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Monday, 10 December 2018 09:51

Fundraising Stars for Children in Need

Ysgol Aberconwy’s students have outdone themselves once again, after smashing their fundraising target for BBC Children in Need 2019. During the week leading up to Children in Need Day 2019, there was a buzz and excitement around the whole school, with a variety of fundraising activities organised by staff and students.

It is impossible to mention everyone individually for their fundraising achievements however; there is a special mention for the extraordinary efforts of some of our top fundraisers this year.

In year 8 alone, we had…

  • Alexi Walker and Lydia Roberts who organised a sponsored haircut and subsequently donated their long hair to the ‘Little Princess Trust’
  • Abby Battles organised a variety of sponsored walks
  • Hannah Royle successfully managed a 24 hour sponsored silence

Credit must also go to the nine members of staff who successfully completed the Conwy Half Marathon and to Rachel Moynihan for raising in excess of £100!

In addition to this, we also held an own clothes day where some students came to school in fancy dress, a staff bake off and various exciting stalls and competitions in the drama studio on Friday 16th November, organised and run by our students.

Rhydian Jones, Director of Learning for well-being and PSHE stated,

“Once again this year I have been overwhelmed, by the generosity and initiative displayed by the whole Ysgol Aberconwy community, in raising funds towards such a worthwhile cause.

The caring nature of the school has come to the fore with the money we have raised going towards helping transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. 

It was great fun supporting BBC Children in Need and to know that we’ve raised £2,351.15 is a fantastic feeling. We now look forward to see what enterprising and innovative fundraising ideas the Ysgol Aberconwy community has for our local charity in the New Year!”

Well done to everyone who organised a fundraising activity and donated money to such a worthy cause.

Monday, 26 November 2018 11:03

Our First Six Million Word Millionaire!

At Ysgol Aberconwy, all lower school students spend 20 minutes a day reading as part of the Accelerated Reader Programme.

The programme is designed to allow students to be responsible for their own reading practice, as they can choose their own book, at their own level and read it at their own pace. Once they have finished the book, the student completes an online quiz designed to test the understanding of the book they have just read.

It has been found that students who take part in the Accelerated Reader Programme find reading much more enjoyable and that their reading improves.

The programme also encourages students to work their way up the Accelerated Reader Millionaire chart in school, with one student smashing previous school records by becoming Ysgol Aberconwy’s first six million word millionaire!

Congratulations to Keira Williams for hitting just over six million words at the end of last term.

Stella Edwards, Ysgol Aberconwy’s Librarian and Accelerated Reader Coordinator stated, “To see students taking some time to sit down with a book is fantastic. Reading not only improves their spelling and grammar but also helps improve the vocabulary they use throughout all subjects. Each day I’m updating our Accelerated Reader Millionaire chart in school, it’s great to track the progress of our students.”

This morning (Wednesday 10th October), volunteers from Conwy RNLI were invited into Ysgol Aberconwy to be presented with a cheque for £1721.20.

During the latter weeks of the summer term of school, Ysgol Aberconwy nominated Conwy RNLI as their chosen local charity of the year. And after weeks of fundraising, a fantastic amount of £1,721.20 was raised. The local secondary school, which sits on the banks of the River Conwy, organised various events.

The main fundraising events were two large sponsored walks, of which both walked past the lifeboat station and were given the opportunity to see the station and our RNLI lifeboat.

Speaking during the presentation, David Jones, Volunteer Deputy Launching Authority said, “We are very grateful for this donation and for the efforts that the school have made. Without such donations, we would not be able to carry out our lifesaving work”.

Conwy RNLI have now made strong links with the school, and have offered future safety talks in the school, as well as visits to our lifeboat station.

Pictured: (Left to right) Mr Rhydian Jones, David Howard (Lifeboat Administration Officer), Mr Ian Gerrard (Headteacher), Myfanwy Jones (Lifeboat Visits Officer-Llandudno RNLI), Danny-Lee Davies (Helm/LPO), David Jones (Deputy Launching Authority), Alan Flood (Helm/LPO) and school pupils of Ysgol Aberconwy.

Further details of the fundraising efforts of the school can be found here: https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2018/july/21/local-secondary-school-raises-lifesaving-funds-for-conwy-rnli


Press Release issued by Danny-Lee Davies, Conwy RNLI

Canoe Theatre and Theatrau Sir Gâr bring their latest Dementia Friendly performance to the stage at Ysgol Aberconwy on Monday 8th October at 2:15pm, to support people living with Dementia and their family and friends.

Students at Ysgol Aberconwy have been working with Rhian Cadwaladr as part of the Young Promoters Scheme, funded by the Arts Council for Wales. They have been responsible for the marketing and promotion of this performance to help build their confidence and self-esteem. Rhian stated, “It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to take responsibility and engage with their local community, whilst learning about Dementia.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are 800,000 people living with Dementia in the UK, which equates to 1 in 14 over 65 year olds. The performance of ‘This Incredible Life’ by Alan Harris is 90 minutes long and is based on life in the 60’s and 70’s. The Dementia Friendly performance allows you to enjoy a day out with your loved ones and encourages people who are living with or experiencing Dementia to come together in an informal environment.

A full day of activities has been organised for Monday 8th October where you’re invited to come along and take part in a variety of sociable and relaxed workshops. Starting at 10am there will be a Dementia Friends session with the Alzheimer’s Society, where you can learn more about Dementia and the small ways that you can help your loved ones who may be suffering with Dementia.

At 12:30, you can take part in a group sing along session, which brings people together with Dementia in a friendly way. Following this, a light lunch will be provided, whilst you enjoy a performance by students from Ysgol Aberconwy.

After a morning packed full of activities and workshops you can then sit back, relax and watch the Dementia Friendly theatre performance of ‘This Incredible Life’. There’ll be plenty of space between seats to allow people to come and go, as and when needed and they’ll be refreshments available throughout the performance too.

The morning sessions are free to attend and there’s no need to book. If you wish to watch the Dementia Friendly performance of ‘This Incredible Life’ tickets cost £7.50 per person are available on the day or you can book in advance by calling Ysgol Aberconwy on 01492 593243

For more information please contact Rhian Cadwaladr on 07818 424283.

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.

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