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									                           Blaengwawr letter
                                                                                                                      ISSUE 8

                           Comprehensive School news
                           Ysgol Gyfun Blaengwawr
            Diary Dates                             Headmaster’s Message
                                                                                  At the start of another school year we have much
Autumn Term 2009                                                                  to celebrate. I am particularly pleased with the
                                                                                  number of pupils who are choosing to come to
                                                                                  the school for their education – many from
Wed 1 September    INSET Day – School Closed                                      outside the school’s catchment area. More than
                                                                                  twenty pupils transferred to Blaengwawr during
Thurs 2 September Autumn Term Begins                                              the course of the last academic year from other
Mon 14 September Year 7 Photographs                                               secondary schools in the Cynon Valley. In
                                                                                  addition we are very proud to announce the
Wed 21 October     Year 11 Parents’ Evening                                       highest intake for this year’s Year 7 for thirteen
                                                                                  years! Indeed we have had to employ the
Thurs 22 October   Harvest Festival
                                                                                  equivalent of an extra member of staff to create
Mon 26 October     Half-Term Begins                                               an additional Year 7 teaching group.

Fri 30 October     Half-Term Ends                   This is the first of two newsletters for the autumn term and, as it was produced
Wed 4 November     GCSE Autumn Examinations         during the summer holidays in preparation for the first day of the new term,
                                                    there are many items that still need updating. In the next newsletter we will
                   Begin                            have, for instance, details on examination results; new members of staff; the
                                                    exciting new RCT E3 scheme and the new pathway into the school from Gwawr
Wed 11 November    Year 7 Parents’ Evening
                                                    Street and the cycle compound. In this newsletter our aim is to update you with
                   (with Form Tutors)               information from the end of last year and provide you with dates for 2009-
Thurs 12 November Year 11 Photographs
                                                    During the course last year three long-serving members of staff took early
Frid 13 November   GCSE Autumn Examinations
                                                    retirement due to ill-health, and I am sure that you would like to join me in
                   End                              wishing a long and happy retirement to Mr R. Waldie (formerly Head of Sixth
                                                    Form), Mr A. H. Deere-Jones (formerly Head of Modern Foreign Languages) and
Mon 16 November    GCSE Science Modules             Miss E. A. Evans (formerly Head of Business Studies). At the end of term we also
Tues 17 November   GCSE Science Modules             said farewell to Miss R.A. Davies (English), Miss M. John (Geography) and Mr C.
                                                    L. Thomas (Music) who left after temporary contracts. Another member of staff
Thurs 26 November Year 12 and 13 Parents’           who left from the Boys’ Physical Education department was Mr L. O’Brien who
                                                    was with us at Blaengwawr for five years. We wish him all the best as the Head
                                                    of Physical Education at Tonypandy Community College in his native Rhondda
Mon 30 November    Years 11 and 13 Assessments      Valley.

                   Begin                            There are also big changes in leadership in our primary schools with Mr S.
Fri 4 December     Year 13 Assessments End          Roberts moving on from being Head of Glynhafod Juniors to Head of
                                                    Maesybryn Primary in Pontypridd. Mr J. Oliver retired as Head of Oaklands
Fri 11 December    Year 11 Assessments End          Primary School and Mrs P. Richards retired as Head of Cap Coch Primary. We
                                                    wish them all the best for the future.
Tues 15 December   Carol Service (St Margaret’s

                   Church)                          It only remains to thank all parents for their support during 2008-2009 and
                                                    trust that this will continue into the new academic year.
Frid 18 December   Reports Issued (Years 8-10)
                                                    D.S. Evans
                   Autumn Term Ends for Pupils

                                              Cllub St.. Aberaman Aberdare Rhondda--Cynon--Taff CF44 6TN
                                              C ub St Aberaman Aberdare Rhondda Cynon Taff CF44 6TN
                                     Blaengwawr’s ‘Pied Piper’
Two years ago Blaengwawr, in conjunction with (five) of its feeder primary schools, was successful
in gaining a substantial grant in order to employ a transition teacher for the Welsh language.

Mrs ‘Hamlin’ is our very own ‘Pied Piper’ who has ‘charmed’ pupils with her approach to teaching
Welsh. She has succeeded in raising the profile of the Welsh language making learning a fun
activity. She has a great following and is very popular with pupils of all ages.

Her busy timetable starts on a Monday with a full day at Blaengwawr Comprehensive, teaching
key stage 3 - years 7, 8 and 9. Tuesday to Friday is spent between our feeder primary schools
Oaklands, Blaengwawr, Glynhafod and Cap Coch,
She also takes part in many extra-curricular activities, such as: the Urdd Sports at the Michael
Sobell Centre; the weekend trip to Llangrannog for year 7; as well as attending parents' evenings for years 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Recently we have also began an after school club for year 7 which Mrs Hamlin runs in conjunction with Miss Delyth Southall
of the Urdd Centre (Canolfan Yr Urdd) in Aberdare.

We have already seen evidence of improved standards in pupils by the time they reach Blaengwawr Comprehensive and we are
confident that this improvement will continue.

Employment opportunities are greatly enhanced when pupils have a good knowledge of the Welsh language and we, at
Blaengwawr, believe in giving our pupils the best chance.

    Parents’ Evenings 2009-2010
    We would especially like to thank all parents who came to their son or daughter’s parents’ evening last year.
    Attendance was very good indeed (particularly years 12 and 13). Nevertheless we hope that we can exceed the
    percentage attendance at all the parents’ evenings this year. So please make a note of the relevant date or dates.

    Wed 21 October          Year 11 (1)                          Tues 16 March           Year 10
    Wed 11 November         Year 7 (1) (Form Tutors)             Wed 24 March            Year 8
    Thurs 26 November       Years 12 and 13                      Thurs 6 May             Year 7 (2)
    Thurs 11 February       Year 11 (2)                                                  (Subject Teachers)
    Wed 10 March            Year 9

    Holiday Dates 2009-2010
    For those of you who are thinking of booking next year’s holidays early, please make a note of the school term dates
    for next year.

                                 Term Begins           Half-Term Begins          Half-Term Ends            Term Ends

        Autumn 2009           Thurs 3 September         Mon 26 October           Fri 30 October          Fri 30 October

         Spring 2010            Mon 4 January          Mon 15 February           Fri 19 February         Fri 19 February

        Summer 2010              Mon 12 April            Mon 31 May                Fri 4 June               Fri 4 June
    1.     May Day Bank Holiday – Monday 3 May 2010
    2.     INSET Day – Monday 28 June 2010
    3.     All dates are subject to final LA approval

2                        www.blaengwawr.co.uk
                               It’s your patch don’t spoil it
The Fire and Rescue Service has been
talking to PASE pupils recently, hammering
home their worries about house fires and
grass fires in particular. They showed
dramatic film of a bedroom catching alight
after hair straighteners were foolishly
thrown onto a bed. Colin and Doniker, the
Community Service Officers, gave the pupils
useful advice on how to behave if caught in
a house fire.

Even more frightening was the film
showing the horrific events of a grass fire
on a mountain side – one started
deliberately by young teenagers. It vividly
showed how quickly such fires spread.
Colin, who is an experienced fire fighter,
explained how such fires:                           Colin (far right) demonstrates the special clothing that firefighters wear

1.      kill animals;
2.      devastates the beautiful countryside;
3.      puts fire fighters lives at risk;
4.      injures or kills the teenagers who become
        trapped by the fire.

You cannot outrun a grass fire
Colin and Doniker told how technology has advanced in
finding arsonists. Tiny unmanned helicopters can hover
high up, unseen above the clouds, taking pictures of
arsonists and tracking their movements. The message is

Arsonists will be caught
                                                         Clearly Colin’s uniform is a size or two too large for some of our youngsters!

                                              Smoke Alarms
Has your home been fitted with smoke alarms? The Fire Rescue Service are keen to let all householders know that they can
be fitted with fire alarms free of charge. Just call this number:

                                               0800 169 1234

                      www.blaengwawr.co.uk                                                                                                3
                    Head of Mathematics and Numeracy
                          January 2009 marked the arrival of Mr S.C. Davies the newly appointed Head of Mathematics and
                          Numeracy. Mr Davies is originally from Birkenhead near Liverpool, joined Blaengwawr from Bettws
                          High School in Newport, where he taught for twelve years, latterly as Head of Mathematics.

                          “I am thrilled to be working at Blaengwawr Comprehensive School and relish the challenge this post
                          brings with it.”

                          Mr Davies has already started to raise the profile of the faculty. He plans to incorporate a style of
                          teaching and learning in mathematics which will deliver mathematics content through the new skills-
                          based curriculum and build on the success of previous examination results.

Mr Davies is married with a young daughter and lives in Pontypridd. He has something of an unusual hobby in that he has an
HGV licence and drives articulated lorries! He is planning to pass his PSV driving licence during the summer holidays so that he
can drive the Blaengwawr buses.

                                                 Number Fun

In the summer term year 7 began numeracy activities during registration time. Every Thursday pupils get stuck into a series of
number problems. They work in groups to come up with solutions to those problems.

The varied twenty minute activities are designed to encourage group work, enhance thinking skills and of course improve
numeracy skills amongst the pupils.

Every subject studied at Blaengwawr has a certain amount of numeracy within it. It is hoped that these activities will encourage
our youngsters to be more numerate, to give them the confidence to think for themselves and apply the skills they have learned
to any situation.

From September 2009 all pupils in year 7 and 8 will be taking part in these numeracy activities during registration.

4                       www.blaengwawr.co.uk
                                              Saturday Sums

Zoe Howells, Callum Evans and Nathan Griffiths pictured proudly holding their certificates represented Blaengwawr in the eleventh
Key Stage 3 Mathsmaster classes at the University of Glamorgan.

The seven week event designed to demonstrate mathematics in the real world, was organised by the Royal Institution of Great

The lectures included mathematical populations, puzzles, juggling, sporting chance and origami.
The three were able to demonstrate some of the fun activities they learnt to other pupils on their return to school.

                   Mathematics goes modular for GCSE
                                                                The mathematics department at Blaengwawr has introduced the
                                                                Edexcel modular course for GCSE mathematics. In the summer
                                                                term year 9 began the first unit of the course which they
                                                                completed before the end of the school year. This is the first time
                                                                that pupils will have completed a unit of the GCSE qualification
                                                                before starting year 10. The results of the examinations will allow
                                                                parents to monitor their child’s progress through GCSE. Pupils
                                                                have risen to the challenge by working hard in the first module
                                                                (Data Handling).

                                                                Pictured here are Sam, Garryn and Alice, who are monitoring the
                                                                progress of the class by examining the work already covered. The
                                                                results of the unit one examinations were available on 27 August

In September pupils will start Unit 2, Number and Algebra/Shape, Space and Measure.

                        www.blaengwawr.co.uk                                                                                     5
               Farewell to Our Primary Headteachers
At the end of the summer term we were sad to say farewell to three of our local primary headteachers, two of whom are retiring,
whilst the third has gained another headship in a larger school. Our year 12 pupils went along to interview them before the
end of term.

                                Mr John Oliver

                                Mr Oliver comes from an established Cwmaman family, with his late father Mr SJR ‘Jack’ Oliver
                                serving for many years as a governor of Blaengwawr Comprehensive. He attended Mountain
                                Ash Grammar School before attending Cardiff College of Education (now UWIC) to train as a
                                teacher. His first teaching post was at Pengeulan Primary School, before moving ‘home’ to
                                become deputy head, then head, of Glynhafod Juniors. He then moved to the new Oaklands
                                Primary which he served with distinction.

                                His teaching career spanned 38 years and he said that when he began teaching he never
                                contemplated the day when he would retire – but he is amazed how those 38 years sped by.

                                Mr Oliver reflected on the changes that have taken place during this time – “a lot have been
                                for the better, but the additional administrative burdens have not all been welcome”.

He takes particular pride in the sporting successes achieved by the pupils at Oaklands, their name appearing almost constantly
on every sporting trophy in the Cynon Valley.

Outside school he is a member of the vocal group ‘Four Just Men’ who have raised thousands of pounds for charities – notably
T? Hafan, the children’s hospice. He is also well known for his performances in musical shows put on at Cwmaman Institute.

He has two children, who both attended Blaengwawr. Catherine has a PhD and works with computers and Sarah is, like her
father, a primary school teacher in London. His wife Kaye Oliver currently works at Blaengwawr as receptionist.

                                  Mrs Pam Richards

                                  Mrs Richards is another head who retires after 38 years in the profession. She always wanted
                                  to be a teacher and studied at Swansea Teachers’ Training College, where history was her
                                  main subject. She began her teaching career in Aveley Junior School in Essex, but after two
                                  years moved back to her native Wales. The next 36 years were spent at Cap Coch, twenty of
                                  them as headteacher.

                                  She says: “ I’ve enjoyed teaching at Cap Coch most of all and enjoyed being the headteacher.
                                  I’ve had lots of moments that I will always remember – all of the children I’ve been involved
                                  with and also the staff. I have enjoyed working with the children and parents of

                                 Like Mr Oliver Mrs Richards says that “the hardest part of teaching is the constant changes
that take place – also the amount of recent changes.”

Her most rewarding moments are when she sees the children doing well.

6                      www.blaengwawr.co.uk
                                   Mr Simon Roberts

                                   Mr Roberts is not retiring, he is leaving Glynhafod to take up the post of headteacher at
                                   Maesybryn Primary School in Church Village near Pontypridd, which is closer to his home in
                                   Pentyrch near Cardiff.

                                   He began his teaching career at Glynhafod in 1993 where his first class (year 3) included
                                   Matthew Case and Lloyd Crisp. He then went to teach in Neath, before becoming deputy head
                                   of a school in Newport. He returned to Glynhafod as headteacher.

                                   He says that his best moments in teaching came last year when Glynhafod won two football
                                   trophies by beating Oaklands Primary!

                                   Mr Roberts says that his worst moment was having to make two teachers redundant, due to
finances. He says that it was a very hard thing to do.

He is looking forward to his new challenge in September.

We would like to wish Mr Roberts every success in his new post, and Mr Oliver and Mrs Richards a long and happy retirement.

                                                News from PASE
It’s hard to believe that the autistic class, funded by RCT and based at Blaengwawr, has been running now for five years. We refer
to it as PASE, an acronym for Provision for Autistic Spectrum Education. The pupils of the class are eager to share some of the
things that they have learnt with the rest of the school and parents.

                                                  Coming Soon
                            Schools Fantasy Football League
                   Would you sell Cristiano Ronaldo for £80 million? Would you take a chance on Roger Johnson
                   for £5 million?

                   For all you budding football managers Fantasy Football will give you the chance to control
   multi-million pound budgets and pick a 'fantasy' team of 11 players. They will accumulate points each week.
   The number of points is dependent on the performance of their players in real-time Premier League matches.

   The programme runs from August to May. There are awards to be won throughout the season and is suitable
   for boys or girls of any age. So if you think you have got what it takes to pick a winning team see Mr S.
   Davies in mathematics to enrol for the 2009-2010 season.

                       www.blaengwawr.co.uk                                                                                      7
                                                     5x60 Activities
One of the school’s major achievements last year was the 5x60 Programme, promoted by the Sports Council of Wales to
encourage youngsters to involve themselves in more physical activities. The name ‘5x60’ refers to the aim to encourage
youngsters to take 60 minutes of exercise five times a week. Below we report on two of the activities.

Girls’ Football

One of the most popular and well attended sessions was the football training for
girls on a Friday evening after school, taken by Mr Ryan and Mr Brock. After
months of dedicated training the girls played a match against Aberdare Girls’
School. Clearly practice makes perfect as the team (pictured above) gained a
memorable 3-1 victory. Our girls dominated the match with the goals being
scored by Carleigh Forsythe and Jade Williams-Miles.

Outdoor Pursuits

As a reward for attending the 5x60 kayaking sessions
(canoeing to you and me) during the spring term
twelve pupils attended an excursion to the Welsh
National Climbing Centre and lakes in Trelewis. They
were accompanied by Mr Brock and Ms Hammett.
Instruction was provided by local outdoor pursuits
company Wet and Wild Adventures.

                                                         The group give the thumbs up for the Climbing Wall

The group give the thumbs up for the Climbing Wall                  Sitting in their kayaks and getting ready to paddle their own canoes!

8                          www.blaengwawr.co.uk

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