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RCT school staff producing protective visors for essential workers

Staff in a number of our secondary schools are producing vital protective visors to help key workers and frontline staff stay safe – and here are some of the invaluable projects from Pontypridd, Aberdare, Treorchy, Pontyclun and Church Village. 

All schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf are closed for mainstream education due to the Coronavirus national emergency. The situation has brought great demand for personal protective equipment for frontline workers – and staff have been using their school’s Design Technology equipment to produce quality protective visors, which have been donated to integral local organisations.

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From Council workers to frontline staff in hospitals, pharmacies, surgeries, care homes and supermarkets – our schools’ efforts have made a huge difference. Here’s a summary of five projects across our County Borough:

 Pontypridd High School and Aberdare Community School

Staff from Pontypridd High have been working together to produce visors using the school’s laser cutter – including Head of Technology Lee Van-Baaren, Joe Thomas, Phil Winterburn, Ellen Parry, Margaret Thomas and Karen Griffiths. They have received invaluable support from Aberdare Community School which, with the help of technician Ian Evans, has provided additional equipment and an extra pair of hands to double the production. The two schools have so far produced 800 visors for organisations including Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board, Iceland, ISS Healthcare, Taff Vale Practice and Hafan y Coed in Llandough.

 Treorchy Comprehensive School

Design and Technology teacher Nicol Jones liaised with a contact at Cardiff High School, to receive materials to make the protective visors. During the school Easter break, Nicol used Treorchy Comprehensive School’s laser cutter to create the equipment, along with some cutting by hand. She managed to produce more than 80 visors, giving a handful of them to St David’s surgery in Ton Pentre, while the remainder were dropped off to the Council’s offices at Ty Elai in Williamstown, for the use of our frontline staff.

 Y Pant Comprehensive School

Six weeks ago, Design and Technology teacher Craig Beckett produced a sample of five visors – having obtained a design from Wayne Draper, a Design Technology teacher at St John Baptist Church in Wales High School, Aberdare. With support from his school, Craig began mass producing the equipment with colleagues Eleanor Johns, Stephen Scothern and Head of Department Gareth Davies. Meeting twice a week, the teachers have so far produced around 700 visors. Y Pant’s visors are now being used in supermarkets, care homes, pharmacies and hospitals – including Morriston, Heath, Royal Gwent, Royal Glamorgan and Nevill Hall.

 Ysgol Garth Olwg

Having spoken to colleagues working within the social care sector, Headteacher Trystan Edwards approached Head of Design and Technology Sara Rudland, who then obtained a template which allowed the department to produce the protective visors. Up to 250 visors have since been produced by the team of volunteers, which also includes DT teacher Richard Simpson and the school’s Head of HR and Administration Claire Thomas. The equipment has been distributed to four organisations – the Council’s Community Services Department, Garth Olwg Residential Care Home, Penrhos Residential Care Home and Heath Hospital.

 St John Baptist Church in Wales High School, Aberdare

Meanwhile, St John Baptist Church in Wales High School in Aberdare has produced visors for a range of sectors, including a donation of 40 items to the Council’s Community Meals operation. Read more about their efforts here.

Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Inclusion Services, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all of our schools involved in these brilliant manufacturing projects. The huge effort from members of staff is making a real difference to local organisations and their workers, who are performing key roles in this national emergency.

“It is fantastic to see – across all of the projects in Pontypridd, Aberdare, Treorchy, Pontyclun and Church Village – examples of schools working together for this cause by sharing designs, materials and equipment. This has been a large collective effort, and another example of how our schools are playing a leading role within our communities in response to this unprecedented situation.”