The RP Weekly: 5 November 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
5 November 2021
Information Evening - Thursday 25 November
SIXTH FORM INFORMATION EVENING
We warmly invite you to our Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday 25 November from 5-7.30pm.
Once you have registered an interest, we will confirm a time for your meeting. It is important that we allow you the time and attention you need as a family with our key staff to consider the Sixth Form here at Rydal Penrhos.
It will all be conducted with consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols.
There has never been a better time to become part of the Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form community. The school recently celebrated its best-ever A Level results, with a total of 70.5% attaining a pass rate at A*-A, which represents an increase of 20.3% year on year.
Those achieving A*-B grades stood at 84.1% – a rise of 9.9% – with 92% of pupils achieving A*-C grades as a result of their efforts.
This is an increase of 2.1% from the record-breaking A*-C mark set in 2020.
Rydal Penrhos’ pass rate (A*-E) remains at 100%, which is the seventh time since 2000 that the school has achieved this feat.
The mean number of subjects passed per candidate was 3.14.
Our ability to get the most out of each pupil brought an incredible ‘value-added’ score of 1.04. This means for every ten subjects taken, all of them came out with one grade higher than originally predicted.
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01492 530155 or use our online form.
Host of early entry university applicants
Rydal Penrhos recognises that life is only just beginning when our pupils leave school.
A vital part of the provision offered throughout Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form) is to arrange information evenings, masterclasses and one-to-one tutorials to support our young learners with whatever steps they decide to take next.
This could be advice on a gap year or thorough preparation for university applications before embarking on the remainder of their respective journeys.
Almost all Rydal Penrhos pupils proceed to higher education, either immediately, after they leave school, or following a gap year. This comes through exceptional examination results consistently and allows each pupil to boost their applications through the school’s comprehensive extra-curricular provision and leadership opportunities.
We pride ourselves on providing close and expert support throughout the UCAS application process. This enables pupils to focus on their A Levels, making sure they never find their exciting first steps towards life beyond school a burden or daunting in any way.
In 2021, 100 per cent of pupils managed to secure their first-choice university destination. A remarkable achievement and a testament to how hard they worked and the guidance each pupil received.
Each year several of our pupils are offered places at Oxford or Cambridge and we receive many offers from Russell Group universities. A long-standing and proud tradition that our Year 13 pupils are keen to follow next summer with 10 submitting early applications.
Four pupils have applied for Oxbridge places this year in Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and Ancient & Modern History, with a further three looking to secure places on Medical courses pending a successful interview and assessment process.
Three of our Year 13 pupils are looking to pursue careers in Dentistry, with one applying for a Veterinary place.
Congratulations to Hannah Davies, Shruthi Ganapathi, Arthur Hind, Paul Kenyon, Rebecca Mann, Tasnim Mortuza, Simeon Murphy-Thomas, Emily Penwright, Juan Rajagopal and Suhas Shekar on your outstanding applications. We wish you the very best of luck!
Exam candidates set for huge boost
"Maximise your potential – this is always the number one goal for our pupils at Rydal Penrhos and we do everything we can to achieve it."
This is an important time of year for our pupils embarking on GCSE and A Level examinations. Something that is recognised by Rydal Penrhos’ exceptional teaching staff, who are constantly monitoring, providing assistance and leading those in Years 12 and 13 through every stage of the process to ensure they are fully prepared for every challenge.
The school’s outstanding examination results in recent years are a strong reflection of a pupil-centred approach that focuses on the individual and assists in reaching their respective goals. Not only this, but incredible value-added scores further represents our exam candidates often far exceeding the marks expected on a consistent basis.
Rydal Penrhos is constantly searching for ways to assist our learners in whatever way we can. Especially during such an important stage where results can dictate university destinations or opportunities in the working world.
Those sitting exams in 2022 and 2023 are set for a substantial boost in their revision preparations after staff organised special Study Skills presentations with a leading company, who will be visiting the school on Tuesday 16 November.
Maximise Your Potential, who are industry-leaders in providing high-impact study skills, are going to spend two hours with Year 10 and 11 pupils in the morning before focusing on Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13) shortly after.
Andy Thomas, who is Assistant Principal and Director of Teaching & Learning at Rydal Penrhos, said: “The focus of the presentations is to get the pupils to really understand the benefits of good study practice and to take ownership of their learning.
“So, as well as equipping them with a range of evidence-based study skills which will deliver measurable results, Maximise Your Potential are aiming to encourage resilience, a readiness to learn from failure, and a ‘can-do’ attitude’.”
Among the plethora of topics that will be discussed during the presentations are goal setting, independent learning, effective planning, memory techniques, revision techniques and all-important exam preparation.
These presentations come just a few short weeks before mock examinations, which is a tremendous opportunity for pupils to sample an exam situation and learn from the experience before the real thing.
This is yet another dimension to the school’s comprehensive approach with our pupils’ progress in mind. It’s sure to be a hugely informative day that will benefit than all significantly.
Arthur & Shruthi
Head Boy & Head Girl reflect on the academic year so far
It has been a strong start to the academic year across all ages at Rydal Penrhos.
Academic subjects are in full swing, extra-curricular activities and sporting fixtures have resumed following increased COVID-19 restrictions, with those in Years 12 and 13 gearing up for examinations and university applications under the guidance of the school’s incredible staff team.
Leadership is a trait we look to install from a very early age within our pupils. This allows them to express opinions, improve teamwork and communication as well as become exceptional ambassadors for Rydal Penrhos as they progress through their education with us.
This is especially evident within the school’s Senior Prefect Team, which is led this year by Head Boy Arthur Hind and Head Girl Shruthi Ganapathi.
Both pupils have been at Rydal Penrhos for a substantial portion of their education and contributed significantly to a wide range of areas. Not only this, but they’ve emerged as outstanding role models for younger pupils who might follow in their footsteps when they enter Year 13.
Arthur and Shruthi wrote a special feature for the Autumn 2021 edition of the Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter, which centred on their thoughts and experiences throughout an action-packed term.
“Our first few weeks as Heads of School have probably been the most eventful and rewarding weeks of our time here at Rydal Penrhos. Not only as a result of our newfound responsibility in coordinating the new Senior Prefect team, but also in the attempt to transition smoothly to post-COVID school life.
“It has been lovely to see everyone from Years 7 to 13 reunited, bringing back the Rydal Penrhos sense of community. This has meant that the Peer-Mentoring has been able to take place again this year, which we’re sure both Years 7 and 8 have found comforting after having almost two years in isolation.”
Another notable highlight so far was Founders’ Weekend, which made a welcome return to the calendar after the 2020 festivities were cancelled in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.
This enabled the 2020 and 2021 leavers to reunite all together at the Rydal Penrhos Society Dinner in the Ferguson Centre, which is the Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form) base and where they spent the majority of their final two years at the school.
“Founders’ Weekend was extra special this year, as both the 2021 leavers and 2020 leavers were able to come together to celebrate their years at the school.
“This half term has been successful in many ways, and we are both so grateful that we have had the opportunity to give back to the school. We are very much looking forward to seeing the school production of Matilda the Musical Jr. which will provide a well-earned break for all those taking mocks in December.”
Ryan Kirby appointed rugby coach
Rugby has been a long-standing and proud tradition throughout Rydal Penrhos’ illustrious history.
The school has produced a plethora of international-calibre players and team success on the regional and national stage, something that’s an ongoing source of immense pride.
This is down to the exceptional foundation our young athletes receive during their time at the school. Rydal Penrhos has superb sporting facilities and a staff team that is constantly looking for ways to improve performance both technically and from a conditioning standpoint.
The school is thrilled to confirm that Ryan Kirby has joined our staff team as rugby coach with immediate effect, who is moving back to the North Wales area after gaining plenty of experience in a coaching environment across the country.
Ryan is a former member of the RGC 1404 Rugby Academy and featured for the first team before becoming part of the London Wasps Academy system. He is qualified up to Level 3 coaching standard and also possesses his First Aid in Sport qualification.
The new arrival was head coach of Bath Rugby Club‘s U15s and also held the Head of Rugby title at the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy.
He’s also worked with the Mad Dog Sixth Form Rugby Academy, which is led by former World Cup winner and England international Lewis Moody.
In recognition for his tireless work within the Academy, Ryan was nominated for a UK Coaching Award in the “Children and Young Adults Coach of the year” category, beating out hundreds of other nominees to reach the top-three.
Ryan also owns his own business – Tinies Rugby – which helps aspiring rugby stars across the region reach their goals and encourages participation. The coach is replacing Rob O’Donnell, who stepped down to work closer to home.
Speaking after his appointment, Ryan said: “Over the last few years of being a full-time rugby coach, I have learnt that creating a positive learning environment allows players to express themselves and explore the game of rugby more.
“This in turn has a great impact on developing both the person and the player. I find that by creating a positive, structured and professional environment, the players are able to drive the high standards we expect between themselves.
“I believe that the experience and knowledge I have gained over the last four years as a full-time rugby coach is extensive and I’m going to apply all of my knowledge to the best of my ability in this exciting job role at Rydal Penrhos.”
We would like to congratulate Ryan on securing the role. Rydal Penrhos is only going to benefit from your vast knowledge and ability to motivate.
Reception-Year 6 lend support to awareness campaign
Glasgow is currently hosting the COP26 United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow from 31 October 31 to 12 November.
Rydal Penrhos pupils are taking a keen interest in the developments at the conference, with the school’s staff team doing everything in their power to make our young learners aware and more knowledgable on topical subjects such as this that impact their day-to-day lives.
World leaders along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens are currently discussing a variety of issues on how to stop the increasing threat of climate change and reduce the world’s carbon footprint.
Those in Reception-Year 6 benefitted from an Assembly based on COP26, its significance and what they could do to make a difference regarding climate change.
Following this, every pupil wrote a promise on a leaf stating what they can do to help the environment such as “I promise to walk to school instead of using the car“.
They also wrote a message for world leaders on the other side, with one example reading “I want world leaders to stop deforestation“.
The leaves have been hung on a tree within Rydal Penrhos’ incredible Forest School facility as part of a campaign called ‘Promise to the Planet’, which has been organised by the World Organisation of the Scouts Movement to create a Forest of Promises.
The pupils are continuing with further follow-up work in class. So far, Year 6 have been studying COP26 and Climate Change as part of their English work and have held a mini-summit in class, whilst those pupils in Reception have been learning about their carbon footprint and have made further promises to reduce this away from school.
COP21 in Paris saw every country at the conference pledge to limit global warming to well below two degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees – this is known as the Paris Agreement.
Countries committed to bringing forward national plans to set out how much they would reduce emissions. They also agreed to come together for an updated plan every five years to reflect their highest possible ambition at the time.
COP26 was initially due to take place in 2020, but it was delayed due to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19. A new agreement is expected to be the outcome of the Glasgow conference as the commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to the previous target.
Rydal Penrhos is so proud of our pupils for making a difference in whatever way they can.
Incredible timelapse video of renovations
Mock Baptism held with Rev'd Dr Beamish
Enabling our pupils to thrive at Rydal Penrhos both academically and through their wide range of extra-curricular activities is a collective effort.
The school’s exceptional staff team is always striving to assist one another in pursuit of the same goal – to ensure each child gets the most out of their education and exceeds expectations on a daily basis.
This is constantly bringing about significant progress from all age groups. While superb examination results and high value-added scores remain the benchmark, it’s watching pupils develop key skills in a safe, happy environment that the school takes equally as much pride in.
Pupils in Reception-Year 2 are just beginning their journey through education. An exciting time of discovery where children are constantly finding out new things and building confidence in and out of the classroom.
Year 1 pupils had the opportunity to enhance their recent Religious Studies topic on ‘Belonging’ just before the half-term break, with the school’s Chaplain, the Rev’d Dr Rob Beamish, visiting the class to participate in a Mock Baptism.
The children played the parts of the parents, godparents and congregation. This gave our pupils a broader understanding of the Baptism process from a structure standpoint before the festivities officially began.
Rev’d Dr Beamish then told the story of Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist and explained the symbolism of the water and the candle during the sacrament of admission to the church.
This proved to be a very informative method of learning for the Year 1 group, who took their newly acquired knowledge and put it to good use with teacher Julie Woodthorpe.
Rev’d Dr Beamish was educated at St John’s College Southsea before being awarded an MA in Theology and Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has a PhD in Theology from King’s College London and is also a qualified teacher.
He is currently sharing his responsibilities at Rydal Penrhos and serving as the Minister at Prince’s Drive Baptist Church in Colwyn Bay. Rev’d Dr Beamish has been an Accredited Minister for nearly 20 years and is a keen participant in outdoor pursuits, especially within mountain leadership and skiing.
Gwyn represents Rydal Penrhos at Civic Service
Rydal Penrhos is immensely proud of our community involvement. The school has been a prominent figure across the local area throughout its history, contributing significantly to charitable causes and assisting at various events across the region.
These are not just organised by the school’s incredible teaching staff. But our pupils are always willing to give up their time and play a part, further enhancing their own experiences and adhering to the Rydal Penrhos ethos that’s benefitted so many young learners for almost 150 years.
Another fine example of this came recently from Gwyn Davies, who is a Year 11 pupil at the school and an immensely talented musician specialising in the Cello.
He put this special gift on full display at a Civic Service that took place at the Old Colwyn Methodist Church, which is situated on Wynn Avenue.
The service was organised by the Bay of Colwyn Town Council and Gwyn got the opportunity to perform in front of community members and prominent figures such as Cllr Merrill Jones, Mayor of Colwyn Bay, Clwyd West Member of Parliament David Jones and Councillor Jeff Pearson.
The service was conducted by Deacon Linda Brown and Pete Williams, the school’s Director of Music, also lent his support to the event by playing the organ.
Gwyn played a cello piece entitled ‘Elegy ‘ by Gabriel Faure, which was extremely well received from those in attendance. The Mayor was so impressed by his performance, he is planning to send a letter of thanks as a special memento for the pupil to keep.
Mrs Roz Dudley, who is Assistant Clerk at the Bay of Colwyn Town Council, wrote to Mr Williams:
“On behalf of the Mayor and Town Council, thank you so much for playing the organ in Church yesterday and also for accompanying Gwyn. We have had so many comments about the Cello piece; how beautifully played the piece was so please pass on our grateful thanks to Gwyn. He certainly is a talented musician.”
We are enormously proud of Gwyn and Mr Williams. Congratulations on representing Rydal Penrhos in an exemplary fashion.
Former pupil still thriving with Exeter Chief
Rydal Penrhos has produced some of the finest rugby players this country has ever witnessed.
It all started with the great Wilf Wooller and Bleddyn Williams – the Prince of Centres – and has continued throughout the school’s illustrious history right up to the present day.
One former pupil making significant waves on the professional scene is Sean Lonsdale, who attended Rydal Penrhos from 2011-15 and is widely regarded as one of the brightest young prospects anywhere in the nation.
Lonsdale was part of the school’s Rugby Academy before going on to make his debut for RGC 1404 at a very early age, playing a substantial role in the Gogs’ meteoric rise through the Welsh domestic scene right up to the Principality Premiership.
His outstanding production attracted plenty of suitors from across the border. Despite a strong push from the Welsh Rugby Union to keep him, Lonsdale decided to leave in favour of a move to Exeter Chiefs, who ply their trade in the English Premiership.
After a season gaining vital experience with the Cornish Pirates, Lonsdale was thrust into top-flight action with the Chiefs, turning in a series of exceptional displays to earn a new contract.
The gifted forward has continued the trend during the 2021/22 season, with Lonsdale benefitting once again from extended time on the field to further enhance his status within a talented squad.
Lonsdale was instrumental in the Chiefs’ recent victory over Gloucester Rugby last weekend and according to the team’s website, he has now accumulated 599 minutes of action throughout the campaign, recording 103 tackles and creating four turnovers.
Hopefully, this is a trend that can continue long into the future. Lonsdale’s success also serves as a great source of inspiration for current pupils at Rydal Penrhos who are looking to follow in his footsteps.
The strong foundation that they receive at Rydal Penrhos enables them to thrive long after they become part of our Alumni network. We continue to be enormously proud of Sean and all our pupils doing great things.
Date set for I’m a Celebrity at Dr Baker's Castle project
The passionate restoration project inspired by a former Rydal Penrhos pupil will once again be thrust into the national spotlight when it starts hosting I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here for a second straight year.
ITV producers decided to utilise the impressive Gwrych Castle site due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions preventing the series from being filmed from their usual location in Australia, which will provide another fantastic economic boost to further enhance Dr Mark Baker’s ambitious renovation plans.
Dr Baker, who attended the school from 1996-2003, had a dream to restore the Grade I Listed castle back to its former glory when still a pupil after becoming mesmerised by the prominent landmark en route to Rydal Penrhos every day.
The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has done some truly incredible work restoring areas of the site which are now available for the public to enjoy. They were finally able to purchase the site in 2018.
The castle was left to rot for decades before Dr Baker’s plans began coming to fruition, which has seen the former pupil receive support from leading figures such as Prince Charles and Theresa May in recent years.
In addition to his efforts renovating the castle, Dr Baker is also the cabinet member for Arts, Heritage, Libraries and Culture at Conwy County Borough Council and recently managed to put plans in place to save the library in Colwyn Bay.
According to multiple media reports this week, I’m a Celebrity will formally begin on Sunday 21 November, with rumours swirling about which stars will appear in this year’s challenges within the castle.
Dr Baker and Rydal Penrhos still have a close association. The school held a community action day during Activity Week, which saw pupils and staff travel to Gwrych Castle for a clean-up project to get the site looking fantastic for summer holiday visitors.
There was also plenty of excitement when Dr Baker visited the Prep section of the school’s last year to present certificates to pupils in Years 3-6 after they successfully completed a series of tasks linked with an I’m a Celebrity theme.
It promises to be another action-packed series and we are thrilled that Dr Baker’s project continues to get the recognition it undoubtedly deserves.
Tournament triumph for former pupil and coach
Fives is a handball game that originated in Eton College in 1877, where A.C. Ainger and his friends devised a simple set of rules whilst hitting a hardball against the wall of the chapel. A sport that’s featured prominently across Rydal Penrhos throughout its history.
The first courts were built at Rydal Penrhos in 1935 and two further courts were added after the Second World War when the school enjoyed a long and successful schedule of fixtures.
Rydal Penrhos has hosted the Welsh Open Fives in recent years and our pupils have gone on to achieve a significant amount of accolades both regionally and at competitions across the country.
This is something that many pupils continue upon leaving school. As demonstrated by Will Sissons and former Rydal Penrhos coach Abs Bhattacharya, who turned in a fabulous effort to emerge victorious from a major tournament recently.
The pair took their place in a competitive 2021 Midlands Tournament field, which was held at Repton School.
Both Will and Abs made their presence felt very early on in the competition, progressing through to the semi-final stage with some outstanding performances before facing a huge test in the final four against Chris Wheeler and Seb Cooley.
They managed to book their place in the final thanks to a 2-0 (12-7, 12-10) triumph over their opponents, leaving the tandem of Charles Plummer and Archie Cameron-Blackie standing between them and the title.
Things did not go according to plan for Will and Abs in the first game, in which they narrowly lost 15-13. However, the pair responded incredibly well in the face of adversity to win the next two games by 12-8 and 12-4 to come away with the crown.
This represents a fantastic achievement for Will and Abs. Everyone at Rydal Penrhos is extremely proud and would like to congratulate them on their recent success.
Stars of the Week
5 November 2021
Stars of the Week
- Reception – Seb
- Year 1 – Harris and Albert
- Year 2 – Immie and Peter
- Year 3 – Margot
- Year 4 – Eglantine
- Year 5 – Ethan
- Year 6 – Huw
- Artist – Angus 4JM for a brilliant Tudor self-portrait
Appointment of 2x Estates Assistants
- 37 hours per week – full time
- £17,842 pa (SCP 1 - £9.25 per hour)
- 2 posts
- 25 days’ annual leave, plus Bank Holidays
- Free lunch during term time
- Access to in-house training in safeguarding, Health and Safety, COSHH, Cyber Security and Fire Safety
Discounted access to the school’s fitness suite and selected fitness classes
Rydal Penrhos School are looking to recruit two Estates Assistants for a fixed-term period of 12 months. They will be expected to support the Estates department in facilitating the operational use of the School site.
The successful candidates will communicate effectively with the Estates team to ensure projects are completed on time and will be able to confidently carry out day-to-day maintenance and minor repairs. A happy, cheerful can-do attitude and an ability to deliver high levels of customer service to external customers is a must.
Please note, a valid full Driving Licence is an essential requirement of the role.
Completed applications should be emailed or posted to Kay Walters: email@example.com by 5pm, Friday 12 November 2021.
Interviews are expected to be held in the week commencing 15 November.
All shortlisted candidates will be invited for a visit to Rydal Penrhos School.
If you have not heard by 19 November, you have not been successful on this occasion.
Rydal Penrhos is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and we expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. As such an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure will be sought along with other relevant employment checks deemed appropriate.