12 May 2023
Dear Parents, Guardians and Students/Annwyl Rieni, Gwarchodwyr a Myfyrwyr
(I digress for a moment to send a few words that are exclusively for our students…)
Dear Years 10, 11, 12 and 13
A few words from me as you go into the most important weeks of your school life so far. It has been a privilege to watch you grow into the fine set of human beings you are today. You have demonstrated the greatest resilience and character in exceptional circumstances over your time with us.
What advice can we offer for the months ahead? Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Don’t settle. Don’t be afraid to fail. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.
So, don’t worry about failures. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. You are hard-working and amazing young people. Exams are important – so work hard. But the results don’t define you. The hard work you put in defines you.
So, crash helmets on. Go get that cheese.
The examination desks are once again resuming their carefully measured positions in our Sports Hall as it is transformed into the setting for GCSE, AS and A2 examinations. Each desk is carefully laid out in accordance with the designated measurements provided by the examination board. The carpet tiles are down to absorb and reduce noise. The invigilation team are limbering up to provide tender loving care – firmly grounded in experience, and an understanding of regulations to ensure equity and fairness.
This hall will see some serious outpouring of skills, knowledge and understanding in the coming weeks, housing up to 300 students at a time for over 180 separate external examinations. It is one of multiple exam venues in our school for the coming series.
Our Examinations Officer, Mrs Wall, and her team are working tirelessly to ensure that every detail of the examination series is in place for each individual student. Every student in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 has received their examination timetable and has been provided with their exact venue and seat number in advance. Every detail is designed to allay fear and anxiety and to allow students to know where they are sitting. How we start each exam is important to ensure that everyone is calm and in control.
Timing is everything. Please make sure alarms are set. Getting to school and to the venue in good time is vital to ensure that students remain calm and in control.
At this stage, every moment and every hour of revision counts. The best way to revise is to ‘practice under pressure.’ The one way to truly test yourself at this stage is to do so under pressure. By that, I mean ‘under timed conditions.’ Can you complete a past paper in the time allocation? You don’t need to do that in one sitting. Break it down. Can you answer the first 5 questions in 20 minutes? Switch off the white noise around you for the duration of the time you have allocated for a task. Practice writing under timed conditions. Practice concentration. And breathe…
But if ‘practice under pressure’ is effective revision, how do you keep your head together under pressure? We’ve all been there. We know that feeling when you feel that your brain has literally gone blank and erased any knowledge it ever held. That feeling of sweating. You’re hot and you can’t breathe.
As a parent or member of school staff, supporting our young people through these feelings of anxiousness and stress can feel daunting. But there are several things we can do to help.
First, just being there for them helps. Having a panic attack or feeling anxious is a terrifying feeling and one that can make you feel very alone. Just being present can make a huge difference to the student. It will make them feel a little less out of control of the situation.
Reassure them that you are not going anywhere, and they are not on their own. They are safe, and we are here to help.
Second, we calmly assert control.When your heart is racing, your breathing is out of control, it is hard to feel in control of things. So we gently assert control of the situation which can feel deeply reassuring for the student. Talk in a calm, measured manner; explain simply and carefully what is happening now, what you are doing to help, and what will happen next. Reassure them that it will pass with time.
Don’t panic. Panic fuels panic so it is important that you control your own anxiety when supporting a young person. Sometimes we have to take active steps to calm down other students too, politely but firmly telling other people to move away from the student, to give them some space.
As well as asserting calm authority, we convey calm in our body language so that the student mirrors us with theirs. Breathing slowly in and out tells our bodies that we are safe which can help to calm the panic. You can proactively encourage the sufferer to breathe with you once they have calmed a little. We might count them down to breathe in through their nose for 4, and then out through their mouth for 4.
Some people find walking helpful to ease stresses, especially outdoors. But most importantly, it is really important that young people talk about how they are feeling. They will then be better able to identify how to help themselves by recognising early signs.
Breathing and hydration are key. Preparation is key. Having everything ready on the morning of an exam and making sure you have time to be in the right place at the right time.
The first examination STARTS at 8.30 am this Friday 12th May.
It is ‘all hands to the pumps’ for our invigilation teams, pastoral teams, ALN teams and SLT as we ensure that every detail is ready. Access arrangements are in place. Lunches are adjusted. Revision timetables become dynamic, and we find revision taking place at every available moment.
We wish all of our students the very best of luck and want to remind them of the many layers of support that surrounds them throughout.
In other news this week….
A cap from Max Boyce!
Our sincere congratulations go to Ben Bora in Year 11. Ben has represented Welsh Boys Clubs this year and has been heavily involved in some great victories against Bristol Bears and Gloucester. This picture shows him receiving his cap from legendary Welsh Poet Max Boyce.
Ben has trained and worked so hard on and off the field over the last 3 years . He deserves all of his success . He also recently won the coaches player of the year for the Senior Rugby Side at LHS. He has had a great season.
Also, many congratulations to Kai Schlottmann in Year 13 who won GOLD representing Great Britain in the 8 at the Munich International Regatta on the weekend. What an amazing achievement. We look forward to following your progress.
Even more Hockey Success!
Congratulations to four of our hockey superstars who played in Welsh Cup finals over the Coronation bank holiday weekend.
Amy Partridge and Molly Marston were involved in a thrilling U16 Final with Penarth just edging out Whitchurch to win the cup on Shuffles after a 2-2 draw in the game. Both girls played outstandingly well and were a credit to their teams. Amy was also involved in the U18 Final, where Penarth narrowly lost out to Swansea, again on Shuffles. A great way to win a game, but horrible to lose. Many congratulations to both girls.
Morgan Sumner and Euan James played for Whitchurch in the U18 Final against Eirias. Morgan scored early as Whitchurch raced into a 2-goal lead only for Eirias to pull a goal back and ensure it was an exciting finish to game, with Whitchurch able to hang on for the win.
Many congratulations to all four students and best wishes for the rest of the season.
On Thursday 27th April Year 12 Students attended the annual UCAS convention in the ICC in Newport. This event sees university and apprenticeship providers from all over the UK offering support and advice to prospective learners. Llanishen students had a 2-hour window to meet with providers they have been researching during registration periods. They were also able to pick up a lot of free merch, with a new addition of bucket hats this year!
To the slopes…..
A massive well done to Deacon Evans, Fin De’Ath, and Ben Pink from Year 9 who took part in the Welsh Ski series regional school event last Wednesday night. As a team they won Bronze and Deacon took Silver in the U16 boys and also the overall boys competition. An amazing team performance! Well done to you all.
Lost property update…
We currently have the displayed selection of coats, glasses, keys and purses in Lost Property (located in the Learning Support Department). If you recognise any of them, either email us on the address below or ask your child to come down to Lost Property in Learning Support to be reunited with your item: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning Support ‘Star of the Week’
Finally this week, please join me in congratulating the SOTW, Sami Karpowicz in Year 7.
Sami has made fantastic progress this term and always puts in 100% into everything he does.
He is kind, polite and very articulate.
Well done Super Sami 😀
Thank you for reading/Diolch am ddarllen,
Mrs Sarah Parry, Headteacher