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Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw pupils give presentation to Torfaen councillors

a group of school pupils
Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw pupils in the Civic Centre (Photo: Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw)

Pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw gave a presentation to Torfaen’s councillors about their work on developing their school’s values and tackling important issues.

A group from the school’s leadership team attended December’s full council meeting in the Civic Centre. Twenty-one pupils sat in the public gallery before being called up to the front of the chamber. The team have created sub-committees to tackle important issues in the school.  They took turns to talk directly to councillors about their work on topics including:

five school pupils
Pupils sat in the public gallery (Photo: Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw)

Welsh identity: They focus on Welsh pride and promoting the Welsh language through music and trips. They want to help the Welsh Government’s target of having one million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050.

Respect: They want to make sure all pupils are treated equally, treated with respect and not discriminated against.

Achievement: They are working to improve the environment in the school to find out how students can “best learn”. They are giving a questionnaire to pupils. A pupil told councillors: “It’s so there is no excuse off people to not perform at their best”.

Wellbeing of students: They have met the school chef to see how new choices can be offered in the cafe including more vegan and vegetarian options. Plus they want to reduce the amount of plastic and introduce a snack bar to help reduce lunchtime queues.

Qualifications Wales: Changes are being made to the curriculum so council members are working with a group of learners to share their views with the WJEC.

Vaping: The school council want to raise awareness among pupils and invite experts in to give talks.

Participation: Pupils recently raised £600 for Children in Need and £200 for Macmillan. They said they’re also aware of the cost of living crisis and want to support pupils by raising awareness and helping pupils not being able to afford period products.

Sustainability: A pupil said there was a lack of water fountains in the school as it wasn’t always convenient for pupils to walk to other side of the school. They also want to increase the number of recycling bins and were looking to ask the design technology department to build them to save money.

a council chamber
Pupils in the chamber doing their presentation (Photo: Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw)

They said they wanted to bring in more Welsh culture by promoting extra-curricular activities such as skateboard lessons so pupils see the language used in life and not just in learning.

After the meeting Dewi Rees, Year 11, a member of the school council and achievement committee, said: ” Attending the council meeting in the chamber at Pontypool was a privilege, not only for me but for everyone in the school council. We learned a lot about how the county operates and especially the education department. Pupils at Gwynllyw were given the opportunity to express opinions on pivotal issues and discuss the values established by the school at the beginning of the academic year.”

Jacob Simmonds, school council member, said: “The opportunity to see a council chamber in action was inspiring. We had the opportunity to give input to a conversation guiding education in Torfaen. School Council members spoke brilliantly on issues such as Welsh identity, educational achievement, health and wellbeing.

“I would like to congratulate the younger members of the council for articulating their views so clearly and maturely. I would also like to thank Miss Rogers for organising the event and Jason O’Brien from Torfaen Council for the very warm invitation.”

Councillor Richard Clark, executive member for children, families and education, added: “It’s great to see the students taking a real interest and producing innovative ideas to promote the use of the Welsh Language. I was really impressed with how each sub-committee articulated their plan of action to tackle different issues throughout the school. The power of the people’s voices is undeniable, it is key that we listen to our learners so our education provisions in Torfaen can go from strength to strength.”



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Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw pupils give presentation to Torfaen councillors