The RP Weekly: 7 December 2020
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
7 December 2020
Christmas Jumper Day
RP to support national fundraising drive
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and Rydal Penrhos will once again be lending their support to a nationwide festive fundraising drive in aid of a global children’s charity.
The school’s Sixth Form Charity Committee have released details of Christmas Jumper Day, which will take place on Friday 11 December and all donations will go towards Save the Children.
Children are encouraged to come to school wearing their school uniform with a Christmas jumper. The suggested donation is £2.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich and proud history of fundraising for worthy causes throughout the region and beyond. The school is proud of its community involvement, which was further evident with the extraordinary efforts to help those in need during the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
This included a PPE project that created thousands of protective masks for NHS staff and keyworker facilities, opening boarding accommodation for critical keyworkers and holding keyworker childcare not only for Rydal Penrhos parents, but also the wider community.
Save the Children has already got more than 2.2 million people to sign up to wear a Christmas jumper.
How does Christmas Jumper Day work?
It could not be more simple, all you have to do is make sure you wear a Christmas jumper on Friday 11 December.
“You don’t even need a new jumper,” the charity says. “You can dig out last year’s, or take a boring old sweater and add some tinsel, or get one from a charity shop.”
You are also encouraged to donate £2 and this year, Save the Children is encouraging people to hold virtual events to raise extra money.
Anyone wishing to donate to this year's Christmas Jumper Day at Rydal Penrhos does not need to bring in any money, they can make their contribution online at our JustGiving page found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cjd200008995
Nick juggling Physics with the Police
Nick Fiorita is another shining example of what can be achieved from an all-through education at Rydal Penrhos. The 2019 leaver joined as a Reception class pupil back in 2006 and achieved a phenomenal amount during his time at the school.
Such was Nick’s influence across all forms of Rydal Penrhos life, he was appointed Head Boy for his final year and represented the school exceptionally well alongside Head Girl Gowri Pradeep.
Not only was Nick a shining example to other members of the school community, but he also secured one A* and three A grades in his A Levels to secure a place at Warwick University to study Physics, attained his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in double-quick time and was part of the Rydal Penrhos hockey teams that secured National Championship honours.
Since leaving school, Nick has not only been busy with his studies at Warwick, but he also joined the West Midlands Police Force earlier this year, just a week before he turned 19.
He said: “I joined as a Special Constable after a number of months completing the recruitment process which I applied for the day I got my A Level results. The training was very difficult to balance with my Physics degree at Warwick University as it was held in Birmingham.
“However, both the police and the University helped me to accommodate my schedules. Sadly, training was postponed during the initial lockdown in March. This moved online for legislative training and eight days of in-person First Aid and Personal Safety training in June. Finally, in July I was attested and became an authorised warranted Police Officer.”
As part of his role, Nick is expected to complete a minimum of 16 hours a month from a shift perspective, but often does much more than this providing his university schedule allows.
Nick started his shifts in September after being in Wales over the summer – volunteering 187 hours in his first month as his lectures didn’t begin until October.
“I enjoyed that month more than I had imagined, and I was able to fully experience life as a regular police officer as I followed a regular police officer’s shift pattern,” added Nick.
“As a special constable, you join a Neighbourhood Police Team and stay with them for one year before being able to change department if you want to.
“Working in the city centre is fast-paced and means that the crimes and incidents that we are involved with are diverse and ever-changing. I managed to get rotations of half a week on each of the following teams: response, force CID and Adult PPU investigations.
“I think the most interesting arrest I have made is for money laundering, but this was quite a rare occurrence and it was even rarer that I got to interview the suspect afterwards. However, every arrest is complicated and very serious. I have not had to use many COVID-19 laws as the approach is always to use enforcement as the very last resort.”
Nick’s initial time as a Special Constable has made him appreciate the opportunities that came from a Rydal Penrhos education, which is something the pupil managed to benefit enormously from thanks to the support, guidance and care from teaching staff.
He said: “More than ever before I can appreciate how fortunate I was to receive the education at Rydal Penrhos, most people are not as lucky.”
Cleaner retires after 35 years!
We are sad this week to wave goodbye to Marie Harland, one of our wonderful team of cleaners and an important member of the Rydal Penrhos family.
She has decided to retire after 35 years of service in the school.
Starting in 1985 as a mere slip of a girl in a job she thought would fit wonderfully around bringing up her four children, Marie didn’t realise what a massive part of her life Rydal Penrhos would become.
The popular figure says she has always found it a “nice place to work and everyone is so friendly” but also regaled us with very amusing stories of some of the high jinx pupils in the past had gotten up to.
Rydal Penrhos could not function without each and every member of the community playing their part and Marie is the personification of this.
Marie’s colleagues describe her as “a good friend” and a “good craic” and one member of the team, Alison, said she feels like she is going through a divorce with Marie retiring as “we have worked together for 20 years and it has been an absolute pleasure”.
Marketing and Admissions co-ordinator Debbie McCluskey described how Marie had always been so kind and caring when she had returned from overseas trips, checking in on her to make sure she had returned safely.
Marie assures us she is going to put her feet up a bit now, except when she is walking her dogs and enjoy a well-earned retirement.
We will all miss such a lovely member of the Rydal Penrhos Family.
As well as tributes to her, staff wanted to send messages of thanks and here are just a few.
Sally-Ann Harding – Senior School Head
“Marie has been such a delightful member of our support staff, always ready first thing in the morning to ask how you are with a smile and kind words. I will miss her.”
Phil Sutton – Deputy Head (Staff)
“Marie has always been bright and cheery when cleaning up after me which is impressive especially considering what time she gets up in the mornings. It’s not an easy task as my wife will readily testify. She will be missed by all but especially by Alison with whom she formed a formidable team.”
Andrew Edgley – Swimming Coach
“If it wasn’t for her hard work over last 13 years (my time here ) the pool would not run so smoothly as she always made sure we had clean fresh towels. She will be sadly missed.”
Mike Farnell – Head of Careers
“As a teacher here of 34 years who arrives early, I can always guarantee that Marie would be in even earlier. She never stops work in the early morning to make sure that the place is open and looking spick and span for the rest of us who may be totally unaware of the hard work going to get school ready. Marie always has a friendly word and knows us all.”
Dr Jim Lewis – Maths Teacher/Duke of Edinburgh Leader
“Bye Marie! The early morning corridors already feel empty without you. I hope you enjoy your retirement and get everyone else to clean up after you now. Best wishes.”
Pete Williams – Director of Music
“Marie was a ray of sunshine with Alison in the music department!”
Mary Richardson – RS/PSHE Teacher
“Loved having a chat with Marie! She was always good humoured, down to earth and positive. I will miss seeing her around the school as she has been here as long as I have worked here…..part of the very fabric of the place. I wish her the very best.”
Reaching out across the North Wales region
Rydal Penrhos looks to do everything it can to make the lives of pupils and their families a lot easier.
And did you know our school’s bus routes stretch from Anglesey to Northop and almost everywhere in between?!
The school operates a Monday-Friday bus service which stops off at various locations including Betws-y-Coed, Denbigh, St Asaph, Rhosneigr, Anglesey (Britannia Bridge), Conwy Valley, Northop, Caerwys, and Rhyl.
All our bus routes follow the most direct main routes (A55, A525, A470 and B5106) rather than go to particular destinations.
The service uses school mini-buses driven by trained drivers who are school employees.
We are privileged to be situated in a stunning part of the world. Rydal Penrhos is just a stone’s throw away from the Colwyn Bay coastline and also has the benefit of Snowdonia and Anglesey virtually on its doorstep. This is something that teaching staff looks to use to their advantage to give each pupil a significant boost to their initial and overall development.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich and varied outdoor education programme at senior school, a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme that continues to thrive and a Sailing Centre that is accredited by the Royal Yachting Association.
Our wonderful part of the world is also used to boost Prep School education, with Forest School and Coastal School still taking place under strict COVID-19 measures in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.
There has never been a better time to become part of the Rydal Penrhos community. The school has had its best-ever examination results at A Level and GCSE and there are exciting plans to invest in significant improvements across all areas of the site in the coming months as Project Bold remains on track despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Rydal Penrhos will be holding its Senior School Assessment Day on Saturday 6 February for September 2021 entry.
All applications must be in by Friday 22 January.
The big lights switch-on!
There was plenty of festive excitement in their air as Rydal Penrhos’ senior and prep sites both held their Christmas lights switch on.
This is always an exciting time of the year at Rydal Penrhos, with the end of term fast approaching and everyone getting into the Christmas spirit despite the normal calendar of events looking a little different due to social distancing measures relating to COVID-19.
Undeterred, the school’s dedicated staff team have worked tirelessly to put the necessary measures in place to ensure each pupil can enjoy the run-up to their break and get the most out of their studies in the process.
At senior school, Head Boy Richard Wolfendale and Head Girl Anna Parry-Williams had the honour of turning on the lights, and they were joined by a staff member to mark a special occasion.
Mrs Gaynor Davies, who has given so much to Rydal Penrhos across both prep and senior for more than 30 years, celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday 3 December and she was also invited to switch on the lights in recognition of her exceptional dedication to the school.
At the prep school, the Head Boy and Head Girl team of Noah Roberts and Amelie Skinner took time out of their busy day of learning to join head, Lucy Davies, for their version of the switch-on, with the tree overlooking a stunning view of the Colwyn Bay seafront.
This would not have been possible without the hard work of the Rydal Penrhos estates team.
Podcast Club highlights Mindfulness
Rydal Penrhos Prep School’s Podcast Club highlighted an important message during their latest release.
The Rydal Penrhos Prep School Podcast Club is led by teacher Catherine Culver, and the group has been busy over the first few weeks of the academic year learning about the tricks of the trade and how to put together an impactful podcast that stands out from the crowd.
Their latest edition focused on the topic of Mindfulness, with Emily Nurse, Robyn Borg-Barthet and Harper Burke opening the broadcast by explaining what it means and the best practices to release stress.
“Be good to yourself, for true mental health.”
This was the quote used by the club to further enhance their message during the podcast, before Steffan Atenstaedt urged all listeners to take a few minutes out of their day to do nothing and forget about the stresses of day-to-day life, which the pupil sated bears more significance now due to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19.
“Mindfulness can be achieved in many ways.”
The group then gave some helpful advice on how to improve mindfulness, including looking after a pet, meditating regularly, staying calm, focusing on nature and being yourself, before finishing off this segment with a phrase based on the YouTube workout sensation, Joe Wicks.
“Follow Joe Wicks’ example, and BE MINDFUL!”
The podcast concluded with a rallying cry to houses regarding the current ‘I’m a Pupil’ challenges currently taking place at the Prep School, which is based on the hit TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ that is taking place at nearby Gwrych Castle.
You can listen to the podcast here
Sixth Former sings at Ty Gobaith virtual fundraiser
A Rydal Penrhos pupil performed at Ty Gobaith’s virtual fundraiser.
Tegid Goodman-Jones, who is a Year 13 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, lent his support to the Conwy children’s hospice, who embraced the “new normal” on Saturday 5 December for their “Bringing the Big Night Out, In!” extravaganza that was live-streamed on Ty Gobaith’s YouTube channel.
There were a host of individual performances from people including Harry and Alayah – who were finalists in The Greatest Dancer – Cor Glanaethwy from Britain’s Got Talent and Elin Fflur.
Tegid’s contribution was another notable highlight, with the pupil achieving an exceptional amount regionally and nationally during an outstanding singing career to date.
His success has included the Urdd National Eisteddfod, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and he was also a special guest at the Daily Post Schools Awards in 2019.
As part of the evening, Ty Gobaith also held an online auction that everyone got involved with, in addition to a host of entertainment and a raffle.
Hope House and Ty Gobaith have been hit hard by the pandemic, with their fundraising income going down and costs increasing due to the increased requirement for PPE.
Their children and families need support more than ever and every penny raised will ensure they can continue to provide vital care during these challenging times.
Rydal Penrhos has raised thousands for Ty Gobaith over the years, with the annual Christmas Market providing much-needed funds for the extremely worthy cause.
Although this event cannot take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school is still taking donations for the Hospice online.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so here: https://visufund.com/rydal-penrhos-christmas-fundraiser
RP during COVID-19
Christmas calendar revealed
Rydal Penrhos has strived to ensure that high educational standards are maintained despite the ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The school’s COVID-19 response team, together with teaching and support staff, have gone to extreme lengths to put every necessary precautions and safety measures in place so that Rydal Penrhos pupils young and old can continue getting the most out of their education – benefitting from the wealth of academic and extra-curricular opportunities on offer.
Christmas is a time for celebration, and even though things look far different this year in a time of ‘class bubbles’ and ‘social distancing’, Senior and Prep School staff have managed to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible with a fun-filled schedule in the run-up to their well-deserved end of term break on Tuesday 15 December.
There will be no Christmas Market this year due to current restrictions, but some of the great traditions will continue and ensure each Rydal Penrhos pupil heads off into the holidays with plenty of festive cheer.
The ever-popular House Singing Competition will be held virtually, the Christmas Service will be live-streamed and this year’s Pre School-Year 2 Nativity will be recorded.
It’s been a term full of unprecedented changes, exciting developments and exceptional conduct from staff and pupils alike. They’ve all earned not only their well-deserved break, but also to enjoy the final two weeks of term before spending time with their families.
Christmas Schedule 2020
Friday 11 December:
- Pre-School – Year 2 Nativity Play – This will be videoed and a link distributed for parents and family members to watch.
- Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children – donate online here.
Monday 14 December:
- Prep School Christmas Party Day – Following the fancy dress tradition – which is based on anything beginning with the letter I (as in Indigo not L for lollipop) this year – Father Christmas will make a visit, there will be a nativity story tableau and a variation of elves in the Secrets Room. Parents are not required to bring in any presents this year but can donate to Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice at this link.
- Senior School Christmas Lunch – Pupils can wear a festive jumper should they wish.
Tuesday 15 December:
- Christmas Service Live Stream – Will be available to view on our YouTube channel from 11.15am.
- End of Term – 12pm.
Christmas Holiday Club:
We will be running a Holiday Club for the five days from Wednesday 16 December until Friday 18, and against from Monday 4 and 5 January 2021. This service will not be in operation for the two-week period over the holidays in between and on Wednesday 6 January.
Thoughts from the Prep School
Christmas is on its way and our classrooms and Rydal Penrhos Prep School corridors are looking very festive.
I have sent out the annual instruction to staff to ‘gird their loins’ as we start the final seven days of school!
Interested in the origin of this phrase I have discovered that it is biblical. The free online dictionary tells me:
Gird (up) your loins
- prepare and strengthen yourself for what is to come.
This expression is of biblical origin, the idea being that the long, loose garments worn in the ancient Orient had to be hitched up to avoid impeding a person’s movement.
In 1 Kings 18:45–6, we find: ‘And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And…Elijah girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel’. The phrase was also used metaphorically in the New Testament:
‘Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you.’
- 1 Peter 1:13
The English language is rich in imagery and metaphor, I think that this 2020 Christmas will need a great deal of ‘loin girding’ if we are to make the most of it.
Good luck everyone!
In the Prep School last week we had a multitude of challenge takers, house point winners and competition entrants. We will be doing special stories on our House Competitions and our ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ challenges later this week.
Here are our Stars for last week, well done indeed to all.
- Reception – Gareth
- Year 1 – William
- Year 2 – Jacob S
- Year 3 – Svaksh
- Year 4 – Ethan
- Year 5 – Finlay
- Year 6 – Jorvan
Artist of the Week – Will
Performer of the Week – Ella
Book your place now!
For external candidates, there will be an
For Year 7, 8, 9, 10 entry for September 2021
on Saturday 6 February 2021
By appointment only
To book your place contact 01492 530155.
Book Online here
Internal candidates do not need to attend