Safety First!

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We held a fire practice on Wednesday. This went very well and the buildings were evacuated quickly and efficiently. The school has almost twice as many people in it as three years ago, so it is obviously crucial we have emergency systems in place and know they work. Today we also practised our safe mode procedures- you can read more about that here.

After school on Wednesday we hosted a big cross country event, with runners from all over South East Wales- there must have been twenty-five schools represented, including us of course. We are lucky to have the grounds here, and the course was challenging in the wind and rain. Thanks to the PE department for organising everything and others for supporting, and well done to everyone who ran.

We have more pupils taking instrumental tuition than we’ve had for a very long time, and we have classes in brass, woodwind, guitar, violin and percussion. I also know Mr Heron is very impressed by the new Y7’s singing ability, so the Christmas Concert promises to be a great event this year.

clefsScreen Shot 2018-09-21 at 09.53.32We were looking forward to our first Y7 rugby fixture on Thursday, but the wind and rain put paid to that! Hopefully it will be rearranged for another date. Sports clubs are already up and running. I am really pleased that at RCCS we have quite a few activities that involve pupils and staff enjoying sport together, so today (Friday) we have the Running Club and the after school Netball club, both of which are open to the RCCS community of all ages, and the Y11/staff five-a-side football, too.

Mr Coombes will be talking about attendance in his assemblies next week. The official theme is potential, but you certainly won’t reach your potential if you don’t attend school. Our overall attendance figure went up last year, but we want to do even better so we are having a real push on this again this year. The weekly competition is back! Congratulations to Mrs Davies’ form 7ED who are our top attenders this week! They beat Mrs Perry’s 11SP by 0.1%!

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THEME FOR THE WEEK: 

‘POTENTIAL’

ASSEMBLIES: Assistant Headteacher

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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House!

The second week of term is over already- time is flying by! Our new pupils seem to have settled very well into the school. I have visited a number of classes and they are working hard and are enjoying their learning. They look very smart in their new uniforms, and most initial nerves and apprehension have already gone. They are a credit to their previous schools and to their families. I know Mr Williams, Pastoral Leader for Y7, is very impressed, too. Well done Y7!

We also have other new starters in other year groups. In a way it’s even harder for them as they are in the minority in their cohorts, but they too have made a great start to their new school. 

We held a staff meeting on Monday, and began discussing our plans to develop a house system at RCCS now we are a bigger school. We’re going to have four houses in the school, and everyone, staff and pupils, will be allocated to join one. This will encourage healthy competition for sport, and for an annual Eisteddfod, and will help to develop the ethos and culture of the school. Mr Mock is leading on this, and you’ll find out more over the next few weeks.

On Tuesday I met with the Prefect team. Their first task this term is to set up the School Council. This is a very important group, and is the main way for pupils to let us know their views on the school. Every form will have an elected representative, who needs to gather opinions and take them to the Council. The reps then feed back to me. They are also represented on the Governing Body.

Talking of which, we have one vacancy for a Parent Governor. If you’re interested please follow THIS LINK for more information.

I was delighted to get some great feedback from last week’s blog, and thanks to Twitter I heard about some amazing achievements! Kai (in Y8 now) continues to excel at judo, Abigail, Taryn and Olivia all got selected to represent the district at U16 level, and Ruby in Y7 won the prize to design this year’s Royal British Legion badge for Armistice Day. Also Mrs Nash and Mrs Howells both did the Castle to Castle (Caerphilly to Cardiff) run at the weekend to raise money for charity. Please let me know about your achievements every week, it’s great to share them!

We have had a problem collating the overall attendance data due to an IT glitch, so the weekly competition will now start next week. I can say though that the attendance so far has been very good, let’s make sure we keep this up all year!


THEME FOR THE WEEK: 

‘ASPIRATION’

ASSEMBLIES: Senior Assistant Headteacher

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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A New School Year

Welcome, or in many cases welcome back, to a new school year at RCCS! We hope everyone has had a great holiday. As well as over 140 new pupils -too many to mention by name, sorry- we have three new teachers joining us this year, Mr Hare and Mrs Davies in Science and Miss John in Humanities. The school is now the biggest it has been for many years in terms of pupil and staff numbers. We have done some refurbishments in the kitchens and in the Technology Block toilets over the summer, and have also invested in new ICT technology which will enhance the learning experiences of our pupils. The ASD Centre Garden has also been coming on in leaps and bounds, and many thanks to the volunteers who have been working hard on that project!

Let me start the year with a few words about the blog. This is published every Friday during term time, usually- though not always- written by me, the head teacher, and includes information and news about the school as well as notice of events coming up in the following weeks. The second part of the blog includes the theme of the week, words in English and Welsh, a quotation and some trivia or an interesting fact. Finally, there’s the tweet of the week. This year we have half termly foci in three skill areas, literacy, numeracy and digital competence. These will run as a thread through the curriculum whilst not replacing the normal lessons. You’ll also notice a reference to PSE. This will be taught on a rolling programme over the year, and the blog will include a reminder of when that is for the week.

I will be very happy to include information which celebrates the achievements of our pupils whether it be in or outside school. Parents, pupils and staff can email me or include me in a TWEET to make me aware of these. Or just come and tell me of course! It is a genuine pleasure to read of the achievements and successes of our pupils and include then in the blog. A photo is always good too!

Now and again the blog includes a quiz or competition, and sometimes there are even prizes to be won! If you have time, take a look at our Quiz of the Year from last term HERE. It might be interesting, especially for new pupils or parents, to help you to get to know the school better- but no prizes this time, sorry!

The blog is shared with pupils during the week so we can all be aware of what is happening in our school and the wider community. It is also posted on our TWITTER and FACEBOOK pages and can be followed by a link off the website. Incidentally, on the WEBSITE parents and carers can find the calendar, the overview of key dates such as parents’ evenings and reports, the uniform list, and lots more

We also include information about attendance, with a mention for the top form in each year group and the top attenders in the school. We’re not running this today, but it will return next week.

So, more next Friday, including news of an exciting new house system at RCCS! In the meantime, good luck to everyone for the year ahead!


THEME FOR THE WEEK: 

‘OUR YEAR AHEAD’

ASSEMBLIES: Pastoral Leaders

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TWEET OF THE WEEK!

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Congratulations! Y11 GCSE Results, Summer 2018

Many congratulations to our Y11 pupils on their examination results this year!

There were some outstanding performances from individuals in this, the last of our small cohort groups, and special mentions must go to Megan Balmont, Lennon Boyle, Natalie Frascina, Josh Gibson, Harriet Jenkins, Cerys Jones, Georgina Owen, Scott Shier and Cleo Vaughan, all of whom achieved a number of top A* and A grades. However, all our pupils deserve a huge amount of credit for their achievements right across the board, and we wish all our leavers the very best for the future.

Your hard work over the last couple of years certainly paid off! All of us at the school are proud of your success, and I would like to thank the staff who have played their part yet again in ensuring these results have been realised.

Good luck for the future and do come back to visit and let us know how you’re getting on!

Happy Summer Holidays

This is the last blog of 2017/18, and it’s going to be a short one! It’s been another busy year and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone in the community- pupils, staff, parents, governors and friends- for their support for our school. As usual I have written a letter to end the school year and you can read it here. Copies are in the post. Please note we will expect all pupils to be in the correct uniform on the first day back. I am sure the heatwave will be over by then!

This week we’ve held our Art Exhibition, our Sports Day, our Sports Awards Evening, and our Academic Awards Assembly. Today, Friday, is a special day too as we are holding fun activities to raise funds for Cancer Research in  memory of former deputy headteacher, Mr Parker. Next week on Monday we have rewards trips and we break up on Tuesday at 3pm.

Can I just mention our Open Evening for next year’s Y6 pupils and parents? This will take place on Thursday 4th October. 

Open Evening Advert October 2018

On behalf of all of us here at school I’d like to wish everyone a relaxing and enjoyable summer holiday! GCSE Results day is 23rd August (good luck!) and term begins for pupils at 8.45 am on Wednesday 5th September.

 

Celebration

The theme for the week is celebration and we have a lot to celebrate next week! On Thursday we have our Sports Awards evening when we will be honouring pupils who have achieved great things this year in the world of sport. And there have been quite a few! Then on Friday we have our special assemblies when we will be awarding certificates to pupils for their achievements in the classroom, including those who have the highest attainment and those have made the most improvement.

Wednesday is Sports Day, and Friday is a non-uniform day/Charity Fun Day. We are asking pupils to wear their own clothes and bring in £1 donation for Cancer Research in memory of our former deputy headteacher Mr Parker who died earlier this year. In the afternoon we will be suspending the timetable to have some fun activities. Mr Parker’s family were keen that we should mark the day in this way. Please don’t forget to bring in your donations!

We’ve also been holding lunchtime concerts this week in memory of Mr Parker who started off his career as a music teacher. These have been organised exclusively by the students themselves, and I’d like to put on record my thanks to Sam for being the organisational genius behind this. I went to the event on Wednesday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Matthew, Eleanor and Angharad all sang so well and the encore from Mr Mock was almost as good as they were!

Some of our pupils have been involved in a special workshop with our former Artist in Residence, David Garner. The quality of the work has been amazing and it was great to have David back in school working with our students. We’re holding the GCSE Art Exhibition next Wednesday and I’m looking forward to seeing the work on display.

Apart from Friday (see above) we will stick with PE kit as a uniform option for pupils next week. It looks like it may be a little cooler, but it’s still going to be very warm.

Pupils have been involved in a couple of recent trips, so I’m leaving it up to them to tell you all about it! Next week will be the last blog of the year. I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly!

KIDS MEET

On Friday 6th of July we had the opportunity to go to Cardiff University to take part in the KidsMeet which Miss Bawler had organised with Dr Carina Girvan. The idea of this was to give the control to the pupils to share what they have done in as digital leaders in school.  We worked with Mrs Nash to prepare a presentation about our role as Digital Leaders and the things we have done over this year. We then listened to how other schools are promoting technology and using their digital leaders. We networked with the other pupils from 5 other secondary schools to compare ideas, there were also some teachers from secondary schools without Digital Leaders and we helped them think about why it would be good to set them up in their school. In the afternoon we had the chance to go into the Virtual World created by Dr. Girvan and programme a virtual robot called a SLurtle.  It was a really constructive day and we learnt a lot about other schools as well as getting some ideas of what we want to do next year.

Charlotte, Daniel, Aneurin and Joseph at KidsMeet

Charlotte, Daniel, Aneurin and Joseph at KidsMeet

BLETCHLEY PARK

Last Monday we went to Bletchley Park’s National Museum of Computing for a STEM trip with Miss Bawler and Mrs Nash.  We learned about computers from the 1940’s to the present day. They explained how computers were used during the war to decrypt the Enigma Machines and the Lorenz SZ42, Hitler’s “unbreakable” cipher machine. It was fascinating to see some of the oldest computers, some were replicas but several were original and to understand more about the way in which computers have developed over time.  We also realised how much maths is needed to be a successful computer programmer! We got to play early computer games on the ZX Spectrum and other machines such as Acorn and Amstrads, plus Mrs Nash beat us all in Space Invaders! In the afternoon we got to write the Snake programme using BASIC on a BBC Micro – Miss Bawler said this was the first computer she remembers being in her primary school!  We also got to see if we could get a computer to pass the Turing Test by programming a version of Siri to answer our questions as accurately as possible – we didn’t get there but were told that in the next couple of years the Turing Test will be passed by computers, giving us as close to artificial intelligence as we have ever been. The pictures below show Colossus which is a rebuilt version of one of the original 10 held at Bletchley Park that broke the Lorenz code, and the WITCH which is the oldest actual computer in the world (not a replica or a rebuild) built for the Atomic Energy Research Centre at Harwell in 1949.

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Colossus

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The WITCH

 

THEME FOR NEXT WEEK: CELEBRATION

ASSEMBLIES: Headteacher

LITERACY FOCUS: Speech marks

NUMERACY FOCUS: Two way tables

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “12 / twelve / dau deg / douze / XII ”  A dozen. There are twelve months in the year. In the Christian religion, Jesus had twelve disciples. The reserve player in cricket is called the 12th man or woman. This is similar to a substitute in many other sports, but s/he is not allowed to bat or bowl, and is limited to a fielding role.

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Llongyfarchiadau!” : “Congratulations!”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: “Glory” : high renown or honour won by notable achievements.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” — Steve Jobs

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: Wimbledon is the only major tennis tournament still played on grass courts.

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Planning for PSE.

We’ve been revisiting the values and ethos of the school with staff and governors. This is summarised on the front page of the school website in a short paragraph,and simplified right down into the phrase we often use, ‘making the difference.’ Few people would disagree with this basic tenet, but it’s the right time to think about this, as the new curriculum is being put together. It’s also important we consult with pupils and parents and we’ll be doing more of this next year. Here’s  a reminder of what we say on the website:-

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We’ve also been talking about leadership, and looking at student leadership as well as leadership from staff across the school. I’m looking forward to doing more in this area next  year with the prefects and school council.

Teachers have been busy planning a new PSE programme for all our pupils next year. We’ve approached this area of the curriculum in different ways over the years, we’ve sometimes had lessons on the timetable, sometimes off the timetable with drop down events, and sometimes a mixture of the two. Next year we’re trying a third option but one which we hope will give the subject more status. PSE will be taught on the timetable each week, by form teachers, replacing lessons on a rotational basis. It sounds a bit more complicated than it really is but it’s a system used in lots of schools. We’ll monitor it closely, but I am sure it’s the right approach. The important thing is that the content is right.

Sports news! Good luck to Walker, Tom and Mason, who have been selected to join the Dragons training camp this August, following their success playing for the Islwyn District. Also congratulations to Iwan, Charlotte and Tom who won their respective events in the county athletics championship, and well done to everyone who competed.

Pupils and staff in the ASD Centre have bee involved in a fantastic project, watching the life cycle of butterflies from caterpillars, to pupae, right through to seeing them develop into these beautiful insects. I have been following @RCCS_ASD Mrs Howell’s tweets with interest, and she’s posted some great pictures, too.

Next Friday we’ll be having our annual Wellbeing Day- part of the PSE programme I mentioned earlier. This is always a good day and people get a lot out of it. Pupils will be learning about a number of topics related to good mental and physical health.

Uniform regulations remain relaxed until further notice because of the extreme heat. With the forecast as it is at the moment, this could be the case until the end of term. However, we’ll expect everyone to make sure they have the correct uniform ready for 5th September, and there’ll be more on this in a letter which will be with parents at the end of term.

Finally, have you been watching the football? Are you getting behind the Three Lions team or are you in the ABE (anyone but England) camp?! Either way I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and for all those for whom football is not their thing… don’t worry it will soon be over!


THEME FOR NEXT WEEK: ACHIEVEMENT

ASSEMBLIES: Pastoral Leaders

LITERACY FOCUS: Speech marks

NUMERACY FOCUS: Two way tables

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “2 / two / dau / deux / II ”  A couple. A brace. A pair. A duo.”It takes two to tango” is a phrase used when you want to emphasize that both people involved in a difficult situation must accept the blame, or that an activity needs two people who are willing to take part for it to happen:

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Llongyfarchiadau!” : “Congratulations!”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: “Achievement” : something done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”   ― Albert Einstein

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: Einstein isn’t completely responsible for E = mc2 — at least not in the way many people think he is.  The most important part of the equation — the suggestion of an equivalency between mass and energy — had been proposed by a number of scientists including Friedrich Hasenöhrl, Henri Poincaré, and Oliver Heaviside years, even decades, before Einstein published his theory in 1905. Even the equation itself, in a slightly different version, had been published more than once before Einstein, who was indeed able to simplify the equation and put it into the form that made it famous. (Source: allthatsinteresting.com)

TWEET OF THE WEEK:

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