Headteacher’s Blog

Wednesday January 6th

We are again in a national lockdown and only vulnerable children or the children of critical workers are attending. At the moment we are awaiting a further decision from Welsh Government regarding when all our pupils return, with the current position being that all children will return on the 18th of January at the very earliest.

Each teacher has uploaded work for their class on our website under the distance learning tab.  I would urge you to ensure that your children engage with this learning. If you have any difficulty accessing the learning for any reason, please contact us and we will do our best to help. I’m aware that several of our teachers are arranging virtual meetings with their pupils during this week using Microsoft Teams. You will receive details of precise dates and times and again I would urge you to ensure that your child engages with this meeting and to contact us if you have difficulty accessing these meetings.

We are keen to keep in close contact with our pupils to see how they are progressing with their learning as well as giving them feedback on the tasks that they have completed.  Please use all the means of communication that have been provided including encouraging the children to e-mail their teachers.

As and when we receive further information either from the Local Authority or Welsh Government regarding the opening of schools to all pupils, we will ensure to pass this on to you as soon as possible.  In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and well.

Mrs. Winston

Tuesday July 7th

As I write this, we have been open for the phased return of pupils for just over a week. We have seen hub care for the children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils come back to Maesmarchog from the cluster school, the return of a good proportion of our Learning Support Children and groups of children return in separate ‘pods’ back to each of our classes.

It has been a real pleasure to welcome the children back and they also seem very pleased to see us too and their classmates! The children have adapted very well to the ‘new normal’ with the increased demand for hygiene with frequent hand washing and hand sanitising and classroom cleaning when they are outside playing. They have adjusted to the staggered playtimes and entering and exiting the school through different entrances and they have understood the need for social distancing whether in the classroom or outside in the yard.

We have been focusing on their wellbeing as they return following a difficult and strange period for us all due to the pandemic. But we have also been re-visiting skills in numeracy and literacy and IT and preparing them to engage in an improved way with our distance learning tasks, which are still being set for the days that they are not attending.

We are currently awaiting guidance from Welsh Government as to what September will bring. There may be a continuation of a ‘blended learning’ approach with a mixture of attendance in school and on-line distance learning or there may be an expectation for all children to return full time with children forming socially distanced ‘pods’ in each classroom. Hopefully, as the end of term approaches, we will receive information regarding the Autumn Term and will be able to start planning and communicating with you regarding our preparations.

Please continue to stay safe and well

Mrs. Winston

Friday June 12th

As I write this blog, we are extremely busy with preparations following the Welsh Education Minister’s announcement that schools will re-open to pupils on the 29th of June.

This will not be school as we normally know it of course. At any one time, only up to a third of our pupils will be at school, in order to maintain and follow the social distancing rules that we need to adhere to whilst we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will have measures in place so that children and staff will be able to ensure they follow the enhanced hygiene guidance. Children will come into contact with as few as possible different groups of pupils by remaining in a ‘social bubble’ of pupils that they will be in class with, play with and eat with, whilst they are at school. Children will enter and leave the building through different entrances and we will use different parts of the yard and have staggered playtimes and lunchtimes in order to keep contact with others to a minimum.

We have been in contact with the majority of you in order to see whether you intend sending your child/children back to school. I appreciate that this is a very difficult decision and can only be taken by individual parents taking account of their own family situation. You may have a number of questions that you need answered or wish to seek reassurance about the measures we are going to put in place. Please contact school to ask these questions or to seek reassurance and we will do our best to answer your queries directly or contact people who can provide you with the information you seek.

It is going to be a new educational landscape that we will have to navigate going forward and I envisage that this landscape will look much the same in September. For now in the weeks running up to the summer holiday, our priority will be to catch up with our pupils, check in with them to see how they are both in terms of their wellbeing and how they are accessing the distance learning and to prepare them and us for the return of pupils in September.

As our plans and procedures are finalised and implemented, we will of course communicate these fully with all our parents, whether you have made the decision for your children to return or not. Please keep monitoring your texts, our twitter feed and our website as we send this information out to you.

I also attach a letter from Neath Port Talbot Education Authority to all parents explaining how we are all approaching getting pupils back to school.

Parent Letter 120620 Eng

Please continue to stay safe and well,

Mrs. Winston

Wednesday May 20th

I hope that as we approach what would have been the end of the half term, that you are all keeping safe and well.

The hub school will remain open to pupils of critical workers and vulnerable pupils through what would normally be the Whitsun half term holiday, except for bank holiday Monday. If you feel that your child/children come within these two groups of pupils and they are not currently attending the hub school, please contact Maesmarchog Primary on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays between 9-11am, or leave a message on our answering machine and I will get back to you.

As of today, we still do not have any information from Welsh Government when the phased return of pupils to school will begin in Wales or which year groups are being given a priority. I continue to have meetings with other Headteachers and the Local Authority however, to discuss how we would manage this and to consider what preparations would need to be undertaken for the safe return of pupils. Additionally, Neath Port Talbot would like to receive feedback from parents regarding the possible phased return of pupils and would like to hear from as many parents as possible.

The short parents’ survey has been added to class pages on our distance learning tab on our website or alternatively you can access it via the link below.  Could all surveys please be completed by no later than Wednesday 27th May and returned to our e-mail address maesmarchogprimary@npt.school.  Many thanks.

Neath Port Talbot Parental questionnaire 

Please continue to take care and stay safe.

Mrs. Winston

Wednesday May 13th

I hope that you and your family continue to keep safe and well.

Just a quick reminder that Mrs. John is at school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to take direct phone calls regarding any queries you may have. At all other times, please leave a message  on our phone system and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Though the Welsh Government has not as yet made a definite decision regarding when the phased return of pupils to school will occur, Neath Port Talbot is starting on the process of consulting with headteachers and other staff so that we can begin to plan for their return. Meetings are being arranged to discuss and identify all issues that will need to be planned for and considered so that there will be a consistent whole authority approach to receiving pupils back at our schools.

I know from telephone check ins when Maesmarchog Staff have spoken to parents by phone, that there are a number of concerns and questions that you have regarding pupils returning to school. I will endeavour to keep you informed as and when guidance and processes are put in place to ensure the safe return of pupils.

For now, please continue to take care and be safe.

Mrs. Winston


Friday May 1st

I hope that the beginning of a new month finds you all safe and well.

Teachers are continuing to add to and replenish activities on their class pages every week so please keep an eye on these to see what’s new.

If you are experiencing difficulty in accessing HWB or you do not have an i-pad or tablet on which your child can complete these activities, please let us know. Mrs. John is at school to take your call on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings or you can leave a message on our answer phone and we’ll do our best to get back to you promptly.

Though you may hear on the media that schools may soon open, we do not as yet have any definite date when this may happen. As soon as we do, we will be letting parents know. Though schools may open, it is doubtful that things will be back to normal. It is highly likely that we will need to restrict the number of pupils attending on any one day in order to maintain social distancing. I expect we will need to plan carefully how we will manage playtimes and lunchtimes and the beginning and end of the day so that pupils and parents are able to maintain a safe distance from each other. As I said earlier, when we hear ourselves, I will communicate any updates to you.

Wishing you all a good weekend,

Mrs. Winston


Wednesday April 22nd.

This week in ‘normal’ times would have seen the return of our pupils following the Easter holidays. Unfortunately, however, we are not in normal times and Maesmarchog Primary remains closed. A few of our vulnerable pupils and pupils of parents who are key workers are attending our hub school which is situated in Cwmnedd Primary where our staff are working on a rota.

Staff are also working hard to produce work which your children will be able to access via HWB and our website. Please keep looking at your child’s class page on the website and you will see documents and videos being uploaded here for your child/children to complete at home. We are also exploring new and different ways of keeping in touch with our children so that they can send work that they have completed back to staff for feedback. If you experience any difficulty accessing any of this work then please contact school. Mrs. John is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of every week from 9-11am in the School Office at Maesmarchog, or leave a message on our answering machine and we will get back to you.

I hope that you and yours are all keeping safe and well in these difficult and trying times. Take care all!