The RP Weekly: 30 April 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
30 April 2021
English curriculum brought to life in Forest School
One of the great things about a Rydal Penrhos education is the use of the outdoors to enhance pupils’ engagement and education around a topic.
This was exemplified with a recent project involving Year 6, who had their imaginations captured by a topic surrounding one of the world’s most famous children’s authors – J.K Rowling.
Each pupil has spent time finding out more about the woman behind the much-loved Harry Potter novels, originally published between 1997 and 2007.
However, it wasn’t the child wizard and the world of Hogwarts that got pupils thinking.
In fact, it was one of her other books, the more recent “The Ickabog“, which was published last year after having been written some time ago without ever getting released.
Ms. Rowling decided to re-write parts, enlist the help of competition winners for the artwork and release it over a period of time throughout the lockdown to give children some little teasers to keep them engaged.
Year 6 were all keen to take what they discovered from the book to boost additional skills during their first Forest School session of the summer term.
Teacher and Forest School leader Jude Pyves encouraged the enthusiastic group to make clay interpretations of the Ickabog and then once the models were created, they took them into the picturesque Forest School site to re-enact scenes from the book.
The school has the most incredible woodland area available on-site and weekly sessions are implemented from Pre-School up to Year 6.
Great work, Year 6!
Football & Hockey
Monday sessions return
The sun was shining and there was plenty of excitement in the air on Monday 26 April as Rydal Penrhos pupils got back down to their Monday extra-curricular programme after a lengthy break.
This saw Year 9 and 10 participate in Football and Hockey for the first time in 2021 following the second educational lockdown and the Easter holidays, which was another welcome return to some semblance of normality.
There was a huge turnout and increase in participation from Year 9 for their football session. They got back into the swing of things with game-based stipulations implemented to improve reactions, communication between teammates, vision and decision-making in real-time situations.
Despite the warm weather making for a tiring session, all pupils gave their absolute all and left communications manager Dean Jones impressed by what he saw from the group.
He said: “Considering how long Year 9 have been away from our Monday sessions, I was incredibly pleased with what I saw from the group. They really came on a significant amount over the autumn term and took on board everything really well. Their commitment and willingness to learn makes them a fun group to coach and I look forward to seeing further progress in the coming weeks.”
Football has become an increasingly popular sport over the last couple of years at Rydal Penrhos, which has not gone unnoticed by staff. More sessions across all year groups have been introduced during the year, which has been another significant boost to the school’s outstanding extra-curricular provision.
Year 10 pupils were also extremely active on Monday afternoon, with Hockey taking place with coach and former Welsh international Dawn Jones on the school’s Astro pitch facility.
Mrs Jones took those in attendance through some passing drills, working on the technical aspect of control and distribution to ease them back into a sporting environment following the break.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich and proud history of Hockey success over the years, with the school winning multiple national schools’ championships over the last five years and producing plenty of Welsh internationals at youth level.
Parent of recent leaver gives glowing praise
Thank you so much to one of our former parents who recently sent us this lovely testimonial.
“At Rydal Penrhos the smaller classes meant that all of the staff get to know the children. I always felt staff were genuinely interested in my child’s progress and always expected the best of all of the students. They signposted many opportunities and experiences. At every important stage at the school, transition, options, GCSE examinations, A Levels and UCAS preparation I have felt that the attention to detail and genuine interest by the school has given them an advantage.
"While in Rydal Penrhos my child also learnt the importance of team sports and enjoyed and played them regularly. It taught them the importance of “playing the game”, supporting and encouraging each other and being the best you can be, even if you don’t get to hold the trophy. They also got the opportunity take part in Fencing, sailing and Duke of Edinburgh too. They learnt at Rydal Penrhos that it was good to try different things – you might surprise yourself. The wonderful approach that Rydal Penrhos had to music was also a brilliant opportunity. They became a part of the school choir and not only enjoyed the fun of a Christmas concert but discovered the joy of singing beautiful choral music at St Asaph Cathedral regularly.
"It has made a real difference to my child who has been able to fulfil her potential; it has given them such an educational opportunity."
Noah helps out at homeless charity
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is one of the activities at the core of Rydal Penrhos’ very substantial extra-curricular provision.
It’s scheme that has been at the forefront of the press recently with the passing of its founder The Duke of Edinburgh. He created it to develop skills in all children such as resilience, confidence, leadership, problem-solving, skills which will be invaluable to them as they move into adult life.
A large number of Rydal Penrhos pupils are encouraged to take part in the scheme and a very high percentage achieve their Bronze award.
Some then continue on to Silver and Gold, or pursue other extra-curricular activities such as Combined Cadet Force, Sailing or Golf. Those who have achieved the ultimate goal in recent years – a prestigious Gold Award – are rewarded further a trip to a royal location to pick up the award along with other successful candidates across the country.
Noah Lewis, who is a Year 9 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, has just begun his DofE journey at the school and wasted no time in assisting with a fantastic community charity as part of the compulsory volunteering portion of the award.
The pupil has spent a considerable period of time with the Kind Bay Initiative, a homeless charity that was set up with a view to tackling isolation and poor mental health by bringing people together and providing them with food, clothes, entertainment, and a listening ear.
As part of his involvement with the KBI, Noah offered to put his culinary skills to good use by cooking several times outside of school hours, which has received some impressive feedback from those receiving the meals.
His chicken curry was described as “one of the best meals they’d ever had at KBI”, with the charity remaining steadfast in their commitment to providing those in need with a vital service over the last year despite the obvious complications surrounding COVID-19.
Dr Jim Lewis, Duke of Edinburgh co-ordinator at Rydal Penrhos, said: “Noah should be extremely proud of this and I am very pleased to see that he has worked so hard to achieve such an amazing result.”
Noah is also a keen baker and has demonstrated a real talent for performing on stage during his time at Rydal Penrhos. This included a memorable performance during the Dramatic Society production of Les Miserables and the Speech and Drama Comedy Night.
A huge well done goes to Noah for his outstanding commitment and support to what is an important local community charity.
For more information on the fantastic Kind Bay Initiative, visit this link: https://www.facebook.com/thekindbayinitiative
Blending the digital with the traditional
Pupils are working in an increasingly digital age. This is something that was recognised by Rydal Penrhos and resulted in the introduction of free iPads to boost their development in and out of the classroom.
However, the school also understands the importance of keeping more traditional methods of teaching and learning in place.
Firstly as a school, we know our children and that each and every one of them is different and thrives with different learning and teaching methods.
Secondly, the world still requires some of the more traditional educational skills developed over time, and so not to use them while they are with us here at Rydal Penrhos would be to put them at a disadvantage for future education and employment.
Teaching staff at Rydal Penrhos are presently using a combination of iPads and the “old school” pen and paper during their lessons. This gives each pupil the opportunity to use technology in a way that will enhance learning and build key modern-day skills, in addition to maintaining handwriting techniques that remain essential in an ever-changing world.
The use of writing even comes into effect when pupils use their iPads. The school implements Microsoft Teams and sharing worksheets via Class Notebook, meaning they still have to write, but pupils just use their pen that came with the electronic device.
This means teaching staff can mark their work in real-time on their iPads, where pupils can see comments and tips instantly appearing as their teacher is writing them.
All assessments are handwritten as normal, which is fantastic preparation for pupils embarking on GCSE or A Level examinations, where they are expected to hand-write answers to questions in a bid to secure high marks.
Paul Sanders, who is the Head of Key Stage 4 at Rydal Penrhos, said: “At Rydal Penrhos, we incorporate a wide variety of teaching resources, methodology and the latest pedagogy into our lessons.
“We take advantage of advancements in technology, for example, our use of the pupil iPads; but we stress the importance of handwriting too. When our pupils come to their external examinations be it at GCSE or A Level, they will be expected to hand-write their responses. It is vital that pupils, therefore, across the school continue to practice this important skill.
“In fact, research backs this up: the brain engages differently when we write something by hand as opposed to typing it on a keyboard or by touching a screen. Studies show that writing improves memory; pupils retain learning better when working with new ideas through handwriting instead of typing.”
While staff at Rydal Penrhos are always moving with the times – especially with the events of the last 12 months – finding the right balance between the digital and the traditional can make all the difference.
Alexandra with touching distance of Black Belt
Alexandra Lopez-Moreno, who is a Year 4 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, has moved one step closer to securing a prestigious distinction in the Martial Arts after passing a difficult grading with flying colours.
This came after a significant period of commitment away from school hours in tough circumstances, with social distancing measures relating to COVID-19 meaning Alexandra had to study, learn and improve during virtual sessions rather than on-site at the John Lynn’s Black Belt Martial Arts Academy in Colwyn Bay.
Maintaining commitment in an ever-changing climate was a testament to Alexandra’s dedication and discipline in order for her goals to remain unaltered. This is something that the pupil also displays in and out of the classroom at Rydal Penrhos and she is a credit to herself and the school.
Alexandra faced a big challenge ahead of possibly attaining his Brown-Black Belt in Karate, with her latest assessment taken in front of adjudicators online.
A fantastic demonstration of technique saw Alexandra deservedly pass the grading, meaning there are now just two levels standing between the pupil and a Black Belt in the discipline.
Rydal Penrhos offers a wide and varied range of extra-curricular activities as part of its provision, but the school also highly encourages participation in clubs, activities and organisations away from school to further enhance development.
This is a key component for boosting key skills and improving confidence, that can make a successful transition into classroom lessons and during things such as Forest School, sport, music and the performing arts.
Alexandra is aiming to add her name to the long list of pupils who have achieved a Black Belt distinction in recent years, and she has already begun working on the next step – a White-Black Belt – ahead of her next grading test.
Congratulations, Alexandra. What a wonderful achievement and one you can be enormously proud of.
Busy time for all year groups
Rydal Penrhos is proud to have such an active Drama department, one which encompasses both the curriculum, being taken at GCSE and A Level and the extra-curricular, with yearly performance across all areas of the school.
Drama enables pupils to develop self-esteem, confidence and public speaking skills. Indeed as well as being a useful life skill for whichever field one of our children or young people decide to pursue many go one to study Drama or a related field at higher education once their studies at Rydal Penrhos conclude.
It has been a busy start to the summer term, with Year 7 getting to grips with exploring how to create mood and atmosphere on stage, experimenting with voice and movement and also studying some basic technical elements of lighting and sound to create tension.
A very excited Year 8 are currently taking part in their very own murder mystery, with this unit of work developing pupils’ ability to create characters – linking these to restoration comedy – and facilitating this by adopting Stanislavski methods.
It’s also all been going on in Year 9, a cohort of pupils who are in the midst of studying Verbatim Theatre, which allows theatre makers to explore events and themes through the words of people at the heart of them.
Such has been the commitment shown by the group, they have already planned and scripted a short performance during the recent remote learning period and they will be bringing these incredible ideas to life over the next few weeks.
GCSE candidates in Year 10 have also hit the ground running preparing for their scripted performances. They are currently performing extracts from the plays ‘Mother Courage’ by Bertolt Brecht and ‘Too much Punch for Judy’ by Mark Wheeler, with rehearsals coming along encouragingly well under the support and guidance of the school’s dedicated teaching staff led by Head of Department Rachel Jones.
Year 11, 12 and 13 are all extremely busy preparing for their written assessments by revisiting their set texts. This is a hugely important part of the examination process alongside performances of scripted extracts that were recently performed by each year group.
These included plays such as Niklas Rådström’s ‘Monsters’, Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ (adapted by Simon Reade), and Jim Cartwright’s ‘Road’ and ‘Two’.
Mrs Jones, said: “The standard was extremely high and we are very proud of all our pupils and how hard they have worked this academic year.”
It’s not just within the curriculum where drama is shining. Year 8 and 10 extra-curricular Drama are also taking place throughout the term and those participating in Rydal Penrhos’ Speech and Drama programme progressing really well in the lead-up to their latest batch of examinations administered by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
This is only the beginning. There are plenty of exciting activities and performances planned throughout the summer term in accordance with social distancing measures, which is sure to finish off the academic year off in style after another eventful few months.
Something everyone at Rydal Penrhos is looking forward to enormously!
Guest Speaker: Rev'd Christopher Gray
Stars of the Week
30 April 2021
Stars of the Week
- Pre-school – Maximus – for fabulous number work and learning to cut with scissors
- Pre-school – Charlotte – for settling in so well and always being so kind
- Reception – Ellie – for being so kind and helpful to others
- Year 1 – Tommy – great maths work, especially with his work on tens
- Year 2 – Margot – super maths worker this week and very enthusiastic
- Year 3 – Holly – a brilliant Roman chariot design
- Year 4 – Clara – enthusiastically focused in all lessons this week
- Year 5 – Eva – for mastering a new multiplication method and not giving up
- Year 6 – Harry and Emily – nominated by two staff members for quietly getting on with helping younger pupils in Prep tea, they didn’t even need to be asked!
- Artist of the week – Lissy in year 4 for her sensitive portrait of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Teacher of Science
Teacher of Science
- Contract Type: Permanent
- Working Pattern: Full time
- Salary: £27,018 - £41,604 pa
We are looking for a dedicated, innovative and inspiring professional to fit into our well-established staff team.
Someone who has the strength of character to take on personal challenges, has stamina and will undertake the pastoral role of form tutor as well as the curricular.
There may be opportunities for additional responsibilities which will attract additional allowances. Though personal qualities are of paramount importance, it would be essential to have a level of expertise in Science and be able to teach to GCSE Higher level.
This position is suitable for Newly Qualified Teachers. The position may also be suitable for Teachers looking for part-time work for 3 or 4 days.
Completed applications should be emailed or posted to Kay Walters: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All shortlisted candidates will be invited for a visit to Rydal Penrhos School.
The deadline for applications is 12 May 2021.
If you have not heard by 15 May 2021, you have not been successful on this occasion.