It was good to see so many parents here on Thursday night at our Year 11 Options Evening. The information that you would have received from Mr Bryn Jones and my colleagues in their subject areas would, I hope, have been of real value to you. Choosing what to do in education after the age of 16 can sometimes be difficult but will always be important.
It was my great privilege on Wednesday to accompany a group of students and their parents to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. Hollie Williams, Cerys Blanch, Ed Jones and Oliver Smyth were all invited to attend a presentation ceremony to recognise the fact that they had each achieved 100% attendance for all 5 years of their secondary school life. They were amongst only 33 of a possible 14 500 pupils to receive such a prestigious award. It was a proud moment for Y Pant when 4 of those 33 were presented their award by Leighton Andrews AM, Minister for Education. Well done to all 4; I am sure that they will go on and make real successes of their lives.
Also this week Matthew Ingram, Ben Hopkins, Martha Reed, Connor Brewer and Helen Needs were recognised as finalists in the Youth Work in Wales Excellence Awards 2012 for their work on Jack and the Beanstalk. Da Iawn pawb! I look forward to their next extravaganza which I’m told sounds a bit like Cinder-Abba (may not be the right spelling!)
I’ve already mentioned Amy Jones’s debating achievements in a previous blog; great to see the pictures of her in South Africa representing Wales. Good to hear that Amy and James Watt have qualified (again!) for the Oxford Debating finals.
And yet more congratulations must got to Rebecca Evans for her tremendous success in the Welsh National Indoor Championships…3000 metres in 10 minutes 24 seconds practically beggars belief! Good luck for the future, Rebecca.
It would have been nice to have welcomed the skiing party home with no broken bones. Unfortunately, Mrs Johns’ attempts to negotiate a particularly challenging and tricky MacDonald’s car park somewhere in Germany ended in an arm in a plaster cast!
No predictions but fingers crossed for a Welsh Triple Crown and a Welsh victory in a Wembley final on the same weekend. A once in a lifetime opportunity?
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.
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.”
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.”
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!
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.
On 4th February a selection of Year 12 students travelled to Oxford University for an open day at the English Faculty.
Jodie Simpson, Elizabeth Hinton, Martha Reed, Sophie Vellam and Matthew Ingram were given talks and advice as to the nature of studying English at Oxford, the admissions and interview process and finance. They were also able to experience a lecture on a number of topics. All of the students either opted for the ‘Sense from Nonsense Writing’ lecture or the ‘Women in Shakespeare’ lecture and found the lectures to be thought provoking, stimulating and a genuine insight into Oxford study.
This was followed by a tour of Oxford’s colleges conducted by current Oxford students. This proved a great opportunity to find out more about the city, its colleges and their quirks – such as the latest must join society, The Quidditch Union! On a more serious note the students were able to find out a great deal about student life in Oxford.
All in all the students found the day to be informative and interesting and all came away wanting to join or form a Quidditch Society in their futures!
Y Pant U16 Girl’s football team continue their winning streak by beating Treorchy 3-1 in the National Stages of the WSFA Inter School Competition. The team now proceeds to the quarter finals. Congratulations to the whole team who played a fantastic game of football.
The goal scorers were by Niamh Tinman, Georgia John and Lucie-Anne Davies. Da iawn girls!
Alice Pugh, Millie Jones, Charly Williams, Grace Jenkins, Bethan Pemberton, Kathryn Davies, Eithne Moss, Shannon Richards, Morgan Waters, Sophia Tarling, Lucie-Anne Davies, Georgia John, Niamh Tinman and Kayleigh Powell.
Great news about the girls’ gymnastics success. Very well done girls and good luck to Brook Powell and Emily McKenzie in the regional finals. I’d also like to congratulate Matthew Ingram on his nomination for an award for his brilliant version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Fingers crossed for further success there.
Remember everyone that the school is closed tomorrow (Friday 10th). I wish all you lucky skiers a great holiday…no broken bones please… and hope that everyone has an enjoyable and relaxing half-term.
Last January pantomime fever swept Y Pant as the school’s first show to be entirely produced by pupils, Jack and the Beanstalk, was performed to acclaim from all who attended the shows at Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre, and now the project has been shortlisted for a Welsh Assembly Government award!
The show, helped along by the school’s drama department and Head of Drama Mr Thomas as well as E3+, is nominated in the category of ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Skills for Young People’ at the Welsh Assembly Youth Work Wales Awards and as a result a number of cast and crew will be attending an awards ceremony in the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff, on 23rd February where the winners will be announced – fingers crossed!