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The ESTYN inspection is now over and the school has received the provisional judgements and recommendations. Unfortunately, these must remain confidential until the report is published in early December. Thanks for everyone’s input and contribution; I look forward to discussing the inspection in my end of term blog.
I hope that Year 11 pupils enjoyed their work experience week and that they developed skills and understanding that will help them in later life. Mock exams coming up, mind, so come back prepared for hard work.
I’m keeping this one brief…have a good half-term everyone (I’m going to take one more stab at a sporting prediction…Man City to beat Man Utd at Old Trafford by 5 clear goals. I know, it can’t happen, can it, Mr Jones?)
Students from Y Pant School, studying COPE (Certificate of Personal Effectiveness), attended the RCT 50+ Forum event, ‘Life Is What You Make It’ at Pontyclun Athletic Club. The aim of the event was to launch the 50+Forum website and to encourage forum members to learn and enjoy all aspects of information and communication technologies. The young people worked with groups to encourage members to use digital technology and show how it can help with their day to day life.
Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Literacy week was held over the week of the 26th-30th of September and every school in RCT was asked to run a literacy activity. At Y Pant, we held a short story writing competition. This was judged by published, local author, Dean Powell. We had a number of entries, particularly from our new year 7 students. Dean wrote all of the entrants a supportive message about their writing. The winning story came from Hannah Wilkinson in year 12. Hannah received a monetary prize for her intriguing, science fiction piece. Emily Peacock, in year 10, received a gift voucher for her 2nd placed entry. While Ahmed Abou-Koura, in year 12, received a double pass to use the leisure facilities at the Vale Hotel. Thank-you to all of the entrants, and stay posted for future writing competitions and events……
I am leaving today, this far off land of kimchi and hospitality, of bustling roads and spiritual temples, of green mountains and polluted cities, this remarkable land of South Korea.
Mark Twain, (1835-1910) famously said; “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. I hope before I boarded the plane that I exhibited none of those vices, but certainly it is true that I had not really considered that what divides us is so very much less than what unites us. I think Maya Angelou (1928-) said it best when she wrote; “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends”.
I cannot claim that a few days in Asia has transformed my view of the world, I hope that before the trip I was open to new ideas, different cultures and more importantly I hope that others recognized that I was open to them. What has changed and what is interesting about travelling to a country as different as Korea is that it is easy to see those differences, it is easy to recognize that the language is completely foreign, the writing beautiful but unintelligible, the food unrecognizable, (at times I wasn’t sure if I was eating fish, pork or vegetable). I revelled in those differences, not comparing to back home just excited that this is different.
Seoul is very much a globalised city; Starbucks not on every corner but on every other corner, McDonalds and Domino’s Pizza as well as all the designer brands, but the country and its people retains its unique character. I hope what I have learnt is that when I travel again to countries closer to home that I spot the differences that perhaps I have ignored in the past. Sitting on a Spanish beach is easy to ignore Spanish culture when all around are holiday making Brits, it’s easy to ignore Spanish food when all around us are international restaurants, and it is easy to ignore Spanish music when I am listening to the downloads on my IPod.
Travel does open the body and soul (especially in Seoul), but only if the traveler takes that first deep breath and, as Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) said, “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it”.
Look forward to seeing you all soon…
I had hoped to get away with it, to have a few days away from school and from work. But no, as I walked into the office this morning I was presented with my desk, my computer and a set of tasks. The first challenge was that the computer has a Korean operating system and I was told all I needed to do was click, click, click, click and click. By the third click I was error messaging in Korean!!
My task was to create some banner images for a travel site that the company Afterabc is putting together, all sounded remarkably straightforward, and I suppose after the first 75 mistakes I found my way and produced my first piece of work for an overseas company.
In years to come, hopefully many years to come, I will be reminiscing with my children and grand children – I remember the time when I had to work in Korea, unpaid, on a Korean computer, but wow, back to reality more photographs to resize and upload.
The Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council Road Safety Section, in partnership with South Wales Police, the Fire Service and Communities Services held their second Megadrive event at the Safety Zone, Treforest. 32 year 12 pupils attended the project, which was aimed at increasing the awareness of young people as to their responsibilities when they are legally allowed to drive.
The Event was split into 6 sections:-
2 Young 2 Die – DVD Presentation
Purchasing a second hand vehicle – Trading Standards
Basic vehicle maintenance – Road Safety
Driving assimilator – Road Safety
First aid – The Red Cross
The workshop was an excellent opportunity for soon to be young drivers understand the need to drive safe and sensibly.
I suppose if I was asked before visiting Korea, I would have guessed that Koreans were Buddhist. I hadn’t really thought that Christianity would be the dominate religion. It seems that about 30% of the population are regular church goes and about 20% regard themselves as followers of Buddha. At night, the neon crucifixes stand out in the city skyline selling religion like the great M of McDonalds.
The Buddhist temples seem somewhat more discreet, perhaps the notion of evangelical conversion is non Buddha. In the middle of the high rises sits a beautiful Buddhist temple, as I walked through the welcoming gate, the stresses, strains and even the noise of the city seemed to disappear. Maybe it is my imagination, but the idea of quiet contemplation really does cause one to put into prospective what’s really important.
The Bongeunsa Temple is opposite the beautiful 5 star Intercontinental Hotel and yet it is a whole world away, resident monks sit before the statue of Buddha as do many visitors, I too felt compelled to kneel. The temple originated in about 794 C.E and was the head temple during the Joseon dynasty and was central in the revival of Korean Buddhism away from the teachings of Confucianism. Towards the centre of the temple complex is the Mireuk Daebul, Great Statue of Maitreya Buddha. The statue is 23 metres high and is based on the story of Maitreya coming to earth to save all those who are suffering (it is remarkable how the great religions have so many similarities). Nearby, is another great statue of Haesu Gwaneum-sang, once again the concept is a figure who sees, hears and feels the sounds of suffering. It is hard to convey the spiritual nature of the Temple; I do not claim to have had a religious experience but I do understand how place and peace can have effect on the inner being.
I have a confession to make I am not an F1 fan. The idea of spending a weekend watching cars drive round in a circle is not really my idea of fun. However, the company my dad works with has a contract with F1 Korea, hence we were invited for the weekend to the Yeongam circuit to watch the second Korean Grand Prix.
Yeongam is it seems thousands of miles away from Seoul. We were confidently told the journey would take 4 hours by coach, it seemed more like 20. Nevertheless, even for a somewhat bored teenager it was comical to watch a bunch of middle-aged people having fun singing karaoke songs and playing silly games, but it wiled away the time, and I can always tease my dad about his appalling rendition of Queen’s ‘We are the champions’. The westerners on board scored a woeful 68, whilst the lowest for our Korean friends was 92. (The stereotypically image of Welsh singers took somewhat of a bashing).
We stayed about 10 miles from the circuit, in a lovely little seaside hotel, fish soup for breakfast was a little challenging but the company of Korean visitors could not have been friendlier. Blonde hair in Korea made me stand out from the crowd.
The most amazing thing about Formula 1 is the noise. I thought it was going to be loud. It’s not loud it’s deafening, even 40 yards away from the cars and with ear defenders, it’s hard to hear yourself think. The rest was a bit of a blur, a chap called Vettel won and the Brits second and fourth. A little better than an afternoon of homework but quite a close run thing. NO NOT REALLY, I loved it! Sebastian Vettel is amazing and never disappoints. The race itself was a little bit predictable, but the speed is hard to convey. The cars are reaching speeds of over 200 miles an hour and the decelerating to 50 miles an hour to go round a sharp corner.