The RP Weekly: 30 October
The digital weekly newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
30 October 2020
Inspiring message from Richard
Richard Wolfendale, Head Boy of Rydal Penrhos, took time out of his studies to write some thoughts reflecting on a difficult few months that has seen the school adapt significantly well to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
It may be difficult to find another time in recent memory where so many have been affected on such a large scale. The consequences of two lockdowns and countless other restrictions have made this year a very tough and frustrating period of time, largely due to the huge disruptions we have had to face at Rydal Penrhos, but even more so due to the extremely unnerving projections for the future.
I can say with confidence that this concern for what lies around the corner is a feeling shared by every member of Rydal Penrhos, and I suspect that the word ‘terrified’ is not an exaggeration of how many currently feel.
From a student’s perspective, the effects of the pandemic have been extremely damaging – those of us sitting A-levels in June do not know if there will be any exams to sit, or whether the reward of higher education will be available afterwards.
The entire structure of the school has also had to adapt; year groups can no longer mix and ‘bubbles’ are simply no longer things you blow in the playground.
However, this very negative image is not one I wish to portray.
As I sit writing this, gathering my thoughts on the events since March, I realise that since we were told to stay at home, I have completed almost two terms worth of schoolwork and completed the entire university application process, a remarkable feat considering the circumstances.
This, of course, would have been impossible without the school; it is only now I realise how much I owe to the efficiency of online learning and the willingness of my teachers to maintain their constant support on all fronts.
As I hear the stories of others in far worse situations, the realisation of how fortunate I am grows; I would now be in serious danger of falling behind without weekly lessons on Microsoft Teams, and would be extremely stressed without online guidance from school on how to write my university application.
A word I recently came across is ‘fenua’. It comes from Polynesian culture and is used to describe the feeling of belonging to a community or place, regardless of distance or time away from home. I feel strongly that this word has more meaning than ever at present; as we sit in our homes, the feeling of community in a world of isolation is now of huge importance.
I also feel that ‘fenua’ is something Rydal Penrhos has achieved incredibly successfully; never before has the school community worked so hard to maintain the unity that gave it so much character before the pandemic.
Over the past few months, I have been involved in many events such as school council meetings, virtual assemblies and more, and each one has added to the sense that in a strange but fulfilling way, we as a school community are still able to stay in one piece.
The Hello Yellow charity day a few weeks ago stood out in particular, as despite all year groups being forced to separate, a dress-up day complete with a drawing competition was still able to raise a significant sum for a good cause.
Even while apart, we worked together; I feel it links perfectly with the idea of ‘fenua’.
Therefore, there is every reason to be positive. My message is one of optimism – in such a testing time, the school has shown itself to be resilient and forward-thinking. I wish to leave the idea to all those who read this that you are fortunate to be a part of such a fantastic wider school community, and that we should all be looking forward to the future, rather than fearing what comes next.
Rydal Penrhos Head Boy 2020-21
What to expect at Information Evening
Rydal Penrhos will be providing a warm welcome to prospective Sixth Form pupils at their annual Information Evening, which will take place on Wednesday 25 November from 5pm.
There has never been a better time to become part of the Rydal Penrhos community. ‘Project Bold’ continues on schedule despite the ongoing concerns across the country surrounding COVID-19, which is set to bring even more improvements across the site in the coming months.
The school has maintained its strong academic ethos coupled with a broad extra-curricular provision, which was further reflected in some truly exceptional A Level results this summer.
These included a 51.9 per cent pass rate at A*-A, which was the highest in the school’s history, with 75.9% achieving A*-B grades.
Those awarded A*-C grades was 90.5 per cent, which is another record and a significant rise of 30.1% from the previous year’s results.
This saw almost all of Rydal Penrhos’ recent Year 13 leavers secure their top university choice, with Edward Patrick and Cassie Parry attaining Oxbridge places.
Our ability to get the most out of each pupil brought an incredible ‘value-added’ score of 0.5, which means for every ten subjects taken, five of them came out with higher grades than the child’s innate ability and performance would have forecast them, this is only as a result of excellent teaching.
Simply put, this is something that sets Rydal Penrhos apart and the school is proud to be one of the country’s top independent schools in this regard.
The Sixth Form Information Evening will be held under strict social distancing guidelines as recommended by the Welsh Government and will allow those attending to view for themselves the incredible A Level curriculum provided, including detailed information from staff regarding what is expected within each subject.
Rydal Penrhos is also proud to offer its Sixth Former extensive preparation for university, something that has benefitted Year 12 and 13 considerably, leadership opportunities and other exciting factors such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and a thriving sporting provision that has brought a wealth of national success in recent years.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, booking is essential for those wishing to attend.
Guests are invited to register for an appointment using the form on this page or by emailing email@example.com or calling 01492 530155 and asking for admissions.
If you are unable to attend our Sixth Form Information Evening on 25 November, but would like to arrange for a private socially distanced tour please contact admissions on 01492 530155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grading success for Alexandra
A Rydal Penrhos Prep School martial artist moved one step closer towards a significant milestone thanks to a recent grading success.
Alexandra Lopez-Moreno, a Year 4 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, has been working exceptionally hard during her free time to improve her Karate skills despite the lack of face-to-face coaching time in the current climate, with COVID-19 continuing to disrupt social and other activities in Wales.
This enabled Alexandra to take her latest grading in front of assessors before ‘fire-break’ lockdown implemented by the Welsh Government began, and she impressed those grading her performance significantly to secure her white-brown belt, which represents a notable achievement for someone so young.
The dedicated pupil is now just a few steps away from reaching a prestigious Black Belt in the discipline, with only her brown-black and white-black belts to go beforehand.
Gaining valuable experiences away from Rydal Penrhos is something that is actively encouraged by the school’s exceptional staff team, which develops skills and confidence that can transition into a classroom environment.
Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupils have a rich history of achievements in Karate, with many of them attending the John Lynn’s Black Belt Martial Arts Academy in Colwyn Bay.
Former Year 6 duo Lucy Ranales-Griffiths, Nathan Richards and Ellie Knight secured their Black Belts recently.
Alexandra has already begun improving her impressive skill set further in the hope of securing even more accolades in the future, something that she is confident of doing at the earliest possible opportunity.
A Sixth Form success story!
Leading up to our Sixth Form Information Evening on Wednesday 25 November (from 5pm), we will be running a series focusing on just a teaser of recent success stories from Rydal Penrhos Sixth.
The first pupil to feature is Imogen Camp, who spent the entirety of her education at the school and is the embodiment of what a Rydal Penrhos education can provide.
Imogen, who hails from Colwyn Bay, enrolled at the Prep School’s Reception class in 2003 and emerged as a highly-valued member of the Rydal Penrhos community.
This saw the 2019 leaver achieve a significant amount from an academic and extra-curricular perspective, which concluded with no fewer than five A* grades at A Level, which represents an exceptional achievement.
Imogen secured these outstanding marks in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics, which confirmed her place at Queens’ College Cambridge, one of the most prestigious higher education establishments in the country.
She is currently studying Natural Sciences and Imogen’s results were made even more extraordinary with the fact she scored 499 out of a possible 500 in her Chemistry and 497/500 in Physics.
Imogen’s Chess ability was evident from a very early age, winning a series of regional competitions during her time at the Prep School that eventually resulted in a Welsh Youth squad selection later on.
Her involvement with the national team saw Imogen represent her country at high-profile competitions such as the World Youth Championships, and she was also crowned joint-winner of the Welsh Senior Women’s Championship to further enhance her reputation as one of the brightest young players anywhere in the country during her time at Rydal Penrhos.
The gifted academic managed to secure seven A* grades in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Home Economics, Mathematics Physics and Religious Studies, a Distinction in her Additional Mathematics, an A in German (Second Language) and two eight marks in English (First Language) and English Literature in accordance with the newly introduced grading system at GCSE level back in 2017.
Imogen, who was selected to the Prefect team at the start of the 2018/19 academic year, successfully attained a Gold Award from the British (International) Biology Olympiad, joining just 681 candidates worldwide that managed to secure the outstanding feat.
Hello Yellow Day fundraising total revealed
A wonderful whole school effort from the Rydal Penrhos community raised hundreds of pounds from a recent fundraising event in aid of a children’s mental health charity.
Prep and Senior School pupils at Rydal Penrhos lent their support to Hello Yellow Day, which was held in support of Young Minds UK, is the latest initiative helping those less fortunate organised by the incredible staff team at both learning facilities and the Sixth Form Charity Committee led by Morgan Kendall and Lara Pyves.
Pupils from Pre-School to Sixth Form came into school dressed in one item of yellow attire, with some even coming in clothing that was completely yellow. This was something that staff also got involved with, which is always a source of great excitement at the Prep.
There were a host of exciting activities for pupils to participate in during form time within their respective bubbles, which also included a blindfold art competition that brought some interesting final designs!
After a fantastic effort that is further reflective of the 'one school' ethos between Prep and Senior at Rydal Penrhos, a total sum of £671 was raised despite the change in format from a normal charity day due to social distancing measures surrounding COVID-19 health concerns.
The school raised thousands from similar collective events between Prep and Senior during the previous academic year, which has provided much-needed funds for regional and national causes.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich and proud history of fundraising for worthy causes throughout the region and beyond. The school is proud of its community involvement, which was further evident with the extraordinary efforts to help those in need during the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
This included a PPE project that created thousands of protective masks for NHS staff and keyworker facilities, opening boarding accommodation for critical keyworkers and holding keyworker childcare not only for Rydal Penrhos parents, but also the wider community.
Llion granted 'Elite Athlete' status
A talented young sailor at Rydal Penrhos has been given “Elite Athlete” status from Sport Wales enabling him to continue his training amid coronavirus restrictions.
Llion Morris, a Year 10 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, was recently given 'Elite Athlete' status by the national governing body, which has been crucial for the aspiring star ahead of some big challenges in the coming months on the national stage.
This has allowed Llion to continue training despite increasing measures being implemented by the Welsh Government, with the country currently in the middle of a 'fire-break' lockdown to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 cases.
It also permits the pupil to compete at events across the country, with Llion aiming to secure qualification to the European and World Championships as the year progresses.
Llion is a highly decorated sailor who has developed his skills significantly in recent years. This has resulted in some outstanding regional and national competition successes and selection to a number of RYA Cymru Wales squads.
His exceptional progression on the water brought another outstanding distinction for Llion, who was upgraded from the ITCA GBR National Topper Squad to the RYA UK Junior Squad for their winter training.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich history of sailing success, with the provision recently celebrating its 60th anniversary and makes full use of the school's stunning location on the North Wales coast.
The school is accredited by the Royal Yachting Association and enables both Prep and Senior pupils to participate and enjoy the freedom of boating, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking in a safe and fun environment.
One of the very few schools in the UK able to teach sailing and water-sports as part of our enhanced school curriculum for pupils from Year 3 to Year 8, Rydal Penrhos also offers certification at RYA Level 1-4 and beyond; Sailing with Spinnakers, Performance Sailing, Seamanship Skills and powerboat courses up to Level 2.