Engineers of the future!

Many thanks to teacher supply agency New Directions who presented us with thirty running vests for our newly formed running club on Thursday! Diolch yn fawr iawn! This is the very first running club for the school and is still fairly new after only beginning in April 2018. Both students and teachers of Risca Comprehensive are invited to come along every Friday after school to run either a 3K, 4.7K or 6K route. Pupils will be rewarded for their dedication with the free vest when they have hit ten runs. Hopefully, this will keep up their motivation to continue running each week through the cold and dark winter nights! Thanks to Mr Mock for leading this initiative.


This week the digital leaders took part in “Skype a Scientist!” This is a free scheme designed to connect young people with practising scientists across the world using technology to create a live link. We were matched with Grace Lindsay , a Computer Neuroscientist from Columbia University in the USA.  The students prepared questions in advance of our Skype session and then chatted to her live!  This is the second Skype a Scientist we have done at RCCS, the first being with Mrs Nash’s year 8 pupils, and we hope to do more sessions in the future including Skype an Author and a Mystery Skype! Thanks to Mrs Bawler for making this happen.

On Wednesday six pupils went with Mr Canavan on an engineering trip, to the Riverfront Theatre in Newport. The day was run by the Institute of Civil Engineers Cymru, and was full of presentations about engineering and there was also a series of challenges against other schools from the area.  Many thanks to Nazifa, Isobel, Tom, Phoebe, Jacob and Jack: Mr Canavan told me this group were really good ambassadors, and represented the school, Year 9, and most importantly themselves, in a really positive way. This is their account of the day. 

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In the first task we had to build a structure as high as we could with just a pack of playing cards. We got off to a slow start but then Isobel’s design was adopted and we built, hoping to win. However, not only did we win but we broke the record at a staggering 68 cm tall.  It is also safe to say the anxiety of it falling was enough to make some members of the team almost cry, especially as Tom was trying to add ‘just one more’. 

After our very modest win we proceeded to our next challenge which was the main challenge of the day.  We had to build a support for a section of bridge that had to withstand water flowing down the valley towards it.  We had a 35 million pound budget but materials were costly – 2 million for one straw!  We thought of a design and created it.  We then had to wait for it to be tested.  We were the most successful team with our design withstanding not only the normal flow of water (a steady bucket full of water) but also the storm force water (a whole bucket in one go).  It stayed up and stayed level with the road either side – a feat only achieved by our design.  However, our design sheet did not stand up to the same level of scrutiny and we were not announced winners.  One of the engineers present went to check as he knew we had the most successful model, but the judging was on the whole process and our drawings had let us down!  

The final test was to be creative with spaghetti and marshmallows. Again we tried different ideas before creating a model that was politely called ‘interesting’!  It was though successful in meeting the challenge set.

Overall, a very successful day, where we came out on top of two of the three main challenges and an opportunity which allowed us to develop and use our skills in a new and interesting way.  Thank you to ICE Cymru and the school for this opportunity.

Today, Friday, I have the honour to represent the school together with two of our pupils at the annual Armistice Service at Moriah Church in Risca. I will be sharing two stories from our school logbooks from 1914-18 that I told in last week’s assembly, which is available via a podcast here.


Next week is an anti-bullying week, with several activities going on, and an awareness raising non-uniform day on Friday when we’re inviting people to  wear blue to show their support.

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ASSEMBLIES: Pastoral Leaders

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