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Thursday, 23 August 2018 09:31

Wide-ranging GCSE success

Ysgol Aberconwy students have achieved some of the best GCSE results in the school’s history, with the number of students achieving five A*/ A grades almost doubling and performance in Welsh language exams being extremely strong.

Head teacher Ian Gerrard praised the hard work of students and staff. He said “ we are proud of the achievements of all of our students in a wide range of traditional academic subjects like Science, Spanish, Physical Education and German, as well as in vocational subjects such as Engineering, Motor Vehicle and Hair Dressing. It is so important that we provide a curriculum that meets the needs and interests of all.”

Special congratulations go to April Ehlke-West, Jack Jones, Charlotte Lewis, Bethan Slocombe, Isabelle Williams all of whom achieved at least 9 A/A* grades.

Ysgol Aberconwy students are now looking forward to the next steps in their journey, with record breaking numbers set to return to the school’s Sixth form.

Ysgol Aberconwy students are celebrating outstanding A Level achievements with every student successfully gaining entry into their chosen university or career.

Head boy Daniel Verburg, one of the school’s top science students, will be going to Keele University to study Biochemistry. Aidan Kelly another leading science student, is heading to the stars and extending his physics and chemistry skills further by studying Astrophysics at Leicester University.

James Hutin, who took lead roles in school musicals and plays throughout his time at Ysgol Aberconwy, will be starting a degree in Performing Arts down in Bristol; his next step in fulfilling his lifelong ambition of becoming an actor.

Chloe Edwards Boughey who followed a BTEC course in Media, will be taking her next career step by studying Film and TV Production at Edge Hill University from September.

Headteacher Ian Gerrard congratulated all students and staff on their results and wished them all the very best for their future. He stated, “I’m delighted in the achievements of our students this year and I’m encouraged to see that such a wide and varied selection of courses are being followed by our young people across the UK.”

Students are now looking forward to going on to study a wide variety of exciting degree courses in addition to the above such as: Social Policy, Product Design in Industry, Geography, Animation, Events Management, Politics and Global studies at universities across the UK from York to Winchester and Bristol to Nottingham.

Thursday, 17 May 2018 09:59

Life Saving Equipment at Ysgol Aberconwy

A cardiac arrest can happen at any time, anywhere. Did you know… seven out of 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest could survive, if they are treated with a defibrillator within the first five minutes!

Here at Ysgol Aberconwy we are pleased to announce through fundraising efforts, a donation from Conwy Leisure Services and match funding from the Sam Standerwick Memorial Fund, we’ve purchased not one, but TWO defibrillators.

The Sam Standerwick Memorial Fund was set up in memory of Sam Standerwick to help CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death. Through the money raised for the two defibrillators it has enabled us to purchase them through the memorial fund and we can’t thank Adrian Standerwick enough for personally presenting the school with the two new additions.

Adrian, Sam’s dad and founder of the memorial fund said, “I’m delighted to be able to present Ysgol Aberconwy with two lifesaving machines. It’s hugely important to make sure everyone is aware of Cardiac Risk in the Young, which is something I’ll continue working towards. But to also be able to help towards the funding of these machines is a great achievement for the memorial fund. We hope they are never needed but it is good to know there are two in a school, which has nearly 800 young people, so if there is a need they can be used without delay, potentially saving a young persons life.”

Mr Jones, Teacher at Ysgol Aberconwy stated, “To have not one but two lifesaving machines here at Ysgol Aberconwy is a testament not only to the fantastic work of the Sam Standerwick Memorial Fund but also the dedication of pupils’ fundraising efforts! A special mention has to go to Sam McKinley who individually raised £120. We’re incredibly proud of all pupils who helped raise as much money as possible. To have two machines on the school premises is great news, not only for the school but also the local community.”

One defibrillator will be based at the school reception and the other one will be based in the school sports hall, which is also used outside of school hours by the general public.

For more information on Cardiac Risk in the Young please visit… www.c-r-y.org.uk or to see how you can help the Sam Standerwick Memorial fund please visit… www.c-r-y.org.uk/sam-standerwick

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 09:00

Careers Reward for Ysgol Aberconwy

We’re delighted to announce we’ve received the prestigious Careers Wales Mark for the second time.

The accolade, which recognises a commitment to continuous quality improvement within an educational institution, was awarded to Ysgol Aberconwy for our dedication and enthusiasm in preparing and supporting young people entering the world of work or continuing in education.

Working alongside the team at Careers Wales, we carried out an audit of careers and world of work curriculum and identified areas for improvement, resulting in the production of a development plan.

The plan will further help us to prepare and support students for a successful transition into work, training or further education and help reduce the number of young people potentially becoming unemployed.                       

Lesley Sewell, Assistant Headteacher said: “Ysgol Aberconwy are delighted to have been awarded the Careers Wales Mark again, in recognition of our commitment supporting every single pupil and equipping them with the skills and knowledge to allow them a seamless transition into post-16 education, employment or training. We are very grateful to Careers Wales for their support throughout the process of re-accreditation, as well as the invaluable work done on a one to one and group basis throughout the year. We as a school look forward to working in partnership with Careers Wales in the future”

Speaking of the school’s achievement, Rhian Lloyd Thomas, Area Manager for Careers Wales, said:  “This is an excellent achievement and a clear demonstration that young people in Ysgol Aberconwy are receiving the support they need to help them find out about and prepare for the world of work as well as helping them to make realistic informed decisions about their future.”

For further information on the Careers Wales Mark visit www.careerswales.com

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 08:42

Pupils take on Arthurian Quest

Pupils from Ysgol Aberconwy have been on an ‘Arthurian’ quest to investigate story-telling.

Inspired by Wales’ ‘Year of Legends’, Ymgais 2018 Quest, a project by Bangor University’s Centre for Arthurian Studies, invited a selected number of pupils aged 11-13 to develop modern digital storytelling adventures.

The group have been working both at the School and Bangor University over eight weeks to explore legends and quests through different ways of storytelling and the different media that can be used to tell a story.

While visiting Bangor University the pupils met with Professor Raluca Radulescu of the University’s School of English, an expert in Arthurian literature, who introduced the pupils to some of the Arthurian legends. They also visited the University’s magnificent medieval manuscripts and rare books in the Library’s Archive and Special Collections, and the Arthurian collections.

Gillian Brownson, a Community Theatre Practitioner, and experienced writer & storyteller, led the group through different activities, including interactive storytelling, theatre games, writing workshop and video diaries to challenge the young people to think about the idea of the Quest, as presented in the legends of King Arthur and how the same story structure can also be found in today’s popular media. Kate Stuart, a MRes student volunteer in the School of Creative Studies and Media assisted with the use of Digital storytelling apps.

Having created banners, shields and  an ‘oath of fellowship’, working in small groups, the pupils moved to more modern digital storytelling apps to create a number of original short ‘quests’ inspired by the legends in the University’s archives.

Gillian Brownson said: “I really saw the children’s confidence and interest in stories grow during the eight weeks. They began to understand what makes a good story as was evident in some of the great stories they shared at the end of the project. There were some natural storytellers in the group and we had some fantastic quest adventures involving mythical and modern heroes.”

Richard Burrows, Assistant Headteacher at Ysgol Aberconwy commented:

“Quest has been an exciting opportunity for our students. They have worked with a story-telling artist, a digital media expert and a professor of medieval Literature. This blend of expertise and creativity is exciting: it has engaged and galvanised the group and they are exploring their stories in lots of interesting [and unexpected ways]. I had the pleasure of accompanying them on their visit to Bangor University. The received a very warm welcome and I could sense a raising in their expectations. The visit to the Arthurian centre was fantastic for them. To have so many books shown to them and brought out of the archive for them by the University's Librarian gave them a great sense of worth and I felt communicated to them the importance of story. I look forward to the second half of the project.”

Professor Raluca Radulescu, Director of the Centre for Arthurian Studies said:

“The Arthurian legends were popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and though we might think that interest in re-telling these tales has waned, in fact, the stories are timeless and are still with us today. We can find many of the same story structures, such as the ‘quest’ in many modern story telling genres including books, films and digital media.

The idea behind Quest was to show young people that stories can be relevant to their lives, and by engaging them in different activities, to encourage their interest in reading and story-telling.”

“Our hope is to learn from this initial project and offer projects like this, which develop both traditional reading literacy and an ability to ‘read’ the stories contained in films,  television and other modern media, to more local school pupils,” she added.

As well as being a hub of international research exchange in Arthurian Studies, Bangor University’s Centre of Arthurian Studies has hosted numerous community events, engaging young and old in the Arthurian legends.

The Centre has access to an unrivalled collection of publications, including rare editions in Arthurian studies; the collections have been enhanced through private donations which started even before the University Library was established, and have continued to grow through the dedicated work of Bangor scholars and librarians' careful preservation of the stock.

The Quest project was funded by the Bangor University ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

A group of Ysgol Aberconwy sixth form girls have scooped £500 for the school and £50 each by winning ‘Best Energy Appreciation Project’ award sponsored by Horizon, at the EESW (Engineering Education Scheme Wales) Awards at Venue Cymru. The EESW Awards was set up to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career.

After six months of hard work, which included two workshop days held by EESW at Coleg Llandrillo that helped them to develop their ideas and progress their project, Alen King, Kara Michael, Mim Allardice, Nicole Coulson and Ruth Dean represented Ysgol Aberconwy at The Big Bang Fair, with their Energy Neutral Water and Waste Water Treatment project. The girls fought off 24 other schools/colleges based within North Wales to win one of the five category awards available.

Welsh Water has the ambition to become energy neutral by 2050, meaning energy consumption is equal to the energy generated by the company. As a group, the girls worked in partnership with Chemical Engineer Ben Burggraff from Welsh Water working towards the joint aim of becoming energy neutral. Through hard work, dedication and commitment, the group spent time during and after school to produce a water rating system, app and suggested modifications for homes, to meet their aim of becoming energy neutral.

Ysgol Aberconwy pupil and project manager, Mim Allardice explained, “To be involved in a project as important as this one has been hugely beneficial to our studies. Not only did we learn to work together as a group on real life issues, we also had the experience of supporting Welsh Water in working towards their aim of becoming energy neutral by 2050. The experience is something we’re all proud to have been part of and we look forward to seeing the improvements Welsh Water make.”

“It was definitely a proud teacher moment when the girls won the award. It demonstrates not only the hard work they’ve put into the project but also the solutions they’ve produced whilst working alongside an external organisation like Welsh Water.” Stated Mrs Cohen, Head of Science at Ysgol Aberconwy.

Ben Burggraaf, Welsh Water’s Energy Operations manager said: “It’s been a real pleasure to work with the students on this project. Their enthusiasm and passion for the project really has been inspiring and it’s been great to see them work through possible solutions to some of the very real energy related challenges we face. I look forward to now sharing the outcomes and ideas that the students have come up with my colleagues.”

Welsh Water continue to host a different school each year and provide students with an opportunity to sample professional engineering in the workplace through dedicated projects.

Recently a group of pupils travelled to Aberystwyth to perform ‘The Changing Room’ on stage as part of the Connections Scheme.

The Connections Scheme was created by the National Theatre for young actors and actresses to showcase their skills in acting. Each year the National Theatre commissions new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the UK’s most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow!

Before travelling to the award winning Arts Centre in Aberystwyth pupils first performed ‘The Changing Room’ written by Chris Bush to other pupils, teachers, staff, parents and guardians, in the drama studio at Ysgol Aberconwy. These performances allowed the group to perfect their lines and stage presence before taking to the stage with an external audience.

The day was full of activities to aid their acting skills and through the technical rehearsals pupils had the valuable opportunity to see how other parts of the theatre are managed and run.

Throughout the day they also had the chance to meet pupils from other schools and colleges, whilst having some time to bond as a group themselves.

Mia, sixth form performing arts pupil explained it was great to be part of such an experience “before we all went on stage we were given a pep talk by a lady called Julia who works with the Connections Scheme. She helped motivate us and made sure we knew to project our voices to the top of the auditorium so all audience members would hear!”

Well done to everyone involved the feedback from the performances has been fantastic and audience members really enjoyed watching the play.

Thursday, 08 February 2018 16:14

Our Year 7’s explore their creative side

Over the last five weeks, our Year 7 pupils have experienced a creative approach to their PBL (Project Based Learning) lessons. Four artists spend two hours every Monday morning with our pupils, as they explore different creative approaches to their PBL projects.

The four artists provided to Ysgol Aberconwy are from the Lead Creative Schools Scheme, which is a jointly funded scheme by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government. Through this scheme pupils experience new and exciting creative approaches to teaching and learning across the curriculum, supporting them to address issues, important development priorities and the needs of each pupil.

It aims to develop the creativity, aspirations and achievements of young people in Wales, opening up more opportunities for their future. Whilst also supporting innovation and the development of long-term partnerships between creative professionals and ourselves.

“Being part of this scheme enables us as a school to access artists, skills and resources to support us in further improving the quality of our teaching and pupils learning. It highlights our commitment of helping our pupils fulfil their creative potential and achieving their best in all areas of learning and development.” Stated Mr Burrows, Lead Project Coordinator, Ysgol Aberconwy

With three more weeks left on this scheme our pupils, teachers and the creative professionals will continue working together to plan, implement, reflect and evaluate their creative PBL projects.

For more information about the Lead Creative Schools Scheme, please visit www.artscouncilofwales.org.uk



Well done to our Year 7 & 8 girls football team who beat Ysgol David Hughes to make it through to the last eight in the Welsh schools competition.

A fantastic team effort from all and congratulations to Sophie Rawling, who was awarded player of the match by the other team!

Good luck in the next round girls!

Students and staff at Ysgol Aberconwy have been working tirelessly over the last few months on this year’s musical… School of Rock!

On Wednesday 22nd November at 7pm the stage was set, the lights were on and the students took to the floor for their opening night.

Their hard work and dedication for this year’s performance was clear to see, from the lead characters through to the supporting roles and the songs local primary pupils were involved in, everyone had rehearsed their roles and gave a performance fit for Broadway.

With three evening performances and an afternoon community performance, students continued to outshine themselves and surpass audience expectations with their amazing talent and skills.

The school hall has never felt as alive as it did last week, with music filling the corridors during rehearsals, there was certainly a buzz of excitement throughout the school.

Hazel Brookes, a former student attended the community performance on Thursday afternoon and she mentioned how delightful the performance was “I’m so glad I was able to attend the performance, as it certainly brightened up a dull and wet afternoon. The level of confidence from the students was fantastic to see and they all did a great job. Well done!”

Margaret and Philip Jones, from Llandudno Youth Music Theatre also attended the community performance… “We loved every minute of the show and it was great to see it staged in such a different and unusual way to normal school performances. Having the stage in the centre of the hall worked so well for this musical, it was pure rock and roll.”

School Governor and Conwy Councillor, Emma Leighton-Jones also stated, “The show had a lovely feel good factor and a powerful message of the transformative nature of music in our lives. Each member of the cast performed superbly - great singing and dancing and all lines learnt to perfection.”

Well done to every student and member of staff involved in this year’s production. The standard of this year’s performance has been amazing; we can’t wait to see next year’s performance already!

On Friday 17th November, students from Ysgol Aberconwy joined the nation in fundraising for Children in Need 2017.

Students and staff across the school took part in a variety of fundraising activities from sport sessions to challenges and from tombola raffles to own clothes day.

The competitive spirit could be felt throughout the school, with the highly anticipated Ysgol Aberconwy Bake Off. Some members of staff highlighted their hidden baking talents, which even Paul Hollywood would have been impressed by!

However, the real fundraising highlights came from the students themselves…

With Year 10 students Joe Nicholas and Jack Owens raising over £200 by shaving their hair off, Year 7 students Caitlin Finnegan and Leah Birchall raising over £200 for sponsored walks, Crystal Forbes in Year 7 also completed an Indy climb raising £90 and Year 8 twins Jaydon Parry and Connor Parry together raising over £140, with Jaydon completing a sponsored run and Conor offering to carry out additional chores.

Mr Jones, teacher at Ysgol Aberconwy stated “This is the result of a fantastic team effort from the whole Ysgol Aberconwy community. I am overwhelmed by the support we have received and would like to thank everyone that has supported us with their time, effort and donations. This is a great indication of how innovative and enterprising Ysgol Aberconwy students can be in fundraising for such a great cause.”

Well done to everyone who took part in raising over £2,500 for Children in Need 2017!

Ysgol Aberconwy marked ‘Restart a Heart Day’ on Monday 16th October by training over 650 students in basic First Aid and CPR procedures in one day!

Restart a Heart Day is an annual initiative, which aims to train as many people as possible in CPR in one day, so that more people know these life saving skills.

Staff and students at Ysgol Aberconwy attended training slots throughout the day and they are now part of the British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers. By learning CPR, they’ve armed themselves with the skills that could help save lives in our communities.

Currently in the UK, just one in ten people survive a cardiac arrest. However, in countries such as Norway, where CPR is more widely taught, almost four in ten people survive.

Abby Battle (Year 7) commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the training. A member of my family had to have CPR so I believe everyone should know these life saving skills”

Benjamin Payne (Year 11) explained, “I was shocked to learn that if you suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK you have less than a one in ten chance of surviving. Training like this is so important because I would want to help if I was ever faced with such a situation”.

Rhydian Jones (Teacher) stated, “On behalf of Ysgol Aberconwy we would like to thank Carwyn Roberts, Jamie Brown, Nerys Owen and Sean Clark for giving up their valuable time to deliver the training and share their expertise with both staff and students. We are also grateful to the Welsh Ambulance Service for offering this invaluable experience and look forward to welcoming them back to Ysgol Aberconwy again next year.”

For more information about Restart a Heart Day visit, www.bhf.org.uk

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