zoom winners

Y Pant Film Makers Zoom to Success

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a registered charity helping children and young people from disadvantaged communities in the South Wales Valleys to overcome the obstacles of social and economic disadvantage. Zoom works with children and young people aged 8 to 18 and provides them with access to a year-round programme of film and digital media activities, services, and pathways to training, education and employment.

Zoom Young Filmmaker Awards 2011

The following Year 9 students won the award for:

Best Film Age 14-25:

  • Amy Knight
  • Kate Middleton
  • Bronwen Rees
  • Katherine Davies
  • Naomi John

zoom winners

The girls tackled the subject of bullying. All of the filming and editing took place outside of school and this recognition is a fantastic achievement, especially considering the age range of the category.

Best Director

The following Year 12 students won the award for Best Director:

  • Michael Bryant
  • Alex Knill (Bryn student)
  • William Haley

They produced a short film that was influenced by the television programme Band of Brothers


French / History Trip to Northern France & Belgium

Forty Y Pant students recently returned from four thrilling days on a joint French/History department trip to Lille in North Eastern France. The students from mainly Year 8, 9 &10 experienced many great landmarks in the history of this area.

(click to see the photos at the bottom of the page)

Our trip started with a visit to Ypres a beautiful town just over the border in Belgium. The War museum there was very impressive, and students wandered around the exhibits and charted the lifeline of a local person and their First World War experience. Wednesday also saw our visit to the grave of ‘Hedd Wyn’ the famous Welsh poet whose poem won the Chair of the National Eisteddfod that year, six weeks after his death. Hannah Pryor and Dan Webb both laid remembrance crosses from the school at his grave.

The highlight of the day was witnessing the ‘Last Post’ at the Menin Gate. The buglers from the local fire service called the crowd to order with their poignant tune. Rebecca Hill and Anthony Battista honoured the school by laying a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives. It was a very thought provoking moment for all.

Thursday dawned sunny and cold. Our first stop was the Museum of Fine Arts in Lille, a simply gorgeous building with many fine works of art to admire. It boasts the title of the second largest Art museum in France after the Louvre museum in Paris. A little spot of lunch and some retail therapy later and we zoomed off to the Somme and the ‘Beaumont-Hamel’ encampment for the Newfoundland/Canadian troops. Students and staff walked through trenches and scanned gravestones, amazed at the ages of those who lost their lives.

Next stop was the ‘Thiepval’ memorial, a magnificent edifice to honour the unknown war heroes. Students were keen to access the computer stations in the visitor centre to see if their surnames held links to the war dead. The ‘Lochnagar Crater’ was our next stop, a huge crater resulting from the British attempt to infiltrate under enemy lines. The noise of the resulting explosion could be heard over 200 miles away in London.

My personal favourite was the monument at ‘Mametz Wood’, a fiery dragon atop a splendid plinth honouring the Welsh regiments’ attempts to gain territory from the enemy. The wood is still clearly visible nearly 100 years later, and the futility of battle was in sharp contrast to the calm farmland. This time Mr Sweet laid a memorial cross at the memorial. Our final stop was a visit to a grave yard just outside of Pozières where a local man A.J Richards from Llanharry is remembered.

Friday was an action packed day at Disney. All students were very excited at meeting their favourite Disney characters and experiencing the hair-raising rides at the park. We were lucky enough to have a hopper ticket which meant access to both parts of the park. The students were happy but tired out, after a long day having fun and the inevitable retail dash. We travelled into central Paris that night to round off the day with an evening cruise of the River Seine. It was an ideal way to see many of the great Parisian landmarks and the view of the Eiffel tower with a sunset behind was breath-taking. We dined in style just off the Arc de Triomphe roundabout at the local restaurant Monte Carlo

Saturday morning signalled our departure from Lille. We headed off to Bruges and its promise of delicious Belgian chocolates! We were not to be disappointed. A fascinating chocolate demonstration took place and many students eagerly rushed to buy some of the yummy goodies to take home. A quick lunch in town and we were heading back to Blighty.

After a very successful and busy few our Driver and Tour Guide commented on Y Pant being one of the best group of students they had ever taken away. This is a commendation to be really to be proud of. The coach was kept spotless and as staff we were very impressed by the attitude of our students. Many thanks from Mrs Davies, Mr Sweet, Mrs Rose and Mr Gowman.


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Deputy Head’s Blog

There have been two highly symbolic moments for our students in exam year groups this week: firstly, we have published the external examination timetable (see homepage); secondly, AS and A Level results from the January module have been published this week.  A combination of these two events should concentrate the minds that aren’t yet fully focussed on these crucial examinations.  Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 should certainly be making inroads into their revision now as they will find time running out pretty quickly.  There are, in fact, only 35 school days between now and Whitsun half-term which is when the exam season begins in earnest.  Heads down!

Another week of sporting successes: Gean Sou Mo, Chloe Mo, Jayne Gerry and Gina Villeneuve all performed with real distinction in badminton and well done in particular to Gean in representing her country; our Year 7 & 8 girls netball team won silver in a county-wide competition despite being the youngest team in the tournament.  Well done girls!

I’d also like to congratulate the staff and students who took place in a sponsored walk to raise money for Ty Hafan last Sunday.  Over £300 was raised so the aching limbs and blisters on Monday morning were well worth it.

Interviews took place this week to appoint a new History teacher to the school.  Out of an incredibly strong field of candidates the governors decided to appoint Ms Hannah Price who is currently teaching History in Ebbw Vale Comprehensive School.  Well done to her; we look forward to welcoming her into the school in September.  Interviews for the post of Science teacher take place on Monday; another strong field, another tough choice.

Finally, on a sombre note, I would like, on behalf of Y Pant, to express our sadness at the tragic events taking place in Japan.  Our thoughts are with those who are suffering in the wake of the dreadful earthquake.


Teachers’ Favourite Books

To celebrate World Book Day last week we asked teachers to nominate their favourite book.  Add your favourite and tell us why using the form at the bottom of the page and this can become a useful place to find out what to read next.

Miss Norton

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What an amazing, inspirational novel: an emotional journey with many laughs and tears along the way. I loved the decency and morality of Atticus, so much so that I started a Law degree for a year in an attempt to follow in his footsteps and protect the innocent. My favourite line is definitely ‘Hey Boo’, which makes me cry every time I read it. At this point we really see how far Scout has come on her journey and how she has now cast aside her childish prejudices.

Mr Pearsall

The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell

My favourite book is The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell; a rip roaring tale of derring-do set in colonial India during the infamous mutiny of 1857. Woven around a real incident but with mainly fictionalised characters it is a real tale of triumph against adversity that is both exciting and inspirational. If you enjoyed the film Zulu you would enjoy this…Tally ho!

Mr Dyson

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

A distinguished, turbulent and highly entertaining blood saga of the American Mafia. This formidable story has it all…love, violence, honour, loyalty, betrayal. As I read through it at breakneck speed, it cast an unforgettable spell which penetrated right through me. Genius!!

Mr Swallow

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

I liked the way that you felt the English assassin was going to succeed in his mission throughout the story until at the end when he was unsuccessful! The suspense was carried through the whole story which moved around Europe and the United States. The story was also based on characters that actually lived but placed in fictional situations.

Mr Davies

The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein

I’m a reader mostly of non-fiction – mainly popular science – but my favourite novel has been “Lord of the Rings” since I was a teenager which I still enjoy reading now. A simplistic tale of good vs evil but the richly woven mythology, language and cosmology attracts the analyst in me!

Mr Powell

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

My favourite book is Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It’s a thriller set in Victorian London and is packed with great characters, a constantly menacing atmosphere and has the most shocking plot twist I’ve ever read.

Miss Purcell

Marian Keyes novels

Marian Keyes books make me laugh out loud in public places so I look like a loony! She writes stories just like my crazy Irish Aunts would tell them.

Mrs Tucker

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The novel is incredibly powerful particularly in terms of the intensity of the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. There are some scenes which are memorable because they are so disturbing, but they highlight the idea of obsession and intense love.
Welsh Schools Badminton

Girls’ Badminton Success

Congratulation to Gean Sou Mo, Chloe Mo, Jayne Gerry and Gina Villeneuve who all competed in the Welsh Schools Badminton Championships In Welshpool.  The girls fought off some tough competition and finished as the 3rd best school in Wales.  A fantastic achievement, well done girls!

Welsh Schools Badminton

Congratulations also to Gean Sou Mo who this month represented Wales by competing in the Under 13 Celtic Challenge.  Gean along with her team mates came 1st.  Congratulations Gean!

Welsh Schools Badminton

© Ellen MacArthur Foundation / Picture Perfect Photos

Project Re-Design Workshop

Six students from years 12 and 13 attended a Project Re-Design workshop organised by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at the National Museum of Wales on 7th March.  The workshop was designed to teach students about the purpose of the Foundation which is to inspire people to re-think, re-design and build a positive future based on sustainable principles.

© Ellen MacArthur Foundation / Picture Perfect Photos
The Y Pant Team with Ellen MacArthur (© Ellen MacArthur Foundation / Picture Perfect Photos)

The whole of the National Museum foyer was given over to the workshops.  An impressive backdrop rooted in history to reinforce the importance of building a sustainable future.

The six students; Andrew Griffin and Daniel Fish in year 13, Amy Jones, Ryan Richi, Peter Simons and Matthew Knight in year 12, started with a group activity to arrange cards into an order or pattern.  The cards had images such as a hawk, leaves, bacteria or faeces on and the group quickly realised we were looking at aspects of the carbon cycle.  In fact cycle was a key word for the day as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is promoting the concept of the “circular economy”.  The group also decided on the name “Odyssey” as their group name.

Team working
The team get to work

Next came an inspiring presentation accompanied by videos from Dame Ellen MacArthur herself.  She told us about her journey from a school girl saving her dinner money to sailing solo non-stop around the world at the age of 24, then later setting the record for the fastest non-stop solo voyage a few years later.  She also explained why and how she had realised that the challenge of creating a sustainable future for the planet was a far bigger and more important challenge than anything she had undertaken before.

EMF logo
Click to visit the website of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Foundation sees the importance of creative thinking and we tried for ourselves a plastic bag that disintegrates safely in warm water within a matter of minutes, and heard about fully biodegradable ice cream cartons in Germany that contain the seeds of rare plants.

Finally students were set the challenge of the day.  They were given an hour and a half to come up with creative solutions to putting all our rubbish in landfill sites.  Teachers were taken away so they were on their own!  The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with 5 companies as their “Founding Partners” and experts from these companies (Renault, B&Q, BT, Cisco Systems and National Grid) were on hand to give students advice on their presentations.

Over lunch the ideas of each team were judged.  Teachers returned to their groups once we had eaten and got our first look at the ideas of our teams.  I was very impressed with the creative ideas they had come up with.  These included community based allotments and the idea of using social networking (a “recyclebook”) so that the waste product from one company could become the raw material for another.

The five best groups were chosen to present their ideas, in 3 minutes, to everyone else.  Having seen the quality of their work it came as no surprise to me that the Y Pant team “Odyssey” were chosen to present.  The team were given no warning that they would be presenting (life is like that sometimes!) but had already decided that Amy Jones and Matthew Knight would stand up on behalf of all of them.  Their presentation was clear and effective but the questions that came afterwards were hard-hitting.  Little did the the audience realise however that they were addressing their questions to the very same Amy Jones who recently debated at the Cambridge Union at that university’s school debating competition final and who, this weekend will be doing the same again at Oxford University.  Questions were handled confidently and the Y Pant team were not subject to the repeated questioning of other teams.

Sadly this stellar performance was not enough to win the prize on the day (a week-long fully paid internship with one of the Founding Partners) but the Y Pant team had an enjoyable day and we all have a lot of food for thought now.  The day itself was very professionally organised (something the students commented on) and sets a high standard for future such events.

National Museum
The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff: an inspiring historical setting in which to think creatively about the future
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Deputy Head’s Blog

I hope everybody had a relaxing and enjoyable half-term.  It was good to welcome the ski trip back with only a minimal number of broken bones!

Mrs Lloyd-Davies has continued her excellent work on internet safety this week.  All Year 7 pupils took part in workshops designed to raise their awareness of this crucial issue.  This will, hopefully, make a substantial difference to the degree to which they are vigilant when on line, a concern for all parents, I know.

The Chemistry Department trip to Bristol was, I’m told, an outstanding success.  The pupils were great ambassadors for the school and were so focused and well-behaved that they managed to complete the activities they were involved in far more quickly and effectively than most schools.  I understand that the main activity was a forensic examination of a fictional crime which sounds both fascinating and fun!

Success again for our debaters!  This time Ed Jones, Eloise Peacock and Matthew Ingram performed outstandingly.  Good luck to them in the next round this coming Monday.

It was World Book Day on Thursday and the school marked it with a number of activities (see elsewhere on the website for details) one of which was for teachers to nominate their favourite books and be photographed reading them.  The pictures can be seen on the screen in the foyer and Mr Dyson reading The Godfather with his arm around a skeleton will live long in the memory!

Finally, a plug for the school show.  Our production of Peter Pan will run on March 31st and April 1st in the Muni Theatre.  Tickets are available from the school and the Muni box office.  It’s bound to be another superb production.

youth speaks

Youth Speaks Rolls On

On Thursday 17th February Y Pant School was in the enviable position of having two teams successfully through to the Youth Speaks semi-finals held at Pontllanfraith School. Sophie Thomas, Jackie Hopkins and Brogan Falshaw-Skelley had barnstormed their way to victory in the early round, held at Y Pant, debating the existence of Santa.

youth speaks
Brogan, Sophie and Jackie - debating the existance of Santa

Snapping at their heels were the more experienced team of Eloise Peacock, Matthew Ingram and Aaron Parsons debating the more topical motion on student tuition fees.

youth speaks
Ed, Eloise and Matthew - aired their views on student tuition fees

In a vast and intimidating hall at Pontllanfraith School the scene was set for Y Pant School to reach the Youth Speaks Welsh Finals for the first time. Sophie, Brogan and Jackie gave a strong performance to apply the pressure on the other competitors. Eloise Peacock, Matthew Ingram and Ed Jones (a last minute replacement, many thanks Ed) took to the stage and gave a confident and, at times, a perfect performance. The results were announced and Y Pant School had secured a place in the Welsh Finals and this time the victors were Eloise, Matthew and Ed. Eloise Peacock has continued to impress during her time public speaking and she deservedly won the Best Opposer Award on the night. Overall, an excellent night for Y Pant School.

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Don't get into an arguement with Eloise Peacock! She receives her award for "Best Opposer"
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World Book Day

March 3rd is World Book Day and every pupil has been given a £1 book token.  Look out for pictures of teachers reading and recommending their favourite book.

Have a go at this literature quiz.  The closing date is 11th March (hand it in to your English teacher).  There are 3 £10 book token prizes up for grabs.

Why don’t you leave a comment below to tell us what YOUR favourite book is and why?

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