Monmouth Comprehensive School SPRING NEWSLETTER 2015 ‘Learning to Lead our Lives Dysgu Trwy Arwain’ Dear Parents Mrs Wendy Baker, who every term puts together our School Newsletter, has an onerous but delightful task in trying to, within these few pages, record the lives and achievements of all our students. This term we have staged a school production of ‘Sweeney Todd’, travelled to the frozen North to see the Aurora Borealis, entered Monmouth’s Got Talent, been to the Mandhir in Regents Park, baked cakes for World Book Day, held our annual Eisteddfod, and hosted a visit from a German colleague. And in all this in seven weeks! A new development at school has been a project with Newport County Football Club. Mr P Hancock, a General teacher, has led a Boys’ Literacy Project with the Club. A regular feature in the Club’s Programme on Match days is an article produced by our students. A copy of the latest article can be found in this newsletter. The Club Chairman has written to the school praising our work as well as the students’ exemplary behaviour when they have been invited to the Club to watch matches. At MCS, we aim to support every student in developing the skills for life. The school has received national recognition for its work on developing emotional awareness and resilience in building and maintaining purposeful learning relationships. We have received the National Restorative Quality Mark, the first secondary school, in the United Kingdom. This work has been led by Mr Andy Williams at our school. Mr Williams has also started work with some of our Cluster Primary Schools. Developments with learning continue apace within our school. The School and Year Councils this term have worked with Mrs R Gardiner, Miss E Biddle and Mrs C Guest in looking at assessment processes that support progress in learning. Mrs R Fry, from the Geography Department, is leading research at our school about how we can use ICT to create a stimulating, responsive and inclusive learning environment across the curriculum. Mr D Williams has been rolling out a professional development tool for all staff that allows us to record digitally our practice in the classroom so that we can share best practice and ideas for learning. At the same time, Mr T Bird is leading our work with the County Council and Interserve on the design of our new school. The world of education continues to change at a fast pace. Parents who have children in Years 9 and 11 will have heard about some of the changes ahead through the Options and Curriculum Evenings held at school. Mr T Bird with Mr D Egan, together with Progress Leaders have led these evenings. The Welsh Government has commissioned Professor Donaldson to produce a series of recommendations for the future of education in Wales. A summary copy of the report may be accessed by clicking on the following link http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/curriculuminwales/curriculum-for-wales/?lang=en . As parents, I hope you find this information from Donaldson useful. In the Summer Term we are hoping to hold further curriculum evenings that will explain the work of the school in relation to the changes ahead. There is also so much more to read about in the following pages. I would like to thank all the students, staff and parents, particularly the Friends Association, for all their work and help in providing a dynamic learning experience for all. Congratulations to our new Sixth Form team: Philippa Parry (Head Girl), Reuben Pierrepoint (Head Boy), Grace Allan (Deputy Head Girl) and George Baynes (Deputy Head Boy). I wish them every success in the year ahead and thank Michael, Emily, Jack and Thea for their service to the school this year. With the holiday only a week away, the students, staff and governors wish everyone a happy and peaceful Easter Spring holiday. R V Davies Headteacher Two Year 8 students, Ben Hopkins and Emma Lockyer (8CK) have been selected to represent Wales Under-15s at the Royal Windsor Horseshow at Windsor Castle in May, in front of the Queen. This event is a World Championship event. Following this competition, they will travel even further afield to Florida to compete in the Under-17s World Team Championships. Congratulations, Ben and Emma! Preparation for Examinations Mr Hampshire, with Miss Manners and the Year 11 Team, have been tracking the progress of students as they prepare for the summer examinations. In my office, there is a board, with each student’s photograph which we use to plot and chart progress against benchmark data. As we enter the final stages of examination preparation, we have published below some guidance about revision. Revise in short periods of no more than 30-40 minutes At the end of each revision session have a treat – it always good to have something to look forward to Be strategic in your learning – have examinations papers in front of you as you revise so you know exactly what to learn. Copies are available on ILEARNWALES via the school website Be ready to learn- do not sit with distractions around you (You can be without your mobile telephone for 30-40 minutes and Facebook will still be there when you have finished) Talk about what you have learnt - to parents and friends. Talking through what you have revised helps to consolidate learning. Revise during the part of the day you know when you work best. Preparing for examinations can be an anxious time and the more work you do helps to relieve the anxiety. Build slowly and you will gain confidence and pace. Regular meal times and sleeping times are important. Year 11 students are coming in to school over the Easter break, by invitation from their teachers to continue preparing for examinations. Monday 30th March Drama - 9 am D&T Graphics - 9 - 2.30 pm D&T Resistant Materials - 9 - 2 pm - Mr Bland Music – 10 – 3.30 pm Tuesday 31st March Drama - 9 am Art - 9 am French - 9 - 2.30 pm German – 1 – 2.30 pm D&T Resistant Materials - 9 - 2.30 pm - Mr Nicolaides Psychology – 9.30 am Wednesday 8th April Welsh – 9 – 12.30 pm Friday 10th April English Language - 9 - 12.30 pm Attendance at school is essential for success. Every day away from school has an impact on the overall grades students achieve. We will continue to monitor every student’s attendance on a daily basis and will be contacting home on the first day of absence. We appreciate your support in making sure that your child attends regularly. Close shave anyone ? MCS students gave audiences the chills with four nights of sheer brilliance as they wowed everyone with their performance of Sweeney Todd. A full report, complete with pictures, will feature in The Leader 2015. TRIPS The annual Sports Tour will be visiting Greece over Easter and our footballers will be heading to Real Madrid. Students and staff will also visit Munich on the History Trip. Full reports of all of our trips will feature in the next copy of The Leader. TRIPS SUMMER LEARNING WEEK The Summer Term will be soon with us and we will again be holding our Summer Learning Week. This is a time where we go out into the community to develop skills and learning that is not always possible within the confines of the classroom. Attendance Thank you all for supporting the school in achieving our highest level of attendance last year. Whilst this is a significant improvement, we know attendance for some students could be much better. You may not be aware that: 90% attendance rate = 80% attendance rate = 75% attendance rate = 19 days missed from school 4 weeks 100 lessons 38 days missed 8 weeks 200 lessons 48 days missed 10 weeks 250 lessons It is important to understand that for your son/daughter, the above attendance rates can have a significant impact on their grades. We understand that different holiday dates from different authorities cause families difficulty with planning holidays, but currently we are experiencing a high demand for absence during term time for family holidays. Whilst we appreciate these are difficult times for many families, it is not appropriate for us to support these requests given the impact on the young person’s learning and the correlation between a drop in attendance percentage with the drop in outcomes at KS3 and KS4. Lower attendance means lower grades statistically. Once again, we will be putting on a number of evening events at the school, during the week, for the whole community. Some of these events will have been created by our students, some by the Friends Association and then there are one or two surprises for the whole community. Summer Learning will take place from 22nd June to 26th June. Put these dates into your calendar now and follow us on our website and Twitter to find out what sorts of events we will be staging for everyone at this time. For the students in Year 7, this is a wonderful opportunity to go to either Hilston Park, Talybont or Gilwern Outdoor Educational Centres for two and a half days. The students have the chance to try a wide range of exciting outdoors activities. May we politely request that outstanding payments for this activity be made as soon as possible. We realise that some students will have visited such centres before with their previous schools, however this is an opportunity to work together with their new Form Groups. Previous groups have found that the bonds that were formed during these stays have been far reaching and beneficial in terms of future learning. We will raise money towards these activities during the year so that everyone can be included and benefit. The information/consent letter is available to download from School website. Monmouth’s Got Talent A big thank you and well done to Michael Ellis, Emily Pardington, Jack Whittaker, Thea Ward and the rest of the Sixth Form team who worked tirelessly to ensure the whole event went off smoothly, complete with raffle prizes gathered from the local community. Well done to the MCS contestants. PARENTPAY – WE NEED YOUR HELP! When making payments for School activities and ‘topping up’ your child’s lunch account, we recommend the security of using ParentPay online – just visit www.parentpay.com PARENTPAY EMAIL ACTIVATION If you have already activated your email account and are receiving printed letters for trip/activity updates then please click on the link in the yellow box at the top of your home screen when you next access Parentpay. This will enable you to receive more timely email communication. New Users - To activate your account please access Parentpay at www.parentpay.com and follow the on screen instructions. If you have not received details to access Parentpay please contact Mrs C Williams by email [email protected] or telephone 01600 775143. Please note that, once activated, you may control alerts for low dinner money balances and new items assigned to your child. DofE Award Our DofE students are currently engaged in completing the Physical, Skill and Volunteering components of the award and looking forward to the challenge of the expeditions. The practice expeditions for Gold and Silver take place in the Easter break in the Black Mountains with the Bronze practice in June. Numbers are very healthy this year with 25 Gold, 8 Silver and 120 Bronze participants. An information evening for Bronze on Wednesday 22nd April at 6pm in the school hall will incorporate a local supplier and expert in outdoor activities to give advice on expedition kit we hope to see you there. COMIC RELIEF AT MCS Bringing Personal Items to school Whilst we do all we can to secure our premises and onsite equipment, we cannot be held responsible for students’ personal possessions. The school advises that mobile phones, iPods and other valuable items are either stored in school lockers or kept at home. Friends AGM on Tuesday 5th May - Election of Chair Heartstart So far this school year 40 students and parents have attended free emergency first aid training organized by the FA together with Heartstart Monmouthshire. This British Heart Foundation initiative aims to train as many people as possible in Emergency Life Support Skills. Courses are free and available to anyone 10 years and over. A number of participants expressed an interest in becoming Heartstart trainers (you can find out more here). More trainers means more places available on future courses, so more people trained to save lives. We hope to run the next course at MCS in the Summer Term. As we look forward to a new school being built, the Friends Association is looking for a new Chair as Kirstie Pope will be standing down (but staying on as Secretary to support the new Chair). There is a great bunch of enthusiastic parents ready and willing to manage projects. They need someone who will liaise with, and be the main point of contact for, school and to chair meetings. If you have not attended our meetings before, don’t let that you put you off – please email Kirstie at the address below and she will get in touch and explain what is involved. Sweeney Todd We really enjoyed dressing up and serving drinks and pies during the performances. Thank you to everyone who helped and congratulations to staff and cast – it was a great show. Pre-used Uniform Selling well! Please bring donations to school reception and email your requests to Sarah at [email protected] . Red Nose Day Baking Thank you to everyone who baked and sent in cakes to support the Charity Committee’s fundraising efforts. Parent Workshops Emotional Intelligence and communication How can we talk so they will listen and listen so they will talk? On Saturday March 14th local professional life coach and tutor, Jessie Paterson, ran a workshop focusing on understanding and managing emotions in the family, helping us to communicate better with our children and support them. Many parents commented, also, on the support they gained from sharing experiences and listening to other parents, realising that they are not alone in the challenges all parents face. How does your teen’s brain work? How can I support my children’s studying or revision? Next term we have asked local professional coach and tutor, Frances Green, to run another Saturday afternoon workshop answering these and other questions. We will be sending out an email once dates have been confirmed. The workshops and childcare are free, funded by the monies raised by everyone who signed up to support Monmouth Comprehensive Friends Association at www.easyfundraising.org.uk. Thank you to all who have participated. If you haven’t signed up, please do – it won’t cost you anything – and it will help us fund more workshops, available to all. Get involved It’s great to see new faces at FA meetings and events. But please bear in mind that getting involved does not have to mean a regular commitment: any help, big or small, is much appreciated and will make a difference. So please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] UNIFORM At Monmouth Comprehensive we are very proud of our uniform and work hard to make sure it is worn with pride. May I respectfully ask that all parents support with the wearing of school uniform. Uniform is checked every morning with Form Tutors during Registration. I have printed below a section of our Uniform Code. Black jeans or jean like material are not allowed in school or any black trouser in a jeans style with, or without, a metal press stud. All skirts must be to the knee. Students who are not appropriately attired will receive uniform at school and parents will be contacted. All footwear must be black with no logos or variation in colour. For students taking Public Examinations in the summer, it is a requirement that school uniform is worn. It is part of our safeguarding and security for the examinations that all students are in correct uniform. DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 27 March – INSET DAY 28 March – 4 April Greece Sports Tour 29 March – 3 April Italy Football Development Trip 30 March – 10 April Easter Holiday 13 April – TERM BEGINS w/c 13 April – Extra Curricular Buses start 1 May – Non Uniform and Bake Sale 4 May – May Day Bank Holiday 8 May – Year 11 Leavers’ Ceremony 8 May – Year 11 May Ball 11 May – Exams start 11 May – Y12 Study Leave starts 21 May – Y13 Leavers’ Reception 22 May – Y11 Study Leave starts 22 May – Y13 Leave 25 – 29 May – HALF TERM 18 June Summer Concert 19 June – Extra Curricular Buses finish 22 - 26 June Summer Learning Week 24 June – Exams End 29 June – Book Return Day 29 June – New Entrants’ Evening 30 June – 3 July – Y6 Taster Days 3 July – Y6 Welcome Disco 17 July – TERM ENDS 13 August – A Level Results 20 August – GCSE Result 02 September - Y12 Registration 03 September - Y12 & Y7 Induction 04 September - Whole School Attendance Spain Sports Tour 2016 – Please see Mr Murphy as there are a few places left on the Tour Your support is greatly appreciated. Revision Sessions Next Term The Geography Department are holding the following sessions for Year 11 students retaking their Y10 Geography exam: Room G2 – 3-4 pm - GCSE Geography Core Topics Monday 13 April – Rivers Extra curricular activities and transport will run from w/c 13 April to w/c 19 June. SKI TRIP – THERE ARE STILL A FEW PLACES LEFT FOR EASTER 2016 – PLEASE SEE MISS BIDDLE FOR DETAILS Tuesday 14 April – Climate Change Monday 20 April – Population Tuesday 28 April – Development Thursday 30 April – Globalisation Monday 11 May - Tectonics Just in case you need it……. The number for the Absentee Line is 01600 775284 On Friday 27th February, Katy Mather from 9GD was chaired as the best poet in Year 7, 8 and 9 at Monmouth Comprehensive School Eisteddfod. She wrote an excellent poem about ‘Fy Arwr’ (My Hero) which discussed how authors were her heroes as they told her about things she may never experience in real life. The MFL Faculty were delighted to welcome two visitors to the school this term: Susi Schult, a German exchange teacher who spent two weeks with the Faculty and Silke Luhrmann of Wolfestone Translation Ltd who spent a day with students, helping them create and pitch an advert for a German Supermarket. This was the first Chairing Ceremony using our new, handmade chair kindly donated by Mr and Mrs Clarke who are parents of past students. They donated the chair as a thank you to the school and also as their daughters performed on stage in the Eisteddfod a number of times. The Welsh Faculty look forward to many more Chairing Ceremonies using this beautiful chair. Music at MCS In February the School was delighted to host the Band of Her Majesty’s Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. The day was a huge success and a full report may be found in this year’s edition of The Leader The Faculty are looking forward to inviting Silke to work with our Sixth Form linguists on translation, in preparation for their exams in the Summer. Susi has written an article for The Leader, detailing her two weeks at MCS. On 6th March, 10 school Music ensembles and nearly 70 students attended the Regional Festival of Music For Youth hosted by Gwent Music Service at Newport Centre. The Food Technology Department are delighted to offer you Catering Exam Recipes from our Year 11 students. Hummus 240g canned chickpeas 2 garlic cloves ½ tsp bicarbonate soda 135g tahini paste 50ml ice cold water Salt to season 2tbsp lemon juice Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Process until you get a stiff paste, then with the machine still running add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix until you get a very smooth and creamy paste, about 5 minutes. Put in the fridge until serving. Middle Eastern Mezze – by Louise Pardington Falafel 1 can of chickpeas (240g) 1 small garlic clove, crushed 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander ½ tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp ground cardamom 1 ½ tbsp plain flour 1/2 medium onion finely chopped (40g in total) 1 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ½ tsp ground coriander ½ tsp baking powder 750ml sunflower oil Salt to season Drain the chickpeas well; combine them with the onion, garlic, parsley and coriander. Blitz in the food processor until it is finely chopped, not mushy, and it holds itself together. Add the spices, baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, flour and 3tbsp water. Mix well by hand until smooth and uniform. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or until ready to use. Fill the saucepan with enough oil to come 7cm up the sides and heat the oil to 180oc. With wet hands, press 1 tablespoon of mixture into the palm of your hand and form a walnut sized ball. Press them together well as they tend to crumble and break. Deep fry the balls in batches for 4 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. It is really important they dry out in the middle so make sure they get enough time in the oil. Drain in a colander lined with kitchen paper and serve. Middle Eastern flatbread 300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting 200g/7oz strong flour 1 tsp fast-action yeast 1 tbsp caster sugar 1½ tbsp zaatar (a Middle Eastern spice mix now available in supermarkets) 1 tsp fine salt 325ml/11fl oz warm water 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling bowl For the topping - 3 tbsp zaatar 1½ tbsp sumac (available from some supermarkets and from Middle Eastern delicatessens) For the dough, sieve both flours into a large bowl. Mix in the yeast, sugar, zaatar and salt. In a separate bowl mix the warm water and oil together before adding to the dry ingredients. Mix until you have a soft, sticky dough then cover with a cloth and set aside to prove for 10 minutes. Turn out the dough onto floured surface, and knead the dough for 10 minutes until you have a soft, shiny dough (add a little flour if needed). Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it round so that its entire surface has a thin coat of oil. Cover with cling film and set aside to prove for up to an hour. Flour your hands and knock back the dough by turning it over three to four times in its bowl. Transfer to a floured surface and divide the dough into six equal pieces and form each piece into a ball. Roll each ball out to form a circle approximately 18cm/7in wide and 3mm/⅛in thick (they do not need to be perfect circles). Place each circle on a lightly floured cloth. Spray the dough circles lightly with water and sprinkle zaatar and sumac over the surface. Leave to prove again for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to maximum temperature; it needs to be very hot. Place an upturned roasting tray on the middle to lower shelf (the more uneven the surface the better, so use an old beaten up tray if you have one). Leave the tray to heat up for 20 minutes before baking the flatbreads. Bake two or three flatbreads at a time for five minutes, or until the flatbreads are puffy and brown spots start to develop. Keep the oven door closed to avoid cooling the oven and keep checking the flatbreads while they cook they can burn easily. Remove the flatbreads from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cook the remaining dough circles. The Leader 2015 The Leader will be going to our printer at the end of April – Mrs Baker would like to make one last call to parents/students for out of school items, either updates on information already sent or new items. Don’t be shy, please email Mrs Baker at [email protected] Chocolate and Apricot Tart – by Jaisy Davies For the pastry: 300g plain flour For the filling: 40g butter 60g cocoa powder For the topping: 30g flaked almonds 150g butter 40g ground hazelnuts 1 egg 20g caster sugar 20g self raising flour 40g apricots Method For the pastry - Using a food processor blend the butter, flour and hazelnuts. Mix this up together until you get a breadcrumb consistency. Then add water tablespoons at a time until you can form the mixture into a ball. Then wrap in cling film and cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, roll out the pastry and line your tins, then blind bake using baking beans for 5-10 minutes. For the filling - First melt the butter, then add the cocoa powder and stir until it has a silky appearance. Then add the egg, and the sugar and mix until combined. Then add the flour and mix for a final time. Add the mixture to the precooked pastry cases, fill until two thirds of the way full. Then add your halved apricots on top. Before putting them into the oven sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and then cook for 25– 30 minutes. YOUNG AMBASSADOR PROGRAMME AT MCS Our Young Ambassadors at MCS have been working hard, thinking of ways to promote physical activity at MCS. The programme is designed to inspire and empower others to take on new challenges. The Young Ambassadors have entered a Dragons Den competition to try and win £500 for the school to use in promoting physical activity. Their proposal was accepted and they will now be presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, with the change of winning the prize . FRENCH DEBATE Congratulations to Year 13 French students Ellie Clutton, Annie Pell and Kelly Dixon, who were runners up in a debate on “Reality TV” competing against Crickhowell, HMSG, Monmouth Boys. They were victorious in their 1st round against Crickhowell and represented the school with confidence, fluency and convincing arguments. On Saturday 21st March, just 4 days after representing the school at U the National Sculling Head at the 2012 Olympics venue, 72 rowing athletes gathered for a fund raising half marathon in the Forest of P Dean. They were wonderfully supported by over 40 parents D manning drinks stations and participating themselves. The weather was superb with Springtime blue skies and all the club members A completed the 13 mile distance with remarkably few blisters and T many smiles. The early total raised is a superb £8,756 which will help to secure the future of the boat club at a time when the school E is keen to support rowing, but the limitations on overall school funding are considerable, requiring rowing to be heavily self-funding. The Boat Club is very grateful to all the sponsors in the school community, from teachers and fellow students to family members and neighbours for their generous support. R O W I N G PE ROUND-UP Year 11 Rugby League Year 11 Rugby league recorded a convincing 47point to nil win over Croesyceiliog to book their place in the semi-finals of the Welsh School RL Cup. They will play St. Josephs (Newport) for the right to represent East Wales in the final. Senior The First XV rugby team have made an outstanding start to the season. In the League they sit top of the table after recording convincing double victories over Usk and with only Brecon College to play MCS are confident of finishing top of the league. Representative Honours Rugby Union Tom Reynolds has represented Crawshays this season, scoring the winning try on his debut against Llandovery. Netball Well done to the Year 10 Netball team who have been undefeated in the South East Wales League this season – unfortunately they were pipped to the top of the League on goal difference.
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