The RP Weekly: 14 May 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
14 May 2021
Jane Cooper joins Governing Body
The school is delighted to announce that Jane Cooper has agreed to become a member of the Governing Body.
Jane attended St John Plessington Catholic College, Wirral, from 1982 to 1988 and then went to the University of Salford where she studied Accountancy and Modern Languages.
She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in French and Spanish at the University of Liverpool and Jane currently holds the position of Deputy Principal of St Edward’s College in Liverpool.
This school has a close association with Rydal Penrhos’ Executive Principal John Waszek, who was Principal of St Edward’s for 24 years.
During this time, St Edward’s secured seven consecutive “outstanding inspections” and was subsequently designated as “exempt” from inspection by the Department for Education.
Jane also serves on the governing board of St John Plessington, an outstanding catholic college in Wirral which is part of a large Multi Academy Trust.
Did you miss Saturday's event?
Did you miss our Open Day?
Thanks to everyone that attended our Open Day on Saturday 8 May.
It was great to take so many prospective pupils and their families around our wonderful school and see for themselves the incredible opportunities on offer.
The best way to get a real feel for our friendly and welcoming school is to come and see for yourself. We are offering families private socially distanced tours.
Anyone wishing to book a socially distanced tour should contact email@example.com, call 01492 530155 or book online here: https://rydalpenrhos.com/admissions/open-days-visits/
If you have previously visited the school and wish to move on to the next stage of registering for a place please also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual MCC fixture set for 2021 return
We have so missed sporting fixtures over the last 12 months as a result of the Covid-19 rules. However, with restrictions lifting and cases almost non-existent across the region, things are now looking up for aspiring young sporting stars at Rydal Penrhos over the summer term.
This is the time of year where cricket comes to the fore, which is one of the finest traditions at the school and the programme has produced a wealth of Welsh internationals in recent years, including Rydal Penrhos’ most recent first XI captain, Owen Reilly.
One of the most prominent dates on the school’s sporting calendar is the annual fixture against Marylebone Cricket Club, which dates back to the early 1900s and was unfortunately unable to take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thankfully, this match is set to go ahead this summer providing there are no further complications, with a date set for Monday 5 July for what should be another memorable occasion for those involved.
Although there has been no cricket played in recent months, Rydal Penrhos has invested a significant amount in re-invigorating the wicket and playing surface over the winter, with the school’s staff working with the expert team at 360 Groundcare to make some notable improvements.
A number of other fixtures are also scheduled in accordance with current guidelines, which is another step towards normality after a difficult few months throughout education and especially from a sporting point of view.
Marylebone Cricket Club was founded in 1787, taking as its home a cricket ground set up by the ambitious entrepreneur Thomas Lord staged his first match – between Middlesex and Essex – playing at a ground on Dorset Fields in Marylebone.
The following year, MCC laid down a Code of Laws, requiring the wickets to be pitched 22 yards apart and detailing how players could be given out. Its Laws were adopted throughout the game – and the club remains the custodian and arbiter of Laws relating to cricket around the world.
In 1814 MCC moved up the road to a new rural ground in St John’s Wood – which remains their home to this day.
A decade later, when Lord was 70 years old, he sold the ground to a Bank of England director, William Ward, for £5,400. Having provided the MCC with a ground for 38 years, Lord retired before passing away seven years later.
In the 1870s, MCC decided it wanted to get involved in county cricket, which was growing in popularity.
In 1877, it invited Middlesex to adopt Lord’s as its county ground – an arrangement which continues over 140 years later.
Alexander's recipe to feature in national book
Eco-friendly cooking? Our pupils get involved in everything…
Teaching staff at Rydal Penrhos are always keen to highlight awareness of climate change and the importance of caring for the environment.
Eco Committee run by Prep School teacher Julie Woodthorpe is one of the means to do this. The group has gone from strength to strength since its inception, launching a series of initiatives across the site that not only promote the dangers of environmental change across the globe, but also making Rydal Penrhos a much greener place in the process.
One such example was the recent participation in a national awareness scheme implemented by The Pod entitled Waste Week, which aims to help schools, young people and their families reduce unnecessary food waste.
This is something the Eco Committee supported with their customary enthusiasm, encouraging pupils to think about food waste and eating all of their meals at home and during lunchtime on site.
Those involved were invited to take part in a recipe competition run by The Pod, which involved creating a meal using food that would otherwise have been thrown out or wasted.
Alexandra Lopez-Moreno, who is a Year 4 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, made a “delicious” impression with her chocolate baked bananas recipe that was modified from BBC’S Good Food website.
The pupil’s creation has now been selected to feature in the Great Busta Banana Bake Cookbook, which features the best recipes collected over the years that can be used using leftovers to reduce waste.
Duke of Edinburgh
Summer term schedule revealed
With fears subsiding surrounding the coronavirus pandemic after a difficult 12 months, things are now returning to normality across all areas of Rydal Penrhos life.
The school offered a comprehensive online provision to keep pupils progressing academically during the various educational lockdowns, which enabled them to all hit the ground running and meet their respective goals when they returned following the Easter break.
Restrictions on what schools can do are now easing at a rapid rate. There was further good news recently as Rydal Penrhos received confirmation that our incredible Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme can formally resume off-site excursions as pupils progress their Bronze, Silver and Gold distinctions.
The DofE provision provided by Rydal Penrhos is something that brings the very best out of each pupil that takes on the challenge. It builds key skills outside of a classroom environment, improves problem-solving and communication, in addition to promoting strong links with the community that are all tools that can be taken into later life.
It promises to be an extremely busy few weeks leading up to the summer holidays for DofE candidates. Year 9 kick things off on Saturday 22 May with a Bronze Training Day, with Year 10 participating in their Silver Training Day on Sunday 23 May.
These will both be held in close proximity to Rydal Penrhos, with the school always keen to use its stunning location on the North Wales coast to boost pupil progression.
Year 12 will take part in a Gold Training Day and Practice from 11-14 June in the picturesque Rhinog Mountains, which is a critical step towards the highest DofE honour that results in a trip to a royal location to pick up the award if successful.
This is something many Rydal Penrhos pupils have achieved over the years, with some even completing their awards when they leave for university.
Those in Year 11 looking to achieve their Silver Award will test their skills during an assessment weekend from 18-20 June on the South Clwydian Range, with the Year 9 Bronze Assessment running from 26-27 June along the North Wales coast.
Pupils will be put through their paces both individually and working as a team in pursuit of meeting the criteria needed to tick all the boxes needed for success.
The final excursion of the academic year involves Year 10, who will travel to the North Clwydian Range for their Silver Award Assessment from 2-4 July.
The DofE programme can be full of activities and projects that get each pupil excited, allowing them to develop existing talents and discover new ones, whilst meeting new friends and learning a great deal about themselves along the way.
This is the legacy left behind by the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who started the nationally recognised scheme in 1956 and sadly passed away recently.
We would like to wish all our DofE candidates the very best of luck in the coming weeks and offer our thanks to Dr Jim Lewis and other Rydal Penrhos staff involved for their tireless commitment.
Bringing a rapid growth in pupil numbers
"Every school works hard to be the best they can be but Rydal Penrhos goes one step further; we strive to make sure that every pupil is the best they can be also."
Mrs Lucy Davies
There has been a period of significant adjustment over the last 12 months both in education and day-to-day life.
Rydal Penrhos continues to go from strength to strength thanks to recent plans implemented by senior leadership, coupled with exceptional teaching and a supportive parent body that enable pupils through the whole school to achieve or even exceed their respective targets.
This has resulted in a surge of interest from prospective pupils and their families and rapid growth in pupil numbers over the last year. Such has been the level of interest, the school are currently in the process of appointing more teaching staff to cope with the growing demand for places.
It is no secret that the school’s recent success comes from a strong focus on its pupils with a child-centred approach that has proven highly beneficial. Something we are keen to continue and grow long into the future.
Mrs Lucy Davies, one of the school’s heads, is a former pupil that cares deeply about the school, its staff and the learners under her care.
She boasts a wealth of experience in schools across the globe and her qualifications include an M.A.in Educational Leadership, a B.A. Hons in Anthropology, a PGCE in Primary Education, a PGCDL in Dyslexia and Literacy and an NPQH in Headship Qualification.
She said: “We make sure that every pupil counts. We look forward to working in a true partnership with parents and carers to ensure that every pupil gets the opportunities they need and deserve in order to truly love learning.
“Smaller classes, specialist teachers and a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular activities ensure that learning is dynamic, individualised and child-centred.
“We want our pupils to be confident, kind, resilient and curious; we want them to be happy learners who know how to learn and want to learn new things every day.”
All staff at the school are made fully aware of Rydal Penrhos’ rich and proud history and its importance to the community.
When this is combined with implementing modern-day educational methods, it’s not hard to see why examination results remain at an exceptional level, value-added scores are way above the national average and pupils are thriving across all areas of school life.
“The school certainly gave me a love of learning and I know that it still has that special blend of academic rigour alongside excellent individual pastoral care,” added Mrs Davies.
“Our children are an important part of us, we love them and want the best for them.
“We want the best school for them, and we want them to be loved by that school and given as many opportunities as possible.”
The numbers behind the success!
Rydal Penrhos has always been proud of its Sixth Formers.
They are role models in the way they behave, kind and caring to their peers and those younger than themselves, they work extremely hard, they care about the community – local and global, they are well mannered and confident without showing arrogance and they are resilient and curious about the journey ahead.
Indeed they are ambassadors for the school both in their time with us, when they move on to higher education and in the world of work.
The school realises just what a life-changing stage Sixth Form can be for a young person.
The pressures and excitement of studying A Levels in subjects you really love, juggled with applying for University and picking the right degree course for a potential career path at the same time.
It can be a very taxing time but at Rydal Penrhos, teaching staff look to alleviate these concerns with expert advice, guidance throughout the final two years of their school life and constant monitoring to ensure academic goals are achieved or even exceeded.
We are delighted to share what our last cohort of Sixth Formers achieved and what current pupils are working to now.
As you can see, the numbers speak for themselves.
51.9% A*-A grades at A Level 2020
- A*-B grades 75.9%
- A*-C grades 90.5%
- 100% pass rate
Rydal Penrhos adapted quickly to ever-changing circumstances with a thorough online provision, providing exam candidates with constant updates and support regarding changes to the assessment process, which was worth its weight in gold judging by the results.
0.5 Value-Added score at A Level (2020)
This means for every ten subjects taken, five of them (i.e. half) came with higher grades than a pupil’s innate ability would predict for them.
The majority of Sixth Form pupils did not only reach their expectations in terms of grades, but far exceeded them. This, in turn, helped them secure better degree courses at the best universities.
Bringing us to our next point……
82% of pupils achieved places at their first-choice university
- This rose to 87.5% when taking into consideration gap year pupils.
But that's not all.....
24 academic lessons weekly – more face to face time with teaching staff
1 UCAS (university advice) lesson per week to enhance University preparations
22 A Level and Cambridge Technical options available
RP takes part in national competition
The National Literacy Trust has organised its first National Reading Quiz and regional heats have been taking place over the whole of the UK during this week.
Rydal Penrhos entered two of the more than 500 teams who lent their support to the initiative across the country, which consisted of pupils from Years 5-8.
They were up against some stiff competition with many teams containing only Years 7-9 from Welsh High Schools. Teaching staff decided to combine year groups in order for older pupils to gain vital experience leading a team and because younger pupils always enjoy the exhilaration of working alongside older role models.
One of the school’s heads, Mrs Lucy Davies, gave us a brilliant account of what transpired throughout what turned out to be a testing but hugely beneficial experience for those taking part.
“It was a very long competition with ten rounds over three hours. Team 1 chose to play their joker on round 4, ‘Books on Screen’ and there were some very challenging questions. We had hoped for ‘Harry Potter’ but instead were faced with far less famous titles such as, ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness.
Team 2 played their joker on round 8, ‘Blast from the Past’ which was advertised as questions related to books read in early childhood. They did well considering that this round contained quotations from books such as Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’ which is certainly quite challenging as an early childhood read!
There were also rounds on graphic novels, partnerships in books and myths and legends, as well as an anagram round and one with charades.
Our young readers worked brilliantly as two separate teams and it was fun to take part online where we could see the other teams also trying to work things out.
Our teams found it difficult and weren’t surprised when they were not announced in the top three. Nevertheless, they have learnt a lot about new books and are up for the challenge again next year…they profess to being enthused to go home and start reading more books straight away.
Many of the titles they heard about today have only been published in the past five years; we have been able to re-stock our senior and prep libraries with many of these books recently thanks to generous donations from the Rydal Penrhos Society and the family of Peter Watkinson.
We are always willing to accept books in good condition that our pupils have read and enjoyed, do think of donating books that you no longer need to school; this means they can be enjoyed over and over again.”
Well done to our brilliant reading teams.
Thriving provision across all year groups
When you go down to the woods today…
It’s not just in a classroom environment where Rydal Penrhos pupils are thriving. Outdoor Education is important to us here at Rydal Penrhos and we are extremely fortunate to be situated just a stone’s throw away from the Colwyn Bay coastline, with the school also within a few miles of other prominent landmarks such as Snowdonia and the Isle of Anglesey.
Rydal Penrhos is also blessed with a few areas of woodland on its site, which staff use to full effect with a comprehensive Forest School provision that is incorporated into the curriculum from Pre-School to Year 6.
This safe outdoor environment has been proven to develop skills pupils don’t necessarily get in the classroom. Problem-solving, working as a team, communication skills and “learning by doing” under the supervision of qualified teaching and support staff is a wonderful asset and one they all make the most out of on a weekly basis.
Pupils are even able to take certain classroom projects in subjects such as Maths, English or Geography and enhance them within the forest, in addition to discovering more about nature and participating in important annual initiatives such as the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…
The youngest members of the school also take part in Coastal School, which sees children make the short trip to Colwyn Bay beach or even beyond to explore the picturesque shore, in addition to getting involved in plenty of fun-filled and thought-provoking activities using materials found on the beach, taking each child out of their comfort zone and allowing them to expand their horizons from a very early age.
Not only does this enhance creativity and knowledge of the outdoors, but our Coastal School also promotes healthy living, improves confidence and allows them to take suitable risks with constant support from Pre-School staff.
For them, of course, it’s just good fun.
But the benefits of Forest and Coastal School to our wonderful pupils are there for all to see.
Outdoor Education for older Rydal Penrhos pupils
And then as pupils get a little bit older, they head out to the mountains and beyond. Year 7 and 8 get weekly Outdoor Education sessions, which gives them a solid foundation should they wish to pursue other programmes put on by the school, including the Combined Cadet Force and Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
DofE is something our pupils get a significant amount from. It teaches them self-reliance, the importance of teamwork, enables them to become more involved in the community and provides them with core skills that always make a smooth transition to higher education and later life.
Rev'd Beverley Ramsden is Friday's guest speaker
One constant throughout the last 12 months has been Rydal Penrhos’ virtual Chapels and Assemblies, which have continued to provide pupils and staff a sense of normality despite the ever-changing situation around them.
The latest Celebration Chapel contribution on Friday 14 May comes from a little closer to home. The Rev’d Beverley Ramsden, who is part of the Methodist Churches of Llandudno, was kind enough to lend her support and share some of her journey with us.
Rev’d Ramsden was educated at Manchester High School for Girls before earning the necessary grades to secure a place at the University of Oxford, where she studied Chemistry.
“There I met and became friends with Rev’d Sissons – we were both members (and both became president) of the student Methodist society. I met my husband in the same society too.”
After gaining her Master’s degree, Rev’d Ramsden went on to have a career with IBM as a technical salesperson. After having two children and becoming a bigger part of a local Methodist Church where she resided in Sussex, she decided to become a minister.
“I felt a continued nagging that I was to make a change and, after a crisis of faith and fighting God off for a long time, I finally gave in and offered as a minister in the Methodist Church. I somehow managed to juggle ministerial training, a full-time job in IT sales, doing up a house and bringing up two children. It was a hectic time.”
This was followed by Rev’d Ramsden’s first appointment and she moved to Blackpool with her family in 2006. This also enabled her to finish her degree in Theology with weekly visits to the University of Manchester.
Llandudno is Rev’d Ramsden’s second appointment and she took up the position in 2012.
“I have been here nine years (of ten), much longer than most ministerial appointments in the Methodist Church. I’m still learning, not only in my work life but in other things too, and have recently undertaken several university courses in landscape archaeology. Who knows what the next phase of my life will offer by way of life-long learning and contribution to the community?”
On behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos, we would like to thank Rev’d Ramsden for giving up her time.
Stars of the WEEK
Well done to all!
Stars of the week – 14.05.21
- Celyn – for all of her hard work.
- Erin – for good listening and being a kind friend.
- Tiffany – for fabulous diary writing and super progress in her reading.
- Sophie – great progress and effort with her reading.
- Milan – super effort and concentration this week.
- Marco – super reading skills in a lesson on inference and deduction.
- Alfie – a great week of focussed concentration.
- Ceri – for settling into our class so well and being kind to everyone.
- Noah – a great team leader in science, brilliant diary writing and super enthusiasm in history.
- Lexi in Year 5 for her fabulous portrait of a snow leopard.
- Hania in Year 2 for super piano playing.
Teacher of Year 2
- One year, fixed-term contract
Due to rapid growth of the School over the last year, Rydal Penrhos is looking to appoint another Year 2 Teacher to cope with the growing demand for places.
The successful applicant will be an organised and creative Key Stage 1 Teacher who believes in teaching 'the whole child' and supporting their mental and physical health. All applicants should have experience teaching in Key Stage 1.
This is an exciting opportunity to join a thriving independent day school with 350 pupils and over 100 staff to teach Year 2 pupils and make a significant contribution to the school’s pastoral and broader life.
Full details and how to apply can be found in this digital document