Good luck, Mrs Taylor!

No blog this week, but I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying good-bye to Mrs Taylor. Cara has worked at RCCS for many years in a number of roles, joining us originally back in 1998 as a teacher of Textiles, and also at one time taking responsibility for PSE. But it is as a teacher of Art that I think most of us will remember her. I have said on quite a few occasions that my favourite room in the school is the Art Room. The standard of work Mrs Taylor achieved with her pupils was consistently of excellent quality, and she was equally encouraging of those (like me!) who do not have the natural ability as those who are highly talented artists and designers.

Cara is moving to a school in Cardiff and we wish her all the best for this next stage in her career. Thank you for all you have done for our pupils at Risca over the last twenty years. You are a truly inspirational teacher. 

I’d like to wish everyone in our community a very Happy Easter. I hope you all have a good break, but Y11 please make sure you’re getting the revision done! It really will make a difference!




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Good luck, Mr Mahmood!

Last Friday we welcomed Professor Richard Alston who is a lecturer in Roman History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He spoke with a group of GCSE History students about daily life in Ancient Rome and I know his talk was very well received. This is part of the excellent “Speakers for Schools” scheme we have taken part in for a number of years now.

Well done to our students who have recently completed GCSE exams in Welsh and Art. Everyone conducted themselves really well, and with an appropriate level of commitment. Soon we will be entering the main examination period. Pupil are getting lots of support and there is a good deal of advice on our website under the “Student” tab.

Today was the last day at RCCS for our IT technician, Mr Nasir Mahmood. Nas has worked here for a good many years, and been responsible for ensuring our systems have been in excellent order. This area has changed dramatically over recent years, and Nas made always kept up to speed with all the new resources etc. We wish him all the best for his new job. On a personal note I am very much going to miss our chats about the cricket!

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On Thursday we held a Teach Meet after school. This was organised by Miss Bawler, and we had a number of highly respected educators delivering some fascinating presentations on the theme of the Digital Competence Framework. It was an excellent event and one I hope we can repeat again.

As you’ll know from recent blogs it was Autism Awareness week, and our ASD Centre has planned a special coffee afternoon today (Friday). There’s also been lots of excitement due to the hatching of the chicks! Don’t forget this Sunday is the Walkies for Autism in Cwmbran Forest.

No blog next week as it is the Easter Holidays. Term ends for pupils on Thursday, and we have a staff training day on Friday. The summer term begins on Monday, 29th April. Happy Easter….and don’t eat too much chocolate!

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Go Digital!

Last week we held our first school competition using the house system. This was set by the Science Faculty based on their Assemblies which I referred to in a previous blog. Here are the results!

House Competition

1st Catrin 100 points


2nd Dwynwen 75 points

3rd Llewellyn 50 points

4th Macsen 25 points

Individual Winner

Angharad Jones (Dwynwen)


Points were also awarded for participation.Well done to everyone involved, this was a great way to kick off our new system. As you know, Llys Dwynwen were the first on Twitter. Now Llys Catrin has joined them on social media, but they also have their own website, too. The bar is being set higher and higher!

Next week is ASD Awareness Week, and there will be lots going on at RCCS. Most of you know we are an Autism Aware school. Staff from our ASD Centre have been sharing lots of things based around the ASD Info Wales “Can you see me?” campaign. There’s also a fundraising dog walk on the 7th April, following last year’s successful event!

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On Tuesday four digital leaders went with our IT/DCF Lead Teacher to the Council’s headquarters in Ty Penallta, Ystrad Mynach for a Schools Go Digital Event run by Caerphilly Council. Here’s a report from the team:

We started the day in Miss Bawler’s car with a carpool karaoke of Hamilton, then, after searching for a parking space, we entered the building and took a seat in the chamber. Over sixty members of teaching staff attended the event from primary and secondary schools and were divided into three groups for workshops.

We were with the Big Learning Company who talked about digital skills in schools and also listened to a presentation by Microsoft who introduced their mixed reality product,  the hololens. We got creative with Micro:Bits, Lego Mindstorm and we even got to try the Hololens! After this, it was time for us to do our presentation. Miss Bawler talked about all things digital at Risca and showed them a video, that we had made explaining how we use Flipgrid and Skype. The audience were very interested and they even requested some ‘how-to’ guides that the digital leaders made.Then, we had a ‘question and answer’ session and the audience were free to ask any questions. After answering many questions, we then had to repeat this session three times!

The sessions were separated by refreshments but unfortunately there were no biscuits! Overall, the day was really fun and it is great to see that Risca is leading the way in terms of digital development in education.

Miss Bawler is hosting a TeachMeet at RCCS next week, which is proving very popular and with some great guest speakers including colleagues from RCCS, so things are really moving in this area of the school thanks to the dynamic leadership of students and staff alike.

Congratulations to the girls who took part in last week’s  Schools Dance Competition. They came second and have now qualified for the UK National Championships in Stoke-on-Trent in June- see “Tweet of the Week” below. Remember, our tenth annual Dance Festival is taking place here at the school on 11th April, and tickets are available via our Parent Pay system.

We have a special guest taking our assemblies this week, Rev Marc Owen, who is pastor at Moriah Church in Risca, and also a school governor. He has an interesting theme for the assembly! I am looking forward to hearing what he says about it!


At lunchtime today (Friday) the Staff Football Team defeated the Y11 Boys 9 – 5 in a charity football game, played in a competitive yet friendly manner! Well done to everyone involved!




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Grand Slam!

On Sunday evening a group of pupils went with Mr Knott and Mr Canavan to attend the live BBC show Scrum V. The tickets had been sorted out by one of our Y10 pupils, Xander. They could not have had a better show to attend, given that Wales had won the Grand Slam at the weekend, and they had a picture taken with the trophies. Everyone had a brilliant time!

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Still with rugby, and pupils from our ASD Centre took part in a special tournament in Ystrad Mynach on Thursday run by former Welsh international, Ryan Jones. They had a lovely time, and they too got to hold the Triple Crown and Grand Slam trophies.Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 08.39.39

That day, too, Miss Rouillé took some of the pupils in her form to a competition run by Careers Wales Business Class, the Eden Green Living Challenge. They had won a preliminary contest in school a few weeks earlier. I heard they had a great time designing the lego robots, and although they didn’t win on this occasion they can be very proud of their achievements.

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The new house system is up and running, and pupils are winning points already. Mr Mock gave me an update yesterday, and at the moment Dwynwen are winning with Catrin in second place. Dwynwen, too, have already set up a house Twitter account. So the challenge is definitely on! I will soon start to include this information in the blog along with attendance data.

It was good to see so many Y7 parents here on Thursday, and I know staff were sharing lots of good news! You’ve made a great start at RCCS!

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Autism Awareness


Principal Teacher, ASD Centre

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Comic Relief!

Assemblies this week have been taken by members of our Science Faculty, Mrs Baskerville and Mr Hare, as part of British Science Week. I visited the Year Seven on Monday and heard Mr Hare talk about the theme of ‘journeys’ and share some of his thoughts about how some of us- or more accurately I should probably say some of you-  might be living on Mars or the Moon in the not too distant future. It was a really interesting assembly.

On Thursday evening Mrs Green and some of our media and drama students hosted a short film festival. One of the films featured was “Default”, an original film written and starring some of our RCCS pupils which was produced with the Iris Prize Outreach Team. It was an excellent production and everyone involved deserves huge credit for the work they put in to make it. See the photo in our “Tweet of the Week” below!

Do you know what the word “francophone” means? Nothing to do with your mobile, it’s means “French-speaking.” There are many francophone countries in the world, not just France! How many can you name? Miss Johnson is running a special Francophonie Quiz next week and there are lots of prizes to be won, including books and cinema tickets. Teams need to register in advance and there are house points to be won, too! See Miss Johnson for more information.

Well done to our sports teams this week, and a special mention for Y10 rugby boys who had their first game in the new kit. They lost to Lewis Pengam, but played very well, and Mr Mock told me he was very impressed with the skills and camaraderie displayed by both teams. All eyes now are on the Millennium Stadium this Saturday when Wales play Ireland, and a win means a Grand Slam! I’m very hopeful we can do it!rugby

We are proud to be a partner with the Risca Foodbank. I have written to parents about this and you can read my letter here. They do great work for our community and I am indebted to Mrs S Coles from our ASD Centre who has set this partnership in motion.

Today is Comic Relief Day and a non-uniform day. This lunchtime there is a netball game between the staff and Y11. You’ll need to check back on Twitter to see who wins!

Finally, an important message from Mrs Nash for Y10 Scientists.

With the year 10 exams (worth 45% of your final double grade) fast approaching I recommend that all pupils attend appropriate after school revision sessions that are happening in the Science Faculty:-
Monday – Biology with Mr Williams 
Wednesday – Chemistry – Ms Davis & Physics – Mr Hare
Thursday – Physics – Mr Hare 
Friday lunchtime – Physics – Ms Nash
Friday – Chemistry – Mrs Baskerville 

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Lead Teacher for Numeracy

(carried over from last week)

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A short blog today but an important one. This week we have introduced houses, which we’re calling Llysoedd in Welsh, to RCCS. Thanks to lots of hard work by Mr Mock who is behind this initiative, we now have four distinct communities within the school. The houses are called Llywelyn, Catrin, Macsen and Dwynwen, all linked to four historical Welsh figures, and each linked to one of the quadrants of our school logo. Everyone in the school is linked to a house, with the exception of Mr Mock himself who will oversee Eisteddfodau and other competitions, Mrs Perry as head of PE who will be in charge of inter-house sports, and myself who will remain neutral.


Mr Mock explaining the new House System at Y7 Assembly on Monday

This morning (Friday) the House Leaders held their first Assemblies. Many of us have been in favour of a house system in school for some time, but it is only now the school has grown so much in size that this is something we’ve been able to put in place. We hope this will generate healthy competition, and that pupils and staff will take pride in their house as  well as their school. There’ll be more about the house system over the next few weeks.

Next Friday, 15th March will be a non-uniform day; pupils can wear red if they wish. This is in aid of Comic Relief, and we suggest a donation of £1 is appropriate.

As many of you know I am an associate of the new National Academy for Educational Leadership here in Wales. One part of our work has been addressing a commission we set ourselves jointly with the Welsh Government, entitled How can leaders enable high quality professional learning opportunities that improve well-being and achieve better outcomes for all?” On Thursday I attended the launch of the report in Swansea, and you can read the report and see our four recommendations here.

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Numeracy Matters


Lead Teacher for Numeracy

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Tweet of the Week

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