The RP Weekly: 10 December 2021
One of the real benefits of a Rydal Penrhos education is the pupil-centred approach that focuses on each individual, their specific strengths and...
The RP Weekly
10 December 2021
Strong commitment remains
One of the real benefits of a Rydal Penrhos education is the pupil-centred approach that focuses on each individual, their specific strengths and nurturing passions that inspires them to exceptional progress academically and throughout a diverse range of extra-curricular activities.
Not only has this brought superb examination results and high value-added scores in recent years, but this ethos also enables our teachers to give more attention to our pupils on a day-to-day basis, develop their strengths and offer individualised methods to suit different personalities across all year groups at the school.
Rydal Penrhos’ dedicated teaching staff leave no stone unturned when it comes to the progression of the pupils under their care. This is done by a diverse and inspiring curriculum, consistent progress and monitoring reports and a safe environment that allows them to be happy and thrive among their peers.
This caring and thorough approach to education has seen an increase in pupil numbers over the last 18 months, a testament to ensuring that educational standards remained of the highest standard even with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the subsequent online provision that came following a swift response to an ever-changing situation from the school.
Despite this increase, the school’s Governing Body and Senior Leadership Team continue to ensure the close bond between teachers and pupils that really sets us apart remains. This is done by a pupil-teacher ratio never goes above 10:1, which is double the number of teachers per pupil than normally applies throughout Wales.
Furthermore, improvements to the school’s salary structure and a new training programme has enhanced staff recruitment and has contributed to the rise in pupil outcomes.
Julian Barnes, who is the school’s Chair of Governors, said: “Rydal Penrhos has experienced a significant increase in the pupil roll over the past 18 months.
“It is the strong view of the Governing Board and leadership of the school – shared by parents, I believe – that the quality of teaching is the most significant factor in a pupil’s development within the school.”
Matilda the Musical Jr.
Jaw-dropping spectacle wows audiences
After weeks of preparation and hard work, the Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society finally made their triumphant return to the stage for their annual production of Matilda the Musical Jr.
This was the first time our aspiring performing artists have been able to put on a show of this magnitude since Les Miserables in 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it was well worth the wait.
From the performers to the staff and the tech team, everyone involved gave their absolute all and produced a production of the highest quality, which further adds to the school’s rich and proud history of Dramatic Society performances over the years.
Performing on stage in front of so many people can be a daunting prospect. However, each pupil involved was supported exceptionally by the staff involved, with former Head of Drama Denis Lavin also lending his expert guidance throughout the rehearsal process.
Their efforts were reflected over a sensational three-night period, which wowed those in attendance and came with glowing praise on social media following each show.
GALLERY: Matilda the Musical Jr.
Pete Williams, who is the school’s Director of Music, also outlined his gratitude to the Matilda the Musical Jr. cast, whose flamboyance and poise under the spotlights shone through during a production that will live long in the memory.
Mr Williams, said: “This was an incredible production and one I was very proud to be a part of. Our pupils deserve all the credit for putting in the work alongside their studies, with the tech team’s efforts behind the scenes also deserving of huge recognition.
“Rydal Penrhos is proud of the performing arts, implementing this into the curriculum and throughout our extra-curricular provision. I’ve been lucky to be involved in some remarkable productions during my time at the school and this was another one that filled me and the entire staff team with a real sense of pride.”
Matilda the Musical Jr. Programme
On behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos, we would like to congratulate the entire Dramatic Society on an amazing week. Your dedication, passion and performances on stage were truly astonishing and you are all thoroughly deserving of the plaudits coming your way!
Booking open for 2022 event
Rydal Penrhos warmly invites you to attend its 2022 Assessment Day, which is for all year groups and will take place on Saturday 22 January 2022 from 9am.
This is for any child looking to join Rydal Penrhos for September 2022 entry and the Assessment Day will all be conducted with consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols at the time.
This will be open to external families looking to join the Rydal Penrhos community from September 2022 across Years 7-13.
Academic scholarship premiums are available in Years 7-12 for anyone that demonstrates potential from their Cognitive Abilities Test and during an interview with a senior staff member.
The school is offering several Fully Funded Places for Year 7 and Year 12 entry in 2022, which is a means-tested scheme that has proven hugely popular since the initiative was launched.
Occasionally Fully Funded places are available in other year groups.
All applications must be in by Friday 14 January 2022.
It is an enormously exciting time to join the Rydal Penrhos family. The school achieved historic results at A Level and GCSE this summer, which also came with some truly exceptional value-added scores.
This added to the rich history of academic achievements throughout Rydal Penrhos’ illustrious history, which is coupled with an outstanding extra-curricular provision from Pre-School to Year 13.
Here is a more in-depth look at the initiatives available for incoming pupils.
Academic Scholarship Premiums
Academic scholarship premiums may be awarded to children on entry to any academic year (from Year 7 upwards).
These scholarship premiums are open to pupils already within the school and those joining the school and are based on clear testing/results and interviews. There is no limit to the number of these awards. These awards are not means-tested and the reward is the title of scholar and also a £500 contribution each year for the pupil from the school to further their academic studies through the purchase of books etc.
A mentor will be attached to the pupil for this purpose and would meet half termly to discuss progress in that area and help the money be spent wisely and appropriately.
Art, Drama, Sport and Music scholarship premiums may also be awarded to pupils with “exceptional talent” at any point during their senior school years. They do not require an application.
Rydal Penrhos offers fully-funded places based on academic ability and financial eligibility. Occasionally, the number of places in Year 7 and 12 may increase, or the scheme may become available for entrants into other academic year groups.
The Year 7 places are awarded based on school reports, a Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) and an interview with a senior staff member.
These are means-tested awards, intended as an “opportunity” for a bright child or young person residing in North Wales who is currently being educated within the state school system.
The scheme is transparent and is based on financial criteria.
Eligible candidates are part of a financial assessment which only considers families in which family income is less than £35,000 per annum and there are no other significant assets that could be monetised.
An external assessor carries out a thorough assessment, including publicly available data that is not part of the submission and carries out a home visit to establish the family’s suitability for the award.
Once a candidate is awarded a place, they will have it until they leave at the end of Year 13 assuming they continue to be an exemplary member of the Rydal Penrhos community and are not subject to a significant change in circumstances.
Anyone wishing to register can do so by emailing email@example.com, calling 01492 530155 or using the online form which can be located at this link.
Christmas at the Prep
Fun-filled activities aplenty!
Rydal Penrhos is always a busy and exciting place at this time of year. Pupils are gearing up for their well-deserved break, with mock examinations taking place for the older pupils and numerous events and activities scheduled school wide to make sure the community is full of festive spirit this Advent season.
At the Prep the school’s dedicated staff team have devised plenty of fun-filled activities to go alongside their usual day-to-day curriculum, something that will continue over the next two weeks before Rydal Penrhos’ official end of term service on Friday 17 December.
Rydal Penrhos Pre-School
Pre-School children have thrown themselves into recent Christmas-related activities with tremendous enthusiasm – supervised in exemplary fashion by qualified staff who are there to provide support and assistance with every step.
The Christmas craft sessions have proven most popular, with the children also getting the opportunity to enhance imagination with role play in Santa’s Grotto.
They have even watched Father Christmas live from the North Pole thanks to modern technology.
Miss Spencer, who is Rydal Penrhos’ Pre-School manager, said: “It’s been lovely seeing the children dancing around singing to Christmas songs and getting into the Christmas spirit.”
Christmas Trees are now up!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without putting up the trees.
Pupils and staff took time out of their busy schedules to decorate their very own trees in class, which will take pride of place for the next fortnight before the school breaks up for the festive period.
Rydal Penrhos inter-house paper-chain making competition
Great fun was had by all pupils that were involved in the inter-house paper-chain making competition. They worked incredibly hard together to design and construct their creations, which brought some absolutely stunning results.
After a rousing effort from pupils and staff alike, 163 metres of paper-chain was made in just 30 minutes, using only recycled paper as part of the school’s ongoing environmentally conscious approach to learning.
Lighting the Advent candle
Tilly helped the school’s Chaplin – the Rev’d Dr Rob Beamish – to light the first Advent candle on the wreath last week to mark the official countdown to Christmas getting underway.
Rydal Penrhos Prep has focused its daily assemblies on the traditional Christmas Story, its significance and why it remains an important part of modern-day life.
Brecon crowned Prep Inter-House Champions!
One of the most competitive events on the sporting calendar was held recently as Year 3-6 pupils took to the school’s plateau for Rydal Penrhos’ annual Prep Inter-House Cross-Country Championships.
This was a fantastic display of camaraderie and spirit, with everyone involved giving their absolute all in pursuit of winning some valuable points for their houses.
House spirit is something our pupils take a great deal of pride in. Something that saw plenty of encouragement and commitment during the races across the testing cross-country course.
In the Year 3 competition, Jack B-F took home the first boy for Snowdon House, with Phoebe J crossing the line in first place for Pembroke in the girls’ category.
A hugely competitive Year 4 event saw Hannah P emerge victorious from the girls’ event and Toby E of Brecon dug deep en route to a first-place finish in the boys’ competition.
Ella C’s outstanding contribution saw her take the plaudits in the Year 5 girls’ race, with Archie-Glyn C tackling the course with aplomb to become the top boy in the same year group.
All eyes were on the Year 6 race thereafter, with the Head Boy and Girl team of Oscar J and Ella P finishing first in the boys and girls races respectively.
Oscar J also came away with the fastest time of eight minutes, 58 seconds, which is slightly lower than the course record of eight minutes, 24 seconds set in 2018.
This year’s Endeavour Award went to Year 6 pupil Steffan A for consistent improvement across the term and excellent performance on the day.
GALLERY: Rydal Penrhos Prep Inter-House Cross-Country Championships 2021
After the final points were tallied, Brecon House came away as champions after winning three of the four Year group categories, with Snowdon coming in second and Pembroke in third.
A huge well done to everyone for their outstanding performances. Congratulations also go to the individual winners and Brecon on their overall triumph.
Angel Workshops ignite creativity
Creating art expands a child’s ability to interact with the world around them, and provides a new set of skills for self-expression and communication.
This is something that is recognised at Rydal Penrhos across every year group, with the subject playing a pivotal role in early development and many going on to achieve superb examination results at both A Level and GCSE.
Not only does art help to develop the brain, but it also cultivates important skills that go far beyond the tangible statistics measured by studies. Curiosity, imagination and expression are at the centre of this and the school endeavours to maximise each pupil’s artistic prowess and build these areas that eventually become transferable skills across a variety of subjects.
Through self-expression and creativity, skills will develop naturally, with teaching staff Mr Sherrington and Mrs Morris doing an incredible job of inspiring, guiding and nurturing pupils throughout their time at Rydal Penrhos.
Becoming artistic and creative is especially evident at this time of year at the Prep. There is an extra sense of colour and festiveness in the air during the Christmas period, with teaching staff putting together an entertaining schedule of activities alongside the usual curriculum over the next fortnight before the well-deserved end-of-term break.
One of the most popular activities happens in the school’s incredible Art Room. Mrs Morris has been overseeing the annual Angel Workshop, where pupils get the opportunity to create their very own pieces that will be on full display during Rydal Penrhos’ Carol Service and End of Term Service next week.
There have been some incredible Angels already produced, with pupils given the freedom to choose their own themes under Mrs Morris’ supervision.
The NHS has featured prominently due to their incredible efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with more festive themes also coming to the fore with the vast array of materials provided. There will also be a special workshop for Rydal Penrhos staff to get involved this week.
Great work, everyone. We cannot wait to see St John’s Church decorated with your amazing angels.
U11 squad take part in first fixtures for 2 years
It’s been fantastic to see our young pupils getting back into the swing of sporting fixtures during the academic year so far.
The recent COVID-19 restrictions meant little in the way of competitive action was able to take place in 2020/21, although Rydal Penrhos pupils were still able to develop their respective skills during coaching sessions with the school’s dedicated staff team.
Football is a sport that’s increasing in popularity across Rydal Penrhos. Extra-curricular sessions for Years 7-13 gained a tremendous response and this is a similar situation at the Prep for pupils looking to follow in the footsteps of their footballing heroes.
The school’s U11 squad were able to participate in their first fixtures for two years recently, which began with two separate games against Ysgol Bod Alaw and gave some pupils a chance to represent Rydal Penrhos for the first time.
It was an encouraging return to action overall, with Ethan P and Charlie both performing well during the games, which were played in the right spirit by everyone involved.
This stood the squad in good stead ahead of their trip to Myddelton College, which saw a tremendous display of attacking prowess en route to a comfortable victory.
Prep Head Boy Oscar J was at the heart of the midfield action, setting the tempo on and off the ball and displaying exceptional work ethic and leadership to drive Rydal Penrhos to success.
Another standout from the game was Oscar K-E, who marshalled the defence superbly as every pupil played their part in a confidence-boosting win on their travels.
We would like to congratulate each member of the U11 football team for their effort, teamwork and representing Rydal Penrhos in an exemplary fashion. Well done, everyone!
App now live!
We are always looking at ways to improve communication with parents and with this in mind, we have now implemented the new digital platform for parents, staff and pupils.
The school has decided to move forward with “Schools Buddy”, which will be live by midnight on Friday 10 December for parents, pupils and staff to familiarise themselves with.
We would encourage parents to log in to SchoolsBuddy as soon as possible and to flag up any access issues by email at either:
Pre-School to Year 6: firstname.lastname@example.org
Years 7 to Year 13: email@example.com
This easy-to-use app will be used to book extra-curricular activities, transport, wraparound care including hot teas, and holiday club. It will also be the place to check on sporting fixtures and team line-ups throughout the academic year.
Activities for next term will be made live and be available for sign-up from 4pm on Tuesday 14 December.
There is also helpful advice to get started at this link: https://help.managebac.com/hc/en-us/sections/360008432491-Parent-Help, and this will be on the Schools Buddy app’s welcome page over the next fortnight.
Subjects combine for innovative project
Our teaching staff at Rydal Penrhos are always coming up with new ways to inspire pupils, help them build additional knowledge and enhance key skills that stand them in good stead throughout their education.
This is something that’s prevalent on a daily basis during both academic and practical tasks as part of the school’s thriving curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
This is proven to boost the overall development of each pupil learning at the school under the supervision of staff. And in this latest example, two subjects combined for a special project that brought some truly exceptional results that were delicious and intricate in equal measure.
Mr Mark Harmsworth works within Rydal Penrhos’ Food Studies and Design Technology departments. His vision and creativity are a massive asset to the school and this particular project – with a local theme – brought the very best out of the pupils under his tutelage.
First, pupils were tasked with creating a map of Wales using wood within the outstanding Design Technology department. This was accomplished by creating a template and then producing the map on the school’s new CNC Router.
A CNC Router is a Computer Numerical Controlled machine that performs cutting and shaping operations by controlling a high-speed rotating cutter with computer programming.
Routers can cut a wide range of materials, including plastics, woods, carbon fibre, and light metals such as aluminium, among others.
The next stage of the project transpired within the Food Studies room, with pupils putting their culinary skills to the test by making rum and raisin cranberry fudge, which was then placed on the Welsh map for presentation purposes.
Not only did it look fabulous, but the fudge also passed the taste test with flying colours!
Just another prime example of the wonderful things happening at Rydal Penrhos and something our teaching staff are constantly striving to achieve. Well done to Mr Harmsworth and all the pupils involved.
Prep Inter-House Cross-Country Championships
One of the highlights of the sporting calendar took place at Rydal Penrhos recently, with pupils in Years 3-6 testing their mettle at the Prep Inter-House Cross-Country Championships.
This event saw eager runners tackle the school’s testing course across the Plateau, something which they managed to accomplish in impressive fashion en route to securing valuable points for their respective houses.
It was fantastic to see such a heart-warming atmosphere, with pupils across every year group involved giving their all and encouraging others throughout. A true sign of community spirit that is evident on a daily basis at Rydal Penrhos.
Conditions were cold but thankfully there was no rain to mark the occasion, although things were quite muddy for our pupils across the course.
Testing their limits in and out of the classroom gives pupils confidence and improved self-esteem. Not only this, but they take a significant amount of pride from their accomplishments and development outside of their comfort zone.
A huge well done to everyone involved on your exceptional commitment. Full results will be published later this week and here is a mammoth gallery from the cross-country championships.
VIEW A FULL GALLERY HERE
Putting the Community back in Choir
Formerly an Organ Scholar at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral and Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Asaph Cathedral, Mr Alan McGuinness was appointed to the Rydal Penrhos Music Department last year and is also tasked with running the relaunch of the school's Community Choir.
The much-loved Choir was set up in 2013 to bring together the voices of our parents, former pupils, staff, and friends. It rehearses weekly and plans are being formed to organise concerts throughout the year to raise money for local and national causes.
To date, the choir have raised more than £8,000 for charity.
In celebration of this news, Brian Kay, who attended Rydal School from 1953-63, shared his experiences as a respected choirmaster for the latest edition of the digital Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter.
"Those long months of lockdown have created a whole host of problems for us all and for me, as a choral and orchestral conductor, they have been deeply frustrating.
"Not being able to sing in a choir or play in an orchestra – two of life’s most enriching activities – has taken away a particular pleasure that adds so much to our quality and enjoyment of life. It’s only when something like this is taken away from us that we realise how very important it is.
"My own 100-strong choir in my Cotswold home town of Burford is back in business and with 18 months of gossip to catch up on, there’s hardly been time to sing!
"I can only hope that singing and playing at Rydal Penrhos is back with a vengeance. After all, I owe my long life of amateur and professional music-making to my time at Rydal School, where the seeds were sown by the boundless enthusiasm and guidance of Director of Music Percy Heywood.
"It was he who first introduced me to so many great choral works which have formed the backbone of my life’s work and I never stop thanking my lucky stars – and Percy – and Rydal Penrhos – for laying such a positive foundation.
"If you’ve never joined in the singing, give it a go – it’ll change your life. And do come and join us as The Really Big Chorus leaps back into action after the pandemic."
Brian Kay (Prep School, School House, Trojan, 53–63)
The Community Choir is not the only choir rehearsing in Rydal Penrhos – since September this year, the Memorial Hall has also housed a new group, Choirs For Good, which was set up to bring group singing across local communities.
Rehearsals began on Monday 8 November, from 6.30pm until 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall. Tea and coffee are provided, and the Community Choir sing music in a variety of choral styles.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join.
Stars of the Week
Stars of the Week
Reception – Sebastian
Year 1 – James and Henry
Year 2 – Eleanor and Tilly
Year 3 – Hania
Year 4 – Svaksh
Year 5 – Ella FW
Year 6 – Seren
Performers of the Week
Isabella and Pearl singing 'Little Donkey'
Brecon House won the Cross Country. Pictured: Finlay, the Brecon House Captain, with the Year group winners and Steffan, winner of the Endeavour Award.