For after half term…

No blog this week as it is half term. Here are the themes etc for when we come back after the break.

THEME FOR THE WEEK: Diwylliant Cymreig

ASSEMBLIES: Lead Teacher of Welsh

LITERACY FOCUS: Bracketing commas

NUMERACY FOCUS: Estimating height, weight and length

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “5 / five / pwmp / cinq / V” A perfect fifth is the most consonant harmony, and is the basis for most western tuning systems.The Power of Five is a series of children’s books by British writer and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz. (source: Wikipedia)

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Sut mae dweud…..yn Gymraeg?” : “How do you say….In Welsh?”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: Cambrian : Welsh (a term used normally in proper names.) It also means relating to or denoting the first period in the Palaeozoic era, between the end of the Precambrian aeon and the beginning of the Ordovician period in Geology.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “Cenedl heb iaith, Cenedl heb galon” (A nation without language is a nation without heart) Welsh proverb.

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: The three most populated towns in Wales are Cardiff, Swansea and Newport- in that order. (Risca comes in at number 35!)


Our first event today, Family Quiz Night! Thanks to everyone who came along and helped raise nearly £200 for the school’s ASD Centre sensory garden. Great fun, too.
15 Feb 2018, 21:22

Our brilliant TAs!

This week I have been visiting pupils who have been working in small groups with teaching assistants in the main school and in the ASD Centre. Teaching assistants play a major role in our school. At one time TAs were referred to as “support staff,” but they do far more than just support, they are vital to the learning of many of our pupils, and are just as responsible for their achievement and progress as teachers are. I was really impressed by what I saw, and the pupils themselves spoke very highly of the help they were receiving. So I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our TAs for the brilliant work they do!

On Tuesday the Chief Education Officer, Keri Cole, came to speak with our School Council. We are different from many schools in that our School Council has no teacher input whatsoever, so the senior students ran the meeting themselves. Mrs Cole was really pleased with the quality of discussion and I think she may want to come back again, she was so impressed!

On Wednesday we held our Options Evening for Year Nine.We know that not everyone will be able to get all three of their first choices, but we hope as few people as possible will be disappointed. We have more options on offer than ever now we are a bigger school, including some newer courses such as Global Business and Events Management, as well as the traditional favourites in our school. I thought Mr Oliver gave some great advice: choose subjects you are good at… and if unsure make sure you ask for help.

Miss Bawler, our Lead Teacher for ICT and Computer Science, has been taking assemblies on digital wellbeing, and I an grateful to her for helping me out this week by writing the second part of this blog!

This week I have been leading the Safer Internet Day assemblies and it’s been great to speak to all our young people about how to make sure their online experience is a positive one. Social media in particular allows so many opportunities to connect with people from across the world with a diverse range of interests but also is a breeding ground for sadness with 2 in 5 young people aged 8- 17 saying they have felt anxious or worried about something they saw online in the past week; 49% saying they had experienced negative connections online.

It is easy as adults and especially as educators to see the negatives of new technologies and ways of communicating but actually 68% of young people said chatting online with friends cheers them up and 83% said they have had kind messages from people online. At RCCS I am really pleased how we have embraced the internet and social media especially as a positive development, but also that we are ensuring our young people take responsibility for their actions online – none more so than our newly trained Digital Leaders!

So, what’s the message? Safer Internet Day 2018 is about creating, connecting and sharing respect. It’s about making your connections positive, sharing great content and being aware of what to do when something makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe online – Block, Report, Tell.
The link below takes you to the safer internet day quiz…why not give it a go and see how you do!

Don’t forget to keep putting the blue tokens into the Risca box at Tesco!

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ASSEMBLIES: Pastoral Leader, Y7


NUMERACY FOCUS: Long multiplication

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “16 / sixteen / un deg chwech / seize / XVI” Check out this interesting article from Wales On Line about what you can and can’t do when you reach the age of sixteen!

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Croeso!” : “(You’re) welcome!”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: Respect : (1) a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievement. (2) Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself. –Thomas Paine

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: Why is a try in rugby called a try? There was a time in the history of rugby when a touchdown was worth no points at all, but it meant you were given a chance to ‘try’ to score a conversion. Now a try is worth five points in its own right, and the conversion just worth two.


Newport is very proud! Thank you to everyone at @NewportCounty, players, staff and supporters. We may have lost a game tonight, but we know we are winners with a bright future! #OneClubOneCounty
7 Feb 2018, 22:23

Time to change!

On Tuesday a team of pupils from Year Eight represented our school at a competition- the Eden Innovation Science Challenge! Luke, Oliver, Emily, Abbie, Lewis and Lauren were accompanied by Mr Harris. The challenge was to build a car from lego, powered by solar energy, and to see how fast and how far it could travel.Pupils then had to give a presentation. On this occasion we did not win (congratulations to our friends at Blackwood CS who did!) but everyone I spoke with really enjoyed the day and learnt a lot as well.


Also that day Mrs Nash took Bethan and Tom from the same year group down to Cardiff. They are two of our digital leaders who I have mentioned in previous blogs.  The conference was held at Ocean Park House and the theme was digital citizenship. The day began with informative talks from experts, followed up with discussions, then the delegates had to use their new found knowledge to find ways of getting across positive ways of using the internet using the padlet app on iPads. The idea is to use this in school, and to raise even greater awareness across our community. As it happens, next week’s theme is about staying safe on line, so the timing could not have been better.

Year Nine options evening takes place on Wednesday next week. This is an opportunity for pupils and their parents to talk to subject teachers, as well as our careers adviser and colleagues from Crosskeys College, about choices for Year Ten and Eleven. Mr Oliver has already done a lot of background work on this, to try to maximise the offer for everyone based on their current wishes. I would urge everyone to attend.


Well done to Amy in Y10! She is now U17 national girls champion in high jump following the Welsh Indoor Athletics indoor championships last weekend. This is an amazing achievement, and we are all very proud of her.

Thursday was “Time to Change” day. One of our students recommended we should get involved. This project encourages people to talk about mental health issues, and remove the stigma which can make them feel isolated and ashamed. Lots of us were wearing badges to show our support and teachers used some of the resources available in lessons. 

Students from the ASD Centre have been holding a cake sale in aid of Velindre today. Let’s hope they raise as much as they can for this excellent organisation!

Finally, don’t forget it’s Family Quiz Night on Thursday 15th February.Please get your teams in by Monday 12th.

Quiz Night

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THEME FOR THE WEEK: Staying Safe on line

ASSEMBLIES: Lead Teacher ICT and Computer Science


NUMERACY FOCUS: Long multiplication

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “6 / six / chwech / six / VI”  Hex- is a prefix meaning six. A hexad is a group of six. A hexagon is a six sided figure. A hexaploid is an organism made up of cells containing six sets of chromosomes

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Dwi ddim yn deall” : “I don’t understand”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: cookie : a small amount of data generated by a website and saved by your web browser. It can also mean a biscuit, especially in the USA.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “If in doubt, log out.” -Anon

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK:  The computing power in today’s cell phones is much higher than the processing power of all the computers in the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander that put 2 men on the moon.


A tough lesson in rugby for our Y9’s against our hosts @IslwynHighSport this evening. A spirited second half from the boys and unlucky not to get a score. #fitness #conditioning #ballskills #tackling #teamwork
1 Feb 2018, 17:34

A very high profile meeting!

On Tuesday Mrs Madden and I accompanied four KS3 students, (pictured above, left to right Harrison, Sophie, Ellie, and Eve) to a meeting at Cardiff City Hall. Together with young people from Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni and the Cardiff Youth Forum they had been invited to present to Professor Graham Donaldson, the author of “Successful Futures,” the document behind our new curriculum in Wales, and the Children’s Commissioner Sally Holland, as well as representatives from Welsh Government and headteachers on the advisory committee. So this was a pretty high-powered event!

The invitation came as a result of a Student Curriculum Conference we had put on in our Hexad group last summer. I was really proud of the way all the pupils presented their views and then participated in the discussions which followed. RCCS pupils started off the meeting with a talk in which they explained the work of the Hexad and shared their views on the curriculum- based on the discussions they had had at the conference. This was followed by full and frank discussions about how we take things forward in Wales and the pitfalls we need to avoid. I thought it was very interesting and informative, and judging by all the tweets afterwards everyone involved thought the same!

Don’t forget Quiz Night on 15th Feb! It only costs £5 to enter and we have some great prizes lined up!Quiz Night

Year Eight have been involved in exams this week. This is not only a good way of assessing their progress but it also prepares them for the GCSE exams in Y11. I am looking forward to seeing how everyone got on.

The new Welsh Bac has provided our KS4 students with lots of opportunities, in and out of school. I have been impressed by all the projects I have heard about, and I am really pleased that many of them are community based. The programme has given our students the opportunity to help their peers in the school, and I am thinking especially of the expert support some have provided to younger pupils in rugby, and the excellent work others have done to help in the ASD Centre. There are other examples, too. Very well done to everyone involved and to the teachers who facilitate this.

The School Council has a meeting in early February with the Chief Education Officer, Mrs Keri Cole. She is keen to get the views of young people in CCBC schools, and under the leadership of the head boy and head girl I am sure the Council will be delighted to share their opinions. This is another example of the importance of all of us involved in education listening to young people, and something I feel very strongly about. I hope to include more information on this in a later blog.

Best of luck to Newport County for Saturday’s game against Spurs! Lots of us at RCCS are very excited! Then the following weekend the Six Nations kicks off. Wales play Scotland, so, as is the tradition here, we’re flying the Scottish saltire during the week before the game, and the flags of our subsequent opponents throughout the tournament.Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 11.59.42.png

Well done to 9JF for being top form for attendance again this week. Overall attendance has been lower than we would hope, though there is a lot of illness about at the moment, with quite a bit of ‘Australian ‘flu’ it seems.

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ASSEMBLIES: Assistant Headteacher


NUMERACY FOCUS: Long multiplication

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “9 / nine / naw / neuf / IX”  A human pregnancy normally lasts for nine months. There are some interesting number patterns involving the numbers up to 9 in multiplications. Here are some examples:-

12345679 × 9 = 111111111

12345679 × 18 = 222222222

12345679 × 81 = 999999999

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Agorwch eich llyfr!” : “Open your book!”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: fortitude : courage in adversity

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.” -Michelle Obama

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: The great glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, measuring 312ft in length and 180ft in width


Very proud of our pupils who delivered a presentation and took part in some great discussions today on the new curriculum here in Wales, with @GHCDon and @childcomwales. So important their voice is heard. Thank you.
23 Jan 2018, 14:21

Learning Walks

This week we learnt we had not been successful in our bid to win funds in the Aviva project. This was disappointing, but we’d like to thank everyone who voted for us. Remember we are still in the Tesco project, so you can help by putting the plastic token in the RCCS slot, either in the Risca Extra or at the Rogerstone Express store. It’s all to raise money for our sensory garden for children with additional learning needs.

I try to get into as many lessons as I can. Now the school is bigger I realise I need to be a bit more systematic in this and I have begun a programme of short visits to classrooms. The purpose of these ‘learning walks’ as they are called these days, is to ensure I am better able to celebrate the achievements and successes of the pupils- and indeed staff- at the school. This week I have been to see Mr Knott and Ms Lewis with Y7 classes in PE and History. The standard of the work going on was amazing, and I  was really impressed! 

Our parents and teacher group, FORCE, is running a Quiz Night on 15th February. More information will be out next week, but I can tell you the first prize is well worth winning, so do consider getting a team together! It will be from 6.30pm until 8pm in the Library. Entry is £5 per team (up to six members) but the prizes we have secured are worth considerably more than that!

The paper recycling project Y7 are managing is working well. There is an efficient team in place, and they are organising bin emptying on a regular basis. We generate a fair amount of paper in a school of this size, so I am pleased this issue is being addressed.

We have a really exciting day planned on Tuesday for four of our students. They will be representing our school and our Hexad partner schools at a meeting looking at the new curriculum for Wales. This is a pretty high-powered meeting as the Children’s Commissioner will be there as well as Professor Graham Donaldson (see “Tweet of the Week”!) who wrote the Successful Futures document which explains how we are moving forward with curriculum reform in Wales. We were especially asked because of the work we have done in the Hexad at two student conferences, and we’re going with students from Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni. Read next week’s blog for more information and to find out how it all went!

Today our student digital leaders have been involved in specialist training. I heard the sessions went really well. They will be able to support our community in terms of internet safety and all things digital, and I am grateful to them and the staff leaders for the work they’re doing in this area.

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THEME FOR THE WEEK: Successful Futures

ASSEMBLIES: Assistant Headteacher


NUMERACY FOCUS: Working with money

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “4 / four / pedwar / quatre / IV”  There are four quarters in a whole. Most people realise words with the prefix quad-  from Latin relate to the number four (quadrilateral, quadruple, quadrophonic, or quad bike, for example) Less well-known is the prefix tetra- from the Greek, which also relates to number four. So a tetrahedron is a polyhedron composed of four triangular faces and four vertex corners. A tetrarchy is a government in which the power is shared between four leaders. Do you know any others?

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Gweithiwch mewn grwp!” : “Work in a group!”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: prescience : having knowledge of something before it actually takes place. e.g “The comments he made back in the 1980s about how technology would be used in the classroom in the C21 showed remarkable prescience.” (‘Pre-‘ is a prefix meaning ‘before’ and ‘science’ means ‘knowledge.’)

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “Est rerum omnium magister usus.” – Julius Caesar (Experience is the teacher of all things)

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: Room 4 at RCCS is the Meeting Room!


Looking forward to our meeting.…
18 Jan 2018, 08:19


Y11 well on track for success!

Term started quite late this year on January 8th because we broke up very near to Christmas, so it felt like we’d had a real break. It hasn’t been a slow start to the year however! Many students in Y11 and Y10 had an examination on the second day back. Then on Thursday we had the results of some early GCSE exams, and we were generally very pleased indeed. For some students there was very good news, others were perhaps a little disappointed, but there is still time to make improvements and perhaps this will serve as encouragement. Today we had the year group photo. It reminded me that this time last year we had the whole school photo taken to kick off the celebrations for our fortieth anniversary in 2017. 

Congratulations to Cerys in Y11 and Charlotte in Y8 who won gold and silver medals respectively at an Indoor Athletics meeting over the holiday! Great work, girls! Training has started already for number of sports, and fixtures begin over the next few weeks so we’re looking froward to some good results again this term!

This is an important time for Y9 as they will be making their option choices soon. There are two parents’ evenings coming up, one for parents to speak with subject teachers (on the 17th January) and then another on the 7th February when the actual options process will be explained. I would urge you to attend both if you are a parent/pupil in Y9.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 16.45.35Do you go shopping at Tesco? If so please support our project by putting the little blue plastic token you get at the check-out into the box under our name in the big store in Risca or the Express in Rogerstone. If we win we will get extra funding for the sensory garden we are planning, specifically (though not exclusively) for children in our ASD Centre. Thank you for your support!

Our FORCE group is holding a Family Quiz Night on February 15th here at the school. There is an entry fee of £5 per team, with prizes to be won and also a prize for the best team name. More information will follow but if you want to enter a team please email us at Any profit we make will also go towards the sensory garden.

We seem to get all weathers up here and this week we have had some lovely bright sunny days, albeit cold ones. The mist has been quite dense in the mornings too. This photo taken on Wednesday shows the mist below the school. This is a phenomenon know as temperature inversion- and if you’re interested to know more about how and why this happens ask Mr John or Mr Oliver, our Geography experts, or click here!

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Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 16.43.13THEME FOR THE WEEK: The Meaning of Life

ASSEMBLIES: Assistant Headteacher


NUMERACY FOCUS: Working with money

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “42 / forty-two / pedwar deg dau / quarante deux / XLII” “42” is an episode of Doctor Who, set in real time lasting approximately 42 minutes!

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: “Beth ydy ‘X’ yn Gymraeg?” : “What’s the Welsh for ‘X’?”

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: Paradox : a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”  -George Bernard Shaw

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: In Douglas Adams’ popular comedy book, movie, television, and radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is given the numeric solution “42”!


Very well done to Y11 students and staff! Some superb GCSE results today, and for those who were disappointed, I feel confident you’ll meet your target in the summer. #ProudHeadteacher #TopTeachers #TopStudents #MakingTheDifference
11 Jan 2018, 17:06

New Beginnings

No blog this week, but here are the themes etc for the first week back- which is a timetable WEEK TWO.

The Attendance Competition returns next week.

THEME FOR THE WEEK: New beginnings

ASSEMBLIES: Headteacher 


NEW! NUMERACY FOCUS: Working with money

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: “41 / forty-one / pedwar deg un / quarante et un / XLI” The race number worn by Sir Roger Bannister when he broke the mythical 4-minute mile barrier in 1954. The number of Mozart’s last and longest symphony.

CYMRAEG YR WYTHNOS: Dw i’n mynd i…” : “I am going to… “

ENGLISH WORD OF THE WEEK: Resolution : A strong will or determination to do something (eg “She’s made a resolution this year to play more sport.”)

THIS WEEK’S QUOTATION: “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford

TRIVIA OF THE WEEK: January is named after the Roman god, Janus, who is depicted as having two faces, one looking back on the old year and one looking forward to the new. Janus


Best wishes to everyone in the RCCS community, pupils, parents and staff, past present and future, for 2018. #Risca40 is nearly over! Here’s to the next forty years!
31 Dec 2017, 11:27

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: The school website