Usually at this time of year I would be visiting schools to announce the winners of my Christmas card competition and present them with their prizes, as I have done since being elected in 2016. Despite the circumstances I was still keen to run a competition and last Friday I met with this year’s winner, Laney from Ysgol Maes Y Felin.

Though virtually, I presented Laney with a framed copy of her card, as well as copies for her to send to family and friends, and a selection box to enjoy. An electronic version of Laney’s card will be sent out to over 300 individuals, community groups and businesses. Please visit my Facebook – Hannah Blythyn MS – to take a look at the winning design.

Huge congratulations to Laney and thank you to everyone who submitted such bright and wonderful designs to my competition!

Though circumstances continue to be very different for our schools, it has been lovely to see children and young people in our corner of the country go over and above to help others.

We have seen pupils in Ysgol Treffynnon building shoeboxes to be sent abroad to support the Shoebox Appeal; letters and poems being sent to care home residents from St Mary’s RC Primary; and Dosbarth Teigrod at Ysgol Glan Aber who donated five Christmas hampers to St Peter’s Church in Holywell – there has been so much kindness shown by our school communities.

Pupils at Ysgol Y Foel have gone over and above in a different way, taking on a project to make their school more sustainable by working with teachers, Flintshire County Council and others, to install solar panels and air source heat pumps on their roof, helping to decarbonise Wales.

I have recently written to the pupils involved in projects which I know about, but if any Leader readers know of school pupils continuing to show kindness through the difficult times we are in, please do let me know and I will make sure to find out more and give them the recognition they deserve.

With the decision to move to online learning from earlier this week for secondary schools and colleges, I want to once again thank all school staff, Governors and education staff at Flintshire County Council for all their hard work. So much effort has gone into not just ensuring that pupils and staff are safe whilst at school, but also to ensure that learning can continue remotely should the circumstances change as they have.

In order to ensure the safety of children, young people and staff, it is welcome news that testing in schools will be expanded from January. Education and childcare settings will be provided with the training and equipment to conduct lateral flow testing, which can produce results within half hour.

Based on risk, the testing will be rolled out to secondary schools and colleges first, with special schools being offered weekly testing. I am sure this will be welcome news not just for staff working in the education sector, but to the families who have raised concerns with me either about the risk of schools being open, or the disruption of moving to online learning.

If any Leader readers have any questions about the current approach to education, testing or any other issues then please get in touch with me on 01352 762102 or at

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