Category Archives: More Able & Talented

Champion synchronised skater Georgia

6th form student Georgia Guildford has been ice skating for years and last year made the British team for the World Synchronised Skating Championships.  Here’s a report on that event.

Team Spirit, British Synchronised Ice Skating Champions are back from representing Great Britain in the World Synchronised Skating Championships 2014 held in Courmayeur, Italy. Georgia Guildford (then in year 11) is the youngest member of Team Spirit.

The Team arrived in Courmeyeur on the Sunday before the actual competition as it was possible to buy ice time on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and it’s not possible to get good ice times in Cardiff; the Team currently practice for 2 hours at 12 midnight on Fridays. The team trained flat out for 3 days, and then the unofficial practices started.  As always the skaters and supporters of The Wales & West Synchro Skating Club (WWSSC) left a lasting impression at every practice, the International Skating Union volunteers were joining in with the Team “sing alongs” before the team took to the ice, and the Team received so many amazing comments about how polite and friendly they were.  

 Katrina said “Their actual performance in the Short Program, skating to “Where Have You” by Rhianna, on Friday, was the best they had ever skated it.  I was on pins, I knew they had it in them and couldn’t have been anymore prouder to see them do it at the World Championships. Their marks reflected their amazing skate, we read the PDF score sheet and had a debrief on something’s that we could tweak ready for the free the following day and they walked out the rink full off determination to skate the free even better the following day”.  

In the Free Program, on Saturday, skating to “Bust Your Windows” Jazmine Sullivan, Katrina said “My god they were so confident walking out of the changing rooms, it was very unnerving seeing them with not an ounce of nerves (well if they had nerves they didn’t show it).  They were so focused and determined to have a good skate.  I, on the other hand, was a mess as always. Their free skate was the best I have EVER seen them skate, with just one fall (perfectly understandable when you’re skating on a blade don’t you think?) they left me drained.  The crowd loved their Creative Element and they really sold it.  When the marks came up we just screamed.  Team Spirit had their best Technical Score, and to accomplish that at The Worlds is just amazing, finishing in First place in their group and 21st overall”.   

Here’s a video of their short programme – Georgia is the one being lifted.

 

We’ve been re-accredited with the NACE Cymru Challenge Award!

We’re delighted to announce that last Friday, we were re-accredited with the NACE Challenge Award for excellence in provision for More Able and Talented pupils. 

NACE Chief Executive Rowena Gaston said:

“Y Pant School has worked hard to win the NACE Challenge Award Re-accreditation status. It has shown itself to be committed to developing a school where all pupils are challenged to be the best they can be. The more able and talented children are challenged and this helps the other learners to see what can be achieved.”

The assessors spent the day in school where they observed lessons, interviewed pupils, teachers, parents and governors and looked at  pupils’ work.

They were also impressed by the impressed by strong leadership of the school and the support and challenge provided by the governors.

You can read the full press release from NACE below.

Y Pant celebrate poster exhibition at Royal Glamorgan Hospital

Earlier this year a group of More Able and Talented pupils from the Art Department were involved in the design and production of a health campaign poster promoting the safe use of medicines. The project involving a number of schools in the RCT area was run by ‘Art is Community’ and sponsored by the Welsh Government. The eye catching designs were praised by the chief hospital pharmacist as a huge success at the official celebration on Wednesday 6th May. The exhibition of posters can be seen at the Hospital.

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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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Y Pant Girls Excel at Sport!

We have some very talented sports women at Y Pant – several have recently been selected for county teams or won championships.

Under 14 County Netball Squad

Alys Edwards – year 7 (2 years earlier than anyone else)
Ffion Cooper – year 9
Niamh Coates – year 9
Aimee Williams – year 9
Ella Worgan – year 9
Ffion Cooper has also been selected for the Welsh Hub Development Squad!

Under 16 County Netball Squad

Charlotte Johnson

Under 18 County Netball Squad

Katherine Davies – year 13

Gymnastics

Bethan Grant in Year 8 competed in a gymnastics competition in September.  She won and is now the Welsh Final Champion in her category.
She competed against others in this area of Wales and the top five from all areas went to compete.
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Year 13 DT student’s work at the Welsh Innovation Awards

Congratulations to Gareth Day (Year 13 – 2013/2014) for being selected to display work at the Welsh Innovation Awards.  This prestigious event is a showcase exhibition and competition for the most innovative project work at A level and GCSE in Design & Technology.

Gareth was given the following design brief from the examination board:

Taking inspiration from an historical design movement produce a product which references the chosen style.

Below is Gareths explanation of his project:

I have always loved music so I decided to manufacture a gramophone but in the floral art nouveau styling taking inspiration from the designer Tiffany who is iconic of the style. I decided to make the amplifying horn in the shape of an aesthetically appealing flower.

My art nouveau gramophone features an in built Bluetooth speaker with an approximate range of twelve meters allowing greater versatility. The gramophone horn has been designed to look like the Tibetian Gentian flower with universal petals produced through laser cutting and forming techniques to produce the art nouveau floral style. The product contains a Tiffany inspired light section which runs off  a 12V halogen bulb which is extremely aesthetically pleasing and period to my chosen style. The gramophone base features compound mitre joints, contrasting pine segments and an art nouveau font writing of the Latin name of the flower which inspired my gramophone horn.

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You can follow the work of Design & Technology students on twitter @YPantDT.

Year 13 student Callum reports on his Swansea Uni experience

During the summer holidays I went to the S4 Swansea university science summer school where I participated in university-level science workshops and experiments. Initially when informed about the opportunity I was quite reluctant to enroll because I didn’t think I would enjoy it but I am so glad I did. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life and has definitely motivated me to do well in my A levels so that I can go to university.

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 Day one

On my first full day at the summer school, I studied computing with a techno camp workshop. In teams of 4 we designed a robot from Lego NXT mind storm kits and programmed it on the computer. We competed amongst other teams to see who’s robot was superior. We had to guide our robot around mazes, park it in parking spaces etc. After that we played robot football where we had to design a robot to be a striker and defend the goals at the same time. This was turned into a competition to see who’s robot could score and defend the most amounts of goals.

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After the workshop everyone was given free time and so with the friends I had made so far we explored the gigantic university campus and later walked to Swansea town centre to explore to shops. Later in the evening there was a pub quiz held by the summer school where we grouped together with teachers and answered science questions.

Day two

On the second day I studied biology where I learnt about the topic of marine biology and I had to dissect a mackerel. While dissecting this mackerel I learnt about its internal structures and their functions, I enjoyed this so much because you got to see what you were learning from a physical prospective.  After that we got a tour around Swansea universities science facilities and learnt about the importance of algae, why it is grown from business and its important medical uses. We also got to see muscle filtration and hold real life marine animals such as blue lobsters.

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After the workshop, the summer school then took us to the cinema that they have on campus. It was absolutely packed with people of a variety of ages. We watched an Asian cartoon film, which was similar to anime.

Day three

On the third day I studied physics and mathematics. I learnt about finding exoplanets. I found this really interesting as we got to learn about space and I actually understood it really well considering mathematics and physics are not my strong point. We had to conduct an experiment using a light sensor to detect the shadow created as our exoplanet circled our star. We did this using software on the computer, it was so interesting.

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After the workshop, my friends and I went to the beach, which is directly opposite the university campus. During the week we had also met other students from Germany that were staying in the same halls of residence and so we invited them to the beach with us. We all went in the sea, played volleyball, built a campfire and sat around it until late.

Day four

On the fourth day of Swansea summer school I participated in a geography workshop where we learnt about climate change. We conducted an experiment with collecting carbon dioxide in different heats which was meant to represent the different distances away from the sun, it was really fun.  Later on in the day we explored the university campus to look at the wild life, we then participated in a dendrochronological experiment where we drilled holes into trees and removed sections of the tree to analysis the patterns of tree rings to see how old the tree was, to see if it was a victim of disease or a natural disaster.

After the work shop we all headed to Mumbles beach area where we explored the natural wild life before heading to the beach to explore general marine life. As a group we then explored the beach, went in the sea and generally enjoyed ourselves.

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Fifth day

On the last day we had a talk about UCAS applications from S4 ambassadors who are current students at Swansea Univeristy, Swansea university lectures, professors and Swansea university admissions tutors. They showed us previous examples of personal statements, what they like to see and what they expect from us. They also showed us what they don’t like to see and how to avoid it. There was then a award ceremony and students that had excelled in the individual workshops were rewarded with vouchers, certificates and clothes. There was also an award from the best tweet.

If I choose to go to Swansea University I will receive a £500 bursary just for completing the weeklong Swansea university summer school. The experience was definitely worthwhile as I got to immerse myself in the student lifestyle as well as expand my education. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is interested.

 

 

Y Pant Students Create an Experiment for the ISS

On 6th July 2014, Katie Crook and I (Juliet Johns) travelled up to London along with 30 other pupils from RCT for Mission Discovery; a 5 day course to learn about space, astronauts, experiments in space and even compete to have our own experiment sent to the International Space Station (ISS).  Joining us at Mission Discovery were another 130 students from all over the UK.  Michelle Ham, a Senior Astronaut Trainer at NASA, led the week giving us various challenges, talks and advice. We were introduced to Mike Foale, a British Astronaut and International Space Station Commander, who explained his story, how he became an Astronaut and his experiences with NASA and other astronauts. We were assigned mentors to our team to help us through the week, and underwent NASA team building.  We had our first lecture from one of the professors at the university, Professor Steve Harridge, who talked to us about muscles and how they perform different in space and on earth.

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The next day we focused on the environment of space and the space shuttle missions. Mike Foale talked us through his six space missions and his share of problems. He also explained some of the existing biomedical experiments in space and the ones that he has worked with. Dr James Clark explained how the body’s circulatory system works in space and the problems that microgravity can cause. We were also extremely lucky to have a skype interview with Jay Honeycutt who is a former director of NASA.  He was an engineer in Flight Operations for the Apollo Programme, and was in mission control for the Apollo 13 mission. It was amazing to talk to him about his experiences and get the opportunity to ask him questions.

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On the Wednesday, Mike Foale showed us what he does in his free time in space and what life in space is like. We were also given a lecture by Dr David Green about the Central Nervous System, how it adapts to being in space and the changes it undergoes when astronauts come back to earth.  We were then talked to by a PhD student about parabolic flights (known as “vomit comets”) and how she had tested her project on one such flight. To finish the day, we got briefed about what our criteria was for the experiment we were going to design; it had to be reasonably cheap, easy to do, fit in a 10x10x10cm box and there were a whole load of other problems we had to consider; for example, if the materials or chemicals we were sending up to space would survive the trip or if they had to be frozen. We came up with a starting idea. In the evening, we went to a private viewing of Gravity with Michelle Ham, Dr David Green and Astronaut Mike Foale who then analysed the film after.

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The next day our experiment started to take shape. We finalised it, started the equipment list, and worked out the cost and the risks. Our mentor helped us find equipment that would be suitable, as mixing anything with liquids in space is very difficult due to microgravity. Our experiment was to see if the rate that amyloid proteins (the proteins that form together to stop nerve cells in the brain communicating and then causing Alzheimer’s) aggregate together quicker in space or on earth.  We had a presentation from Michelle Ham about our presentation skills because the next day we would have to present our idea in front of 160 people and a panel of prestige judges, including Mike Foale, Michelle Ham and all the professors that had presented to us in the week. Afterwards we planned our presentation and practiced. We then ended the day by having a lecture from Thais Russomano about lung function in space.

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Friday was the final day, where we would present our idea and the winner would be chosen. We had a last few minutes to prepare before we were split up so there were 5 other groups we would compete with in heats. We presented in front of Michelle Ham and Thais Russomano and they would have to choose one team to go onto the finals. They questioned us afterwards, which made us think on the spot and challenged us further. After all teams in our heat had presented, we had a break that we spent panicking while they selected the team that would go on to the finals. They announced our group was through and we were so happy, but then we realised we would now have to present in front of 160 people. There were 4 other teams in the final that we would compete with. We did our presentation and then had even more difficult questions, as did all the other teams. All the other ideas were amazing! While the judges made their decision, we had a lecture from Dr Julie Keeble about pharmacology and a lecture from Michael Fenech about DNA and the genomic challenges in space.  The judges came back and announced that we came 2nd! We were completely over the moon (no pun intended) and couldn’t believe it, we were one of the youngest teams competing against 28 other teams in total, all with brilliant ideas! We were called up and received our certificates. It then got even better when Mike Foale said our experiment would also go into space as they decided to send two experiments! The week could not have been any better. We spoke Dr Julie Keeble and she invited us to go back up to Kings College to do further research. We left London so happy and proud.

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We’d like to thank King’s College, all the people that worked with us, our mentor, ISSET, Y Pant and everyone else who helped make our experience at Mission Discovery inspirational and unforgettable.