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.


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

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NO ASSEMBLY: Exams in R3

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Guest blogger!

Many thanks to Mrs Nash, Principal Teacher of Science, who has written today’s blog.

IMG_0939This week some Year 8 pupils had the opportunity to visit the BBC looking at how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and maths) subjects are important for careers within the entertainment industry. They had the opportunity to develop their communication skills, their problem solving and listening skills. STEM ambassadors shared some activities that you would need to carry out if you were employed as an engineer within the BBC. The lego challenge was important in communicating information about a problem and we saw the layout of the new studios that are being built. As sound engineers we built a sound mixing deck and made sound effects that could be used in television. Computer scientists have to test apps and we were abe to identify all the issues. It was surprising how many careers in this creative industry are based around science, ICT and technology.

However, our favourite workshop was based on the radio.garden website. It allowed us to access the radio stations from around the world. We listened to radio stations from Russia, Afganistan and the Cook Islands. The majority of the music was through the English language which was strange given that we heard many different languages. We highly recommend that you use the app.

In our key stage 3 ICT lessons we have begun working for our Duke of York, Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards, which culminate in a certificate from Buckingham Palace!  Our aim is that all of our pupils will complete their Bronze level award by the end of Year 9 through a mixture of in class and at home learning. This award is open to everyone and gives relevant, up to date digital skills.  We are hoping to run a couple of parent sessions next half term so that even the adults in our community can get involved and start earning digital badges!

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Bad exam? Don’t despair!

Did you see Ella from Y9 on Britain’s Got Talent last Saturday? She was dancing with a group at the end of the show, and they got a YES vote from each of the judges! Well done! We’ll have to keep watching the show to see what happens next!

Exams are in full swing now. Sometimes they don’t go so well, and a few years ago I wrote a blog to help people who’ve had a bad exam. It happens to all of us some times. If it happens to you I hope you find this useful. Click here for the link- it’s also available as a podcast!

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Mrs Baskerville and Mr Hare took some of our students to the South West Youth Rocketry Challenge event. Here’s their report:-

We arrived at the venue early on Saturday morning and began prepping the rocket.  As you can see from the picture, we were ready to launch…!Roc.png

From the first flight the team learned the importance of packing spare igniters as a misfire delayed the team’s first launch of the day!

On securing a second igniter the rocket did launch with a mass of 372g and reached an altitude of 315 feet with a Smokey Sam motor. Unfortunately, for the team, the egg which was carried by the rocket did not survive the flight, and this was a requirement of the competition rules. The team had another opportunity to qualify for the national finals but once again were blighted by another igniter misfire.  A slightly disappointing end to an otherwise enjoyable day.  

Bad luck, but I know you all had fun on the day!

We have been busy in school over the last few weeks making new appointments. I’ll share all the new staff with you in a later blog, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the pupils who help us with this process. Some are involved in lessons we ask our candidates to teach, others help by being tour guides, and there is also a special interview when the pupils get a chance to ask- and indeed answer- questions. It’s very important for us to get this perspective. Well done to everyone who’s taken part.

Things move quickly in the world of information technology, but under Miss Bawler’s leadership and thanks to some very innovative teachers and students we have been keeping up, and I was delighted we were chosen in a recent UK-wide report as one of the “schools to watch.” Very well done to everyone involved with this!



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Tweet of the Week!

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Athletics Success!

I hope everyone enjoyed a good Easter break. There was no proper blog at the end of last term, but I mustn’t forget to mention the Dance Festival that took place on the Thursday. This involved a number of our students as well as pupils from our feeder primary schools. It was an excellent event as always, and I was really impressed with all the performances.

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 09.26.44Congratulations to Harvey in Y10 who has been selected to play snooker for Wales in the U16 category in Ireland next month. Also we had some great news from the athletics meeting on Tuesday, with RCCS having three county champions over four  events, including a new county record in the high jump that had been standing since 1991! Here are the winners!

Amy Jenkins – High Jump 1.66m COUNTY RECORD

Lizzie Regan – Shot Putt 7.77m

Walker Price – 100m Hurdles AND 200m 

The exam season is upon us, and younger students are taking part in the National Tests. Our GCSE candidates have also been involved in exams, which will continue over the next few weeks. We wish everyone the very best of luck.

We have been replacing and upgrading a number of doors on a rolling programme. The most recent ones have been installed this week and look very smart!

On Thursday I met with this year’s prefect team for the last time. We discussed school uniform, fundraising, and how we run the school council here at RCCS. I am very grateful to this group for the work they have done on behalf of the school community. We will now be recruiting a new team for 2019/20- watch this space!

The new draft curriculum for Wales was published on Tuesday, and you can find out more about it here. Everyone is invited to share their views and to give feedback, and I would urge you to do so. 

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Continue reading

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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