The RP Weekly: 19 November 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
19 November 2021
Information Evening next week
SIXTH FORM INFORMATION EVENING
We warmly invite you to our Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday 25 November from 5-7.30pm.
Once you have registered an interest, we will confirm a time for your meeting. It is important that we allow you the time and attention you need as a family with our key staff to consider the Sixth Form here at Rydal Penrhos.
Once you have registered an interest, we will confirm a time for your meeting. It is important that we allow you the time and attention you need as a family with our key staff to consider the Sixth Form here at Rydal Penrhos.
It will all be conducted with consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols.
There has never been a better time to become part of the Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form community. The school recently celebrated its best-ever A Level results, with a total of 70.5% attaining a pass rate at A*-A, which represents an increase of 20.3% year on year.
Those achieving A*-B grades stood at 84.1% – a rise of 9.9% – with 92% of pupils achieving A*-C grades as a result of their efforts. This is an increase of 2.1% from the record-breaking A*-C mark set in 2020.
Our ability to get the most out of each pupil brought an incredible ‘value-added’ score of 1.04. This means for every ten subjects taken, all of them came out with one grade higher than originally predicted.
To book, email email@example.com, call 01492 530155 or use our online form.
Remembrance Sunday 2021
Strong representation at Civic Service
Rydal Penrhos has always been extremely proud of its community involvement.
Whether it be helping with initiatives, raising funds for worthy causes, or having a strong presence across the Colwyn Bay region, the school has been a significant part of the area for more than 140 years and something that’s become a key part of our ethos.
This was once again evident at the annual Remembrance Sunday service held by the War Memorial in Queen’s Gardens, which is just a stone’s throw from the school site.
There were a host of respected dignitaries at the service – including councillors and the Mayor of Colwyn Bay. Rydal Penrhos’ Deputy Principal Lucy Davies also attended the Remembrance Service in addition to other staff members.
Pete Williams, the school’s Director of Music, organised some of the Year 7-13 Choir to sign during the poignant service as well as playing all the hymns and the National Anthems for those in attendance to sing along to at the parade.
Year 12 pupil Ethan Bytheway was given the honour of playing The Last Post and Reveille, something he once again did with aplomb having done the same at the school’s own Remembrance Day service on Thursday 11 November.
Also lending their support to the service were Arthur Hind and Shruthi Ganapathi – Head Boy and Head Girl of Rydal Penrhos – who laid a wreath on behalf of the school under the War Memorial along with countless others from community groups and organisations across the town.
Sixty-three former pupils lost their lives during World War One, with a further 43 killed in the Second World War. Miss Constance Smith, who was Principal of Penrhos College from 1938-1966, undertook the considerable task of evacuating the school to Chatsworth in 1939 and then moving back to Colwyn Bay in 1945.
We would like to thank our staff and pupils for representing the school so well at such an important community event. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Pupils praised for application during revision sessions
This is an important time of year for pupils up and down the country embarking on GCSE and A Level examinations.
After two years of no such experiences for those in Years 11 and 13 due to COVID-19 restrictions, next spring’s candidates at Rydal Penrhos are going through a much more normal scenario when it comes to learning, revision and additional preparation ahead of their big moment.
As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that each child or young person progressed through these challenging times. Rydal Penrhos’ outstanding examination results in recent years are a strong reflection of a pupil-centred approach that focuses on the individual and assists in reaching their respective goals.
Not only this, but incredible value-added scores further represents our exam candidates often far exceeding the marks expected on a consistent basis.
Although it’s now a return to normal for our upcoming exam hopefuls, the ethos remains the same. Our exceptional teaching staff are constantly searching for ways to assist our learners in whatever way they can. Especially during such an important stage where results can dictate university destinations or opportunities in the working world.
Those sitting exams in 2022 and 2023 got a substantial boost in their revision preparations after staff organised special Study Skills presentations with Maximise Your Potential, who are industry leaders in providing high-impact study skills for examinations and life in general.
The focus of the presentations was to get the pupils to really understand the benefits of good study practice and to take ownership of their learning.
Jeremy Dry, who is the director of Maximise Your Potential, wrote an email of appreciation following the visit to the school’s Assistant Principal Andy Thomas to thank him and credit the pupils for their keen participation during the sessions.
He said: “I wanted to thank Rydal Penrhos for a very warm welcome. The pupils were excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with both groups.
“They were focused throughout and very willing to participate, as well. I hope they recognised the value of the topics covered and will put some of the ideas into practice as they progress towards their GCSEs and A Levels.”
Amélie aiming for national competition success
Amélie Creer, who is a Year 9 pupil at the school, will be competing in the Advanced Category as a guest member of the Manchester Aquatics Centre Diving Squad at the Great Britain Diving Federation competition in Cheltenham this weekend.
The talented youngster will be performing six dives covering each of the four directions – forward, back, inward and reverse – in both the tuck and pike positions across the one metre and three-metre springboards as well as the five-metre platform, where Amélie will be doing a tricky arm-stand forward 1 ½ somersault in the tuck position.
This will be the first national competition Amélie has attended since February 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions relating to group gatherings and the event will feature some of the brightest prospects from across the country.
In addition to this prestigious event, Amélie will also be competing in the Welsh Diving League competition at Aberdare in South Wales, entering the Age Groups Category with the Bangor Diving Club.
Amélie is set to perform no fewer than 12 dives at the competition – six on the one-metre springboard and six on the three-metre springboard – covering the four directions in both the tuck and pike positions.
The competition in Cheltenham will give her some good experience with the more complicated dives ahead of the Aberdare competition, which is going to be challenging against excellent divers from Aberdare Comets Diving Club and the Llanelli Lightning Diving Club.
Amélie began her diving journey in 2017 and quickly excelled. She has competed at local, national and international levels in recent years and hopes to continue progressing on the boards and in the other sports at Rydal Penrhos.
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to wish Amélie the very best of luck at both competitions. We hope you enjoy the experience and achieve success!
Armed Forces pupils attend workshop
Pupils from British Armed Forces families at Rydal Penrhos were among almost 100 children from across the region that attended the Little Troopers at School workshop as part of a wider campaign.
The workshop was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust and delivered as part of Supporting Service Children in Education Cymru, run by the Welsh Local Government Association to support the 2,500 military children in school in Wales.
Rydal Penrhos has a proud association with the British Armed Forces, with the school forming close links with the nearby RAF Valley base on Anglesey and holding annual Remembrance Day services in recognition of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
During what turned out to be a hugely informative and fun session, pupils took part in a series of activities such as storytelling, imaginative play, drawing, movement and drama.
Those in attendance also got to explore in-depth some of the unique challenges that forces’ life can bring such as having a parent deployed overseas and regularly having to move home and school.
Lucy Davies, who is the Deputy Principal of Rydal Penrhos, said: “Our pupils really enjoyed the Little Troopers workshop. The role-play was a highlight and it was super to see the older ones helping their younger group members to ‘become’ a pilot and learn all about what their ‘grown ups’ do at work – turns out it’s not all tea and biscuits.
“The virtual workshop was fun, interactive and very inclusive for all ages and abilities.”
The workshop is part of a wider nationwide partnership between Little Troopers and SSCE Cymru, which has seen 400 primary schools in Wales receive bilingual versions of Little Troopers storybooks.
They were also presented with copies of the Little Troopers Primary Wellbeing Course template, a six-week course focusing on the themes of belonging, identity, mindfulness, managing change and coping with separation.
Louise Fetigan, who is the founder of Little Troopers, added: “We were delighted to be asked by the Welsh Government Association to deliver some of our Little Troopers at School resources to children in Wales through this virtual workshop.”
All images courtesy of Tony Fanning.
Exploring Sandra Silberzweig & Picasso
One thing all Reception-Year 6 pupils love is their weekly Art lessons with Suzy Morris.
This teacher has been instrumental in leaving no stone unturned regarding a plethora of projects throughout her time at the school that continue to inspire our eager learners and build key skills – many of which transition into other subjects.
Art enables our pupils to develop intrinsic human qualities such as creativity, expression, identity, culture and imagination as well as helping to preserve our cultural heritage.
It gives young children an opportunity to progress their own languages which help shape their individual, community and global identity. It also has a hugely beneficial impact on areas such as confidence, self-esteem, personal, social, emotional development and behavioural health.
Not only this, but Mrs Morris also incorporates the creative with the theory from a very early age, giving Rydal Penrhos pupils a broader understanding of Art and some of the world’s greatest-ever creators.
Some truly exceptional work has been produced by all year groups since the start of the academic year within the Prep site’s impressive Art facility. Another fine example of this emerged from Year 2 recently, who studied two iconic artists before using their specific methods to create some stunning pieces.
Pupils took time to study the work of Pablo Picasso, who devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to the whole development of modern art in the 20th century for 80 years before his death in 1973.
Picasso is lauded for the invention of Cubism with the artist Georges Braque, which they created around 1907.
The second artist under the microscope was Sandra Silberzweig, a contemporary artist from Toronto. She has a condition called synesthesia, which is a crossing of the senses.
This means that she may “hear” colours or “see” music.
Once Year 2 pupils had found out more about the artists and examined their work, they were then tasked by Mrs Morris to create their own portraits using wax resist. Something which brought some outstanding designs.
Fflur’s second at RS Tera End of Season Championships
We are enormously proud of our Sailing provision at Rydal Penrhos, which is something available to pupils from a very early age and has seen many go on to achieve great success both regionally, at national events and even to international-standard competitions.
The school has also assisted in the development of young sailors at its RYA accredited centre en route to national and Team GB squad selections. This has further enhanced a programme that has been a huge part of Rydal Penrhos life for more than 60 years.
Another shining light that’s emerged in recent years is Fflur Pierce, who enhanced her growing reputation on the Sailing circuit with another outstanding performance at the RS Tera End of Season Championships 2021, which was held at Draycote Water Sailing Club.
After a difficult first race, Fflur came to the fore in Race 2 to cross the line first and the Year 9 pupil followed this up with two exceptional seconds in Races 3 and 4 to put her in a strong position heading into Sunday’s action-packed schedule.
Fflur, who was representing Port Dinorwic Sailing Club at the event, got off to the best possible start with another victory in Race 5 with a patient approach that enabled her to take advantage of a slight opening to succeed.
Although things did not necessarily go according to plan in Races 6 and 7, Fflur dug deep in the eighth and final race of the championships to attain her third second-place finish of the competition.
After the final scores were tallied, Fflur came away with an outstanding second-place finish as a result of her incredible efforts throughout the championships, which represents a significant achievement for a pupil that is thriving on the water and across all areas of Rydal Penrhos life.
The Rydal Penrhos RYA Training Centre Sailing and Water-Sports provision is for all pupils who love being in, on and around the water, enabling them to participate and enjoy the freedom of boating, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking in a safe and fun environment.
Whether a beginner, intermediate or at an advanced level we have something to offer to help your child get the most from their time with us and from the water.
Rydal Penrhos to host North Wales Wedding Awards
Rydal Penrhos has listed buildings, is set in beautifully landscaped gardens and is the perfect venue for an event or a special occasion of any kind.
Founded in 1885, the school buildings can host between 40 and 250 guests inside or for the larger events outside in marquees. Whether you want your wedding or event to be surrounded by history and grandeur or be more relaxed and outdoors there is something for you at Rydal Penrhos.
The school is delighted to confirm that it will be hosting the 2022 North Wales Wedding Awards, which is an annual event organised by Wedding Guide Wales magazine.
This will take place on Sunday 23 October 2022 and it is the first time the occasion is being held in person due to recent COVID-19 restrictions.
The event will take place in the newly refurbished Osborn Hall, which has been used as a Dining Hall and the Learning Resource Centre in recent years and is now a fabulous space for pupils and the wider community to enjoy.
It has now been created into an area that pupils can use to hold events, where guest speakers can come and talk to pupils and play a leading part in major gatherings alongside the Memorial Hall.
This was built by Thomas Osborn, who was the founding headmaster of Rydal School.
The Osborn Hall is a Grade II listed building with beautiful wood panelling, parquet floors and stained-glass windows. It is both an iconic and glorious building.
We are hugely excited about hosting the event. Anyone looking to enquire about our fantastic facilities should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01492 530155.
Inter-house Touch Rugby competition
World Habitat Day competition brings outstanding creations
One thing that is becoming more prevalent than ever across Rydal Penrhos life is how aware pupils are of their surroundings.
This has been especially evident since the coronavirus pandemic became a part of everyone’s mindset, but the increased risk surrounding climate change across the globe and the need to protect the environment around us is something that the entire school community takes a great deal of pride in.
The fine work being done in Years 3-6 by the Eco Committee has been remarkable since the group was formed. Their passion, commitment, and willingness to give up their time for various initiatives and causes are all part of the rich, well-rounded education each pupil receives at the school.
As part of their ongoing awareness efforts, the committee organised a special competition in recognition of World Habitat Day, which took place last month and its focus this year was accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.
Events and activities during World Habitat Day explored how national, regional and local governments and organisations, communities, academic institutions, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders can work together to create sustainable, carbon-neutral, inclusive cities and towns.
The committee ran a competition over several weeks for pupils to create a special habitat at home, such as a bug hotel or a hedgehog house.
Participants had to use natural materials where possible to create their homes in order to earn valuable points for their respective houses at Rydal Penrhos.
There were many amazing habitats created including a large bug hotel made by the pupils in Forest School with Mrs Pyves. Overall, it was a close competition – Brecon was the winning house with 38 points and both Pembroke and Snowdon came second with 34 points each.
Mrs Julie Woodthorpe, who is a teacher and Eco Committee leader, said: “Well done and thank you to everyone who entered. Keep monitoring your habitats to see if you have any visiting creatures!”
Life lessons during COVID-19
The last two years have been unprecedented both at Rydal Penrhos and across the globe.
The effect of COVID-19 on learning and the way we approach things in day-to-day life has altered significantly and it is still prevalent today, with the school reacting exceptionally well to ever-changing circumstances to ensure progress remained unaltered and examination results were of the highest standard.
It wasn’t just our current pupils that were forced into a substantial period of adjustment. Rydal Penrhos alumni also had to overcome plenty of obstacles – whether in higher education or the working world.
Alex Bytheway recently made a fantastic contribution to the Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter, where he detailed his experience throughout the pandemic and the lessons he’s taken on board over such a challenging and uncertain time.
“I never imagined graduating on the M56.”
In the autumn of 2019, I returned to York after a year’s absence, to complete the final stages of my degree. The absence had left me somewhat stranded in terms of friendships, however, this did allow me to focus on my dissertation, for which I was kindly given a lakeside office at the York Cross-Disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis.
The autumn term ran smoothly as I attended lectures and tutorials alongside collecting data for my dissertation. Ironically, several lectures during this term focussed on viral proteins and outbreaks of disease. After spending the Christmas break of 2019 in North Wales, I returned to York and made progress in forming a close friendship with a philosophy student. Everything was going well and my mental health – the reason why I had taken a year’s absence – was in a good place.
Two cases of a mystery coronavirus emerged at a hotel in York and the media coverage began. My initial thoughts were that the virus wouldn’t be particularly transmissible and would soon become old news. Nothing felt out of the ordinary and as my friend helped me pack for the Easter break, we could not have predicted what was to come.
By mid-March 2020 cases of COVID-19 were rising rapidly in the UK.
It became clear that the virus would not fizzle out, and government action was necessary. Universities, including the University of York, closed their doors with staff and students ordered to work from home. I, like most other students, would not be returning for the summer term.
The first lockdown had begun.
Mentally, I was still in good health and my degree continued using a mixture of online workshops and pre-recorded lectures. In-person exams were no longer an option for universities or schools, but the alternative was still unclear.
We had online tutorials with lecturers sitting in their living rooms and any planned laboratory work was cancelled. We were being constantly told, via email, to keep learning the course content with no idea if it would be assessed, how it would be assessed or when it would be assessed.
I sat my final exams from a desk in our home office.
Three 24-hour papers which had to be submitted online along with my dissertation.
It was hard to sleep during this time as my mind constantly reflected on my answers. My parents and philosophy friend were very supportive and I remain grateful for having them in my life. There was no after-party, no time to say goodbye to fellow chemistry students and of course, no graduation gowns.
In many ways, I feel that my degree has not yet ended.
In August I went to Penrith for a week’s ‘staycation’ with my family in a lakeside lodge. On the return journey, I watched the virtual graduation ceremony from the back of our car on the M56 whilst stuck in traffic. Once home, I video called some university friends for a short while and I haven’t seen many of them since.
In September 2020 I took a post as a science technician for a school in Ruthin. With institutions re-opening, there was an expected return to ‘normal’ and this required some very careful planning.
There was no sharing of science equipment, everything was quarantined between uses and eye protection sanitised in buckets of Milton. Every activity required careful consideration and on top of this, laboratory renovations were underway.
All staff were carrying out bi-weekly lateral flow tests, teachers and students were being sent home every day for PCR tests and supply teachers were in demand. It was getting harder to facilitate practical science and timetabling was stressful.
Despite lockdown having little effect on my mental health the first time around, the second in November 2020 hit harder for a myriad of reasons. It had been a while since seeing my friends at this point and there was no degree to ‘distract’ me.
I’m still a science technician and oversee ten teaching laboratories, three of which have now been fully renovated, with the rest due for completion in 2022. The education sector, particularly at the university level, is changing and remote working will prevail for now, if not forever.
With this in-mind schools are investing more in online resources and facilities such as tablets, microphones and web cameras.
The pandemic has taught me the importance of people in our lives. The friends and family who support us and the community services which we rely on.
We should be thankful for the work which everybody does both upfront and behind the scenes to make our society a better place. It has also taught me that we must all take responsibility for our physical and mental wellbeing, both during education and the wider world.
For those more vulnerable in society, we must also step up to help.
Stars of the Week
Prep ‘Pudsey’ Stars of the Week
Pre-School - Elise
Pre-School - Rio
- RLD – Ebenezer
- 1MW – Bobby
- 2CC – Casey
- 2RD – Josie
- 3KO – Jacob MP
- 4JM – Adhira
- 5CC – Ella C
- 6JP – Steffan
And congratulations to:
- Artist of the Week – Ollie for his self-portrait in the style of Shani Rhys James
- Performer of the Week – Ella LB for her great progress on the piano