Apologies for the lack of a blog in recent weeks and thanks for the reminders!
Quite a lot has happened since my last blog (including a Grand Slam triumph!) and I’m bound to miss a few things but I’ll try my best to get everyone up to speed with school news.
We’ve appointed a new Geography teacher to replace Mr Guy Swallow in September. Mr Swallow has made quite an impact in his two years in Y Pant in the Geography department, through his work on Eco Schools and as Assistant Head of Sixth Form. His replacement is Mr Rhys Foley who is currently completing his teacher training year in the University of the West of England and who came through a field of nearly 60 high quality candidates. We wish Mr Swallow all the very best in his new job as Head of Geography in Purbeck School and are looking forward to welcoming Mr Foley onto the staff.
It was great to read Mr Pearsall’s blog from Afghanistan. I’m certainly looking forward to keeping up with his missives from that troubled country. We are all proud that our colleague is making such a valuable contribution to helping rebuild post-war Afghanistan and wish him the very safest of safe returns.
A major farewell today: Mr Richard Eynon, our E3+ co-ordinator, is leaving after nearly 5 years in Y Pant. In that time he has made E3+ a central part of the school; Mr Eynon’s work has enriched the learning and social experiences of a generation of our pupils and, for that, he will be fondly remembered. We wish him and his family all the very best in their exciting new venture living, working and studying in Jordan.
We’ve a busy and exciting week leading up to the Easter break. we have our annual Eisteddfod next week and, on Tuesday night, our Annual Presentation Evening. These are major and prestigious events in the school calendar and I look forward to seeing as many pupils (past and present) and parents as possible on Tuesday as well as enjoying the performances and competitions in the Eisteddfod.
For students in Years 11, 12 and 13 there will be information issued in the coming days regarding the availability of revision sessions during the Easter holidays. For Year 11 pupils the sessions will be mostly targetted at pupils at a certain ability level (depending on the subject). Parents will be informed individually by post of the sessions which their sons/daughters should be attending. These make a difference…please use them. Sixth form students will be informed of dates and times by their subject teachers.
Salaam alaykum Y Pant! Mr Pearsall here and if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen me for a while, it’s not because I’m on an extended tea break, it’s because I am training with the Military Stabilisation Support Group in preparation for deployment to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. By the time you read this I will already be in Afghanistan and attached to an infantry company in a patrol base somewhere in Helmand. Since leaving school at the end of October (I hope my classes are working hard for Mr Speight) I have been taking part in an intensive training programme to prepare myself and my colleagues for the rigours of operations in Afghanistan. Also to equip us with the knowledge and expertise to be able to contribute to the successful transition of the region from ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) control to the control of the democratically elected Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (abbreviated to GiRoA).
So what is stabilisation? Well, stabilisation aims to reduce violence and bring economic and political stability to a country or region. It is achieved by coordinated activity across all government departments, coalition and local partners. We can summarise stabilisation using the 4Ps:
Prevent or reduce violence.
Protect the population and key infrastructure.
Promote non-violent politics and local good governance.
Prepare for long-term social and economic development.
To ensure that we are operationally effective we have been developing what are known as our ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. ‘Hard skills’ include effective use of weapons to combat marksman standard; these include (for you ‘Call of Duty’ geeks) the 5.56mm A2 rifle, 9mm Sig pistol and 7.62mm GPMG (general purpose machine gun). We have also been developing our patrolling skills which include ambush drills and appropriate use of lethal force and we have been well trained in the use of counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) drills and equipment. Battlefield first aid and rapid evacuation of casualties are also areas that we have been well versed in for obvious reasons.
Equally importantly our ‘soft skills’ have also been developed and, shock-horror, this has involved a great deal of time in the classroom. Remember, Y Pant School is just preparing you for life-long learning, getting into the habit of learning and enjoying the process will pay dividends for you throughout your life. This area of our training has included a number of diverse topics; language skills (we have been learning Pashto, which is the main language spoken in Helmand), cultural awareness, negotiation skills, finances and budgets, agricultural practices, education and economic development are among a wide range of topics dealt with.
Of course the ‘healthy body; healthy mind’ ethos promoted by the Y Pant School PE Department is also adopted by the Army and we have certainly been put through our paces by our training team and PT (Physical Training) Staff. I will definitely have a chat to Mr Mortimer and the team about the possibility of doing circuit training in body armour, running up and down hills with 25 kg back-packs and casualty drags through the mud. I know Mr Soroko would be up for it, he may even introduce dribbling skills with medicine balls like when he was a young footballer.
As we are training through the Winter months it is difficult to replicate the temperatures that we will encounter during the height of the Afghan Summer. However it has certainly been challenging and training exercises have been as realistic as possible to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible.
As you can appreciate, Afghanistan and in particular Helmand, can be a very hazardous place and operational security is very important. As a consequence I will not write to you about anything that may compromise security or cause concern to the families and friends of myself and my fellow soldiers. However, I hope that I will be able to write to you about a country that is gradually getting itself back on its feet and a country that is learning to put together a fair-minded and effective government that enables its people to live in peace and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. It will not be an easy task but it is a challenge that we are obliged to meet so that the sacrifices of those that went before us will not be in vain. Speak to you soon.
Some students from Y Pant School are going on a Watersports 10 day trip to Spain and France. They will first be going to France to enjoy the rides in Disneyland Paris and then traveling overnight to Spain and will be staying in the Platja D’Aro, Costa Brava. In Spain there will be lots of fun daytime activities including an adventure session, windsurfing, a trip to a waterpark, a trip to Barcelona, banana boating, snorkeling and kayaking. In the evening there will be a quiz night, a visit to the Magic Park Amusement Arcade, a movie night, beach volleyball and a disco or bowling night. The people who are going will receive three meals a day, but remember to take some money to go shopping! There will also be visit to the amazing Nou Camp for a stadium tour at an extra cost. I hope everyone is looking forward to such a great trip, but remember to get your final payments in!
Information about the Hotel
Platja d’Aro is the most touristic and commercial complex on the Costa Brava. Platja d’Aro is located in an enchanting spot in the heart of the Costa Brava, next to a beach of golden sand, plentiful in small heavenly creeks which will undoubtedly delight those who enjoy nature and fishing.
Platja d’Aro owns an infrastructure of services in accordance with nowadays’ needs and requirements regarding leisure, culture, cuisine and trade; in other words, this town possesses all that is needed for enjoying your holidays.
Choir is run by Mr Thomas and is a great place to go if you love to sing. They have performed some great shows this year including two Christmas concerts, a Disney concert and at the OAP’s Christmas party. If you have singing lessons in school, you are required to go to choir, but you if don’t have to have singing lessons you can still join the choir. It’s run on Tuesday lunchtime.
Band is great if you play an instrument, as you can play amongst your friends and participate in concerts. It improves your sight reading and your musical ear. The school orchestra has also been involved in many performances such as the Christmas concerts, and the year sevens have even managed to perform for year 6s! Like choir, if you have instrument lessons you must attend orchestra! It’s run on Wednesday lunchtime.
Theory club is the newest of the clubs and has only been running for a few weeks. It’s run by Mr Breeze and if you are planning on getting higher than grade 5 on your instrumental grades then you need to do theory. If you’re thinking of starting then you need to get a book. Ask Mr Breeze for details. It’s run on Thursday lunchtimes.
Congratulations to Gean Sou Mo Y8, who recently took part in the U15 Badminton Silver Event in Devon. Gean won the singles competition and along with her partner came runner up in the doubles. Congratulations Gean on a fantastic achievement!
Not a huge amount to report from this week but worth bearing in mind that we have some important events coming up next week. The results of examination modules sat in January should be in schools by Thursday so good luck to all pupils who sat those exams. Also next Thursday we have the Year 10 Parents Evening so I’m looking forward to meeting as many parents as possible that night. Year 10 pupils have now settled into their Key Stage 4 courses and their teachers will have plenty to report on as regards their progress.
Year 9 pupils have now all submitted their options requests to Mr Bryn Jones. He is now working assiduously on constructing Options columns which best reflect pupils’ preferences. We are relatively rare amongst schools in our approach to this in that many schools issue Options columns without first consulting the pupils. We build ours around what pupils want and therefore do our very best to accommodate their main preferences. Look out for the next stage of the process when choices are finalised.