Headteacher’s Blog Christmas 2014

The blog has been quiet for some time now but, as we are at the end of a long term and looking forward towards an exciting new year, I thought it a good time to re-introduce it.

In the top right hand corner of our home page you will see a tab marked ‘New School‘.  We will be using this tab to communicate updates regarding the new school building in the weeks and months to come.  It gives me great pleasure this week to be able to share with you the ‘fly through‘ that the architects have produced for us.  I must stress that this an artist’s impression of how the new school will look but plans are extremely well-advanced and we do not anticipate major changes to the overall design.  The new school will be built on the part of the school fields currently occupied by the tennis courts, rugby field and running track.  The gym, sports hall and New Block will remain; everything else will either be demolished or relocated.  We are extremely excited about the new building and, with work due to start in late Spring 2015, we feel that we are on the brink of a new era in the life of the school.   I am pleased to be able to report that the level of consultation with the school has been extremely impressive and that staff and students have been given the opportunity to contribute their ideas.

In the New Year we will arrange a series of community evenings where people from the community which Y Pant serves will be invited into the school for a more detailed presentation of the plans.  I hope to see you there!

Also elsewhere on the website you will see the fantastic news about our successful bid for a grant from the Wolfson  Foundation who have very kindly agreed to fund a bid worth £25 000 to buy tablet devices for the Art and Media Studies departments.  This will enable pupils to experiment with new and exciting forms of artistic and media-related technologies.  Many thanks to the Wolfson Foundation and to colleagues within the school who worked so hard in drawing up the bid.   I look forward to seeing the work that pupils produce.

I was extremely proud to be in attendance at the school’s carol concert in Bethel Baptist Church last week.  It really was a lovely evening which celebrated Christmas whilst recognising its traditional meaning.  Many thanks and congratulations to all the pupils who performed, to my colleagues in the Performing Arts department who worked so tirelessly and to Bethel Baptist for the use of such a lovely building.

Another annual festive favourite was our inter-generational Christmas Party.  We are always pleased to welcome senior citizens into the school for an afternoon of music, refreshments, bingo and gifts!  Our students and volunteers from the staff help out with the organisation, the serving and the clearing-up whilst our Performing Arts department arrange musical items in keeping with the season.  Another lovely occasion.  Many thanks in particular to Mr Abdo!

Comings and goings on the staff saw Mrs Davey return from maternity leave and Miss Morgan leave on maternity leave!  Many thanks to James Jones for covering IT and welcome to Miss Coombs who will be temporarily replacing Miss Morgan in PE.

A lot of you will have read in the media about major changes planned to the curriculum in Wales.  The changes at Key Stage 4 are especially substantial.  Please, though, rest assured that my colleagues and I are well-advanced in our plans to adapt to these changes and we are confident that they will be accommodated to the benefit of the pupils.

One of the real joys of my week has been to be able to reward a group of pupils for their acts of kindness this term.  These youngsters (listed elsewhere on the web site) are an inspiration to us all and I sincerely hope that others will follow in their footsteps and the footsteps of all who were nominated.  Congratulations to each and every one of them.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this term; I wish you all a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.

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6th form host an inter-generational Christmas party

Last week we welcomed some of the more senior members of our community into school for our annual inter-generational Christmas party.

This is a lovely event on our annual 6th form calendar and gives 6th form students to talk to the retired people who attend as well as serving them snacks and drinks.

Our visitors also enjoyed entertainment and a raffle.

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Art department win prestigious Wolfson Foundation grant

We are delighted that the Wolfson Foundation has awarded a grant of up to £25,000 toward the cost of IT equipment for the Art department to enable students studying GCSE and A Level Art to undertake projects as part of their studies.

 

The department will use digital cameras to record the local landscape and other stimuli which will be imported in to hand-held tablets for digital manipulation and painting using software applications. This project closely mirrors Hockney’s creative process which begins with the use of digital photography which is uploaded to a hand-held device. Using digital manipulation software, Hockney draws over the original image using various ‘brushwork’ techniques. The new media applications allow students the opportunity to apply traditional artistic techniques, such as line, tone, texture, shape and pattern, whilst using new digital media applications. The completed imagery is then either published in its digital form, or printed on a high quality printer to form a physical artefact. The use of the high definition cameras will also support students generally in their everyday art activities through recording and chronicling of the production of their practical work. The use of photography will afford students the opportunity to reflect on their work whilst producing personal and informed outcomes, another requirement of the course.

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This project was inspired by a former student, Jack Penberthy, who chose this creative process independently during his A Level studies. The image above showcases Jack’s work.

The training and introduction of the project will take place in the coming terms and will be followed up with a second wave of use by our Media Studies department. Their use of the IT equipment would be multi-faceted. Initially the use of the digital photography, and the ability manipulate the image using Fresh Paint or other photo shop software, will give access to GCSE and A Level students to produce high quality artefacts such as specialist magazine front covers. This will widen the scope of the independent opportunities they can take.

In addition to using the software in operation with the Art project, we plan to purchase film editing software to allow students to produce and edit their own film as part of the Media coursework.

We are delighted with the news of this grant award – many thanks and congratulations to the Art Department, led by Mrs Gold and to the Media Studies department, led by Miss Umbleja for their hard work in preparing the details of the project and meeting the representative from the Wolfson Foundation.

Acts of Kindness

After this year’s week of anti-bullying activities where we looked at the power of the bystander to make situations worse or better depending on their reaction, we spent some time considering acts of kindness. Pupils were challenged to commit as many random acts of kindness during the week as they could. Pupils subsequently nominated those who had epitomised this terrific value.

Winners are:

Y7 – Toby Nowalski, Alys Cleverley, Theo Fripp and Josh Harris;

Y8 – Saskia Wason, Lois Gill, Jamie Sallam and Rhys Winterburn;

Y9 – Mile Binding, Iwan Price Thomas, Tom Meek and Niamh Coates;

Y10 – Flic Bancroft, Dan Ranson, Zoe Li and Jordan Quin;

Y11 – Katie Burnell, Corey Coleman, Nick Andrews and Meg Batacan;

6th form – Josh Davies, Katie Williams, Alex Foster, Jack Ryan and Sam Mounter.

Well done and congratulations to all.

Thanks also to Mr Foley and Mr Pelaez who were also nominated by the students as always ready to listen and to help them understand their work

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Skilled performers at our annual Christmas Carol concert

Our annual Christmas Carol Concert was an absolute treat last night!  Once again the Bethel Baptist Church in Pontyclun were kind enough to invite us to hold this special celebration.

The evening featured lots of group performances from across the year groups including the junior and senior choirs, the orchestra, guitar group, wind band and BTEC groups.  Five girls in year 8 also delighted us with their very original performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

The pupils put on a fabulous show and have clearly been working hard on this for weeks!

Many thanks to our Performing Arts department, Mr Owen Thomas, Mr Tom Breeze, Mr Marvin Thomas and Mrs Maggie Kelly plus Mr Mathew Ashment for all their hard work as well.

December 2014 Newsletter for Parents & Carers

This newsletter has been sent out via ParentMail.  Pupils will not be bringing home a paper copy.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner will be served on Wednesday 10th December from 12.45 p.m. onwards in the Lesser Hall.  Further to the above, snacks (sandwiches, burgers, pizza etc.) will be served from 12.45p.m. in the Main Hall as well as hot substitutions. Kitchens will not be open during mid morning break so pupils may wish to bring a snack to school.

 Senior Citizens Party

The very successful annual Senior Citizens Party will this year take place on Friday 12th  December.

Year 06 Carol Concert at Y Pant School

Year 06 pupils will be joining our Year 07 pupils for a Christmas Carol Concert at the school on Monday 15th December from 9.15 a.m.

Examination Dates

Year 11  Mock   GCSE   examinations

These begin  on   Monday 8th December  and  run to  Thursday 18th December 2014.  Welsh Government Guidelines state  that pupils will no longer be able to take ‘study leave’. Therefore all pupils must attend their normal lessons when they are not timetabled for an examination.

Year 11           GSCE  examinations January 7th – January 15th 2015.

Welsh Government Guidelines state that pupils will no longer be able to take ‘study leave’. Therefore all pupils must attend their normal lessons when they are not timetabled for an examination.

Cars on School Premises

In the interest of pupil safety, parents should not transport pupils onto the premises during the course of the school day or park in the bus bay or road system.  In exceptional circumstances e.g. medical condition, a pass will be issued by Mrs. Carter, the Headteacher’s P.A.

 Fundraising

Once again thank you to all parents who have supported pupils in their fundraising efforts. Over £3,000 was donated to Children in Need.

 School Uniform

The vast majority of our pupils are impeccably turned-out. However, there are still a number of girls who are ignoring the ruling on school trousers. Please ensure that the school uniform rules are observed at all times.

 Attendance

There has been a worrying trend this term for pupils to be absent from school the day after an educational visit. All such absences are monitored extremely closely and I regret to say that if this trend continues then our policy on pupils’ participation in educational visits may change significantly.

 End of Term

On Friday 19th December school will be closing at 12.30 p.m. for the Christmas holiday period.  No lunch will be provided on this day but the canteens will be open for an extended mid morning break.

 Spring Term 2015

School commences on Monday 5th January 2015 and, as per the PLK,  we return on a Week 2.

On behalf of the staff and students I extend to you all best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mr. M. Powell

Headteacher

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Students perform well at the English Speaking Union public speaking event

On Wednesday 26th November a team of Year 10 and 11 girls competed in the English Speaking Union Churchill Public Speaking competition in the Training Centre Wales.

Lauren Pickens performed expertly in her role as Speaker.  Lauren had 30 minutes at the start of the competition to meet the two other members of her team and brief them on the 5 minute speech she had prepared with Maddie Colcombe that analysed the impact of 24 hour news on modern day society.  Several teachers from other schools congratulated Lauren on her delivery and interesting points.  She was quizzed by the Questioner from the opposing team and answered questions articulately destroying any opposing arguments!

Tamsin Penberthy took charge of the difficult role of Chairperson.  Her role involved leading the discussion, keeping an eye on timings and directing questions from the floor to the Guest Speaker in her team.  She guided the team through proceedings smoothly and was congratulated by the judges on her performance.

Ania Kandasamy won the coveted ‘Best Questioner’ prize!  A fantastic achievement for a first timer!  Ania had 30 minutes at the start of the competition to meet with her Guest Speaker and quiz him on his topic – she made appropriate notes and asked pertinent questions.  The judges commended her use of the word “elaborate” within her questions as this was exactly what they were looking for from the Questioners and Ania was the only one out of three to use it.

The team performed fantastically well and prepared for the competition during their own time and at break and lunch times in school.  Well done girls – you are all a real credit to the school.

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