The RP Weekly: 6 May 2022
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School - 6 May 2022 edition.
With Mrs Lucy Davies and Mr Phil Sutton
Events for the upcoming week:
- Saturday 7 May – Girls’ tennis (U12, U13, U14, U15 IV) away at Birkenhead. Meet at 08:00; return at 13:00.
- Saturday 7 May – Interhouse cricket for Years 7 and 8. Meet 9am at New Field; finish at 11am.
Trips/events for pupils:
- Saturday 7 May – Silver DofE training day.
- Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May – CCF training days.
- w.b. Monday 9 May – Year 9 and 10 exams.
- Tuesday 10 May – Bangor University scientist visits Year 5.
- Wednesday 11 May – the Rev’d Dr Paul Glass (Methodist Independent Schools’ Trust) meets groups of pupils from across the school to hear their views on school and current affairs.
- Wednesday 11 to Friday 13 May – Years 3, 4 and 5 residential visit to Ironbridge.
Parent and pupil events:
- Tuesday 10 May – Years 7 to 13 Instrumental Concert at 19:00 in St. John’s Church. Please book tickets by using the link included in the parent email.
- Thursday 12 May – the Rydal Penrhos Colours Awards evening is being held for pupils in Year 11, 12 and 13 and their parents. This starts at 18:30 and ends at approximately 21:00. Please book tickets using the link included in the parent email.
Looking further ahead for pupils' trips and events:
- Tuesday 17 May – Pre-School Bikeability Stay and Play (08:00 – 09:30), all Pre-School parents are invited to bring their child’s favourite ride on toy or bike to school for one day. More details will come via the Pre-School newsletter this Friday.
- Wednesday 18 May – 15:30 onwards, ski competition for Prep teams at Llandudno ski slope.
- Thursday 19 May – Year 5 trip to Bodnant Gardens.
- Wednesday 6 July – all day whole school sponsored walk, covering various distances along the coast from Colwyn Bay Pier to Llandudno Pier and back in aid of Blind Veterans UK.
Looking further ahead for parents’ events:
Tuesday 24 May – parents' dinner for parents of Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 pupils. 19:00 start to conclude at 22:00 in the Ferguson Centre. The booking link is available in the parents' email. If any parents are unable to attend this dinner but would like to attend the dinner for Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 instead on Tuesday 14 June please book using their link (included in parents' email).
Friday 27 May – Sports Day and the great Jubilee Picnic for parents, pupils and staff. (For Pre-School to Year 6 sports will be from 09:00 to 12:00, and for Years 7 to 13 sports will be from 13:00 to 16:00). From 12:00 to 13:00 all parents across the school are invited to our great RPS Jubilee Picnic. Children will get Jubilee Party lunches from school; we invite parents to bring their own picnic. Soft refreshments will be available from the pavilion all day. This event will also be the launch of our Just Giving Page for Blind Veterans UK which culminates in the whole school sponsored walk on Wednesday 6 July.
Tuesday 14 June – parents' dinner for parents of Year 5, 6, 7 and 8 pupils. 19:00 start, to conclude at 22:00 in the Osborn Hall. Please book on the link in the parent email. If any parents are unable to attend this dinner but would like to attend the dinner for Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 instead on Tuesday 24 May please book using their link in the parent email.
Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 June – Musical Play ‘Paws and Claws’ at 18:30 for Years 3 to 6 in the Prep Hall, booking link to follow soon.
Thursday 30 June – LAMDA Celebration Drama Evening at 19:00 in the Memorial Hall, please book using the link in the parent email.
Monday 4 July – 09:00 to 10:00 Pre-School Celebration in the Prep Hall (no tickets required).
Tuesday 5 July – 09:30 to 10:30 KS1 Prize-giving in the Prep Hall (no tickets required).
Tuesday 5 July – 11:00 to 12:30 KS2 Speech Day (Years 3 to 6) in the Prep Hall (no tickets required).
Tuesday 5 July – 14:00 to 15:00 Years 7 to 10 Speech Day in the Memorial Hall (no tickets required).
Did you miss it?
Did you miss the Rydal Penrhos Open Day?
Thank you so much to everyone that attended our Open Day on Friday 6 May. We hope you all had a fantastic time viewing what goes on during a typical school day at Rydal Penrhos.
Anyone that was unable to attend can book a private tour with one of our exceptional staff team using the following methods:
BOOK ONLINE HERE
Booking open for half term and summer schedule!
It promises to be another exciting half term and summer for those attending the Rydal Penrhos Holiday Club, which is open during the school holidays and provides an extensive programme of activities for the children to experience.
This is not only a lot of fun, but it also helps assist them with their emotional, physical, social, intellectual, language and creative development.
Staff have done a wonderful job of devising a comprehensive provision full of adventures and exciting challenges, which includes plenty to enjoy across prominent landmarks across the North Wales region.
There are also a large number of activities for Holiday Club members to participate in within the school grounds, which boosts their overall development and progresses key skills in a relaxed setting under the supervision of staff.
The Rydal Penrhos Holiday Club has something for everyone and this half-term promises to be no exception thanks to the sterling commitment of our dedicated staff team.
Starting on Monday 30 May and going to Wednesday 1 June there are three days of holiday club available to book over the half-term holiday. And the Summer Holiday Club will run from 11 July to 26 August (Monday to Friday).
For those aged 5 to 12, the Holiday Club is open for external children. For current Rydal Penrhos pupils, the Holiday Club is open for Pre-School to Year 8.
The cost is £45 per day and includes all trips, activities, sports and crafts as well as two snacks, a packed lunch and a fresh-cooked meal. Sibling discount of 5 per cent available.
To book now as a current Rydal Penrhos parent please log in to your Schools Buddy App.
To book now as a family who does not attend the school, click here.
For any further enquiries contact email@example.com or call 01492 530155.
Colours Awards 2022
Guest speaker confirmed
One of the most celebrated occasions on the Rydal Penrhos calendar will be returning this year, with a new twist.
The school’s Colours Awards Evening will recognise the exceptional work of pupils across a wide range of extra-curricular settings, ranging from sport to the performing arts and outdoor education programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
It has been fantastic to see everything returning to relative normalcy after a substantial period of disruption relating to COVID-19. Sporting fixtures have resumed, concerts and productions are in full swing and excursions to further develop experiences in unfamiliar surroundings have also been also prevalent throughout the academic year.
The Colours Awards Evening will take place on Thursday 12 May 2022 in the Memorial Hall, and Rydal Penrhos is delighted to confirm that Andy Reid MBE is the special guest speaker at the event.
Andy was selected for the MBE on the strength of his services to the veteran community as well as his extensive work helping the disabled in St. Helens. Corporal Reid was injured by a Taliban IED while on patrol with the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, in Afghanistan in 2009 and lost both legs and his right arm. But rather than let his injuries take over his life, he turned his attention to his recovery.
In 2010 he became a volunteer ambassador and fundraiser for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and has committed his life to raising awareness and fundraising for amputees, both civilian and military.
Throughout his fundraising he has raised more than £100,000 for the charity and participated in the 100km Front Line Walk in France, riding a specially adapted bike, and in 2017 he undertook the Warrior Challenge around the UK (cycling 400 miles and kayaking 128 miles in 14 days) raising £52,000.
Andy also jointly set up ‘AIM: Amputation, Inspiration, Motivation’ to inspire, motivate and offer assistance towards further education, employment, sports and hobbies for amputees.
Describing himself as “a survivor, not a victim”, Andy’s attitude has seen him become an inspirational motivational speaker and he works closely with Morson to empower its workforce and strengthen the work it does in bridging the gap between the armed forces and civilian life.
Pupils help Eirias Hockey Club to national finals
We are enormously proud of Rydal Penrhos’ pupil involvement within the community. Our young learners are currently thriving with clubs and organisations across the region, which is something the school actively encourages as a method of gaining new experiences and enhancing overall development.
This is also bringing an incredible amount of notable achievements, which is a testament to how each pupil is working within their fields of interest – something that stands them in tremendous stead during classroom and extra-curricular activities on site.
One area where pupils are currently progressing incredibly well is hockey. Rydal Penrhos has enjoyed a wealth of success with many age-grade teams reaching the national championships, with the Boys’ U18 squad ending up as the second-best school team in the country.
Our girls also played a significant role for Eirias Hockey Club‘s youth sides, with no fewer than three securing the North Wales title and qualification to the national showcase that will take place this weekend.
The squads are coached by Mrs Jude Pyves, a teacher at Rydal Penrhos Prep who also lends her hockey expertise to pupils to hone their craft during extra-curricular and physical education sessions.
Elsi Pyves, Ester Ball-Iverson, Eve Durrans, Lily Davies, Martha Hind and Jasmin Beckett-Donald were part of the Eirias U18 team that triumphed during their regional heat, with the U16 side also attaining the same feat in convincing fashion.
Eve, Lily, Martha, Fflur Pierce and Keira Luke turned out for the U16 squad, and Eirias Hockey Club rounded off a substantial set of accomplishments with the U14s also booking their place at the national showcase.
Fflur, Keira, Charlotte Payne and Lily Copeland all played a leading role in the U14 triumph, which they can hopefully build on during the nationals on Saturday 7 May.
On behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos, we would like to congratulate each pupil involved and Mrs Pyves on their fine efforts. Good luck this weekend!
Cross-Curricular journey sticks project inspires
Becoming inspired through learning is something that is especially evident within the younger members of the Rydal Penrhos community. It’s about exciting, stimulating opportunities that form a core part of the curriculum from Pre-School right up until pupils get ready for the next stage of their respective journeys in Year 13.
The school’s teaching staff does an exceptional job of capturing the imagination of pupils. This is done through imaginative projects, thought-provoking discussions and even cross-curricular activities when the opportunity arises.
Another outstanding example of this came from a recent Year 2 project, which involved the Forest School and the Art department combining under the watchful eye of Rydal Penrhos staff who guided them superbly every step of the way.
This exciting activity began with Year 2 foraging for woodland items throughout the Forest School site, which is a natural environment that focuses on providing a safe outdoor learning experience, one in which children are encouraged to explore, discover, investigate and take suitable risks.
After the enthusiastic group found what they were looking for, it was then time to start producing their journey sticks, which drew inspiration from the natural artwork of Andy Goldsworthy OBE.
Mr Goldsworthy is an English sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculptures and land art situated in natural and urban settings.
As you can see from the images in this special gallery, Year 2 had a great deal of fun, learned a lot and managed to produce some brilliant final pieces. Well done to all involved!
Pupil turned pilot on aviation during COVID-19
While the country celebrates its emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, the unfortunate reality is that disruption to everyday life could remain far into this new decade. Something that Rydal Penrhos staff are fully prepared for after adjusting significantly well over the last two years.
Examples of broken supply chains and labour market shortages, results of the strains of the last two years, can be found in all industries, including the aviation industry. Over the past few weeks, a staffing crisis at Manchester Airport has risen to headline news, with passengers forced to queue for several hours and many missing their flights altogether. The episode is a reminder of the human side of jet travel, which millions rely on each year.
Rydal Penrhos are lucky to have many alumni who have chosen a career in the skies and can therefore share their insights into the industry and the impact of the past two years. EasyJet pilot Alex Sharples (RPS 2009-16) offers a fascinating perspective, given that he was only relatively early into his dream career when airlines were grounded in unprecedented circumstances.
Alex was kind enough to sit down with us recently and share the story of his career so far, from his earliest thoughts of becoming a pilot to his recent relocation from Luton to Manchester Airport.
As is typical of so many of our alumni who break into highly competitive fields, Alex’s desire to become a pilot was formed at an early age.
“My Mum was cabin crew for British Airways. So she really got me into it. When I was young, I did a lot of travelling with my family, so that made me really fall in love with air travel.”
When he was 14 years old, Alex’s parents gifted him a trial piloting lesson as a Christmas present. The experience confirmed his sense that piloting was something he wanted to pursue, therefore he began training for his Private Pilot’s Licence, becoming one of its youngest holders when he passed in the summer of 2015, just prior to the start of Year 13.
“That summer was really good fun, training so regularly for my licence. This was one of the most competitive courses. Only four per cent of the people who applied were accepted, but once you got in they offered really fantastic links to the major airlines.”
The first part of Alex’s preparation for his dream career was short but incredibly intense, given that it centred on the vital theoretical work needed to become a commercial pilot.
“We would be in the classroom five days a week, 8:30 in the morning until 5pm in the evening. You would be up until 10pm, 11pm at night studying, then you would get up and do it all again.”
All this was happening while many of Alex’s Rydal Penrhos classmates were in their first semester of university, making the most of a much more relaxed lifestyle.
“I didn’t really have a typical student experience, but there were a group of us trainees who lived and worked together, and we had a really good bond. We would come back from classes at 5pm, make dinner in our accommodation and then head back to the classroom and work through things together.”
Alex completed more exams in this period than an average student might across their entire time in university; nonetheless, once that difficult technical work was done, an opportunity of a lifetime followed.
As part of his training with CTC, Alex had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand for 150 hours of practical flight training, which began with single-engine planes, recapping many of the techniques that Alex had already covered as part of his UK Private Pilot’s Licence, before moving onto the four-seat, twin-engine Diamond DA42 Twin Star.
“This was more enjoyable than the UK training because there was less theoretical work and more practical stuff – take-offs and landings, dealing with emergencies, that sort of thing. Of course, there were still difficult days, but there was also time off to travel, head to the beach or play golf.”
After completing his stint in New Zealand, Alex returned to the UK, this time heading to Bournemouth to earn his Instrument Rating. For the next four months, he faced one of the steepest learning curves in his training to date as he mastered flying an aircraft using its instruments alone, an essential skill to deal with inclement weather and cloud cover.
“This was so different to the flying I had done to that point, which was all about using your eyes and looking out of the window, so there was a definite adjustment. Eventually, I got the hang of it and now I find instrument flying really nice, it’s something that I do all the time.”
Alex soon earnt his Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence and began work as a pilot for EasyJet, based out of Luton Airport.
“I was so happy, knowing I had finally made it after all that hard work, dating back to when I was a pupil at Rydal Penrhos.”
In his new job, Alex met an amazing variety of people with years of experience in aviation. Plus, he was now travelling to points across Europe and beyond on a regular basis.
“There were a few standout destinations. Nice airport gives you beautiful views of the Riviera and Monte Carlo on approach, plus the landing is all manually flown which is good fun. Another one would be Reykjavík because you can see the Northern Lights at night.”
Not long after Alex had gotten used to his dream becoming a reality, the spread of a new virus rocked the aviation industry and his sense of what lay next.
“Those first weeks were horrible. Nobody quite knew what was going on, my WhatsApp groups were going crazy with people speculating. Pilots at other airlines were being made redundant, so, as a new recruit, I was naturally very nervous thinking it would be a case of last in, first out. I had to think about what else I might do instead to put food on the table.”
Thankfully, this worst-case scenario never materialized.
“I belong to a really great airline and union and they negotiated so that, instead of facing redundancies, EasyJet pilots moved to part-time to cover the necessary cost cuts.”
The change in Alex’s working hours was dramatic.
Before the pandemic, he was averaging 90 hours of flying a month; with the new part-time arrangement and reduced demand for flights, this fell to around five to six hours a month.
“It wasn’t fun to be grounded for so long, but at least I was still in the job.”
Outdoor Net sessions underway
Getting back down to progressing key skills in a more usual environment to what’s been evident over the last two years has been a tremendous boost for Rydal Penrhos pupils.
The school is still adhering to Welsh Government guidelines, but educational trips, outdoor education excursions and sporting fixtures are now back in full swing following a period of immense disruption.
It promises to be a busy Trinity Term for our aspiring cricketers, who officially began their outdoor net sessions recently under the watchful eye of the school’s teaching and coaching staff.
Rydal Penrhos constructed a five-bay grass outdoor nets facility, which is situated on Blackburn’s Piece opposite the school’s outstanding New Field surface.
This is just another significant project that’s occurred across the school in recent years, which is part of the Rydal Penrhos’ ongoing strategic development plan to enhance facilities for a well-rounded academic and extra-curricular experience.
Pupils are being put through their paces during the sessions, practising their batting techniques and bowling styles in readiness for their upcoming matches against other schools from across the North Wales, Cheshire and the North West of England.
The outdoor nets were officially opened by legendary former Physical Education teacher and Head of Cricket Mike Leach, with James Gilman securing the honour of taking the facility’s first wicket.
The Rydal Dolphins, who are a team comprised of former pupils and people associated with the school, contributed to the cost of the development of an outdoor cricket nets facility, with a donation made in memory of Brian Lewis, who was a Rydal School pupil from 1953-62 that left a gift in his will for the Dolphins following his passing.
Other notable contributions to the project came from The Percy Heywood Bequest and The W. Stephen Jones Memorial Fund, with a special plaque recognising their generosity unveiled at the start of the eagerly anticipated Dolphins Week against the school’s first XI in 2019.
It’s great to see such fantastic facilities being put to good use once again and we would like to wish all Rydal Penrhos cricket teams the very best of luck for the upcoming season.
Former pupil publishes latest novel
Sailing is a key part of Rydal Penrhos’ sporting pedigree, as recently illustrated by Zac Blomeley’s successes in the United States. While he started his career on the water very young, benefitting from both the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities available at the school’s RYA Accredited centre, another of our sailing legends did not take up the sport until much later in life.
Nick Pochin’s sailing journey was inspired by tragedy. In May 1992, his wife Sue tragically passed away from Polyarteritis, a rare condition where blood vessel inflammation can cause damage to organ systems.
In the same year, he also lost his father, elder brother and brother-in-law. In his latest novel, Poles Get Closer, Nick said that, after the loss, his “perspective on life changed”.
“About this time I saw written on the back of a T-shirt the words ‘are you afraid to die or just afraid to live.”
Nick decided not to be afraid anymore; having always loved the open water, he learnt to sail and set off single-handed around the world. “If I died”, Nick thought, “it didn’t matter anymore”.
On October 30 2005, Nick set sail from Gibraltar as part of the Blue Water Rally, a global circumnavigation event first established in 1998.
Nick’s vessel was a Discovery 55 sailboat. At the time he set sail, the model “had just been launched as a long-distance cruising yacht capable of being sailed tow up”.
“We placed our order and Discovery number six was put in the mould. We had a lot of fun choosing the name and finally settled on Festina Lente, which is Latin for hasten slowly or more literally ‘More haste, less speed’. The owner of the Discovery, John Charnley, wanted to know why we had named one of his boats slow, as in his opinion that is what they were not!”
Nick’s voyage would see him cross three oceans and visit five continents, travelling over 34,000 nautical miles in total. The average yacht does less than 1,000 nautical miles in a year.
It also involved “an unlikely romance” forged by “a love of sailing and of adventure”.
After his journey was over, Nick had his trusty vessel refitted and was back on the open seas only 10 months later in August 2008.
The story of Nick’s journey is vividly recounted in his book, Poles Get Closer, which is available to purchase online, including on Kindle.
Year 2 journey sticks project
Stars of the Week
Stars of the Week
- Reception - Sebastian
- Year 1 - Bobby
- Year 2 - Pearl and Ellis
- Year 3 - Ollie
- Year 4 - Holly
- Year 5 - Beatrice
- Year 6 - Lexi-May
- Artist – Beatrice in Year 5 for her Frida Kahlo portrait.
- Performer – Eleanor in Year 2 for playing ‘Happy Birthday’ so beautifully on the piano.