BBC School Report 2013
Students from this school will be making the news for real on 21 March 2013 as they take part in BBC News School Report. On the day you will be able to view our videos here on this site. Please save this page as a favourite and return to it later.
Plans to help Syrian rebels
Syria is tearing itself apart. Lots of its citizens have risen up against President Asad. It is the worst rebellion since the Libyan uprising which overthrew President Gadafi.
Over the past few months, the country has been torn apart by this civil war. A number of rebel groups have been fighting with the ruling regime and even parts of the capital, Damascus, have been taken over by the rebels.Britain has been very concerned about what this uprising will do to Middle East stability.
For some time none of the western powers have been able to decide what to do, but now a coalition of USA, France and Britain are considering joining with Middle East states to support the rebels with air and naval power, plus training.
There are no plans to send in military forces.
This worrying situation has been the main item on the agenda at the United Nations for some time. It is a matter that needs to be resolved before the the crisis spills over into neighbouring states.
Letters Still Count
All too often, communication these days is electronic, rapid, instant, deletable and forgettable but letter-writing still has a place in our lives and continues to form an important part of the English curriculum. Castle School pupils recently realised just how effective and lasting good old fashioned letter-writing can be.
Write for Rights
Castle School pupils recently proved they have a strong social conscience by participating in an Amnesty International "Write for Rights" campaign.
Amnesty International is an organisation that works to defend human rights across the globe. Through peaceful letter-writing campaigns, they seek to offer a voice to those whose voice has been taken from them and to work impartially to defend the rights of those whose basic human rights are being abused or denied. Pupils from year 7 to year 11 learned about the cases of a women's rights group in Afghanistan, a peaceful protester in Egypt and families who live in slums in Kenya. They wrote messages of solidarity to those involved and also to the relevant authorities, asking for action on their behalf.
Thanks to Amnesty International, pupils were able to see a video of a young man from Africa who had been forced to work as a child soldier. This was a subject that moved them all deeply and sparked their inspiration to write to and on behalf of present-day activists.
Pupils felt proud and empowered by the belief that their voice and their letter really can make a difference. Year 7 pupils Elliot and Ffion both agreed that they felt “proud of what we had done and a bit sad to learn about people who aren't as lucky as us.”
It was amazing to see that such young pupils took an interest in sensitive political topics. Their responses were full of awareness and understanding and all staff felt proud of their contributions.
Report by Francesca, interview by Lizzie and Caitlin.
Holocaust Survivors Centre
Year 9 students have recently been studying "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" by John Boyne. This is a story of an unlikely friendship set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. The students, inspired by the novel, decided that they wished to contact Holocaust survivors and so wrote letters to the Holocaust Survivors Centre in London. They told the victims how much they admired and respected them for their bravery and asked if they would like to reply, telling them their stories about what happened to them during the Holocaust.
One of our young correspondents, Jake, received a reply from Susan Pollack, a Hungarian who survived being a slave labourer in Belsen concentration camp. “I was a living corpse,” writes Susan, “and I am so grateful to British Army for saving my life in 1945. If you are interested in this subject you can get more details on Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz from the Internet.”
Similarly, student Rosie had a reply from Eve Kugler, another child survivor of the Holocaust. “It is good that you understand how important it is for us to tell our stories.”
The students were honoured to receive such replies from survivors at the centre, who were very pleased to hear that young people were interested in their stories, as the one thing that is so vital to them is that their stories are not forgotten. The replies received were honest, emotional and tragic but pupils all agreed it was so wonderful to have made a connection with these inspirational people.
Francesca, in Year 9 said: “I felt very honoured to be able to write to the survivors. I was so pleased to get a reply and found it hard to believe what horrible times they experienced.” When asked about whether she felt this was an important project to be part of she said: “I think it is very important because we know how it is that their stories are not forgotten by our generation and the generations to come.”
Report by Rosie
Royal Celebration Marred By Tragedy.
Two major news issues have been exercising the minds of Castle School students recently and both can have a long term effect on their lifetimes.
The news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child raised not only excitement among our young people but the coverage also got them thinking about the Monarchy today.
With the possibility that this newborn will extend the accession into the 22nd Century, students asked themselves what they felt about the Monarchy and the possible alternative of a Republic.
Press coverage was generally totally supportive but tragedy intruded when the Australian DJs pulled off their prank call and indirectly led to the death of a nurse, a mother of two herself, at the hospital where the Duchess was being treated.
A mini survey of opinion among students brought some interesting results.
When 20 students were asked the Question: Do you support Britain’s Monarchy Yes or No? we received 50% Yes votes , 40% said No and 10% were undecided.
Caitlin, one of the students who conducted the poll said: “It was very interesting to gauge the reactions of our friends to the Royal news. Me? I was very excited but very sad to hear about the nurse’s death.”
Report by Hal
The students, analysing Press coverage of the Royal announcement, noticed that a number of papers gave space to Republican viewpoints and there were some critical comments as well as amusing ones about Royalty in general and the luxury lives they lead when Britain is going through an age of spending cuts.
A Free Press?
The ability of the Press to make quite strong comments reminded Castle School students that the big issue of the Leveson Inquiry into Press intrusion into the privacy of people such as Royalty and entertainment personalities.
“We wondered what Press Freedom meant and we are planning to find out more about the topic in the New Year,” said 13-year-old Joe.
During informal discussion about the Press and whether it should be regulated by Law, the Castle School family came up with some interesting observations.
Report by Zara
Children In Need – A Cause for Celebration
On a non-uniform day and undaunted by the drizzle the eighty three pupils and their staff produced a fun-packed programme to raise money for this worthy cause. Cake stalls, games tournaments, a karaoke relay and name the bear competition kept everyone busily contributing to the fund-raising in the hall, while the more hardy pupils enjoyed a football tournament in the playground with tightrope walking thrown in as an added attraction!
A BBQ made a change from the normal Friday menu and set up everybody for a mad afternoon featuring the grand finale of the day - Castle School's Got Talent, run by the dynamic Mrs Harris and judged by the “grumpy gits”, Rhianna and “Simon Bowel.”
The headteacher Mrs Letten stunned pupils and staff alike by dressing for the day as the bear-like sports teacher Mr Gareth Morgan, resplendent in fake beard and shades! We were so pleased to have a message of support from the band Stooshe who sent us a tweet and also from ITV newsreporter Lewis Vaughan Jones who sent us an email congratulating us on our fund-raising efforts. Over £400 was raised, a total we could all be very proud of.
Report by Rosie and Francesca
Castle School goes from strength to strength
Castle School continues to develop as it grows in size and capacity. The first in a series of newsletters was produced by a team drawn from the Latin group of Year 9 students.
Cosmos, with the student-chosen Latin motto of Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) was distributed at the annual Carol Concert and carried news of further classroom additions to the campus at Cresselly.
When the Autumn term began, the school welcomed 81 pupils and further newcomers have arrived since. This just three years after the school opened in 2009 with 22 students.
“With all these new students and the additional staff we require,” says Principal Mrs Harriet Harrison, “we are getting short of space. But we have bought the field next door and are planning to enlarge our accommodation in 2013.”
Already the first of several new buildings has arrived, providing an extra classroom and changing areas.
Report by news team, interview by Rosie
Castle School top stories!
• The school’s first ski trip has been arranged and some 40 students and staff will be in the Italian Alps for eight days just before Christmas. Plans are also in hand for a school trip to Kenya next year.
• The Year 10 and 11 students, apart from preparing for the run-up to GCSEs in the next few months are also getting set for their Duke of Edinburgh challenges, organised by Mrs Ruth Harris.
• Castle School’s musical ensemble under Miss Louise Rigby continues to develop and again provided entertaining music for the annual Carol Concert. Several members also gained performance grades during the term and played in county ensembles at the annual concert.
• A Year 8 team, supervised by History teacher Miss Laura Evans, were narrowly beaten to first place in the annual Police Quiz which provides a valuable test of knowledge in areas of personal safety such as knowledge of drugs and their dangers, fire safety, road safety and important age limits.
• Year 9 pupils have been asked to assist the National Trust with a project aimed at developing interesting walks for families around the Stackpole Estate on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast. The project is in partnership with the Rambling Society
• Among several new clubs started at the school, the cross country running club not only provides valuable fitness training but also qualifies as the sporting option for students working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
•As part of their Science studies, Year 11 students have been examining the way rising sea temperatures impact on rocky shore species. Led by Science teacher Mr Ben Manning, they are working with Keep Wales Tidy, the Marine Life Information Network and the Darwin Centre.
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