The RP Weekly: 5 March 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
5 March 2021
Pupil leadership team arrange wellbeing activities
One of the main factors behind what makes Rydal Penrhos such an exceptional place to learn is its sense of community.
The school is enormously proud of the close-knit family that is evident across both Prep and Senior sites, which allows pupils the freedom to be themselves, feel part of a team and thrive from an educational standpoint.
This is something that has been impacted to a certain extent over the last 12 months by the restrictions implemented by the Welsh Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pupils young and old have been forced into a new normal that includes a comprehensive online learning provision provided by Rydal Penrhos’ incredible teaching staff, which has enabled them to continue with their respective goals despite the current climate making things difficult.
The school’s Sixth Form senior Prefect team have also been at the forefront of pupil wellbeing during the academic year, whether it was on-site or throughout the second educational lockdown. With loneliness and isolation becoming increasingly troubling in young people across the country,
The Year 13 pupils have arranged a series of activities that Senior School pupils are invited to get involved with over the next fortnight and possibly longer depending on the upcoming announcement from First Minister Mark Drakeford on 12 March.
Head Boy Richard Wolfendale, Head Girl Anna Parry-Williams, together with the deputy teams of Cerys Cuddihy, Kevin Farrell, Luiza Gratton and Morgan Kendall are leading the initiative, which begins on 2 March and involves an ongoing quiz every Tuesday and Thursday for pupils to enjoy at the conclusion of their online lessons.
In addition, the Sixth Form leadership team will be hosting a Debate Club on Wednesday, which will give pupils a chance to voice their opinions on a large array of topics relevant to the world and everyday life.
Whether it be physical activity, music, or speech and drama, pupils are continuing to develop key skills and confidence wherever possible from the comfort of their own homes. This will stand them in good stead when they eventually make their welcome return to Rydal Penrhos, which could be in the not-too-distant future.
St David's Day
Whole School virtual Assembly celebrates the occasion
Although the Rydal Penrhos community and others throughout Wales were unable to celebrate St David’s Day in normal circumstances due to COVID-19 restrictions, a special Whole School Assembly was devised to ensure Dewi Sant was recognised on what is a notable occasion across the country every year on 1 March.
Reverend Nick Sissons, who is the school’s Chaplain, was once again at the forefront of this thanks to his sterling work creating videos for pupils across all age groups who have been unable to congregate together during social distancing measures and educational lockdowns over the last 12 months.
He received assistance from Director of Music Pete Williams, with Communications Manager Dean Jones putting it all together for staff, pupils and Rydal Penrhos family members to enjoy.
The Assembly began with Rev’d Sissons – complete with Daffodil hat – giving an introduction into the importance of St David’s Day and led the virtual assembly in The Lord’s Prayer.
He then went on to discuss the song of choice from Mr Williams, which was “Dafydd – Y Garreg Wen”, with was created by David Owen (1712–1741), a harpist and composer who lived near Porthmadog.
Y Garreg Wen was the name of the farm where he lived near Morfa Bychan. There is a tradition that as Owen lay on his death bed, he called for his harp and composed the tune of the song for his mother, with the words added some 100 years later.
Rev’d Sissons also revealed an interesting fact about the song, which was the first played by the BBC when they began broadcasting in Wales.
The Chaplain then provided a story entitled David and the Bees, which centres on an Irish Monk named Modomnoc, who was given charge of the bees in a sheltered corner of the monastery garden Dewi Sant built where he planted the kinds of flowers best-loved by the bees.
He talked to the bees as he worked among them and they buzzed around his head in clouds as if they were responding and would walk among the hives in the evening and talk to them, and the bees, for their part, would crowd out to meet him.
Modomnoc was never stung.
When the time came for him to return to Ireland, three times the bees followed in a great swarm and settled on the mast.
St David perceiving this occurrence to be a good omen allowed Modomnoc to bring the bees to Ireland. When he landed, he set up a church at a place called Bremore, near Balbriggan, in County Dublin, and here he established the bees in a garden just like the one they had in Wales.
He would later become known as St Modomnóc of Ossory.
“Look beneath the surface to see what they really need.”
Concluding the assembly, Rev’d Sissons urged the Rydal Penrhos community to give generously to someone they know and look beyond the surface to try and find out what a certain person might actually need, no matter how big or small that may be.
His final act of assembly was to read a prayer that was given to him on a pilgrimage to St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.
Karate grading success for Camilla!
Although the current restrictions relating to COVID-19 are preventing Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupils from going about their activities and interests in a normal fashion, children are adapting to continue doing what they love despite so much uncertainty around them.
This is something that has been especially evident across Rydal Penrhos over the last year. Pupils have done an incredible job of reacting positively to the “new normal” to not only continue their academic progress on-site and during the school’s thorough online learning provision during the educational lockdowns, but also building additional key skills outside of a classroom environment.
Another fine example of this came from Camilla Simmons, who is a Year 2 pupil at Rydal Penrhos and has been working incredibly hard from the comfort of her own home in the discipline of Karate.
Camilla is a member of Hajime Hiro dojo in Llandudno and has been participating in a comprehensive schedule of fitness and technique-based sessions virtually under the expert guidance of Sensei Rich Prendergast.
These sessions were held over Zoom and something that’s really captured the excitement of Camilla, who was determined to progress despite not being able to attend classes in-person.
The facility is also undertaking assessments in a virtual format, which Camilla decided to take up in pursuit of attaining her Orange Belt in Karate.
After a rousing performance in-front of assessors, the Rydal Penrhos pupil passed her grading with flying colours to become a proud Orange Belt owner.
This represents another significant milestone for Camilla, who enjoys the challenges, comradery, sense of achievement, and the occasional competition of her the online sessions provided by Hajime Hiro dojo.
The pupil has become a much-loved member of the Prep School community thanks to her politeness, boundless enthusiasm and commitment to learning. Everyone at Rydal Penrhos is immensely proud of Camilla and congratulations on another tremendous achievement.
Staff member reflects on 34 years at RP
Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to wish Margaret Williams the very best of luck after the much-loved staff member is leaving her current role after 34 years at both Prep and Senior schools.
Margaret began at Rydal Penrhos as a dining room assistant within the Prep School, which was initially to cover maternity leave for 12 weeks but eventually lasted more than three decades.
She thoroughly enjoyed her role serving breakfast and suppers for the school’s boarding community, and even turned her hand to help out in the office when required.
Once the school stopped boarding for Prep pupils, Margaret then took on a role at the Senior School in administration part-time and serving suppers, which eventually became a full-time position in the office when Rydal Penrhos’ ambitious plans to build a new Sports Hall and Dining Room came to fruition.
Margaret has seen plenty of changes across the school over the years, but said she will miss the “friendly atmosphere created by the catering and teaching staff”.
One of Margaret’s most treasured memories from her time at Rydal Penrhos were the Prep School Speech Days, which is always one of the highlights of the school calendar even though last year’s event was unable to take place in its normal format due to restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
"We had a lot of fun running backwards and forwards with strawberries & cream, it was like Royal Ascot."
Now that Margaret is taking a well-deserved break, she plans to spend a lot of time in the garden and looking after her two youngest granddaughters, which is something the departing staff member is very much looking forward to.
Margaret added that she will miss all her colleagues – some of whom she has known for many years – and hopes to catch up with them from time-to-time away from school.
On behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos, we would like to thank Margaret for all her hard work and dedication during her long working life at the school and wish all the best moving forward on the next stage of her journey.
World Book Day
A host of activities for Prep School pupils
Although things looked a little different this year due to ongoing restrictions surrounding COVID-19, it did not stop Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupils and staff from lending their support to a global reading initiative.
A host of activities were arranged for World Book Day, which took place on Thursday 4 March and is now in its 24th year after gaining significant momentum since its inception.
This is always one of the highlights of the calendar for pupils, who have gone through their fair share of disruption over the last 12 months with various educational lockdowns and the inability to go about daily routines in a manner to which they were accustomed pre-pandemic.
However, teaching and support staff demonstrated their true versatility within learning once again to devise a series of fun-filled and thought-provoking activities for Pre-School all the way up to Year 6 to mark the occasion.
Pre-School children completed lots of book-related activities and chose their favourite book to take home and read to their family.
The youngest members of the Rydal Penrhos community discussed World Book Day and its importance, with Rapunzel the Princess also paying a special visit to the Pre-School department to read a story to a very excited group.
Pre-Prep pupils from Reception to Year 2 completed their enrollment into the Prep School‘s new Accelerated Reading programme, which is another incredible additional learning tool that allows pupils to set individual goals that centre around comprehension, engaged reading time, and specific reading levels to keep them on the path to future success.
In addition to this, Pre-Prep had fun during lessons with various book-related tasks throughout the day.
Although Prep School (Years 3-6) are still engaging in online learning until restrictions are lifted, the groups still managed to get started on their Accelerated Reader scheme and complete an online “show and tell” to teachers and their classmates about what book they’re currently reading.
The administration team of Susan Williams and Zoe Roberts have been working hard in recent weeks to re-sort more than 2,000 books in the Prep School library, in addition to integrating 200 new books that arrived courtesy of a generous donation from the Rydal Penrhos Society.
These will be implemented into the school’s Oxford Reading Tree scheme.
“We are so excited about eventually being able to fully use our library again!” – Mrs Lucy Davies – Head of Prep School.
Exciting changes to reading accessibility
Rydal Penrhos has always been keen to highlight the importance of reading to pupils young and old. This is a key component of their development not only from an academic standpoint, but a good book can also improve knowledge of current affairs, ignite curiosity and expand creative horizons.
These are also valuable skills that stand young people in enormously good stead throughout their education and in later life. Rydal Penrhos’ English department have been working exceptionally hard throughout the second educational lockdown alongside Pupil Liaison Officer Sarah James on devising a structure that makes reading more accessible to pupils ahead of their long-awaited return to school in the coming weeks once the Welsh Government relaxes restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
The development includes streamlining books across the senior school site, which were previously only found in the Learning Resource Centre.
Many titles are now located in the refurbished Watkinson Library – named after much-loved former Headmaster Peter Watkinson – for the primary use for those in Key Stage 3 and 4.
The Sixth Form Ferguson Centre also has its own books section for Years 12 and 13 to enjoy in-between their studies once they return in the coming weeks once restrictions are lifted.
This is the latest exciting development regarding Reading at Rydal Penrhos, with big changes being led by the school’s Head of Langauge, Literacy and Communications Fiona Earle with the approval of the school’s Senior Leadership Team.
The project also received a generous donation from the Rydal Penrhos Society, who contributed £5,000 in memory of Mr Watkinson for new books.
Dominic Jones appointed CEO of The Mary Rose Trust
Dominic Jones, who attended Rydal Penrhos from 1985-1995, was recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of The Mary Rose Trust, which is an independent charity with the objective of caring for and share to as wide an audience as possible the stories of the famous ship and her crew.
The Mary Rose was the favourite ship of King Henry VIII and was sank in battle in 1545 before being raised from the Solent in 1982 along with 19,000 Tudor artefacts.
Mr Jones was kind enough to give up his time to take part in a special interview detailing his memories of Rydal Penrhos, his time in the working world and what his objectives are in his new role.
This was published in the Rydal Penrhos Society digital magazine, which is released every half term and focuses on the wonderful school community and its alumni.
An Interview with Dominic Jones (RS 1984-95)
What are your memories of school?
I have such fond memories of my time at school, for me it was very much my childhood. My Dad used to teach here before he passed away and after he died my Mum taught at the Prep School so Rydal was my childhood. I made some amazing friends whilst at Rydal, many with whom I am still in contact today but others with whom I have lost touch but would love to hear from again.
I was an active member of the School being in the Orchestra, the choir, the Cross-Country team, the Alpine Expeditions, Duke of Edinburgh and even ran the School book shop for a while at a time before Amazon and online retail when we had to go down to West End Books in Colwyn Bay and negotiate a decent commission and profit margin and supplemented the revenue with CDs, Posters, T-shirts and Videos.
I remember along with some of my good friends barging in the headmaster’s office one day (Mr Thorne) to tell him that we as part of the Rag committee had an idea called “the big shave” where we were going to sponsor him and various other staff members to shave their beard, moustaches etc. for charity to raise funds for a community project in Liverpool the school supported.
What did you do at school A Level wise?
Business Studies, French and Geography.
Then where did you go to university?
I went to Swansea Metropolitan University which I think is now called the University of Wales Trinity St David. Despite having enough points to do a BA in Bournemouth University and UWE I chose to go and do a HND in Swansea. I chose this as I had a dream of being an Outdoor Activity Centre Manager, similar to Plas y Brenin which the school used to visit.
Swansea was the one course that offered lots of placement opportunities including Summers at PGL Adventure so thought that would help me with my Career. Little did I realise my head would be turned and I would end up staying to do a full BA Hons Degree and meet my wife and following my initial PGL placement, go on to do a placement in Disney World Florida and Thorpe Park, falling in love with the Visitor Attraction world.
How did you set off on your career path post-university?? Was it a graduate scheme or….?
Graduate Schemes didn’t really exist (although I have been a big ambassador of these in my career and still mentor those, I have worked with on various schemes today). I went to work at Thorpe Park as a Ride Operator and quickly got promoted to Supervisor in 3 weeks and then Co-ordinator and eventually a Ride Area Manager before transferring to Chessington World of Adventures and then moving to Madame Tussauds in London to be Customer Services Manager.
When I think back to those days, I couldn’t be prouder of getting stuck into work and doing the unpopular shifts and projects as I was determined to become a General Manager one day. I remember often thinking about the lessons I learned from Mr Matthews and Mr Farnell in Business Studies and using them to my advantage at work. I realised if I was to become a General Manager, I needed to get more experience and needed Sales and Marketing. So I left Madame Tussauds and went to work for Virgin Atlantic.
Not only did we get cheap first-class flights, but I learnt to be a leader here and moved up the ranks from Reservations Manager to Sales Manager to Vice President EMEA and my final role was Regional Vice President Sales APAC for the Cargo division living in Hong Kong. I remember thinking of all the pupils at School who came from Hong Kong and even bumped into a few of my old school friends in the upper-class lounge on Virgin Atlantic from time to time.
Having a family of my own meant moving home to the UK and I managed Oakwood Theme Park and did a second stint at Thorpe Park. I bumped into more Rydal connections in West Wales when we did a deal with the Scarlets rugby team and met Andrew Fenby who was an Old Rydalian. I then moved to Christchurch and ran the various Sea Life’s, Dungeons and Madame Tussauds in Europe for Merlin Entertainments, which was an amazing job and although I wasn’t the General Manager, I actually managed the General Managers it was like coming home. I also worked for the third time at Thorpe Park this time as Divisional Director running the resort, the hotel and the theme park for Merlin Entertainments.
I actually was on a zoom call recently with a friend from school who reminded me I told him I wanted to run a theme park when I was at school in Geography class.
I then moved to the Mary Rose in Portsmouth as the Chief Operating Officer with a clear brief of negotiating a deal with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to ensure we had a single destination offering for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Are there attributes/skills that Rydal gave you that helped you on your meteoric career path?
Ha, meteoric! It certainly doesn’t feel like that, it was a lot of hard work and many ups and downs along the way. I do however think School helped to make me the person I am today. I recall being at Rydal for the centenary as a young 5 or 6 year old and thinking how special it is to be part of something as great as this. I learnt how to make friends, how to network and how to speak and present publicly. There were times when Rydal helped me face my fears and believe in myself and couldn’t have asked for a better grounding and start in life.
From negotiations with Presidents and senior politicians in Africa or to flying to New York to meet the French Connection Team and sort out logistics issues in New York when I worked for Virgin. The ability to make conversations, to debate and to give compelling arguments all came from experience learnt at School.
I often relied on skills and knowledge gained at school. I even managed to negotiate a dispute between French biologists when bringing Penguins to Sea Life Paris using my French language skills learnt at School and recently was able to put my History knowledge into use when I hosted a school’s tour of the Mary Rose.
Did particular staff at school influence you in a positive way and if yes why?
I guess the question is did any school staff NOT influence me. I think in a way they all did. I spent the majority of my childhood at the School and saw two headmasters arrive and leave and various deputy heads and other teaches. I learnt to run with Mrs Harding and get passionate about the environment, I learnt to understand business and how to sell from Mr Matthews and Mr Farnell, the late Mr Maple taught me how to be a good person and focus on values and self-worth. However, they are but a fe2. In a way every teacher made a difference to me. Also, at the Prep School with Mr and Mrs Bradley and Mr and Mrs Mather and Mr Roberts who played a major role in my early development.
What will your new position entail?
At the end of March, I take up the position of CEO of the Mary Rose Trust and will be responsible for Henry VIII’s iconic warship the Mary Rose.
There is nowhere else on earth you can get as close to Tudor England as the Mary Rose. We have over 19,000 genuine Tudor Artefacts and can tell exactly what life was like in the Tudor Times, more than any other museum, palace or estate. The Mary Rose excavation and raising in 1982 is still to date the world’s biggest Maritime Salvation project. We practically invented the modern maritime archaeology manual.
I still get goosebumps when I enter the ship hall and see the Mary Rose in all her glory. I will also remain a Director of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Operations Ltd and help to run the Historic Dockyard.
There is still so much work to be done, we still have the wreck site to care for and even have more artefacts on the seabed which would be amazing to bring to the surface and the museum one day.
We, like every museum or business right now, need to become a sustainable business and maintain the collection at the heart of what we do. I am also keen to inspire the next generation and get the Mary Rose back to her Iconic Status as one of the greatest museums and collections in the World.
So, I have my work cut out for me.
Have you any further goals for the future?
I have three amazing children and a wonderful wife I am keen to spend more time with them and also giving back to the community. I volunteer for the local round table (following my Rydal Rag days) and have recently become a school governor of a local school in Christchurch.
I take an active interest in many of the people I have managed, coached and mentored throughout my career and always enjoy celebrating their successes and working through any challenge and opportunities they face.
The next 5 years for me are all about the Mary Rose, but afterwards, who knows, as I learnt at Rydal, the world is a massive opportunity if you are prepared to step into it and explore. I want to stay in the Museum, Heritage and Visitor Attraction world, but for now, I have plenty of work to do with the Mary Rose and taking care of her and her collection for the nation.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes please, the challenges Covid has brought to the museums, art galleries and heritage sites are devastating and I would urge everyone to try and come and visit the Mary Rose when we reopen, and if they can’t get to Portsmouth then try and support their local museums or heritage attractions as they all need help right now.
Stars of the Week
Rydal Penrhos Prep School pupils have once again received acknowledgement for their outstanding work both at school and during their online learning thanks to an ongoing initiative.
As part of the school’s achievement scheme, pupils across all age groups were selected for accolades in recognition of their efforts throughout the week, which has seen all age groups tackle the ever-changing learning methods due to COVID-19 efficiently, confidently and with enthusiasm.
Their diverse and enriching timetable – which was adjusted from the first lockdown following parent feedback – has enabled the majority of lessons to remain the same – albeit in online form due to restrictions implemented by the Welsh Government – which has come as a result of an exceptional effort from Prep School teaching staff in the most unprecedented of circumstances.
This week also saw some special activities take place as part of World Book Day, with Pre-School and Nursery manager Letitia Spencer providing an account of what went on at the department throughout the day.
“We discussed World Book Day during circle time and talked about our favourite book at home.
“Sebby said his favourite was his book about “space”- he liked it because the man goes to the moonlight. They looked at different books today of their own choice. Lexie’s favourite book from home was “let it go” she liked it because it had Elsa and Ana in it.
“Nel’s favourite book from home was “The Gruffalo” she liked this because daddy reads it to her. Dylan’s favourite book was “ the highway rat” he liked it because it was really good.
“Rapunzel the princess came to read us a story too.”
Rydal Penrhos Stars of the Week
- Reception: Zach – for great work with his phonics and sounding out letters
- Year 1: Paige – for real enthusiasm and improvement with her writing
- Year 2: Arjun – for fabulous spelling and handwriting
- Year 3: Svaksh – for being kind and helpful in his breakout room and super work in maths
- Year 4: Harrison H – great attitude and work ethic
- Year 5: Ava – very well presented and accurate maths
- Year 6: Gethin – for effort, enthusiasm and always being ready with the answer
Artist of the Week
- Eglantine: Year 3 – super Mexican painting in hot and cold colours to represent the sun and moon
Charley moves closer to his American dream
A Rydal Penrhos pupil and an aspiring professional golfer has joined a leading American University scholarship agency as he looks to progress his career across the pond once his school studies have concluded.
Charley Simpson, who is a Year 11 pupil at the school, recently 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.
This is the latest piece of good news from Charley’s perspective, who is widely regarded as one of the best young golfers anywhere in the country and has achieved a significant amount since joining the Rydal Penrhos community as a Year 7 pupil.
His superb dedication to his craft has seen Charley progress impressively from regional tournament level to the national ranks, which is a testament to his commitment to improving skills during free time and also during sessions with the school’s Golf Academy, which has gone from strength-to-strength since its inception.
Charley’s finest individual achievement to data was becoming Wales U14 open champion after a convincing victory at the competition, which saw him reach the top spot in the rankings for players in his age category nationally.
He was also part of the Rydal Penrhos Golf Academy team who won the ISGA Northern Matchplay Championship for two straight years alongside Adrian Lewis and Reuben Bather, with Charley also being named Junior Captain at Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club.
Charley was named to the Golf Wales Aspire squad last year and impressed considerably to earn selection to the national U16 squad for the prestigious Quadrangular competition on the continent, which was unable to take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pupil was also recognised for his exceptional achievements with the Denbighshire Golfing Union Junior Merit Cup, which was first awarded in 1966 and is only presented when a “worthy winner” receives a consensus vote.
A special message from Rev'd Aubin de Gruchy
Keeping some semblance of normality in troubling times has been at the forefront of Rydal Penrhos’ adaptation to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions implemented by the Welsh Government.
Another element to this routine that has been prevalent throughout the last 12 months is the virtual Chapels and Assemblies, which staff, pupils, and family members can enjoy within their class bubbles or from the comfort of their own home at the start of each day.
Reverend Nick Sissons, who is the school’s Chaplain, has led the way with exceptional dedication to the initiative, with other contributions coming from staff and members of the Sixth Form pupil leadership team.
He also enlists the help of a special guest speaker on a Friday for the virtual Celebration Chapel, which has seen speakers from across the globe lend their support.
The latest of these comes from the Rev’d Aubin de Gruchy, who is the chaplain at Truro School in Cornwall, a position he has held since 2002 after serving as chaplain and deputy head at Somerset College.
Rev’d de Gruchy originally hails from South Africa and held the title of chaplain of Kingswood College, which is a co-educational school in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape.
In addition to his chaplaincy duties, Rev’d de Gruchy teaches Religious Studies and PSHE, in addition to coaching football and even assisting as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and counsellor.
The special guest speaker recently completed training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is a qualified Reality Therapist (William Glasser International – accredited by the European Association for Psychotherapy).
“My favourite pastime has to be paddling in my sea kayak which I do as often as possible.”
Rydal Penrhos’ Celebration Chapel for 5 March also saw Director of Music Pete Williams sing and perform “The Power of Love”, with pupil contributions coming from Head Girl Anna Parry-Williams and joint-Deputy Head Girl Cerys Cuddihy.
On behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos, we’d like to thank Rev’d de Gruchy for giving up his time.
Weekly update from Miss Earle
This has been an exciting week, as yesterday was WORLD BOOK DAY. Many year 7 and 8 pupils dressed as characters from novels when they logged in to their online lessons. There was also a tutor group quiz, where pupils tried to identify staff partially hidden by books – thanks to all those staff who participated! It was also the last day of the Readathon sponsored read, so pupils who participated are reminded to submit any collected monies online. Well done to you all.
We received nearly 200 books courtesy of a generous donation from the Rydal Penrhos Society and the family of Peter Watkinson. These are now installed in the Watkinson Library, ready for the return of pupils. This exciting boost to our resources will be linked to the reading lessons in school.
Parents of pupils in years 7 and 8 have also received news of the new Accelerated Reading Scheme, with details of how to log in and test reading ages. The test results generate a baseline reading age for each child and then suggests what book level they should read at in the AR scheme to promote reading age growth. Students will then take the STAR Reading Test 3 further times in each school year to track reading age growth. Teachers will share reports on pupils’ performance in these tests with parents / carers at parents’ evening and in written reports.
In brief, AR goes like this: a pupil reads a book; takes an online quiz and gets immediate feedback. Students respond to regular feedback and are motivated to make progress with their reading skills. Together with Star Reading (our diagnostic testing) and myON by Renaissance (a huge online library of books for our students), it forms a complete reading practice and assessment solution for students of all ages and abilities.
Finally, the Oak Academy library features the author Katherine Rundell, who is sharing an audiobook of The Good Thieves.