Category Archives: News Autumn 2016

Fabulous Christmas Concert in our new Main Hall

On Thursday 15th December, just a few days after we’d taken possession of our new building, the Performing Arts department put on our annual Christmas Carol Concert in the new Main Hall.  The pupils taking part had given up the option of a day off school and had instead come in to rehearse in the new space.  Getting to grips with not just a new stage, but lighting and sound systems too, both pupils and teachers had their work cut out.  Nonetheless, as we’ve come to expect over the years, the concert, played to a packed audience, was fantastic. A few photos are included over the page but many more are available on our website.

There was a wide variety of performances on show, many of which were developed and supported by our excellent peripatetic teachers.

Thanks also to those who bought raffle tickets on the night, and mulled wine and mince pies.  The proceeds from these have made a significant contribution to our Learning Resource Centre.  We’re grateful for the staff of The Boar in Tyla Garw for providing the refreshments.

Congratulations to the pupils and staff for such a festive end to the year.

Performances

Ieuan Davies (Trepak)

Classical Choir (Somewhere In My Memory & Hail Holy Queen)

Sarah Pugh (The Christmas Song)

Mali Rhys-Thomas (Where is Love)

The Cast of Oliver (Be Back Soon)

Millie Smith (Reading—The Night Before Christmas)

Woodwind Group (Frosty the Snowman)

String Group (Sans Day Carol Wind Through the Olive Trees)

Year 10 Band (Walking in a Winter Wonderland)

Orchestra (Various carols)

Hannah Mealey (Reading from Dylan Thomas)

Percussion Group (Roll On Christmas)

Brass Group (Silent Night)

Ukelele Club (Various songs and carols)

Pop Choir (Need a Little Christmas)

Year 12 (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

Tom Prosser (Reading—Luke 2:1-20)

Year 13 (Faith)

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Emma’s performance of the Last Post for Remembrance Sunday

On Remembrance Sunday 13th November, I performed The Last Post whilst wreathes were laid in honour of those who have given their lives for our country. Even though this is the second year I have performed it was still a heartfelt experience and amazing to see how many people were there (but also very nerve-wracking to have so many people watching!)  Members of the armed forces, police service, scouting and guiding laid poppy wreaths at the memorial, followed by a short service, the last post and the two minute silence. The service then continued inside the church. 

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Other commemorations in the area were held on that day and a particularly significant one was at Llantrisant War memorial which was finally unveiled this year and remembers the 93 soldiers from the area killed during the Great Wars.
 
Emma Willington, year 12

Y Pant U13 Girls Triumph in Welsh Football Cup!

Congratulations to the U13 girl’s football team who beat Pen Y Dre in the 2nd round of the Welsh School’s Cup 7-1. The girls produced an outstanding team performance and will go on to play Tonyrefail in the next round. Well done girls and good luck!

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The Team

Shania Mudd, Jay Wilson-Wood, Nia Colcomb, Lauren Mulvihill, Morgan Dyer, Livvie Owen, Ellie Cooper, Robyn Dando, Tiffany Price, Lowri Woodward, Abbie Blandford and Paige Howell.

 

Welcoming Miss Purcell back to school

Miss Purcell has recently returned to school after a year’s sabbatical with the Army Reserves.  As well as taking part in training exercises in the UK, she spent 6 months on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Last week, Commanding Officer LtCol. Mel Green (right) and Regimental Sergeant Major WO1 Jim Hankey (left) from 7MI Battalion visited school to make a presentation thanking Mr Powell and the Governors for allowing Miss Annie Purcell to serve a Tour of Duty in Kabul Afghanistan earlier this year.

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The CO spoke briefly about the need for a different kind of soldier to be more effective against modern threats in non-conventional warfare and about some of the more diverse roles in Military Intelligence such as Cyber intelligence.

 

REP Trip to the Durja Puga Festival

The R.E.P. AS level Hindusim trip, on 11th October, served as a fun, colourful and interesting way to introduce us to the Hindu culture, specifically exploring the religious festival of Durja Puga.
We were happily welcomed by members of the local Hindu community, that practiced their beliefs within and around different areas of Wales. Their kindness and hospitality was evident throughout.
During the two hours we witnessed the puja for last day of the festival. We observed worship towards the different Hindu gods and goddesses including the Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganesha, using offerings. We shared and tasted prashad.
Furthermore we got the opportunity to ask questions and discuss in detail about the different historical contexts, both old and new lifestyles and the general beliefs surrounding Hinduism as a religion.
Overall the trip gave us insight to the multiple depths and layers that make up Hinduism, and I highly recommend for the trip to be experienced and attended by other schools and students of any subject in the future.

Abbie Vosper, year 12

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Students report on their amazing expedition to Borneo

On the 13th of July Miss Knight and 7 pupils from Year 11 (Jack Bourton, Seren Kane, Emily McCann, Tamsin Penberthy, Emma Willington, Megan Davies and Rose Connellan) set off on a month long expedition to Borneo Malaysia.

We arrived in Kota Kinabalu exhausted, after travelling for 17 hours, but excited for the month ahead of us on Thursday the 14th of July. The next morning we took a short boat trip to our first camp, Mantanani Island. Still adjusting to the heat, we stepped off onto paradise, crystal blue seas and white sands lined with coconut trees and the staffs welcoming smiles. However our stay here was not all picture perfect beaches and relaxing which you might have seen in our photos. We were introduced to the Island by having a village orientation where we were shown the projects already completed by groups before us, the school, local shop and what life was like on a Mantanani island. We were also given a welcoming dance by the local children where we joined in and learned about the Malay culture.

On Saturday we had our first day of project work, in the morning we learned about marine conservation and turtles and the afternoon we helped build a house in the village by cementing the walls. That evening we had a walk along the beach where we watched the sunset, a great way to start our expedition. The second day of project work we helped rebuild a house and made bracelets out of rubbish collected from the beach, followed by swimming in the sea and relaxing in the hammocks on the shoreline. That night we also went on a night walk to find the Mantanani Scops owl, a bird only found on this island. Our last day at Mantanani started with a sunrise walk which was worth the 5 am wake up! We were taught about the coconuts and how they play a huge role in the lives of people in Borneo, we learned how to weave with the leaves and we even got a try at climbing a coconut tree ourselves. That afternoon we took part in a huge beach cleanup which was very important for the island as rubbish is a huge problem there. We spent that night learning the Malay lingo which we found very useful for the rest of the trip. All in all, Mantanani was a great way to begin our adventure even if it did get our hopes up for the rest of the trip…

On Days 6-10 we went to Gaya Island which is a short boat ride from Kota Kinabalu, the major city in Borneo. At Gaya Island we stayed at the PADI diving school camp which is surrounded by primary rainforest and tropical ocean and the base for our open water diving course. Each day we had the opportunity to take part in the PADI diving course under the hot sun in the Bornean waters with expert instructors. Before we were able to start the diving course we had to undertake ‘ classroom activities’ which isn’t as bad as it sounds! We had to learn key skills and underwater signals just to cover every possible situation. Each day of diving we learnt how to equip ourselves with the help of our buddies and instructors and for many, Team Hinava diving was a highlight. However, even if you did not take part in the Scuba Diving Course you were able to do take part in numerous activities including kayaking, jungle exploring and snorkelling. Additionally we got the chance to experience the open water dive where we were able to see the endangered coral reefs and many different species of sealife including sting-ray’s and some groups were lucky to see turtles.

On Sunday 24th July we left Kota Kinabalu and drove 7 hours to Batu Puteh, in the jungle. We had to leave our rucksacks in the reception and we could only take our smaller daysacks into the jungle with only the necessary items. To get to our camp we had to take a boat up the river. There was lots of wildlife surrounding us, including alligators on the river banks, and the experience was surreal. When we got to the camp we realised it was very basic; a hole in the ground for the toilet, a marquee style tent and our hammocks under mini shelters. They showed us how to set up our hammocks and shelters when we got there, the hammocks are surprisingly comfy to sleep in. For our project work over the couple of days we were at the jungle we went on river cruises in the morning and evening, cleared the jungle path using parangs and planted trees to regrow the parts of the jungle cut down, we planted over 130 trees in total. Whilst we were in the jungle we celebrated two camp mates birthdays and got a birthday cake delivered to us. On Wednesday 27th July we left the jungle at 6am to drive 3 hours to the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary. We got to see the orang-utans being fed and we got to go to the nursery to see the younger orang-utans playing. Afterwards we went to the Sunbear Sanctuary to see the worlds smallest bears, which had been rescued from being pets. At around 3 o’clock we went to our hostel for the night to shower after the jungle and to rest up for Bongkud.

When we arrived at bongkud, it felt like luxury compared to the jungle. Working showers, long houses to sleep in, running water, a volleyball court, Wi-Fi café nearby, a football pitch in the village where we played against the locals and a shop that sold chocolate all helped to add to the luxurious feel of the camp. We stayed here for 7 days and did project work for 6 which entailed us partaking in two projects. The first- helping in the early stages of building a kindergarten where we would have to clear sections, make gabions, mix cement or carry cement drain covers from the site to the drain. This work was repetitive but and tedious but rewarding. The second project was on a market square where we mixed and laid cement so that the market could still run when it was rainy as the stalls wouldn’t sink into the ground, painted the sports hall in the square, cleared rubble and other debris and made a rock garden, which was painted rocks that spelt “market square”. When we weren’t doing project work, we spent time watching football matches, doing local dances or teaching English to the local children.

Camp Gana was the final camp we visited. Our project site was a small school and our project work was clearing out and painting the walls with pictures. On the first night local people taught us their dances and we all danced together. In the afternoons after project work we played football against the locals. Also we organized a sports day for the children, who really enjoyed the experience. After our last morning of project work we showed the teachers in the local school our painting, they were so impressed some had tears in their eyes. It was the most rewarding moment of the trip for many of us. We performed a local dance we learnt in Bongkud and a song some of the group wrote for the local people. It was such an amazing way to end our unforgettable experience in Borneo.

Help us raise money for the new library

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We want to create a new library in school for all students to be able to discover the joys of reading and become successful learners.  Easy Fundraising is helping us to do so.  

Join Easy Fundraising and every time you shop online you can help us raise money and achieve our goal.  There are lots of major retailers signed up, so your weekly shop, family holiday, Christmas shopping or retail therapy can have a real impact on the resources available in school.

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It’s a really simple website and once you’ve joined, takes seconds to use.  Watch the video below to learn more.

Surf Trip July 2016

As part of Activities Week we take a group of students to Croyde Bay in Devon every year for a “Learn to Surf” camp.  Isabelle Smith and Alex Parker, now in year 9, have written us a report – it sounds like they had a fantastic time!

At surfing we had great fun. We started our first lesson with a quick practice on the sand then we were ready to hit the waves! We had to wait for the lifeguards to take down the red flag because it was so misty first! The waves on the first night were great and we all stood up on our boards. That evening we had fish and chips and explored the beach and campsite. We made friends with the seagulls who seemed to like our ships and waking us up early!
The next day we had a huge breakfast and a proper awakening from the cold wetsuits! After struggling down to the beach with our boards we found some stranded jellyfish. The surf was great and the weather was lovely. We went out quite far to catch the best waves although most of us fell off that day! That night we had a BBQ and played beach volleyball and rounders.
The drive back the next day was on one of the hottest days of the year, on a bus with no air-conditioning! We all had a great time, and really enjoyed learning to surf.

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