The RP Weekly: 26 February 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
26 February 2021
Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 return!
There was plenty of excitement in the air at Rydal Penrhos Prep School on Monday as another batch of year groups made a welcome return.
Following the Welsh Government‘s decision to relax coronavirus restrictions, Pre-Prep pupils at Rydal Penrhos were permitted to “return to school” after a half-term of thorough online provision provided by the school’s incredible teaching staff.
It was fantastic to see them all back smiling and conversing with their friends. Their presence has been sorely missed by everyone at the Prep School and although staff are incredibly proud of all the hard work each pupil has put it during the second educational lockdown period, there is nothing quite like human interaction to boost early development.
Rydal Penrhos has left no stone unturned when it comes to making the Prep School site safe and COVID-19 compliant over the last 12 months. The school’s vigilance enables pupils to go about their daily business with minimal fuss, even though their routines are slightly different due to current safety measures that have enabled their return.
Having such a diverse and thought-provoking online provision during their time at home will ensure Pre-Prep pupils can hit the ground running, with the Welsh Government also looking into the possibility of more children returning at their next assessment briefing on 15 March.
Speaking on Monday, Education Minister Kirsty Williams, said: “If the public health situation continues to develop as it has been doing since the lockdown in December, then I am as confident as I can be that we will be able to return more children to face-to-face learning on 15 March.
“Please don’t misinterpret this as a sign that things can go back to normal. Schools are highly regulated settings; school staff are working really hard to make them as COVID secure as they can be.
“But it is behaviour around school – on the journey to school, at the school gate, on your way home and at the weekend – that will help us keep the public health situation improving which will allow more children to go back.”
This is another hugely positive step in the right direction. Cases are falling across the country and vaccines are being distributed rapidly, so it might not be much longer before Rydal Penrhos pupils young and old are back to some semblance of normality.
Much has been made of the impact of the last year on pupils. At Rydal Penrhos, teaching and support staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure there was minimal learning loss and individual goals remain unchanged.
It’s taken a great deal of work and dedication. But seeing all the happy little faces of our Pre-Prep children makes it all worthwhile.
We hope every single pupil in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 has a fantastic first week back and a smooth transition back into the classroom.
Youngsters enjoying busy half-term
While most of the Rydal Penrhos community embarked on a half-term of online learning due to Welsh Government restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, Pre-School children continued to go about their daily business without a care in the world.
Staff at the Prep School did an exceptional job of providing a safe and nurturing environment for Pre-Schoolers and keyworkers’ children, taking every necessary precaution to meet the highest educational and safety standards.
It was a hugely exciting end to the half-term for Pre-School children, with the enthusiastic contingent participating in the Big Welsh Rhyme Time, which involved singing and dancing to famous songs surrounding the proud Welsh language every day throughout the week.
Not only a lot of fun but improving Welsh language communications skills in the process.
Continuing with themed activities, the youngest members of the Rydal Penrhos family got creative with some activities surrounding Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.
Pupils continued to wear their school uniform on-site to keep some semblance of normality, and the Pre-School timetable was relatively unaltered despite a lack of Coastal School and Swimming on the schedule due to the current climate preventing these activities from taking place – at least for now.
Hours of operation were shortened slightly from 8.30am-5.30pm to reduce the risk of any complications, with packed lunches also being brought in by children with catering not permitted.
This took a great deal of planning from the senior leadership at Rydal Penrhos, which has brought the very best out of children and staff alike as they made the best out of a difficult situation.
Team working hard for a safe return
Although the majority of Rydal Penrhos pupils are in the midst of another long period of remote learning due to Welsh Government restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the school welcomed back Pre-Prep children following the half-term break for some much-missed face-to-face learning.
Hopefully, there will be further positive news regarding the rest of the Rydal Penrhos community in the not-too-distant future as COVID-19 cases continue to fall and vaccine distribution rises across the country.
In the meantime, the school’s hard-working estates team have been tirelessly dedicating themselves to ensuring everything is ready for a safe return to Rydal Penrhos when measures are lifted by the government. This has brought around some notable improvements on-site and the campus has never looked more refreshed and secure as it does at this juncture.
Estates Manager Richard Smith, together with his brilliant team, installed new security gates across the Senior School site, which is another substantial investment from Rydal Penrhos and enhances the safety of pupils when they are on school grounds.
Other areas are also getting a substantial makeover at both the Senior and Prep sites, with the grounds team attending to flowerbeds, trees, and lawns with their customary care and the results are eye-catching, to say the least.
In the hope we might see some sporting fixtures during the summer term, Rydal Penrhos has also invested heavily in the restoration and improvement of the school’s cricket wicket, which includes some lengthy work provided by 360 Groundcare during the initial stages of the project.
This is all in addition to making every single area of the site COVID-19 compliant, including regular fogging of classrooms and following the strict measures put in place by Education Minister Kirsty Williams.
Work that often gets overlooked, but it is a key component behind the scenes to the incredible success the school has generated in recent years.
Well done to Mr Smith and his entire team for going above and beyond the call of duty and for all their amazing commitment.
- 6 estates staff
- We look after over 38 acres of land
- We look after over 300 trees
- And we plant 1000 plants each year
ABRSM grading success for Prep pupil Oscar
Another talented Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupil attained music grading success despite the obvious complications throughout preparation thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Oscar Jewsbury, who is a Year 5 pupil at the Prep School, began lessons with music tutor Cheryl Frost at the end of August with a view to attaining his Grade 1 Piano examination from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
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.
Oscar’s varied programme saw the pupil put together a fantastic sequence of performances that included:
- Minuet in C – William Duncombe
- The Egyptian Level – Kevin Wooding
- The Echo – Theodore Oesten
- Who said Mice – J Last
A tremendous effort saw Oscar attain a high pass from the assessment – just two marks shy of a distinction – which represents a significant achievement considering how little time the Rydal Penrhos pupil had to prepare.
Oscar is quickly moving on to his Grade 1 Theory work, which is he studying in his own time and in addition to the exceptional online learning provision provided by Rydal Penrhos during the second educational lockdown.
This will put him in a strong position as he looks to achieve further grading success in the coming years, which will add to the Prep School’s rich and proud history of notable ABRSM examination achievements.
Online learning provision preventing further complications
The lingering concerns surrounding the loss of learning in schoolchildren across the country due to COVID-19 continue to be at the forefront of everybody’s mind.
At Rydal Penrhos, staff have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that high educational standards are maintained from Pre-School to Sixth Form, providing each pupil with a diverse and structured timetable that enables them to develop key skills and remain undeterred from their respective goals despite so much uncertainty surrounding the current climate.
This was further highlighted in a recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who documented in a report that today’s children face losing £350 billion in lifetime earnings unless the UK’s governments invest in radical catch-up efforts when the pandemic is over.
The IFS urged those in power to consider options such as repeating a year of schooling, using large-scale tuition in summer holidays and extended hours to make up for the classroom time lost during the various lockdown measures implemented throughout the academic year.
Luke Sibieta, an IFS research fellow and author of the report, said: “The inescapable conclusion is that the lost schooling represents a gigantic long-term risk for future prosperity, the public finances, the future path of inequality and wellbeing.”
Thankfully, this isn’t the case at Rydal Penrhos. Pupils are being constantly supported by the school’s incredible teaching staff throughout their online learning, with the provision providing as much normality as possible to maintain a balanced structure and prevent any substantial loss of critical learning.
Not only this, Rydal Penrhos has put together some wellbeing sessions at the end of each day, keeping parents informed of any COVID-19 related matters through in-school communications or social media, in addition to highlighting important messages via Reverend Nick Sissons’ virtual Chapels and Assemblies every week.
None of this compensates for being around your friends or face-to-face learning, but this comprehensive programme gives pupils the best possible opportunity to hit the ground running when the time comes to return to some semblance of normality when restrictions are lifted.
Prep School Art
Year 4 bring tropical birds to life
Keeping children enriched and entertained has been a key component of the Rydal Penrhos online learning provision during the second educational lockdown.
Teaching staff have worked hard to produce a thought-provoking timetable that not only enables pupils young and old to remain on track with their academic development, but also improve other key skills.
One thing all Prep School children love is their weekly Art lessons with Suzy Morris. This passionate teacher has been instrumental in leaving no stone unturned regarding a plethora of projects over the last 12 months that continue to ignite creativity in Rydal Penrhos pupils from the comfort of their own homes.
Some truly exceptional work has been produced by all year groups, with a recent Year 4 project surrounding tropical birds another strong indicator of the fine commitment being displayed by pupils despite the obvious distractions and uncertainty around them.
Art is a great release for pupils. It allows them to escape from their usual academic stresses and improves elements such as self-confidence and self-understanding, communication skills and cognition.
Year 4 were tasked with coming up with sketches, coloured drawings or paintings relating to tropical birds and goodness didn’t they produce some eye-catching final creations that were vibrant and detailed in equal measure.
Pupils and staff deserve a tremendous amount of credit for showing their customary enthusiasm to ensure there is minimal loss of learning despite educational methods looking far different from that which everyone was experiencing before the coronavirus pandemic gained a firm grip on society.
Well done to Mrs. Morris and Year 4 for their latest fantastic project. We are very proud of you all.
Head of Key Stage 5 shares vision
Sixth Form should be the best two years of your school life at Rydal Penrhos. There is finally the opportunity for pupils to study their specific fields of interest and begin looking ahead to higher education options and possible employment avenues in the future, which is daunting and hugely exciting in equal measure.
Rydal Penrhos offers a wide and diverse curriculum that enables every pupil to pursue their dreams. Whether it be in the field of engineering, the performing arts or law, the school’s incredible staff are there to guide our Sixth Formers every step of the way with exceptional teaching and detailed assistance with UCAS applications.
Alun Brown, who is the Head of Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13), has highlighted the benefits of Sixth Form education at Rydal Penrhos, which prides itself on catering to the individual with care and commitment – something which has brought a significant amount of academic achievements over the years.
He said: “The Sixth Form experience at Rydal Penrhos is nurturing and bespoke.
“Individual needs are met ensuring pupils become confident to follow their academic passions, extend their horizons and reach forward to exciting futures.
“It is my privilege to lead the Sixth Form Pastoral Team which has a wealth of experience and expertise in bringing out the best of our senior pupils.
“Tutor groups are deliberately small and caring, meaning tutors can take the time to know their pupils, forging relationships that will challenge them to fulfil their ambitions.
“UCAS and Futures specialists are ready to guide and support students in making decisions to continue further academic pursuit at excellent universities, embark upon competitive apprenticeships, begin purposeful gap years or enter the challenging world of work.”
The school’s strong commitment to academic excellence was further reflected in some truly outstanding A Level results last summer, which saw the 2020 cohort attain a 51.9 per cent pass rate at A*-A, which is the highest in the Rydal Penrhos’ history since the introduction of the A* grade and represents an increase of 30.5 per cent year on year.
These incredible results also featured:
- 75.9% A*-B grades.
- 90.5 per cent A*-C grades.
- 100 per cent pass rate.
- 3.1 mean subjects passed per candidate.
Couple this with small class sizes, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, a rich and proud history of sporting triumphs, an RYA Accredited Sailing Centre and a wide range of leadership opportunities, each Sixth Form pupil at Rydal Penrhos is given the biggest of platforms to ensure they hit the ground running on the next stage of their journey, wherever they choose to go.
“Our Sixth Form knows they are lucky and as such, they work hard to represent the school as impeccable ambassadors giving back to us and the wider community their energy and enthusiasm,” added Mr Brown.
“The Sixth Form experience espouses an ethos of teamwork, leadership and service underpinned by a sense of intellectual curiosity.
"Effective teacher/pupil ratios and bespoke pastoral care ensure that Rydal Penrhos students move forward ready and willing to contribute their skills to the wider world around them."
Action-packed week over half term
Although most of the Rydal Penrhos community was enjoying a well-deserved break over half term, some pupils were still incredibly busy on-site as part of the school’s Holiday Club provision.
Rydal Penrhos’ Holiday Club provides an extensive programme of activities that the children can experience, and helps assist them with their emotional, physical, social, intellectual, language and creative development.
Having a lot of fun in the process also helps, and this was the perfect way for them to retain some semblance of normality during the half-term break after a difficult start to the year for many years groups due to the second educational lockdown.
Staff at the school did an exceptional job of putting together a diverse range of challenges and thought-provoking sessions in a safe environment, which also saw pupils take on various themed events in keeping with national occasions.
One of the more popular activities throughout the break was the festivities surrounding Pancake Day, which took place on Tuesday 16 March and saw Holiday Club members take part in pancake tasting with a variety of different textures and toppings.
It’s safe to say every single pancake went down a treat!
There was also some biscuit making that pupils tried their hand at, in addition to the ever-popular pancake races to round off an exceptionally fun-filled occasion.
This was just one day in an action-packed schedule involving the Holiday Club, which is open for all Rydal Penrhos pupils from Pre-School through to Year 8.
Activities are always varied throughout the day to maintain focus and the interest of each child under the care of Rydal Penrhos staff.
Cerys reflects on challenging academic year
To say things have been difficult for pupils up and down the country over the last 12 months would be something of an understatement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced children young and old into a significant period of adjustment that included a robust online learning provision provided by Rydal Penrhos during the various lockdown measures implemented by the Welsh Government.
It has been especially complex for Sixth Formers, who have faced exam uncertainty and a university application process that looks far different in the current climate.
Teaching staff at Rydal Penrhos have been there every step of the way for them, providing expert support, guidance, and up-to-the-minute information regarding what’s been an ever-changing situation.
Cerys Cuddihy, who is a Year 13 pupil and joint deputy-head girl alongside Luiza Gratton, spoke to the Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter about how she’s adapted to the big changes at a critical stage of her learning and praised the school for making this transition smooth to ensure goals remain unaltered.
She said: “My mentality and approach to life has changed since the first lockdown, I used to be incredibly fixated on the future and would always stress about little things that now seem so trivial and unimportant.
“Now, three lockdowns in, I live by simply taking one day at a time because I’ve realised now, more than ever, how truly precious life is and the importance of making the most of the time we have on Earth.
“My most notable achievement has to be applying to university and managing to get my UCAS sent off in time, thanks to the incredible support and guidance I was given from Rydal Penrhos.
“The transition into the latest lockdown has been made much easier due to the iPad provided for each pupil. This, combined with the timetable I would be on if in school, has allowed me to keep to a familiar routine and provided me with a sense of normality.
“The introduction of “Fitness and Wellbeing” sessions during our extra-curricular time has also been of tremendous value to pupils and encourages everyone to be active for 30 minutes at the end of each day.”
Cerys has been a member of the Rydal Penrhos community for the entirety of her education after enrolling as a Reception class Prep School pupil in 2006. She has developed into a fantastic role model for younger pupils and has achieved a significant amount with the opportunities available.
This includes strong performances for the school’s hockey sides, contributing to drama productions and also developing considerably from an academic perspective.
As Cerys gets set for the next stage of her journey in higher education, she clearly feels a strong bond with the school and the experiences gained over the last 15 years.
“It’s sad to think in six months’ time I will be leaving,” added Cerys.
“However, I can say with complete certainty that I will have nothing but the fondest memories of this school and the community I have been fortunate enough to be a part of.
"I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for all the teachers who have taught me over the years, who have also helped shape me into the person I am today."
Cerys - Year 13
“Rydal Penrhos has provided me with some of my best memories that I will cherish forever. I genuinely can’t stress enough how much this school means to me and how thankful I am that I have had the privilege of being here for my entire education.”
Lily wins Charlotte Holmes competition
A special visit to Rydal Penrhos Senior School from Ben Richards and Will Cousins, creators of the “Charlotte Holmes Adventure Box”, Year 7 pupils were given the chance to get creative and possibly even see their name in the next edition of the popular children’s mystery.
Mr Richards and Mr Cousins invited pupils to create an exciting story – full of action – about Charlotte and the people of Batley Hall and the winner of the story writing competition will have their name included in the next adventure, which is set to be published in the coming weeks.
There were a host of incredible entries from the enthusiastic Year 7 group, who spent seven weeks before the Christmas break going through the adventure box during English lessons with Fiona Earle, Head of Rydal Penrhos’ Language, Literacy and Communications faculty.
Among the activities Year 7 took part in was creating the strangest big vegetable, cake decorating and potato head design.
This competition opportunity was a reward for the pupils’ exceptional dedication and commitment to their studies throughout the autumn term, which was especially evident considering the COVID-19 impact and restrictions were having on their day-to-day routine.
It brought out the very best in each pupil who submitted an entry, improving creative writing and storytelling in the process.
The creators spent a considerable period reading each entry and deciding on a winner, which was Lily Copeland for her incredible story entitled “The Mystery of the Unknown Source”.
This is the latest in a long line of achievements for Lily, who has been at Rydal Penrhos throughout the entirety of her education so far and has gone on to great things both academically, within the performing arts, and from a sporting perspective.
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to thank Ben and Will not only for giving up their time to visit the school before the end of term, but also for devising such an incredible competition for our Year 7 pupils.
The Mystery of The Unknown Source – by Lily Copeland
I did not realise; I didn’t even know. There had been so much commotion since I arrived at Batley Hall and I was trying my best to keep up. After all this fighting, arguing and accusing it was the butler, Alfred?! The sergeant had arrived at the hall and everyone’s mood had gone from being excited and cheerful, to annoyed, confused and upset. Alice looked hurt, however. I swallowed the lump in my throat that was holding me back from talking to her.
“Alice,” I walked over to her and gently tapped her shoulder. "Oh, Charlotte, hello.” She countered; I could tell she did not want to speak to me. At all. I expected that. I just could not live knowing I did her wrong.
I poured my pure heart into apologising and asking for forgiveness. Yet our chat was cut short as I could see Sergeant Stan heading towards me. Although that wasn’t the sight that had caught my eye. It was the horrid butler being shoved aggressively into the back of an aged car. He looked at me dead in the eyes, it was like someone was pointing a gun towards my face, it felt awful. I pretended not to notice him, but I couldn’t help but realise he was speaking to another officer.
As I was about to speak up about it, I was swept away by a crowd of journalists and officers, begging to hear the whole story of what had happened during my visit to Batley Hall. Great. They asked me plenty of questions, in fact, so many that I can’t remember any of them; I really wasn’t concentrating though. Something just felt wrong, everything had gone way too smoothly.
That thought whirled around my head for the rest of the day and night… I woke up to the beaming, golden sunshine peering through my patterned curtains. I felt vacant. My blurry vision adapted to the harsh light of the room and I glanced around the sparse area. I got changed, had breakfast and decided to look around where the Summer Fete was held, to see if I could put together the unsolved puzzle in my head. Flashbacks were beginning to appear in my memory as I stumbled around the pebbled pathway. The church money, the sirens, the shock and anger of everyone’s reaction.
Until I came across where the police car had been. I stopped, and stared hard and long at the area, it was a beautiful day, like all the others and I saw something glimmering under the precious light. Primarily, I thought it was just the rocks, however, it then became clear to me that it was a radio. From the officer that was talking to Alfred. I picked it up and dashed inside and ran to Sir Jeremy.
“Look what I found, sir!” I exclaimed, practically breathless.
“Well Charlotte, isn’t that interesting? Let’s have a listen to it” he reacted.
We both listened to it together, it said: ‘Alfred, listen close. This is exactly what we wanted; they know nothing about what’s coming. I will get you out of prison, I promise. Just do exactly what I say and maybe you will get your salary. Remember- word- key- Batley.’ Towards the end of the radio message, it began to break up. I figured it was trying to say ‘the key word is Batley’ but at this point everything was confusing.
“Ah, how a plan does come together, I say, look at this article in the paper Charlotte.” With that I looked where Sir Jeremy was pointing and noticed in big bold letters, a title that said: ALFRED, FORMER BUTLER OF BATLEY HALL CAUGHT TRYING TO ESCAPE OUT OF PRISON NUMEROUS TIMES.
I looked at Sir Jeremy, my eyes lighting up. He nodded at me but told me I had to be back for dinner as Alice and Johnson wanted to celebrate the day before their wedding. With that, I travelled to the prison with Johnson.
“This is it, Charlotte. Be careful though, Batley State Prison is not the nicest of places, Reverend Kindly says it’s where ‘the most outrageous and awful of the lot go’.
I took his advice in mind and walked nervously, my sweaty palms rattling at the thought of seeing Alfred again. With some confidence, I walked inside. My memory was unclear because of all the confusion that’d been going on, yet I could just remember the appearance of the officer talking to Alfred. I clutched the radio tight in my hand and read the name of it, Bradley. I immediately spotted him and stopped him so I could speak with him.
“So, Officer Bradley, is it?” I began, “May I ask why you were discussing plans with Alfred, the former butler of Batley Hall, two days ago?”“Wot are you, little girl, on ‘bout?” he rudely retorted, his voice made me shudder. He was clearly unimpressed.
“Well, I found this radio with your name on it. And if I’m not mistaken, this is you talking to Alfred?” I showed him the radio. And fortunately, at that very moment, none other than Sergeant Stan ambled past us, alerted by the arguing.
“May I ask what in the heavens is happening here, Little Miss Holmes?” he quizzed, a perplexed look plastered across his wrinkly face.
“Well, listen to this radio and you may find out Sheriff,” I beamed.
After thoroughly listening to the tape, Stan’s perplexed expression promptly changed to an angry emotion.
“Thank you very kindly, Charlotte. I think I’ll take it from here.” Stan stated.
“You’re very welcome Sergeant, goodbye. Bye, Bradley.” I happily skipped away and headed back to Batley Hall. I couldn’t have been any happier!
That evening everyone had an excellent time, even without Alfred, at the formal dinner for Alice and Johnson! And to add to that, after a couple of days, a paper was published with the title:
OFFICER BRADLEY JONES CAUGHT HELPING A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL IN HIS ESCAPES, LOCKED UP.
I felt a sense of pride! And as I lay in bed that night, I looked up into the clouds and saw a vision of Uncle Sherlock and my parents, all cheering for me.
Inspiring future Engineers
One of the more exciting curriculum changes at Rydal Penrhos over the last couple of years has been Engineering at GCSE.
This is one of the wide range of options that enables pupils to begin a possible career path into a specific field, which comes with a significant amount of opportunities within the working world.
This vocational GCSE will provide those taking it with a taste of the real working world as well as an opportunity to explore the engineering sector, so they can figure out whether it is right for them in terms of a career and further education option in the future under the guidance and support of Rydal Penrhos’ exceptional teaching staff.
Candidates are assessed through a mixture of exams and controlled internal assessments in normal circumstances, although the examination process has obviously looked far different over the last 12 months thanks to the ongoing complications surrounding COVID-19.
Although Engineering is a non-traditional subject, it’s something that has proven to be highly popular with Key Stage 4 pupils. It provides them with the opportunity to carry out research independently, participate in group work, go on trips, use real business resources, use the latest CAD-CAM programs and equipment and benefit from the advice of people who are actually working in engineering.
Each pupil is guided superbly throughout the module by the school’s Design Technology staff, who are leaders in their field and provide expert tuition to ensure each pupil gets the best possible knowledge and experience possible to reach their respective goals. One such example is a current project conducted by Year 10 from their own homes as part of the school’s thorough online learning provision during the second educational lockdown.
Using a basic kit of materials provided by the school, the group have been tasked with creating a working prototype of a spring-powered car – this focuses on the intricacies of design and planning as well as consolidating their knowledge of materials, levers pulleys and energy conversion.
They will model their solutions in 3D CAD software as well as compete with their final creation in a race after Easter.
This is yet another strong indicator as to how much incredible work is being done across all departments at Rydal Penrhos Senior School during the lockdown period.
Farrell brothers continue to excel
A number of Rydal Penrhos pupils have achieved success in the field of music in recent weeks. This comes as a result of their hard work and commitment to improving despite COVID-19 restrictions giving each pupil some significant hurdles to overcome regarding their preparation.
Their ability to adapt is something that’s been evident across Rydal Penrhos over the last 12 months during the various lockdowns, which came with plenty of learning from the comfort of their own homes as part of the school’s thorough online provision when pupils were not permitted on site.
The school was delighted to hear of yet more Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music certificates for Kevin and Liam Farrell, who are Year 13 and 8 pupils at Rydal Penrhos.
Joint-deputy head boy Kevin has progressed impressively throughout various music gradings throughout his time at the school, which began all the way back in 2010 when he enrolled as a Year 3 Prep School pupil.
His latest ABRSM examination was his toughest to date, with the Sixth Former combining his A Level studies with trying to attain his Grade 7 Trinity Graded Piano assessment.
After an exceptional amount of dedication, Kevin came through his assessment with flying colours to secure a Distinction as a result of his marvellous efforts.
There was further cause for celebration in the Farrell household thanks to an incredible trio of triumphs from Liam, which began with a Distinction in his Grade 4 Online Music Theory examination.
Liam also attained a Merit in his Grade 4 Clarinet – where he was accompanied by music tutor Cheryl Frost – and the pupil rounded off an eye-catching set of musical results with a pass in his Grade 4 Piano assessment.
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos is absolutely thrilled for Kevin and Liam, who have both been a real credit to the school.
Stars of the Week
Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupils began another half term with their customary determination and work ethic, with more activity on-site thanks to the welcome return of Pre-Prep children after the Welsh Government eased restrictions relating to COVID-19.
Staff at Rydal Penrhos have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to ensure that each pupil feels safe and happy upon their return to school, which has enabled them to hit the ground running during their first few days of face-to-face learning once again.
Hopefully, there will be further good news regarding the remaining Prep School pupils making their triumphant return to Rydal Penrhos during the next government announcement on 18 March, and we cannot wait to have everyone back!
We caught up with Prep School head Lucy Davies for an update on how things have gone during the first week back, some exciting things to come and the first Stars of the Week of the new half term.
"A fabulous week at the Prep School with the very welcome return of some of our classes."
Mrs Davies - Head of Prep School
We have a full house of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils and the sunny weather, on some days, helped to heighten the warm atmosphere.
The pupils soon got back into the swing of lessons and have been making the best use of our playground, field and forest areas to run off some of their extra energy!
The teachers all agreed that every single one deserves to be ‘Star of the Week’ but we couldn’t fit all of their pictures onto the ‘star board’ in school so here are the recipients of the class ‘star’ award this week:
- Reception: Livia – for showing kindness to our new pupils and really being a good friend.
- Year 1: Peter – for using his new phonic sounds in independent writing to fabulous effect.
- Year 2: Jacob S. – brilliant work on that difficult maths concept…fractions.
- Year 3: Holly – super maths work with her expanded addition.
- Year 4: James – a great week of independent work and ideas.
- Year 5: Ifana – for mastering her multiplication and division methods this week.
- Year 6: Tillie – fantastic effort and thought in her geography project
And our artist of the week this week, for her picture of ‘capturing snowflakes on my tongue,’ is Layko in Year 3.
Well done everyone; pupils, staff and parents, what a great week!
Don’t forget to wear your Welsh symbols/hat/jumper for St. David’s Day on Monday 1 March.
Mrs Lucy Davies - Head of Prep
Dr Baker reveals 25-year Gwrych Castle plan
Dr Mark Baker, a former Rydal Penrhos pupil who attended the school from 1996-2003, has revealed ambitious 25-year plans to further transform the North Wales castle he is in the process of restoring to its former glory.
The Alumnus has made it his lifelong ambition to return Gwrych Castle to its former glory, with the project hitting the headlines in a big way after it was selected as the venue for the ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’.
Dr Baker’s project has been aided by Rydal Penrhos pupils over the years, with the school’s community action days seeing various year groups spend time at the castle assisting with the clean-up project.
This is just one amazing success story regarding community involvement regarding pupils old and new from Rydal Penrhos over the years, which is all part of the school’s ethos.
The former Rydal Penrhos pupil is hoping extra notoriety from the show can help secure £5 million in National Lottery funding that will enable the Trust to begin work on the main house, which hasn’t been open to the public since 1985.
The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust released a new raffle with plenty of prizes on offer, including merchandise signed by Russell Watson – a world-famous performer who was one of the celebrities in the series who is also aiming to put on a concert at the site during the summer providing COVID-19 concerns have alleviated by then.
The latest part of Dr Baker’s plan – entitled the Designed Landscape Project 2018-2043 – involves consolidating and repairing buildings and structures, reviving the ideas of the picturesque movement and create “educational, training and employment opportunities”.
Some notable proposals as part of the 25-year plan are:
- Recreating the formal gardens and to rebuild the conservatory: The garden was destroyed in 1971/2 when a jousting tilt yard was formed in the space. Since 2014, the trust has recreated
- To restore nine miles of historic pathways, staircases and viewing platforms and to reintroduce Lloyd’s planting scheme.
- To restoring the historic bridge to form part of the visitor’s experience.
- Rebuild Lloyd’s cottage orné: Lloyd preserved the cottage as part of his landscaping of the hillside. He enhanced the already picturesque cottage with a thatched roof and installed the gamekeeper who would show visitors around the parkland above the castle.
- To return visitors to a unique picturesque experience: Restoring access to the caves via Lloyd’s network of paths will enable visitors to walk in the footsteps of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Heskeths and his contemporaries, ascending along the paths and staircases into the darkness of the caves.
A spokesperson from the castle said: “In June 2018, Gwrych Castle was purchased by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust for the benefit of the nation.
“A 10-year programme of works which will see the castle and outbuildings conserved and restored is underway. It will deliver a wealth of educational and training benefits in partnership with local and national organisations.
“The restoration of the castle is the core of our work. Today the main castle is a ruin in need of extensive conservation and consolidation.
“The works done externally to make safe the castle has enabled us to welcome visitors and provide meaningful interpretation of this significant symbol of Welsh heritage. The next 10 years will see the castle restored.
“The built structures which are within this most important 19th century designed landscape (2018 to 2043) are also the focus of our attention and we have a 25-year plan.”
The raffle ends on Mother’s Day and anybody wishing to enter can do so by visiting Gwrych Castle’s Facebook page.
Prior to the Christmas break, Dr Baker visited Rydal Penrhos to dish out the prizes relating to their series of I’m a Celebrity themed challenges, was given a tour of his old stomping ground by pupils and Prep School head Lucy Davies, in addition to taking part in a question and answer session with challenge winners.
Weekly update from Miss Earle
I hope that families enjoyed the chance to read together last week.
Thursday 4 March is WORLD BOOK DAY
Designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.
Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income.
The target is to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them.
There are a series of extra special FREE digital events. And what an amazing line-up it is too.
They are LIVE on the World Book Day YouTube channel – and they’ll remain on YouTube to watch back time and time again!
The exciting line-up includes:
Wednesday 3rd March, 10.30am – Books that Make you LOL! Starring: Humza Arshad, Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton (Football School), Jonny Duddle and Zanib Mian Hosted by Kenny Baraka, motivational speaker
Thursday 4th March, 10.30am – World Book Day special – Bringing Reading to Life Starring: Joseph Coelho & Fiona Lumbers, Tom Fletcher and Lydia Monks and special guest Rob Biddulph Hosted by Nigel Clarke, TV presenter
Friday 5th March, 10.30am – Books and the Real World Starring: Sita Brahmachari, Jess French and Katherine Rundell Hosted by Jessie Cave, actor and podcaster
Each event will last approximately 30 minutes. You can find out more about each event at the links below.
There will also be a fun quiz in tutor time that morning.
Pupils in years 7 and 8 will finish their Readathon on World Book Day, so we look forward to finding out which books they read, and how successful their sponsorship was. The money raised will be used to help brighten the days of children in hospital by purchasing books to enjoy.
They are invited to celebrate their success by dressing up as a character from fiction for online lessons.
Finally, Oak Academy Library features author Dominique Valente this week. You can get lost in the world of Starfell and listen to an audiobook of the first in the series, Willow Moss and the Lost Day
Willow Moss is the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches. She has a magical ability for finding lost things like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth, which is useful, but not exactly exciting.
But then, the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow's door and asks for her help. A whole day - last Tuesday to be precise - has gone missing. Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands. Can she save the day by finding the lost one?
You can also watch an exclusive video with the author to find out more about the books and her best writing advice. You can also discover Dominique's favourite children's stories and read a Q&A about books and reading.
26 February 2021