Dear Parents, Guardians and Carers,
Welcome to December’s bulletin; December promises to be a very exciting month with lots going on before we finish up for the Christmas break. Year 7 have continued to settle in well and have made the transition from primary to secondary quite well. It is a joy to watch their reactions to new things that they are encountering for the first time at secondary school. It hardly seems like five minutes since they all joined us!
As has been the previous format of Year 7 bulletins, the aims are to keep you all well informed and abreast of all the news and events in the past month as well as upcoming events. Important dates are included for your calendar and as always, direct contact can be made with myself if there are any queries you may have.
Important Dates for Year 7
- Year 7 Interim reports produced – December 11th 2015
- Christmas at Saint Edmunds, Crickhowell – December 10th 2015
- Christmas dinner – December 16th 2015
- Christmas break – December 17th 2015
- Return to School – January 4th 2016
Assembly Themes for December
- W/c 30/11/15 – World Aids Day
- W/c 7/12/15 – Human Rights Day/Fundamental Rights
- W/c 14/12/15 – Gifts and Blessings
Gifts for staff and students
As Christmas approaches, it is the time of year where students bring in gifts of chocolates. As mentioned in the last Bulletin, due to students at Crickhowell suffering with severe nut allergies, we would like to request that no chocolates or biscuits containing nuts are brought in to school. Your cooperation and understanding in this matter is greatly appreciated.
Year 7 – Young Interviewer of the Year
Six members of Year 7 took part in this year’s Young Interviewer of the Year competition along with other students from other year groups, which were attended by Liberal Democrat AM Kirsty Williams. The level of maturity, despite such a young age, was truly astonishing and the questions asked by Year 7 students ranged from immigration, in particular the Syrian crisis, the CO-OP that is threatening to come to Crickhowell, to questions on whether the UK should use Trident as a nuclear deterrent. The students were all mentored by Year 7 tutor Mr Bowsher and last year’s winner, Beth Southwick, Year 10.
The unanimous winner was Year 7 student Ben Morden who probed the Liberal Democrat AM on her policy on immigration and defence. The feedback from the judges for Ben and the other students who participated were very positive and it was commented that the calibre of questioning and the standards achieved had risen higher than last year. Mr Bowsher treated the students to a cake tea as recognition for their hard work. Both Mr Bowsher and I are very proud of the students who took part. Well done; see them again next year!
Indoor Athletics competition
On December 10th, the Indoor Athletic competition takes place and practices for the competition will begin this week during the lunch hours. The competition promises to be one of high standard so good luck to all of the students who take part.
Collapsed Timetable Day – Wednesday 18th November
As you are aware, Crickhowell High school ran a collapsed timetable day throughout the school which saw each year group deliver something different. Year 7 joined up with Year 8 and spent the whole day with myself and Miss Jones, Head of Year 8 and the form tutors tackling subjects on:
- Homophobic bullying/language
- Bullying Circle
- Equality Act 2010 – covering the 9 protected characteristics
Students were introduced to the definition of homophobia and were shown videos created by Stonewall which featured the incorrect use of homophobic language. They also viewed a video featuring young people who had been bullied in school as a result of disclosing they were gay and talked about their experiences. We discussed with the students how it is important to accept everyone for who they are and also the law around the inappropriate use of homophobic language. The level of maturity and understanding from Year 7 & 8 students was quite high and they were very empathetic to the negative experiences of people who encounter bullying as a result of their sexuality.
The middle section of the day was taken up by introducing students to the concept of the bullying circle. I was fortunate enough to participate in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) when I visited America for 5 weeks last year as part of my Churchill Fellowship. I travelled across 4 states to research the OBPP in schools and correctional facilities as well as a maximum security prison. The bullying circle is a concept created by Professor Dan Olweus who identifies key players in any bullying situation ranging from the bully, the people who follow and support the bully to the defender who stand by and stand up for the person being bullied.
Miss Jones and I led other members of staff in re-enacting the bullying circle with myself as the person being bullied and Miss Jones being the bully. It was very powerful and did not come easy to us to act out the roles but it evidenced to Year 7 & 8 how a bullying situation can get out of hand and how emotionally devastating bullying can be. Of course, the purpose of the bullying circle is to resolve bullying situations and create a shift in attitude to the side of the defender who stands up for the person being bullied.
Students were then tasked with going with their form tutors and dividing themselves into several groups creating their own bullying circle. Miss Jones and I went around our prospective year groups to oversee what each tutor group were doing and we were very impressed by the thought that the students had put into each of their scenarios they were acting out. Each group had a positive ending on how bullying incidents could easily be resolved with an understanding on how it feels for the person being bullied. When students returned to the main hall, several Year 7 & 8’s presented their role play to the rest of the year group which was a very brave thing to do. All staff were full of praise for how well all students approached the subject of bullying and took on board the destructive nature of negative behaviour towards others.
Equality Act 2010 – Nine Protected Characteristics
The final part of the day focused on the Equality Act 2010, in particular the nine protected characteristics, namely disability, gender, pregnancy & maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, age and gender reassignment.
The students were introduced to why the Equality Act was created and how it impacts on all of their lives. Discussions with students were held before returning to their tutor groups where they were given case studies to ascertain which of the protected characteristics had been breached. I was very impressed by the questions asked by the Year 7 groups on a subject that they had only been introduced on that day. They fully grasped the legalities of protecting everyone who fell into each of the characteristics and how it is important to understand how everyone deserves to be respected and accepted for who they are.
The day was a resounding success and the students took a lot away from the day and certainly enjoyed the role plays throughout the day.
Christmas at Saint Edmunds
The Christmas concert takes place at Saint Edmunds Church on Thursday 10th December. All are welcome to attend and mince pies and tea and coffee can be purchased. It is a lovely evening and promises to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Christmas dinner is served on Wednesday 16th December. It consists of a two course meal; traditional turkey and trimmings or vegetarian sausage. Pudding or ice cream is served as a dessert. At a price of £2.25, you can consider this a bargain!
*Please note: There will be no break on that day so please ensure students have enough to sustain them until they are served their Christmas dinner.
December 18th will mark the end of term when students finish school at 1pm. Students will be treated to a Christmas review delivered by the Sixth form students. It has always been a lovely way to end the school term and I am looking forward to seeing what the theme will be for this year. Students will return to school on January 2016 refreshed from the Christmas festivities and ready to return to the next term.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and good health for the New Year. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss anything that concerns your child in school.
Mrs C.A. Phillips
Progress Leader Year 7
Student Support & Child Protection Officer