YSGOL EIRIAS has been lauded for its work in helping parents and carers improve the lives of their children.
The Colwyn Bay secondary school is one of just a handful in North Wales to receive the Investors in Families Bronze Award.
The quality mark is awarded to settings that demonstrate a commitment to working with families and evidence of activities carried out in and out of school hours, communication with parents and carers, and setting high standards.
In 2022, Ysgol Eirias introduced extracurricular provision based on Areas of Learning and Experience – a key part of the new Curriculum for Wales – to encourage wider learning and mindfulness via extra-curricular sessions, with wellbeing trips and educational overseas visits in the pipeline.
As well as sports matches and fixtures, there have been cooking and nutrition lessons that will see pupils take the food they prepare home, ensuring vulnerable children are guaranteed a warm, cooked meal.
The school’s successful Duke Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award scheme enjoyed a surge in learners, with more than 100 taking on the Bronze and Silver categories, and as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate studies, groups of Year 10 and Year 11 pupils organised environmental impact days.
Assistant Headteacher Andy Davies said these examples of pupils reinforcing their academic efforts with a positive social impact on their community, and health and wellbeing, have been embraced and supported by their families.
“The Areas of Learning and Experience extracurricular provisions are just one of the many ways our activities can indirectly benefit parents and their children,” he said.
“The cooking classes are teaching learners skills that will be useful at home. They can in turn help their mums, dads or carers preparing meals, improve their nutrition, as well as building confidence and independence.
“These were just some examples of more than 21 case studies we provided from the last 12 months.”
Mr Davies added: “Talaxy, the school parental communication software, is another way we have opened further lines of communication with families.
“We were one of the first schools in Wales using it, and the system allows us to share everything from grades to attendance, weekly bulletins, parents’ evenings, and more, which means they can keep up to speed with all the latest news and information.
“That has been very well received and for our staff and pupils it is a way to ensure everyone is connected and up to date with their child’s needs.”
Ysgol Eirias engaged with Investors in Families at the beginning of the last academic year and will now work towards the Silver and Gold Awards, which will mean developing more activities and case studies.
Staff and pupils were also praised for inclusivity and equality – the school’s Diversity team meets regularly to champion equal rights, present assemblies, and conduct student surveys and earned a place on the Young Ambassadors Project for Show Racism the Red Card Wales.
Home visits, uniform banks and many other initiatives ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary school for prospective pupils.
As one of the Top 10 Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ high-performing schools in Wales, Mr Davies is confident they will continue to strengthen ties with stakeholders over the coming years.
“We are really proud to be just one of three secondary schools in North Wales to be accredited by Investors in Families and will not rest on our laurels,” he added.
“A healthy, transparent, and proactive relationships with the families of our pupils is pivotal to them getting the best possible education, to being happy and enjoying every aspect of their time with us.
“Historically, parental engagement will drop off when a child starts life at secondary school, but we are managing to reverse that trend.”
For more information on Ysgol Eirias, visit www.eirias.co.uk and follow them on social media @ysgoleirias.
Visit www.investorsinfamilies.co.uk for more from Investors in Families.