Summer Holidays.. nearly!

This is the last blog of the year! We’ll start with two reports from colleagues, firstly from Mr Mock on the reintroduction of an RCCS Eisteddfod:-

EISTEDDFOD RHISGA 2019

It was a great pleasure to re-establish an annual Eisteddfod at Risca Community Comprehensive School on Tuesday this week. The event involved all Year 7 who were an absolute credit to Mr Williams in terms of their behaviour, enthusiasm, support for their Llysoedd (Houses) and respect for each other. In terms of levels of participation and engagement in both onstage and offstage competitions, there have been a staggering 500 entries in total with Harri Blakemore (Llys Llywelyn) earning the most points for any house. Da iawn ti! 

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This is a bendigedig (fantastic) start to developing further opportunities for students and staff to display their talents in a wide range of areas from art, science, technology, languages to music and dance. We could not hold the Chairing of the Bard ceremony as we do not have an Eisteddfod chair…yet! This will need to be corrected for Eisteddfod 2020. However, we had some excellent poems about Wales and we will be displaying these at the school so all can enjoy them. Another highlight was the history competition. Five students produced the most amazing 3D models of Welsh castles including cakes and models of whole villages. Arbennig o dda!

Following all the competitions, the winners of this year’s Eisteddfod are Llys Llywelyn. A huge congratulations also to Llys Dwynwen, Llys Catrin and Llys Macsen for a wonderful morning of healthy and entertaining competition. You are all winners in our eyes. Diolch yn fawr to all students who participated in the event and also to the amazing staff who supported (including a singing solo from Llys Dwynwen’s Captain, Miss Johnson).  Next year, we will expand the Eisteddfod to include Year 7 and Year 8. We can’t wait! #RCCSCymraeg

Mr Mock (@RCCS_MrMock)

Diolch yn fawr, Mr Mock, I think this event will go from strength to strength! And now some news about some great work in RE by Year Eight:-

A BLOG FROM THE RE DEPARTMENT

This term we have been studying stewardship. Stewardship is a religious belief that it is our duty and responsibility to take care of our planet and protect it from climate change. The pupils in year 8 have enjoyed learning how we can save and protect our planet and are fully aware of the dangers our world faces, if as a worldwide community we do not come together and combat climate change. Our pupils were given a challenge to create a poem highlighting the importance of stewardship. Myself and Mrs Cartlidge were overwhelmed with the entries as all of them were amazing which made selecting a winner from each class very difficult. However the five pupils below did stand out, with the depth, detail and thought that had gone into their poems. Each winner has been given a certificate, achievement points and their poems will be put on display in the corridors for everyone to see. We would like to congratulate everyone in year 8 for all of their hard work this term!’  The winners are:

Ethan Dimond: 8A; Harrison Summers: 8I; Noah Richards: 8S; Akeel Khan: 8C; Mia Garkut: 8R.

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Y8 Winners!

Miss John 

Well done to the staff and pupils!

On Tuesday we held our Sports Awards evening. It was a great event and it was lovely to welcome back former pupil Cerys Jones as guest speaker. Cerys plays football for the national U17 team. Congratulations to everyone who won a prize, and indeed to everyone who has represented our school over the course of this school year.

Today we’ve had our Wellbeing Day and we’ve welcomed a number of different providers into school to help us deliver the programme. Thanks to you all. Some of our pupils and staff will be getting up very early tomorrow as they are off to the USA! Next week we have Rewards Assemblies, Sports Days, and trips, which I am sure will be enjoyed by all, and the term ends on Friday at 3pm.

So it remains for me to wish you all a great summer, and we’re looking forward to seeing you again, together with our new Y7, in September. Term starts for pupils on Tuesday 3rd at 8.50 am! 


THIS WEEK”S THEME

CELEBRATION

ASSEMBLIES: HEADTEACHER

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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New Prefects!

Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 14.37.33I think most people know that Mr Heron will be leaving us at the end of term. He has been at Risca since 2001 and in that time has made a huge difference to so many pupils, by encouraging and nurturing their love of music. Even when the school was at its smallest he was always able to ensure there were Christmas and summer concerts, and he made sure that everybody who wanted to perform- at whatever level- was able to do so. He was behind the acknowledged highlight of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations in 2017, organising a concert which was absolutely amazing. That was also when the Risca Community Choir was formed, and I know he is especially proud of this. I have also had the opportunity to see Mr Heron performing in concert playing his own specialist instrument (among quite a few others!), the flute. On behalf or everyone at RCCS, past and present, I’d like to wish him all the best for the future. Here we both are with the BBC’s Rebecca John, who hosted the concert a couple of years ago.

We have now appointed four senior prefects! Our Head Girl is Liberty Taylor, our Head Boy is Xander Barrett, and the deputies are Eleanor Bull and Eden Bailey. Congratulations to them! They will now work with Mrs Coles to bring together a wider team which I expect will involve appointing other applicants to specific roles. Mrs Coles and I were really impressed with all the candidates this year; well done all of you!

Today some of our pupils are attending a conference in Caerphilly with our Hexad partner schools, and I am looking forward to hearing how they got on next week.

Just two weeks left, but lots to look forward to. We have the Eisteddfod next Tuesday as well as Sports Awards in the evening, and Friday is Wellbeing Day. In the final week we have Sports Day and our Awards Assemblies as well as the Rewards Trips and some of our pupils are lucky enough to be off to the USA! Next week will be the last blog of the year. I can’t believe time has gone so quickly!


THEME FOR THE WEEK: ACHIEVEMENT

ASSEMBLIES: Pastoral Leaders

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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Three Blogs!

There are no fewer than three blogs this week from pupils and teachers! Thanks very much to everyone who has contributed!

TRIADS

Teachers have been working in small groups to deliver themed lessons to a number of our classes. Once such group, or ‘triad’ was looking at the effects of social media, and Chloe and Bethan from Y9 have provided this blog to show their perspective on what they learned.

Last week Miss Johnston, Mrs Weston and Mr Coombes took part in triad lessons. We looked at social media and were asked the contentious question: is it beneficial or detrimental to our society? At the end of the week, we had to present our findings and research in a final project. We tried to have totally paperless lessons meaning we worked on chromebooks and typed on worksheets using google docs, that the teachers had prepared beforehand.

The unit of lessons started by having a small debate in our class discussing as to whether we thought social media was detrimental or beneficial. The class was almost a 50/50 split with most people on the fence. The next lesson, with Mr Coombes, taught us about reliability and that we should always cite our sources and look at where our research is coming from as it may be biased. We looked at what made a reliable news article and when to spot fake news.

At the end of the unit, we had to present our findings in front of the class. We all enjoyed focusing on different topics and being more creative in our work. Our group created a short film about the negative impacts that social media can have on your everyday life outside of your phone. Whilst others made presentations on google slides showing each social media platform from different points of views. At the end of the topic, we concluded that our class thought it was detrimental. This was a surprising realisation considering that the majority of us have at least one of these apps.

We thoroughly enjoyed these lessons and have been reminded of the need to be careful with regards to social media. It can be a great tool for connecting people around the world and sharing knowledge, friendship and kindness. However, social media can also become an unhealthy obsession that negatively impacts a young person’s life and wellbeing. Overall, be sensible and stay safe online!

One member of the class contributed a poem, which I think is very powerful indeed. Thank you, Isobel.

Pixel perfect

Pixelated perfection,

Anonymity undone,

Spread among fake faces,

A gracious gift to some.

 

Silent conversation,

Where none dare to emote,

So scripted do they speak,

On every word they dote.

 

Connection without contact,

Not meeting face to face,

Here they use this second life,

In solely digital space.

 

Yet little do they ponder

What lies beyond their screen,

And little thought is given,

To the perfection it may seem.

 

For troubles this may bring,

Or troubles already come,

Disconnected from reality,

Perfection comes undone.

                                             Isobel Mears 


DANCE COMPETITION

Some of our girls took part on a UK wide Dance Festival in Stoke on Wednesday. Here’s a report from our Lead Teacher for PE, Mrs Perry.

The day started bright and early at 5am. The girls were excited for the competition, but not so much the journey ahead! We arrived at around 9am in Stoke on Trent along with hundreds of pupils from all over the UK. Our category wasn’t competing until 1pm, but we had a morning of workshops and observing the other categories perform! I must say, I was blown away by the standard on show. Our girls competed in the largest category of 10 finalists. Their performance can be seen on @RCCS_MrsPerry twitter account! The girls came an amazing 4th in the UK!Dance UDOIT.jpg

 

You will see smiles in the photo above, which makes the PE Department proud. But what you don’t see are the hours and hours of practice that these girls have put in. You don’t see the late evenings in extra private tuition, you don’t see the lows that inevitably come with a performance sport. These girls have not only done Risca and their families proud but they have most importantly done themselves proud. The part that makes me beam with pride as their PE teacher is the conversations I hear on the bus journey home. “I can’t wait to be better next year!”  

Well done everyone on this great achievement!


TECHNOCAMPS

Finally, a report on another STEM activity from Mrs Hill in the Science Faculty, this time some work we’ve been doing with Technocamps.

A group of year eight students have had a busy few days this week working with Technocamps to improve their knowledge in STEM subjects.

They started off by building and mastering how to control their own Lego robots, to showing admirable resilience when coding their robots to allow them to turn at specific angles using their numerical skills. Their use of great problem solving skills ensured their robots changed in the right directions, using colour sensors in order to try and be victorious at the final robot wars!

The students also developed their DCF skills further through designing and coding their own games which was a great experience. The students are looking forward to the final day of their challenge next Friday. A massive thank you to the Technocamps team

Thank you Mrs Hill for facilitating these workshops.


THEME OF THE WEEK

RESPONSIBILITY

NO ASSEMBLIES THIS WEEK

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Welcoming our new pupils!

We welcomed Y6 parents to a transition evening on Monday which was very well attended. It was great to see familiar faces and meet some new people, too. We were delighted to have all our new pupils in on Wednesday for a transition day. Those I spoke to had a really good day and I am looking froward to seeing them in their new RCCS uniforms in September. Starting secondary can be a challenging time for young people, and there’s some really good advice from the BBC Bitesize website HERE.

There’s been loads of sports news again this week! Check out the tweets from @RCCS_MrsPerry and @RCCS_MrKnottPE to make sure you’re keeping up with RCCS success! Here are just some of our athletes after a long day of competing and representing our school so well.

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Today lots of our Y8 are off on a PGL Trip to France. We wish them all ‘bon voyage’ and I’m looking forward to seeing the tweets and hearing how they get on. It was a 2.30 am start, so I imagine they’ll sleep well tonight! I’m hoping for a guest blog next week.

And talking of guest bloggers, two more again this week! Firstly, here’s Mr Canavan’s report on a really good STEM day we held in school last week:-

On Friday 14th June, sixty Y9 students were given the opportunity to experience a real life engineering task thanks to the Small Piece Trust, in association with Cardiff University and an anonymous local sponsor. They were given an introduction to how engineering and SMART technologies permeate every aspect of our life. Then, in their groups of five or six they had to decide on roles and responsibilities, including team leader, marketing director etc

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The brief was simple, design create and market a water container that would have a sensor present that was attached to a pump and would pump water into a business’s plants so that they removed CO2 and put more O2 in the atmosphere; enhancing the working environment with natural resources. Plans were made, drawings completed and models made (including skills such as soldering). Prototypes ready and presentations planned it was then over to the groups to ‘sell’ the product to us and make a pitch. Then the final test – did it work? Did the filter work? Did the sensor work? Did the pump work? Did it hold water or not?

A fantastic experience and Year 9 were excellent and Alexis from The Smallpiece Trust commented on how impressed he was with the group in the way they conducted themselves, approached the task and asked really impressive questions. In addition he was pleased with the resilience shown (and good humour) , when things did not quite go to plan!

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Overall, group 5 were the winners with Theo, Nazifa, Cortell, Callum, Madeline and Layla successfully delivering a product that met the brief and whose presentation and sales pitch matched the quality of their product.

A great day and Year 9 should be proud of what they did and how they represented our school. Thank you to The Smallpiece Trust for the day too, enriching the STEM curriculum in this way.

And here’s a report from one of the pupils, Tom:-

On Friday 14th, we participated in a STEM activity along with 60 other year 9 students. In this activity we had to use our creativity to build a SMART electric water pump and filter that detects when water is put into the container. We had to assign different roles in our teams so we all had our jobs to do, we had to write down all the materials and costings we had. We then had to present to the other groups and the judge (Mr Canavan) and actually see if our model worked! We were in small groups of about 6 students all from different classes in year 9. To take part in this activity you had to meet the specific criteria which was focused on option choices and classes which were STEM specific. The activity aimed to build our team work and help us understand all aspects of engineering a bit more. All in all, this day was fun and enjoyable for all who took part and a fun learning experience.

Tom Wilmore – Year 9

Thank you both for sharing- it sounds like it was a really good day.

I had an update this morning from Mr Mock and things have changed in the house points competition! Llywelyn have come from nowhere to find themselves top of the table after some great performances in the sports competitions. Da iawn!

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THEME OF THE WEEK:- GRATITUDE

ASSEMBLIES:- Assistant Headteacher

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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Two Blogs!

Two guest bloggers today! First up is Mrs Howells, Principal Teacher in our ASD Centre:

Rotary club kids out, June 2019

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On Wednesday the ASD centre and 7ML were invited to Barry Island for the annual Rotary “kids out” event. The anticipation and build up to the day was spent watching the weather forecast and having two bags ready; sunshine and wet weather bag! Luckily the forecast changed and we all happily skipped off to Barry Island with our buckets and spades.

We excitedly arrived in Barry Island after our spot the sea game; blue skies and a blue sea awaited us! The Rotary club met us and took us towards the beautiful promenade and our high expectations were met!

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Finding our space on the beach we soon started building our sandcastles and playing our games. There were rocks to discover and the ‘baby shark’ song to dance along to. Up on the promenade the shops were inviting us in for ice cream and a stick of rock!After lunch, it was time for a splash around in the beautiful sea and jump over the waves, we laughed and giggled and enjoyed playing together. What a splashing end to a wonderful day!

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Thank you to the Rotary club for providing us with t-shirts and caps, snacks and goody bags! We are so lucky to have been invited to spend a day at the beach enjoying time together and learning how to be safe at the beach.

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Now for some quotes!

“Barry Island is awesome!” – Ethan

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“The best thing about Barry Island was the ice cream, on the beach!” – Ryan

‘”I went climbing on the rocks and found some shells” Connorlee

It sounds like a great day out! Thanks to all the staff and the Rotary Club for organising.

 Our second blogger is English teacher, Miss Smith.

Essay Competition Winners!

Congratulations to Evie and Freya (year 8) for winning the Essay Competition organised, on behalf of the City of London, by the Freemen of the City of London in Islwyn Association. 

As part of the competition, the girls had to independently research the ‘Pea Souper Fog,’ which took over London, in 1954. They then had to write an essay based on their findings. The essays were judged by the Chamberlain of London and, as a result of their win, Evie and her father and Freya and her mother were invited to attend Guild Hall in London.

We were lucky enough to have a tour around Guild Hall. We were shown its art gallery and the Roman amphitheatre and learnt all about their history from the very knowledgeable tour guide and the Deputy Clark. We also had the pleasure of witnessing the ceremony of two new freemen. After that, we were invited to have lunch in the Alderman dining hall, where the girls were presented with their prizes by the Deputy Chamberlain.

It really was a great experience and one I’m sure none of us will forget.

Thanks for that report, and I’m glad everyone had such a good day.

Finally a shout out to 10RJ who win this week’s attendance with a fantastic 99.5%! Well done indeed!

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THEME OF THE WEEK

WELLBEING

Assemblies: Assistant Headteacher, Mr Coombes

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TWEET OF THE WEEK

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Sporting Success!

On Thursday a group of Y8 pupils visited the DS Smith factory near Oakdale. This is the company we have been working with for a few years now, as part of a Careers Wales project. They’re an international packaging and recycling company, and although you may not be aware, it is almost certain that you have bought things that have been sold in boxes designed and manufactured by DS Smith. Next week, Mr Kingsbury from the company will be delivering classes to all Y8 about skills required in the workplace. We have another project going with our ESDGC group- more of that in a future blog.

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Here’s an update from Mrs Perry and Team PE!

Over half term one of our Year 9 pupils performed in the semi- finals of “Britain’s Got Talent!” The performance from the dance group “Lil Icons” was incredible and enjoyed by all four judges receiving excellent feedback! Unfortunately they didn’t make the final but we are super proud of Ella Vaughan for making the semi-final and performing brilliantly!

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The first week back after Whitsun has been an amazing week for the PE department!

There has been lots going on for Year 8 and 9, especially. On Tuesday, 4th June, sports leaders’ training occurred and it certainly started our week off with a bang! This saw fifteen Y9 pupils receive the knowledge and skills to lead sports sessions. Not only was their knowledge and skill set improved, but each and everyone of them was inspired to make a difference within our community. I have been blown away with how many of the sports leaders came up to me this week asking if they can help out at our extra-curricular programmes so that they can start volunteering their time. Not only this! Eight out of the fifteen pupils volunteered their own time immediately on the Tuesday evening by attending ‘Football Tots’ at Newbridge leisure centre (see Tweet of the Week below)! What an inspiration! Sport Caerphilly are excited about what our fantastic sports leaders are going to achieve over the next two years. The PE department are very proud of them.

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Wednesday saw Year 8 and 9 rounders teams face Blackwood and Iswlyn. Y8 started off strongly and beat Islwyn 6-5. Their skills and tactical awareness improved as the game went on with some stunning performances from lots of pupils. A special mention to Y7 pupils Callie Jones and Millie Scowcroft for stepping up and playing their first rounders game for the school against a Y8 opposition. Well done girls!

Year 8 Team: Carys Bowen; Grace Harley; Chelsey Taylor; Tarran Coughlin; Arwen Oliver; Molly Owen; Mille Scowcroft (Yr7); and Callie Jones (Yr7)

Y9 started strongly too with a tough encounter against Blackwood, the game was thrilling display of rounders shown by both teams. We drew 6-6 and then faced Iswlyn where we won 9.5-6.

Year 9 Team: Charlotte Jones; Shannon Jones; Jorja Maggs; Phoebe Churcher; Ffion Stephens; Isabelle Wardle; Honey Huish; Carys Goodwin; Madison Davies

Thursday was the County Athletics Championships for Year 8/9 Boys and Girls and yet another great day for Risca PE Department and our amazing athletes! We have a county champion and some other very strong performances!

Charlotte Jones – 2nd 100m and  1st Long Jump – COUNTY CHAMPION in LJ

Iwan Dark Y8- 2nd Discus

Tom Holland – 2nd High Jump

Upcoming Athletics competitions are on the following dates:

Monday 17th June: Inter School Cup Team Competition

Monday 24th June: Cup Final – dependent on qualification from 17.6.19

Friday 28th June: Year 7 District Minors

Tuesday 2nd July: Yr7 County Minors

If pupils want to be considered for athletics teams they need to attend athletics training on a Thursday after school! Rounders and cricket practice is also available on a Wednesday after school!

Welsh Representation is also on the horizon for Harvey Rees Yr10 in snooker. Harvey goes to Ireland on 21st June to compete for Wales in his passion for Snooker! We wish him all the best and look forward to hearing how he gets on!

The UDO Street dance finalists have been working exceptionally hard with 4 sessions per week working on their UK Street dance finals routine in addition to all their other dance club commitments and other activities! We admire their commitment to doing themselves and Risca proud at the Finals in a Stoke-on-Trent on Wednesday 26th June! We can’t wait for finals day!

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Another success on the dance front- Pheobe Churcher Y9 was called into the KLA dance team to perform at UK national championships last minute and she stepped up to perform for the team brilliantly!

Well done everyone! If you’ve done something that hasn’t had a mention, please feel free to let me know and I’ll add it to a future blog.

The ASD sensory garden is really coming on well now. So many people have been working hard on this, and it is a credit to everyone involved. Well done!

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We’ve received lots of applications from Y10 to be prefects. I am really impressed by the numbers involved and by the quality of the letters which I read over half term. Mrs Coles and I will be holding interviews later this term.


THEME OF THE WEEK

LEARNING FROM MISTAKES

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Half term already!

It’s half term next week so no blog today. Please note the themes change for when we get back. To catch up with any news, why not follow some of our teachers on Twitter?  There were quite a lot of tweets about the house football competitions last week.

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I hope everyone has a good break and those of you with examinations coming up, please use the time wisely!


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THEME OF THE WEEK AFTER HALF TERM: Role Models

NO ASSEMBLY: Exams in R3

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TWEET OF THE WEEK!

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