Year 8 – Drawing Fish

As part of the 3D ‘Fabulous Fish’ project, Year 8 pupils were asked to carry out direct observations of real fish (sprats!). After recovering from the initial shock of drawing real fish, pupils were able to appreciate the shape, colour and patterns of these small but beautiful fish.

“The first thing we did look at a sprat before drawing in biro pen. We then had to add the little details such as the eyes, gills and scales. After finishing the detail we had to colour part of the fish with felt pens. We hadn’t had very much experience with felt tip pens so it was quite hard. Mrs Nowell-Hughes showed us how to blend the colour with water and a paintbrush. We really enjoyed it as it was great to have an experience to sketch a live study and captured a glimpse of the many colours and features of the fish. It was interesting to see how the felt pen looked as if it were a watercolour study.”

Written by Bethan Williams and Laith Hafid, Year 8

If you want to have a go yourself, here are some suggestions:

  • Choose any real fish that has interesting colour and pattern (we have used sprats, mackerel and halibut)
  • Draw out basic shape in pencil before working into the shape and detail in biro pen.
  • Sketch out loose lines using a variety of coloured felt pens. Try to render form (follow the contours of the fish)
  • Paint over the work with a watered brush to blend in the felt colours


French Visitors

Collège & Lycée Immaculée Jean Paul 2 from Rennes, France visited Y Pant on the 13 February.  35 French pupils were paired up with pupils from years 10,11 and 12.  They sampled a variety of lessons as well as spending break and lunchtime in a Welsh school.  The following day, Y Pant pupils met up with their French partners in a very wet and windy Cardiff Bay.  Some good friendships were made during the visit and we hope to take part in an exchange visit with the collège in the future.

Y Pant Logo

Deputy Head’s Blog

A long half term has finally come to an end.  I’d like to wish everybody a pleasant and relaxing holiday, particularly the pupils and teachers heading off to Austria on the ski trip.  I’m told that the snow is good out there and that the 24 hour coach trip will be well worth it!  No broken limbs please!

Mr Gareth Howells tells me that James Watt and Amy Jones did tremendously well in the Cambridge Deabting finals this week.  Up against teams almost exculsively from independent schools such as Westminster (Nick Clegg’s old school), they narrowly failed to make the semi finals on the day.  I’m told they had a rough deal, though; exactly how do you propose in favour of a motion that America should be allowed to impose democracy upon any state it chooses to?  Well done to both of them and many thanks to Mr Howells.

The Learn Smart trip to St Fagans went extremely well with our pupils once again doing themselves and the school proud.  The project should make a real difference to the learning and thinking skills of our Year 8 pupils.  It was also good to welcome back the staff and students who visited Sweden as part of the Comenius project as well as, in turn, welcoming French exchange students and teachers into the school.  A real air of globalism has been in evidence this week!

A major part of our job in the coming weeks will be to appoint a new History and Science teacher to the school.  We have had in excess of 80 applicants for the History job and are expecting a similar number for the Science job.  These sort of figures are becoming par for the course in Y Pant and say a lot about our reputation in the wider world of education.  We are the sort of school that teachers very much want to work in.  It’s a challenging task sifting through so many applications from so many talented candidates but it’s a task that we take very seriously, possibly one of the most important things we do all year, because we want only the very best teachers to take their place in our classrooms.

Again, have a good break everyone.


Learn Smart trip to St. Fagans

Learn Smart trip to St. Fagans, Tuesday 15th of February

by Mrs. Sara Nowell-Hughes

St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open–air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction. It seemed a perfect choice of location to carry out the Learn Smart year 8 trip. The aim of the trip was to visit particular buildings around St. Fagans which linked with the theme of ‘A Sense of Place’. In small groups pupils tried to find out information which would help them to learn more about the local Welsh history. Each pupil had a specific role within the group and then needed to present their findings in the next Learn Smart lesson. The roles were: Team Leader, Team participant, Scribe, Photographer, and Artist.

One group per class was also responsible in making a film based on the ‘You Shoot’ project. They followed their planned story board and were able to use the PE Departments Flip cameras to film the footage. Their work will be edited after the ½ term and will be submitted for the Comenius ‘community’ project.

After a frantic start to the trip (making sure that nearly all 200 students were on the 4 coaches) we arrived at St. Fagans in the rain! The Learn Smart groups were then able to go off to their starting points to begin their activities. We managed to visit all the relevant areas such as the stores, Workmens Hall, the School etc.

Apparently the highlight of the trip was the sweet and bread shops! It was not an unusual sight to see a Y Pant student walking around with a loaf of bread under their arm, munching away at it in the rain!

This is what two pupils thought about the visit;

On the 15th of February we went to St.Fagans as part of the “you shoot” project. It was a very valuable educational experience for the whole of year 8. We all had different tasks to do on the trip. Eventually we got to the old shops and got very hungry and decided to buy a loaf of crusty, homemade, hot bread. Some people didn’t do that and bought sweets and fudge. And before we knew it we had to go home. =( by Bryce and Dylan.

Swedish Newspaper Fame!

During our recent Comenius visit to Sweden, Y Pant students Jackie, Brogan, Bethan and Sophie found their picture in the local paper!  A reporter from the Vasterbottens Folkblad visited the school on the Thursday and interviewed several students about their experiences.

Click to view a larger version of the article. The Y Pant girls can be seen in the smaller photos at the bottom, middle photo.

The translation below has been kindly provided by Heléne Ericsson, English teacher and Comenius co-ordinator of our host school Carlshöjdsskolan.

Article from Vasterbottens Folkblad, Fredag 11 februari, 2011

Sweden, an exotic country with picking candy, snow mattresses and loads of snow? Students from Italy, Holland and Wales had a speedy first day at Carlshöjdsskolan.

Late Wednesday evening nine teachers and 16 students arrived from Carlshöjdsskolan’s partner schools in Wales, Holland, Germany and Italy to Umeå.  Students and teachers will be in Umeå until Sunday, participating in a EU Comenius project for lifelong learning.

The Thursday started of softly with a round of presentations and the occasional awe of having ended up in the middle of the freezing north with -15 degrees and deep snow.
When VF comes to visit the students are playing soccer in the gym hall.
- It was the Italians who came up with the idea, says Fanni Björklund in 9A.
One of the boys from Holland is staying with her family and many of the activities are spontaneous together with other host families housing foreign students during the visit. And the planned program during the days are actually secret to the visiting young people.
- We have no idea what is going to happen, it is really fun. I love the snow and meeting new people, says Italian Yuri Feretti who, with his 18 years of age, is one of the oldest in the group.  He has previously went to both Holland and Wales for exchanges withing the Comenius programme.

Students pass on the elks

The students will among other things experience the school lunch, snow mattresses, buying candy by the weight and being surrounded by lots and lots of snow. The teachers involved spend the mornings in project meetings at school but will for instance go to the Elk house on Saturday to get closely acquainted with the king of the forest. But that outing doesn’t appeal to the students, Linn Claesson from 9 A tells us.
- The students and the teachers have different activities. We want to go skiing, skating and snow mattressing.
Neither Linn nor Fanni has been able to go on an exchange visit in Italy, Holland or Wales, since the students going must be lucky enough to win their participating in a lottery.  But having someone visiting cheers up during the rather dull month of February and is a nice break from ordinary school now that the national exams in Swedish are just finished.
- Nothing much goes on here before the winter holiday week 10, Linn Claesson says.
- We just long for the summer and then it is nice to have visitors that are not so used to the snow here, Fanni Björklund agrees.
The girls continue by saying that Sweden is experienced by the visiting students as the most exotic country in the exchange.
- They wanted to know if we knew French or if we just spoke our own language. And if we had any cinemas.

Keeping contact over the Internet

There is no cinema visit planned but the students from Carlshöjdsskolan has chosen Koops by Josef Fares as a relaxing afternoon activity at school. And a fun way to experience yet another cultural aspect of Sweden. A guided city tour for both students and teachers is planned with a visit to the city council, the library and the snow castle by the river.  Hopefully the exchange will result in good friendship or contacts for future travel and cultural experiences.
Fanni Björklund and Linn Claesson both have Facebook accounts, something that is not as common among the students from the visiting countries.
When VF steps into the teachers’ room one of the Swedish students are explaining how you can start your own groups on Facebook to keep in contact in the future.

Other new things they came in contact with?

- The Dutch students don’t put butter on their sandwiches, Linn Claesson says.
- I’m going to Vännäs to use a sauna and go snowboarding for the very first time, Rick Matthijssen from Holland says.

Picture captions:

Big picture:

Snow mattress. Despite the cold all students from Italy, Holland, Germany and Wales appreciated their very first snow mattress race.

Bottom picture row, left to right:

Study break. Linn Claesson and Fanni Björklund from class 9A on Carlshöjdsskolan appreciate the visit.
Soccer cup. The Italians came up with the idea to play soccer in the gym hall after the ice-breaker games.
No elks. There is a visit to the Elk house on the teachers’ programme but the students rather play in the snow.
Friends. Julia Van Agtmaal and Lieke Buys are two fourteen-year-olds from Holland who love IKEA.
Winter games. Many of the students had never played in the snow previously. Here they get to try Swedish mattress racing.

Picture row, left side, top to bottom:

What do you think about Sweden and Umeå?
Julia van Agtmaal, 14, Holland.
- Great fun. I want to learn more about Swedish culture, eat Swedish foot and try snowboarding for the first time.
Rein v/d Elshout, 15, Holland.
- I went to Sweden for vacation with my parents last summer. It was fantastic to experience winter now. I love the nature.
Giulia Bini, 17, Italy.
- We are from Tuscany so we have never played in the snow like this before. Absolutely wonderful.
Yuri Ferretti, 18, Italy.
- I love the snow and meeting new people and practice my English. I’m looking forward to tasting Swedish food.
Lieke Buys, 14, Holland.
- Everything they have planned they keep a secret to us so it’s a surprise. I knew of IKEA before, “Smöland” and that we use the same words for yes and no. We understand a little when people in the host family speak Swedish, that is fun.


Model United Nations Conference Debate

On Thursday 17th of February, six year nine students will accompany Mr. Swallow to the National Assembly building in Cardiff Bay to begin their preparations for a debating contest with a difference!

Zoe Fullbrook, William Taylor, Sami Bryant, Mitchell Binding, Zaid Hammoudeh and Hannah Seymour will be representing two United Nations member countries (Kenya and Sri Lanka) in the global fight for access to clean water. Hosted by CEWC (Active Citizenship for Wales and the World), the gathering on Thursday of delegations from schools around Wales will be a chance for the Y Pant students to prepare for the actual ‘Model UN Conference’ to be held at the end of March! Competing against students aged 17 and 18, the year nine pupils will need to have their pitch ready to do their adopted countries proud!

January lates

Year 8 January 2011


We have counted up the number of merits achieved by each form.  This month we have counted all the merits from September to the end of January.  Next month it will just be February.

Da iawn to Brofiscin who got 350 merits between them!

Brofiscin are also on to a winner as the pupil with the highest number of merits is also in this form – Kyle Foster with 49 merits!

We’ve also had a look at those students who are late to lessons.  Maelwg students were late to 31 lessons over the course of the month between them which means they have the lowest score.  This can still be improved.  Arfau and Caerau need to make some big improvements as they had about 80 lesson lates each.

January lates


Day 2 in Sweden

It was a bit of a shock this morning to wake up to -19 on the thermometer.  It’s the kind of temperature that if you don’t get your mittens on before you go outside you regret it for ages.

Bike in snow
Cycling is popular in Sweden, even in -19! But if you leave your bike outside in a snow storm you might struggle

We were back in school this morning and got to have more of a tour of the buildings and also outside.  From a teachers’ point of view what struck me the most was absolute calmness of the school.  As I said yesterday it is a small school – and with a wide age range.  There is no set time for break and lunch.  Every class has a separate timetable which means they take breaks at different times.  For any teachers reading this, working out duty is not an issue as they don’t do duty.  Pupils go outside completely unsupervised.  Eating is permitted anywhere. No one wears uniform and pupils call teachers by their first names.  Perhaps the larger schools are different.  It’s a great atmosphere but I don’t know how well it would translate to a school the size of Y Pant.

We also quizzed the teachers on the school system in Sweden a little more today.  In year 9 (our year 11) pupils sit exams in Maths, Swedish, English and Science but their final grades also depend on their teacher assessing how well they have done over the year.  No one chooses options at 14 as everyone is taught the same curriculum but at 16, you choose to go to a specialised school to study either “theoretical” subjects such as Swedish or History, or something more practical such as technology or science.  They have no ICT lessons at all and are very excited as 80 laptops are being delivered to the school next month.

After lunch (tex mex kyckling or chicken today – no porridge) we were taken on a walking tour of Umeå.  The town appears fairly new having been burned down and raided by the Russians several time during its’ history.  The river is completely frozen over all winter.  Whilst we could see vehicle tracks on the ice and did see someone walking across – people rarely do as the ice thickness is not tested.  Further inland they apparently use the rivers as roads in winter though.

The frozen river in Umeå

I think the most fun was had at the ice castle on the riverfront.  This has been built as a play area for children but “children” can be any age.  After the tour we all had time to shop for some souvenirs in the town.

ice castle
The ice castle at night
The dragon carved from snow - it's back and tail is a slide.

This evening all the teachers have been invited to have dinner at a Swedish teacher’s house with their family.  I had a very good meal with Linda and her two children.  We had a moose and mushroom quiche followed by beef, cooked for 12 hours then salted for another 5.  Linda’s 10 year old daughter had cooked a chocolate cake for dessert.  Mrs Harris was given meatballs (better than Ikea apparently!).  When you park your car at home in Sweden you plug the engine into an electrical supply.  The car engines here are set-up so that the electricity will keep them warm to start quickly in the morning.  It is very bad for the environment to start a car in -20.  Just another way that life is organised very differently in the frozen north.

A snow shovel is kept outside every house. You can see the depth of the snow! It's very dry here though so the paths are not at all slippery.

In case you are wondering why the students have not written anything yet, they have been kept very busy with their host families.  I have asked them to take some photos of their own and write something about their experiences when they get back to Wales.

Y Pant Logo

Deputy Head’s Blog

It’s difficult to know where to start this week as so much is happening in school at the moment.  We’ve got pupils and teachers on the Comenius visit to Sweden which looks like a truly unforgettable cultural experience; James Watt and Amy Jones have posted yet another debating victory and are now due to attend finals in both Oxford and Cambridge; the Year 9 Options Evening was tremendously well attended and all Year 9 pupils have now had their options talks from Mr Bryn Jones.  This is an important time for these young people and I wish them well with their choices.  Also, of course, the Powell sporting kiss of death did for Italian and Scottish people last week.  Apologies to the populations of those two countries.

It has been Internet Safety Week this week.  Mrs Lloyd-Davies has been working hard to raise the profile of factors surrounding this vital and pressing issue.  I was pleased to be able to attend one of the assemblies that Mrs Lloyd-Davies delivered to all our year groups this week: powerful, thought-provoking and helpful.  I urge as many parents as possible to attend the parents evening on internet safety which will be held in the school in early March.  Might be worth checking your children’s profiles on social networking sites, too.  Public profiles are extremely dangerous.

Finally, let’s hope that Wales enjoy a better result than last week.