CAMERAS have been allowed inside one of Meirionnydd’s secondary schools to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
Ysgol Ni: Y Moelwyn, a new S4C series starting on Tuesday, 18 January at 9pm, gives an opportunity to be a fly on the wall in turbulent and unprecedented times. Darlun, the production company behind Ysgol Ni: Maesincla, is at the helm again but by focusing on a secondary rather than a primary school, the everyday experiences of pupils and staff are quite different this time around.
The close-knit community of Blaenau Ffestiniog has just over 300 pupils at the school, meaning everyone knows everyone - seeing both the best, and the worst, of each other.
The Headteacher of the school, Mrs Eleri Moss, said: “We are here to work with the children to be the best they can be. Many parents have called the school the light in the storm.” Mrs Moss has been Deputy Headteacher at the school for many years and has been head since January 2022.
The cameras began filming in February 2021, just as Mrs Moss prepared to open the doors after lockdown. Mrs Moss said: “The school was just a building without them. It was empty, it was quiet and it was so nice to welcome them back.”
“We’re not trained to teach through a screen. The news says, ‘the children are fine, they’re being educated through a laptop.’ But it’s not as good as the education we can offer in the school.”
One key member of staff, Mr Daniel Bell - the school’s Inclusion and Family Officer, has an office, not a classroom. Anyone is welcome to call in at anytime.
Mr Bell said: “Everyone in Blaenau knows me as Dan: the children of Blaenau, the adults of Blaenau and all the staff – to them, I’m Dan. And I think we’re just about getting an idea of the problems this pandemic has caused. Referals to the school counsellor and social services have gone through the roof in the last six months, but I feel that’s just scratching the surface.”
In the first episode of six, we get to know some of the school’s most loved characters and get a glimpse of what life was like before, during and after the lockdown.
We meet Osian Aled, Year 9, who enjoys concentrating on communicating with the young ladies in his life more than his science lessons. We see Isabelle from Year 7, who loves learning and always aspires to be the best, being supported to overcome her anxiety. We also get to know Chloe and Enfys - the lifelong friends, now reunited to face life’s challenges together, after a difficult time apart.
“We would never be able to support these children without nurturing them,” explains Mrs Moss. “Some might see it as having their own way or being given too much attention, but the psychology behind it must be understood. “Children can’t learn without those foundations. It’s like building a wall. And the children who misbehave often don’t have those solid foundations. So, we work with them to rebuild the foundations. It’s not always easy, but we start each day with a clean slate, and try again, and again if needs be.”
If you’d like to help shape how that may look and secure some free credits if we do go live then please register here.
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