The RP Weekly: 4 February 2022
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
4 February 2022
Where adventure and values are part of the timetable
Preparing for every eventuality
Things have not been easy for those sitting examinations since COVID-19 became a part of our everyday lives.
Extreme precautions were necessary and adhered to exceptionally well by the Rydal Penrhos community during a difficult period of transition, with the school’s support and comprehensive online learning provision enabling pupils young and old to remain on track amid so much uncertainty.
Responding to changes quickly and effectively is something the school has taken a great deal of pride in throughout the pandemic. Something that is reflected by strong examination results at both GCSE and A Level standard, in addition to truly high value-added scores and encouraging process across every year group thanks to the sterling efforts of staff and learners.
With the Welsh Government opting to revert back to Alert Level 0 this week, things are looking promising once again. However, this remains a fluid situation and even though examinations are likely to return in their traditional format later this year, Rydal Penrhos is preparing pupils for every eventuality to ensure their goals are met.
Not having any examination experience means pupils would be walking into the unknown. At Rydal Penrhos, we have alleviated this concern during the Lent Term by holding mock exams, getting each candidate familiar with the discipline, routine and performing well under pressure.
Pupils are constantly assessed and tested throughout the academic year. However, there is no substitute for true exam experience and this is something that will prove invaluable to our candidates if assessments do proceed as expected.
Should COVID-19 concerns rise in the coming months, then the school’s incredible staff team are ready for anything. They have been busy getting data and assessment points on our pupils as a contingency in case examinations for any reason are postponed or indeed cancelled.
This attention to detail sets Rydal Penrhos apart. And as always, we remain indebted to pupils and family members who support our outstanding staff through every step of the process.
Pupils visit coastal erosion site
We are always looking to use our fantastic location on the North Wales coast as part of our thriving curriculum at Rydal Penrhos.
This comes during trips and excursions throughout the academic year in addition to an exceptional outdoor education provision that builds key skills away from a typical classroom environment.
This has proven highly beneficial for pupils of all ages. Whether it’s Pre-School children making the trip to Colwyn Bay beach for Coastal School or Year 13 pupils participating in their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, Rydal Penrhos endeavours to enhance experiences and challenge our pupils on a daily basis in pursuit of reaching their goals.
Year 6 were the latest to benefit from this ethos last week, with the school’s teaching staff arranging a special trip to a local coastal erosion site as part of their Geography project surrounding the important topic.
Coastal erosion is the process by which local sea-level rise, strong wave action, and coastal flooding wear down or carry away rocks, soils, and/or sands along the coast.
Led by the expert guidance of Mrs Pyves and Mr Granger, the Year 6 group worked in unison to search for all the coastal features they had been researching during lessons, which really brought the subject to life for everyone involved.
This was a very worthwhile experience for our pupils, who will now take their findings back to Rydal Penrhos and discuss what they discovered from their individual and group research.
Being so close to the mountains, picturesque rivers, and coastlines across Conwy and North Wales is a significant asset – one that will continue to be a strong part of day-to-day life at the school.
Sponsor regiment make first official visit
One of the most popular extra-curricular schemes launched by Rydal Penrhos is the school’s Combined Cadet Force, which now has an ever-growing Army Section with cadets ranging from Year 8 right up to Year 13.
Each pupil involved benefits enormously from a range of tasks, expeditions and other activities under the supervision of qualified staff, with the CCF going from strength to strength since its inception as a result.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions making things difficult over the last two years, the CCF group has still managed to progress effectively and hold activities under strict guidelines to ensure their development remained on track and targets could be met.
Cadets got the opportunity of another incredible experience recently with the first official visit of Rydal Penrhos’ sponsor regiment, the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, on Tuesday 18 January.
The school was the first CCF group in the country to boast the QDG badge on their uniforms, and during the visit, there was a special presentation delivered by Troopers outlining their role within the British Armed Forces and involvement within the community.
This was followed by a session outside in the Memorial Quad, where cadets tried on official uniform, held some of the weapons typically used in battle and took part in a question and answer session with the Troopers in attendance.
The 1st Queens’ Dragoon Guards (QDG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed The Welsh Cavalry, the regiment recruits from Wales and the bordering English counties of Cheshire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire, and is the senior cavalry regiment.
The regiment is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and is paired with the Royal Yeomanry.
This was a fantastic honour for or CCF initiative, which aims to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness and a sense of service to the community.
We would like to thank members of the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards for taking the time to visit Rydal Penrhos and look forward to welcoming them back again very soon.
Contributor speaks with Year 6
Rydal Penrhos Prep pupils recently opened a time capsule that had been prepared by members of the congregation of St John’s Methodist Church, which is now the school chapel.
This contained everyday items from the turn of the millennium, as well as handwritten letters which proved to be a source of extreme excitement. It also opened a window to what things were like long before the Year 6 pupils were born.
There was another treat for pupils this week as Kirsty Hill (now Agar), one of the eight-year-old children who contributed to the Time Capsule, gave up her time to come into school and deliver a talk about what the experience of being part of St John’s Church was like and why they originally decided to make the fascinating box.
Mrs Agar revealed that she had completed a questionnaire when the capsule was created about her life and also discussed her dreams for the future as an eight-year-old compared to where she finds herself right now.
Year 6 then spoke about their own dreams and ambitions once they leave Rydal Penrhos on the next stage of their respective journeys, and where they hope to be when their very own Time Capsule is opened in 20 years’ time.
The thought-provoking discussion centred on what professions our pupils are planning to pursue to what games they play. No pupil had heard of the trends that were around when Mrs Agar was eight such as bubble chairs, bubble bags, bubble coats – although a lot of the playground games remain the same but have been renamed over time.
Year 6 have been busy working on their Time Capsule after becoming inspired by the opening and Mrs Agar’s talk, who promises to return when it is ready to be sealed. She also plans to add her own questionnaire as a contribution so that upon returning with the children two decades from now, it’s something the visitor will have been part of for 40 years.
Reverend Peacock, who initiated the original capsule, will also be invited after Mrs Agar reached out to him. Hopefully, he will also join the capsule committee along with Rev’d Dr Rob Beamish, Rydal Penrhos’ very own Chaplain.
We would like to thank Mrs Agar for visiting Rydal Penrhos and look forward to welcoming her back again very soon.
Putting stunning location to good use
Outdoor Education is important to us here at Rydal Penrhos and we are extremely fortunate to be situated just a stone’s throw away from the Colwyn Bay coastline. The school is also within a few miles of other prominent landmarks such as Snowdonia National Park and the Isle of Anglesey.
Being amid some outstanding surroundings is something the school takes full advantage of throughout the academic year. Trips and excursions regularly take place across all year groups and teaching staff also lend their expertise to an exceptional outdoor education provision that enables pupils to develop vital life skills away from the classroom.
This starts from a very early age. Pre-School children benefit from a Coastal School initiative under the supervision of staff, which takes them to the beach for various activities designed to heighten curiosity and broaden their horizons.
Rydal Penrhos is also blessed with a few areas of woodland on its site, which the school uses to full effect with a comprehensive Forest School provision that is incorporated into the curriculum from Pre-School to Year 6.
Such a safe outdoor environment has been proven to develop skills pupils don’t necessarily get from textbooks or iPads. Problem-solving, working as a team, communication skills and “learning by doing” are traits gained through this method of learning and this is something our pupils take full advantage of.
This also continues at Rydal Penrhos Senior. Year 7 and 8 have specialist weekly outdoor education sessions that involve orienteering, abseiling, climbing and mountain walking, which often inspires pupils to become part of the school’s thriving Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which has gone from strength to strength all the way up to Year 13 and the prestigious Gold distinction.
Another exciting initiative is the Combined Cadet Force, which was the first in the United Kingdom to be sponsored by the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards and is available from Year 8 onwards.
Providing a safe, happy environment doesn’t just happen academically at Rydal Penrhos. As always, we are indebted to our staff for providing each pupil with every possible experience and opportunity imaginable across our glorious part of the world.
Pointe Shoes and a special demonstration!
One of the best things about a Rydal Penrhos education is what transpires beyond the classroom.
The school makes the most out of its stunning location on the North Wales coast to enhance learning for all pupils which are proven to develop key skills, confidence, communication and working as a vital member of the team.
Teaching staff at Rydal Penrhos are proud of the school’s academic ethos that forms a core component behind the outstanding provision provided. This is enhanced considerably by the extra-curricular activities, which provide pupils with the chance to delve deeper into their fields of interest once lessons come to a conclusion.
A popular activity that continues to grow at Rydal Penrhos Prep is Ballet, which is run by Pre-School department manager Letitia Spencer. This is available as an after-school club for Pre-School to Year 3 pupils. Ms Spencer also teaches street dance, which is devised for those in Years 3-6.
This takes pupils through the initial basics of ballet, giving them confidence, poise and an improved ability to understand instructions in a safe, happy environment.
Although Pointe Shoes are not permitted until age 11 for ballet dancers, Ms Spencer gave pupils an opportunity to see what their future might hold by bringing in her very own pair after the group became intrigued as to what they actually looked like during discussions.
Not only this, but Ms Spencer also gave the aspiring young Ballet dancers a special demonstration wearing the Pointe Shoes, which was a source of great excitement for those in attendance.
Ms Spencer, said: “I have danced since the age of three and have a background in performing, teaching dance and musical theatre for more than 12 years.
“I am very passionate about dancing and still attend lessons now. It is very rewarding teaching dance and watching everyone progress with something you love to do is fantastic.
“I also provide dance workshops in the Holiday Club. I love that I get to share this with our wonderful pupils at Rydal Penrhos.”
As you can see, there is much more to our staff team than just teaching!
Friendly competition helps development
Although sporting fixtures have been able to resume this academic year following a frustrating period due to COVID-19, Rydal Penrhos staff endeavoured to find ways to improve athletic development in ever-changing times.
This comes with a strong coaching provision at both Prep and Senior, which develops key areas such as technique, communication and teamwork.
Friendly competition also forms a key part of progression. The school organises House events throughout the year and in another fine example, two separate year groups competed against each other in a Hockey fixture that proved highly beneficial for all involved recently.
Year 6 made the short trip down to Rydal Penrhos’ astro-turf surface for a contest against Year 7, which was played in the right spirit and saw plenty of high-quality production throughout.
A strong start from the Year 7 squad saw them take an early lead and they threatened to double their advantage soon after,
before resolute defending from Honey, Elizabeth and Ceri denied them a clear scoring opportunity.
The Prep contingent grew into the first half and got themselves back on level terms after some fine approach play from Lexi gave Finlay a chance, which was converted to level proceedings.
This shifted momentum during the contest and a superb tackle from Head Girl Ella sent Finlay through on goal yet again, which resulted in another fine finish to put Year 6 in front for the first time.
The score stayed the same throughout the second half despite some close calls, with every player giving their absolute all for their respective teams.
Suzy co-captains Welsh Netball squad to series triumph
There was more to celebrate for Wales Netball co-captain and former Rydal Penrhos pupil Suzy Drane as she played a significant role in another impressive series triumph for the national team recently.
The Welsh squad welcomed the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and the Republic of Ireland for the O’Neill’s Wales Series, which was the first time international netball had been held on home soil since the COVID-19 pandemic began, even though restrictions prevented fans from attending the competition.
Suzy and the Wales squad got off to an emphatic start in their opening fixture, producing a dominant display to secure a 69-13 win over Ireland, and this was followed up on Day 2 with another polished performance against the Isle of Man that saw the hosts lead 43-16 at the break en route to another victory.
Wales’ final game of the tournament against Gibraltar was another one-sided affair with some exceptional attacking prowess and movement from the home side. This enabled them to emerge from the series unbeaten thanks to a convincing 82-27 win to round off a sensational weekend.
Suzy is currently playing for Team Bath Toucans after a sensational stint with Celtic Dragons. The former pupil is currently a lecturer in Sport Development and Performance Sport at Cardiff Metropolitan University, a role she took up in 2011 following the completion of a BSc and MSc in Sport Development and Physical Activity and Health respectively.
Working alongside the programme director she has contributed to the design of the new Sport Development course and is now part of the delivery team.
Suzy has also assisted in the development of hopefuls at Rydal Penrhos in recent years. She was part of the coaching staff during a senior squad tour of Greece, with her expertise benefitting every member of the team during an unforgettable experience.
MCC Foundation Hub is in full swing once again
We are enormously proud of our sporting facilities at Rydal Penrhos. Pupils benefit enormously from areas such as the 25-metre swimming pool, dedicated fitness suite, outdoor tennis, cricket and netball areas as well as the incredible New Field surface used for competitive matches.
These facilities are also used by teams, clubs and high-profile organisations throughout the year. Most recently, Rydal Penrhos was thrilled to welcome three-time defending Super League champions St Helens for a three-day pre-season training camp, with head coach Kristian Woolf highly complimentary of the school and the staff who went above and beyond the call of duty to make their stay a successful one.
One thriving initiative that continues to use Rydal Penrhos as its base is the Marylebone Cricket Club Foundation Hub, which offers high-quality cricket coaching to talented children in the state school system, who have displayed the potential to become good cricketers.
After COVID-19 restrictions prevented the hub from holding its sessions in 2021, the school was delighted to welcome aspiring young cricketers from across the region as the scheme got back into the swing of things this month.
The MCC is funding three coaches for 25 two-hour sessions at the school for under 13 and 15 players, which equates to a session every week in the off-season.
The Hubs are put together, funded and mentored by the MCC Foundation. The day-to-day running of each Hub is left to a local manager, with trials held to identify talented children that are open to male and female players from state schools across North Wales.
This initiative has gone from strength to strength since its inception and was used by former Rydal Penrhos pupil Owen Reilly, who went on to represent Wales at U18 level, captain Rydal Penrhos’ first XI and also help Bangor Cricket Club win the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division title.
The MCC and Rydal Penrhos have a close association, with the school competing against the prestigious club annually for a fixture that dates back more than 100 years.
Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos’ facilities should email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01492 530155, or visit our website for more information.
Stars of the Week
Stars of the Week
*Stars of the Week from Friday 28 January.
Girls' Eton Fives vs Shrewsbury School