The RP Weekly: 12 February 2021
The digital weekly newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
12 February 2021
Application deadline next week
Assessment Day - Saturday 6 March
Any pupils looking to join the school from September 2021 in Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 and 12 can attend the Assessment Day, which has been re-scheduled for Saturday 6 March from 9am from the initial date of Saturday 6 February.
The school is offering two free day places for Year 7, 10 and 12 entry in 2021, these are means-tested and are open to academically able pupils who are presently state educated in North Wales and whose family income is less than £35,000 per annum. For full details please see our website.
All applications must be in by Friday 19 February.
To book your place:
Call: 01492 530155
Noah's ABRSM grading triumph!
Noah Roberts, Year 6, has been busy combining his online learning with building up his musical skills with tutor Cheryl Frost in pursuit of attaining more individual accolades from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Head Boy Noah recently participated in his Grade 3 Piano assessment, which involved a significant amount of preparation over the Christmas holiday.
The ABRSM introduced a new set of performance exams recently to ensure pupils continued to progress despite the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19. This involves candidates choosing several pieces to play, a few from the exam repertoire and one ‘own choice’ providing it’s the grade standard of the exam.
After much deliberation, Noah decided on the following:
Bransle de la torche by Praetorius
Prelude by Reinecke.
Wouldn’t it be loverly from My Fair Lady Hedwigs theme by John Williams.
To be successful in this exam, Noah had to video record all his pieces consecutively, introducing himself and explaining which pieces he was going to play, which is difficult to do in one recording.
He then submitted this to the ABRSM, where the examiners marked the video remotely.
As a result of his outstanding effort, Noah gained a distinction, which represents a significant achievement for the pupil thanks to the unprecedented circumstances.
This was the second such success for Noah in recent months, with the pupil also securing a distinction in his face-to-face Saxophone examination in December.
He was taught throughout the process by Melanie Cross and accompanied by Mrs Frost at the exam centre before lockdown.
Noah has been an exemplary member of the Rydal Penrhos community throughout his time at the Prep School. He is a strong role model for younger pupils and has thrived with some extra responsibility on his shoulders after securing the role of Head Boy.
Vanessa offered place at a prestigious university in the United States
Vanessa Ma, recently received the good news of a place to study History and Politics at Northwestern University, which is situated in Illinois and was ranked No 9 in the country last year, higher than some of the eight Ivy League colleges across the U.S.
It is a significant achievement for the Sixth Former and one that everyone at Rydal Penrhos is enormously proud of. She is currently studying Mathematics, History, Physics and Geography at A Level and has demonstrated an exceptional willingness to learn and a great work ethic.
She arrived at Rydal Penrhos as a Year 10 pupil in 2017 as has developed her academic skills considerably under the guidance, care and dedication of the school’s exceptional teaching staff.
This culminated in some outstanding GCSE results before the start of Vanessa’s Sixth Form journey, which included 9’s in Business, Chinese, English Literature, French and Mathematics, three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, two 8 marks in History and Religious Studies and a distinction in Additional Mathematics.
It’s no surprise to see Vanessa taking her passion for History on to higher education across the pond. She outshone thousands of other entries to earn a shortlisting in the John Locke History Essay prize last year, which is an annual event put on by the University of Oxford.
Not only was Vanessa shortlisted for the award, but the pupil also managed to attain a high commendation mark, which was just below the three essays that were chosen for the cash prizes after examining “the number of people currently incarcerated in American prisons” as the topic for her essay.
She has made a lasting impression during her time at Rydal Penrhos and although we will be sad to see her leave, we could not be prouder of Vannessa’s accomplishment in achieving her first-choice university later this year and wish her the very best of luck on the next stage of her journey.
Pupils stay inspired during lockdown
Getting the most out of each pupil’s education is something that has been the cornerstone of Rydal Penrhos’ success throughout history. Examination results and “value-added” scores remain incredibly high and this is a testament to the school’s incredible teaching staff going the extra mile to ensure every individual’s goals are met.
This has been in full effect over the last 12 months, for obvious reasons. COVID-19 and the two educational lockdowns have forced a “new normal” and a significant adjustment from every single member of the Rydal Penrhos community in the most unprecedented of times.
Staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure no pupil suffers a substantial loss of learning, producing a strong, diverse online provision coupled with exceptional support and guidance along the way to maintain academic standards and wellbeing.
This is no more evident than within the Art department, with both Prep and Senior pupils taking part in a wide range of interesting projects since the New Year that enhance creativity and expression when it is needed more than ever.
Teacher Suzy Morris and Head of Art Mark Sherrington have been at the heart of this, leaving no stone unturned with passionate teaching and leadership that has been prevalent throughout their respective tenures at the school.
Art is a great release for pupils with so much uncertainty surrounding them. It allows them to escape from their usual academic stresses and improve elements such as self-confidence and self-understanding, communication skills and cognition.
Mrs Morris has been hugely complimentary of the pupils’ application and commitment to each project thrown their way, which has included everything from optical illusions, portraits, face drawings and flower sketches across all year groups.
"They have all worked incredibly hard and produced some really beautiful pieces. A real pleasure to teach."
Hopefully, things can return to some semblance or normality soon. But pupils and parents associated with Rydal Penrhos can rest assured the school will maintain the highest educational standards for however much longer learning from home is implemented by the Welsh Government.
We are enormously proud of the entire school community for their exceptional commitment over the last year. They have been a credit to themselves and all at Rydal Penrhos and this will guarantee they can hit the ground running when face-to-face classes resume.
Year 8 explore the Fibonacci sequence
One of the world’s brightest-ever minds was the topic of discussion for a group of Rydal Penrhos senior school pupils during a recent mathematics project.
The enthusiastic Year 8 contingent were given a thought-provoking task by Andy Thomas, director of teaching and learning who specialises in the field of Mathematics, surrounding Fibonacci – an Italian mathematician who is responsible for popularising the Hindu–Arabic numeral system in the Western world.
Mr Thomas’ instructions were simple – write an essay, create a Powerpoint or a short movie on the Fibonacci sequence, which is a set of numbers that starts with a one or a zero, followed by a one, and proceeds based on the rule that each number (called a Fibonacci number) is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers.
For example… F (0) = 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 … In some texts, it is customary to use n = 1.
This was part of their learning surrounding different sequences as part of their online learning during the second educational lockdown, which has been met with a significantly positive response from the entire Rydal Penrhos community to ensure that individual goals remain on track despite the uncertain climate.
Not only did the project involve plenty of individual research on the leading figure in Mathematics, but it also provoked some exceptional discussion from Year 8 during their Microsoft Teams lessons throughout the week.
There were some outstanding final submissions on the Fibonacci sequence, with this video from David Tate among the highlights.
While this series of numbers from this simple brain teaser known as the Fibonacci sequence may seem inconsequential, it has been rediscovered in an astonishing variety of forms, from branches of advanced mathematics to applications in computer science, statistics, nature, and agile development.
Mr Thomas was thoroughly impressed with the application and work ethic from each pupil involved, which is a testament to the way they’ve all approached this spell of online learning and is going to benefit them considerably once the Welsh Government gives the green light for a return to Rydal Penrhos.
Speech & Drama
Exceptional LAMDA examination results
Rydal Penrhos offers a fantastic Performing Arts provision that gives both Prep and Senior pupils a chance to boost various skills outside of their normal classroom environment.
Traits such as self-confidence, speaking in front of a crowd, and expressing themselves are all key components they can take with them into later life. But those involved with the school’s Speech and Drama programme also get the chance to gain some additional qualifications along the way.
Pupils work hard throughout the academic year for examinations run by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Grade 8 is the most prestigious accolade that can be achieved and was recently achieved to 2020 leaver Amy Yue, who has since gone on to secure her place at Goldsmith’s in London to study the Dramatic Arts.
Preparation for the latest batch of LAMDA assessments was significantly hampered by the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, but pupils and staff tackled the changes and adapted superbly throughout the process, which brought around some truly outstanding results once again.
Leading the way this time was another of Rydal Penrhos’ class of 2020 – Harry Hackman – who capped off a remarkable set of achievements by attaining a Distinction in his LAMDA Level 3 Certificate in Performance (Grade 8) – achieving a fantastic score of 87 as a result of his outstanding commitment.
Another notable achievement came from current Year 12 pupil Darcie Harker-Weston, who also secured a Distinction from her Grade 7 LAMDA assessment with an eye-catching final mark of 88.
Tristan Martin produced an exceptional performance in front of adjudicators during his Acting Grade 6 Bronze Medal (Solo) – which culminated in the pupil gaining a Distinction and an extraordinary 96 mark.
Emily Jones and Jack Yelland worked incredibly hard in the lead-up to their LAMDA Level 2 Award in Performance (Grade 5) under the expert guidance of Mrs Bloomfield, with both coming through their assessments with flying colours on their way to a Distinction and Merit respectively.
However, it wasn’t just individual performances that gained the plaudits from LAMDA assessors.
The talented quartet of Eve Durrans, Ada Vonbank, Ruby Merrick and Lily Davies shone in their Grade 4 Group Performance examination, which brought another Distinction with a score of 86 for a set of pupils who have developed their skills considerably since arriving at Rydal Penrhos senior school from the Prep.
Rounding off the latest set of accolades were the duo of Ella Northcott and Tedi Holden, who combined for the Acting Grade 4 (Duo) assessment and sealed yet another Distinction for the Rydal Penrhos contingent with a final score of 90 apiece.
This set of results are nothing short of outstanding and yet another strong indicator of the high educational standards remaining at the school over the last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
“They all did amazing and I am so proud of them.”
Online sessions boost development
In these uncertain times, Rydal Penrhos’ incredible teaching staff are constantly adjusting to ensure pupils not only get the most out of their education academically, but that personal development is also boosted within their areas of interest.
This is evident in the Combined Cadet Force initiative, which has gone from strength-to-strength since reforming in 2019 thanks to the sterling work of programme leaders Capt. Alun Brown and Sgt. Phil Hilton.
A hoard of new recruits joined the provision earlier in the academic year after it was introduced to Year 8 pupils, with the CCF providing training in a socially distanced environment before the second educational lockdown.
Of course, thinking on your feet is the hallmark of any good cadet. So in addition to the online sessions being put on by CCF staff at the school, those involved are also benefitting from extra virtual sessions led by leading figures within the Armed Forces.
The sessions began last month and are being provided by the 160 Brigade Cadet Training Team. These are scheduled to run until mid-March and provide a wealth of interesting and informative topics throughout the schedule, including:
- Light Lesson
- Types of Communication
- What the Army eats
- Value & Standards
- First Aid
- Map & Compass
- Camouflage & Concealment
- Why things are seen
These sessions are available to every CCF group across the country, with Rydal Penrhos one of the only schools in Wales that provided training before the festive break.
There are currently 38 cadets within the provision at Rydal Penrhos, which ensures that the Army Section is looking in a healthy position for the future.
The group also has its own base on-site complete with a fascinating archives area that details its rich and proud tradition throughout the school’s illustrious history.
Stars of the Week
Stars of the Week
Reception: Oliver T – fantastic week with great independent work
Year 1: Angelos and Megan – the teachers wanted two stars because they have both completed some excellent work this week
Year 2: Wilfred – huge amount of work in maths
Year 3: William C – great effort with his work in all subjects
Year 4: Buddy – amazing improvement in his writing
Year 5: Honey – really concentrating on her learning
Year 6: Harry – all-round super attitude
Artist of the Week
Freddie (Year 4) – ‘Falling Back’ painting
Well done to all of our pupils for completing their pet (or favourite animal) projects for ‘Bring your pet to Online School Day’ today (Friday 12 February).
This event was organised by School Council to raise money for our very local Welsh Mountain Zoo.
If anyone hasn’t donated yet and would like to donate to help the zoo with his very active conservation efforts the link is:
Mrs L Davies - Head of Prep
Featuring guest speaker Crash Wigley
To mark the annual LGBT History Month, Rydal Penrhos' special guest speaker for the final Celebration Chapel of the half term on Friday 12 February was Crash Wigley.
These have been held every Friday throughout the spring term so far for keyworker pupils to enjoy on-site, but for the majority of pupils, they view the virtual service from the comfort of their own homes.
The Chapels are put together by the Reverend Nick Sissons, Chaplain of Rydal Penrhos, with contributions from other staff and guests from far and wide.
Crash is a law student at Cardiff University and is training to be a barrister. She has for many years been active in campaigning on behalf of LGBT rights and has formed a music group in Cardiff for trans people which is called the Cardiff Trans Singers.
This week's speaker has a direct link with Rydal Penrhos through her father Stephen Wigley, who is the Chair of the Wales Synod of the Methodist Church and also a governor of Rydal Penrhos.
Crash was policy and campaigns officer at Stonewall Cymru, where they worked tirelessly to improve trans healthcare in Wales, LGBT+ inclusion in sport, LGBT+ equality in schools and reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
Having learnt Welsh as a teenager, Crash has contributed to discussions about trans rights on S4C and at the National Eisteddfod’s Maes ar y Maes events.
They co-founded Cardiff Trans Singers to provide an inclusive and supportive space for trans people to share a love of singing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has continued to meet online, providing mutual support and performing in the LGBTQymru Virtual Pride.
As a current law student, they co-ordinate Cardiff University’s Bail Observation Project, monitoring the fairness of bail hearings for immigration detainees. Crash will be starting pupillage as a trainee barrister at Civitas Chambers in September 2021.
We would like to thank Crash for giving up her time to make a thought-provoking contribution to our Celebration Chapel and to Reverend Sissons for all his sterling work during the half term.
Weekly update from Miss Earle
As we move into half term, we are getting ready for World Book Day on March 4, and the launch of the Accelerated Reading scheme.
Thank you for the discussions you are having about books at home, helping pupils to take time to enjoy reading. It is a valuable way to relax away from screens and other distractions, so this nine-day break, when the weather is cold, is the ideal opportunity to:
Drop Everything And Read
which means everything stops for 15 – 20 minutes each day, giving a chance to just read quietly.
We’d like to encourage whole families to participate daily if possible, to share a peaceful moment of reading. We welcome any photos that pupils want to share with tutors or the LLC Faculty to show them reading, either on their own or with their families.
KS2/3 pupils may enjoy the Oak Academy Library this week, as the featured book is Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World by Konnie Huq, which can be heard for free.
There is an exclusive video with the author and a list of her favourite children's books.
Finally, good luck to our year 7 and 8 readers who are half way through Readathon, the sponsored read which raises money for books for children in hospital.
Have a great half term!
Thank you for all your amazing hard work and support throughout your online learning! Staff, parents and pupils - you've all been exceptional!