Headteacher’s Blog: “A Successful Term in Review” (Oct. 2022)

I am delighted to have become the new Headteacher of Cyfarthfa High School and look forward to a rewarding and successful future for the school built on the achievements of the past.

During my first full term in the post, I have been very impressed by the wealth of activities taking place right across the school. It is also admirable to see such a range of achievements, from sporting and academic success to personal accomplishments. Collectively they show how our students are developing into fully rounded, confident and creative adults who aspire to be the very best of themselves.

It is important that Cyfarthfa High School raises its profile within the community by participating in regional events. I was particularly pleased to see the active role our students took in the Merthyr Tydfil Remembrance Services to Her Majesty the Queen.

Students remembered our longest serving monarch in many different ways. Particular recognition to Ffion Westwater who was awarded a commemorative medal from the Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil after designing an imaginative Book of Condolence in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

During the same week we received a visit from BBC Wales journalists who wanted our students’ opinions on the passing of the monarch and the transition of King Charles III.

While community is important to us at Cyfarthfa but equally as important is the global links our school continues to make with other staff and students around the world. Thanks to the work of International Schools, a group of our staff were able to spend time with their contemporaries in a school in Turkey. Together they learned more about the differing ways-of-life while also sharing best practice and ideas around lesson planning and teaching. We look forward to the next opportunity for our students to embark on a journey of their own ad learn more about the lives and cultures of other countries. We particularly look forward to welcoming our guests from Ohio, USA, following the visit of our students stateside earlier this year.

Staff were praised for the support that our school offers students whose parents are either serving or have served with the British armed forces. The SSCE Cymru Armed Forces Friendly Schools initiative presented staff with Bronze Award – the first school in Merthyr Tydfil Borough to attain this level of recognition. The certificate of achievement was received due to the level of support and the range of activities offered to eligible students.

A group of our year 10 and 11 students enjoyed an informative day touring Cambridge University. Colleges provided them with important information on A-level choices, and courses of study available before giving them a taster of life as a university student. Similarly, students spent a memorable day at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It was good for them to explore the Creative Careers Fair and workshops.

I am very much aware of the various sporting achievements of our students, particularly as many of them play at all levels of team sport locally, whether it be rugby, football, netball etc. Similarly, our own school teams remain active with training and games on a frequent basis which is incredibly important to the development of our students.

Many congratulations to all those who participated in Lawrence Dallaglio RugbyWorks, an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, through which the aim is to get students into sustained education, employment or training courses. Six female students received their certificates while Livvie Cleaver was named as the champion player at the competition.

We are also very proud of the sporting prowess of Ethan Griffiths who finished third overall in the Ultimate Karting Championship and 12th in the British Kart Championship.

The success of karate in Cyfarthfa High School is admirable with Millie Taylor, Logan Howe, Harrison Jones, Alex Lawrence and Nia Bow all achieving great success. There are many championships amongst the team, but recently Alex has gone to represent Wales in Turkey in the WKF Cadet, Junior and U21 World Championships. Three out of the five fighters, Logan, Alex and Nia are also going to Macedonia to represent Wales in the 47th European Wado-Kai Cup. We wish them all the success they deserve.

I am delighted to see the impact that the introduction of new teachers is having on the school and how they bring new ideas and methods to the classroom. It is reassuring to see them blend into the staffing structure of the school while also bringing some innovative and inspiring skills for the benefit of our students. This year’s transition exercises are already benefitting the next cohort of students coming to Cyfarthfa High from our partner primary schools. Allowing them the opportunity to experience time with the Cyfarthfa family is an ideal opportunity for them to learn about their new environment when they make th transition next year.

This is an exciting time for Cyfarthfa High School and I look forward to seeing it continue to flourish as a first-class education provider in south Wales.
Lyndon Brennan