Category Archives: News 2007-2008

Bulaago Secondary School Mbale Uganda

Y Pant Develops Links with Uganda

Dirk Sykes, Head of the Geography Department at Y Pant School spent his October half term holiday (2007) in a town called Mbale in northern Uganda. He was there with a large group of people who included police officers, politicians, engineers, teachers and university lecturers. Their aim was to link with colleagues in Uganda so that, through friendship, some of the problems associated with poverty, in this region of Africa, could be tackled. The people of Mbale Region are some of the poorest in Africa with average incomes less than £1 per day, average life expectancy of 46 years and infant mortality rates of about 200 per 1000 children.

Mbale Uganda - staff at school
The staff at Bulaago Secondary School in Mbale

Mr Sykes travelled with an organisation, based in Pontypridd, known as PONT (Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust). Dr Geoff Lloyd from Pontypridd was one of the original founders of the group, and is one of the driving forces behind the project. The aim is to link professionals in Rhondda Cynon Taf with their counterparts in Mbale Region. The seeds of the project, which have since germinated and flourished into PONT, were first sown in the Ethiopian famine of the mid 1980’s when a group of doctors from Pontypridd volunteered to work in refugee camps in the region. Jane Davidson, Welsh Assembly Minister, is an active supporter of the project and accompanied the group to Uganda. During her visit Jane met with the vice president of Uganda and explained the aims of the project.

Bulaago Secondary School Mbale Uganda
Students at Bulaago Secondary School

The aim of Mr Sykes visit was to cement links with Bulaago Secondary School. This school is located on top of a mountain, 2 ½ hours drive from Mbale town along a dirt track that turns to mud in the rainy season. The school has no electricity, no e-mail link and the postal service is unreliable. Hence communicating with the school is, to say the least, difficult. It was therefore essential that Mr Sykes visited the school in person if the contact, which was established over a year ago, was to be developed. The welcome Mr Sykes received at Bulaago School was quite humbling in its generosity. The memory of it will last forever and Mr Sykes would like to thank the teachers and students of Bulaago School and the Headmaster, Mr Nandala Moses.

Mbale Uganda
Mr Sykes with some of the students

The visit was a great success and ended in a teachers’ conference involving most of the schools of the region. Mr Sykes had an amazing and very emotional week in which he felt he personally learnt a great deal. The week’s high points included the welcome at Bulaago School, the children of Namatala slum in Mbale, who squabbled over who could hold the hands of their visitors, and the dancers at FNDC village, one of several NGOs working in Mbale Region There were also many times when the visitors were close to tears such as when talking to a teenage girl who was forced to work as a prostitute to earn money for her family and was now dying of AIDS, and the common sight of children who would walk over two hours to school every morning and went hungry every day because their parents could not afford the £3 a term needed for school meals.

Mr Sykes would like to thank members of the PONT team for their friendship and support during the week. Particular thanks also to Edie, Becky, Lauren, Franki, Emma, Sophie Green, Jenny, Hannah, Helen Needs, Martha and Sophie Vellam for their help in preparing for the visit and raising almost £300 for Bulaago School. All of the funds raised went to buy the school basic equipment that they requested. The link between Y Pant School and Bulaago School, Uganda is now firmly established. The co-operation will be long term to the benefit of students in both schools.

Y Pant Uganda Fundraising
Some of the students at Y Pant who helped with the fundraising

“School’s out for summer”

It’s the last day of the school year today and also the day when we say goodbye to 5 members of staff who are off to pastures new.

Mr Matthew Dunn, 2nd in English, has been at Y Pant for 4 years. He is leaving to become Head of English at Archbishop McGrath Catholic School in Bridgend.

Mr Mark Preece has also been at Y Pant for 4 years. Mr Preece will be taking up his new post as Head of ICT at Howells School in Llandaff in September.

Mr Michael Alderton has been teaching Physics at Y Pant for a year and is now relocating to London and taking up a new post as Teacher of Science.

Ms Tanya Owen stepped in to teach Physics from February 2008 and is leaving this July.

Mr James Powell – also a Physics teacher, left Y Pant in February 2008 after 4.5 years.

All five teachers will be missed by pupils and staff alike and we wish them well in their new positions. We look forward to welcoming their replacements in September.

Have a great summer everyone!

audience

Y Pant Summer Festival 2008

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to a festival jam packed with excitement and performances, from dancing to diablos; singing to stilts? Well, despite the weather, you came in your hundreds to see the amazing acts that Y Pant had to offer writes Siôn Greaves.year 6 choir

The day started in complete chaos. To kick off the problems, we had just discovered that the £200 drum kit had a great big hole punched through it. Not the best start as you can imagine. So in panic, a couple of phone calls were made and we discovered that Mr Thomas had already ordered new skins for the drum kit and they were due on the day. But like Mr Thomas himself, they were nowhere to be seen! The one man who had spent hours of hard work organising the festival and knew every single little detail about the arrangements had vanished. Luckily a sixth former arrived with his own drum kit after three journeys in his car; like me, his sound check had been due an hour before. At last the first problem was sorted. As the day went by, the setbacks kept piling up. But deep down we knew that all the running around, finding, travelling and screaming would all be worth the effort as the glorious thought of playing in front of hundreds kept with us and spurred us on. I couldn’t complain anyway; it was better than having lessons all day!

After the madness of rehearsals and sound checks, it was finally time for the performances. We had all put in hours of work for this one moment, our one moment of glory. It was here! With Mr Pearsall’s screaming shirt and cheesy jokes at the ready, it was Showtime.The show started with a bang as the Gene Simmons -style plastered face of Andrew Parker immediately got the crowd up from their seats and dancing to the classic sound of Robbie Williams’ masterpiece ‘Let Me Entertain You’. What a start; we could all tell that this was going to be a night to remember. Up next was a variety of songs featuring James Davies, Ed Jones, Ashley Evans and Jack Langmead. With songs such as the all-time favourite ‘Summer of ‘69’, the crowd were thoroughly entertained by the face-melting guitar solos, the heart- pounding drums and the melodic vocals. This top quality act was soon followed by a combination of rhythmic samba drumming and vibrant cheerleading. Together, they made the perfect combination of music and dance. It was obvious that both the rhythms and the routines had been polished to perfection.

As the night continued, the acts showed their brilliance in a cluster of colour and sound. We saw acts such as an air guitar medley in which George Glew and I showed our skills through music. George played a killer combination of legendary rock songs including; ‘Iron man’, Let’s Dance to Joy division’, ‘Back in Black’ and many, many more. Meanwhile, I bashed along on the thundering drums. Other acts included the circus team in which we saw an awe-inspiring display of skills; various year 12 bands, and some amazing vocal pieces. E3+’s ‘Playing in a rock band’ featured four great up and coming bands. They performed such songs as ‘My hero’ played by Minority , ‘Miss Murder’ by Bleeding Hearts, ‘Devil may cry’ by local metal band Phobia and our band (Third Hero) who had worked extremely hard on getting the song ‘ Times like These’ perfect down to the last riff. To top off the show, we were all amazed by the sound and spectacle of ‘Schools will Rock You’. Various schools united as one voice to sing a perfect blend of tracks. This really was the icing on the cake.

In the words of Mr Thomas – this festival was a success before it even started. YPF 08 showed the world what talent we have here at Y Pant and it gave us all an opportunity to express it. On behalf of everyone who performed on July the 4 th, I would like to thank the music department, everyone at e3+ and of course the audience because without these people, this show wouldn’t have been the massive success that it was.

Read more on the Rhonnda Cynon Taff Website

New Technology Trial

Pupils from years 7, 8 and 9 took part in a trial of some new learning technology at Y Pant. The pupils were each given two hours to experiment with Asus ‘eee’ laptops – tiny computers which connect to the Internet wirelessly and also run a variety of useful software packages.

In discussions with Catherine Namaani, the RCT Curriculum Advice Officer for Blended Learning, the pupils were very positive about the possibilities for using the laptops to enhance learning around the school. While pointing out the need to train staff and pupils in their use, the trial team suggested that outfitting pupils with small, portable computers such as these could transform the way people work in and around school.

Some comments from the team:

‘A brilliant tool to merge the home/school learning environment.’

‘I think that the laptop is an extremely good idea because they are easily transportable, they have a really good system on there and you can interact with other people so easily.’

Musical Performances at Art Exhibitions

Visitors to the GCSE art exhibition on Tuesday 21st May were also treated to a series of musical performances by some of our talented pupils. Performers from Years 7, 8 and 9 gave up some of their after-school time to add some atmosphere to the event, playing a variety of instruments on their own and in small groups.
Many of these young players already have an impressive number of grade exams under their belts, and in their short time at Y Pant have been seen on stage in a number of performances.
Here is a list of performers from the event:

Paul Karamura, Rebecca Davies, Zoe Bann, Martha Reed (Clarinet)

Jess Horsey (Voice)

Sophie Vellam, Jenny Grey, Jacqueline Hopkins (Piano)

Faye Jones, Rhiannon Falshaw-Skelly, Ariane Brumwell (violin)

Brogan Falshaw-Skelly (Flute)

Zoe Morgan (Cornet)

Third Hero’s Single

Y Pant band, Third Hero, have been working hard during E3 sessions after school. They have just finished their first single: Whatever Happened to Us?
Whatever Happened to Us (mp3)
Whatever Happened to Us? (WAV)
Full length copies are available to buy from Richard in the E3 office at £1 each on CD including album artwork.

Guitars: Ed Jones and George Glew

Drums: Ashley Evans

Vocals: Ed Jones with George Glew, James Davies backing.

Mixed, produced and recorded by E3+ recording your band.

The sample playing is in WAV format. If you cannot hear it, click on the mp3 version.

Year 8 Go Green

To their delight, the whole of year 8 had timetables suspended for 2 days on 3rd and 4th July 2008 to take part in an Eco-Extravaganza. The purpose of this was twofold. Firstly to undertake some research about the environment and global citizenship which will hopefully enable Y Pant to gain Eco Schools Green Flag status sometime in the near future. The second was to give pupils the opportunity to learn some new “thinking skills” and to work with people they had not worked with before.

We started the Thursday with a whole-year assembly in which Mr Harbour and Mrs Jones explained the purpose of the day. Pupils were then divided into 10 groups. Each group was given an inflatable globe and asked to note down “what does the world mean to me?”. They then took part in a carousel of activities during the day:

School survey – the whole school grounds were surveyed for litter, tree and plant species, areas where pupils liked going and where they don’t like going etc.

Water water – pupils learned how much of the world does not have access to safe water and just how much water we waste in this country, plus what we can do about it.

Fairtrade – an inspiring film was shown giving pupils a real understanding of how trade in chocolate and bananas etc. affects families in other countries. They also did a taste test on Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade chocolate.

Top Gear – green issues surrounding transport were examined and the carbon-footprint of teachers’ cars calculated.

World of Sport – a look at sport around the world, pupils learned the Haka, had a go at sumo wrestling and gladiator-style jousting.

At the end of the day pupils were again asked “what does the world mean to me?”. Their responses this time were very different, clearly reflecting what they had learned and a wider understanding of global issues.
On the Friday, each group was allocated one activity and had to spend lessons 1 – 4 carrying out further research and creating a presentation on their topic. Pupils also went outside one form at a time to help create the willow squirrel that can be seen on the entrance into the school.
After lunch, year 8 pupils assembled in the gym so that Mr Tucker, Mr Powell and Mr Harbour could come round and judge the presentations. It was obvious that everyone had worked really hard and the standard of the presentations was fantastic. After a lot of deliberation the Eco Cup for 2008 was awarded to one of the teams working on Water Water with Mr Alderton. The team saved 150 litres of water in just one day by putting “hippos” (bottles filled with water) in the toilet cisterns. If all the toilets in the school are done they estimate we’ll save over 1000 litre a day! Mrs Jones was awarded Eco-Enemy of the year for her carbon footprint!

Summer 2008 News
Departing teachers
Y Pant summer festival
New technology trial
Music and Art
Friends of Y Pant Quiz
Year 8 Police Quiz
Y Pant band releases 1st single
Year 8 Environment Day
News Archive

Water Water Everywhere?

On Friday 18th January, 10 students from years 7, 8 and 9 at Y Pant traveled to the Corus Steel works in Port Talbot to take part in this years’ Learning Circles project. The theme of the day, and of the project was “Water Water Everywhere?”. They met with students from 4 other schools in their Learning Circle: Ysgol Llangafwg, Ysgol Plasmawr, Ysgol Clwydog and Porthcawl Comprehensive and took part in some tough team tasks which stretched them to the limit. The team from Y Pant excelled themselves, winning 2 out of 3 tasks!
For the next 8 weeks the team prepared a project on the subject of “Lack of Clean Drinking Water” as well as contributing to research for topics being studied by the other schools in their Learning Circle. The team were given access to a Moodle forum to discuss and share resources as well as an International Youth Forum where they hope to be able to talk to other young people who may have first hand experience of the issues involved. The participants (l to r):

Michael Gilheaney (9), Amy Jones (9), Molly Utting (7), Matthew Knight (9), Matthew Ingram (8), Martha Reed (8), Rhys Morgan (9), Helen Needs (8), Harry Flint (7) and Paul Karamura (7).

The team chose to present their final project in the form of a website. From there they have provided links to podcasts, videos, presentations and leaflets helping us all to learn about how a lack of access to clean water is a real death sentence to many millions. Everything on the website was created by members of the team and was uploaded to the iEarn website and shared with people around the world.
Their work can be seen by following this link.
The Learning Circles project is supported by iEarn (the International and Educational Resource Network) and the Water, Water Everywhere? learning circle has been sponsored by Dysg and WSSA. The students have been supported by Mrs Helen Jones and Miss Lucy Bunce.

Young Enterprise Success for the Business Studies Department

Young Enterprise Rhondda Taff Ely Area Board Final 2008

Tuesday 18th March at the Heritage Park Hotel

Y Pant students have been involved in the Young Enterprise Company Programme for the past 12 months. This has involved the pupils running their own business and dealing with both the successes and difficulties that have arisen. The running of the businesses has been overseen by Miss Jayne Gavaghan (Head of Business Studies) and Jackie Thomas (Business Advisor from Perkin Elmer).
The Area Board Final required students to :

  • design a Trade Stand to promote their product to judges and other Young Enterprise competitors,
  • Submit a Company Report with interim accounts and
  • Give a 5 minute presentation to judges, other competitors and visitors.
Schools from across RCT attended the Area Final, all entering one team each, with Y Pant entering two teams, ‘The Pink Elephants and ‘Spirit Dance Squad’.

Spirit Dance Squad’ realised early on that Alex Hessy-White as a trained dance teacher could be something to develop a business around. The group was formed and job roles were assigned according to their strengths,

  • Bethan Pritchard & Amy Davies – Managing Director,
  • Bailey Davies – Finance and Design,
  • Alix Crothers – Secretary,
  • Gemma Cooper – Dance Coach and
  • Alex Hessy-White – Head Dance Coach.
The group approached E3+ co-ordinators and as a result took part in a successful promotional day in July 2007. The girls received good responses from their year 6, 7 and 8 customers who praised their enthusiasm and level of commitment. The lessons provided much fun and proved a very profitable venture for the team (generating £1000 revenue for 6 months of trading!).
The Pink Elephants’ were very well organised straight from the start allowing them to seize an opportunity to develop a leavers DVD for year 6 students. Team members decided to develop the product with their old primary school – Pontyclun Primary. Roles were allocated as follows;

  • Charlotte Smith – Managing Director,
  • Georgina Heard – Finance Manager,
  • Tom Rowlands – ICT Manager,
  • Greg Robinson – ICT Advisor,
  • Bethan Smyth – Sales Manager,
  • Tom White & Kate Prior – Sales Advisors,
  • Lois Payne – Marketing Manager and
  • Steph Lamerton – Marketing Advisor.

The DVD proved to be a successful venture but the team refused to stop there! The Pink Elephants’ went on to create links with youth leaders at Bethal Baptist Church to help them raise the profile of their own ‘Agape Café’. The team promoted and organised a gig with huge success. A second gig was then organised proving once again that The Pink Elephants’ had winning elements. The team have future plans to organise more gigs, repeat the success of the DVD sales with a new year 6 Cohort and sit their GCSE exams in the next few months!

Area Board Final – Results

Prizes were awarded on the day for ‘Best Company Report’, ‘Best Trade Stand’ and ‘Best Presentation’.

Y Pant took away two of the three Awards;

‘Best Company Report’The Pink Elephants’

‘Best Trade Stand’ – ‘Spirit Dance Squad’

The Pink Elephants’ also progressed through to the next stage of the competition as a ‘Young Enterprise Winner’. The next stage is the Strategic Board Area Finals in May where they will meet winners from other Area Board Finals.
“The students involved have shown enthusiasm and dedication to this project and have achieved success for all their hard work. I have been really pleased with the level of commitment and the professional approach of students. I’m sure I have witnessed the first business experience of many managers and entrepreneurs of the future! Well done to all the students who have taken part.” (Miss Gavaghan)

Further information about Young Enterprise at Y Pant can be found on the Business Studies website.