Spring Newsletter 2016


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ST RICHARD GWYN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL YSGOL UWCHRADD GATHOLIG RICHARD GWYN SANT Welcome During the season of Easter we were reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for the sake of others. Despite being a relatively short term, you will see there has been much to celebrate. The students have once again been fantastic in their daily approach to learning and demonstrating their sacrifice to others and our community. At this time of year I ask all families to support and pray for all students that will be involved in public examinations and tests over the coming weeks. In Key Stage 3 all students will be required to undertake literacy and numeracy tests whilst students in Key Stage 4 will be working towards the successful completion of their GCSEs. Our year 11 students have been model students and this is reflected in their recent qualification success. In many important areas we have already demonstrated examination success that surpasses our outcomes from previous years as we strive to achieve and surpass our ambitious and challenging targets. Students from all year groups and staff have been working tirelessly to ensure they are prepared for the exciting and sometimes challenging term ahead. Please let me take this opportunity to thank you as families, on behalf of the staff, for your support this term. Our students look incredibly smart every day and are working very hard to ensure that they take advantage of the opportunities that they have. Thank you to those families that completed the uniform survey giving us overwhelming support and valuable feedback regarding the optional school jumper. There will be a separate communication regarding the revised school uniform early in the summer term. Attendance at parents’ evenings has been improving and you should be delighted with your contribution to making our school better for your children. I would like to thank each family who completed a questionnaire at one of our parents’ evenings. The feedback has been exceptional with 98% of families agreeing that overall they were satisfied with the school, 65% strongly agreed. Please be assured that we will be continuing to work hard to improve on this so that our children have the best possible experience at school. We look forward to receiving further feedback from our year 7 families on their parents’ evening on Wednesday 4th May and from year 8 families on Wednesday 25th May. At the end of the term we are pleased by the improvements made with regard to attendance. At present it stands at 94.5% and we are very close to achieving the ambitious target of 94.6%. If your child has attendance above this then well done and thank you. If your child has attendance below this figure then please do all that you can to improve it this term. It is a simple fact... children who are in school, learn; children who learn, achieve! On a personal note, I have taken the opportunity to use some of the time over the Easter break to reflect upon my first full year serving the community of St Richard Gwyn. I consider myself very privileged to be part of such a supportive and welcoming community that shares an optimistic and ambitious vision for our students. I would like to say thank you to the governors, families and staff for your contributions in helping make such rapid and sustained improvements that will continue to secure a brighter, successful future for our students. Steven Grech .


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Calendar for families Monday, 11th April 2016 4th—5th May Thursday, 28th April Monday, 2nd May Wednesday, 4th May Wednesday, 11th May Friday, 13th May 24th - 26th May Wednesday, 25th May 30th May - 3rd June 6th - 8th June Wednesday, 15th June 14th - 16th June Friday, 17th June Monday, 20th June 20th - 24th June Friday, 24th June Monday, 27th June Wednesday, 29th June Thursday, 30th June Friday, 1st July Monday, 4th July Thursday, 7th July Friday, 8th July Friday, 15th July Start of new term for students Key Stage 3 national tests Y8 junior maths challenge May Day Bank Holiday Y7 parents’ evening 4.00 - 6.00pm Y11 Celebration Mass 7.00pm GCSEs start Y9 retreat Y8 parents’ evening 4.00 - 6.00pm HALF TERM Y9 retreat Y6 parents’ evening 7.00 - 8.30pm Y9 Welsh Bac & Skills days Y7 - 10 trips day Y8 relationships day Y10 Careers & Community week Final GCSE Y7 Techniquest trip Food & fitness day Y9 Safety Day Sports day Reserve sports day New timetable starts Y6 day visit Y9 & 10 Glanllyn visit Last day of term Phoebe Curtis year 8 who has been selected for the Welsh Schools Football Team. Georgia Hellerman year 8 who has been selected for the Cardiff & Vale U14 netball squad out of 130 girls. Georgia also represented Cardiff & Vale in the Welsh U14 Championships with the squad winning 8 out of 8 matches to become Wales U14B Champions. She also played for Wales U14 girls in the Malta Basketball U14 Internationals. Maisie Harrhy year 8 who plays international basketball for Wales U14 girls. She has recently returned from Malta Basketball U14 Internationals in Valetta, Malta as the overall tournament (both girls and boys) Most Valuable Player, a great honour. Owain Harrhy year 10 who is representing Wales U15 basketball in two tournaments in Scotland and Ireland in May and June. Year 8 basketball team who became County Champions beating Cowbridge in the final. Year 10 basketball team who also became County Champions beating Cardiff High School in the finals. Congratulations to: Rhys for becoming a junior pilot and flying solo.


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Important information for families Reception staff will endeavour to deliver all equipment, lunches and messages brought in by families. However, this is not always possible. Please ensure students pack all their equipment and books for the day and that they know how they are getting home from school before the start of the school day. Any sickness or medical appointments can be reported directly on: 01446 729230. If students have a medical appointment during the day and need to be collected from school, please ensure there is a note in their diary of the collection time so they are permitted to leave class for the appointment. Change to communication with families From January 2016 there was a change to the way the school communicates with families. Hard copies of the newsletter and the majority of documentation from the school will not be sent out either by post or via the students. The only exception to this will be the students’ school reports. All documentation will be emailed to parents and also placed on the school’s website www.strichardgwyn.co.uk. In order to ensure you have all the information you need please supply the school with your email address as a matter of urgency. Please either send an email stating your child’s name, form and your email address to info@strichardgwyn.co.uk, telephone the school on 01446 729250 to advise reception of your email address or send a letter to reception with your child. School uniform The standards of uniform within the school are excellent, especially regarding footwear. This is due in the main to the support that we receive from families. We have been lucky with the weather so far this year and it has been relatively mild. However there will be times in the new year when it is going to be much colder and we would like to respectfully remind families that as a school we ask that students wear black outer garments as part of the school uniform. Full details of our expectations regarding uniform can again be found on our website www.strichardgwyn.co.uk Students who are unwell If students are unwell during the school day we will contact you accordingly. It is then your decision whether you collect them. Whilst they are waiting to be collected they will be sent back to class until you arrive. If they are obviously unwell then we will request they need collecting straight away. Students who are injured On the first day returning back to school after an injury families are required to come into school with the student to fill out a form and have a safety check to see if it is safe for them to stay in school. Canteen price increase Ms Edwards and her staff do a wonderful job in providing varied and enjoyable meals for all our students and staff. Unfortunately there is no control over the price of basic ingredients and because of this the canteen prices increased by 15% from January 2016. After school activities There has been concern about the congestion in the staff car park and students hovering on the kerbside near the traffic causing a health and safety issue. In future students attending any after school activity should wait at the turning circle where parents can collect them.


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National KS3 Reading and Numeracy Tests All Year 7, 8 & 9 pupils will sit their National Reading and Numeracy tests on Wednesday 4th May and Thursday 5th May, these tests are part of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF). The tests are paper-based and will take between 30 and 60 minutes each, pupils who need more time because of additional learning needs will be given up to 25% extra time. Reading test Pupils read a passage before answering a mixture of multiple choice questions and questions needing short, closed responses like ordering, pairing and underlining. They will have up to an hour to finish. There will be time at the beginning to do practice questions. Numeracy tests The numeracy tests have two parts each lasting 30 minutes: 1. A procedural test where pupils will be tested on the age specific numerical procedures listed in the numeracy strands of the LNF. 2. A reasoning test to assess how well they can apply calculation skills to everyday problems. A report with the test results will be sent out before the end of the summer term. This will include the child’s standardised score, their progress score from last year and a score of how they have performed compared to others the same age in Wales. Numeracy and reading sample tests can be downloaded from the Learning Wales website: learning.wales.gov.uk Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Wednesday 4th May Y9 Numeracy Reasoning Test Maths rooms Y7 Numeracy Reasoning Test Maths rooms Y8 Numeracy Reasoning Test Maths rooms Y8 Reading Sports Hall Y7 Reading Sports Hall Thursday 5th May Y9 Reading Sports Hall Y7 Numeracy Procedural Test Sports Hall Y8 Numeracy Procedural Test Sports Hall Y9 Numeracy Procedural Test Sports Hall


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Supporting More Able and Talented Students in Mathematics On Friday 15th January 2016, six more able and talented mathematicians from Year 9 made the trip to Ty Dysgu to take part in an enriching and excellently delivered session. Students had the opportunity to apply the skills acquired in school, such as trigonometry, probability and scale drawings, to a variety of real world situations. The tasks throughout the day ranged from designing and building bridges to finding a winning formula for making a profit in their fictional casino. All students thoroughly enjoyed the day and appreciated the insight into the wider context where maths is used. Well done to all students, with a special mention to the team who won a prize for the best built bridge!


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English Mathematics Science L2+ L2 L1 CSI 2015 Results 70% 62% 71% 56% 80% 98.3% 51% March 2016 72% 68% 86% 60% 89% 100% 59% Target 80% 75% 89% 70% 89% 100% 70% Key stage 4 Year 7Level 5+ Progress 50.00% Percenatge Key stage 3 Percentage Year 7 Level 6+ Progress 8.00% 7.00% 6.00% 5.00% 4.00% 3.00% 2.00% 1.00% 0.00% Autumn 2015 Spring 2016 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Autumn 2015 Spring 2016 English 25.47% 42.76% Maths 42.24% 46.62% Science 46.58% 46.95% English 1.24% 2.48% Maths 2.48% 6.75% Science 0.62% 3.66% Year 8 Level 5+ Progress 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% English Maths Science Year 8 level 6+ Progress Percentage 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Percentage Summer Year 7 52.69% 55.09% 64.67% Autumn Year 8 61.07% 68.07% 80.24% Spring Year 8 75.16% 77.45% 84.85% Summer Year 7 2.99% Autumn Year 8 19.16% Spring Year 8 27.28% English Maths Science 10.18% 4.79% 24.69% 20.36% 28.06% 40.61% Year 9 Level 5+ Progress 120.00% 100.00% 80.00% 60.00% 40.00% 20.00% 0.00% English Maths Science Percentage Year 9 Level 6+ Progress 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Percentage Summer Year 8 77.86% 80.58% 88.58% Autumn Year 9 92.96% 91.43% 93.62% Spring Year 9 97.22% 94.40% 97.94% Summer Year 8 22.86% 34.89% 33.57% Autumn Year 9 64.08% 56.43% 53.64% Spring Year 9 67.84% 65.73% 68.28% English Maths Science Year 9 Level 7+ Progress 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% English Maths Science Percentage Summer Year 8 0% 0% 0% Autumn Year 9 17.60% 10.57% 7.36% Spring Year 9 24.48% 28.67% 13.11%


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Students Continue to Make Excellent Progress At St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, we are always keen to celebrate the successes of our students. We know that the success enjoyed by students is only possible because of the stimulating and challenging learning experiences available to them which aims to foster and nurture in students a lifelong love of learning. We also appreciate and offer our sincere thanks to all families for their continued support of all students. An analysis of current performance progress at key stage 3 the tables and graphs (see opposite page) clearly indicate an upward trend in the progress of students related to prior performance. Key stage 4 analysis looks extremely promising. We are on track to improve on all indicators from last year’s results and are targeting to produce some outstanding results. Highlighted below are some of the students in each year group who have made the most progress since the previous data capture. We congratulate these students and many more for their continued hard work perseverance and dedication to their school work. Year 7 Year 8 Joshua Brown Year 9 Aidan Gale Year 10 Year 11


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A busy Lent Lent in school is a time for reflection , for prayer as each form wrote their own prayer and brought it to the chapel one lunchtime to lead our liturgy. It is also a time for outreach to the community as our Parish Cross is taken to our feeder schools and churches by our chaplaincy team who created and delivered a short reflection for our future students. They were very well received in each school and our new cross , made by a parishioner of St Mary’s for us, was much admired . The forms were also busy fundraising and year 7 all received sponsor forms for our school charity CAFOD while year 8 held a spellathon for St Francis High School in Zambia where we sponsor the education of two children. Year 9 held a cake sale with Aimee Vaquerizo and Kelsi Hughes raising nearly £100 for charity while Kelsi and Mia Vaughan took on the annual Daffodil appeal for Marie Curie raising nearly £300 for our local hospice Holme Towers. Student council Members of the main council who are the chairs of the year councils were invited to a Spring Breakfast by our Assembly member and long time supporter of the school Jane Hutt, where they met the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Professor Sally Holland. Later in the day Professor Holland told one of our governors how impressed she had been with the views expressed by our students and the articulate way they spoke. They invited her to visit us late in the year – a treat to come! St Vincent de Paul Society Our charity group has grown in size and confidence. Started 10 years ago the group meet at lunchtime on a Wednesday in the chapel and all are welcome to join us to be part of one of the biggest youth organisations in the Catholic church. Last term they concentrated on local elderly and needy but this term their efforts have gone into those in need across the world , organising a Fair Trade Brunch to raise awareness of the injustice in trade . They were delighted that the Vale Mayor, Councillor Fred Johnson , accepted their invitation to brunch and he was very pleased with his Fair trade coffee and cake made by the group. There was also a stall for students to buy Fair trade good and many asked if this could be repeated!


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Eisteddfod Another fantastic Eisteddfod this year at St Richard Gwyn! The Eisteddfod is always an event that both the students and staff at SRG look forward to and this year, it did not disappoint! The atmosphere was buzzing with each house wanting to win. Our Head Boy and Head Girl told us all about the history of the Eisteddfod before we had a stage performance from the Year 10 Drama group. We all sang the usual songs including Calon Lan, Delilah and Bread of Heaven with lots of enthusiasm trying hard to earn house points. Whitland sang a fantastic rendition of Sospan Fach earning them some points throughout the day. Miss Fry came first for the staff and Tomas Harding-Dutch came first for Llantarnam in the Welsh Cake Eating Competition. We had an amazing Indian dancing performance by Anisha Benny and a fantastic routine from the Year 7 and 8 gymnasts. As always we had lots of singing performances from students like Ethel O’Callaghan, Erin Gamble, Tia Bryant, Fiona Aclan, Alex Le Breton-Gealy, Tia Higgins, Mariella Aguirre, Shannan Bennett, Charlotte Murray, Dee-Jay Lane, Xyreen Reyes, Jessica Shalom and Chloe Harrison. We also saw musical performances from Kayleigh Enriquez, Olivia Barnett and James Fletcher as well as the Year 9 and 10 bands. We definitely have some very talented students in SRG! The surprise flash mob from the staff went down well and had everyone up singing and dancing. Mr Donoghue definitely got his swag on to Drake’s Hotline Bling! Many thanks to Miss Greenslade for the choreography! Our winning bard for this year was Xyreen Reyes for her continued hard work in the school and an outstanding piece of writing on “Fy Hoff Atgof o RGS” “My Favourite Memory of SRG.” Our overall winners of the day were Caldey. Lots of members of Caldey had entered the competitions run by different subjects and they had gained lots of points before the Eisteddfod had even begun! Da iawn Caldey! Diolch yn fawr pawb for another great day! Looking forward to next year already!


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Creative writing group We talk of our nationalities and for some they are not proud. But Wales is what I call the best and for that it should be crowned. To learn about our Welshness we have to look deep within our heart. So really when someone asks we can tell them from the start. Our ancestors started their journey which consisted of many miles. For some came from Ireland, Scotland, England and across the water miles. Inside they were filled with hope for a new life filled with wealth. But working in the coal mines did no good for their health. Even as their health decreased, their happiness continued to grow. For the future they planted seeds in which they planned to sow. To sow for the generations to come and improve their new homeland. To show the world how such a small place can turn into something so grand. So as long as you were born in Wales it will always be inside your heart. Purposely or not it will grant you passion for any project you start. I doesn’t matter what part you came from or whatever accent you bare. You’re Welsh in your words mind and heart, a gift that we need to share. Written by Bethan Russell World Book Day The Thursday Kahoot Club celebrated World Book Day with a quiz in the library at lunch time. Everyone who entered left with a book prize. Late arrivals could win books by completing a treasure trail clue. Needless to say the library was very busy. All pupils were given a £1 voucher which entitled them to one FREE £1 World Book Day book or £1 off a book or audio book worth £2.99 in participating bookshops.


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Year 8’s through to South Wales badminton finals Year 8 boys represented not only the school but the Vale at the recent South Wales 5x60 badminton finals. The standard at the finals was incredibly high and the boys played well showing great sportsmanship under some highly competitive and contested matches. The students in the photograph were selected to represent the Vale after winning the Vale tournament. For any students living in Dinas/Penarth areas, community badminton sessions have started at Penarth Leisure Centre every Friday evening. For more info please see 5x60 officer. Girls’ football Year 7 & 8 girls have been taking part in the Vale of Glamorgan 5 x 60 girls’ football league and as yet remain unbeaten! Organised in conjunction with Vale Ladies and Girls Football Club, the league gave the girls a chance to play competitive matches against other schools in the Vale. The girls have showed great team spirit during matches and any other girls interested in playing should see Rachel (5x60 officer) or Lucy. Street dance – best foot forward A group of year 7 & 8 students performed in the Memorial Arts Centre ‘Best Foot Forward’ performance recently. The show provides a platform for young people to showcase their dance performances and after sessions of hard work and fun, the dancers produced an amazing performance. Thanks are extended to Emma Mallam of E-Motion dance who leads the 5x60 street dance sessions at the school. Sports leadership It is not just pupils busy this term participating in sport. Identified students in years 9 and 10 have been demonstrating their young sports leadership skills at recent basketball, netball and badminton leadership courses. The courses have been arranged in partnership with National Governing Bodies and the Vale Sports Development team to allow young people to develop leadership skills to ultimately assist with more young people becoming more active. Get Active outside of school……FREE Doorstep Sport Don’t forget 5 x 60 are involved with setting up / assisting clubs with developing opportunities outside of school. Any students interested in joining clubs but not sure where to look can just come and see us for information. If you are looking for free opportunities we have a doorstep sports session operating in Barry. Aimed at ages 10+, sessions will re-start after the Easter holidays every Monday (4.30pm – 5.30pm) at Pencoedtre Park. Sessions are led by qualified leaders and are aimed at getting more young people more active more often in their own community. Interested students can just turn up. Free swimming opportunities for years 9, 10 & 11 5x60 have free swimming tokens for Barry leisure Centre for any students in years 9, 10 or 11 who are interested in improving their fitness through swimming. These can be used during any public swim sessions. Anyone interested should see 5x60 officer.


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Dear Parent/Carer FREE SCHOOL MEALS Children whose families receive the following support payments are entitled to receive Free School Meals:      Income Support Income Based Jobseekers Allowance Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 Income related Employment and Support Allowance Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs that does not exceed £16,190 Guarantee element of State Pension Credit  As a school we want to make it as easy as possible for students to claim a Free School Meal. I respectfully encourage you to apply for the Free School Meal even if you may not want to use it at present as it allows us as a school to access further funding. Students in receipt of free school meals are now anonymous as a result of our new Cashless Catering System and will have their dinner money automatically added to their account. If students wish to top this up they can do so. If you have any queries about this or think your child may be eligible for Free School Meals please contact the main school office. If you would like help with completing the Free School Meal Form, please contact the main office who will be happy to assist you. If you are in doubt as to whether you are eligible, please apply anyway for which you can download the application form from: http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/working/education_and_skills/schools/school_meals/free_school_meals/ free_school_meals.aspx Yours sincerely Steven Grech


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Dear Parent/Carer As you are no doubt aware St Richard Gwyn is a voluntary aided catholic school, and as such the repairs and improvements of the school buildings are the responsibility of the governing body not the Local Education Authority. The governors’ fund has recently paid for the hall and canteen alterations to create more space for the students to eat their food. These repairs are grant aided directly from the Welsh Assembly Government at the rate of 85% of all costs. However, the governing body have no direct funding for their 15% and in order to continue to develop and improve the school we ask each family to consider donating a small amount each month towards the costs. As a charity we can also claim grant aid from the Inland Revenue, reclaiming the income tax you have paid on this donation. If you agree to make a donation of £5 per month for the next five years your child is with us, we will be able to claim back £84 of the tax you will have paid. This money will all be used to maintain and improve the facilities for the benefit of all our children. The school has always run a standing order scheme to the governors’ fund and all New Year 7 parents are asked to contribute £5 per month (or whatever amount they feel able to give). This provides a donation of £60 per year. Your £60 per year makes a huge difference to the upkeep and improvements of the facilities we provide to the children of this school. Every £60 donated by parents becomes £405 with Welsh Assembly grant aid. For example: for every ten parents’ donations of £5 each a total of £4050 is put towards the students’ educational facilities. A standing order authority is attached, if you feel able to contribute please complete the form and return it to school at your earliest convenience. Please ignore this letter if you are one of the parents/carers who already kindly contribute to the governors’ fund. Yours sincerely Mr Paul Burke Chair of Governors



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