How Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni is developing its Community Focused Schools approaches.
- Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, Isle of Anglesey local authority
- 686 learners on roll (2022)
- 15.4% of learners eligible for free school meals over a three-year average (2022)
Community Focused School approaches taken
Supporting family engagement
Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni supports and promotes family engagement.
Every morning children and families are welcomed to the school by all staff members, this has given families and staff the chance to:
- get to know each other
- foster strong relationships
Understanding that to get the most out of their children’s education, the whole family network had to be supported, the school introduced a family liaison officer role.
This means that parents are listened to and have access to all the support they need, including:
- help with benefits and housing needs
- emotional support
- parental advice
- help with banking and application forms
The school also have full-time wellbeing officers on site. This offers an additional layer of support for families. If they are experiencing any kind of issues or trauma, they can speak to the wellbeing officers in a safe and confidential space. Through these conversations parents can get advice and be sign-posted to third parties where required.
Supporting community engagement
During the Covid-19 pandemic (the pandemic) the school developed a deep understanding of what support the community needed. The school’s staff regularly visited families, offering food, laptops and advice during this uncertain time. When the children returned to school post pandemic, the school understood that the community needed a continuation of this support.
Deputy Headteacher, Ffion Gough says:
Our approach was shaped by recognising that supporting families is the best way to get the most out of our children. You have to give back to everyone in the children’s network to see real results.
As part of their continued Community Engagement work the school has also created a community garden project. They took an unused sports field and with the help of their students, they designed, planned and planted a community garden. This is now a space where the students can spend time learning key skills about growing food and nutrition. It also serves as a space for the community, where fresh produce is available for them to use.
Positive impacts of approaches taken
The school has developed deeper trust and relationships with their community. Before the pandemic the school may have been seen as just a place for children’s education. However, throughout that period the school acted as a lifeline for many families, giving aid and emotional support. This support has carried on long after the pandemic and the community now see the school as an integral part of their support network, a place where they will feel comfortable and unjudged.
Next steps as a Community Focused School
The school have been awarded a £40,000 local authority grant to transform one of the school buildings into a community centre. The school see this as a pivotal next step in placing the school right at the heart of the community. The space will be a vital support asset to the community, with the hope that third parties can have a seconded base there, such as:
- social services
- citizen’s advice bureau
- housing and benefits officers
The space will also be used for:
- extra-curricular clubs
- a food bank
- a school uniform exchange
- cooking classes
- health and wellbeing classes
This will be expanded further and offer provisions after school, on weekends and during school holidays, with teaching staff offered flexible working arrangements to meet requirements.
The community centre will also be informed by the community as a whole, with the school open to suggestions for its use.
We listen to the community and their opinions are really important to us. When the centre is launched it will be a celebration for the whole community and will have a great impact.