We are delighted to have been the first secondary school in Wales to pilot a universal free breakfast provision, for students and staff no matter what their circumstances. We are tremendously grateful to Tri-Wall, a global packing company based in Monmouth, for their generous support of the universal free breakfast, which enabled us to extend the pilot further into this term. However, most of the funds for this trial came from the school budget, and I am sorry to tell you that I have had to make the decision to pause the trial whilst we attempt to source further funding. I do so with great reluctance, and hope to be able to restart as soon as possible. As a Spring breakfast deal, after Easter, Chartwells will be offering a slice of toast or half a teacake for 25p each. All other breakfast items, including porridge, may be purchased as normal at the cafe. The £1 WG breakfast allowance will still be in place for Year 7 students who receive free school meals.
We have had the Welsh Blood Service visiting today to run a blood donation event in the school hall. A large number of students and staff have taken part, as well as students from Haberdashers. As I explain in my video message, it is a cause that I am very supportive of, and I am very proud of everyone who has taken part.
Many thanks also to everyone who contributed to our survey on the cost of the school day. We are now analysing the feedback and using it as part of our ongoing review and planning for next year onwards. We will revert to you with a summary of the findings and the steps we have taken as a result.
Headteacher / Prifathro
Junior National Sculling Head
On Monday 20th the club competed at the Junior National Sculling Head with 50 students taking part. The event is one of the biggest junior rowing events in the country with over 500 crews competing. It was the first time since 2019 we had Year 9 students race at this national event and they absolutely smashed it with both our WJ14 4X+ (Emily Forde, Emily Sanger, Lola Jones, Jess Rogers, Cox - Nya Stevens) and J14 4x+ (Barnaby Shaw, Josefff Jones, William Morrison, Marley Bee, Cox – Isabelle Young) coming in the top 20 in their races.
Our Sixth Form crews also had a great day of racing with our J18 4x- (Elliot Lynch-Warden, Lewis Edwards, Tom Coates, Tom McNally)finishing 20th and our WJ17 4x- (Maddie Dickens, Seren Van der Horst, Nanci Edwards, Hannah Rogers) having our best result of the day coming 15th. An all-round great day of racing for the club with much to look forward to, going into regatta season. Keep an eye in the weeks to come as the club looks to be racing frequently next term and information about our Year 8 Summer rowing camp will be coming out soon.
Age ratings for games and apps
You can find information about the age ratings for games and apps that your children use. In the Know https://hwb.gov.wales/keeping-safe-online/in-the-know/ offers a collection of guides to provide parents and carers with key information about the most popular social media and gaming apps children and young people are using today.
The guides include a detailed overview of the app, outlining the age rating and key terminology. They also highlight the risks each app poses to young people and give detailed instructions on how to enable parental controls and safety settings.
This guide can also help you have a conversation with your child about a sensitive issue. It contains useful tips for keeping children safe in relation to the apps and games listed.
Catching up with the RVE Department
Hinduism Study Day
After a 3-year gap, the RVE Department was delighted to, once again, spend the day at the Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden in the company of our wonderful Year 11 GCSE Religious Studies students and some of our Year 13 A Level students also. Students at GCSE and A Level study Hinduism as one of their core faiths and the opportunity to visit the centre of a thriving London Hindu community gave students a valuable opportunity to engage with devotees in an authentic way.
The mandir or Hindu temple is a structure which inspires awe and wonder in its visitors both from within and outside. The marble mandir is the largest Swaminarayan Mandir outside of India. Our students viewed a video of its construction; learning that the marble blocks themselves were transported from Bulgaria and Italy to the craftsmen in India as 1,400 blocks. Handcrafted sculptures and columns were then shipped to London, where thousand of volunteers constructed the giant jigsaw to create the temple we see today.
We were able to freely visit the marble mandir, viewing Hindus engaged in personal puja (worship); and giving our students pause to identify some of the many gods and goddesses they have studied over their RS courses. Our guide generously led us in a varied Q & A session, with our GCSE and A Level learners asking questions with confidence and respect, developing their understanding of a lived faith. Our visit to the mandir ended with our group taking part in a congregational puja known as arti – a form of worship led by the priest, using a 5-wicked lamp and a bell to offer devotion and light to the murtis or forms of God. A quick visit to the gift shop swelled the coffers of the mandir I’m sure, with our students purchasing gifts such as diva lamps, incense sticks, henna paste, murtis, jewellery etc.
Despite our teenagers taking full advantage of our comfort stops on our journeys, to take sustenance with their Burger Kings and KFCs, they still enjoyed the rare opportunity to have lunch is an authentic Indian sattvic restaurant at Neasden, the Shayona Restaurant. All food was vegetarian and our students enjoyed an all-you-can-eat Thali buffet, including a variety of traditional dishes. They were surprised to learn that Hindu curries do not contain any garlic or onion, since these pollute the breath – the same breath used to utter mantras to God.
Our students were delightful and a pleasure to spend the day with. We look forward to visiting again next year with our current Year 10s.
Mrs Perry-Phillips, Miss Rees, Miss Painter
Maths Trip to Paris
We are delighted to announce our 2024 Maths trip to Paris which will be open to students who will be in Year 10 and 11 in September (currently in Year 9 and Year 10).
The trip will take place from Friday 9th- Monday 12th February 2024 and includes three nights, costs half board £575 which includes visits to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise and Disneyland, staying in Disney partner hotel, Hotel B&B. Full details may be found by clicking HERE.
The trip, with 55 places, will be launched on Parentpay on Friday 31st March at 4pm initially for the current Year 10s only.
On Monday 3rd April, at 12 noon, the trip will be opened up to current Year 9 students, who will be moving into Year 10 in September.
A deposit of £100 will be due on sign-up to secure a place on the trip.
Ty Price Community Hall (opposite St. Thomas’ Church in Monmouth) will be hosting several agencies able to offer advice and support at their “meet n eat with us” session next Monday, 27th March any time between 12-2pm. Anybody is welcome to come and enjoy a meal in the company of the volunteers from Ty Price and there will be representatives from Mind Monmouthshire, Citizen’s Advice, Monmouthshire County Council Housing Support and Monmouthshire County Council Employment Support teams.