Friday 18th November 2016
On Wednesday of this week I visited Airbus for an insight into the broad range of employment opportunities available to our students. It was great to listen to the presentations, particularly the company overview given by Martin Evans, Head of Industrial Academy UK. Martin and I both joined Airbus as apprentices in 1985, training together for the next four years.
Also on Wednesday, our Whole School Assembly was on the theme of Leadership and was led by Year 11. Our readers this week were Saskia Jones and Grace Davies, with Annie Beggan providing the fantastic musical item.
Year 7 took part in a programme of PSE activities yesterday delivered by ‘Crucial Crew’. Visitors from the Transport Police, Fire Safety, Water Safety, Scottish Power, Food Standards Agency, Dogs Trust and the Police delivered safety talks to groups of Year 7 throughout the day. They covered a range of safety sessions from animal safety, fire and water safety to bullying and peer pressure. Our Year 7 students really enjoyed the sessions and I would like to thank all of these agencies for giving up their time to talk to our students.
On Monday morning Welsh AS students enjoyed a drama workshop run by the visiting company ‘Mewn Cymeriad’. Part of the new Welsh AS course involves studying the history of the Welsh settlement of Patagonia. All students got involved in the workshop and found the session beneficial to their studies.
Sports news this week includes a spirited performance by Under 16 Boys Rugby team at Wrexham rugby club last night under the floodlights. The boys overcame a very strong Morgan Llywd side in the semi-final of the RGC North East Wales school competition 17-5. Tries were scored by Jay Simon, Andrew Cowling and Aaron Evans with a conversion added by Aaron Evans. The boys now keenly await news of their opponents in the final and we wish them all the best.
Yesterday our Year 9 football team won their match against Rhyl High School 6-0 and now go through to the next round of the Welsh Cup. Well done to the team – Jordan Waddilove, Freddie Howarth, Elliot Moore, John Evans, Zac Hewitt, Ayden De Winter, Connor De Winter, Ben Thompson, Owen Davies, Isaac Lecki, Toby Rees Slawson, Jack Hitchin, Finley Clough and Joel Buchanen.
Today we held a non uniform day for Children In Need. As always, staff and students got into the spirit of this event and raised lots of money along the way.
Friday 11th November 2016
Well done to Tiarna Bithell Year 13, who does a fantastic job in running our girls football teams. Tiarna has worked really hard coaching alongside Brickfield Rangers Football club on a Wednesday and then running her own coaching sessions here on a Monday. On Wednesday night this week, Tiarna took the girls to Airbus for a Girls Football event. The girls lost their first and drew in their last game. Tiarna said that she knew the girls were upset not to have won but that she was so proud of the improvement they showed throughout the competition.
Good luck to the twelve Year 13 students who sat Oxbridge STEP papers in school last week. We look forward to the results in due course. The majority of Year 13 students are busy with their university applications at the moment and we wish them all well in this challenging but very important process.
This morning we held our Remembrance Assembly. Well done to our readers Simon Morris and Darcey De Winter, and to Hannah Griffiths, Rhys Oliver, Hannah Jones, Caitlin Faulkner, Isaac Tocque, Rebekah Bentley and Ben Thomas for a very fitting musical item ‘The Rose’. It was a pleasure to welcome several members of our Governing Body to the assembly along with Rev. Pawley and Cllr Healey who also contributed with readings. As always, the minute of silence was impeccably observed by all. Thanks also to Ella Perks and Rebekah Bentley for playing ‘The Last Post’.
Year 11 finished their GCSE maths exams yesterday, after four challenging papers over two weeks. Well done to all students. We look forward to excellent results when they arrive in mid January.
Congratulations to the following students who achieved top 10 in the Flintshire Cross Country Championships and have now been asked to represent North East Wales at the Cross Country Championships in January at Dinas Bran. Year 7 – Pippa Barlow, Charlotte Wooley, Megan Ellis, Archie Pefers, Ruben Easedale. Year 9 – Courtney Bird, Jack Hitchen, Owen Jones. Year 10 – Shannon Samuel, Harry Thomas, Ethan Moss and Year 11 – Holly Atkinson, Max Moore and Adam Clewley.
Our Year 8 and 9 football teams who have had a fantastic week. Year 9 won their match 5 -0 and Year 8 won on penalties and are now in the final stages of the Welsh Cup after Christmas. Well done to Lucas Abbott, Harrison Jackson, Matthew Atkinson, Oliver Johnson, Jamie Hardy, Sam Moore, Kane Edwardson, Kai Welch, Kieran Edwards, Ethan Evans, Luca Nardo, Dale Hughes, Tom Smith, Teddy Edwards and Louis Pritchard from Year 9. Also from Year 8 Jordan Waddilove, Zac Hewitt, John Evans, Freddie Howarth, Ayden De Winter, Finley Clough, Dan Herdman, Ben Thompson, Owen Davies, Elliott Moore, Isaac Lecki, Toby Rees Slawson, Joel Buchanen and Connor Do Winter. I will keep you updated on how they get on in the final stages.
Friday 4th November 2016
Well done to Katie Woolley, Year 8, who recently joined forces with Bethan Dromgoole from Essential Skin Clinic in Broughton to arrange an Afternoon Tea in aid of We Are Macmillan. Katie raised over £670, a fantastic achievement.
On Wednesday this week we had a fantastic drumming workshop for Year 7 with Jeff Rich of Status Quo fame. The students were completely immersed in the hands on practical session. Thanks to Jeff for his time, and who knows, maybe some students were so inspired that they’ll beome the next generation of rock stars.
The following Sixth Form students were involved in the Lidl ‘Play More Football’ Coaching Workshop held at Hawarden High School this week – Alice O Shaughnessy, Enya Bellis-Jones, Tiarna Bithell, Kieren Edwards, Euan Edwards, Matt Grundy, Harvey Ellis, Oscar Tami and Matthew Butchart.
The workshop involved an FAW football coordinator who provided our students with the correct approach to organising future football events in the school. The Sixth Form students will now serve as our board of directors for extra curricular football, and will meet with Mr Hutchinson to discuss new ways of delivering extra curricular sessions which cater for all students in the school.
Well done to our Year 9 football team who won their match at home against Connah’s Quay High School this week 1-0 in the Flintshire Schools tournament. They will now go through to third round. Good luck to our Year 8 team who play away against Flint in their third round match next week.
Maths GCSE exams took place today and on Wednesday this week for Year 11. Staff and students have all worked extremely hard and we all have our fingers crossed for good results.
Our Sixth Form students ‘Dared to wear Pink’ on the last day of half term to support the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. The students really enjoyed the day and raised a considerable amount of money for this good cause.
Yesterday I called in at the Library at lunchtime. It was great to see so many students making use of the facilities. Mrs. Mitchell, our Librarian, is very pleased with how many students are choosing to spend their lunch breaks reading and as a treat for the last few minutes playing the occasional game.
Friday 14th October 2016
Our Upper School Assembly this week was on the theme of conformity. Well done to our reader Megan Jackson and to Hannah Cartwright for an excellent piano solo. At the end of assembly I wished Year 11 good luck for the GCSE Maths and Numeracy exams which take place straight after half term.
On Wednesday evening we held our Year 11 Parents’ Evening. It was great to see so many parents and students meeting with teachers to discuss progress and the route to success at the end of this vitally important school year.
Well done to Hannah Jones, Rebekah Bentley and Abigail Pettican who performed brilliantly at the Daniel Owen Festival opening concert last weekend. Mr. Searson fed back that their contribution was outstanding and that they represented the school brilliantly.
We had some excellent performances in the Flintshire cross country championships held at Mold Alun High School yesterday. All students who took part worked extremely hard and represented the school in fantastic fashion. The following students all finished in the top ten and will go on to represent Flintshire in the North East Wales round in Llangollen. Year 7 – Archie Peffers, Reuben Easedale, Phillipa Barlow,
Charlotte Woolley, Megan Ellis. Year 9 – Courtney Bird, Jack Hitchen, Owen Jones. Year 10 – Shannon Samuel, Harry Thomas, Ethan Moss. Year 11 – Holly Atkinson, Max Moore and Adam Clewley.
Well done to all the runners.
The Languages department had a visit from Hannah Wright from the Urdd this week. She went into some KS4 & 5 Welsh classes to talk about the importance of Welsh for future prospects and employment in Wales. She is an ex-student who went on to study Welsh at university and is now a fluent Welsh speaker, who works for the Urdd promoting the Welsh language.
Castell Alun Friends Association news – Thanks to everyone for their support in the very successful fashion show event. We raised in the region of £1300! This week’s lottery draw will be taking place today and winners will be notified shortly – good luck!
Our whole school assembly this week was on the theme of Harvest and was led by Year 7. Well done to our readers Pheobe Davies and Jack Rayers. Hannah Griffiths played a particularly relevant harp solo ‘Fields of Gold’.
This week we have held Governors’ Exam Analysis meetings. It was great to meet with Governors and our Learning Managers to review the excellent results from last summer and to consider ways we can further improve the learning experience for our students.
An update from my blog last week in hockey; Shannon Samuel, Lucy Jones, Harriet Le Tissier and Nia Pritchard-Taylor, all year 10, who played in the Flintshire Schools Under 16 Hockey Team last Sunday at Rydal College, Colwyn Bay. The Under 16 Team won their tournament. Molly Cross played in the Under 18s team who came second. I would like to say a huge well done to the girls from both me and the PE department who are extremely proud of the contribution they have made to hockey whilst they have been students here.
On Tuesday this week the first Seren meeting took place at Castell Alun for Year 12 led by Mr. Kevin Davies and Graham Kelly, a Governor at our school. Mr. Davies took the students through the process of applying to university and introduced them to the Russell Group universities. Over 100 students attended altogether, with 24 from Castell Alun. On the same evening our Year 13 Seren cohort were given valuable advice from Sandy Mill from Cambridge university.
Yesterday Years 7, 8 and 9 took part in a Fun Run raising money to buy equipment for students. Some students ran in fancy dress outfits and everyone really enjoyed taking part.
On Monday and Tuesday this week Year 10 students had their business acumen put to the test in the name of charity and education. As part of their Welsh Baccalaureate qualification studies, students delivered presentations on potential business ideas to a panel of “dragons” in their “lair”. On top of that, students also had to devise ways to turn a profit from their businesses using a £5 grant from Hope House Children’s Hospice. The proceeds from their endeavours will then go to Hope House in the form of a donation. Almost 50 sets of students presented their ideas to a panel of judges, including representatives from MBNA, Glyndwr University and NWN Media. Our Welsh Baccalaureate Coordinator, Mr. Simon Jones, was very proud of the professional pitches our students presented.
Our GCSE Maths revision sessions and proving to be very popular with students. Well done to all who are attending after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a big thank you to the teaching staff for giving up their time to help.
Friday 07th October 2016
Our Lower School Assembly this week was on the theme of conforming. Well done to our readers Ruby Jones and Freya Searle-Jones, both Year 8, and thanks to Hannah Cartwright, Year 11, for the music item.
Our Open Evening on Wednesday was extremely busy. It was great to see so many of our students helping. Prospective students and their families were certainly given a flavour of life at Castell Alun. As always, our students were a credit to us and I was very proud of their input on the evening. I also thoroughly enjoyed showing families around school during our Open Mornings today and yesterday.
Well done to Cerys Jones, Year 9 on her first place kata at the BKI Nationals.
This weekend members of our support staff will be running the 5K In Living Colour Run and raising money in aid of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. The team consists of our IT technicians Marc and Michael Flackett, Site Supervisor Paul Muncey and former student Lowri Thomas. The fantastic staff at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital saved the life of Marc’s wife Laura earlier this year when she required emergency surgery for a faulty valve and heart aneurysm. We wish them all the best of luck!
On Monday Dr. Davies and Mrs. Vaughan took the Nurture Group students to Tesco Broughton on a ‘Farm to Fork’ trail. The students learned all about the origins of their food and had a go at shaping and baking their own bread, handling fish with the fishmongers, tasting cheese and working on the tills.
Good luck to Shannon Samuel, Lucy Jones, Harriet Le Tissier and Nia Pritchard-Taylor, all year 10, who are playing in the Flintshire Schools Under 16 Hockey Team this Sunday at Rydal College, Colwyn Bay. Good luck also Lauren Sidebottom who is playing in the Under 18 Flintshire Schools Team. We are extremely proud of the valuable contribution these players have made over many years to hockey at Castell Alun. I will update you with how they got on next week.
Don’t forget our Castell Alun Friends Association Fashion show tonight. Doors open 7pm with the show starting at 7.30pm.
Castell Alun Friends’ Association Lottery needs you……….
Sign up before Friday 21st October and you’ll be entered in draws for the full academic year 2016/17. There will be a total of 12 draws; to fit in with the school year, some will be drawn as double draws. Tickets cost £2 per draw and you just need to complete the lottery form which you’ll find via this link. You can then send it in to school along with your cheque (or pay directly from your bank account if that’s easier).
I am looking forward to our Year 11 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday of next week. This is very timely with the GCSE maths exams coming up straight after half term, closely followed by the Year 11 Mocks.
Friday 30th September 2016
Our Whole School Assembly this week was on the theme of ‘Peace One Day’. Any students who would like to provide a musical item for future assemblies were encouraged to speak to Mr. Andrew Searson in the music department.
Our final preparations are taking place for our Open Evening next Wednesday. I’m really looking forward to meeting students who are considering joining out school in Year 6 or 12 next September.
We had 24 Year 12 students in attendance at the ‘Seren’ launch in Wrexham on Tuesday evening. This is a Welsh Government initiative to identify and support students who have the potential to apply for places at the best universities in the world. We look forward to supporting them throughout their sixth form education.
Our PE department enjoyed a lovely day at the athletics on Wednesday. The rain held off and the sun was shining. Well done to Year 9 with the following results Tegan Rawsthorne – 1st in 100m, 300m and longjump, Courtney Bird – 1st in 70m Hurdles, Kaya Lloyd-Martin – 1st in Shot, Kathryn Land – 1st in Javelin, Girls Relay Team – 1st, Issac Lecki – 1st in Discus, Jack Hitchen – 1st in 800m, Owen Jones – 1st in 300m, Alex Foster – 1st in 75m Hurdles Jonathon Jones – 1st in Javelin. Year 11 – Alex Lovatt – 1st in triple jump, 2nd in 200m, 2nd in 100m, Caitlyn Hassal – 1st in 300m.
Our Year 7 and Year 9 netball teams played Maes Garmon on Monday. Year 7 won 15-1 with player of the match going to Poppy Ellis. Year 9 won 9-2 player of that match went to Lucy Thompson.
Congratulations to Lily Cottle, Lucy Thompson (U14), Holly Atkinson (U16), Tara Young, Lucy Fowles, Erin Chadwick, Celyn Jones and Amelia Bailey from our sixth form (U18) who have all been selected to represent Flintshire netball in the triangular tournament in October.
Well done to Callum Davies, Year 9 on achieving his ‘Cadet First Aider’ qualification. Callum has been an active member of St. John’s Ambulance since he was 11, attending meetings every week which he really enjoys.
Thanks to our Librarian, Mrs. Mitchell who has been putting on a games club every Friday lunchtime. All year groups are enjoying the different games and well as the biscuits from Mrs. Mitchell!
Last night Mr Croasdale held a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award information evening. This follows a very successful Silver practice expedition for 30 Year 11 students last weekend. They started at Alwen reservoir and finishing over 20 miles away on the top of the Clwydian hills. The final expedition is in the Peak District in July. Thanks again to Mr. Croasdale, Mr. Duffy, Miss Ball and Mr. Hadley.Tickets are still available for the Ladies Fashion and Pop Show on the 7th October at 7pm hosted by Castell Alun Friends Association. There will be refreshments available on the night together with a charity raffle. For more information please see our website – https://castellalun.com/fashion-show-2016/
Today I met with some of our sixth form students, Anna Morris, Natalie Roberts, India Griffiths, Natasha Austen, Lizzie Ewing and Violet Katawaluwa who have formed a Charity Council. Their first fundraiser today was a cake sale in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support which was a huge success.
Friday 23rd September 2016
Our whole school assembly yesterday was on the theme of ‘learning’. Our readers Elin Smith and Jonathan Parry, both Year 11, did an excellent job, as did Adam Rotheroe, Year 10, with his piano recital of ‘Jazzin Grace’. Adam performed this piece as part of his recent Grade 6 examination, which unsurprisingly he passed with distinction.
Last weekend Mrs Molloy, together with Georgia Baker, Abbie Jones and Anthony Pope, worked at the Mold Food Festiva,l with local and celebrity chefs, behind the scenes at the cookery theatre. They helped the chefs prepare their dishes to cook for the public who attended the event. They worked with North Wales Culinary Guild, Graham Tinsley MBE, celebrity chef Nick Nairn, Phil Peacock from the Fat Boar in Mold and Tony Griffiths from The Crown. The students really enjoyed the two day event and they were hard working, professional and worked really well under pressure. Nick Nairn was extremely complimentary about our students’ attitude. I also received a telephone call from the Chairman of the Mold Food Festival yesterday thanking Mrs Molloy and the students for their contribution to the success of the event. He went on to say that our students were a credit to the school.
Thank you to Daniel Roberts and his Grandad, Mr. John Roberts, who together undertook a renovation project on the shed in the school garden over the summer holidays. Daniel found that the shed had been vandalised during one of his regular checks. The shed is now looking as good as new. The school garden was designed and built by Welsh Baccalaureate students two years ago and is maintained as part of their ongoing studies. We are very proud of Daniel and thankful to his Grandad for their time and effort.
Congratulations to Holly Kay, Year 7 who won three silvers and two bronzes at Swim Wales in Swansea last weekend.
Thirty of our Year 11 students together with Mr. Croasdale, Miss Ball, Mr. Duffy and Mr. Hadley travel to the wilds of Denbighshire on their silver DofE practice expedition today. I look forward to reporting on how they got on next week.
On Thursday our Year 9 and 10 girls competed in the Urdd netball tournament at Bangor University. Miss Roberts said the girls competed really well. Although the games were close, the girls ended up coming 3rd in the group missing out on a place in the quarter finals.
Well done to Lucy Thompson, Niamh Williams, Abi-Francesca Challoner, Georgia Considine, Emily Morgan, Lowri Hunt, Lilly Cottle, Jasmine Harvey and Ellie Pentland.
Last Sunday I went to watch Simon Price, Year 12, competing in a North Wales Cyclocross event in Mold. Simon was leading for most of the race but was just caught and passed towards the very end. An impressive second overall, especially given that Simon was racing in the Welsh Crit Championships in Builth Wells the previous evening.
Our Year 9 boys tennis team beat Ellesmere College in a play off this week to reach the last eight of the UK regional finals. Well done to Isaac Lecki, Zac Hewitt, Ayden De Winter and Will Owens.
In football, our Year 11 team beat St. Richard Gwyn 4-1 and Year 8 beat St. Richard Gwyn in the Welsh Cup.
Our new prospectus has now been delivered to our local primary schools. A copy can be found here.
Our Open Evening preparations are going well and we look forward to welcoming students currently in Year 6 or in Year 11 at other schools.
Friday 16th September 2016
The standards of students’ uniform, behaviour and approach to learning has been excellent so far this term. It is very much a team effort, so I must sincerely thank parents and carers for working with us to ensure our high expectations are met.
Our first whole school assembly of the year took place this morning on the theme of ‘The New School Year’. Well done to Abi Pettican playing a wonderful clarinet piece – Vocalise by Rachmaninov.
We are busy finalising our new prospectus for 2016-2017 and I’m looking forward to sending these out to our local Year 6 students soon. Our Open Evening is at 6.30pm on Wednesday 5th October, with Open Mornings on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th. We look forward to meeting prospective students and parents.
Castell Alun Friends Association are hosting a Ladies Fashion Show and Pop-up Shop on the 7th October at 7pm. 7pm. Tickets are available from school for £5. There will be refreshments available on the night together with a charity raffle. For more information, please see our website – https://castellalun.com/fashion-show-2016/.
Well done to Carys Jones, Year 8, on securing a bronze last Sunday at the AMA Northwest Karate Open Championship.
In July earlier this year, several of our GCSE and Sixth Form students participated in the national SETI Cipher Challenge, hosted by Southampton University.The event was held over 5 days, with a ‘code from the aliens’ being released on the SETI website at 9:00am every morning. The competing teams would earn points by decoding these messages, or by creating fun news articles, videos and songs based on them. One of our Sixth Form teams – Team RADS – managed to come second place in the media category of the competition, with our other teams coming within the top 20 teams in the UK. Overall, the experience was exciting and stretching, and many of the students have said they will be competing again next year.
At the end of last term I had the pleasure of joining 9R in their ‘Twentieth Century Cocktail Party’.
The students all came dressed as a famous person from the twentieth century and had to chat with each other as if they really were that person having researched their famous person at home.
I was very impressed at their efforts to play their roles and their excellent knowledge about the character they were portraying.Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Munroe, Winston Churchill, Mohamed Ali, Anne Frank and Queen Victoria were among the guests!
Friday 9th September 2016
Our 213 Year 7 students have settled in brilliantly and are making an excellent first impression at Castell Alun. Over 170 students have joined Year 12 giving us a Sixth Form population of over 300.
I am absolutely delighted with the results this summer which were in many ways our best ever. A record 55 Year 11 students gained 5 or more A/A* grades including English and Maths. I’d be very surprised indeed if many other schools in Wales had this number of exceptional academic students.
I am also incredibly proud of the large number of students who have got jobs, apprenticeships and entry onto college and university courses. We wish them all well for the future.
Our Maths, English and overall outcomes at GCSE were also our best ever and place us amongst the very highest performing schools in the country. Well done everyone.
I know it has been a busy summer for our students with many enjoying success in sport, music and other events and competitions. We very much look forward to hearing about these activities and celebrating them in school.
Our year 12 students completed their Work Experience during the summer. The placements attended ranged from local industry, retail and education to the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay and working in the legal department with Liverpool City Council. Judging by the feedback received, the students gained a positive look at the world of work and were a credit to themselves and the school. Some of the comments received so far:
“It has been a pleasure having Georgia working in our office for a week. She would be welcome anytime”
“Jack demonstrated how mature he is and how interested in the placement he was. You could really tell how enthusiastic he is about a career in law”
“Robyn was a real pleasure to work with and her enthusiasm was a breath of fresh air”
One international company, based in Wrexham, was so impressed with a Year 13 student working with them in July, they invited him back during the school holidays. The school is pleased to be able to help the students facilitate these opportunities but it would not be possible without the support and willingness of so many local establishments who give their time and expertise to encourage these young adults on their journey into future employment.
Friday 15th July 2016
The 2016 summer term has given the school many sporting successes to celebrate. Congratulations to Tia Daniel in year 7 who won the Bronze Medal in the British Finals of the National Development Programme for tumbling in Telford last weekend. Well done to the year 7 & 8 gymnasts who recently gained 3 gold medals overall at the 5 x 60 gymnastics competition. The year 8 boys tennis team that consists of Isaac Lecki, Toby Rhys Slawson, Will Owens, Zac Hewitt and Aiden De-Winter did extremely well this season. They won the Flintshire Round and North East Wales round of the Welsh Schools Tennis competition. They now represent North Wales in the British finals which takes place in September. Continuing with the tennis theme, we would like to wish Will Owens, who is competing in a tennis competition in Wimbledon during the summer holidays, good luck. Kathryn Land in year 8 has recently been involved in the County Tennis Cup National Finals in Nottingham where her team came 3rd overall. Well done to Sam Morris who was recently the doubles under 14 runner up in the Scottish Open Tennis Championship. He has also gained a place in the National Squad and has his next Welsh National Competition in Bath next week.
Well done to Andrew Cowling and Aled Edwards in year 10 and Ben Arden and Tom Doggett in year 7 who have represented The North East Wales Cricket team this season. Sports day was fantastic and it was outstanding to see so many students in all years participating. There were many students who broke records including Tegan Rawsthorne for 200m, Johnathan Jones for javelin, Issac Lecki for discus , 10 O boys in the relay. John Evans for the 200m. The Victrix and Victor Ludorum in each year group were Tia Daniel and Oliver Johnson, year 7, Tegan Rawsthorne and Jack Hitchin, year 8, Nia Pritchard-Taylor and Stuart McHarrie, year 9 and Alex Lovatt and Oliver Lanceley, year 10.
A great time was had by all on the English Area’s London trip last week. Students enjoyed visiting the West End to watch Wicked; lots of sightseeing and visiting The Globe to watch a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Well done to all students and staff who helped us to get to Rio by running and cycling. The aim of this ‘team GB’ initiative is to raise awareness of the Olympics being held in Rio this summer and to encourage as many students and staff as possible to exercise. We finally made it with the help of our feeder primary schools and exceeded the challenge by travelling 11,294.59km.
Congratulations to Sharon Bakewell who is the July winner of the CAFA lottery.
Just a reminder that Results Days this year are Thursday 18th August for A level and Thursday 25th August for GCSE. Enrolment days for Sixth Form are year 12 Thursday 1st September, and year 13 Friday 2nd September. School is open to students on Monday 5th September.
Several members of staff are retiring this summer. Mrs Marilyn Williams, one of our cleaning team, Mrs Sue Evans, a Teaching Assistant and Mrs Meryl Jones, Teacher of History who has taught here here for 40 years. We wish them all a long, happy and healthy retirement.
I would like to thank all parents and carers for their continued support during the last academic year and wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer.
Friday 8th July 2016
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Year 4 and 5 students from local primary schools joined our PE department for two ‘Sports Days’. Everyone really enjoyed taking part in a range of activities. The students put lots of effort into everything they did and went home with Certificates at the end of the day.
On Wednesday we held our New Intake Parents’ Evening. It was great to meet so many parents and carers and I look forward to working closely with them over the next 5 or more years. Our Year 6 Induction Day is taking place today with over 200 excited youngsters arriving this morning for their first formal day at Castell Alun.
Year 8 boys Aiden De Winter, Isaac Lecki, Toby Rees Slawson, Zac Hewitt and Will Owens, competed in the North Wales Schools Tennis Championships at Wrexham Tennis Centre yesterday. They won the competition and will now represent North East Wales in the British round in September.
Well done to our Year 8 and 10 Boys and Year 8 Girls Athletics Teams who competed in the Welsh Schools National Finals in Brecon on Wednesday. It was the best result Castell Alun has ever had at the meet. Results included:
Owen Jones – 1st in 300m, Kaya Lloyd Martin – 1st Discus, Tegan Rawsthorne – 1st 100m, Jonathan Jones – 1st Javelin, Issac Lecki – 1st Discus and a National Record broken which had been previously set at 34.71m. Issac threw over 36m!
One of our Year 11 students, William Faragher has recently travelled to Ulster to play hockey for the U18 Wales team. He has now been selected not only for the U16 Euro Fives in Lithuania but also for the U18 European Championships in Glasgow in July. A tremendous achievement.
Over the last few weeks we have had Bronze, Silver and this weekend Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s expeditions taking place. A huge thank you to Mr. David Croasdale and all the staff who give up their time for these expeditions. A mention also to Ben Thomas from Year 13 who joined the Bronze expedition as a Young Leader. Mr. Croasdale tells me that Ben’s contribution to the expedition was invaluable.
Our pen pal project with a school in China continues. Miss Teal, the teacher from the Dulwich Suzhou High School who originally started the pen pal scheme visited our students last week to pick up some post cards and drop off small gifts for the students involved. She also presented the school with a traditional Chinese paper-cutting.
Almost 100 year 7 students visited the annual International Eisteddfod in Llangollen yesterday. Students took part in a multilingual scavenger hunt and enjoyed watching singing and dancing performances on the field. Many also had the opportunity to participate in craft activities and face and nail painting. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Roedd hi’n ddiwrnod llawn hwyl – It was a fun-filled day.
We had two teams in the Enterprise Challenge last Friday at the Ramada Hotel in Wrexham. Both teams did really well, marketing and producing a new plastic bottle and contents. The event was sponsored by Plastipack. One team qualified to the Regional Finals, to be held in Manchester in September/October. Also Tom Roberts, Year 9 won the individual award, and got a £15 voucher with all team members receiving £10 each too.
Next week we are collapsing our normal timetable so Years 9 and 10 can focus on their Welsh Baccalaureate tasks. Year 7 and 8 are involved in a range of trips and activities. Given that we also have our Sports Day on Thursday, we are certainly hoping for nice dry weather.
Friday 1st July 2016
Our Year 12 trip to Berlin and Krakow departs today. Thanks to all the staff involved in what is always a life changing experience for the students.
Our Duke of Edinburgh Silver expedition to the Peak District was very successful last weekend in spite of the occasional heavy shower. The Bronze expedition gets underway this morning with 31 students involved. Thanks as always to the staff who give up their time to support these very worthwhile activities.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of presenting a group of Year 7 students with their Honours Merit Certificates. Well done to Kate Wooley, Eleanor Pughe, Tom Houghton, Izabel Coles, Sophie Williams, Meghan Price Jones, Dillon Powell, Molly Pitt, Carys Jones, Abbie Coggill, Lucy Cartwright and Catrin Jones.
We’re really looking forward to welcoming our new Year 6 students for their formal induction day next Friday. This follows the New Intake Parents’ Evening at 6.30pm next Wednesday. Today we have a number of Year 6 students in from our local primary schools taking part in an astronomy workshop with Mrs. Llewellyn-Davies. Over the last two days we have also had children mountain biking on the field, learning the skills and techniques with Mr. Swale and Mr. Hutchinson. Well done and thanks to all involved.
Our English department are off to London tomorrow with forty students from Years 9, 10, 11 and 12. They are visiting the Globe Theatre and watching Wicked.
Friday 24th June 2016
Our Duke of Edinburgh Silver final expedition takes place from Sunday in the Peak District. Good luck to Mr. Croasdale, the other staff, and the 29 students taking part. I hope their map reading skills are up to scratch and that the weather is kind to them.
Our athletics teams performed brilliantly on Tuesday of this week at Queensway, Wrexham. The year 8 boys and girls both won and will be in the Cup competition at Brecon on the 6th July. The Year 10 boys finished 2nd and will be taking part in the Plate competition. Well done to all.
Our Science and Technology transition week has gone really well this week with our new Year 7 intake getting a great headstart in the laboratories and food technology rooms. All the students I talked to thoroughly enjoyed the experience and certainly made a great first impression. We look forward to them joining us in September.
Mr. Kevin Davies returned today from a two day trip to Cambridge University. Fourteen Castell Alun students joined him along with twenty one others from across Wrexham and Flintshire schools. Students were given a fantastic insight into what life at a top university would be like as an undergraduate student.
Well done to Cerys Jones, Year 8 who has won Gold in the BSKI – British Shotoken Karate Institution Competition in Oldham. She trains with To Kon Karate Academy which is based in Chester & Wrexham. Cerys won 3 fights to gain the gold, first round, semi-final and final.
This week seventeen of our current Year 12 took part in two training sessions on ‘Peer Mentoring’, run by Mrs Lucy Jones who is attached to Glyndwr University. The training took place over two half days and looked at developing the students’ communication skills and how they can build up relationships in order for them to mentor students in the lower years regarding any issues they may have. Another twenty Year 12 students will be taking part in the training in September.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending our Year 11 prom at DoubleTree Hilton in Chester. It was wonderful to see the students enjoying themselves, looking extremely smart and celebrating the end of the examination season. We look forward to seeing them all again on Results Day in August. Thanks to Mr. Eve and the team of tutors for organising such a fitting send off for a great year group.
Friday 17th June 2016
The formal examination season continues with Year 13 and Year 10 particularly busy at the moment. As well as GCSE exams, Year 10 are also involved in English assessments and we wish them luck in these.
Miss Janice Jones and a group of Year 7 students are currently visiting our local primary schools to talk to Year 6 students about life at Castell Alun. It’s great to hear about how much our new intake are looking forward to joining our school and also to see what excellent ambassadors the Year 7 students have been. Well done to Lily Duggan, Jack Lowndes, Elin Faragher, Harry Richards, Branwen Ankers, Lara Bellis, Teddy Edwards, Keiran Parry, Francesca Pettican, Rhys Pope, Charlotte Clark, Bryn Davies, Eve Donaldson, Calym Kershaw, John Woolley, Katie Woolley, Vicky Griffiths, Heather Walshe, Jessica Fisher, Tom Houghton, Charlotte Jones, Thomas Dawson, Catrin Drew, Amelia Lloyd, Olivia Pownall, Wesley Rigby, Llywelyn Thomas, Kieran Edwards, Kailin Meredith, Freya Prince, Louis Pritchard, Ffion Williams, Izabel Coles, Luke Hughes, Erin Johnson, Tilly Nutkins, Benjamin Thomas, Tom Davies, Nia Edwards, Alicia Steele, Sophie Williams, Liliana Da Rosa Bartolomeu, Tia Daniel, Susan Greenan, Gareth Hughes, Osian Jones, Sam Jones, Abigail Evans, Daniel Hanaby, Sam Moore, Owen Smith, Eloise Swales, Alesha Williams and Sam Byrne.
Year 12 have been hard at work on their Welsh Baccalaureate individual investigation this week. Well done to all the students who have made a great start on this critical piece of the qualification.
Friday 10th June 2016
It was fantastic to see so many Castell Alun students involved in the Urdd Eisteddfod held in Flint last week. Below is a full list of all those involved. I hope I’ve not missed anyone out.
Herspre band: Miriam Rhodes-Leader, Hannah Griffiths, Abi Pettican, Molly Connah, Hannah Jones, Harry Davies, Ella Perks, Rory Williams, Ed Walker, Rhys Oliver, Lucy Hughes.
Fanfare performers in each ceremony: Ben Thomas, Ella Perks, Rory Williams, Eleri Roberts
Students who assisted with giving out winners medals on the Pavilion stage: Hannah Griffiths, Lucy Hughes, Tom Edwards, Grace Davies.
Individual competitors: William Norris – guitar solo, Eve Cowieson – woodwind solo, Joshua Berdouk – piano solo, Hannah Griffiths – harp solo, Grace Davies read during a ceremony and won 2nd in recitation.
Clarinet ensemble: Katie Austen, Lilly Duggan, Laura Endler, Abigail Evans, Leah Mullock, William Owens, Toby Rees-Slawson, Alice Webb.
Saxophone Ensemble: Hannah Benjamin, Molly Connah, Harry Davies, Hannah Jones, Ella Perks, Abi Pettican, Joe Rees-Slawson, Emily Sweeney-Davies, Rebecca Tressider, Milly Trigg
Disco dance/hip-hop group: Courtney Bird, Rebecca Bowring, Ellie Coppack, Alex Davies, Bryonie Davies, Lucy Edwards, Libby Gifford, Chloe Hirst, Catriona Hodges-White, Lauren Johnson. Abigail Lowe, Ella McGovern, Millie Freya Pemberton, Jessica Roberts, Rosie Roberts, Nicky Rush.
Jazz Band – competed & performed in the opening concert: Molly Connah, Emily Sweeney-Davies, Harry Davies, Hannah Jones, Abi Pettican, Milly Trigg, Joe Rees-Slawson, Samantha Tressider, Ben Wiggs, Ella Perks, Rachel Gittins, Rebekah Bentley, Eleri Roberts, Ben Thomas, Lucy Norris, Rory Williams, Hannah Griffiths, Lucy Hughes, Miriam Rhodes-Leader, Sam Hughes
Well done also to Cerys Jones, Year 8 on winning our school’s 500 word story writing competition. I met with Cerys earlier this week to discuss how she got the ideas and inspiration for her intriguing tale.
A number of GCSE Art students had their work on display this week for the visiting examiner. I spent quite some time looking at the final coursework pieces and was very impressed with the work produced by all students. The examiner commented that some of the work was at A level standard.
On Wednesday evening, we held a twilight training session for our teachers. This focused on our revised feedback and marking policy, and the sharing of good practice for teaching and learning. We are lucky to have such high quality teachers who are constantly looking for ways to improve the educational experience our students receive.
Friday 27th May 2016
We have ended a busy but very productive half term with Achievement Ceremonies for Year 11 and Year 13.
It was great that so many parents and carers were able to attend the Year 11 proceedings today. Our guest speaker, Dr. Charlotte Morris did a fantastic job of inspiring our students by sharing her own experiences both as a student at Castell Alun and from her career as a doctor.
Yesterday we said farewell to Year 13 with Mr. Kevin Davies leading proceedings with his traditional mix of humour, musical items and slick organisation. For the second year running, our guest speaker was Miss Catrin Pugh. Catrin’s journey back to health is both incredible and inspirational, and the advice she shared with the students will certainly stand them in good stead for successful futures.
Another ex-student, James May, is now a fully-fledged pilot for Easyjet. James has recently been flying the company’s 200th Airbus, the wings for which are of course made just down the road at Airbus in Broughton.
Next year’s GCSE Astronomy students were treated to a rare invitation to speak to the British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake live from the International Space Station last Tuesday. They were invited by the National Space Academy in Leicester, of which Astronomy teacher Mrs Llewellyn-Davies is a member. Adam Rothereo, Year 9 took the microphone to speak to Tim Peake directly and ask him the question: What was your favourite experiment during the mission and why? It was an exciting, once in a lifetime event, which they enjoyed enormously.
Congratulations to the following Year 8 and 10 boys who have qualified for the NE Wales round of the Welsh schools athletics competition at Queensway, Wrexham on Thursday 16th June.
Rhys Jones, John Evans, Owen Jones, Jack Hitchen, Morgan Freeborn Hughes, Alex Foster, Toby Rees Slawson, Isaac Lecki, Johnathon Jones, Freddie Howarth all Year 8 and Johnathon Parry, Adrian Olszewski, Oliver Lanceley, Connor Randall, Max Moore, Joseph Rees Slawson, Charlie Spridgeon, Scott Wooley and Andrew Cowling, Year 10.
On Tuesday our Year 8, Year 9 and 10 boys Tennis squads beat Mold and Hawarden so they will now progress to the NE Wales round at Wrexham Tennis Centre.
The following students participated in the Festival of Youth Cheerleading competition on Thursday 26th May at Deeside Leisure Centre. Holly Atkinson, Year 10, Abigale Perkins, Sarah Hughes, Ella-Louise Ankers-Phillips, Isobell Scott, Lucy Eyes, Ayla Hughes, Melissa Morris, Chloe Arnold, Lauren Snell, Charlotte Clarke, Years 7 and 8. After months of training at lunchtimes and after school, the girls were finally ready to compete at the Festival of Youth. Thank you to Holly Atkinson who has been coaching the girls and giving up her lunchtimes to help them. The stage was set and the CAHS Agents ran on to the floor to cheer. The Agent theme was certainly a great success. Waiting intensely for the results, we came out with 3rd place. A great day all round.
On Thursday we played the final of the NE Wales Schools Rugby final against Ysgol Brynhyfryd at Ruthin Rugby Club. A very close and well contested game played in good spirit saw a narrow but well deserved victory for the Year 8 rugby team. The final score was 24-20 with tries from Isaac Lecki (2) Freddie Howarth and Toby Rees-Slawson. This rounded off a very successful season in which the team have been unbeaten in all matches – a fantastic achievement. Well done to all boys in the squad.
Mr David Swale from the Science department recently achieved a long standing ambition to run the London Marathon. He chose to run in support of the charity Children with Cancer UK and he expects to raise around £3000. Mr Swale passes on his sincere thanks to all those that have donated to this worth cause, however large or small.
Best wishes to all the Castell Alun students who are taking part in the Urdd Eisteddfod next week. I know they will do themselves and our school proud.
Friday 20th May 2016
The countdown to the Urdd Eisteddfod is well underway with large numbers of Castell Alun students involved in the Hairspray production and in the competitions throughout the week.
The exam season is now in full swing with Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 all hard at it. Everything is going very smoothly so far and we anticipate some fantastic results in August.
Our Year 11 Dance students put on an excellent performance last Friday evening for friends and family. This was part of their practical exam for the BTEC qualification and if the examiner is as impressed as I was, I’m sure they’ll all do brilliantly.
The following students have been busy mountain biking with Mr Swale this half term. As well as learning new skills, they have impressed us with their work ethic and teamwork. Well done to Ayden De Winter, Connor De Winter, Daniel Herdman, Jack Hill, Joe Parry, Scott Pope, William Pritt, Toby Rees-Slawson, Ben Wiggs, Braeden Miller, Alex Foster, Harvey McGow Stone from Year 8 and Charlie Fitzgerald, George Williams, Harvey Davies, Heather Jones, Jack Hurst, Morgan Cross, Rhys Cunningham and James Brown from Year 9.
The first two draws of the Castell Alun Friends Association took place in our Year 7 assembly this morning. The lucky winners are Alwyn Seddon and Filip Prevc. We will be launching the new academic year lottery shortly ready for the first draw in September. Details will be sent home nearer the time.
Friday 13th May 2016
Well done to our Year 8 football team who won the Welsh Schools’ U13 cup last weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the match against Olchfa High School and thought we were worthy winners. The final score was 2:1 with goals from Ben Thompson and Jack Hitchen. Many of the boys are also on the rugby team that beat The Maelor School, Penley yesterday to reach the NE Wales final. Our basketball team did really well at the Welsh finals in Swansea. They played brilliantly and ended the competition as runners up. Ex-student Laura Knowles has won a Silver and Bronze in the Invictus Games for rowing. Well done Laura.
Year 7 have been busy fundraising in support of Mr. David Swale, who ran the London Marathon in aid of Children with Cancer UK. They held a ‘wear your trainers for the day’ and raised £216.80.
The main exam season starts today with Year 11 sitting their first Welsh paper. I wish all students taking exams the very best of luck.
Our Year 13 and 11 Leaving Ceremonies will take place on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th May respectively. Our guest speakers are Miss Catrin Pugh with Year 13 and Miss Charlotte Morris with Year 11. Miss Pugh and Miss Morris are both ex Castell Alun students. As usual we welcome parents and carers to these important events.
Castell Alun Friends’ Association have launched the CAFA lottery this week to generate some regular income, whilst giving people the chance to win a monthly cash prize. The money raised will be used to help provide the school and students with opportunities that they would otherwise struggle to access. Letters and emails with details have been sent home and we would encourage all parents, carers, relatives and ex-students to join.
Friday 29th April 2016
Good luck to our Year 8 football team who are competing in the Welsh Schools Final tomorrow (Saturday) at TNS football club in Oswestry at 3.00pm. I’m looking forward to going along and cheering them on. The boys on the squad are Owen Davies, Ayden De Winter, Connor De Winter, John Evans, Alex Foster, Daniel Herdman, Zak Hewitt, Jack Hitchen, Frederick Howorth, Isaac Lecki, Elliot Moore, William Owens, Tobias Rees-Slawson and Ben Thompson.
Our Year 11 basketball team are also playing in the Welsh Basketball Finals in Swansea on Saturday. Good luck to Sam Affleck, Harvey Ellis, Callum Hadley, Jamie Swanton, Richard Swinburn, Callum Davies, Josh Jones and Matthew Jones.
After the success of Castell Alun students at the County Music Concert last Thursday and Friday evenings, we’re all busy getting prepared for the Urdd Eisteddfod in Flint over half term. Tickets for the week are now available for sale on the Urdd website. Many of our musicians are involved in a memorial service for Chad Bailey on Saturday evening in Treuddyn Community Hall. I’m sure our students will make this a fitting tribute to Chad who was a Year 8 student at Castell Alun when he sadly passed away in 2010.
Our pen pal project with a school in China is developing well. Year 10 and 11 students have been swapping letters with their counterparts at the Dulwich International High School in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai. Students involved are Elizabeth Ewing in Year 11, Grace Davies, Kim Jones, Elan Coleman, Charlotte Hill, Georgia Hargreaves, Bea Beungchan, Hannah Cartwright, Emma Baker and Dan Roberts.
Some of our Year 7 and 8 students have been involved in a ‘Community Clean Up’ today with the Caergwrle Community Action Group, litter picking in Hope. Well done to Jacob Evison, Ryan Hughes, Morgan Williams, Spencer Gibson, Shaun Griffiths, Callum Davies, Thomas McCue, Sara Roberts and Sammy Coghlan.
Friday 29th April 2016
Last night I attended the Flintshire Music Concert for intermediate and senior ensembles at Deeside Leisure Centre. Castell Alun students did a fantastic job in making this such an enjoyable, high quality event. Well done to William Gittins, Jack Phillips, Samantha Tresidder, Hannah Faulkner, Susan Greenan, Millie Whittle, Hannah Cartwright, Caitlin Mortlock, Erin Sunderland, Adam Edwards-Hodson, Miriam Rhodes-Leader, Lucy Hughes, Simon Rowland, Carys Jones, Amelia Salt, Grace Davies, Angharad Hughes, Esther Rhodes-Leader, Hannah Benjamin, Abigail Evans, Hannah Jones, Abigail Pettican, Ieuan Roberts, Rebecca Tresidder, Samuel Wiggs, Molly Connah, Rachel Gittins, Lucy Norris, Joseph Rees-Slawson, Emily Sweeney-Davies, Milly Trigg, Rory Williams, Lilly Duggan, Elle Jarrett, Ella Perks, Eleri Roberts, Benjamin Thomas, Benjamin Wiggs and Abigail Wisbey. Good luck to William Gittins and Lucy Cartwright who are playing in the junior ensemble tonight!
Congratulations to the school’s Jazz Band in their success in the Chester Festival last weekend. Not only did they win the Swing Band Class but they also came away with the Hilda Catherall trophy awarded to the best band of the day.
Our Whole School Assembly this week was on the theme of ‘Earth Day’. Well done to our readers Heather Bunning and Simon Morris, Year 11, and to Imogen Ankers, Year 8, on her excellent harp solo. We were also treated to feedback on the recent ski trip from Grace Davies and Amelia Salt, Year 10.
Will Faragher, Year 11, and his sister Elin, Year 7 continue to excel on the hockey field. They have both helped their teams to progress to the English National Finals recently. Elin is also excelling in the Wrexham North Dragons Netball Team.
Well done to our top cricketer Sammi Short, Year 11, on being selected for the Cheshire Ladies Senior County squad for games against Oxfordshire and the Netherlands.
Tia Daniels, Year 7, recently won a gold medal at the North West Gymnastic Tumbling competitions. Tia certainly deserves success based on her four hours per day, six days per week training regime.
Louis Selley, Year 8, deserves congratulations for getting through to the next round of the BBC 500 words story writing competition.
It was great to welcome back Emma Spruce to Castell Alun last week. Emma was on the winning Oxford boat race team recently and was the only ex-comprehensive school student in the race.
Friday 22nd April 2016
This afternoon school staff and representatives from the School Council will be attending the funeral of Cllr. T.W. Jones. I was pleased to see his exceptional contribution to our community recognised in the local press this week. Our assembly on Monday was a very fitting tribute to Cllr. Jones with readings from Year 7 students Catrin Drew and Benjamin Thomas. Our musical item was a beautiful rendition from Annie Beggan, Year 12.
Friday 15th April 2016
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that our Chair of Governors, Cllr. T.W. Jones O.B.E., passed away last Sunday afternoon.
Cllr. Jones was appointed as a Governor of Castell Alun in 1970 and served as Chair of Governors from 1973 to date. His contribution to our school over the last 46 years has been quite exceptional and, working with each of all of the school’s five Headteachers, Cllr. Jones ensured that approaching 10,000 young people from our community received the best possible education.
Our thoughts are with Cllr. Jones’ wife and family at this sad time. Mr. Idris Williams our Vice Chair of Governors will act as Chair for the time being. Our staff and Governors will continue to work tirelessly to uphold the values, traditions and educational principles that were held so dear by Cllr. Jones. All people connected with Castell Alun owe him a great debt of gratitude and he will be remembered fondly by each of us for many years to come.
Friday 24th March 2016
Our Whole School Easter Assembly yesterday went really well. Our readers Laura Woodward, Rhiannon Daly and Dana Hughes, all Year 9, did a fantastic job, as did Molly Cartwright, Year 7, who sang Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ beautifully.
Our Spring Concert on Tuesday evening was absolutely fantastic. A huge thank you to Mr. Searson and the Expressive Arts team for putting together such an impressive and diverse array of performances. We are very lucky to have so many talented students and staff at our school.
Our Year 10 Parents’ Evening was very well attended on Wednesday. I am very encouraged by how hard the year group are working.
Well done to the Year 8 Boys Football team on reaching the final of the Welsh School’s competition. They beat Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon 5-3 in a closely fought match on Monday. They will now play Ysgol Glantaf from Cardiff next term in the final . This is the first time Castell Alun have reached a final in the Welsh School’s competition. We are extremely proud of the team – Will Owens, Zac Hewitt, Freddie Howarth, John Evans, Ayden De Winter, Jack Hitchin, Owen Davies, Dan Herdman, Ben Thompson, Isaac Lecki, Toby Rees Slawson, Connor de Winter, Elliot Moore and Alex Foster.
Well done also to Sam Affleck. Sam plays for the National Basketball team ‘Cheshire Wire’ who came 1st in the National Basketball league last Sunday.
Following our recent STR session, I have been meeting with students who have performed particularly well or have made significant improvements since the last review. Well done to :-
Year 7 – Ryan Hughes, Dylan Williams, Sarah-Joy Hughes, Niamh Jackson, Abbie Coggill, Jack Davies, Eleanor Pughe, Cerys Sheridan, Lilly Duggan, Ayla Hughes, Benjamin Thomas, Grace Williams, Eloise Adams, Lucy Eyes, Carys Jones, Ruby Jones, Ella McCarville, Tilly Nutkins, Abigail Perkins, William Swanton and Katie Woolley.
Year 8 – Laura Endler, Ella Bradley, Luke Shaw, Callum Eve, Chloe Pay, Colin Twells, Nicky Rush, Maddison Scott, Megan Hanmer, Kian Howells, Hollie Barber, Imogen O’Hara-Ankers, Sammy Bakewell, Katie Newns, Jack Strong, William Owens, Lucy Middleton, Lucy Thompson, Chloe Hirst, Katie Ford, Kathryn Land, Phoebe Woodward, Fern Colson, Grace Davies, Ayden De Winter, Jack Phillips, Jashua Berdouk, Ffion Smith, Cerys Jones and Tobias Rees-Slawson.
Year 9 – Adam Morris, Michael Astbury, Nathan Stennett, Michael Martin, Nia Shone, Kate Roberts, Josie Welch, Lucy Price, Ewan Povey, James Attwood, Maxwell Barlow, Dylan Drew, Samara Davies, Eleanor Walters, Ella McGovern, Harriet Le Tissier, Rhiannon Daly and Dewi Parry.
Year 10 – Ibrahim Imran, Rachel Jones, Rhianna Jacobson, Anna Seddon, Kimberley Jones, Harry Jones, Jake Walker, Natasha Cope, Amelia Salt, Sofia Bassett, Courtney Watson, Sian Evans, Megan Player, Holly Atkinson, Elan Coleman, Grace Davies, Jessica Jones, Nathan Lloyd-Davies, Lucy Nash, Rebecca Roberts and Poppy Whitley.
Year 11 – Darcy De Winter, Lucy Norris, Eleanor Endler, Aidan Young, Elizabeth Ewing, Chloe Russell, Jamie Williams, Hannah Benjamin, Shekeira Pritchard, Abigail Gough, Alice O’Shaughnessy, Rebecca Tresidder, Beth Faulkner, Emily Houghton, Amy Reeves, Natalie Roberts, Samantha Short, Naomi Sievers and Richard Swinburn.
The ski trip departs for Austria tomorrow. The 46 Year 10 students are very excited and we hope they have an enjoyable week on the slopes with Mr. Carl Pugh, Mr. David Croasdale, Miss Sarah Edwards, Mr. Craig Hutchinson, Mr. David Swale and Miss Beccy Roberts.
I hope all members of our school community have a well earned, enjoyable and relaxing Easter break.
Friday 18th March 2016
Well done to all the Castell Alun students who competed at the Urdd Eisteddfod at Ysgol Maes Garmon last Saturday, our achievements were:-
Jazz Band – 1st, Clarinet Ensemble – 1st, Saxophone Ensemble – 1st, Brass Ensemble – 3rd.
William Norris 2nd (guitar), Joshua Berdouk 1st (piano), Eve Cowieson 2nd (flute), Grace Davies 1st (recitation), Hannah Griffiths 1st (harp), and Milly Trigg and Molly Connah – 3rd in duet.
Our Lower School ‘Hip Hop’ group won their round at the Eisteddfod on Wednesday and are now through to the finals. We were also represented by four Year 7 girls, Amelia Lloyd, Lucy Cartwright, Sophie Williams and Olivia Torry in a Creative Dance group, and Nicky Rush and Ellie Bryan in the Hip Hop individual competition. Ten Castell Alun students will also be forming the band for the Urdd production of ‘Herspre’ on the 28th and 30th May in Flint. Grace Davies Year 10 was elected Urdd Ambassador for the school. Her duties will be to promote the Urdd trips, events and competitions and to promote the Welsh language across the school. Huge congratulations to Francesca Clough and Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft, Year 12, for getting through to the first round of the Medal y Dysgwyr / The Learners Medal for the Urdd Eisteddfod. Only 13 candidates got through from the whole of Wales – da iawn! The 1st round will take place in Glan Llyn on Saturday 19th where they will take part in fun activities whilst using their Welsh, only 3 competitors will then go through to the final round which will take place the week of the Eisteddfod in Flint.
I am looking forward to our Spring Concert on Tuesday 22nd showcasing our very talented music and dance students, tickets are available at school if you would like to join us.
Our athletes performed well in Cwmbran recently with all teams coming fifth overall. Also on the sporting front, well done to Andrew Carling and Aled Edwards, both Year 10, on being selected for the North East Wales Cricket team for the forthcoming season. Our Year 10 and 11 basketball team came second this week in the North Wales finals and we wish them well for the Welsh finals in May. Good luck to our Year 8 boys football team who have reached the semi-finals in the Welsh Cup. They are playing away at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon on Monday.
Yesterday we headed over to St Cynfarch’s Church for our Year 8 Easter Service. Well done to our two readers Courtney Bird and Poppy Chamberlin as well as our bell ringers, Jack Strong, Grace Royle, Williams Owens, Elliott Moore, Ben Thompson and Alex Foster who did a superb job, as did the Lower School Choir. Thanks as always to Rev. Pawley and his team for making us so welcome.
Sixth Form engineering students David Hatton, Mark Lawson, Jerry Abbott and Jonathan Shearer accompanied by Mrs Diane Bates, attended the Big Bang Fair, a two day National Engineering Event at the NEC Birmingham. They were short listed for the visit having excelled at the local Engineering Scheme Wales competition in 2015. Their engineering project and design for JCB was well received by professional engineers, their peers and the public who attended.
Our ‘Friends of Castell Alun Association’ is going really well. Events to look out for include a car boot sale and car wash on 18th June. A lottery/100 club will be launched soon, and a fashion show is also being planned so keep checking the website for details of all upcoming events. Please get in touch with Mrs Paula Williams at school if you are interested in joining the group.
Friday 11th March 2016
Good luck to all Castell Alun students involved in the Urdd Eisteddfod at Ysgol Maes Garmon this weekend – William Norris (guitar), Joshua Berdouk (piano), Eve Cowieson (woodwind), Hannah Griffiths (harp), Mollie Connah and Milly Trigg (instrumental duet) and Grace Davies (recitation). The Jazz Band, Saxophone Ensemble, Brass Ensemble and Clarinet Ensemble are also competing. Our Whole School Assembly this week was on the theme of World Book Day. Our readers Joshua Berdouk, Colin Twells and Maddie Scott were excellent as was our musical item from Millie Whittle. Thanks to the English department for their efforts in celebrating World Book Day. Well done to 7T, who were our ‘decorate a door’ competition winners. Will Sanderson, Year 11 continues to impress on the rugby field. Will has been selected for the RGC (Rygbi Gogledd Cymru) squad and is also the U16 top scorer. Well done Will.
Three of our students are to appear on TV kayaking across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as part of the ‘Visit Wales, Year of Adventure’ campaign. Well done to Charlotte Clark 7S, Rob Prince 9U and Sammy Bakewell 8M. Five Year 9 girls, Cari Haynes, Nia Prichard-Taylor, Jessica Barber, Naimh Hellen and Samara Davies won the ‘Most Innovative Project’ as part of the Go4Set Engineering competition hosted by Airbus in Broughton yesterday. The competition was the culmination of ten weeks of hard work, where the remit was to redesign part of the school and make it more efficient and environmentally friendly. During the day, the team of girls handed over their written report to the independent assessors and then gave a ten minute presentation to explain their findings and recommendations. They produced a model of their redesigned school, which formed part of a display stand that opened up to the public during lunchtime. The girls worked very well together as a team and have now graduated as Bronze Level Industrial Cadets, keen to go on to do the Silver Award. I’m really looking forward to our Spring Concert on Tuesday 22nd March. A host of musical talent will be on display, led by our Expressive Arts team from 7pm. Tickets are available now from school.
Friday 4th March 2016
Our combined Year 9 Parents’ and Options Evening was very well attended on Wednesday this week. Lots of subjects, that are first taught in Year 10, had displays in the Sports Hall and Mrs. Gail Davies gave a number of informative presentations for parents and students in the School Hall.
Well done to the Year 7 students who competed in our annual St David’s Day competition. Students were asked to create either an English poem linked to Cymru, a St David’s Day card or a Bilingual Information Sheet about Cymru. The results were:
Card = 1af Izabel Coles, 1af Jasmine Vaughan, 2ail – Sarah Joy Hughes, 2ail – Izaak Davies, 3ydd – Will Swanton, 3ydd – Alicia Steele.
Bilingual Leaflet = 1af – Lara Bellis, 1af – Oakley Hett, 2ail – Charlotte Clark, 2ail – Freya Searle- Jones, 3ydd – Ben Brooke, 3ydd – Bryan Davies.
Poem about Cymru = 1af – Lauren Snell, 1af – Ellis Evans, 2ail – Ella Roberts, 2ail -Izabel Coles, 3ydd – Holly Poultney and 3ydd – Milly Peters.
Good luck to Joshua Berdouk, Molly Cartwright, Eve Cowieson, William Norris, Molly Connah, Milly Trigg & Grace Davies who are competing in the Mold area Urdd Eisteddfod this evening.
Well done also to Ellie Bryan, Nicky Rush and Courtney Bird, as well as the year 7-9 Hip-hop group who all performed so well in the Urdd dance competition last night.
Our St. David’s Day Assembly this week was particularly enjoyable with readings from Year 12 students Lucy Hughes, Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft, Francesca Clough, and Grace Davies, Year 10. There was also a lovely piano recital from Chloe Hirst, Year 8.
Daniel Clays, Year 11 won silver at a fencing competition in Cardiff last weekend. He will go forward to represent Wales at the British Youth Championship finals in Sheffield on the 30th April in the Under 16 boys foil weapon category. He is also going to Bath University on the 23rd and 24th with the Welsh Senior Team to compete in the Excalibur Cup.
Two groups of Year 9 students have had a great time at Nant BH this week. Thanks to Mr. David Croasdale, Miss Sharon Nesbitt, Mr. Carl Pugh and Miss Beccy Roberts for taking them.
Today (Friday) we are holding a ‘More Able and Talented’ day for Year 8 students who will be building wind turbines in the School Hall. Thanks to Mr. Damien Cummins for organising and leading this event.
Friday 26th February 2016
Our Consortium Urdd Fundraising Concert was a huge success on Thursday evening. Students from Castell Alun joined forces with pupils from our local primary schools to put on an entertaining showcase of musical talent. A huge thank you to all involved in organising this event and thanks also to the parents and carers for coming along in support. A total of £750 was raised on the evening.
Twenty eight Year 7 students had a fantastic three days at Nant BH Outdoor Education Centre earlier this week. The weather was fairly kind given the time of year and a full programme of exciting activities were undertaken. Thanks to Mr. Jones and Miss Roberts for accompanying them. Forty three Year 9 students head off for a similar adventure next week.
Our Upper School Assembly this week was on the theme of Reactions. Well done to our reader Freddy Jones and to Georgina Pearson for an excellent musical contribution.
Our Sixth Form football team did brilliantly yesterday against Dinas Bran in the quarter finals of the Welsh Club. Unfortunately, they lost the match, but this was the first time we have had a Sixth Form team reach this far in the competition. The Year 12’s who took part will also have the opportunity to enter this competition again next year.
Well done to the Year 8 football team who won their Welsh Cup quarter final match 3-1. They are now waiting to see who they will play in the semi-finals.
Friday 12th February 2016
Our whole school assembly this week was on the theme of rest and relaxation and was led by Year 8 students. Well done to Grace Royle and Kian Howells on their excellent readings. Our musical item was a wonderful harp recital from Imogen Ankers.
Miss Parker from our English department is running an exciting pen pal scheme with Dulwich’s Chinese Suzhou College. Castell Alun students have been busy writing and receiving letters since last September and are thoroughly enjoying the experience. Students involved include Grace Davies, Kim Jones, Emma Baker, Bea Beungchan, Charlotte Hill, Elan Coleman, Georgia Hargreaves, Dan Roberts and Hannah Cartwright from Year 10 and Elizabeth Ewing from Year 11.
Last week I mentioned Shikiera Davies who has been selected from the Elsber School of Dance to compete in this year’s Dance World Cup in Jersey. Joining Shikiera will be Ella Brown, Year 10, and Eleanor Endler, Year 11. We wish all three girls the best of luck.
Airbus Broughton representatives came into school earlier this week to talk to students about the various apprenticeship opportunities available this year. All of the students who attended found the session interesting and informative.
Next week is half term and I hope all staff and students have a restful and well earned break.
Friday 5th February 2016
On Wednesday of this week, we held our Sixth Form Open Evening. It was great to see so many of our current Year 11 students in attendance as well as large numbers of students from other local schools. Our staff and current Sixth Formers worked really hard to provide our guests with a flavour of life in Castell Alun’s Sixth Form. A huge thank you to all involved.
Year 10 have been sitting examinations this week and have conducted themselves in exemplary fashion. I look forward to hearing how well they all do when the papers are marked.
Well done to Shikiera Davies, Year 12, on being selected from the Elsber School of Dance to participate in the Dance World Cup for Team Wales in 2016. This takes place in St. Helier, Jersey at the end of June. In a similar vein, Kim Jones, Year 10 is a talented Irish dancer and we wish her luck for a weekend of dancing in Birmingham from 13th February. Kim has also been selected to perform in the Essence of Ireland show on 13th March in Llandudno.
Sadie Spencer, Year 8, performed brilliantly at the North Wales Swimming Championships last Sunday, winning a Bronze medal in the 200m backstroke. Also on the sporting front, our Year 10 and 11 basketball team won a Flintshire tournament last weekend. Our Year 8 boys, Year 8 girls, and Year 10 boys all recently won at the Flintshire Indoor Athletics competition and now progress to the North East Wales round next Tuesday. We wish them luck. Well done to all of the students who competed at the NE Wales cross country event. Four made it through to the National round. Well done to Oliver Johnson, Ethan Evans, Jack Hitchin and Simon Price.
Year 13 Food Technology students, Millie Pickering, Charlotte Hughes, Maisie Harlow and Courtney Williams have started a healthy eating programme where they visit a tutor group for two sessions a week to carry out healthy eating games and quizzes. They are talking to the group about sugar, salt and healthy food swaps. The programme will continue for eight weeks and so far, feedback has been very positive
Friday 29th January 2016
All schools and colleges face many challenges when working with young people, some of whom inevitably make mistakes. As our parents and carers have come to expect, Castell Alun does not compromise when it comes to dealing with matters that affect the safety and well-being of our students. Our school’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy was very publicly demonstrated this week. Unfortunate, but a clear message none the less.
Well done to the U18 football team on beating Welshpool 3-0 in the Welsh Cup on Monday of this week. They are now through to the last 8.
Our Lower School Assembly this week was on the theme of ‘Changes’. Thanks to our readers Oliver Wilson and Jessica Barber. Students were treated to an impressive musical item from the Lower School Clarinet Ensemble consisting of Alice Webb, Leah Mullock, Katie Austen, Will Owens, Toby Rees-Slawson, Abi Evans, Lilly Duggan and Laura Endler.
Well done to Abigail Pettican and Molly Connah on being selected for the National Youth Wind Orchestra for Wales. Our local Primary Heads met yesterday to discuss the upcoming Urdd Fundraising Consortium Concert at Castell Alun on 25th February.
I’m really looking forward to hearing the primary school children perform with students from our school. Tickets will be available shortly and money raised will support the Urdd Eisteddfod in Flint later this year.
I’m also looking forward to our Sixth Form Open Evening next Wednesday from 6.30pm. Mr Kevin Davies and I will be holding talks in the School Hall, with parents and students free to visit subject areas to discuss courses and find out about life at Castell Alun in Years 12 and 13. For the first time this year we will be facilitating transport from the Wrexham, Gresford, and Rossett area.
Friday 22nd January 2016
On Wednesday of this week we held our Year 11 Parents’ Evening. I’ve received lots of positive feedback from staff, students and parents about the prospects for this year group. A very busy few months lie ahead.
This week saw the second visit of speed skater Jenna Dawling, who spent Tuesday inspiring lots of our students as part of the Sky Sports LFS programme.
Well done to the Year 8 football team who beat Ysgol Friars, Bangor, 4-1 to make it to the last eight of the Welsh Cup. This impressive team are unbeaten throughout Year 7 and Year 8.
Well done to Matthew Sandoz, Year 8, who continues to impress with his golf skills. Matthew attends Golf Union of Wales Academy Squad national training as well as county training. He will also be jetting off to a winter training camp at La Manga, Spain in February.
We all have our fingers crossed for the school Jazz Band who recorded their piece for the Band Cymru 2016 competition last Friday. We will hear if they have qualified for the next stage later this month.
Friday 15th January 2016
Our ‘Lead Creative Schools’ project has now been launched. This forms a key part of the school’s plan to extend curriculum opportunities and introduce more creative models of learning. This term a group of Year 8 students will be working alongside experts in the fields of storytelling, printmaking and robotic programming to produce a children’s book containing extracts and illustrations from their writing printmaking activities based on robots that they design, build and program.
Many Year 13 students have now received university offers. The Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification has proved to be highly valuable in securing places at universities all over the UK. Well done to Luke Ralphs-Davies on securing an offer from Oxford to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and Erin Sunderland who has received an offer to study law at Cambridge. Erin joined our Sixth Form from Elfed High School in September 2014.
Year 11 students are very busy at the moment. Many of them have sat English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology GCSE exams this week. They have also received a copy of our Sixth Form Prospectus along with paperwork for the Year 11 Parents’ Evening which starts at 4pm on Wednesday 20th January 2016. The Sixth Form option talks start next Tuesday.
Well done to Elin Faragher on being selected for the Junior Academy Centre hockey team representing West Cheshire and Wirral. She will be playing hockey against Cumbria, East Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire during March and April. We wish her luck.
Friday 8th January 2016
Students have settled back into the school routine extremely quickly this week with many Upper School students sitting GCSE and internal A level exams.
Our new Sixth Form Prospectus is now available to download from the school’s website. Hard copies are available on request. Our Sixth Form Open Evening takes place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 3rd February. I look forward to welcoming students from our own Year 11 and from other schools in the local area.
Well done to the 267 students in Years 7 to 11 who achieved 100% attendance during the Autumn Term :-
Year 7 – 60 students
Year 8 – 57 students
Year 9 – 39 students
Year 10 – 58 students
Year 11 – 53 students
Friday 18th December 2015
The end of an extremely busy week brings the Autumn Term to a close. Our Christmas Concert last night was a fitting finale with a wealth of student talent on display.
Last Friday evening, Miss Nesbitt and her Dance students put on a fantastic interpretation of ‘Annie’ here at school. At the same time, I was enjoying listening to a considerable number of Castell Alun students performing at St. Mary’s Church in Mold as part of the Flintshire Music Service Christmas Concert.
Mrs. Laura Nevin, teacher of ICT, is leaving us today having taken up a role at John Bright High School in Llandudno. Mrs. Nevin has been with us for three years and we wish her all the best for the future. She will be replaced by Miss Joanne Roberts.
On Monday of this week we held our annual Presentation of Certificates Evening with many ex-students returning to take part in one of the highlights of the school year. The evening was made even more special as our Guest Speaker was Mr. David Mountfort, MBE. It was lovely to catch up with him and to listen to his words of wisdom for our students.
I had a lovely letter this week from Nightingale House, thanking Jessica Povey, Year 8, for raising over £850 for this most worthwhile cause. Jessica and her mum held what must have been a really busy and successful coffee morning on the 28th November. Well done Jessica, you are certainly a great ambassador for our school.
Well done also to the following students who I have met to celebrate their exceptional performance on our recent Student Tracking Review sessions :-
Year 7 – Freya Searle-Jones, Stephanie Bull, Penny McCormick, Elin Faragher, Sophie Williams, Abigail Evans, Celyn Felton, Charlotte Clark, Lilly Duggan, Hannah Ison, Amelie Turner, Jack Davies, Scarlett Hargreaves, Gareth Hughes, Catrin Jones, Eve Roberts, Alicia Steele, Branwen Ankers, Benjamin Arden, Catrin Drew, Teddy Edwards, Ellis Evans, Jaime Hassell, Daisy Higginson, Francesca Pettican, Jessica Spridgeon, Benjamin Thomas, Jasmine Vaughan, Heather Walshe, Kai Welch and Harry Williams.
Year 8 – Joshua Berdouk, Tobias Rees-Slawson, Laura Endler, Cerys Jones, Grace Royle, Nicky Rush, Ffion Smith, Hollie Barber, Ellie Bryan, Lucy Thompson, Colin Twells, Callum Eve, Lucy Middleton, Chloe Pay, Kaja Boczkowska, Ella Bradley, Tommy Ellis, Megan Hanmer, Catriona Hodges-White, Kian Howells, William Owens, Luke Shaw, Layla Flewitt, Kaya Lloyd-Martin, Abigail Lowe, Eleri Neal, Millie Pemberton, Maddison Scott, Gemma Sidebottom, Sadie Spencer, Ellie Stephens, Jack Strong, Anna Warburton, Katie Newns and Mille Whittle.
Year 10 – Georgia Baker, Sophie Booth, Ruth Cooper, Grace Davies, Robyn Lawson, Max Moore, Ella Perks, Joseph Rees-Slawson, Jade Abell-Francis, Georgia Arnold, Seren Astbury, Holly Atkinson, Emma Baker, Jack Barron, Sofia Bassett, Katie Copeland, Andrew Cowling, Molly Evans, Tom Halliday, Georgia Hargreaves, Esther Rhodes-Leader, Elin Smith, Scott Woolley, Elinor Heath, Charlotte Hill, Cara Hughes, Cara Hurst, Amelia Jones, Carys Jones, Connie Jones, Saskia Jones, Ema Lewis Charlton, Betsan Lloyd, Hannah Nutkins, Lois Parry, Amelia Salt and Alex Storr.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of our school community for their support during this term, and to wish everyone all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.
Friday 11th December 2015
On Tuesday of this week Year 7 held a Christmas disco and raised £400 for the 2016 Urdd Eisteddfod. Thanks to Miss B. Jones and the Year 7 team for organising this. On Thursday Year 10 students held a Welsh Baccalaureate fundraising day. They devised their own business models and sold a huge range of produce, raising a considerable amount of money for charity in the process.
This morning our Year 8 students headed over to St. Cynfarch’s Church for our Christmas Service. We were treated to excellent readings from Joshua Berdouk and Kaya Lloyd-Martin. Our bell ringers were Colin Twells, Callum Eve, Toby Rees-Slawson, Layla Flewitt, Eleri Neal and Laura Endler. Thanks to Rev. Pawley and his team for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with us and for making us all so welcome once again.
Tonight at 6.00pm Miss Nesbitt’s Dance students will be performing in the School Hall for friends and family as part of their examination. We wish them luck. Also later this evening, we have a considerable number of our musicians taking part in the County Christmas Celebration at St. Mary’s Church in Mold. I’m really looking forward to attending as are lots of friends, parents and carers.
Well done to the following students who I met with yesterday and today to celebrate their exceptional performance on our recent Student Tracking Review sessions:- Year 11 – Eleanor Endler, Darcy De Winter, Natasha Austen, Lucy Norris, Aidan Young, Elizabeth Ewing, Chloe Russell, Richard Swinburn, Amy Reeves, Hannah Benjamin, Megan Cartwright, Abigail Gough, Megan Jackson, Amy Lavelle and Naomi Sievers. Year 9 – Adam Rothero, Jessica Whitehurst, Katheryn Austen, Charlotte Haden, Cari Haynes, Nia Shone, Rhiannon Daly, Niamh Hellen, Shannon Samuel, Jessica Smith, Josie Welch, Eve Cowieson, Freya Davies and Dylan Drew. I will be congratulating students from other year groups over the next few days.
Well done to the following Year 10 Sport students who visited Deeside Leisure Centre for a day earlier this week. They did themselves and their school proud with their fantastic effort, enthusiasm and application on the day:- Harry Dahl, James Rees, James McCue, Jack Johnson, Dilan Jones, Drew Underhill, Ellis Hall, Ben Williams, Ryan Davies and Anthony Pope.
We are all looking forward to our Christmas Concert next Thursday evening at 7.00pm. There will be a huge range of talent on display and tickets are still available for Mrs Southwell at school.
Friday 4th December 2015
Yesterday we held our termly Full Governors’ Meeting. Input from our Student Governors, Simon Morris, Year 11, and Maisie Eccleston-Tuohy was excellent, as was the contribution of Francesca Pettican, Oliver Critchell, both Year 7, who gave Governors an insight into the transition process between primary and secondary school. On the same theme, Year 12 students Callum Riordan, Lydia Thomas and Olivia Arkley shared their experience of joining Castell Alun from other high schools last September. Luke Ralphs-Davies gave Governors a detailed and interesting overview of his experience on the OPTEC Japan Exchange Programme last summer.
Well done to Mr Searson and the Jazz Band on their fantastic contribution to Treuddyn’s Christmas Fair last Saturday. I had lots of great feedback on the quality of the performance. They really are a talented bunch.
Year 11 Drama students put on a superb performance of ‘The Last Resort’ last Friday evening. I hope the visiting examiner was as impressed as I was.
Lucy Thompson, Year 8, recently won two Gold, two Silver and a Bronze at the British National Swimming Championships. Lucy is clearly a very talented young lady.
Lower School Assembly this week was on the theme of ‘Monopoly’. Our musical item was an excellent vocal solo from Cari Haynes, Year 9. We also enjoyed excellent readings from Adam Rotheroe and Heather Jones, also from Year 9.
Castell Alun was well represented at the recent Flintshire Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Presentation Evening. Eighteen students picked up Bronze Awards, twelve picked up Silver and Lucy Jones accepted her Gold. Well done to all students and thanks to Mr Croasdale and the DofE team for their hard work.
Friday 27th November 2015
Our Year 11 students have been busy with their mock exams this week. We look forward to some excellent results. Many of these students have external GCSE English Language and Science exams straight after the Christmas break, so it really is a busy time for them.
On Tuesday of this week I attended a Flintshire County Council public consultation event held at Broughton C.P. School. The financial outlook for our Local Authority is bleak and the event aimed to provide our community with a clear picture of the challenges ahead and the ways in which we can work together to minimise the impact of any potential cuts in services. Our joint school/community library venture is just such an example, but there is absolutely no doubt that tough times lie ahead.
Yesterday, our Year 7, 8 and 9 football teams competed in the Flintshire finals held at Airbus. All three teams won in a fantastic clean sweep. Well done to Mr Hutchinson and all the boys involved.
Katie Bruce, Year 11, performed brilliantly at an international gymnastics event in Malta last weekend. She came 2nd in her event out of the 12 countries competing.
On Thursday our Librarian, Mrs. Mitchell, held another highly popular quiz with fifteen teams from Year 7 and 8 taking part. The overall winner was Grace Davies, Year 8 with a fantastic score of 20 out of 26. Runners up were Alex Hughes, Holly Crawford, Ellie Glendenning, Sophie Jones, Emma Ludgate and Eleanor Pugh.
Well done to Anna Morris, Year 11 who won the ChKRC Junior x 30 Karting Championships recently. Anna has also been short listed for Karting Magazines’ prestigious ‘Female driver of the year’ award.
Kian Howells, Year 8, has won our competition to design a logo for the recently launched Castell Alun Friends Association. His logo stood out from over 50 entries as it clearly embodies the nature of the group through the excellent design ideas he has incorporated.
Friday 20th November 2015
Our whole school assembly today was particularly powerful on the theme of bullying. Well done to Tegan Rawsthorne and Jack Hitchen for their excellent readings. Our musical item was a fantastic piano and vocal solo from Millie Whittle, Year 8, who performed ‘Read all about it’. Thanks also to Maisie Eccleston-Tuohy for her superb reading at the Remembrance Assembly last week.
On Monday of this week we held a Drama workshop for students from Years 10 through to 13. This was led by the company ‘Splendid Productions’ who commented on the exceptional engagement of all of our students.
Good luck to the year 7, 8 and 9 football teams who will be competing in the finals of the Flintshire Inter-schools Cup competition next Thursday.
Our school and community libraries have now merged. This week we held a launch quiz, with large numbers of students taking part. It’s great to see students and members of the community using the facility under the new joint arrangements.
Mr. Searson tells me that rehearsals for our Christmas Concert are progressing well. This takes place on the Thursday of a busy last week of term that also includes our Presentation of Certificates evening on Monday 14th December. Our ‘Guest of Honour’ this year is Mr. David Mountfort MBE. We are looking forward to catching up with him as over two years have passed since he retired from Castell Alun.
Our Year 7 Nurture Group students took part in the Farm to Fork trail at Tesco this week. The students thoroughly enjoyed learning the origins of their food in a ‘hands on’ experience. They also very much enjoyed the samples from different departments. Many of them now wish to work for Tesco.
Our Vice-Chair of Governors, Rev. Hywel Bellis-Jones has decided to retire from our Governing Body after 30 years of tireless support for all five of Castell Alun’s headteachers. The young people in our community have benefited enormously from his wisdom, empathy and passion for giving them the best possible start in life. We wish him well for the future and hope he will keep in touch. His contribution to our school will be sorely missed.
Friday 13th November 2015
Our Remembrance Assembly on Wednesday of this week was a particularly poignant occasion. We had a number of Governors in attendance along with Rev. Pawley whose contribution was very much appreciated. Students respect for the readings and prayers was outstanding, as was the piano solo from Joshua Berdouk, Year 8. Thanks also to Ella Perks and Rebekah Bentley for playing the Last Post after the impeccably observed period of silence.
Well done to Will Sanderson, Year 11, on gaining a place in the North Wales Rugby Squad, the RGC (Rygbi Gogledd Cymru). Well done to the Year 7, 8 and 9 football teams who all won their semi-finals of the Flintshire inter-schools competition on Tuesday of this week. They now compete in the finals at Airbus on Thursday 26th November. We wish them well.
This week we received confirmation that we have been awarded the Careers Wales Quality Mark for our commitment to providing students the best possible careers advice and guidance. Thanks to Mrs Doran for leading on this. Best wishes also go to Mrs Doran as she starts her maternity leave today.
Mrs Walker, one of our Music teachers, will be taking her Maternity Leave in a few weeks time and we are delighted that Miss Katie Gittins will be covering this. Miss Gittins came to Castell Alun as a student and was a previous winner of our ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award. Miss Gittins left Castell Alun in 2010 and subsequently studied for a Music degree before training as a teacher.
Friday 6th November 2015
Students have returned from the half term break refreshed and have settled quickly back into the school routine.
Our Whole School Assembly this week was on the theme of ‘overcoming the odds’ and focused on examples from the recent Rugby World Cup. We had excellent readings from Gina Parcesepe and Osian Haynes, both in the Sixth Form. Our musical item was a vocal solo from Molly Cartwright, Year 7 who performed ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ beautifully.
Rebecca Bentley, Year 11, and Ella Perks, Year 10, will be representing Castell Alun by playing the Last Post at the Remembrance Service in Treuddyn this Sunday. Our Jazz Band has now received a date for the ‘Band Cymru’ competition in January. Mr Season tells me rehearsals are progressing well.
We have our fingers crossed for over 150 Year 11 students who are doing November entry GCSE maths. They have sat one paper on Wednesday of this week and will do the second paper next Tuesday.
Well done to Erin Chadwick, Year 12, on being selected for the Welsh U17 Netball long squad. Erin is a fantastic netball player and we wish her every success in reaching the European netball competition in Gibraltar next March.
Friday 23rd October 2015
On Wednesday we held our Year 13 Parents’ Evening. Attendance was high and students are working hard towards their target grades. On Tuesday, 15 of our Year 12 students were involved in the Seren launch event held here at Castell Alun. Seren is a Welsh Government initiative to encourage the very brightest students from across Wrexham and Flintshire to apply to Oxbridge next year. Around 60 students were involved altogether.
Lots of our students took part in the Flintshire Cross Country Championships on Thursday this week. Everyone represented our school brilliantly with particularly impressive performances from Liliana Da Rosa Bartolomeu, Ethan Evans, Simon Price, Tia Daniels, Courtney Bird, Oliver Johnson, Kai Welch and Jack Hitchen who will now represent Flintshire in the North East Wales rounds.
Well done to our U16 girls’ hockey team who won the Flintshire tournament at the end of last week. They will now play the winning school from Denbighshire in the next round.
Our Castell Alun Friends Association met on Tuesday evening and has adopted a constitution. Interim committee members are now planning to launch a ‘200 Club’ for parents and friends, and ‘Design a Logo’ competition for students. They are also hoping to hold a community event before Christmas.
We held an Upper School Assembly on Monday of this week with Jamie Neale and Cavan Daley providing high quality readings. Our musical item came from Annie Beggan from Year 12, who performed ‘Photograph’ beautifully. Annie is clearly a talented singer and musician.
Students finish today for a well earned half term break. I hope that Year 11 will be revising hard for November Entry Maths as well as their mock examinations which start on the 23rd of November.
Friday 16th October 2015
We have had a very busy couple of days with our Governors and Learning Managers reviewing the 2015 results. There is a great deal to celebrate with our best ever Year 11 outcomes in terms of the percentage of students gaining five or more A/A* grades, and 97% of the entire cohort gaining five or more higher grade GCSE passes. Taking the best eight GCSE’s for every student places us amongst the very highest achieving schools in Wales this year. Well done indeed.
The weather was kind for our Year 7, 8 and 9 Fun Runs yesterday. It was fantastic to see the students dressing up and burning off some energy whilst raising much needed funds through their endeavours.
Our Year 10 students were put through their paces on Wednesday this week doing the Welsh Baccalaureate Dragons’ Den. In groups of 4, students put together a money making pitch that was then presented to our ‘Dragons’ who were extremely impressed with the range of ideas, enthusiasm and presentation skills of the students. Well done Year 10 and thanks to the Dragons who included – Eoin McGeough (JCB), Jane Montague (Majestic Publications), Gareth Skillander (RBS), Alison Roberts (Tesco), Sarah Evans (Glyndwr University), Ross Deacon (RBS) for giving up valuable time to support this activity.
This week we had a Lower School Assembly. Our musical item was a fantastic vocal solo from Georgia Hooson, Year 11 and our readers Millie Pemberton, Courtney Bird and Nicky Rush (all Year 8) did their Student Development Manager, Mrs. Lorna Cronin, proud.
Friday 9th October 2015
Our Assembly this week was on the theme of Harvest. Year 7 students collected food in impressive quantities and this will be sent to the Food Bank in Mold. Our three readers Eloise Swale, Ellis Evans and Ruby Jones were excellent and our musical item was a lovely clarinet concerto by Weber from Abigail Pettican, Year 13.
Three Year 9 students, Shannon Samuel, Lucy Jones and Harriet Le Tissier played hockey for Flintshire U16 team in Colwyn Bay last Sunday. The girls represented both Castell Alun and the County brilliantly, winning three of the four matches they played in.
I’ve had lots of fantastic feedback following our Jazz Band’s contribution to the ‘Gwyl/Gyhoeddi’ for the 2016 Urdd Eisteddfod. The band played for over twenty minutes, opening proceedings at 2pm last Saturday. Well done to all involved. They did our school and themselves proud.
Our Sixth Form is now settled into a good routine of lessons and study. We have well over 300 students this year studying a huge range of subjects. Our new Sixth Form Prospectus is now ‘under construction’ and we’ll be taking lots of photographs over the next few weeks for inclusion.
Friday 2nd October 2015
Our Open Evening on Wednesday was particularly busy and it was great to see several hundred of our students coming in to help. Prospective students and their families were certainly given a good flavour of life at Castell Alun and I’m sure they left with an understanding of what makes our school such a special learning community. As always, our students were a credit to us and I was extremely proud of their input on the evening. I also thoroughly enjoyed showing families around school during our Open Mornings.
Well done to our athletics teams who represented the school brilliantly at the County Athletics at Deeside on Tuesday this week. The junior girls came 1st, junior boys 3rd, middle girls 6th and middle boys 4th. The following students all came first in their individual events. Jack Hitchen (800m), Kieran Price (shot putt), Caitlyn Hassell (300m), Heather Bunning (triple jump), Tegan Rawsthorne (100m, 200m-PB, long jump-PB) and Ellie Bryan (hurdles). Second places went to Matthew Campbell (300m), Caitlyn Hassell (long jump), Harriet Le Tissier (100m) and Courtney Bird (hurdles). First and second places have all gained a place in the County Athletics squad.
Tomorrow (Saturday) our Jazz Band will be performing in Flint as part of the Urdd Eisteddfod Proclamation Ceremony. This is a real honour, and I’m sure they will impress as they did when they won their competition in the Eisteddfod last year.
Our Whole School Assembly this week focused on the plight of refugees. Top quality readings came from Adam Bakewell and Rhiannon Daly Year 9, with Harry Davies providing our musical item, ‘Holes’ by Passenger. This song had very appropriate lyrics as well as showcasing Harry’s guitar and vocal skills.
Friday 25th September 2015
Our whole school assembly this week was on the theme of teamwork. We were treated to excellent readings from Hannah Cartwright and Jack Barron, both Year 10, along with a beautiful piano solo from Emily Sweeney-Davies. Mr. Searson is always looking for musical talent that we can showcase at main assemblies so I would encourage interested students to let him know.
Final arrangements are being made for our Open Evening next Wednesday and the Open Mornings on the Thursday and Friday. Thanks in advance to all the students who are coming in to help.
We done to the Sixth Form Food Technology students Rebecca Wight, James Lanceley, Michael Shaw, Charlotte Hughes, Millie Pickering, Courtney Williams, Maisie Harlow and Mrs. Molloy for the fantastic work they did last weekend at the Mold Food and Drink Festival. Once again they’ve done Castell Alun proud.
Congratulations to Sammi Short, Year 11 on winning Bowler of the Year for Cheshire U15s and U17s girls cricket and well done to Joshua Berdouk on receiving a Blue Peter Badge after his artwork was shown on the programme last week.
Our school fundraising efforts are now in full swing. Last Friday staff and Year 8 raised £300 through our ‘Jeans for Genes’ day.
Friday 18th September 2015
Last night we held our Information Evening for the parents of Year 11 students who will be taking GCSE Maths in November or English in January. I’m hoping parents found the presentation from Mr. Stark, Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Williams helpful and informative.
Well done to the Year 8 and 9 boys tennis team consisting of Sam Morris, Isaac Lecki, Zak Hewitt, William Owens who won the Flintshire Schools’ Tennis Tournament earlier this week.
Our new school prospectus is now available and can be downloaded from our website. Hard copies will be distributed around our local primary schools today and are also available from school.
The Expressive Arts team met this week to discuss a programme of shows and concerts for this academic year. The challenge is to find the best vehicles to showcase the excellent breadth and depth of talent we have across all year groups in school.
Mr Croasdale and the Duke of Edinburgh Silver students and staff are embarking on their three day practice expedition today. The weather forecast is encouraging and we wish them well.
Our whole school assembly today was on the theme of silence and its importance. Thanks to our readers Helen Bunning and Cameron Boyle and our musical item this week came from Ruth Cooper and Ella Perks who performed a particularly impressive and powerful rendition of ‘Creep’.
Friday 11th September 2015
The standard of students’ uniform, behaviour and attitude has been excellent so far this term. It is very much a team effort, so I must sincerely thank parents and carers for working with us to ensure our high expectations are met.
We’re currently busy finalising our new prospectus for 2015-16 and I’m looking forward to getting these out to our local year 6 students soon. Our Open Evening will take place on Wednesday 30th September at 6:30pm, with two Open Mornings scheduled for Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd October. We look forward to meeting prospective students and parents.
Our first Whole School Assembly of the school year took place on Thursday morning this week on the theme of ‘The New School Year’. Well done to Brianna Harston on her piano solo especially as she wrote the composition herself.
Well done to Sam Morris, Year 9, on reaching the final of the U14 Welsh Tennis Championships held at Wrexham recently. Sam played brilliantly and was narrowly beaten in a highly competitive match.
Well done also to Simon Price, Year 11, on winning the youth event at the Tour of Britain last weekend. Simon has also been selected for the Inter-Regional Mountain Bike Championships. This will take place Newport on 18-20 September and we wish him well.
Matthew Sandoz, Year 8, is looking forward to competing in a golf event in Florida over half term, having won a number of competitions in the UK. He also won the U13 North Wales competition held in Caernarfon over the summer. Matthew plays off a handicap of 8 and hopes to be a scratch golfer before he’s 15.
Friday 4th September 2015
Our 218 new Year 7 students have had a great start and are making an excellent first impression at Castell Alun. We have also welcomed around 170 into Year 12 giving us a very healthy Sixth Form population of well over 300. Our school total now stands at 1390 students on roll which is a record.
It’s good to see so many of our ex Year 11 students gaining apprenticeships and college places as well as returning here. Over 50 of the cohort achieved five or more A or A* grades at GCSE which is quite exceptional even for us. Every single student left with five GCSEs or equivalent and well over 90% of the year group achieved five or more GCSEs at C or above. Well done indeed.
I know it’s been a busy summer for our students with many enjoying success in sport, music and other competitions. We very much look forward to hearing about these activities.
At the end of a busy first week, I’m confident that the year ahead will be one of our best ever. I look forward once again to working closely with parents, Governors and our local community.
Friday 17th July 2015
The last week of the school year has been inevitably busy. This morning we had a whole school assembly and reflected on the year whilst also looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. We said farewell to several members of staff who are leaving us this summer. Staff moving on include Miss Kim Gillard, Miss Elaine Hyder, Miss Stephanie Jones, Miss Tanya Kendrick, Miss Carys Parry and Mr. Tom Mallen. We also have four teachers who are retiring, who between them have over a hundred year’s service to Castell Alun. Mrs. Helen Woodhall retires after fourteen years here, Mr. Richard Nesbitt and Mr. Gareth Lloyd with over thirty years service each, and Mrs Ann Dodson who has given her entire career, some thirty eight years to our school. We wish all our leavers well for the future and hope they will keep in touch.
Our three sell-out performances of Les Miserables were a particular highlight this year. The talent of staff and students needed to put on such a professional high quality production is something I am particularly proud of. Our Expressive Arts staff have done a superb job but I must also acknowledge the fantastic support we have had from the backroom team and the wider community.
Our Sports Day went well yesterday and thankfully the weather stayed dry. The athletes impressed us with their skill, energy and determination throughout the day. Outstanding performances came from Tegan Rawsthorne for 100m, 200m and long jump, Rhys Jones for 100m, Jack Hitchen for 1200m, Jonathan Jones for javelin, Isaac Lecki for discus, Jack Hitchen for triple jump, Shannon Samuel for discus, Jonathan Parry in 100m and the girls from 7T in the relay. We also have a presentation which is the Victrix and Victor Ludorum in each year group. A trophy is awarded to the girl and boy in each year who won the most points for their team. In Year 7 the winners were Tegan Rawsthorne and Jack Hitchen, in Year 8 Shannon Samuel and Oliver Jones, in Year 9 Caitlyn Hassell and Jonathan Parry and in Year 10 Anna Morris and Will Farragher.
Mr. Croasdale and Mr. Hadley returned from a rather wet but successful Gold D of E expedition to the Lake District this week. Our festival activities were well supported by staff and students and a huge thank you goes to the coaches, activity leaders, staff and students who all helped to organise and run the extensive range of opportunities available.
On Wednesday afternoon we held our Year 7 Eisteddfod organised by the Welsh Department. Well done to all the competition entrants. The standard was very high and the winner of the Chair was Toby Rees Lawson who wrote a winning poem about Wales. The winning team overall was 7N with results from homework and stage competitions. Performances included recitation, singing, dancing, piano, instrumental and choir competitions.
We now look forward to A Level and GCSE results days on the 13th and 20th August respectively. I wish all our staff, students and the local community a safe and enjoyable summer break.
Friday 10th July 2015
Rehearsals for Les Miserables have progressed well and our first show took place this morning for Year 6 students from our local schools. Everyone has worked extremely hard to put the production together. The cast, musicians and behind the scenes staff have given up evenings, weekends and spare time to put the finishing touches to what promises to be one of our best ever productions. Tickets are selling fast, although a few are still available from Mrs. Southwell.
Mr. Mann and accompanying staff have enjoyed a superb week with Year 10 students in France. The week has gone smoothly and students are taking every opportunity to immerse themselves in the French language and culture.
On Wednesday evening this week we held our first ‘Castell Alun Friends’ steering group meeting. Our Deputy Headteacher, Mrs. Paula Williams and one of our Parent Governors, Mrs Baker are leading on this. We hope that the group will develop into a valuable element of the school community by arranging activities, social events and hopefully raising much needed funds along the way. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Mrs. Williams at school.
Over 100 Year 7 students had a fantastic day at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen on Thursday this week. A big thank you goes to the Welsh department for leading this trip.
Our Year 7 and 8 athletes did us proud at the Welsh Schools’ Athletics Finals in Brecon on Wednesday. A particularly impressive performance came from Isaac Lecki who won the discus competition. Isaac is still in Year 7 so has another year to put even more distance between himself and the other competitors.
Next week sees a collapsed timetable for all students with Year 12 out on work experience, and Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 involved in various trips and activities. Our Sports Day will take place next Thursday as long as the weather is kind to us.
Friday 3rd July 2015
Our Silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition went well in the Peak District last weekend despite a very wet start to the middle day. Our Year 10 Bronze students have also completed their final expedition around the Llangollen area this week. As always, the staff organisation led by Mr. David Croasdale has been first class and students certainly enjoyed the challenge and the experience.
Our Year 12 trip to Berlin and Krakow went smoothly with Miss Edwards as lead teacher. A huge thank you goes to all staff and students for making it such a memorable and perhaps life changing experience for all.
Today we have 45 Year 11 students joining us from other schools for a Sixth Form Induction Day. We have been very impressed with their enthusiasm and are sure they will quickly settle into Sixth Form life in September. Our new Year 7 students were also in school today for their Induction Day. It’s great to see them here and we look forward to them building on the excellent first impressions they have made. On Wednesday evening, it was a pleasure to meet with their parents. A big thank you to Miss Janice Jones and the team of tutors for ensuring that both the day and evening were valuable and informative.
On Tuesday afternoon we held our Year 9 End of Key Stage Awards Assembly. It was a lovely occasion, led by Mr Goodchild, and enhanced by the Castell Alun Alumni who were able to attend and share stories from their time at school along with some excellent advice for our students. Well done to all of our Year 9 students, particularly the winners of the awards.
Student Development Manager’s Certificates :-
Harrison Williams, Jacob Thomas, Sophie Vaughan, Elan Coleman and Ella Vaughan.
Science – Dawson Butcher, PE – Katie Antrobus & James Davies, Music – Ella Perks, Drama – Georgia Arnold, Welsh – Betsan Lloyd, German – Saskia Jones, French – Ruth Cooper, English – Elinor Heath, Geography – Emma Baker, RE – Robyn Lawson, History – Amelia Salt, Maths – Keiran Davies , D+T – Alex Lovatt, ICT – Holly Atkinson, Art – Esther Rhodes-Leader
Student Development Manager Special Awards for KS3:-
Grace Davies & Alex Lyon
Our PE staff had a fantastic day at the County athletics competition with Year 7 on Thursday. Both our girls and boys teams won overall and were well ahead of the other schools. The girls team had 9 students who came first and second and the boys team had 13 students who were in the top two. Tegan Rawsthorne won the Victrix Ludorum and won all her events and she also broke 3 records. Jonathan Jones won the Victor Ludorum winning all his events and breaking the javelin record along the way. Good luck to our Year 8 teams in the plate competition next Wednesday at the National Finals in Brecon
Friday 26th June 2015
Yesterday we held our last Full Governors’ Meeting of the school year. Our two student representatives, Harvey Ellis and Emily Dodd both Year 10, did an excellent job of reporting back on the work of the School Council as well as providing Governors with an insight into school life. Governors were particularly impressed with the £13,207.44 raised by Castell Alun students for a huge range of charities this year. Well done indeed.
Mr. Goodchild returned back from his ‘WW1 battlefields visit’ on Wednesday evening. Students found the trip hugely valuable and educational and were a credit to our school. On a similar note, our Sixth Form trip to Berlin and Krakow leaves today. Miss Edwards and the Humanities staff have taken groups for several years and students always find the experience moving, informative and insightful. I am certain that this year will be no different.
On Wednesday evening we held our Year 11 Prom at Chester Racecourse. It was wonderful to see the students enjoying themselves, having gone to so much effort with the dresses, suits, hairstyles and modes of transport. Thanks to Miss Cronin for leading on the organisation of such a successful and uplifting event.
Today we held our ‘World of Work’ Careers event in the Sports Hall. Thanks to Mrs. Doran for organising this and thanks also to all the employers who gave up their time to offer advice and guidance to our students from Years 7 through to 12.
Our Year 11 Duke of Edinburgh students head off to the Peak District this weekend for their final Silver Expedition with Mr. Croasdale. We wish them well.
Friday 19th June 2015
Miss Jones, Mr. Condren and a group of Year 7 students have been busy visiting our local primary schools this week to talk to Year 6 students about life at Castell Alun. It’s great to hear about how much our new intake are looking forward to joining our school and also what excellent ambassadors the Year 7 students have been.
We have signed up to the ‘Flintshire School Uniform Exchange’ scheme this week. Nightingale House are running a project where unwanted uniform can be brought to school, deposited at collection points, and then sold at very low prices throughout their Charity shops in Mold and Wrexham. Our first uniform collection will be on 16th July and will be stocked in the shops over the summer break.
On Monday of next week Mr. Goodchild is taking a trip to France on a ‘Battlefields Tour’. This is a fantastic opportunity for lower school students to learn about the First World War and we look forward to hearing how they get on.
Congratulations to all involved in the NE Wales schools athletics competition at Queensway, Wrexham. Three teams participated, U13 boys & girls and U15 boys, and I am proud to report that two out of our three teams are through to the Welsh Finals in Brecon on Wednesday 8th July in the Plate competition. The under 15 boys just missed out and came third. All did extremely well.
Friday 12th June 2015
Last Friday evening our Year 11 and Year 10 BTEC Dance students put on a fantastic show in the School Hall. It was great to see so many friends and family members in the audience who, like me, thoroughly enjoyed the outstanding performances from all students.
The majority of students from our next Year 7 intake have been in school this week for a Science and Technology experience. They all seem to have enjoyed the activities, particularly the pizza making. A huge thank you to the staff who helped make the week such a great success.
Congratulations also to Adrian Olszewski who won the individual competition for 200m in Athletics. He is now in the NE Wales squad for 200m and relay and will be competing in the Welsh Schools Athletics. Well done also to Aled Edwards who has been chosen for the NE Wales Cricket Team.
Year 12 returned from Study Leave this week and had an excellent visit to Bangor for a UCAS convention. Many of the top universities were represented and students were certainly given plenty of food for thought.
Rehearsals for Les Miserables are progressing well. The set arrives in school next week and we’re all looking forward to a week of fantastic shows at the end the term.
Friday 05th June 2015
Well done to our wonderful Jazz Band on their impressive win at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Caerphilly last Friday evening. They really are an exceptional group of musicians and were led, as always, by Mr. Searson.
Click here to see the video of the winning performance.
Our A level Performing Arts students performed brilliantly for the visiting examiner last Monday evening. Miss Nesbitt felt that all members of the group excelled, and we look forward to the results coming through in August.
A number of GCSE Art students had their work on display this week for the visiting examiner. I spent quite some time looking at the final coursework pieces and was very impressed with the work produced by all students. Eleasha Calloway, Keavy-Lea Caunce, Isla Forsythe, Natasha Leese, Caitlin O’Dougherty, Abbie Offless and Georgina Pearson deserve particular recognition for the outstanding quality of their final pieces.
Last night we held a twilight training session for our teaching staff. This was focused on teaching and learning research projects and was led by Mrs Paula Williams our Deputy Head. We are very fortunate to have such high quality teaching staff who have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into this professional development initiative.
Our new Year 7 September intake are joining us next week for our Science and Technology transition days. During their time here, Year 6 students will be taking part in technology projects and learning the basics of forensic science as well as getting to know our school a little better. Thanks in advance to the Science and Technology teachers for giving up their week to provide these experiences.
Friday 22nd May 2015
We have ended the half term with Achievement Ceremonies for Year 11 and 13. It was lovely to see so many parents and carers in attendance for Year 11 and our Guest Speaker, Mr. John Shone did a wonderful job in inspiring our students by sharing his own experiences as a student at Castell Alun and from his career as a journalist.
Yesterday we said farewell to Year 13 with Mr. Kevin Davies leading proceedings with his traditional mix of humour, musical items and slick organisation. Our Guest Speaker, Miss Catrin Pugh, provided a heart-warming and inspirational account of her almost inconceivable journey back to health following a coach accident in France. The standing ovation she received was thoroughly deserved. Mr. Pugh, her dad, was watching from the back of the room. I can’t imagine how a father could be any more proud of his daughter.
Well done to the ‘TeenTech’ Year 8 students who did brilliantly at the Glyndwr University event earlier this week. The host on the day, Maggie Philbin, praised our students on a number of occasions. As well as winning several prizes, the students represented Castell Alun brilliantly.
Year 7 students Jonathan Jones, Callum Simons, Jack Hitchen, Ben Thompson and Toby Rees-Slawson all play for the Under 12s Flintshire Football team and won the Welsh County Championship final against Bridgend on Sunday. Well done boys. Georgina Roberts in Year 13 is busy training for 2020 Olympics. Georgina is particularly talented at skeet shooting.
I was delighted to hear earlier this week that Katherine Hill, Year 13, has secured a Higher Supply Chain Logistics Apprenticeship at Airbus.
Friday 15th May 2015
The exam season is now in full swing for Upper School students. Everything is going very smoothly so far and we anticipate some fantastic results in August.
Our athletics teams have performed exceptionally well at the North East Wales championships this week. Overall junior and middle boys came first and junior girls second. All are now through to the North East Wales round on 18th June in Wrexham. Exceptional individual performances came from Tegan Rawsthorne (300mtr and long jump), Shannon Samuel (discus), junior girls relay team (1st), Sam Morris (1500mtr), Stuart McHarrie (discus), Alex Smith (100mtr) and Kieran Price (shot put).
The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students did brilliantly last weekend in spite of the rain and the soaking they received during the expedition. Thanks to Mr. Croasdale and all the staff involved.
Well done to Simon Price, Year 10 on his mountain biking victory at the Welsh Championships at Coed Y Brenin last weekend. Simon continues to impress with his consistent podium finishes.
Rehearsals for our summer production of Les Miserables are progressing well and we’re now in the prop sourcing phase of the build up to the big week in July.
Good luck to Dawson Butcher, Connor Randall, Oliver Lanceley and Toby Vickery who are all playing in the National Football Finals tomorrow (Saturday).
Our Year 10 wheelchair rugby league team did brilliantly earlier this week, winning the competition at the Flintshire Festival of Youth Sport.
Friday 7th May 2015
Well done to the considerable number of Castell Alun students who took part in the annual ‘Flintshire Celebration of Youth Music 2015′ event at Deeside last Thursday and Friday evenings. I was highly impressed with all of the performances and I was incredibly proud to see our students’ talent showcased at such an event.
Our athletics teams performed brilliantly at the Flintshire Schools Athletics event on Tuesday of this week. Junior Boys won, Junior Girls came 2nd (missing out by only two points), Middle Boys won and Middle Girls came 3rd.
Impressive individual winning performances came from:-
100m – Harriet LeTissier Year 8 (in a Year 9 competition)
300m – Tegan Rawsthorn Year 7 (in a Year 9 competition)
100m – Alex Smith (Year 10)
1500m – Simon Price (Year 10)
Hurdles – Harvey Ellis (Year 10)
Shot Putt – Kieron Price (Year 10)
200m – Adrian Olszewski (Year 9)
800m – Connor Randall (Year 9)
Hurdles – Joe Rees-Slawson (Year 9)
Airbus U14 Football Club won the FA Wales Academy Cup last week. Four members of the team are Year 9 students at Castell Alun. Well done to Dawson Butcher, Toby Vickery, Oliver Lanceley and Connor Randell. This team are clearly talented having also won the Welsh National Futsal Finals in Cardiff a few weeks ago.
Our Year 10 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students are out today and tomorrow for their practice expedition. As always, we are looking forward to tales of good weather, plenty of sleep and excellent teamwork.
Students from Years 11, 12 and 13 who achieved one or more ‘LE1’ grades on the most recent Student Tracking Review session include Jamie Neale, Rachel Barron, Eleasha Calloway, Danielle Cope, Laura King, Natasha Leese, Rachel Barron, Kane Peters, Eve Barber, Erin Chadwick, Chloe Dean, Kathryn Jones, Menna Pritchard-Taylor, Lauren Sidebottom, Georgia Hughes, Max Tami, Thomas Adams, Kirsty Godwin-Price, Catherine Hill, Samantha Martin, Tom Rintoul, Clinton Roberts and Amelia Shallish. Well done indeed. We wish all students now taking examinations every possible success.
Yesterday we appointed Miss Beccy Roberts as a teacher of Physical Education from an incredibly strong field. We look forward to Miss Roberts joining our staff in September.
Our Year 13 and Year 11 Leaving Ceremonies will take place on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd May respectively. Our Guest Speakers are Miss Catrin Pugh with Year 13 and John Shone, former Senior Broadcast Journalist with the BBC with Year 11. Miss Pugh and Mr Shone are both ex Castell Alun students. As usual, we welcome parents and carers to these important occasions.
Friday 1st May 2015
Our performance at the Focus Wales Concert at the William Aston Hall, Wrexham last Saturday was absolutely fantastic. The audience loved the set, which included three items from our forthcoming Les Miserables production. I’ve also had some lovely feedback from parents who attended. On Tuesday of this week our Jazz Band performed at Ysgol Maes Garmon as part of the Eisteddfod winners concert. We are very fortunate to have so much musical talent in our school.
The exam season is now upon us and we hand over to the students themselves. Our teaching and support staff certainly could not have worked any harder to prepare Years 11, 12 and 13. We wish them all well.
To continue celebrating those students who achieved one or more ‘LE1’ grades recently, I’d like to mention the following from Years 9 and 10:-
Jessica Barnes, Somruetha Beungchan, Sophie Booth, Hannah Cartwright, Ruth Cooper, Andrew Cowling, Grace Davies, Georgia Hargreaves, Amelia Jones, Rachel Jones, Sophie Large, Robyn Lawson, Ella Perks, Amelia Salt and Natasha Austen. Hannah Benjamin, Heather Bunning, Abbie Crawshaw, Emily Dodd, Eleanor Endler, India Griffiths, Ellie Harper, Megan Jackson, Sophie Lawrence, Michka Netting, Lucy Norris, Chloe Russell, Edward Walker, Jamie Williams and Aidan Young.
I neglected to mention Adam Pothero, Year 9 last week. Well done to you too Adam.
Last night we held a literacy evening for parents of Year 7 and 8 students. Thanks to Mrs. Gaynor Murphy and the team of staff who made it such a useful and informative event.
This morning I met with 34 students from Year 7 who have made excellent progress during their first year at Castell Alun. Well done to Gemma Sidebottom, Candy Stanton, Lauren Swift, Sian Thackaberry, Keeley Venables, Millie Whittle, Benjamin Wiggs, Avril Allen, Lily Burt, Abigail Lowe, Joshua Marshall, William Owens, Sadie Spencer, Ellie Stephens, Robbie Stockman, Jack Strong, Ben Thompson, Colin Twells, Caitlyn Williams, Hollie Barber, Ellie Bryan, Luke Huber, Daniel Johnson, Jamie Jones, Kathryn Land, Chloe Pay, Tegan Rawsthorne, Nicky Rush, Joshua Berdouk, Ella Bradley, Cerys Jones, Anna Warburton, Chloe Gregory and David Edge.
Well done also to Daniel Shaw, Year 11, on securing an apprenticeship at Airbus. I know that Mrs. Bates our Learning Coach is working very hard to put vocational pathways in place for a number of students.
Congratulations to all the rugby teams who, over recent weeks, have been extremely successful at the Flintshire Schools Rugby Tournament. Years 7, 8 and 9 won and Year 10 were runners up.
Friday 24th April 2015
Well done to the Lower School Choir, Senior Choir and the cast of Les Miserables who performed brilliantly at St. Giles Church Wrexham last night. The 57 students have all practised really hard for many weeks with Mrs.Walker and the Expressive Arts team. They are also performing at the William Aston Hall on Saturday evening at 6.30pm. I have my ticket and I’m looking forward to the concert. Tickets are £5 and are still available from www.focuswales.com. Our school Jazz Band are competing in the Chester Festival this Saturday in a performing arts competition and we wish them well for another impressive set.
The Year 9 Rugby boys gave a fantastic performance on Wednesday this week. They won the Flintshire Schools’ Tournament with James Davies, Year 9, being named ‘Player of the Tournament’. Well done to Mr. O’Connell and all the boys. Our Duke of Edinburgh expedition last weekend was very successful, as was the Year 7 three day trip to Nant BH. The wonderful weather certainly enhanced both of these outdoor activities.
The Year 8 Parents’ Evening was well supported on Wednesday this week. We had lots of excellent feedback from parents on how well the year group are working and enjoying school.
The second of our ‘Student Tracking and Review’ (STR) sessions has now been completed. Most of our students have achieved the expected Learning Ethic LE3 grades. Over the next three weeks I will be sharing with you the names of the students achieving one or more exceptional ‘LE1’ grades.
The students in Years 7 and 8 who achieved an LE1 are :-
Grace Andrew, Hollie Barber, Joshua Berdouk, Ayden De Winter, Milly Lightfoot, Katie Newns, Chloe Pay, Abigail Redhead, Maddison Scott, Gemma Sidebottom, Kelly Williams, Lauren Wynne, Kathryn Austen, Adam Bakewell, Jessica Barber, Eve Cowieson, Jessica Creasey, Rhiannon Daly, Stephanie Dovey-Williams, Sophie Gallagher, Charlotte Haden, Cari Haynes, Dana Hughes, Niamh Humphreys, Ruby Humphreys, Lowri Hunt, Emily Jones, Lucy Jones, Nathaniel Jones, Chloe Morter, Leah Mullock, Ellie Pentland, Nia Prichard-Taylor, Olivia Roberts, Shannon Samuel, Nia Shone, Jessica Smith, Samantha Tresidder, Josie Welch, Jessica Whitehurst, Niamh Williams and Lauren Wineyard.
Our whole school assembly this week was led by the Sixth Form on the appropriate topic of democracy. Our musical item was a superb piano solo from Joshua Berdouk, Year 7.
On Wednesday evening Mrs. Nesbitt and her talented dancers put on a fantastic show for friends and family after school. I was very impressed with the range and quality of the performances. Mrs. Nesbitt certainly brings out the best in our students.
Friday 17th April 2015
Year 10 returned from their extended Easter break having also completed a week of Work Experience. It seems to have gone really well, with plenty of success stories and positive experiences. A big thank you goes to the staff who carried out the placement visits, the employers who kindly hosted our students, and to Mrs Doran and Mrs Millership for their exceptional organisation.
Well done to the students named below who represented the ‘4 Counties’ Youth Music Groups and performed to a capacity audience in Colwyn Bay on Saturday 11th April 2015. The performances were exceptional and Castell Alun students provided 14% of all ensembles.
Ellie Atherton, Jacob Bentley, Rebekah Bentley, Ellie Crawford, Molly Connah, Lucy Hughes, David Humphreys, Elle Jarrett, Hannah Jones, Georgina Pearson, Ella Perks, Abigail Pettican, Ieuan Roberts, Simon Rowland, Erin Sunderland, Emily Sweeney-Davies, Benjamin Thomas, Chloe Whittle, Rory Williams. Ex students Matthew Edwards, Rhys Jones, Daniel Nelder were also involved. Molly Connah was also a member of National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales and performed with them in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama during the Easter break.
Mr Croasdale is out and about around Llyn Brenig for three days with several members of staff and our Year 11 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme students for their practice Silver Expedition. The weather looks promising and based on the extensive and meticulous planning, students will hopefully find their way to the various checkpoints and campsites.
Our Year 11 students are also busy preparing for their examinations with one eye on the Prom. This year we have booked Chester Racecourse and look forward to seeing their wide and varied modes of transport on the evening.
Friday 27th March 2015
Well done to our Jazz Band who performed brilliantly at the local round of the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham last Friday evening. They now progress to the National Finals later in the Summer Term. We wish them luck.
Our Whole School Easter Assembly this week went very well. Well done to the readers from Year 7 and to Tegan Rawsthorne and Will Owens for a superb musical item. Year 7 and 8 also took part in Easter Services at St Cynfach’s Church on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. We enjoyed listening to excellent readings from Georgia Edwards and Hamish Peffers, Year 8, and Nicky Rush and Imogen Smith, Year 7. Thanks as always to Reverend Pawley and his team for making us so welcome.
We’ve had lots of fundraising this week. Well done to Years 8 and 9 who have held non-uniform days. Year 7 held an ‘Aerobathon’ all afternoon today in aid of Cancer Research.
Our Year 7 Parents’ Evening was very well attended on Wednesday. As a year group they’re working really hard and making great progress.
Our ski trip heads off to Austria today. The 45 Year 10 students are certainly excited and are looking forward to a week on the slopes with Mr Pugh, Mr Croasdale, Mr Swale, Miss Edwards, Mr Hutchinson and Mrs Lloyd-Jones.
On Wednesday, Year 12 budding engineers headed of to Llandudno for the EESW finals. They’ve done some impressive design and development work for JCB to solve a complex engineering problem. The entire group contributed at a high level with Jonathan Shearer and David Hatton providing the driving force.
Our Spring Concert on Thursday evening was absolutely fantastic. A huge thank you to Mr Searson and the Expressive Arts team for putting together such an impressive and diverse array of talent. Our students really are quite exceptional in my view.
Have a lovely Easter.
Friday 20th March 2015
Nearly everyone from our school community spent some time observing the eclipse on the rear yard this morning. We all watched the moon pass in front of the sun through pinhole cameras, special glasses and a variety of other devices. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that certainly couldn’t be missed.
Yesterday, we appointed Mr. Matthew Jones as a teacher of History. We look forward to him joining our excellent team of teaching staff in September.
Our Upper School Assembly this Tuesday was on the theme of ‘rest’. Our musical item was a wonderful performance from Maisie Eccleston-Tuohy, who sang ‘I dreamed a dream’ from our upcoming musical, Les Miserables.
On Tuesday, a group of six year 10 students attended a seminar held by Magdalene College Cambridge at Everton Football Club. The students attended lectures on history, natural sciences, and the Russell group universities as well as having a chance to question students and staff during a ‘Q and A’ session. The students learnt how the collegiate system at Cambridge and Oxford works and about the entry requirements for Oxbridge and Russell group universities. The students also had a tour of the Goodison Park Stadium. Thanks for Mr. Damien Cummins for taking them.
I’m really looking forward to next Thursday evening, when we are holding our Spring Concert. A host of musical talent will be on display led by our Expressive Arts Team from 7.00pm. Tickets are available now from school.
Friday 13th March 2015
Mr. Pugh took our Year 10 skiers to the slopes in Llandudno on Monday evening this week in readiness for the annual school trip in a fortnight’s time. Year 10 are also having a great day today taking part in the Team Enterprise Challenge Day. It’s pleasing to see them working together with such energy and enthusiasm.
Yesterday (Thursday) we appointed Mrs. Kathryn Hatfield as an English Teacher from a very strong field. We look forward to her joining the staff in September.
Our Music students have been taking their practical examinations on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Mr. Searson and Mrs Walker have been very impressed with the quality of all performances. All the hard work and practice has most definitely paid off.
Well done to Sammy and Adam Bakewell, Joshua Berdouk and Grace Davies on their fantastic recital performances at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Mold last Saturday. We look forward to hearing how the next round goes. Our resident Year 10 mountain biker, Simon Price, won the Under 16 category of a Welsh Cycling cross country race at Penbrey last weekend. He is certainly one to watch in the future.
The ‘Go4Set’ engineering girls from Year 9 had a great day at Airbus on Wednesday this week with Mr. Jeremy Roberts and Mrs. Gail Caswell-Jones. No awards this time, but they had some great ideas and represented Castell Alun brilliantly.
James May left Castell Alun a few years ago with ambitions to be a commercial pilot. This week we hear he has flown his first passenger flight, in the hot seat of an Airbus no less. It’s great to see such focus and determination pay off.
Friday 06th March 2015
On Tuesday of this week we held our St. David’s Day Assembly. This was written and led by the Welsh department as a very appropriate celebration of our welsh heritage, culture and values. Our impressive musical item came from a band consisting of Aiden Parry, Evan Roberts, Jake Millar and Alex Edwards who performed a Stereophonics song.
At our full Governors’ meeting yesterday (Thursday) we discussed the idea of setting up a ‘Friends of Castell Alun’ group to arrange events and raise funds for the school. This is in the very early stages of development but has the potential to add another welcome dimension to school life, as well as generating some useful extra money for the benefit of our students.
Well done to our Lower School Choir on taking part in the Young Voices event at the ‘Phones 4U’ Arena in Manchester on Monday evening. Mrs Walker and the staff said that students all sang their hearts out and filled the arena with sound.
Good luck to Sammy and Adam Bakewell, Joshua Berdoux and Grace Davies who are competing at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Mold on Saturday. All of these students are performing a recital and have been practicing hard.
Our Year 9 Parents’ Evening was very well attended on Wednesday of this week. It was great to see so many students receiving feedback from their teachers and looking in more detail at the new subjects they can choose as part of the options process. This year for the first time, students can choose their subject on-line.
Friday 27th February 2015
Our whole school assembly on Tuesday this week was on the theme of World Book Day. Well done to all students involved, but, particularly Millie Whittle, Year 7, on her wonderful piano recital. This was especially impressive as she stepped in with only one day’s notice. We have a number of World Book Day events planned for next week.
Also on Tuesday, forty Year 9 students had a great day at Glan Llyn with Mrs. Wareing, Miss Tibbott and Miss Jones. They immersed themselves fully in the language and the activities on the day. Another twenty Year 9 students found themselves at Mold Crown Court on Monday for the ‘Justice in a Day’ experience.
Mr Ashley Jones, Senior Challenge Advisor for the North Wales school improvement service, ‘GwE’ has been in school for two days this week. Mr Jones spent time with classes, interviewed staff and students and also looked at lots of students’ work. He was extremely complementary about our school and I look forward to working with him in the future.
Well done to Sam Affleck, Year 10, on being selected for the Basketball Wales squad. Sam is the only player from North Wales to make the team. We wish him all the best at the international tournament in Italy over the Easter holidays. On Thursday evening this week, Daniel Clays, also Year 10 was presented with a certificate at the Wrexham Sports Awards for achieving 100 hours of sports volunteering in the local area. Well done Daniel. If any parents have similar success stories for their sons and daughters, I’d very much like hear about them.
Friday 13th February 2015
Another exceptionally busy half term draws to a close with staff and students ready for a well earned rest.
On Wednesday of this week we held our Year 11 Revision Day. Following my assembly, the students divided their time between an outside speaker, Jay, from ‘Positively Mad’ and four workshops led by school staff. Feedback from students confirms that the day was informative and useful.
A primary schools’ netball tournament took place yesterday (Thursday). Thanks to Miss Jones and Miss Gillard for organising and running it. The standard of play was excellent and we certainly have some future stars coming through.
On Wednesday evening Mr. Kevin Davies, our Director of Sixth Form and I attended a meeting in Wrexham to launch a new Welsh Government project, Seren, set up to increase the number of students applying to, and ultimately attending, top universities including Oxford and Cambridge. This looks like an exciting development with the potential to benefit many Castell Alun students.
Mr. Goodchild and his A level Politics students have had a fantastic trip to Cardiff this week, the highlight being a question and answer session with the First Minister.
Over the last week or two I have been meeting with some of our exceptional Year 11 students for a quick chat about how proud I am of their progress.
There are many more excellent students in the year group who I’ll try to catch up with over the coming weeks.
Our star fencer from Year 10, Daniel Clays, is competing this weekend in the British Cadet U17 Nationals in London. We wish him well. Daniel is hugely talented and has been awarded Junior Denver of the year 2014 at his previous club. He has also had many recent successes including winning Bronze at both the Essex Open and the Much Wenlock Olympian Games Open.
Friday 06th February 2015
On Monday and Tuesday this week our Year 11 students took part in ‘Mock Interviews’ with local employers. They were all required to prepare a CV and an overview of their ambitions for the future. A big thank you to all of the interviewers who took time out of their own work schedules to support this venture. Thanks to Mrs. Gemma Doran and Mrs Pauline Millership, along with Mrs. Lesley Wood (Careers Wales), for putting the event together. Feedback from students was very positive and they all found the experience very valuable indeed.
On Wednesday of this week we held our Sixth Form Open Evening. It was great to see so many of our current Year 11 students in attendance, as well as large numbers of students from other local schools. Our staff and current Sixth Form students worked really hard to give our guests a flavour of life in Castell Alun’s Sixth Form. A huge thank you to all involved.
Year 9 and 10 have been sitting examinations this week and have conducted themselves in exemplary fashion. I look forward to hearing how well they all do when the papers are marked.
On Thursday, Mrs. Gemma Rheade led a Primary English workshop for the day in our School Hall. Pupils from lots of our local schools attended and worked really hard all day, producing some wonderful written work.
Last Friday our Expressive Arts department took a group of students for an overnight trip to London to watch Les Miserables. They had a great time, especially Mrs. Lloyd-Jones who got to go back stage after the performance. On the Saturday morning the group took part in a workshop led by members of the cast before returning home on Saturday evening. Thanks for Mrs. Lloyd-Jones, Mr. Andrew Searson and Mrs. Grace Walker for arranging the trip and for accompanying the students.
Well done to Erin Chadwick, Nia Hughes and Lauren Sidebottom on representing NE Wales at the National U16 Netball event in Bangor last weekend. I’m told all three contributed exceptionally well and Erin was voted ‘players’ player’ of the tournament.
Friday 30th January 2015
On Monday of this week I popped down to Coleg Cambria to see over 70 Year 10 and 11 students who travel to Connah’s Quay weekly to study their Engineering, Construction, Hair and Beauty and Professional Cookery courses. It was great to see them in this environment, learning new skills in such a hands on vocational way. I also caught up with Nick Tyson, Executive Director of Engineering and Construction at the college. Nick and I were apprentices together at Airbus between 1986 and 1990.
Last night we hosted the Flintshire Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Presentation Evening. Well done to Rebecca Lewis, 12M, on her excellent musical performance. I was very proud of the current Castell Alun students receiving awards, and also ex-students Nailh McCallum, Olivia Petie, Aiden Rossiter and Rachel Jackson who were presented with their ‘Golds’. They may have left our school, but they will always be part of our school community.
Yesterday we were presented with a prestigious award from EAL, a specialist, employer-recognised awarding organisation for the engineering, manufacturing, building services and related sectors. The award acknowledges our commitment to offering impartial careers advice, the promotion of vocational routes, and our work with employers to reveal the potential of industry apprenticeships and careers to young people. Mrs Diane Bates, our Learning Coach, has done a great job in developing this area of school life. Two of our ex-students Jed Bell and Nathan Davies, both of whom are apprentices at Airbus, came in with their recruitment and training manager, Gavin Jones. Gavin is very keen to further build the relationship between our school and Airbus.
Well done to Kathryn Land, 7E, on receiving a prestigious award at the Tennis Wales annual awards event last Saturday evening. Kathryn was one of five in the North Wales U12 girls team who won the ‘team of the year’ award for their exceptional inter-county run last year. The team progressed right through to the UK finals and achieved sixth place overall.
Friday 23rd January 2015
A group of Year 7 students has spent three days in Nant BH Outdoor Activities Centre this week. They’ve had a great time in spite of the winter weather. Thanks to Mrs. Reeves, Mr. Moss and Mr. Swale for accompanying them.
Today a number of Sixth Form Welsh students are visiting Cardiff on an Urdd trip. They are taking part in group interviews and discussions with actors and presenters such as Huw Stephens, the Radio 1 presenter. I’m sure the day will prove really valuable in developing their language skills and their appreciation of welsh culture.
Year 10 Parents’ Evening went extremely well on Wednesday evening. It was great to see so many students also coming along and taking note of teachers’ comments and suggestions for improvement.
Today we welcomed Headteachers and students from a number of schools across North Wales for a sharing good practice meeting as part of the iNet network. It is always interesting to hear about school improvement strategies. Our Deputy Headteacher, Mrs. Paula Williams presented on the topic of staff professional development, an area we have made considerable changes to this school year. Castell Alun student representatives, Chloe Dean and Kathryn Jones, did a fantastic job of contributing to the student discussions and leading the formal feedback to the main meeting.
Well done to the Year 7 and 8 students who took part in the athletics event in Deeside last night; Finley Abbott, Aiden Burningham, Matthew Campbell, Georgia Considine, Rhys Cunningham, Stephanie Dovey-Williams, Charlie Fitzgerald, Cari Haynes, Lowri Hunt, Ethan Langley, Harriet Le Tissier, Nia Pritchard-Taylor, Niamh Williams, Sam Williams and Lauren Wineyard. Impressive performances from everyone, but particularly from Nia and Harriet who qualified to represent North East Wales.
Friday 16th January 2015
Year 12 and 13 are currently sitting mock examinations in the School Hall. Year 11 are also extremely busy at the moment with GCSE exams, completion of the WBQ, attending Sixth Form subject talks, and having options interviews with Mr Kevin Davies, our Director of Sixth Form. It’s always a tough time for them in January but the pressure will ease a little in a few weeks or so.
Congratulations to the following students who achieved higher grade passes in their Maths GCSE; Harry Edwards 11N, Ben Ferrari 11T, Josh Flaherty 11N, Paige Hine 11T, Rupert Jones 11T, Matthew Keen 11N, Sophie Lewis 11T, Jared Ollerhead 11S, Lewis Russell 11E, Jarred Williams 11U, and Liam Young 11S.
Our whole school assembly this week was on the theme of New Year Resolutions. Well done to all involved and particularly to Abbey Aldous, Year 8, on her fantastic rendition of the Adele song ‘Rolling in the Deep’. Abbey is definitely a star in the making.
Congratulations to Mrs. Sarah Llewellyn-Davies on being awarded the RAS Patrick Moore Medal. This is awarded for a particularly noteworthy contribution to Astronomy by a secondary school teacher and we are delighted that Mrs. Llewellyn-Davies’ work has been recognised in this way.
Thanks to MBNA Bank for their kind donation of £500 to pay for the prizes as part of our new Year 10 and 11 rewards initiative. Points do make prizes in this instance, and teachers are now awarding these points to hard working students through our computer based class registration system.
Friday 9th January 2015
Students have settled back into the school routine extremely quickly this week, with many sitting external GCSE exams. Our Year 12 and 13 exams start today. Good luck to all involved.
I have spent some time this week with our Year 7 ‘Nurture Group’ students who are really benefiting from this provision. We introduced this resource for the first time last September and it is proving to be extremely effective in engaging, supporting and developing the students involved in the initiative.
Our new Sixth Form Prospectus will be given out to Year 11 students early next week. It is of course available to download in PDF form from our website. I’m delighted with the finished document and I hope students get a really good feel for post-16 life at Castell Alun having read it. Our Sixth Form Open Evening takes place on the 4th February 2015 from 6.30pm, and I look forward to welcoming students from our own Year 11 and from other schools in the local area.
Congratulations to the 248 students to have received certificates this week for 100% attendance during the Autumn Term 2014. The link between good attendance and achievement is widely recognised and these students are certainly setting themselves up for success in the long term.
Friday 19th December 2014
The end of an extremely busy week marks the end of an equally busy term. Last night we held our Christmas Concert, which showcased the exceptional talents of a great many students and staff. The audience really enjoyed the occasion and the Expressive Arts team proved yet again that they know how to put on a show.
On the same theme, last Friday evening saw Miss Sharon Nesbitt and her Dance students putting on a fantastic production in our School Hall. Whilst it was on, I was watching many of our students perform in the Flintshire Music Service Christmas Concert in Mold. Both events were hugely successful with Castell Alun talent being a common denominator.
Year 7 and 8 had Christmas Services at St. Cynfach’s Church this week. Rev. Pawley made us extremely welcome and a number of students were given the opportunity to climb the tower and ring the bells. The Young Voices Choir sang beautifully and Rev. Pawley’s reading was both interesting and particularly relevant with a clear focus on the true meaning of Christmas. A huge thank you goes to him and his team.
Our Sixth Form had their traditional Christmas celebrations yesterday afternoon, with a dinner followed by entertainment in the School Hall. It’s lovely to see them all enjoying being part of this strong community within the school. Thanks to Mr Kevin Davies, Miss Sarah Thomas and the team of tutors for putting this unique event together.
Mrs Christine Canham one of our Science Technicians retires today after 12 years supporting the science team. Mrs Canham tells me that she and her husband have a very long list of things they intend to do and we wish her well for a long, healthy and happy retirement. She will be sorely missed.
Well done to Erin Chadwick, Nia Hughes and Lauren Sidebottom on gaining places in the NE Wales Netball squad. They will be participating in the Welsh inter-counties tournament in Bangor on the 1st February 2015.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members in our school community for their support, during this term and to wish everyone all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.
Friday 12th December 2014
Our Year 11 Parents’ Evening was extremely busy on Wednesday evening and it was pleasing to see so many students in attendance too. Whilst it was a very long day for staff, it proved to be very valuable in getting across many key messages to students and parents alike.
On Monday of next week we’re holding our annual Presentation of Certificates Evening with many of our ex-students returning to take part in one of the highlights of the school year. We are really looking forward to seeing them all and celebrating their successes from last summer.
Tonight I’ll be attending the annual Flintshire Music Service Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s Church in Mold. It is always a wonderfully uplifting occasion, especially with so many Castell Alun students performing.
On Monday and Thursday of next week we are taking Year 7 and 8 students respectively over to St. Cynfarch’s Church for our Christmas services. Thanks in advance to Rev. Pawley for accommodating us. I’m really looking forward to hearing the students singing Christmas carols, with the lower school choir leading the way.
Today, lots of staff and our Sixth Form students are wearing Christmas jumpers in aid of Save the Children. On Monday of this week we held our Year 7 Urdd disco. Over 150 students attended and danced the night away along with Mistar Urdd, several members of our Welsh department and Mrs. Janice Jones. Again lots of money was raised for another worthy cause. The number of charitable activities our students are involved in is quite exceptional and I know that the funds raised are always hugely appreciated.
Well done to Simon Price who won the Welsh U16 Cyclecross Championships last weekend at Builth Wells. Simon has also been selected for the Olympic development apprentice programme in mountain bike racing.
We are all looking forward to our Christmas Concert next Thursday evening at 7:00pm, with tickets selling fast at £3 each from Mrs Southwell. Mr Searson tells me that with the depth of talent lined up, this could be one of our best ever concerts.
Friday 5th December 2014
Well done to our Sixth Form students on raising over £300 for the Breast Cancer Campaign. It was great to see them all in pink last Friday and lovely that the local press published details and photos of their efforts.
Our Jazz Band performed brilliantly at the Treuddyn Christmas Fair last Saturday. I managed to catch the last part of what was a very festive, engaging and impressive two and a half hour set. The audience was very complementary and appreciative of the wonderful talent on display. A big thank you goes to all of the students and of course to Mr. Searson.
Our Christmas Concert will take place on Thursday 18th December at 7pm. A wealth of festive talent will be on display and I’m really looking forward to the occasion. Tickets are available now from Mrs. Southwell at £3 each.
On Tuesday of this week Peter Rushforth, who left Castell Alun in 2013 to pursue a butchery apprenticeship, won the title of Welsh Young Butcher 2014 at a competition held at the Winter Fair at the Royal Welsh Show Ground in Builth Wells. Peter is based at Swan’s Farm Shop in Treuddyn. He beat, by a handsome margin, last year’s winner and owing to other successes earlier this year he is to represent Great Britain in a butchery competition to be held in Paris in 2015. Well done Peter, we are very proud of your achievements. If any other ex-students have similar success stories, we’d really love to hear about them.
The Year 11 football team did brilliantly in the county final against Mold Alun yesterday at Airbus, and were narrowly beaten. Well done for getting to the final.
Friday 28th November 2014
Congratulations to Mr David Mountfort on receiving his MBE at the palace this week. It is lovely to see this achievement celebrated in the local press along with formal recognition of his contribution to our school and local community over a great many years.
Our school Jazz Band will be playing Christmas tunes and old favourites at the Christmas Fair in Treuddyn Village Hall tomorrow (Saturday) between 2.30pm and 5.00pm.
Today had a very ‘pink’ feel around school with over 200 Sixth Form students ‘dressing to impress’ to raise money for the Breast Cancer Campaign.
Well done to our ‘Youth Speaks’ competition team who took part in the local finals earlier this week. The standard was extremely high and although our team did very well, the winning team from Argoed were exceptional.
Year 11 have been sitting their mock examinations this week. Students have approached them with maturity and determination and I hope this is reflected in the results.
Well done to our Year 7 and 8 football teams, both of whom won their respective Flintshire finals yesterday. Year 11 will play their final next week and we wish them luck.
31 Year 9 students have spent three days in Nant BH Outdoor Education Centre this week. They were accompanied by Mr Jones and Miss Ball who were both extremely impressed with the enthusiasm of the students throughout the three days of activities and adventures.
Friday 21st November 2014
On Wednesday of this week we held our Year 10 Welsh Baccalaureate Health Day. Everything ran smoothly and the visiting speakers did an excellent job. Students in Year 10 tell me the day was very valuable and informative. Also on Wednesday, Year 12 had a great day in Glan Llyn and the Royal Navy led an interesting and engaging assembly with Year 10.
I met with several Sixth Form students earlier this week, all of whom achieved an LE1 (our highest Learning Ethic grade) in our recent Student Tracking & Review (STR) cycle. Their approach to learning is quite exceptional, as is their commitment to gaining the best possible A level and BTEC outcomes. Well done to all of them.
Many of our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes were collected from school yesterday. A huge amount of time and effort has gone into providing for this excellent cause. Well done to all of the students who put these boxes together; they really will brighten up someone’s Christmas.
On Monday many of our ex-students returned to Castell Alun to help launch our ‘Future First’ aspirations project with Year 12. I really enjoyed showing them around the school and listening to stories of their own education here, in some cases over 50 years ago. The time they gave to our students was most valuable and very much appreciated.
Friday 14th November 2014
On Tuesday of this week we held our Whole School Remembrance Assembly. Our guests included Reverend Pawley and several of our Governors. Students’ respect for the occasion was quite exceptional, as was the input from the readers, the musical item, and the playing of the Last Post after the period of silence.
Today sees five of our Year 9 students heading off to Oxford University for a taster day. I sincerely hope they find it enjoyable and informative and perhaps, more importantly, inspiring.
Our Year 12 Parents’ Evening was very well attended on Wednesday this week, and feedback from parents was extremely positive. We have set very aspirational targets for the students and around half of them are already on track to reach them if they continue with their current learning ethic.
Well done to Bea Beungchan in Year 9 on her winning design for the new Student Tracking and Review (STR) logo. Over 200 students entered the competition and Derron Bailey, Year 13, has now produced an electronic version of Bea’s logo for the use on all our STR documentation.
Now that last years’ Year 13 are settled in university, Kevin Davies, our Director of Sixth Form Studies has analysed the destination data. This year, 105 Castell Alun students have gone on to study in higher education, with 40 of them now at Russell Group universities. This is our highest number ever, with the previous Russell Group record entry being 33 in 2009. We wish all of our ex-students every success in the future and look forward to seeing them on December 15th for our annual Presentation of Certificates Evening.
Well done to Rachel Barron, Jamie Neale and Simon Morris (yr 10) who were successful in the first round of the Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition. They competed against students from The Alun, Argoed, Holywell and Hawarden schools. They spoke on the topic of ‘social media is the thief of childhood.’ They will now be competing in the regional finals at the Beaufort Park Hotel Mold on 24th November at 6pm. We wish them luck.
Our students did really well recently in the North Wales schools’ badminton competition. Kieran Edwards, Jack Mears, Tom Davies and Owen Jones finished 2nd in their group, with the girls winning their group and then going on to win the final against Mold Alun. Many congratulations to Amy Jukes, Hannah Benjamin, Erin Buchanan and Niamh Humphries on becoming North Wales Schools’ badminton champions.
Friday 7th November, 2014
Students have returned from the half term break refreshed and enthusiastic. They have settled very quickly back into the school routine.
On Wednesday evening of this week, our Year 11 Drama students performed their GCSE piece ‘The Last Resort’. It was lovely to see friends and family coming along and I thought the quality of the acting was first class. Well done to all members of the group and to Mrs Lloyd-Jones.
Auditions for the forthcoming production of Les Miserables took place before half term. Competition was so fierce that call backs were required after half term and after tough deliberation the cast list has now been announced. We anticipate another great show from the students which will take place on Monday 13th July, Tuesday 14th July and Wednesday 15th July, 2015. There will also be a free preview edited performance by understudies on Saturday 11th July, 2015.
Our Training Day on the Friday before half term was a huge success. All of our teachers were asked to spend the day at another school, college or workplace. We were made extremely welcome wherever we went, and everyone found the day interesting, relevant and useful in informing our own practice at Castell Alun.
Well done to Sam Morris, Year 8 for winning the North Wales County Closed U14 Tennis Tournament last weekend. Elen Hughes is also to be congratulated on achieving her black belt in Tae Kwon Do recently at the new martial centre in Wrexham. Simon Price had a great day at Llandegle over the half term, winning the annual Firemans’ mountain bike race.
Thursday 23rd October, 2014
The casting for Les Miserables is going very well and the Expressive Arts team is very excited about the potential quality of the cast.
Lots of our students took part in the County Cross Country Championships today. I met them as they returned to school and was really impressed with both the individual results and the high levels of participation and commitment.
Students finish today for a well earned half term break. I hope Year 11 will be revising hard next week for their mock examinations which begin on the 24th November.
Last night we held our Year 13 Parents’ Evening. Attendance was very high and students seem to be responding particularly well to the aspirational targets we have now set them.
We are starting to prepare for our Presentation of Certificates Evening that will take place on the evening of Monday 15th December. I’m looking forward to seeing many of our ‘leavers’ from last summer to find out how they are getting on with the next phase of their lives.
I’m really impressed with the number of Sixth Form students who have volunteered to mentor, guide and support younger students. A big thank you to:-
Bethan Jones, Max Carstensen, Eleanor Jones, Rory Formstone Roberts, Owen Peters, Lucy Ingram, Courtney Say, Sophie McCue, Bethan Chadwick, Catherine Hill, Shauna Coleman, Holly Taylor, Sam Cooper and Kelly Lockley.
Friday 17th October, 2014
Many of our Governors have been in school for two days this week, meeting with the seven Learning Area Managers and senior staff. The focus has been on analysing results and on priorities for improvement within each faculty. These meetings have been extremely positive, constructive and informative. We are now working on the school’s targets for the next year.
Today we have held our Fancy Dress Fun Runs. Well done to Years 7, 8 and 9 who have dressed up and raised lots of money by running around our sports field. Some of our most energetic students managed to complete 7 or 8 laps in less than an hour. They will certainly sleep tonight.
Our Lower School Assembly this week was on the theme of charity. The readers did an excellent job and the musical item was a superb vocal solo from year 8 student Niamh Humphreys.
Our new student target setting system is being finalised. We are expecting everyone to aim much higher than in the past. We are also introducing a new ‘Learning Ethic’ grade, where 5 is the lowest, 4 and 3 are where most of our students would expect to be, with 2 and 1 being reserved for our most exceptional and outstanding learners. We will be sending more detailed information out to parents in due course.
Next Wednesday we are holding our Year 13 Parents’ Evening from 4:30pm. Parents are encouraged to bring their sons and daughters along with them for what will be their last formal opportunity to discuss progress.
Well done to Sam Morris, Year 8 for winning the Cheshire U14 County Tennis Tournament last weekend.
Next week finishes on Thursday for students, with a staff training day on Friday. We then break up for a well earned half term holiday.
Friday 10th October, 2014
This week we held our Harvest Assembly. Reverend Pawley kindly joined us for the occasion and our Year 7 students did an excellent job of collecting products for donation to local food banks. Jacob Miller provided a superb musical item, singing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from our forthcoming musical Les Miserables. This performance follows similarly impressive vocal deliveries in recent school assembles from Grace Davies, year 9 and Carie Haynes, year 8.
Our new target setting system is being launched at the moment through Year Assemblies. We are looking for all students to aim much higher and take greater responsibility for their own learning. Feedback from our student voice sessions this week is highly encouraging and our learners believe this system has the potential to really motivate and engage them.
Our Sixth Form is now settled into a good routine of lessons, study and a small amount of free time. We have over 290 students studying a huge range of subjects and are currently working on a new sixth form prospectus. We will be taking lots of “action” photographs over the next couple of weeks for inclusion.
Well done to David Hatton, our outstanding canoeist, who continues to excel in competitions. David recently took part in an international competition in Belgium and achieved 2 gold and 2 silver medals. He is now focussed on winter training in preparation for the new season. Well done to Alex Walshe & Ellie Price, year 10, who are now qualified on their first level of netball umpiring. This means that they are now qualified Q umpires and have been helping with the lower school’s training sessions and matches. Congratulations also to Erin Chadwick and Lauren Sidebottom, year 11, along with Alex Walshe and Ellie Price, year 10, who have secured places on the Flintshire Netball Squad.
A huge, ‘thank you’ to all year 10 tutor groups for their fundraising for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox appeal. They all demonstrated fantastic skills for developing ideas and planning, great participation and then professionally executed their ideas.
Friday 3rd October, 2014
Our Open Evening on Wednesday of this week was extremely well attended and it was lovely to see nearly 400 of our students coming in to help.
I sincerely hope our prospective students and their families had an enjoyable evening and that they left with a positive impression of our school community. A huge thank you must go to our staff and students who ensured that all visitors were given a valuable insight into life at Castell Alun. Our students are an absolute credit to us and I couldn’t be more proud of their input on the evening.
Our Open Mornings were also well attended. I thoroughly enjoyed showing our guests around the school during typical school days. This really is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.
A number of sporting achievements deserve a mention this week. Well done to Simon Price who has been selected as one of four U16 mountain bikers to represent Wales. Nathaniel Jones has won a place in the North East Wales Badminton Youth squad, and after success at local level, Ewan Povey will be competing in the Welsh Mini Masters Golf Tournament at Celtic Manor in Newport on October 28th. We wish him luck. Sammie Short continues to impress with her cricket form, taking 26 wickets to become the highest wicket taker of any Cheshire County Girls’ team.
Our Expressive Arts team have announced that ‘Les Miserables’ will be our next big production. As with ‘We Will Rock You’, performances will take place during the last week of the summer term. We look forward to another impressive display of acting, musical and dramatic talent from our students.
Friday 26th September, 2014
Earlier this week we had a staff meeting to discuss our new target setting and monitoring system for students. One of the key themes will be greater dialogue between teachers and students against a backdrop of more challenging and aspirational targets. This will be launched with all members of the school community over the next few weeks.
We had a very successful weekend at the Mold Food Festival. I received a lovely letter from one of the organisers thanking Mrs Molloy and several of our Sixth Form students for their exceptional input to the organisation and smooth running of the event. Well done to Rory Formstome-Roberts, Millie Pickering, Charlotte Hughes, Courtney Williams and Antonia Harlow. Well done also to Adam Morris and Angel Hughes for competing so well along with Adam Bakewell and Mabli Williams who both won iPads.
Well done to the Year 8 boys football team who beat Hawarden and St David’s to gain a place in the semi-finals of the Flintshire schools’ competition.
Excitement is building regarding our next musical production with an announcement from the Expressive Arts team now imminent.
We are all getting ready for our Open Evening next Wednesday. I’ll be doing an introductory talk in the School Hall at 6:30pm, repeated at 7:15pm. Large numbers of our students will be helping out and we look forward to meeting Year 5 and 6 pupils with their parents and carers. Our Open Mornings will take place on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd October. Please contact the school to book onto the 9:30am or 11:00am tours on both days.
On Thursday, we hosted forty learners from eight different schools for the annual Flintshire More Able and Talented (MAT) Wind Turbine Challenge, with twelve of the forty coming from Castell Alun. This is the second year that the event has been held here. All of the learners involved were incredibly enthusiastic and all ten teams managed to produce a working turbine. Hawarden High School took third place for their effort with first and second going to teams from Castell Alun. The day was a huge success thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the students involved and the planning put in by Mr Cummins our MAT coordinator. Mr Duffy, our Physics teacher deserves a big thank you for running the day.
Reverend Pawley popped into school on Wednesday. We have arranged for Christmas and Easter services for Years 7 and 8 to take place in St Cynfach’s Church.
Friday 19th September, 2014
On Wednesday of this week I visited Elfed School’s Careers Fair with Mr Kevin Davies and Mrs Paula Williams to promote our Sixth Form. The students we spoke to were mature, articulate and, as is always the case, will be an asset to our Sixth Form if they choose to join us at Castell Alun when they complete Year 11 in Buckley.
Yesterday I spoke with our highly successful mountain biker Simon Price from Year 10. Simon is going to Essex this weekend to represent Wales as one of a team of four U16 boys . We wish him luck.
I’m always keen to hear about our students’ wider successes and would encourage all parents and carers to let us know about anything we can celebrate further at school.
Our new prospectus has now been distributed to our local primary schools. We are delighted with the finished product and hope it captures our school well. We look forward to welcoming prospective students with parents and carers at our Open Evening on Wednesday 1st October at 6:30pm. We are also holding two Open Mornings on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd October, with tours of the school at 9:30am and 11:00am on both days. Please contact us in advance to book one of these tours.
This week has been very busy both in and out of lessons. Year 12 have completed three days of successful fieldwork in Geography. Years 7, 8 and 9 have been involved in a ‘Maths Roadshow’ in the school hall, and today we have an A level Art and Design trip out at galleries in Liverpool.
Good luck to Mabli Williams, Adam Morris, Adam Bakewell and Angel Hughes who are all competing at the Mold Food Festival this weekend.
Friday 12th September, 2014
On Wednesday evening of this week we had our Year 13 University Information Evening. This was well attended and covered many topics including the application process, and managing finances. A big thank you to Kevin Davies for organising it and to Graham Kelly and Sioned Medi Jones, our guest speakers, for their presentations.
On Tuesday morning we had our first Whole School Assembly of the year. The Sports Hall was certainly full and we had an opportunity to reflect on the fresh start a new school year brings. Thanks to Emily-Sweeney-Davies for her lovely piano recital.
The Tour of Britain cycle race passed through Caergwrle on Monday afternoon with ex Castell Alun student Rob Partridge leading in a small breakaway group of riders as they passed. We really enjoy hearing about the chosen careers of our past students and this was a very visible example of the wide and varied paths in life our young people choose to take. On the subject of cycling, well done to Simon Price, Year 10 who recently came 2nd overall in the Welsh Cycling mountain bike cross country series.
Next weekend, several of our students are competing in a Cookery competition at the Mold Food Festival. Good luck to Mabli Williams, Adam Morris, Adam Bakewell and Angel Hughes. I know Mrs. Molloy our Food Technology Subject Leader will be there to give them support from the school.
The standard of students’ uniform, behaviour and attitude has been excellent so far this term. It is very much a team effort, so I must sincerely thank parents and carers for working with us to ensure our very high expectations are met.
Friday 5th September, 2014
Our 216 Year 7 students are settling in really well this week and have made an excellent first impression. We have welcomed 147 students into Year 12, around 30 of whom have joined us from other schools. These new students have achieved some impressive GCSE outcomes and, through the Welsh Baccalaureate teamwork activities yesterday, have already integrated very smoothly into our Sixth Form.
Our results in the summer were amongst the school’s best ever. Our Year 13 achieved some exceptional outcomes, with a huge number of A and A* performances. Several students have secured places to study medicine, two are off to Oxford and many more have set themselves up for an exciting, bright and fulfilling future.
As a year group, our Year 11 students did extremely well with the pass rates at C or above in the core subjects at well over 80%. Three quarters of our students gained five or more higher grade passes including English and Maths. Also this year, we had 40 students who achieved 5 or more A or A* grades at GCSE level.
It has been a busy summer for our students with many enjoying success in sport, music, cooking and other competitions. We look forward to hearing about these achievements over the next few weeks.
During the break we have had several areas of the school re-modelled including two newly created classroom areas, and the Drama room. The main reception foyer is now a lot brighter and fresher, and hopefully even more welcoming for visitors to the school.
At the end of a busy first week, I am hugely optimistic that this year will be one of our most successful and I look forward to working with parents, Governors, and our local community in ensuring that Castell Alun goes from strength to strength.
Friday 18th July, 2014
This of course will be my last report of the school year and comes at the end of my first year as Headteacher. I must start by thanking all of our staff, students, Governors and parents for their hard work and support over the last ten months.
This week has seen four performances of We Will Rock You. Last Saturday’s show with the understudies in the lead roles was excellent and the three evening performances this week were absolutely outstanding in every respect. The quality of the music, dancing, singing, acting, technical support and organisation was quite exceptional in my view. A huge thank you goes to all involved but particularly the students who should be very proud of themselves and their contributions.
Our ‘Festival’ week has been very successful with students taking part in a huge range of projects and activities from global citizenship to ice skating, and Chester Zoo to health education. Yesterday we held our Sports Day with a considerable number of impressive individual and team performances. Thanks to all the staff involved in making the day and the week as a whole such a tremendous success.
Year 12 are on their work experience placements this week. Feedback from the teachers visiting them is very positive indeed.
Last Friday, twelve Year 9 students went to Colwyn Bay to take part in the ‘Solar Boats Challenge’. This involved the two teams designing and building a model boat that is powered only by solar panels. The students constructed the boats totally independently and raced them against schools from across North Wales. Both of our boats won the ‘best finished’ prize because of the quality of the boats and the effort the students had put into the construction.
Well done to Tom Halliday 8M who attended the International Komm Mit Football tournament in Berlin, Germany last week. His team TNS Academy U13s were invited to represent Wales. They did really well and won the main Fair Play Trophy. They met young footballers from 42 countries and it was a fantastic experience playing next to the 1936 Olympic Stadium on the historic Maifeld.
This morning we held our last whole school assembly of the year. During the assembly I was delighted to present three music awards:-
Outstanding contribution to music – Matthew Edwards (Year 13)
Most promising musician – Ella Perks (Year 8)
Musician of the Year – Rhys Jones (Year 13)
We say farewell to several members of staff this summer. Mrs. Emma Howorth is leaving her role as teacher of Art and Cover Assistant to take up teaching job at St. Brigid’s school in Denbigh. Miss Stephanie Bell is leaving after completing a maternity leave cover in the Maths Department. Miss Bell is joining the staff at Eirias High School in Colwyn Bay. Mrs. Melvina Roach is retiring from her full time role as Subject Leader of Welsh, although she is returning in September to teach on a part time basis. Mrs. Lynda Hall is retiring after 34 years at Castell Alun. During that time Mrs. Hall has held a number of roles including Head of Department and Head of Examinations and Testing. After 40 years teaching here, Mrs. Kath Williams is also calling it a day. Mrs. Williams’ roles and responsibilities have included Head of Year, PSE Coordinator and Head of Subject. We sincerely wish these valued members of staff every success in the future and hope they will all keep in touch with us.
As I mentioned last week, we are looking forward to the results’ days in August. Full details of the arrangements are available on the school website.
I hope you and your families have a relaxing and enjoyable summer.
Friday 11th July, 2014
We Will Rock You rehearsals are going really well and I can’t wait to see this first ‘understudy’ performance tomorrow (Saturday) at 1pm. Entrance is free to anyone who fancies coming along. We have our evening performances on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and a few tickets are still available. Today a special performance is being put on for our local primary school pupils.
We have lots of trips taking place at the moment. The Year 12 trip to Berlin and Krakow returned last Friday and went really well. Many Year 10 students are currently in France and having a great time. They have visited Arromanches, the American War Cemetery, and yesterday they visited Mon St. Michael. They return home later today. Our Year 7 students visited the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen yesterday following the equally successful outing of Year 12 on Wednesday. Around 40 Welsh GCSE students visited Glan Llyn for an overnight stay this week. They returned tired but happy after emersing themselves whole heartedly in the language (and Bala Lake) throughout their stay.
It might still seem a long way off, but the A Level and GCSE Results Days will soon be upon us. Further details about both days can be found on our website.
Next week will be incredibly busy with Year 12 students out on work experience and Years 7 to 10 involved in a large range of trips and activities. On Thursday, weather permitting, we will hold our Sports Day. Good luck to all the competitors. I hope the training is going well!
Our Year 7 athletics teams performed extremely well this week at the Flintshire Athletics meeting. The boys were runners up and the girls won. The following students won their events:-
Lowri Hunt – 600m, Shannon Samuel – Discus, The girls 4×100 relay team – Lowri Hunt, Lauren Wineyard, Cari Haynes & Harriet Le Tissier, Sam Williams – 600m, Sam Morris – 1200m, Stewart McHarrie – Discus, Matthew Campbell – High Jump
Congratulations also to Simon Price, Year 9, who has had a very impressive season mountain biking. Simon recently took third overall in the Welsh U16 MTB series at Nant-y-arian, near Aberystwyth.
Well done also to Lauren Stuart YR 8 who played for Penyffordd Ladies Tennis Team.
Tom Roberts, 7N has selected to be the presenter of a short film & series of episodes to be shown in the cinema. The series is called ‘Run for your life’ and he will be a chat-show style presenter and will be interviewing celebrities.
Friday 4th July, 2014
Today our new Year 7 intake are in school for their formal induction day. I met them all this morning and it was wonderful to see their excitement, energy and enthusiasm. On Wednesday evening we held our New Intake Parents’ meeting. Attendance was exceptionally high and feedback from a great many parents suggests this was a useful and informative event.
We currently have 19 students in Krakow as part of the Flintshire Music Schools tour. I hear it is going well and to have so many Castell Alun students taking part is a fantastic reflection of how talented our young musicians are.
Last week seven Performing Arts Dance students performed at the Flintshire Dance Festival. Mrs. Nesbitt tells me their input was quite exceptional. Well done indeed to Amelia Shallish, Kate Lewis, Chloe Hughes, Hayley Shaw, Nia Parry, Courteney Say and Chloe Whittle.
Yesterday (Thursday) we held our first ever Year 9 Success Afternoon. Well over 100 students were recognised for their contribution to subjects across the curriculum with 27 students receiving prizes and certificates. I was very proud of the entire year group in the way they respected and supported each other during the ceremony. We are very lucky to have so many exceptional students in our school.
The following year 9 students received Special Awards for their dedication and hard work in various subject areas throughout Key Stage 3:-
Lauren Burningham (O), Abbie Randles (N), Jamie Williams (R), Iwan Tunnah (E), Lucy Norris (R), Simon Morris (N), Heather Bunning (O), Aidan Young (U), Richard Swinburn (N), Ryan McCale (E), Michka Netting (M), Ella Mullen (M), Hannah Benjamin (N), Chloe Russell (E), Rebekah Bentley (T), Hannah Griffiths (N), Will Faragher (O), Emily Davies (M), Megan Jackson (M), Natasha Austen (T), Chelsea Darlington (N), Jack Davies (M).
Bethan Mullen, Richard Swinburn, Ellie Atherton, Katie Laws and Anna Morris were awarded prizes for outstanding attendance.
The Duke of Edinburgh expedition to the Peak District went well last weekend. A big thank you to Mr. Croasdale, Miss Bell, Mr. Duffy and Mr. Hadley for giving up their entire weekend to support this activity. I’m told the thirty students involved were a real credit to us.
The canteen are now offering a breakfast session from 8.30am to 8.45am each morning. Take up is low currently but numbers are expected to pick up as students hear about the service.
We Will Rock You tickets are now selling really well. Don’t forget to book to avoid disappointment. Rehearsals continue and a real momentum and excitement is building. The first performance is now only ten days away.
Other successes this week :-
Welsh Year 10 mock exam success – Osian Haynes, Adam Walker, Lucy Hughes, Sian Abbott, Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft, Niamh Eccleston-Tuohy, Eve Barber, Nareena Parry
Science – Completion of all BTEC Applied Science compulsory units – Eve Edwards, Madeeha Imran, Ceri McCue, Andrew Clarke, Jordan Bird (10N)
English – Hannah Spruce (Year 8) will be having her poem ‘Conflict’ published in an anthology.
Will Faragher (year 9) representing Wales for U16 Hockey against Ireland.
Dylan Williams (80) – won the high jump competition at Queensway Wrexham and as a result is now competing in Brecon in the Wales competition.
Friday 27th June, 2014
Today we have our World of Work event in the Sports Hall. I have welcomed each of the workplace representatives to Castell Alun and left a very enthusiastic Year 7 to meet them and find out about the exciting opportunities available beyond school. Other year groups will visit the event throughout the day.
Last night we had our Year 11 Prom at Chester Racecourse. It was wonderful to see the efforts the students had gone to in terms of their dresses and suits. Great food, a live band and an ice cream van all helped to make Mr. Croasdale’s and the team’s hard work worthwhile.
On Friday of last week we held our Year 13 Leavers’ Dinner at the Beaufort Park Hotel near Mold. Again, excellent organisation from Mr. Davies and his team helped to make the evening a memorable and enjoyable event.
With Year 13 and 11 now enjoying a well earned break after the stress of examinations, we look forward to result days on 14th and 21st August respectively.
All of our staff are extremely busy currently. On Sunday our Berlin – Krakow trip leaves, soon to be followed by our trip to France. The Silver Duke of Edinburgh groups also head to the Peak District this weekend for their expedition.
We Will Rock You rehearsals continue daily and an additional performance with the understudies in the lead roles has been arranged for 1pm on Saturday 12th July. Free entry, all welcome.
This morning I was delighted to welcome a large number of students from other local schools who intend to join our Sixth Form in September. I’m sure they will have a useful and informative day. On a more general note, our Sixth Form Common Room is very well used and the area is getting somewhat tired. Governors yesterday approved a significant spend on completely refurbishing this important social and relaxation space. This will be completed ready for September.
Friday 20th June, 2014
I must start by congratulating Mr David Mountfort on receiving an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. As many of you will know, Mr Mountfort retired from the position of Headteacher at Castell Alun last summer after 36 years loyal service to the school and our community. We are all delighted that his contribution to our community has been recognised in such a prestigious way.
We seem to be exceptionally busy in school at the moment with finishing off the current academic year and planning for the next one. Mrs. Davies is busy putting the final touches to our timetable for September with a few changes to the format. Our plan is to remove the majority of the ‘single’ lessons from Key Stage 3. These will be replaced by a double every fortnight instead, effectively giving us a ‘two week’ timetable.
Towards the end of last week I had the pleasure of meeting with groups of students from Years 7, 8 and 9 who have improved their skills in spelling so much that they no longer need additional support. I am really proud of their progress and wrote home to each of them to reinforce this with parents.
Our ‘We Will Rock You’ rehearsals are going well, although Mrs. Lloyd-Jones, perfectionist that she is, is still looking for further improvement in quality. I’ve managed to pop in to see them on a few occasions after school and we are all looking forward to the shows during the last week of the summer term.
On a sporting note, well done to the Year 9 boys wheelchair basketball team on winning the recent Youth Sports Festival tournament. They were undefeated in all their matches.
As part of the transition from Year 6 to 7, Miss Janice Jones has visited our local primary schools with a group of Castell Alun students. Our students have given a presentation and held a question and answer session, the idea being to give the primary school students a clearer idea of how the move to high school will go. Miss Jones tells me these visits have been really well received and that our students were a credit to us as always. Next week our local Year 6 students will be attending Castell Alun for a day of Science and Technology activities. If previous years are anything to go by, these will be highly enjoyable and educational.
Wednesday 11th June, 2014
Now that Year 11 no longer have formal lessons it is great to see so many of them coming in for the exam revision sessions. This week we have timetabled sessions in Maths, Product Design, Health and Social Care and Biology and Chemistry.
Earlier last week I attended the monthly Hope Community Council meeting. I very much appreciated the opportunity to update the Councillors on a number of matters, including the development of the school site, fundraising for the 2016 Urdd Eisteddfod in Flint and our ‘Futures First’ initiative.
Well done to the Jazz Band on their second place at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Bale during the half term break. I’m told they performed exceptionally well against some particularly strong opposition. Well done also to the Dance group and our individual competition entrants for representing Castell Alun at such a high level.
On Friday of last week it was wonderful to see so many Year 6 students from our local primary schools coming in for a singing workshop. A great day was had by all.
Year 9 enjoyed their Welsh Baccalaureate skills days last week. I was very impressed with their hard work, particularly with the Young Enterprise day event in the school hall. We certainly have plenty of business talent for the future.
The Year 7 football squad recently competed as an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team in the Flintshire ‘5 a side’ competition, organised by Everton F.C. at Deeside Leisure Centre. The ‘A’ team eventually won the competition and went on to play the next round which featured teams from Merseyside, Wirral and Southport. This round was played at Everton F.C. training ground (Finch Farm) last week. The team competed effectively winning one game and narrowly losing two games.
The Year 8 squad also competed as an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team in the Flintshire round of the 5 aside competition, with the ‘A’ team also winning. They will also play at Everton F.C. against teams from Merseyside on Wednesday 11th June. We wish them well.
Mrs. Dodson is very busy putting together the programme for the last week of the Summer Term. This will include a mix of trips, activities and Sports Day on Thursday 17th July.
Friday 30th May, 2014
On Thursday 22nd May, we had our Year 13 Leaving Ceremony. It was a truly wonderful occasion with many parents, staff and of course students in attendance. Our Guest of Honour Professor Helen James, Vice Chancellor of Glyndwr University gave a wonderful speech that was both thought provoking and inspiring. We wish all of our Upper Sixth Form Students every success in their examinations.
Our Year 11 had their Ceremony on Friday 23rd. After the fun of shirt signing in the morning the Ceremony was a most uplifting and emotional event. Our Guest of Honour Mr. Askar Sheibani gave the students plenty to think about in terms of their own futures. Year 11 are already well into their GCSE examinations and wish them well for the others that remain.
Following the appointment from within school of Mrs. Helen Wareing to the role of Subject Leader Welsh, we were delighted to appoint Miss Beth Jones to the role of KS3 Subject Leader Welsh. Miss Jones is currently Head of Welsh at Flint High School and we are certain she will make an outstanding contribution here at Castell Alun.
Good luck to the Jazz Band, Dance Group and a number of individual performers who are taking part in the Urdd Eisteddfod next week. We have our fingers crossed for well deserved success.
Friday 16th May, 2014
Mr. Croasdale and the Duke of Edinburgh team had a successful Bronze expedition last weekend. Well done to the Year 10 students involved and a huge thank you to the accompanying staff.
This morning we have had a visit from Mr. Nigel Vaughan, a senior Estyn Inspector to discuss proposals for curriculum development across Wales. Thank you to the staff and particularly the students who met with Mr. Vaughan and expressed their views so well.
The exam season is now well underway with Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 involved. All students have approached these with considerable respect and focus.
Last night the school Jazz Band performed at an ‘Eisteddfod Winners’ event in Mold. Feedback from Mr. Searson is excellent and our students excelled as always. We wish them luck as they continue to prepare for the Urdd Eisteddfod finals to be held in Bala on 30th May 2014.
Next Thursday and Friday we are holding our Leaving Ceremonies for Year 13 and Year 11 respectively. We are really looking forward to these events and, as always, parents and carers are invited to attend.
Well done to all of the students who took part in the FSAA cup Athletics at Deeside on Wednesday this week. Well done to the Junior Boys from year 7 and 8 who won their age group and also progress to the next round. Well done to the Middle Girls and Middle Boys who both came 3rd. Staff were really impressed by the many individual efforts and successes.
Our ongoing charity work is a wonderful element of school life. This week, students from Year 7 were proud to hand over a cheque for over £1300 to their chosen charity MacMillan Cancer Support. One young man had his hair shaved off in school just before Easter and raised over £400 single handedly.
Friday 9th May, 2014
Welcome to the new design of our school website, where you can keep up to date with school news and developments from home, school and via your mobile devices.
Year 11 are really focussed currently with their first external GCSE Examination on Monday. Their Leaving Ceremony will take place on Friday 23rd May at 2pm. Our Guest Speaker is Mr Askar Sheibani.
Year 12 start their study leave today and we wish them every success in the forthcoming AS examinations.
Last night I attended the Flintshire County Music School concert at Deeside Leisure Centre. It was wonderful to see so many of our students involved. It was an inspiring and uplifting evening and I am extremely proud of all of the Castell Alun musicians who were performing.
Our Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award students from Year 10 are out today and tomorrow. They have been really well prepared by Mr. Croasdale and the team and we have our fingers crossed for good weather and a successful expedition.
Year 7, 8 and 9 students have been sitting Literacy and Numeracy tests this week and have conducted themselves exceptionally well in the examination rooms. Well done indeed.
Our ‘Futures First’ initiative is now well underway and we would love to hear from any ex-students who can contribute to our school’s ongoing success. Please use the ‘Alumni’ link on the homepage.