Students/staff/parents/guardians/governors and honoured guests
Croeso in noson wobrwyo blynyddol
Welcome to our annual awards evening.
Firstly I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support during my third year as head teacher of Mountain Ash We have experienced a particularly successful year together. Tonight is a joyous occasion where we are able to come together as a community in order to celebrate the success of our young people. I wish to congratulate all of the students receiving prizes this evening, and also to acknowledge the role that you as parents or guardians have played in their achievements. Your success is an inspiration to us all.
I would also like to thank Mr Andrew James an ex pupil who has gone on to become Head of Perthcelyn Primary School for accepting our invitation to speak this evening. We invited Andrew because we felt that he is a role model for our pupils. He has achieved great things and is a keen to stress to all the young people of this valley that you do not have to move away to become successful. You can do it here in your own back yard if you really put you’re mind to it. We also welcome his wife Helen who is with him this evening. Perthcelyn Community Primary School is without doubt one of the best in Wales and we look forward to Andrews contribution this evening.
Results last summer were once again a credit to our school with over 75% of pupils gaining 5A*-C at GCSE. The school is immensely proud that it has moved from 9% to 78% over the past 13 years and these results now class us as one of the top performing schools in Wales. Out Maths and English results were also very good and led to us claiming a band 2 category from WAG. It is worth noting that our English results are the best in the Authority and within the top 10% of school in wales. Our A level results were also outstanding and over 40 pupils went on to university to study a variety of subjects from engineering to nursing degrees. Many others have moved on to apprenticeships, training or employment.
These results do not come by themselves and the hard work and dedication of our staff is a key factor in this improvement! For example Mr White from the Science department has just recently returned from CERN in Switzerland home of the famous hydron collider machine the biggest machine ever built by man. The world famous institution receives around 5000 visiting scientists every year in its educational programme and this year one of those scientists was from Mountain Ash. It takes dedication and enthusiasm to do these kind of things and our staff show these qualities in abundance. Our children visited Iceland this year, an unforgettable experience looking at the Geology and Geography of this fascinating country. Having been to Iceland this year we also have exciting trips planned to New York and RS trip visiting ground zero, another Geography trip visiting the Pompei region of Italy and another watersports trip to Spain . It’s crucially important that our students gain experiences beyond the Cynon Valley as part of their education. However we couldn’t do this without the dedication of our fantastic staff. Another example is the dedication shown by students and staff to attend early morning revision classes prior to exams is certainly worth mentioning as are the many revision classes that atre being held over Easter
As ever the achievements of our students amaze me. The same as Andrew I was born and bred in the Cynon Valley and it makes me very proud seeing our young people succeed. Some achievements deserve special recognition:
This year over 20 form 6 pupils and close to a 150 year 11 pupils will gain the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification. This is a first for the school, The qualification is aimed at producing rounded individuals and it is fantastic to see pupils in form 6 studying Spanish and politics as well as their own choosen subjects. It was also inspiring to see our students link with a Japanese university using the internet as part of the Bac at post 16.We are the only school in the Cynon Valley to offer this qualification and I’ll be an extremely proud headteacher when our first Welsh Bac students get their results in August.
We also have a growing number of students gaining the Duke of Edinburgh qualification. This is another first for the school and I firmly believe that this qualification helps to build reserves of character and determination. It’s a great addition to their academic studies.
This year has also seen been a good year for our senedd The Senedd is a development from the old school council and gives pupils a voice in the running of our school, it also reflects the democracy in which we live. They were described as an excellent group of young people by the inspectors, and once again they have made a superb contribution to the life of the school.
Our brand new LEGO innovation studio is also worth a mention. The school is the first in Wales to have use of such a studio. It combines maths, Science, technology and engineering education and is now beginning to be used extensively not only in school but also by community groups across the valley. We have just signed a new partnership agreement with communities first with the LEGO studio being central to that partnership.
Who can forget back to the 80s our drama production this year where we had over a 100 primary school children join us for the show. It really was a great success and showcased the wonderful talent of our students. We also thank our feeder primaries, their staff and parents for their wonderful support in putting on this production.
It is also worth noting that this school has more members of Only Boys Aloud than any other school in South Wales. We are proud to see Josh Jones, Tom Evans, Tom Morgan, Keiron Pryor, Mathew Maun, Jason Davies, Adam Parker and Sion Francis growing in not only in musical ability but in their confidence as well. It is also testimony to their dedication and the work of our music department and peripatetic team that Josh Jones, Tom Morgan and Keiron Pryor have made it in to the Only Boys Aloud Academy which is made up of the best 30 singers in the larger group. This means that 10% of the only boys aloud academy is made up of students from Mountain Ash. What an achievement. I know that their performing for us this evening and as ever I’m looking forward to their contribution. Congratulations must also go to another of our performers this evening – Zoe Phillips. Zoe has just been choosen to be part of the Welsh National Youth Opera. This is a huge achievement as only a very small number make it to this level. Very well done and indeed what a year it has been for our music department!!!
We have also hosted our partner school in Tringiac Brittany and the links between the two schools are growing. Did you know that coal from the Deep Dyffryn colliery in Mountain Ash was exported to Trigniac during the early part of this century and so there is a real link between the two regions. Mountain Ash coal was instrumental in the development of Trigniac as a major seaport, and iot has been a privilege to host our counterpart from College St Julien. We hope to build further links in to the future.
And so to the future, I am hoping for another bumper set of results this summer and to see as many students as possible back in form Six. In these times of financial uncertainty, this will certainly be a wise move.
The school itself has moved on in many ways this year. Over a 100k has been spent on updating our ICT facilities, and we can now boast of some of the best provision in Wales. All departments now have an interactive smart board and many departments have incorporated the Ipads into their learning and teaching. Similarly our redeveloped Caffi Macs is moving from strength to strength, and helped us gain the prestigious Level 5 healthy schools award – the only school in RCT to do so
Lastly a word for our students. As you have proved over the course of this year you are as good as anybody anywhere. I think it was Walt Disney who said “If you can dream it you can do it”. But you have to back up the dream with hard work and determination. Mountain Ash can give you everything that you need to succeed but you have to make sure that you take full advantage of everything the school has to offer.
Lastly a word about our school. They are in the process of building a super school in Aberdare. I would argue with anyone that we already have our own super school here in Mountain Ash.
Diolch am wrando, and enjoy the rest of the evening
HLloyd- April 2013