Category Archives: News Spring 2012

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Y Pant Year 9 Parents’ Evening

The year 9 parents’ evening is this Thursday 16th January 2014 starting at 3:30pm.  This is a really important evening for parents and guardians to discuss the progress their child is making in all their subjects.

Year 9 pupils will need to choose options for GCSE soon!

There will be an information evening for parents and guardians to find out about the different options available on Thursday 30th January at 5pm but there will be no opportunity to talk to your child’s teacher then so please make sure you come along on Thursday 16th to find out how well your child is doing and where their strengths lie.

Mr Pearsall

Sergeant Pearsall reports from Afghanistan

Salaam alaykum Y Pant! Mr Pearsall here and if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen me for a while, it’s not because I’m on an extended tea break, it’s because I am training with the Military Stabilisation Support Group in preparation for deployment to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. By the time you read this I will already be in Afghanistan and attached to an infantry company in a patrol base somewhere in Helmand. Since leaving school at the end of October (I hope my classes are working hard for Mr Speight) I have been taking part in an intensive training programme to prepare myself and my colleagues for the rigours of operations in Afghanistan.  Also to equip us with the knowledge and expertise to be able to contribute to the successful transition of the region from ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) control to the control of the democratically elected Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (abbreviated to GiRoA).

So what is stabilisation? Well, stabilisation aims to reduce violence and bring economic and political stability to a country or region. It is achieved by coordinated activity across all government departments, coalition and local partners. We can summarise stabilisation using the 4Ps:

  • Prevent or reduce violence.
  • Protect the population and key infrastructure.
  • Promote non-violent politics and local good governance.
  • Prepare for long-term social and economic development.

To find out more about the Military Stabilisation Support Group (which also recruits sailors, Marines and airmen from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) please visit:- http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/StabilisationInAfghanistanWinningThePopulationFromTheInsurgent.htm

To ensure that we are operationally effective we have been developing what are known as our ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. ‘Hard skills’ include effective use of weapons to combat marksman standard; these include (for you ‘Call of Duty’ geeks) the 5.56mm A2 rifle, 9mm Sig pistol and 7.62mm GPMG (general purpose machine gun). We have also been developing our patrolling skills which include ambush drills and appropriate use of lethal force and we have been well trained in the use of counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) drills and equipment. Battlefield first aid and rapid evacuation of casualties are also areas that we have been well versed in for obvious reasons.

Equally importantly our ‘soft skills’ have also been developed and, shock-horror, this has involved a great deal of time in the classroom. Remember, Y Pant School is just preparing you for life-long learning, getting into the habit of learning and enjoying the process will pay dividends for you throughout your life. This area of our training has included a number of diverse topics; language skills (we have been learning Pashto, which is the main language spoken in Helmand), cultural awareness, negotiation skills, finances and budgets, agricultural practices, education and economic development are among a wide range of topics dealt with.

Of course the ‘healthy body; healthy mind’ ethos promoted by the Y Pant School PE Department is also adopted by the Army and we have certainly been put through our paces by our training team and PT (Physical Training) Staff. I will definitely have a chat to Mr Mortimer and the team about the possibility of doing circuit training in body armour, running up and down hills with 25 kg back-packs and casualty drags through the mud. I know Mr Soroko would be up for it, he may even introduce dribbling skills with medicine balls like when he was a young footballer.

As we are training through the Winter months it is difficult to replicate the temperatures that we will encounter during the height of the Afghan Summer. However it has certainly been challenging and training exercises have been as realistic as possible to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible.

Mr Pearsall
Mr Pearsall training for duty in Afghanistan

As you can appreciate, Afghanistan and in particular Helmand, can be a very hazardous place and operational security is very important. As a consequence I will not write to you about anything that may compromise security or cause concern to the families and friends of myself and my fellow soldiers. However, I hope that I will be able to write to you about a country that is gradually getting itself back on its feet and a country that is learning to put together a fair-minded and effective government that enables its people to live in peace and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. It will not be an easy task but it is a challenge that we are obliged to meet so that the sacrifices of those that went before us will not be in vain. Speak to you soon.

Onwards and upwards.

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Cardiff City Community Team Visit

Following the visit from Cardiff City Community Team on Wednesday, please take the fantastic opportunity to apply for Work Experience for both Cardiff City and the national NPower links. Remember that the applications need to be done by Friday 2nd March for the NPower opportunities and that this should be done online. Use the links below to help:

http://www.npower.com/fl/whats-your-goal/  (Main website)

http://www.npower.com/fl/whats-your-goal/Mentor/index.htm  (National competition).

The Cardiff City applications must be handed in to Mr Hurley by Monday 5th March. Forms are available from Mr Duggan and he is happy to help you on Friday 2nd March at lunchtime. Good luck!

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Art Trip to Saatchi Gallery & the V&A Museum

art tripOn Thursday 9th February, Yr 11, 12 and 13 Art students crammed onto a bus for a visit to London. The gallery visit was planned to coincide with the hand-out of students’ final examination papers.  In Art examinations, all students are set a theme which is used to form a line of personal enquiry. This year, 2012, the themes set are as follows:  GCSE: Ordinary / Extraordinary. AS: Experiences, Encounters and Meetings. A2: Combinations and Alliances. To encourage students thinking, we always visit galleries to try to find examples of Art works which show evidence of the themes set.

This year we visited an Exhibition at the newly opened Saatchi Gallery on The Kings Road and The Victoria and Albert Museum.

art trip

At The Saatchi Gallery students were given an introductory talk to the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ –  New Art from Germany Exhibition.  Students were given time to record pieces of interest to them.  All students have their sketchbooks and cameras to record their thoughts, feelings and experiences through drawings, photographs and notes.  There were a variety of Art works on show and in a range of media for students to draw inspiration from.

The V& A Museum is home to the Decorative Arts and students were able to look at Textiles, Sculpture, Metalwork, Glass and Ceramics from across a range of times and cultures which showed evidence of the set themes.  Back in school students will use their studies to help them begin to form their own ideas for their final pieces.

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Oxford Schools Debating – Semi-final success

After more than an hour of tedious waiting in Howell’s Girls School, in a room too small to cage a group of wound up, opinionated, teenage debaters, the highly anticipated judges of the Oxford Debate Union competition finally decided to arrive. The cancellation of one of the two debates due to the late start meant that hopeful teams had only one chance to prove themselves in hope of securing a place in the finals. Oh the pressure!

Easier said than done when you have to argue in favour of the motion: “This house would enforce 100% inheritance tax.” Inheritance tax?!  Turns out that if 100% inheritance tax was enforced, it would mean that after your death everything that you owned would go straight to the government and not to your family. How terrible would that be? Especially terrible when you only have 15 minutes to think of arguments in favour it!

But, after 15 minutes that went far too quickly, James Watt and Amy Jones (year 13); Zoe Fullbrook and Kristin Bryce (year 11) and Matthew Knight (year 13) and Martha Reed (year 12) all left to engage in battle. A verbal slaughtering of course!

We all agreed that it was an extremely interesting and exciting debate which saw Britain’s class system, work ethics and morality come under close analysis but congratulations go to Amy and James who, for the fourth year running, got through to the finals along with Howell’s Girl’s School and Monmouth School.

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Y Pant’s Amy Jones at the World Schools Debating Championships

Y Pant School has been seriously participating in debating competitions all across the UK for the past 4 years, but this year for the first time ever a pupil of Y Pant School represented Wales on a truly international scale. On the 15th of January, Amy Jones (Year 13) traveled to Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Welsh team to compete in the World Schools Debating Championship against 47 other teams from across the globe. The Hollow recently caught up with Amy to ask her about her experience of the competition.

How did you feel about going to South Africa to compete, and how did you prepare?

“After they initially told us that we were on Team Wales, I felt quite daunted knowing we were going to be up against 47 other teams that are world class standard, but we did a lot of training before we went out there, we did a lot of consecutive training weekends in Cardiff with our coach Harry Thomas, and our team manager Beth who works for CEWC Cymru, which is the organization that ran the team. When it came to going to South Africa we were feeling fairly prepared.”

Amy with some of her fellow competitors

How was this competition different from your previous experiences of debating?

It was a different format, because before the competition I was used to doing British Parliamentary style, and the World Schools debating championship is run under a different style which is “World schools style” which is longer speeches, with more people on the teams and more preparation time. There’s also a lot more emphasis on extending the analysis within your arguments; in British Parliamentary you have fifteen minutes to prepare your speeches, and four minutes to present those arguments and that’s it. In World School’s style you have eight minute speeches so the judges expect a much deeper level of analysis and you have an hour to prepare your arguments.”

So how did you get do in the end?

“The competition is made up of preliminary round and then a knock out tournament between the top 15 placed teams after the first round. We came 7th out of 48 and then went on to the knockout rounds. In the knockout rounds we competed against India, Ireland and England to proceed to the Grand Final against Scotland. Unfortunately, we lost to Scotland in the final but debating in the largest Cathedral in Cape Town was an amazing experience.”

Amy discovers South Africa's penguins

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Rebecca Evans – Record Breaker!

Congratulations to Rebecca Evans of Year 11 who has once again shown her competitors a clean pair of heels at a recent athletics meeting.

Rebecca was competing in the Welsh National Indoor Championships held at UWIC. Rebecca won the 3000 metre title, smashing not only her personal best for the distance but also the National record. Rebecca finished the distance in 10 minutes 24.26 seconds.

This May Rebecca will be representing Wales at the UK Schools’ Games, running in the new Olympic stadium, good luck!

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Y Pant Cross-Country Success

Y Pant pupils have again shown their prowess in cross country running with notable successes at the recent Glamorgan Valleys Schools’ Championships held at Newbridge Fields, Bridgend.

The event got off on a winning note with Mollyann Rees finishing first in the Year 7 girls race. Naomi Reid was not far behind in eight.

In the Year 8&9 girls race Bethan Evans in Year 8 came 2nd, losing to a Year 9 runner by just one second. Kate Owen and Katie Williams also ran strongly to finish well within the top half of this event.

The most impressive run of the day came in the combined Year 10&11 girls race where Rebecca Evans who came 1st and Ellie Havard 2nd, showing the rest of the field a clean pair of heels finishing over a 100 metres ahead of their nearest rivals.

In the Year 10&11 boys race the team of Morgan Gooch, Ally Carter, Matthew Llewellyn, Zaid Hammoudeh and Marcus Webb ran strongly as a group. Morgan was the top Y Pant runner in this race, finishing 11th.