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

easyfundraising-logo-transparent-1

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.

easyfundraising-logowall-500x400

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.

surf2016-1

surf2016-2

surf2016-3

surf2016-4

surf2016-5

Life Sciences Challenge Final

Last week, year 10 students Ieuan Davies, Caitlin Langstone, Emily Prewett and Megan Rees, reached the national final of the Life Sciences Challenge. This annual competition consists of a quiz set by PhD students and researchers at the Cardiff University School of Medicine for KS4 students to test their knowledge and understanding of medical sciences. The Y Pant team were narrowly beaten in the final by Whitchurch High School, but we’re very proud of the way in which they represented the school.  Mrs Mitchell, Head of Science, described the competition as “like watching University Challenge” – the standard was that high!

lifesciences 1

lifesciences 2

Daniel and Noah’s “Mission Discovery”

On the afternoon of Sunday the 10th of July, we boarded a coach to London. We were to spend a week at a university with officials at NASA and former astronauts; the opportunity felt rather surreal. After a 4 hour journey, we arrived at ‘Moonraker Point’; student accommodation situated near Guy’s Campus, King’s College London.

The Campus upon which we studied. (This photo is labelled for reuse with modification) Source: Bridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Museum_of_Pathology
The Campus upon which we studied. (This photo is labelled for reuse with modification) Source: Bridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Museum_of_Pathology

It was here that we were designated our flat numbers and had an opportunity to socialise with other pupils undertaking the course. Many of the students were from South Wales but there were also international students from India, Spain and France. After an introduction to the programme and a visit to a restaurant, we settled down in preparation for the days ahead.

studentaccomodation

Introductions and morning sessions were held by Sarah Murray- Assistant Chief of EVA, Robotics and Crew Systems at NASA. The main aim of the week was to design and propose ideas for an experiment, with the best idea being launched into space and carried out by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

An evening event with Michael Foale
An evening event with Michael Foale

Together with our groups, the ‘Mission Discovery ‘ team set us tasks and challenges that served to test and refine a number of key skills. Time was allocated to independently discuss and develop ideas for our experiments.  To design our experiment we also had to follow a set of criteria and constraints that included cost, size, and the limitation of interaction with the experiment by the astronauts; due to the importance of their duties elsewhere.  Coping with these limitations involved using numeracy skills and allowed us the opportunity to learn how to budget. We also had to pro-actively engage with our groups regarding any identifiable changes that could be made to the experiments, following new information we were given each day.

Additionally, throughout the days, we were given lectures illustrating how space exploration benefits lives on Earth and the effect of micro-gravity on the body. Amongst a number of high class lecturers were top professionals; including Professor Steve HarridgeProfessor of Human and Applied Physiology and Dr. Julie Keeble, a lecturer in Pharmacology.

We also heard from Mike Foale CBE- Former Astronaut and International Space Station Commander. His stories and escapades- including a near-fatal collision while aboard the Russian space station ‘Mir’- emphasised the NASA ‘you can do it’ spirit. His journey to becoming an incredibly successful astronaut conveyed how best to achieve dreams and ambitions, and also provided us with information that was vital when developing our experiments. In the evenings we had the opportunity to dine in local restaurants, and also to take in the sights of the sprawling city. Places of note included Tower Bridge and the London Eye; equally as spectacular in the darkness as the daylight.

The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern

towerbridge

After a great deal of research and preparation, our experiment ideas were finalised in time for the last day, Friday the 15th. They consisted of ‘The growth of kelp in microgravity conditions’, along with ‘The effectiveness of different types of fungicide in killing the magnaporthe oryzae fungus in microgravity’ and were to be presented to a panel of judges- including senior lectures from King’s College London and Mike Foale himself- if we were both to reach the final . Before this, we both had to face fierce competition from a number of other groups, each with incredibly in depth ideas and reasoning. Both our groups passed through the heats and entered into the final. We were required to give an 8 minute presentation in front of the panel of judges and over 65 pupils from around the world. In the end, we finished as finalists- losing out only narrowly to a team that focused on the growth of mycobacteria. Despite this, the experience was extremely enlightening; we developed presentation and team building skills that will no doubt benefit us highly in the future.

With regards to going to university, a relatively close prospect, it did indeed aid in ideas for future plans and possibly job prospects. The sheer amount of topics and skills that were developed will hopefully prove to be a positive addition to any career that we choose to follow- not only restricted to the region of astrophysics and space travel.

 

-Noah Evans and Daniel Schoen, Year 12

 

 

 

 

Y Pant pupils try out inclusive sports at the Disability Sport Wales event

On Friday September 9th a group of year 7 and 8 pupils attended and event organised by Disability Sport Wales. This event provided with the perfect opportunity to try over 25 sports, with a range of adapted equipment.

The two day event is supported by Local Authorities across the South Wales region and National Governing Bodies of sport, and offers children, young people and adults the opportunity to take part in a range of activities. On the day various sports were showcased, all run by club coaches. They include archery, football, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, bowls, cycling, tennis, wheelchair rugby, karate and wheelchair racing plus many more. New sports for this year were rugby, goalball, judo, and gymnastics, making it the biggest InSport series ever!

Y Pant pupils had the opportunity to enjoy all the activities and get to know famous sports women and men.

disabilitysports1 disabilitysports3 disabilitysports4 disabilitysports5 disabilitysports6

Continental Breakfast for year 7’s next week

Calling all year 7 students !!!!!!!!

Next Monday, 26th September, we are celebrating European Language Day!
All year 7 students are invited to our continental breakfast (muffins, croissants, juice, brioche….) at break time at MFL department.  We will have French/Spanish music, quizzes, games and much more!!

To take part and avoid disappointment you need to bring £1 before Friday lunch time to either myself or senorita O’Keefe.

Gracias, merci, diolch, grazie, obrigado,danke, dziękuję 🙂

continental-breakfast-poster

Parent / carer information evening for year 11 pupils – 22nd September 6:30pm

Dear Parent / Guardian,
We would like to invite you to an information evening on Thursday 22nd September at 6:30 p.m.
This is specifically for year 11 parents to outline the following:
  1. To communicate key dates throughout the year
  2. To inform parents of procedures and initiatives we offer
  3. To inform parents of the changes to GCSE examination in language and mathematics
  4. To provide parents with an overview of how they can assist the school and their child this year.
Students do not need to attend the evening but can if they wish.
Please could you inform us via revision@ypant.co.uk  or write a note within your child’s planner if you will be attending.
Unfortunately due to ongoing building work all cars will need to park at the bottom of the drive as we still have a considerable amount of building work going on.
We look forward to welcoming you on the 22nd .
Yours sincerely
Mrs B Cheetham
Deputy Headteacher
Y Pant Comprehensive School