Category Archives: News Autumn 2007

News for the Autumn term 2007

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
Golf Development Day

Golf Development Days at the Vale of Glamorgan Golf Club

On the 15 th and the 16 th November 2007 a group of pupils was chosen by the Physical Education Department to take part in a ‘Golf Development Day’ at the Vale of Glamorgan Golf Club.

During the two days the pupils were filmed taking part in a number of challenging and varied Golf-related games and tasks which they helped to set up and organise as well as participating in them. On the second day, pupils were taken to the Driving Range to show off their newly acquired skills. Non-golfers were coached by the experts and improved immensely showing a new found appreciation for the sport.Golf Development Day

With the Ryder Cup to be held in Wales in September 2010, this activity provided our pupils with an excellent opportunity to develop their skill levels and promote the sport to other students. Many of the pupils who took part are already regular golf club users with some presenting a golf handicap of as low as 15! Watch out Tiger Woods!

Golf Development Wales will use the film to produce a CD Rom Training Package which will be used as a coaching package to develop any potential Junior Golfers.

It will no doubt prove to be a useful resource for all golf clubs in Wales and provide helpful examples of how to provide fun and enjoyable golf sessions at Junior Level.

The contribution from Y Pant’s students will be acknowledged in the CD and in recognition of our support the school will receive a complimentary copy which staff and students will be able to enjoy.

Pupils involved in the project included practised golfers and complete novices from a range of ages. These were Matthew Southcombe, Tom Grother and Natalie Hopkins in Year 10, Joe Francis in Year 9, Nikita John in Year 8 and Katie Clarke and Phillipa Loam both in Year 7. The organisers were extremely impressed with both the behaviour and ability of the pupils, as well as their mature and helpful attitude displayed throughout filming.

Well done Golfers!

All Wales School Core Programme Quiz

On Thursday, November 29th, ten teams from schools across R.C.T travelled to Hawthorn Leisure Centre to compete in the RCT regional round of the ‘All Wales School Core Programme Quiz’ organised by the South Wales Constabulary.

The competition tested the pupils’ knowledge of topics such as, ‘Legal Ages in Law’, ‘Be Safe’ and ‘Observation’.

Y Pant School’s team won the competition and will go on to represent the county in the South Wales regional heat to take place in Cardiff in January of the new year. The winning team was made up of 5 pupils from year 8. Helen Needs (Team Captain), Amy Lavis, Lauren Richards, Andrew Davies and Matthew Edwards.

Mrs Jenkins (Head of Yr 8 at Y Pant) with the support of P.C. Tony Parker, prepared the students for the quiz, and commended the competitors for their dedication and hard work.

Girls into Science, Engineering and Technology (GETSET)

On Wednesday 14th November Y Pant school was invited to take part in the girls into Science, Engineering and Technology challenge 2007. The event was held at Llantrisant leisure centre. Three teams of four were entered along with twenty other teams from across the county.

The day had been organised by the Education Business Partnership who had gathered a number of employers from across South Wales. Employers set the groups a number of tasks to complete throughout the day. These tasks included building a bridge that had to hold a 14 stone person, building a Go Kart, a ping pong ball thrower, a programmable buggy and a pneumatically operated rocket. Each group had to select three tasks whose work was then evaluated by the employers.

The winning group was Year 09 girls from Y Pant consisting of Alisha Huish, Vicky Trott, Emma Gentle and Clare Phillips. Judges remarked that the team had worked well as a group to solve these difficult tasks within a very tight time limit.

Y Pant received the inaugural shield and each team member was awarded an individual prize of a socket set and a certificate.

Cross Country Championships

On Wednesday 12 th December 2007 the Physical Education Department took pupils to the Glamorgan Valleys Cross Country Championships. The event, held at Newbridge Fields, Bridgend, included schools from Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Congratulations to Rebecca Evans who used clever pacing and tactics to move away from the rest of the field with 600m to go, finishing in first place in the year 7 race. Ellie Havard, also year of 7 held off a strong challenge from Cwm Rhymni runners to finish in a creditable 8th place.

The Junior Girls Competition consisted of both year 8 and year 9 runners, yet Nikita John of Year 8 who had recently returned from injury, showed great strength and determination throughout the race to finish 2nd.

Also running in this field was Terri Casey-Barter, Year 9, who ran strongly to outpace the pack to finish in 6th place.

Y Pant School rugby star moves up a league

Mark Wool, our Deputy Prefect in year 13, has progressed through the ranks of mini, junior and youth rugby to represent Great Britain in the Under 18 Rugby League Squad. During the summer of 2007, Mark decided to try his luck at rugby league and commenced training and playing with the Valley Cougars, based in Aberdare.

Mark’s aptitude for the game was obvious and during his first game he gained a brace of tries and three conversions. His potential was immediately recognised and he was invited to train with the Celtic Crusaders – joining their academy set-up.

The success led to training and trials with the Wales U18’s squad where Mark gained a place in the squad to play against Scotland. The fixture was also the regional trial for the Great Britain squad and Mark made a try scoring debut in the 36 – 0 victory.

After two club games and one for his country, Mark was offered the ultimate accolade of playing for his nation; he was selected to play for the “Great Britain U18’s Community Lions” against France Juniors in the Pamier Stadium, Toulouse.

On Weds 5 th December and with two hundred minutes of game experience – Mark made the giant step from an excellent local talent – to a young man representing his nation, a very proud moment for his parents Andrew and Caroline.

The game in Southern France was a pulsating contest with end to end rugby. Mark joined the action 5 minutes before half time and played through to the final whistle, a daunting task for one with such limited experience – but Mark thoroughly enjoyed it.

The game finished 26 – 26, an excellent result on French soil.

Mark’s dedication, determination and enthusiasm for the game of rugby have led to his success in the sport. He has played the game in two codes, passed his level one coaching and refereeing qualifications, which he utilises in assisting with both our school teams and his brother’s Under 13’s team at Pontyclun Rugby Club.

Mark Wool is a prodigious talent who may well become one of the international players of the future. He is an exemplary pupil and an excellent role model for our younger students.

Bag Packing in M&S

Amongst the hubbub of Christmas shopping this Saturday, sixth formers from Y Pant gave up their precious time to pack bags in Marks and Spencer to raise money for charity.

The team, led by Sam Chan, spent 5 hours in the food section of Marks and Spencer packing shoppers’ bags and raised an impressive £276.

The money will go towards buying decorations and presents for the Old People’s Christmas Party, being held here in the school on the 14 th December.

Y Pant’s Charity Committee would also like to extend their gratitude to Marks and Spencer for being so supportive of their efforts and appreciate their help on the matter.

Salvation Army Appeal

In December 2007 , Y Pant School continued with its commitment to charity work by donating toys and Christmas hampers for those in need in our local community.
Salvation Army member, Captain Paula Hubbard, arrived at the school to be amazed by the generosity of the pupils this year. She was greeted by a tremendous amount of brand new toys and luxury Christmas food items which have been donated by the pupils from Year 7 to 13.

Pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 were asked to buy a gift for under-privileged children from 0-16 in this area, whilst the older pupils collected luxury food items for the elderly, who may not be able to get to the shops over the Christmas period.

Sixth Formers Lauren Stamp, Jess Bennett, Libby Anderson and Naomi Lawson played a key role in the appeal, encouraging pupils to be generous and arranging a display of the items for the Salvation Army collection.

Captain Paula Hubbard noted that “the appeal has been a resounding success with a really impressive amount of toys and gifts being donated.” Pupils of Y Pant should be very proud of what they have managed to achieve, not only the significant donation they have made but also by entering into the true meaning of Christmas.

Senior Citizens Christmas Concert

On Friday night, Y Pant School threw open its doors, for the first time in its recent history to the older members of its local community, inviting over 100 senior citizens to a Christmas Party.

The preparations, which began back in September, were undertaken by a team of Sixth Formers led by Laura Ellis and Sam Chan. In the weeks leading up to the party they visited care homes and liaised with the Old Age Association, establishing links between the school and community and forming a guest list.

Funding came largely from the E3+ community project, whose officer Caroline Wool also guided the Sixth Form through the planning process. However, members of the Sixth Form also spent their weekends fundraising to pay for decorations and sherry for the revellers, and were extremely grateful to Marks and Spencer for allowing them to pack bags whilst raising money.

The afternoon was a tremendous success. Buses brought over 100 senior citizens to the school at two-thirty, to be greeted by voluntary staff and pupils who gave up their time to entertain their guests. Many of the senior citizens commented that it had been over 30 years since they had stepped foot in Y Pant, either as parents or as members of staff.

Highlights of the afternoon included carol singing, a buffet and mince pie and sherry toast, a raffle and the very popular bingo. Y Pant would like to pass on its thanks to the Butcher’s Arms in Llantrisant and Crabtree and Evelyn, both of whom donated very generous gifts for the raffle.

The party drew to a close with a truly festive atmosphere and a buzz of excitement that Y Pant had achieved a renewed relationship with the “recycled teenagers” of its community, and many of the guests commented on how wonderful it was to be remembered at this busy time of year.

The success of the Christmas Party for all involved was a testament to the hard work and commitment that went into arranging it and, hopefully, is the beginning of an annual event which will be looked forward to all year round.