Friday 8th December 2023

Prynhawn da,

On Wednesday morning this week it was if we had invited Simon Cowell and friends into school!  During registration and period 1, all students who had made it through the qualifying rounds got the opportunity to showcase their amazing talents in front of an incredibly excited Year 7 audience.  The things that these students are able to do is simply beyond explanation!  Although there is insufficient space to describe some of the acts, it is fair to say that Seren’s dance talents were absolutely amazing and rumour has it that she is already experiencing success outside of Castell Alun in terms of qualification rounds for Britain’s Got Talent!  Oliver wowed his peers as he unicycled around a packed hall of fascinated friends, who did their best to put him off by cheering loudly!  Videos were also shown of other wonderful acts which time had prevented from being showcased on the day itself.  Diolch yn fawr to Mr. Andrew Searson, Mrs. Hannah Hughes, Miss Sharon Nesbitt and Mrs. Lisa Allen for bringing this event together so successfully and making it such good fun for everybody involved.

Late on Wednesday evening our Year 9 to 11 Aachen Christmas Market trip students returned.  Some of you may have already seen the live photo stream from Germany.  Every single student has returned to school, buzzing about their short cultural immersion in a typical German festive setting.  For a number of students, this was the first opportunity to travel abroad and each one of them embraced the challenge in their own way and benefited greatly from the experience.  Spirits were high throughout the trip, whether during the bus and ferry journeys, in resort in our student hotel, or in the market itself and surrounding shops.  So many students attempted to converse in German and it was evident that many of them made new friends also.  Diolch yn fawr to all accompanying staff, and especially trip leader Mrs. Lumsdon-Davies.  Danke schön!

At Castell Alun we have recently trained Student Wellbeing Ambassadors.  In an initiative run by students, for students, our ambassadors come from Years 10 to 13 and they have been introducing themselves in year group assemblies over the past couple of weeks.  Great interest has been shown by students across the school, but especially those in Years 7 to 9 to date.  The aim is to support students and give them a safe space to talk and relax as well as signposting them to additional support networks and there is a drop-in session with other activities also provided in M23 each week for each year group.  Our Ambassadors will wear a green pin around school and will conduct their work under the watchful eye of Mrs. Amy Gossling.

Our Year 12 and 13 students began their Sixth Form trial exams yesterday.  Although not an occasion most would look forward to, these mocks do provide a valuable experience and platform for determining progress to date against examination board specifications… And they will be over well before Christmas so that everybody can get the break that they will need!  Pob luc pawb

In sporting news this week, the Flintshire Cross Country saw a number of successes for our students.  The results were as follows – Year 7 girls -1st, Year 7 boys – 2nd, Year 8 and 9 girls 3rd, Year 8 and 9 boys 4th, Year 10 and 11 girls – 3rd, Year 10 and 11 boys – 1st.   The following students deserve particular congratulations as they have been selected to run for Flintshire in the North East Wales round on the 14th December – Bethan, Megan, Samuel, Dylan, Seb (all Year 7) Evie (Year 8), Jenna (Year 10), Milo, Tom and Harry (all Year 11).  We are very proud of each and every one of you for your participation in this event.

It is heartwarming to know that our Sixth Form students have now collected over 150 selection boxes for the Flintshire Foodbank and genuinely recognise that these treats will be a blessing to those who are perhaps less fortunate over the festive period.  Diolch yn fawr Years 12 and 13.

On Tuesday 19th December we will hold our highly acclaimed Christmas Concert and showcase further talents at Castell Alun whilst celebrating Christmas together.  Doors will open at 6.30pm and the concert will commence at 7pm.  Tickets may be purchased via the school gateway app at a cost of £4 per person and this will also include refreshments.

Also, next week our Year 10 students will enter the ‘Dragon’s Den; on Monday, where they will pitch their ideas in small groups to interested local business people.  This is part of their Skills Challenge and it is always interesting to see which students exhibit a genuine entrepreneurial flair.  However, presentation skills are also incredibly important in the students’ development and we deliberately nurture these with a view to assisting students as they one day look to the world of work themselves.

On Tuesday, our Year 7 students will be accompanied to Hope Parish Church for their annual Christmas Service during which some of our students will ring the bells, perform readings and sing in a musical item.  We are very grateful to Father Paul Wheelar and all of our friends at the Church.  On Thursday, Year 7 students will go on the pantomime trip also as we build up towards Christmas.  As you can imagine, there is great excitement amongst Year 7 at present!

Please be so good as to inform former Year 11 and Year 13 students that they are invited to Castell Alun on Wednesday 20th December to collect their certificates, between 9.30am and 12 noon.  If they are not able to collect their certificates personally, then a friend or family member can collect them on their behalf, providing they have a letter of authorisation from the person named on the certificates.  It is really important to collect these certificates, as they may be required for future job interviews and university or training courses.

Have a lovely weekend/ cael penwythnos hyfryd