STAGE SUCCESS AT DYFFRYN TAF
At school Lara was a very talented musician and actress with a passion for her chosen career pathway into the Arts. She played leading roles in the school productions of The Sound of Music, Anything Goes and South Pacific. When not performing on stage Lara contributed significantly to the strength of the school orchestra.
Lara is currently studying at Guildford School of Acting at the University of Surrey which is one of the most highly regarded theatre schools in the UK. She will be performing in ‘Daisy Pulls it off’ at the Charing Cross Theatre from Tuesday 19th June to Saturday 30th June, 2018. This follows on from a sell-out run at the Bellairs Playhouse.
Everyone at Dyffryn Taf is proud of Lara’s achievements and we wish her every success for this production and for all she will achieve in the world of theatre and music.
Photographs taken by Mark Dean.
A group of Year 9 students were recently chosen to represent the French department as Language Ambassadors to raise awareness of different languages and cultures in the school. They attended a conference at Swansea University with the guest speaker Huw Edwards. Throughout the day they attended workshops and were able to collate and share information about the importance of foreign language skills for work and life. There were many workshops on offer, but the students opted to attend an introductory lesson in Spanish and a STEM presentation (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) where Susan Jones from TATA steel and David Hargreaves, a researcher from Swansea University spoke about the importance of language skills in the workplace. Following on from this they attended a training session on how to be an effective Language Ambassador and a plan was put in place on how they would promote languages in school this year. The highlight of the day was however the question and answer session with Huw Edwards who himself is a language graduate. He spoke at length about his life, career and aspirations which was truly inspirational for the students. Through this scheme the pupils will be able to develop a range of skills such as communication, team work and presentation skills and will undoubtedly share their enthusiasm for language learning with fellow students.
Student from Dyffryn Taf came first in computing challenge at the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University
Talented student Harvey Yau from Dyffryn Taf School came first in his age group in a UK-wide computing competition – The UK BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge – held at the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University on the 27th January 2018.
Winning the competition is an impressive achievement, as 5,174 students entered the first round of the Elite age group category (Years 12 & 13), and 43 top-achieving students took part in the final at Oxford for the Elite age group. Harvey was presented with his winner’s certificate at a prize-giving ceremony at Hertford College.
The UK BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge, supported by Google, is designed to get students excited about computing and computational thinking. It is a problem-solving contest with questions inspired by topics in computer science. In the first round, held in their own schools, students have to try and solve as many problems as possible in the allotted time. There are six age categories. The highest scoring students from the four oldest age groups (Elite, Senior, Junior and Intermediate) were then invited to the Department of Computer Science at Oxford for the finals over two weekends in January and February.
Role models lead the way with Literacy at Dyffryn Taf
What have Richard Parks (former international rugby player) Ash Dykes (award-winning adventurer) and Jodie-Marie Warlow (singer-songwriter) all got in common? They’ve all been part of Dyffryn Taf’s unique Literacy programme, which works with pupils who struggle with their self-confidence. In its third year, the school’s highly successful programme aims to help improve its GCSE pupils’ confidence and literacy skills by introducing them to inspiring role models who share their unique methods to overcome seemingly impossible challenges, whether it’s climbing mountains or performing in front of huge audiences.
On the 17th of March, seven boys from Year 11 travelled to Brecon with Mr Newsome our Headteacher to find out what it takes to fulfil even the toughest of goals. Determined and fearless, Ash Dykes is a young adventurer who is not only able to navigate his way across the hostile terrain of Madagascar but also hold a room spellbound as he regales tales from his daring journeys. He asserts that while ‘we cannot always be motivated, we must be disciplined’ and he advocates breaking down the insurmountable into smaller, more manageable tasks.
The boys were certainly impressed with Dykes’ narrative but it wasn’t just the dramatic headlines of his talk which captured their imagination. Dykes seems to challenge every assumption you might care to make about intrepid adventurers. His modesty and humour make him a likeable figure, revealing his footwear isn’t state-of-the-art but just a normal £25 pair of trainers.
Next, March 20th and Jodie-Marie Warlow entered the doors of her former school to perform to a group of Year 10 and 11 girls. This, her second contribution to the school’s Literacy programme, was an event the organisers hope will achieve the same success as last year, with every pupil involved achieving a C grade or above in their English GCSE. Performing her soulful version of ‘I’m losing you’ and self-penned ‘Sooner than later’, the pupils sat spellbound as her beautiful voice filled the library. Answering questions posed by the pupils, she also spoke about how to overcome self-doubt. Describing her experiences of being signed to a major record label, Jodie expressed how important it is to seize every opportunity, even if it’s a little intimidating.
Finally, on the 19th of May the school was lucky enough to welcome a world-class athlete and record-breaking, award-winning adventurer. The list of accolades for former Welsh Rugby star, Richard Parks, roll of the tongue and make the job of impressing young pupils from Dyffryn Taf an easy one. Significantly though, he wasn’t sat on the edge of an English teacher’s desk to just talk about the pride you feel when you play for your country or the thrill of looking out over the majestic North American landscape atop one of the world’s highest mountains, Denali. Talking to a group of Year 9 pupils preparing for their GCSE individual talk, he explained how you have to face your fears by knowing how you’ll cope in the very situation you dread most. For him, it was falling into icy water, for these young pupils it’s standing at the front of the class to talk to their peers. Alike the other role models, Richard spoke about taking pride in the essential, albeit small tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal. Even as he approached the peak of Denali, the last stretch, he would think about making sure each step was secure. Yet it was his honest assessment of his battles with self-confidence which inspired his young audience; they were enthralled by the obvious strength of character needed to face extreme challenges and overcome self-doubt.
The pupils will go on to take part in workshops organised by the school to ensure they can turn ideas into reality, helping them look forward to the challenges they face over the coming months. “We cannot expect young people to write and speak effectively unless they feel their ideas are valid and they believe in themselves,” state the organisers of the events. “It’s all very well teaching apostrophes and how to vary the tone of their voice but without confidence it becomes meaningless. That’s the intention of this programme: get them writing about a real experience which has inspired them and be inspired by the achievements of role models who overcome the same lack of confidence as everyone else.”
One small step for man, one giant leap for Dyffryn Taf
Four Welsh pupils have become UK winners in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Astro Pi Competition. Tyler Jenkins, Jack Collier, Harvey Yau and Oliver Carter, aged 17, from Dyffryn Taf School in Whitland, Carmarthenshire took their school motto of, “Aim for the highest” literally and were consequently one of five teams across the UK to be recognised as winners of this competition.
The ESA’s Astro Pi competition gave students across Europe the task of designing a scientific experiment that could be run on an Astro Pi onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Astro Pi is the name of a small computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, in collaboration with the UK Space Agency and ESA. There are two Astro Pi’s onboard the ISS that are equipped with a set of sensors that can be used to run scientific experiments.
There were several rounds to compete in which each required a different set of scientific and digital skills. Their computer code was then sent to the ESA to be judged on quality, coherence and originality. The winners of the competition would go on to have their missions turned into reality. The code for their experiments will be uploaded to the ISS (International Space Station) to be run and tested in space.
The team at Dyffryn Taf said “The ESA specified that we had to write a program to detect when an astronaut was nearby. We accomplished this by using the humidity sensor. By measuring how much the humidity increases we should be able to detect crew presence on board the ISS.” They also created their own experiment to be carried out. “Our idea was this; the ISS orbits the earth in just 92 minutes and as it does it moves over some countries where it is day and others where it is night. We wanted to see by how much, if at all, being directly in the view of the sun would affect the temperature on board the ISS.” As winners, the computer code that they wrote will be tested on the International Space Station in May this year. They will then receive the data that their experiment collects. “We were inspired to enter the competition after our Computer Science teachers Mr Neil Roberts and Miss Lucy Anthony told us about it. We’re so glad we did because we gained a lot from the experience”. “We’ve all learnt how to use different computer programs such as Python and developed a lot of our existing skills.“ The team of 4 are the first ever Welsh team to become winners of this competition.
All 4 students would like to go on to study at University after sixth-form, although they are unsure exactly what courses they will study as of yet, they are looking into courses such as Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics.
Young DofE Leaders attend special Westminster Abbey service to mark Diamond Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Tegan Harrison, Rhian Moremon, Jessica Perrett and Sophie Nix who are students at Dyffryn Taf attended a special service at Westminster Abbey to mark 60 years since HRH The Duke of Edinburgh founded The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).
The DofE is the UK’s leading youth achievement award, with over 300,000 young people taking part each year and 50,000 adult volunteers. The service, attended by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, was a celebration of the dedication and commitment shown by all involved in the DofE.
As DofE Leaders, Tegan, Rhian, Jessica and Sophie were invited to attend in recognition of the support work they have given the school in training younger participants in DofE.
HRH The Earl of Wessex, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award UK Trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, gave the Address thanking all that have played a role in making the DofE such a success and whose continued support is central to the Charity reaching out to more young people in the future.
DofE’s Chief Executive,Peter Westgarth said: “As we reach the end of our Diamond Anniversary year our focus shifts to the DofE’s ambition to reach out to millions more young people in the future. With the incredible generosity of our volunteers, delivery partners and supporters we will work together to realise our Diamond Ambition; to enable two million more young people, 400,000 of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, to start their DofE in the UK by 2020.
“We are grateful for our Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s unwavering support and the passion and dedication of TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex to the DofE cause.”
Dyffryn Taf have been linked with Pokane School in Lesotho since 2008 and with
regular teacher exchanges taking place students have gained insight into the country and its people. Earlier this year there was an emergency appeal for help for Lesotho. El Niño (the climate phenomenon that has affected weather patterns globally over the last year) had so drastically disrupted rainfall patterns that over a third of the country’s population was at risk of hunger and malnutrition.
Students at Dyffryn Taf wanted to raise funds towards the appeal and took part in a sponsored fun run at the end of the summer term. They successfully raised £2752.51 which they proudly presented to Anne Loughran and Lynwen Lewis, representatives of Dolen Cymru, the charity working alongside the charity Send a Cow for the Lesotho Emergency Appeal. Students had also been working on a textiles project based on the concept of the ‘Dress a Girl Around the World’ charity. Students made dresses or shorts for students aged 3-8 in Lesotho and these were also presented to Dolen Cymru.
The money raised will be spent on seeds and training local people to build keyhole gardens that will be used to grow vegetables for families. It will also go towards training local people and farmers to diversify through making jewellery or rearing chickens. This should provide people with reliable food supplies and income. The dresses and shorts will be sent out to orphanages in Lesotho.
On Wednesday, 28th September 2016 we had the pleasure of welcoming James ‘Cubby’ Davies, a former pupil back to Dyffryn Taf. He showed pupils the Silver Medal which he won at the Olympics and the staff and pupils of Dyffryn Taf were overwhelmed with seeing the medal close up! It was a great experience for the pupils and we as a school are very proud of his achievements.
The string ensemble was invited to perform at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Wednesday, 28th September 2016. This was a great honour for the pupils and a wonderful experience for them to perform in such a wonderful setting.
The Dyffryn Taf Karting Team have won through to the UK finals to be held at Whilton Mill, Northampton in early July.
The team of Owen Griffiths, Ewan Howells and Loui Davies performed exceptionally well having podium places in the first three races. Prospects of success at the National Final are good with such determined and skilled drivers.
Premier League Reading Stars author visit
Sports Author Dave Brayley visited the Premier League Reading stars at Ysgol Dyffryn Taf on March 23rd to talk about his life as a writer, his inspirations, and the struggles he faced on his journey to become an author. Dave led a fully interactive session with an audience of year 8 and 9 pupils.
Dave’s passion for sport and literacy was evident throughout, as he captivated and completely engaged the boys. The pupils asked thoughtful and relevant questions during the session. Dave’s open and honest approach to answering the pupil’s questions truly motivated the boys who thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Dave commented on how well the boys conducted themselves and the quality of the questions that they asked and hinted towards a return visit to the school!
To commemorate the centenary year of Roald Dahl’s birth, Dyffryn Taf are running various projects across the school to celebrate this great Welsh man and his many works.
During the Easter holidays 43 pupils had the opportunity to visit the West End of London to watch a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of Roald Dahl’s Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre. The matinee performance was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and the excellent seats in the stalls created many very special memories for everyone involved.
Our thanks go to Bysiau Cwm Taf for transporting us so safely and efficiently to and from London, whilst also allowing for a brief sightseeing tour excellently commentated upon by our Headteacher, Mr Newsome.
Fairtrade Fortnight at Dyffryn Taf
‘’Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world.’’ Martin Luther King Jr
Dyffryn Taf celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight this year by having breakfast with Nimrod Wambette, a visiting Ugandan coffee farmer, and Elen Jones from Fairtrade Wales. This year’s theme was ‘sit down for breakfast; stand up for farmers’ so we invited members of the community, local farmers and young farmers to breakfast with Nimrod.
The breakfast was an opportunity to learn about how fair trade helps farmers in countries like Uganda to earn a fairer profit and develop their communities through investing in improved infrastructure such as water pipes, and improving education for all through investment into schools. It also provided a platform for sharing stories and discussing the issues that all farmers face in light of falling prices and cheaper competition from abroad. The fall in milk prices have hit Welsh farmers hard and the Ugandan coffee farmers have faced similar issues over the years. Thanks to fair trade however, they now have fairer prices for their crops and better means to develop their businesses further.
The breakfast was followed by a day of workshops for students in Years 5 and 6 from Dyffryn Taf’s feeder primary schools. Students from Llanmiloe, Tremoilet, Laugharne, Llys Hywel, Griffith Jones, Bro Brynach and Tavernspite schools attended the workshops which included ‘how coffee is grown’ with Nimrod Wambette (Ugandan coffee farmer), ‘cocoa in Ghana’ and Ghanaian Adinkra printing and drumming with Lyndsy and Emmanuel Annang and a ‘floating water garden’ challenge by staff at Dyffryn Taf. Students also received a fairtrade football for their school.
In the photograph from left to right are:
Polly Seton (County Advisor), Naomi An (Confucius Institute), Carole John (Manager of the Whitland Co-operative), Richard Cole (Chair of Governors), Geraint Bevan (County Advisor), Nimrod Wambette (coffee farmer from Uganda), James Davies (young farmer in Year 13) and Millie Harry (young farmer in Year 12), Edward Howells (School Governor) and Dewi Thomas (local farmer).
A Little Piece of Magic
As we approach another round of GCSEs this Summer, it has begun to seem as though teenagers are constantly preparing for the next exam. To help pupils to believe they can achieve their full potential, Ysgol Dyffryn Taf has taken a different approach to exam preparation this year and their unique project has already made a difference.
On Thursday, the 11th of February the school welcomed past pupil, Jodie Marie, introducing her to a group of girls aiming to fly high in their summer exams. They had the privilege of listening to her perform while asking her questions about everything from childhood ambitions to her writing process. The purpose of this exciting opportunity? To make the writing experience real.
Working now as a professional, self-managed singer-songwriter, Jodie Marie’s music speaks for itself. Her Blues, Jazz and Rock influences may offer her a background but she has carved out her own identify through songs which speak directly to her audience. Playing three songs for the pupils, she modestly explained the process of writing, suggesting to the girls that she often finds a ‘spark’ from the world around her. While she spoke about how she finds it important to seek her own voice in the songs she covers, and immediately impressed with her soulful rendition of ‘Reason to Believe’, it was her performance of self-penned pieces ‘Everyone makes mistakes’ and brand new ‘Sooner than Never’ which make you feel everyone needs to hear her songs. You only have to sit back and listen to her sing to find yourself utterly spellbound.
There is no question that the pupils were lucky to be offered the chance to listen to one of the most talented singer-songwriters of her generation; little wonder the pupils agreed her songs gave them ‘goose bumps’. Comparing her to Duffy, they certainly felt her music hit a chord with their generation and found themselves effortlessly planning a piece of writing which would capture the magic of their experience.
The organiser of the event believes that a pupil’s confidence in their ability is paramount but there needs to be experiences for them draw upon: ‘In between completing past papers and correcting apostrophes, it is hard to enthuse pupils with the magic of writing. As pupils get older they lose their confidence as they worry about making a mistake or running out of ideas.’ With an insight into the life of a past pupil who is living her dream, the pupils will not only find themselves with material to write about but they will now surely find it impossible not to be inspired.
As we approach another round of GCSEs this Summer, it has begun to seem as though teenagers are constantly preparing for the next exam. To help pupils to believe they can achieve their full potential, Ysgol Dyffryn Taf has taken a different approach to exam preparation this year and their unique project has already made a difference.
The 1st VI hockey team became Dyfed Champions on 9th February by beating the county champions from Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Llanelli Schools. They won their 1st game against Coleg Sir Gar by 7 goals to 0. They won the 2nd game against Dyffryn Teifi by 2 goals to 0, and they came back from 1-0 down against STP to draw 1-1. They are now through to the Welsh schools finals, in which they will be representing Dyfed against the winners of all the other regions in Wales.1st
This is the first Dyffryn Taf hockey team that have reached the Welsh finals in 13 years! The girls were absolutely fantastic, under the great leadership of Beatrice Bowen Rees. Tegan Harrison was voted the player of the tournament.
Year 7 Celebrate Chinese New Year at Dyffryn Taf
The Chinese Spring Festival (Chunjie) was celebrated in style at Dyffryn Taf on February 4th. Year 7 pupils were treated to an assembly from Mrs Naomi An who explained some of the traditions associated with celebrating the Chinese New Year. Pupils were eager to discover more about the decorations, food and red envelopes associated with the celebrations as well as working out whether they were born in the Year of the Monkey or the Year of the Goat. A Tai Chi demonstration from Swansea University students created a calm and peaceful atmosphere providing a perfect environment for personal reflection.
Mrs An accompanied by Ms Seton and Mrs Lee showed the pupils how to make traditional dumplings and they relished the opportunity to sample the tasty treats.
“They are delicious, I’ve eaten two and I’m taking one home for my mum and dad to try,” commented Connie from 7E.
Mrs An explained that eating dumplings on the occasion of New Year represents making wishes and the expression of praying for good luck in a unique way. In addition, the dumplings’ shape looks like an ingot, which was the currency used in old times, meaning ‘luck and fortune’.
In the second activity they learnt of the tradition and history behind Tai Chi the martial art, developed in 13-century China, practiced for both its defence training and its health benefits. Three students from Swansea University led the pupils through the breathing techniques and slow, gentle movements before the pupils practiced the routines themselves. Aron (7D) thoroughly enjoyed being the Master circulating with the Chinese student to advise other pupils on their positions.
The final session involved the pupils practising traditional Chinese calligraphy. Pupils used a traditional brush and ink to form letters and simple words with all writing numbers from 1-10 by the end of the session. Pupils worked diligently to form the strokes that made up the numbers and letters creating a calm but industrious atmosphere in the classroom, Ben (7H) said, “The calligraphy was my favourite activity because it was relaxing but I had to concentrate to make sure that I got it right.”
Pupil Language Ambassadors Conference
In January, five Year 9 pupils were selected to attend the Pupil Language Ambassadors Conference at the new Bay Campus at Swansea University. The conference was organised by ERW in collaboration with Lead Schools and Routes into Languages Cymru. It was attended by over 40 schools and 200 pupils with workshops delivered by Swansea University staff and students, Language Institutes, Business language champions and the British Council. The pupils selected were Rosie Bell, Mollie Curtis, Nieve Jenkins, Lewis James and Brandon Williams for their enthusiasm and dedication in French this year.
As language ambassadors, they have a key role in raising awareness about the
increasing opportunities available through learning languages in our globalised world. The ambassadors go on to train a team of peer language ambassadors in school. They aim to support the languages department to organise events and activities in order to promote the importance of foreign language skills for work and life. As well as bringing great benefits to the school, past ambassadors claim to have gained confidence and developed leadership and communication skills whilst also enjoying their new responsibilities. We are sure they will do a fantastic job in driving forward the positive message of language acquisition.
15 Year 12 and 13 pupils took part in the Senior Maths Challenge on the 5th of November 2016 and received 1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze certificates. Two of these pupils qualified for the follow up rounds. Jonathan Carter for Senior Kangaroo and Harvey Yau for the British Mathematical Olympiad Round 1. Jonathan Carter completed the Senior Kangaroo paper and received a Merit Certificate. Harvey Yau scored 60/60 in his BMO1 Round and received Certificate of Distinction and qualified for the second round. He has completed the second paper and we are waiting for his results.
Four Dyffryn Taf school pupils took part in the regional UKMT Senior Maths Team Challenge in Swansea on the 25th of November and came first out of 24 teams. This qualified them for the National Final in London on the 2nd February 2016. After a fantastic performance on the day they came 34th out of the 86 best teams in the UK.
Lead Creative Schools Scheme
Ysgol Dyffryn Taf are pleased to have secured a grant by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government to participate in a project which sees the school assume status as a Lead Creative School. We are proud to be one of the 131 schools across Wales chosen to take part in the scheme which will commence in January and run over 2 years.
The Lead Creative Schools Scheme aims to promote new ways of working, with innovative and tailored programmes of creative learning designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the curriculum. Its aim is to support and improve pupils’ literacy skills by using creative techniques and will allow pupils the chance to work with professionals from a variety of arts industries.
Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Education and Skills said:
“These grants are part of our work to ensure that all children, particularly those from less well-off backgrounds, have greater access to high quality arts and creative experiences during their time at school and in doing so support improvements in motivation, behaviour and attainment amongst our young people.”
The project will foster imagination and creativity and will allow pupils to participate and more importantly to enjoy the arts. The scheme is part of the implementation across Wales of the Creative Learning through the Arts programme. £20 million has been invested in the scheme by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.
Ysgol Dyffryn Taf will be working on a project as part of the Roald Dahl centenary. Pupils will be adapting his autobiography ‘Boy’ into a piece of theatre which will include puppetry, masks, shadow work, animation and rap!
Library 500 Word Christmas Story Competition
Pupils in Years 7, 8 & 9 have been writing away at their 500 word, Christmas themed masterpieces. Each Year Group had to select 5 words from 3 separate boxes and use those words within their stories. Knowing the meaning of the word and the correct context within which to use the word was vital. Dr Thomas, Assistant Headteacher presented prizes to the winners – Lottie, Sali and Caitlin; and the runners-up Llyr, Joe and Carys. Congratulations and well done to everyone who took the time and made the effort to enter.
Fiddler on the Roof
During the week commencing the 30th November, our annual production took place. This year it was “Fiddler on the Roof”. Performances were made to the local pensioners on the Monday afternoon and the local Primary Schools on the Tuesday and Thursday. Evening performances took place from the Tuesday to Friday where the audiences were treated to an excellent musical where the students gave wonderful performances. Well done to all involved! Ardderchog!
Holly Rowsell 7D
Holly recently won the Area 35 (South Wales) 138cm Showjumping Award. The presentation was in The Marriott Hotel, Cardiff and she was presented with her award from her hero and one of her biggest supporters David Broome. She has also represented the Welsh 138cm Showjumping Team this year in the Welsh Home Pony Internationals (July) and the English Home Pony Internationals (October).
Chem Quiz – Tuesday, 24th November 2015
Dyffryn Taf drew Olchfa in the first semi-final and we took an early lead. Olchfa made a spirited comeback and were within 5 points by the 8th and final round. We held their nerve and won in the end by 50 points to 38. The final itself was between Dyffryn Taf and Preseli who had beaten Fynonne in the second semi. The final was nip and tuck in the first three rounds, both teams performing well. But we then began to pull out in front and never looked back eventually winning by 53 points to 35. The team go on the UK final in April next year at Loughborough.
Dyffryn Taf – Mini Election/Ballot
On Thursday 7th May 2015, the pupils of Ysgol Dyffryn Taf held their own independent mini-ballot to elect a representative for the West Carmarthenshire and South Pembrokeshire constituency.
239 pupils registered to vote in the Library during the previous week, where information was displayed and websites accessed for further information. PSE classes across the school also covered the issue of Government, Elections and Voting.
On the day, 205 pupils eagerly attended the Library and queued to receive their ballot paper. Voting took place in the secrecy of two voting booths and was then posted in the sealed ballot box. At the end of the day the votes were counted independently by two members of staff, and the results were as follows:
Labour (Delyth Evans) – 51 votes
Conservative (Simon Hart) – 42 votes
UKIP (John Atkinson) – 41 votes
Green Party (Gary Tapley) – 38 votes
Plaid (Elwyn Williams) – 27 votes
Liberal Democrats (Selwyn Runnett) – 6 votes
Well done to all those pupils who took the time out of their day to vote. We may even have a parliamentary candidate in our midst, as it had been the sole topic of conversation for some time! Possibly even a future Prime Minister!
Our French Experience
This Easter provided seven AS-Level French students at Dyffryn Taf with the opportunity to step completely out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in French culture, as they engaged in an exchange program with Neyland’s twin town, Sanguinet.
A wide range of activities was organised throughout the week such as climbing the Dune du Pila, the tallest sand dune in Europe, cycling, Zumba and roller-blading which allowed them to integrate into the new environment whilst taking part in some familiar pass times.
Spending time at the Sixth Form college in Parentis provided a clear comparison between our two education systems, but also proving that school environments can be similar in entirely different circumstances. Attending lessons with our correspondents gave us an insight into how the French approach teaching from a pupil point of view, whilst the intensity of classroom debates in philosophy forced us to further increase our comprehension and manipulation of the language.
Thursday and Friday saw us complete work experience, chosen for each student based on their specific skill sets. For me, working in the nursery school helped me learn that the slight language barrier between me and the rapid speaking but brilliant children did not prevent the growth of close bonds, significantly improving my self-confidence. The same benefits were felt by another, through meeting world-renowned scientists at Bordeaux Hospital. Their Tourist Office, the local organic grocery store and the friendly restaurant also provided interesting experiences which enhanced the experience of the students chosen to work there. Sharing our experiences afterwards further enriched the enterprise activities, as we combined our newfound knowledge and applied it to our futures here in the UK and further afield.
The Exchange not only allowed us to dramatically improve our ability to speak French, but provided vital life experiences for us in terms of conversing with others, regardless of their backgrounds. The idea that it would be possible to teach French teenagers the Welsh alphabet is almost unthinkable to the average person, but it’s something that we managed to achieve after a substantial amount of effort on our party during the final evening. Managing to forge friendships in an alien situation is a key example of why we should not only be glad we had the opportunity to truly enjoy ourselves, but be proud of the new life skills we have gained. Whilst I still have no idea what I want to do in the future, I know for a fact that every participant has now been made aware of the world that is open to us, a life outside rural West Wales. Hopefully, with the success of this trip and the continued support of the twinning committee, or “jumelage”, we have made it possible for other students to have the same opportunity that we were given, and have the chance to return in the future.
Go Karting Success
Dyffryn Taf have won through to the UK Finals of the British Schools Karting Championships to be held at Whilton Mill on Saturday, 18th July 2015. The young team from Dyffryn Taf convincingly won the local finals at Haverfordwest and competitively fought through in the Semi-Finals at Thruxton with two firsts a second and third in a tightly contested event of over 20 teams. At the UK Finals Dyffryn Taf will be the only surviving Welsh team competing and will therefore be flying the national flag.
We are indebted to Kia at Narberth and Carew Karting for their sponsorship and support for the team.
WRU Women’s Rugby Team Selection
Congratulations to Nia Walters, a Year 12 pupil at Dyffryn Taf who was selected to play for the WRU West Wales Women’s Rugby Team at the Millennium Stadium on Tuesday, 28th April 2015. They won 27-5! Well done Nia!
Premier League Reading Stars
As part of Dyffryn Taf’s commitment to improving literacy we have signed up to The Premier League Reading Stars, which allows pupils to improve their reading skills through their passion for football.
In order to motivate the pupils we recently had a visit from a past pupil Mr Ceri Phillips who is currently a community coach for Swansea City Football Club. Ceri came to school on Friday the 13th of February and took part in a question and answer session. The pupils at Dyffryn Taf were very well prepared for this session which lasted over an hour. To reward the boys for their hard work they were treated to a training session from Ceri, and a round Robin of 5 a side football.
Green Flag Award
In December the Eco-Committee were inspected by Keep Wales Tidy and were given their third successive Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award is an international award owned by the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) and is supported by the Welsh Government. The award is given to establishments that have shown commitment to environmental education by following the Eco-Schools Programme. In addition to environmental issues being covered by the curriculum, the Eco-Committee have organised a number of activities including growing vegetables in the school garden, litter picking around the school, a whole school waste audit and running a Low Energy campaign during November. Future campaigns will include Healthy Living to encourage students to have more fruit and vegetables in their diet and running a clothes recycling scheme to help raise funds for future work by the Eco-Committee.
Excellent Day for Dyffryn Taf!
Wednesday, 26th November was a very good day for Dyffryn Taf students! The following events took place:
Year 10 Welsh WBQ students competed in the Final of a WJEC/National Museums Enterprise Competition. ‘Team Gas Monkey’ won the ‘People’s Prize’ as their innovation was considered the most interesting by the visitors and staff working at the Waterfront Museum.
Our team won the Chem Quiz Final at Taliesin Arts Centre.
Our Senior Maths Challenge Team won at their competition in Swansea.
Our 1st XV Rugby Team won against Ysgol y Preseli.
Production of Under Milk Wood/Dan y Wenallt
An excellent bilingual production of Under Milk Wood took place at Folly Farm Theatre last Thursday and Friday evening. It was a very creative and descriptive performance and the students were wonderful! Congratulations to all involved.