On Wednesday 26th November a team of Year 10 and 11 girls competed in the English Speaking Union Churchill Public Speaking competition in the Training Centre Wales.
Lauren Pickens performed expertly in her role as Speaker. Lauren had 30 minutes at the start of the competition to meet the two other members of her team and brief them on the 5 minute speech she had prepared with Maddie Colcombe that analysed the impact of 24 hour news on modern day society. Several teachers from other schools congratulated Lauren on her delivery and interesting points. She was quizzed by the Questioner from the opposing team and answered questions articulately destroying any opposing arguments!
Tamsin Penberthy took charge of the difficult role of Chairperson. Her role involved leading the discussion, keeping an eye on timings and directing questions from the floor to the Guest Speaker in her team. She guided the team through proceedings smoothly and was congratulated by the judges on her performance.
Ania Kandasamy won the coveted ‘Best Questioner’ prize! A fantastic achievement for a first timer! Ania had 30 minutes at the start of the competition to meet with her Guest Speaker and quiz him on his topic – she made appropriate notes and asked pertinent questions. The judges commended her use of the word “elaborate” within her questions as this was exactly what they were looking for from the Questioners and Ania was the only one out of three to use it.
The team performed fantastically well and prepared for the competition during their own time and at break and lunch times in school. Well done girls – you are all a real credit to the school.
On Wednesday 3rd July Year six pupils from the Y Pant cluster went head to head with the year 7 debating club in an evening of parliamentary debates. In front of a packed audience of parents, Primary School Heads and staff the pupils battled out four motions including ‘This house believes Wales should be an independent country’ and ‘This house would abolish the monarchy’.
For year six the event marked the culmination of six sessions hosted by Y Pant School English Department. Each week the pupils, all nominated by their primary schools because of their excellent speaking and listening skills, learned the skills and terminology to compete in a debating style more commonly used at University level. The 18 pupils involved all took part with enthusiasm, gusto and passion and were a credit to themselves and their respective schools.
The night itself saw a fantastic turnout and the audience were not disappointed. Year 7 put up an excellent fight with the individual awards being evenly spread between year 6 and 7, but it was year six who ultimately were victorious – scooping the award for best overall team! James Watt a former pupil of Y Pant School, who embarks on his degree course at Oxford in September, himself a seasoned debater, chaired the judging panel. He was impressed at the high standard the pupils reached.
A huge well done is deserved of all the pupils who were involved! The English department look forward to welcoming the year 6 pupils onto the debate team in September. Continuing Y Pant’s long standing tradition of excellence in this field!
Despite the torrential downpours, four year ten students competed with un-dampened spirits in the ESU Public Speaking Competition on Monday. Debating a topic that may be controversial among many Y Pant students, the team argued that computer games have ruined the youth of today. In a fierce battle with other secondary schools in the Rhondda Cynon Taff, Y Pant students excelled and left many of their competitors tongue tied.
After weeks of rehearsals, Megan Brown, Juliet Johns, Daniel Evans and Dylan Bellis initiated a ferocious debate at Treorchi Comprehensive School. The students were praised by the judges and fulfilled their roles excellently. Megan Brown was captivating as the speaker and won the award for ‘Best Speaker’, Juliet Johns chaired with charisma and allure, and Daniel Evans was the intense questioner and won ‘Best Questioner’ in the competition.
The English department would like to thank the students involved for all their hard work and for representing the school so confidently. Judges and teachers alike were captivated by the calibre of the students and the future of debating at Y Pant School looks very bright indeed.
Congratulations to Amy Jones in year 13 who has been selected for the Welsh Schools Debating Team. She will be going to Johannesburg in South Africa to compete in the World Schools Debating Championship.
Commiserations to James Watt (also pictured) who is another of Y Pant’s debating champions. He also attended the 2-day selection event in Cardiff this weekend but narrowly missed a place on the team.
Amy now needs to raise £500 for her trip – all donations gratefully received!
Another successful week for Y Pant students! Elsewhere on our homepage you will see a report on the success enjoyed by our students at last Friday’s Zoom Awards. To win Best Film (Year 9 girls) and Best Direction (Year 12 boys) was impressive enough, but to win in the 14-25 age group category almost defies belief! I’m told that each category attracted about 80 entrants! Well done all these young film-makers; Steven Spielberg needs to start looking over his shoulder!
Amy Jones and James Watt competed in the finals of the Oxford Debating competition last week and acquitted themselves with real flair, talent and no little success. If you pass them by please remember to congratulate them; just don’t pick an argument with them! This competition was the last of the Debating season, one in which Y Pant has enjoyed unprecedented success across several age groups and categories. Well done to all the pupils involved as well as to Mr Gareth Howells and Ms Jane Norton for all the hard work committed to preparing the pupils and accompanying them to competitions across the country.
I am pleased to be able to report that Ms Rebecca Buckwell was appointed to the post of teacher of Science this week. Ms Buckwell came through a field of 90 applicants and 10 talented shortlisted candidates in order to be successful. She currently teaches in The Laker School in the Forest of Dean and will be an excellent addition to the teaching staff of Y Pant.
A quick reminder about Peter Pan: tickets are going fast…get yours while you can!
It’s Comic Relief Day today and there are fundraising activities going on throughout the school. Fascinating to see teachers in school uniform (that fits!). I look forward to reporting back next week on the amount of money raised.
Have a great weekend; it’d be good to see Wales finish the 6 Nations with a win in Paris but no predictions this time!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’d like to start this week by congratulating all the students involved in last Saturday’s debating competition. Y Pant is developing a reputation as a centre of excellence for debating and it is great to see so many students from such a variety of age groups working hard and enjoying success. Particular congratulations must go to James Watt and Amy Jones for their victory and I’m sure I speak for everybody associated with the school when I wish them the very best of luck in the finals to be held at Cambridge University.
I look forward to meeting many parents next week. We have the Year 7 Parents’ Evening on Monday where teachers will be available to discuss your child’s progress and we have the Year 9 Options Evening on Wednesday. Both of these are critically important events and I sincerely hope that as many parents as possible are able to attend.
Some of you may already have noticed the new structure which has appeared in the yard alongside the tennis courts. Several people have commented on its likeness to a circus top! We are delighted, though, to be able at last to provide our pupils with a sound shelter for rainy days. Another will be erected soon to allow shelter for pupils queueing to use the Lesser Hall canteen.
I’ve been told I’m a sporting jinx so I’ll keep my prediction about the Wales v England game to myself! I quite fancy Italy and Scotland to spring a couple of surprises, though. Apologies in advance to the Italians and Scots!
Early on Saturday morning the Y Pant debate team were hurriedly preparing for the start of the Cambridge School’s Debate Competition where top honours had eluded them for the past two years. The teams consisted of James Watt and Amy Jones, Matthew Knight and Matthew Ingram, and Lawrence Watts and James Duggan. Not only was James Duggan one of the youngest competitors on the day but he showed true grit and determination after he agreed to compete with less than 24hrs notice. A special mention must also go to Aaron Parsons who came along to support Y Pant and was roped into debating as a swing team.
The day consisted of three gruelling debates that culminated in the final at 6pm. Matthew Knight and Matthew Ingram showed early promise winning the first debate and continued to do well throughout the day only just missing out on the final. Lawrence Watts and James Duggan had a tougher outing but found the experience worthwhile and flourished in the last debate. After an unusually slow start from James Watt and Amy Jones their debating prowess soon began to shine and they marched confidently into the final.
The motion for the final debate was this house would allow prisoners the vote. Along with Y Pant, Ysgol Glantaff, Builth Wells and St John’s College had each secured a place in the final. Ysgol Glantaff had dominated the previous debates but it was clear that James and Amy had saved their best performances for last. After a passionate and heated exchange Y Pant and Builth Wells were crowned champions. Further honours went to James Watt who shared the best speaker award with Sam from Ysgol Glantaff. Now the greater challenge awaits at Cambridge University for the final’s day.