traffic situations.

EVERYONE PRESENT AGREED

– Why are there doors between classes?

TO ALLOW THE NECESSARY FLEXIBILITY FOR LEARNING & TEACHING. THE CURRENT DIRECTION OF EDUCATION PRACTICE AND RESEARCH IDENTIFIES THE BENEFITS CHILDREN GET FROM BEING ABLE TO WORK AS A CLASS, WITHIN A GROUP, AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND AS PART OF LARGER GROUPS TOO. THIS WILL PROVIDE PRACTITIONERS WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES TO MAXIMISE THESE EXPERIENCES.

– Are the open plan boys & girls toilets going to cause problems?

THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SIMILAR SET UP IN FOUNDATION PHASE PROVISION AND MANY KEY STAGE 2 & 3 PROVIDERS NOW OFFER THESE FACILITIES TOO. INITIAL FINDINGS SHOW THEM TO BE MORE HYGIENIC PLACES THAN SEPARATE TOILETS, INCREASED SOCIAL INTERACTION BETWEEN CHILDREN AND A REDUCTION IN ANY UNWANTED BEHAVIOUR.

– Is the hall big enough?

THE HALL IS THE REQUIRED STATUTORY SIZE FOR A TWO FORM ENTRY SCHOOL.

As you can see the contractors and Mr Golding responded to these questions and shared their experiences and reflections upon all of the above. There are concerns that need further consideration and are being discussed during the ongoing process of meetings between the Head teacher, Contractors, Local Authority and Welsh Government representatives.

Let’s make our badge a ROARING success!

Last week we sent a letter out to all children and parents to begin to gather ideas about our new badge design. Please feel free to email your ideas or send them to school with your child. The Badge Committee have come up with the criteria and it is important that you read these before submitting your design. We haven’t yet considered our school uniform design/colour and will do this after we have our final badge design.

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Dear Parent / Guardian,

The badge committee have agreed upon a number of criteria for our new school badge and would like to ask for ideas from staff, parents and children of both schools in order to come up with our final design.

The badge designs must include:

  • A dragon as the main focus
  • A proud and strong dragon
  • A simple, bold and easily identifiable final design
  • A heart to represent togetherness & friendship
  • A dragon standing on two legs

Two questions that the badge committee considered but would like to leave open to suggestions are: –

  • Will the dragon have wings?
  • What colour will our dragon be?

The deadline for ideas will be Wednesday 11th March. The next meeting for the group will be Thursday 12th March. Please feel free to send your ideas to the badge committee in either school or email your ideas to ysgolyddraig@gmail.com

Yours Sincerely,

Ty Golding

Headteacher

Ysgol Y Ddraig

Design & Ideas

Last week the School Councils from both schools attended a presentation from the design and building contractors for our new school. The children worked within several small groups to discuss the things they liked about the new school building, ask any questions and share any ideas they may have. The ideas were very thoughtful and mostly centred around their learning experiences and the learning environment. They included:

  • Circular Windows
  • Radio Station / Recording Studio
  • Stage
  • DT room
  • New computers
  • 3D Printer
  • Different colours in each class
  • Personal desks
  • Class TV’s / Screens
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • Beanbags and Sofas in classrooms
  • Interesting lighting
  • Music room
  • Cinema / Movie / xbox room
  • Sky themed corridors (Wall & Ceiling Designs)
  • Wet play games & movies
  • Chill out area/room
  • Rugby posts
  • Climbing wall
  • Outdoor shelters & tables
  • Indoor and outdoor Maths walls
  • Tree house / hideout areas
  • Drinking fountains (Indoor /Outdoor)
  • New gym equipment
  • Greenhouse & vegetable garden
  • Solar System model/display
  • Bike sheds
  • Apple technology products
  • Interactive Whiteboards
  • Brightly Coloured Walls (We want lime green)
  • Quiet Corners in classrooms
  • Bug Hotel
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Picnic areas
  • Choices for school dinners
  • Dressing up areas
  • Climbing Frame, Monkey Bars & Swings (Just like a real park)
  • Trampolines
  • Informal Library areas
  • Taekwondo classes
  • Minecraft club and displays
  • Lots of PE lessons
  • Reading Zones indoors and outdoors
  • A Maker Space
  • Dance floor
  • Comfy chairs in classrooms (Not like our old ones)
  • Work out / Exercise spaces
  • TV/Screens in corridors

We also discussed the fact that some ideas were more practical than others, some more important and that we may not get everything we want right away, with some of these excellent ideas being developed within the school after we have moved in. It was a very positive meeting and the School Councils were clearly enthusiastic about discussing and sharing their ideas of how they see their new learning environment developing.

Thank you to both school councils for being a credit to your schools and thank you to all of those involved in the development for making it such a successful and positive meeting.

Badge & Brand

This week I have been lucky enough to spend some time with a group of children from both schools. The ‘Badge Committee’ which consists of children from Y2-Y6, parents and staff have met in their own schools to discuss the criteria that they would like to have for the new design. Even though for this first meeting we met separately, there were many common themes. So far we have discussed the following statements and questions:

1. The badge should have a dragon as the main focus

2. What colour should our dragon be and why?

3. Can the dragon be standing on two legs?

4. Should the dragon have wings or not?

5. How can we include a heart in the design?

6. We must ensure our design is simple, bold and easily identified!

The two halves of our badge committee are going to take some time over half term to consider these points and think about how they want the designs to look. After half term we will be inviting everyone to submit their ideas before we all meet up as one committee. Our next meeting will also be attended by an artist who will help us coordinate and present our ideas as a badge.

New Beginnings

With the New Year came a new role, new colleagues and the exciting challenge of working towards the formation of a brand new school. After meeting the head teachers and governing bodies of each school it was time to meet the newly formed temporary governing body. Llantwit Major Comprehensive School have been very supportive with providing a venue for us to use and also with providing me a base in Llantwit Major.

One of our first jobs for the new school was to establish a name.We formed a ‘Naming Committee’ comprising of children, staff and parent representatives. The group decided upon a number of criteria that they felt was important to consider when deciding upon the new name. They worked closely with the School Councils and organised the gathering of ideas and names over several weeks. I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful suggestions. Following the final meeting the group presented their shortlist to governors Mr David Thomas and Mr Mick Mason to help with the final decision. The next step was to propose it to the Local Authority and wait for their approval.

It didn’t take long to come! Our new school is…

Ysgol Y Ddraig 

It translates as The Dragon School. Although we are not a Welsh medium school, it was clear to see the importance that everyone involved put into suggesting such a range of Welsh language names. One of the children’s criteria for our new name was that it should clearly have a ‘Welshness‘ factor. All of those involved in the final decision were happy that our name clearly demonstrates ‘pride and place’ as a school in Wales.