Rhondda Cynon Taf School

Schools reopen in Wales

From today, schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf & Wales will be accessible for all children of statutory school age to have time with their teachers before the summer break – after they closed for mainstream education during March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Aberdare Community School
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council says ‘important work’ has been ongoing across schools, to ensure pupils and staff can return while adhering to social distancing as far as possible.
As a result, school life will be a little different from today – with pupils taught in smaller groups and up to a third of pupils attending school at any one time. Buildings will have signs and markings to ensure compliance with social distancing measures, such as one-way systems in corridors and waiting points outside classrooms and toilets. Classrooms will have fewer seats and desks to create greater scope for social distancing, and transparent screens will be provided for one-to-one tuition.
Strict hygiene measures and rigorous cleaning routines will be adhered to and dedicated pedal bins provided to safely dispose of waste. Opportunities for social interaction will be minimised and learners will be kept in small discrete groups where possible. Schools will have safe processes and procedures for morning and afternoon ‘drop-off’ and ‘pick-up’ times to ensure there are no large gatherings outside schools.
All pupils must take in a packed lunch and should also have a re-fillable water bottle. Pupils who are eligible for ‘Free School Meals’ will be provided with a packed lunch.
The Education Directorate has also confirmed emergency childcare arrangements for this period, with provision available across all school settings to successful applicants. Further details are available at
Pictured: Aberdare Community School

From Cynon to Canada – Ilayda’s Story

Head girl at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School Ilayda Waters looks back at her “amazing” summer in Canada.


The British Exploring Society is a charity that takes young people from a “variety of backgrounds” to “extraordinary destinations” and that was certainly the case for one pupil of Mountain Ash Comprehensive.

Year 13 head girl, Ilayda Waters went on a trip to Canada where she spent 3 weeks with her peer, Shannah Mabbitt in the Yukon Territory. But this journey wasn’t the only highlight for Ilayda. She was also interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (branded as CBC/Radio-Canada, which is the Canadian federal Crown corporation that serves as the national public broadcaster for both radio and television).

In an interview with Cynon Valley News, Ilayda said,

“I cannot express in words just how incredible this experience was for me! After trekking for 3 weeks in the Yukon Territory in Canada I am sad to be home. The British Exploring society run this amazing trip and I can’t thank them enough for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity!

“Upon hearing about the trip I was interested as it is something completely outside my comfort zone and I love to stretch my limits! I am so happy that I applied and got to experience living in the wilderness, without my phone but the opportunity to meet new people make some great new friends!

“The experience has definitely been an eye opener for many things, I definitely appreciate the luxuries that I have on a daily basis more than I ever did before. Going on this amazing trip for me was just a taste of what the world has to offer and there is so much more which I cannot wait to explore!”

The trip has been one of many highlights for Mountain Ash Comprehensive School. Recently pupils have raised a staggering £10,350 for their chosen charities through the First Give Programme. You can out more about First Give UK here:

Aberdare Church School Uniform

The Uniform Exchange

A church in the Cynon Valley is helping low income families by setting up a uniform exchange which will run through the summer holidays.uniform

St Fagans Church in Aberdare has said that the donated school uniforms will be passed onto families on low income, through Mountain Ash Citizens Advice.

The church said,

“Our Uniform Exchange aims to encourage the people of RCT to recycle and donate old school uniform rather than putting it in the bin, so that other families living in the Cynon and Rhondda Valleys can benefit from their generosity.

In partnership with Trivallis and Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taff, we’re running collection points for unwanted uniforms over the summer holidays, and will get them to the children who want them the most, free of charge.”

What can you donate?

You can donate any school uniform items as long as they are in good condition, with no holes, tears or stains. Please wash them first and remove any name tags if possible so they can be distributed immediately.

The uniforms can be any from RCT primary or secondary schools. The church wants your school trousers, skirts, ties, shirts, polo shirts, jumpers, cardigans, blazers, PE kits, summer dresses, shoes, coats, trainers, swimwear, football boots and bags – with school logos or without.

Unfortunately, the church can’t re-distribute uniform which has been personalised with an embroidered name.

How do you qualify for free school uniform?

There is no qualification process when requesting school uniform, it’s on a first come first served basis. You can get school uniform from:

Citizens Advice RCT, First Floor, The Library, Knight Street, Mountain Ash, CF45 3EY
Monday, 9.30 – 12.30
Tuesday, 10.00 – 15.30
Wednesday, 13.00 – 16.00
Friday, 9.30 – 12.30

Llanfair Uniting Church, Community Centre, 404-411 Heol y Waun, Penrhys CF43 3NW
Tuesday – Thursday, 9.00 – 13.00

If you can’t get to either of those locations, please contact Citizens Advice RCT on 01443 409284. You can also ring this number to check if the items you need are in stock.

All items the church receive will go through a checking process before being given back out. The aim is to send out a school uniform that’s in very good condition for a child to wear.

Where can you donate?

Bring your uniform to either of our collection points:

St Fagans Community Hall, Windsor St, Trecynon, Aberdare, CF44 8LL
Open 10am – 12noon weekdays;
9-11am Sunday mornings

Llanfair Uniting Church, Community Centre, 404-411 Heol y Waun, Penrhys CF43 3NW
Tuesday – Thursday, 9.00 – 13.00