The RP Weekly: 29 July 2022
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School - 29 July 2022 edition.
The RP Weekly
29 July 2022
Available throughout the summer
Teaching staff and pupils are on their well-deserved summer break after a hugely successful academic year. But Rydal Penrhos will be open throughout the holidays for prospective pupils and their families to visit the stunning campus.
The best way to get a real feel for our friendly and welcoming school is to come and see for yourself. Our admissions team will be on hand to guide you across either the Pre-School, Prep, Senior or Sixth Form sites and other staff will also be available to answer any questions you may have about the curriculum, extra-curricular activities and planning for the next step.
Here's what you can expect from a private tour at Rydal Penrhos, and anyone wishing to discover more should contact email@example.com, call 01492 530155 or use our online form.
Interested in Rydal Penrhos Pre-School?
You will be greeted by Mrs Lucy Davies, Deputy Principal and Ms Letitia Spencer, Pre-School manager upon your arrival. They will then take you on a tour of the thriving Pre-School department, which is the perfect place for a child to begin their journey through education.
There will be an opportunity to view the specialised area for two-year-olds, art room, reading area, imaginative play and a more typical classroom along with the outdoor play area and Rydal Penrhos’ Coastal School initiative.
Interested in Rydal Penrhos Prep School?
Arriving at the Prep School reception right at the top of Pwllycrochan Avenue you will be greeted by Mrs Lucy Davies, Deputy Principal.
While having a tour of the school classrooms, the IT suite, science labs, the music department, art room, library and the ever-popular Forest School site, she will also be more than happy to answer any queries about the curriculum and activities, in addition to the free wraparound care provided.
Interested in Rydal Penrhos Senior School (Years 7-13)?
Arriving at the Pwllycrochan Avenue reception at Rydal Penrhos, you will be greeted by a member of our Admissions team.
Following a short chat, we will then take you on a personal socially distanced tour of the school’s various departments, which will showcase everything from academic classrooms, science laboratories and the exceptional sporting facilities available to our pupils, which also includes a 25-metre Swimming Pool.
Those with a more creative flair can explore the Art, Music, Design Technology and Drama departments, and there will be a chance to ask questions about anything and everything associated with Rydal Penrhos.
Our Executive Principal would be delighted to meet you following your tour. If this is something you would enjoy please let us know so that we can arrange visit times accordingly.
Two exciting curriculum additions announced
Rydal Penrhos’ Sixth Form curriculum is based around A Level and Cambridge Technical courses, as well as the Extended Project Qualification. In addition, the school also supports pupils through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).
The choice of Sixth Form subjects is so important in enabling our pupils to gain university places at their first-choice destination on a course they are passionate about pursuing. It is equally important that pupils choose subjects that they are going to thoroughly enjoy over their final two years of school life.
From Year 11, we encourage them to think about what they want to achieve in higher education and beyond, with our teaching staff supporting them every step of the way.
This is done through advice, guidance, and special events such as our recent Higher Education and Careers Pathway events, which were a huge success and gave pupils plenty of information ahead of their respective choices.
All our Year 12 pupils initially choose four subjects to study with 28 academic lessons per week. From September, there will be two more exciting additions to the Sixth Form curriculum at Rydal Penrhos.
The first is “study skills“, which will be the equivalent of an extra lesson a fortnight. Evidence suggests that one of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to impede the development of this critical area and we anticipate this course will address the issue.
Secondly, the school will be introducing a “service element” to the Sixth Form curriculum. This aspect of supporting the local community was historically an integral part of the education at both Rydal School and Penrhos College.
Our Chaplain, the Reverend Dr Rob Beamish, has been liaising with various appropriate local charities and agencies so that our pupils will spend from 2.40-4.20pm each Thursday actively contributing to worthy causes in the region.
Whether that’s visiting and/or shopping for the housebound, helping younger children in school or ecological projects such as litter picking or gardening, Sixth Formers will be doing their part to make the world around them a better place.
For those undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award, this will also contribute to the required volunteering element of the award.
This promises to be another immensely positive change. One that will benefit every Sixth Form pupil moving forward.
Sixth Former earns 1st Class Maths Degree alongside A Level studies
One of Rydal Penrhos’ brightest young minds has achieved his dream of gaining a first-class university degree alongside his A Level studies.
Juan Rajagopal, who is part of the school’s Year 13 contingent about to embark on the next stage of their journey, has been working tirelessly on a Mathematics degree course with the Open University and this dedication resulted in successfully attaining his 1st Class Bachelor of Science (Honours).
This represents a significant achievement for Juan, who joined Rydal Penrhos in Year 7 and has flourished across multiple areas under the guidance of the school’s exceptional staff team.
He recently concluded his A Level studies, where Juan studied Physics, Chemistry and Further Mathematics, with the pupil also doing an AS Level in Economics after earning some phenomenal GCSE results in 2020.
This included four 9s in English (1st Language), English Literature, Mathematics and Music, alongside four 8s in Business, Design Technology, French and Geography as well as a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.
His commitment to the sciences brought further top marks, securing A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Something made even more remarkable by the fact Juan’s grades in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Music were all taken a year ahead of schedule.
Juan’s time at Rydal Penrhos was littered with accomplishments.
His efforts during United Kingdom Mathematics Trust’s individual and team challenges in recent years brought national recognition. Juan was also part of the school team that secured a prestigious victory in an Enterprise Challenge set by Lancaster University School of Management, beating out a wealth of independent schools from across the country.
His astonishing piano playing ability wowed audiences at various concerts produced by Rydal Penrhos. Juan’s incredible knowledge of compositions also enabled him to gain a wealth of achievements from grading assessments administered by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music.
Juan is also a keen runner and footballer during time away from his studies at school. He also recently participated in his final expedition in pursuit of the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, which results in a trip to a royal venue to collect the coveted distinction.
Juan is awaiting his A Level results next month in pursuit of confirming his place at Imperial College London, where he's been offered a place to study Physics with Theoretical Physics.
Charley builds national accolades
Charley Simpson’s quest for golfing stardom is gathering pace over a busy summer of competitions for the Rydal Penrhos pupil.
The Welsh U18 international has worked tirelessly to improve areas of his game in recent months, which has brought some encouraging results against some of the best young talents in the country.
The Sixth Former managed to achieve a low enough handicap (+1) to compete in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters competition, which is named after the legendary former boxer and features the cream of the crop from around the United Kingdom and beyond.
The competition, which took place at Nizels Golf Club in Kent, was a two-round start and cut to the top 40 players. Those successful would then compete in a testing 36-hole final day to determine the overall winner.
After a disappointing first round, Charley bounced back in fine style to shoot level par on his second trek round the course to ensure he made the cut comfortably.
Charley built on this positive momentum on the final day, with the teenage sensation coming up with a number of high-pressure shots en route to a creditable 24th-placed finish against international competition.
Almost immediately after the Junior Masters came to a conclusion, Charley made his way to The King’s Course at Warwickshire Golf Club, where he represented Rydal Penrhos at the ISGA HG Trophy.
This brought about another impressive overall display from Charley, who shot two-over-par on the testing course to finish in fourth place as a result of his exceptional efforts, just two shots behind the overall winner.
The Rhos on Sea Golf Club Junior Captain has surged up the World Amateur Ranking (WAGR) this year, with Charley now sitting at 2,695 globally – which is the second top-ranked Welsh Under 18 player.
With more events to come throughout the summer, Charley will be looking to impress college golf coaches from the United States with a view to earning a scholarship next year upon concluding his A Level studies.
In readiness for this transition, Charley signed a deal with Pro Dream USA, which helps young golfers from across the world connect with the best universities in the United States, supporting them throughout the strenuous process to fulfil academic and sporting potential.
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to congratulate Charley on his ongoing success and wish him the very best of luck for the rest of the season.
Story project with Years 3 and 4
One thing that remains a source of pride at Rydal Penrhos is the close-knit community across the school. This forms a core part of our ethos and is incorporated into the curriculum, house competitions and extra-curricular activities, aiding development considerably.
This is something that is evident on a day-to-day basis across Rydal Penrhos from Pre-School to Sixth Form. The family feel across the school provides a safe, happy environment that enables pupils to thrive and achieve great things throughout their education.
Another fine example of this came from a recent Year 9 English project before the summer break. This also involved participation from year groups within Rydal Penrhos Prep School.
Year 9 were given the task of writing a story about pupils in Years 3-4. In order to achieve this, they spent a considerable period of time with the Prep contingent, interviewing them about their life, family, likes, dislikes and what particular things they enjoy at Rydal Penrhos.
The senior group then went back into the classroom to come up with a story based on the information acquired, which were put into books and delivered to the Prep pupils as a gift before heading off on their well-deserved summer holidays.
This was obviously a source of great excitement for Year 3 and 4 pupils. And it was great to see Year 9 interacting so well with them during the story presentation.
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to congratulate Year 9 on a job well done and offer our thanks to Years 3 and 4 for their exceptional commitment to a very worthwhile project.
Ms Bollan on its importance at Rydal Penrhos
Ms Sarah Bollan, Key Stage 3 Lead at Rydal Penrhos, explores the important role the house system can play in pupils’ settling in and development.
Alumni of Rydal Penrhos will be familiar with names like Crusaders, Trojans, Barbarians and Corinthians or Hovey, Mack, Yorke and Ashcroft when talking about school houses. Fast forward to today at senior level and house pride centres on Morgan, Wesley, Osborn and Payne.
The importance of belonging to a house, the bond this creates, the memories you make and the fact it enables you to make friends across year groups rather than just within them is an essential part of life at Rydal Penrhos. If at times over our 140-year history the school has taken for granted the incredible community spirit and camaraderie the system creates, then the COVID-19 restrictions have certainly brought the importance of this pastoral system into focus more than ever.
This is especially true with regards to our youngest pupils, joining us for the first time.
As children move through the final years of primary school their imaginations are already anticipating the move up to Year 7. They wonder what it will be like to be in a bigger school with older children, to navigate from classroom to classroom, to have different teachers for each subject.
Most of all, however, they wonder about their friendship groups and the people they will meet.
For many pupils, overcoming the first steps of putting yourself out there and making friends is difficult enough; when you add social distancing, year group ‘bubbling’ and lockdowns, it is almost impossible for the normal social dynamics to develop.
This is why we have focused on keeping track of our pupils at Rydal Penrhos. Not just in terms of their academic progress but their happiness and demeanour.
It is why we are now ensuring that pupils can experience the return of school trips, move-up days and activity week, which offer pupils time together outside of their normal curriculum activities.
Houses have been a major uniting force in the history of our school. The competitions, events and sense of identity that they bring have always helped pupils get to know one another.
When pupils join Rydal Penrhos in Year 7, they are allocated to one of the houses which they will then represent not only in designated house events like Sports Day but across the year in everything they do.
House points can be earnt for all types of good-natured behaviour, not just academic or sporting effort. It is a fantastic way of recognising and encouraging virtues that aren’t necessarily reflected in an exam result or match score.
House activities offer a space for pupils of all ages to work together as equals towards a common goal. When a Year 7 takes part in their first House Assembly and sees their Head of House, a Sixth Form pupil, take charge of organising teams and events, it sets a benchmark that they can aspire towards as they move up through the school.
Even more importantly, it means there is another friendly face they will recognise as they go about their day, beyond their friends and teachers.
House competitions often feature teams with pupils from multiple year groups. This can help younger pupils feel a sense of belonging and real influence within not only their year group but the entire school.
When a Key Stage 3 pupil makes a defining contribution on Sports Day or sings a solo at the Inter-House Christmas Carol competition, it’s a memory that will stay with them as they progress to the top of Rydal Penrhos and take up positions of responsibility and leadership.
Before the start of Sports Day this year pupils from all year groups gathered outside and spent an hour making flags, banners, hats and signs in their house colours which they then paraded from the Memorial Quad to New Field.
The enthusiasm and energy were obvious. Some pupils went the extra mile by arriving in costume, or painting their arms and face the colour of their house. Osborn even set up a green tent on New Field!
Just look at the many millions of people all over the world who flock to see their teams each week and you can see that people have a clear need for belonging and identity.
Through competition, different teams come to respect one another’s similarities, creating a sense of unity that ties all together. That is why the house system, despite creating separate camps in school, serves to unite the entire Rydal Penrhos family.
As a school, we responded remarkably well when the pandemic hit back in March 2020. The past decision to allocate iPads to all pupils Year 3 and above meant the technology was already in place when we needed to move lessons online.
When restrictions were eased, our large school site and small class sizes meant that we could safely welcome back our pupils while maintaining their safety and quality of teaching. What was harder to recreate through a screen was the energy of pupils gathering in their red, green, blue or yellow to run up the score in a sports game or figure out the answers to a house quiz.
Now that day-to-day life resembles the old normality once again, the role of our extra-curricular activities and house tradition stands greater than ever.
While we can’t give back the time that our Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils were forced to navigate a strange, unprecedented pandemic era, we will do everything we can to provide even more of the incredible, memorable moments that Rydal Penrhos has continually created for its pupils over many decades.
This year’s Sports Day was a perfect illustration of how the house system is uniquely equipped to do just that. I look forward to seeing pupils not just in Key Stage 3 but across the whole school continue to learn and thrive as part of their houses.
Ms Sarah Bollan – Key Stage 3 Lead
Snowdon crowned House Cup winners
House pride is something that is evident across all areas of life at Rydal Penrhos. Whether it’s within Reception or right through to Sixth Form, pupils take a significant amount of pleasure in competing for their respective houses in pursuit of the overall title each academic year.
After a period of disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions, events took centre stage once again in recent months. Something that was sorely missed and provided a vibrant environment that builds friendships and forms a close bond between different year groups.
This is especially evident within the Prep School, which has been a hive of activity with house competitions and tournaments in various areas such as music, art and sport. The Year 6 house captains galvanised their groups exceptionally throughout, which was fantastic to see after so long without such occasions.
Another major event that goes a long way to determining the overall house cup winners is Sports Day, which was held in glorious sunshine on New Field and was a shining example of the community spirit emanating across Rydal Penrhos.
After all the points were tallied by our incredible Prep staff, Snowdon House scooped the 2021/22 cup with 4,216 points, with Lexi-May picking up the coveted trophy and thanking her housemates for a job well done before pupils and teachers departed for their well-deserved summer break.
They narrowly beat Pembroke House to attain the crown, with Brecon finishing third after giving their all.
We would like to congratulate Snowdon on their victory and to every pupil that represented their house in a positive fashion. Rydal Penrhos is already planning a bumper schedule for the next academic year in September!
Beddgelert trip explores Welsh legend
The Rydal Penrhos Holiday Club is open during the school holidays and provides an extensive programme of activities for the children to experience. This is not only a lot of fun, but it also helps assist them with their emotional, physical, social, intellectual, language and creative development.
Staff have done a wonderful job of devising a comprehensive provision full of adventures and exciting challenges, which includes plenty to enjoy across prominent landmarks across the North Wales region.
The Rydal Penrhos Holiday Club has something for everyone and this summer promises to be no exception thanks to the sterling commitment of our dedicated staff team.
Another exciting adventure for the group was exploring Welsh culture during a trip to Beddgelert, which began by walking along the picturesque heritage trail to the burial marker which told the legend of Gelert.
This was followed by visiting the house of Gelert and the bronze statue situated nearby. The Holiday Club spoke about how the house is a lot different to those from the modern era.
They walked across the footbridge and threw sticks into the river below to see which would get to the other side the quickest. As the group were walking back to the minibus, they noticed stacks of stones along the side of the riverbank.
The children then worked in teams of two and three to build their own towers out of the pebbles to round off an immensely worthwhile trip to a prominent area steeped in Welsh history and heritage.
The Summer Holiday Club is running from 11 July to 26 August (Monday to Friday). For those aged 5 to 12, the Holiday Club is open for external children. For current Rydal Penrhos pupils, the Holiday Club is open for Pre-School to Year 8.
The cost is £45 per day and includes all trips, activities, sports and crafts as well as two snacks, a packed lunch and a fresh-cooked meal. A sibling discount of 5 per cent is available.
To book now as a current Rydal Penrhos parent please log in to your Schools Buddy App.
To book now as a family who does not attend the school, click here.
For any further enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01492 530155.
The Donald Hughes Trust
Join our campaign!
The Donald Hughes Trust was set up to honour its namesake, one of our former Headmasters at Rydal Penrhos.
Donald Hughes worked tirelessly to ensure that children and young people would not miss out on the opportunity to have an outstanding education – through the Donald Hughes Trust, his benevolent project continues to this day at Rydal Penrhos.
The trust is now an important source of funding for our Fully Funded Places scheme, which allows disadvantaged local children and young people to join our school. As a charity, this is something we feel passionate about and we know that our alumni, parents and staff are similarly supportive and engaged.
We have lots of ideas on how we might revitalise donations to this fund and wish to make it an everyday part of what we do as a school. We have already made an incredible start thanks to the generosity of the Rydal Penrhos family and we are deeply grateful to all the wonderful givers who have contributed thus far.
These contributions have included both large individual gifts and smaller donations or legacies. However, the single most popular way to contribute is through a small monthly donation with Gift Aid.
We would like to say thank you to all our alumni who have already supported this project or others. Philanthropy is a huge factor behind the success of Rydal Penrhos over the years and we are beyond grateful to our benefactors.
Even a little goes a long way!
Supporting the Donald Hughes Trust is not only a way of honouring a strong connection with the school, but it is also a way of joining together with other alumni to support the next generation following in their footsteps.
We hope you will consider becoming part of our school’s incredible tradition.
Every gift – whatever the scale, and whatever the reason – makes a huge difference to the work of the Donald Hughes Trust. It helps provide life-changing opportunities to children, each of whom adds to the vibrant internal diversity of the pupil body, in turn enriching the Rydal Penrhos community as a whole.
“I can’t express in words or actions how much this means to me, and how much it has helped me and will continue to help me and my future, but all I can say is how thankful and appreciative I am of this chance to prove myself”
– a Rydal Penrhos pupil, who joined thanks to a Fully Funded Place supported by the Donald Hughes Trust.
Values such as compassion, tolerance, good humour and courage are instilled in our pupils from a very early age and are core components of the ethos that guides the Rydal Penrhos community on a daily basis.
Help us continue our work in improving the prospects of our children and young people, and in turn our local communities, by donating to the Donald Hughes Trust.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so easily on our website (https://rydalpenrhos.com/society/donald-hughes-trust/donate/). For those wanting further information or an alternative way of giving, please contact 01492 530155 or email email@example.com.
Community Wind Band
Two outstanding pieces produced
It’s been fantastic to see the Rydal Penrhos Community Wind Band continuing to draw significant interest after forming earlier this year.
The initial period since its inception has been hugely successful for the group, which is led by Mr Clive Wolfendale, a former parent and current member of Rydal Penrhos’ governing body.
The Community Wind Band is open to current pupils, alumni, parents, staff and local musicians from across Colwyn Bay and the wider region. A true example of school and community spirit that’s been evident throughout Rydal Penrhos for more than a century.
Players of all brass, woodwind and percussion instruments are welcome to attend rehearsal sessions which are held on Wednesday evenings from 7-8.30pm in the Rick Maple Drama Studio on Combermere Road, Colwyn Bay.
There is no charge and instruments are available to borrow if required by anyone wishing to attend.
The school was delighted to receive two fantastic pieces produced by the Community Wind Band recently, which were published in the latest edition of the Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter and on our YouTube channel.
‘Soldier Soldier‘ and ‘Black is the Colour‘ are just two pieces that the group have devised so far. The Community Wind Band are also scheduled to make an appearance during the school’s annual Founders’ Weekend celebrations in September.
Anyone wishing to register their interest in the Rydal Penrhos Community Wind Band, or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Club Beddgelert trip
Year 9 story project
Owen Reilly takes first Wales National County wicket