The RP Weekly: 7 May 2021
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
What makes it so great?
The final two years of school life should the most exciting of all.
There is more freedom to pursue subjects of interest, build strong bonds with teaching staff and peers, in addition to making new friends and preparing for the next stage of your journey.
At Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form, young people are put in the best possible position to succeed. They are given exceptional support and guidance, expert teaching throughout their A Levels and given every opportunity to develop additional skills that will serve them extremely well both during university and the working world.
The school’s Sixth Form provision has enjoyed a phenomenal amount both academically and in a wide range of other areas. Perhaps more importantly however is each pupil at Rydal Penrhos leaves with a sense of belonging, friendships that will stand the test of time and fully ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.
But what makes Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form truly great?
Despite last year being a difficult one due to COVID-19, Year 13 pupils still managed to produce some exceptional examination results that ended up being the best in the school’s history. This was a just reward for not only the hard work each recent leaver put into their studies, but Rydal Penrhos’ shift to focus more on academia during a critical stage of learning for its Sixth Form pupils.
Grades compared to National Averages:
- Rydal Penrhos: 51.9%
- National Average: 38.1%
- Rydal Penrhos: 74.9%
- National Average: 65.4%
- Rydal Penrhos: 90.5%
- National Average: 87.5%
- Rydal Penrhos: 97.5%
- National Average: 96.8%
Information provided by the Welsh Independent Schools Council.
To “Add Value” means a school can significantly influence a child’s performance through such a high standard of teaching that the projected outcome is improved and therefore they achieve much better grades than they would have done at an average school (i.e. the national average).
At A Level our score is 0.5 this means for every ten subjects taken, five of them (i.e. half) have come out with higher grades than forecast.
This has meant for example that over the 51 Year 13 pupils who recently left, 100 additional ‘A’ grades were achieved.
Diverse A Level Options
These superb examination results come from a wide and varied A Level and Cambridge Technical curriculum at Rydal Penrhos that caters to almost any potential career path.
These options give our pupils a more in-depth avenue into what ignites their passion, something that is proven to bring the best out of them both in the classroom and during independent study.
Preparing for University can be a daunting prospect, but this is a pressure we look to relieve at Rydal Penrhos by giving Sixth Form pupils every possible tool needed during the UCAS application and decision-making process.
With specific lessons regarding applications, assessment and potential University destinations that best suit their potential career paths, Sixth Formers are given plenty of useful information before coming to their own conclusions.
Small Class Sizes at Rydal Penrhos
No pupil slips through the net.
Another thing that sets Rydal Penrhos Sixth Form apart is focusing on the individual. This is done with small class sizes that provide them with extra attention during each phase of their A Level studies.
This is something the school takes a great deal of pride in and also builds special bonds between teaching staff and Sixth Form pupils, who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their goals and aspirations are met.
Rydal Penrhos has a pupil to teacher ratio of 1:9
A Thorough Timetable
At Rydal Penrhos, a typical Sixth Form pupil has 24 weekly academic lessons a week. This gives them the best possible chance to get the most out of their education and ensure they are fully prepared for examinations, assessment and coursework during their A Level subjects.
Extra Academic Clinics
For those seeking more study time relating to their modules of choice, Rydal Penrhos offers additional academic clinics after school hours. Sixth Formers can brush up on specific elements of their subjects and get even more time with our incredible teaching staff, who are always happy to help at any time.
Every Sixth Former at Rydal Penrhos also gets the chance to improve leadership skills with various opportunities available. Whether it be Head Boy/Girl, the Senior Prefect Team, within various Sixth Form committees or mentoring younger members of the school community as a Peer Mentor, there is plenty of chances for Year 12 and 13 to become strong role models and add to their University applications to set them apart.
Rydal Penrhos’ rich academic provision is enhanced by extra-curricular options, which include sport, sailing, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, additional qualifications in Music and a thriving Speech and Drama programme among others.
This caters to almost any interest and is known to develop key areas such as confidence, problem-solving, communication and co-ordination that might not necessarily be gained from the classroom.
In normal circumstances, the school also holds a number of social events throughout the academic year that are arranged by Sixth Formers. This enables them to socialise, build friendships and acquire a sense of calm during what is a stressful time with studies and next stage planning.
STEM activity builds bridges for a successful future
"Most of our pupils will end up doing jobs that have not even been created yet…."
This is the reality. And STEM or science, technology, engineering and mathematics is there to prepare future generations of Rydal Penrhos pupils to be successful in these jobs.
STEM is much more than just science and mathematics concepts. The focus of hands-on learning with real-world applications helps develop a child or young person’s ability to think outside of the box, to project manage different scenarios, it enhances creativity and enables pupils to be more prepared for the 21st-century working environment.
Other skills attained through STEM learning include problem-solving, real-time thinking, igniting curiosity, promoting leadership and perhaps most importantly, learning from mistakes and reacting accordingly.
These important development tools go a long way in preparing them to be innovative throughout their academic subjects and various extra-curricular activities in and out of school.
Under the expert leadership of teacher Jamie McLeod, Year 4 STEM class were tasked with designing and constructing a bridge using materials provided, which saw them work in groups to produce a model for testing.
The test period came by putting objects on the model bridges, which showcased pupils’ knowledge of the structure and weight distribution as part of their designs.
Mr McLeod was so impressed, he even produced this fantastic video to recognise their achievements.
RP enters national quiz competition
Never undervalue the importance of reading. At Rydal Penrhos, we recognise the importance of reading for academic development and for inspiring creativity.
Pupils at Rydal Penrhos will now put their reading skills to the test by taking part in the National Reading Champions Quiz (NRCQ), which is an annual opportunity for enthusiastic young readers to compete with their peers and showcase and celebrate their knowledge of the written word.
The school is entering two teams with pupils in Years 5-8 to go head-to-head with other teams from 18 different regions across the United Kingdom for a place in the national finals and the chance to be crowned the National Reading Champions 2021.
Books play a crucial role in helping to build children’s imagination, improve their well-being and grow their love of reading.
By encouraging reading for enjoyment, adults can play a huge part in improving a child’s literacy skills.
Recent research from the National Literacy Trust discovered that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to read above the level expected for their age compared to those who don’t enjoy reading (30.1% vs 8.1%).
Rydal Penrhos will begin their quest for the national crown on Tuesday 11 May at the Welsh regional heats, with each pupil involved working hard to prepare for the competition alongside their usual studies.
The school has recently boosted the libraries even further across the whole school, the Watkinson Library – named after much-loved former Headmaster Peter Watkinson – for the primary use for those in Key Stage 3 and 4 has had a massive investment in new books including those being reviewed under the Carnegie Award , a Sixth Form , Key Stage 5, reading section within the dedicated centre has been developed and further investment and exciting developments have been made for the youngest members of the Rydal Penrhos community.
The Reception to Year 6 classes recently updated their reading scheme – the Oxford Reading Tree – in order to ensure that pupils have all the most recent titles and resources to call upon to boost progression both in and out of the classroom.
Good luck to both Rydal Penrhos teams, we know you'll do the school proud and the most important thing is to keep on reading and enjoying the joy of books!
- Oscar Jewsbury - Year 5
- Amelie Skinner - Year 6
- Cammie De La Mare Norris - Year 7
- Ellis Lister-Brooks - Year 8
- Keira Luke - Year 8
- Ella Payne - Year 5
- Harry Nurse - Year 6
- Lucy Ranales-Griffiths - Year 7
- Chloe Tillman-Lennon - Year 8
- Finlay Perry - Year 8
Academic importance highlighted
One of the real success stories at Rydal Penrhos over the years has been the incredible transformation within the school’s Art department.
Subject leader Mark Sherrington, who is also a former pupil, has devoted himself to improving the artistic skills of pupils across all age groups, something which has come with some notable achievements from an academic perspective.
Art pupils at GCSE and A Level are now regularly attaining some of Rydal Penrhos’ most impressive examination results.
This is further proof of the exceptional teaching they receive throughout their modules and the expert support and guidance each pupil benefits from during the coursework process.
Not only does this stand each pupil in enormously good stead at a critical stage of their learning, but it also inspires many to go on and pursue Art at higher education establishments across the country and the working world once their time at Rydal Penrhos comes to an end.
Some of the work produced by artists has been nothing short of amazing and plenty of fine examples can be found throughout the school corridors.
However, this quality work does not transpire without first studying art in all its intricacies and delving deeper into each specific art form and specific techniques.
The highly knowledgeable Mr Sherrington has been a tremendous asset to the school, both as a pupil and a teacher. His unrivalled passion and determination to help every pupil reach their goals have been prevalent since he took up the post and were especially evident during the last 12 months throughout the educational lockdowns.
There is always a hive of activity within the art department at this time of year. The studio is full of pupils putting the finishing touches to their respective pieces with a view to carrying on the school’s rich history of exam success from the department.
Just one example of this is shown in the gallery below from Isabella Toms-Arbel, who joined Rydal Penrhos at the start of her Sixth Form journey last year and wasted no time in demonstrating her outstanding artistic talent that is being nurtured superbly by teaching staff.
Mr Sherrington, said; “One of the things that are great about working with GCSE and A Level pupils in Art is the continual dialogue that forms as you get to know the pupil’s concerns.
“Isabella has thrown herself into looking at reflection and studied and written extensively about Escher and his work. During the lockdown period, Isabella became obsessed with Trompe L’oeil and it was terrific to be able to make suggestions about technique and talk about the historical context surrounding that form of painting.
“Since returning to the studio she has just finished a large painting and is now working with clay to produce a series of large three-dimensional eyes.
“It’s incredibly stimulating and rewarding here because we many have pupils like Isabella who are constantly bringing new work in, following where their ideas or concerns take them and are brave enough to explore a range of materials or ways of working.”
This is the latest fine demonstration of inspiring teachers bringing the best out in pupils.
The academic side of art is as important as the work itself and the proof of this is there for all to see here at Rydal Penrhos.
Head Boy Richard begins tenure as North Wales Golf Club junior captain
With things slowly returning to some semblance of normality, a Rydal Penrhos pupil formally began his time in a position of prominent leadership at one of the region’s most prestigious golf clubs.
Richard Wolfendale, who is a Year 13 pupil and current Head Boy at the school, was appointed Junior Captain of North Wales Golf Club in Llandudno last year, but due to the complications and course closures throughout COVID-19, committee members decided to roll over the responsibility to this summer instead where things should be a little more structured.
To mark the official start of Richard’s “year in office”, the pupil took part in the club’s traditional Junior Captain’s Drive-Off recently. This saw him take to the 15th tee on the picturesque course, which is situated immediately outside the clubhouse.
In front of the assembled club members, Richard drove a magnificently straight 256-yard drive down the fairway, which was followed by a well-deserved round of applause for a respected young member of the club who has brought his game on significantly both on-site and as part of Rydal Penrhos’ golf provision in recent years.
His outstanding drive measured by Flightscope at an impressive “smash factor” of 1.52. This is measured by ball speed divided by club speed, with a score of 1.5 considered an extremely high standard. After Richard completes his A Levels, he is hoping to devote more time to organising and leading the junior section of the club, which has expanded greatly in recent years under award-winning coach Robin Hughes.
Richard is the embodiment of what a Rydal Penrhos education can provide. He has developed his academic prowess considerably under the guidance of the school’s exceptional staff team, is a talented musician and has become a strong role model for younger pupils in his role of Head Boy this academic year.
His GCSE results were nothing short of outstanding, with Richard achieving no fewer than six grade 9’s in English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, Mathematics and Music, in addition to three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Richard also secured a distinction in Additional Mathematics and a grade 8 in Religious Studies.
Grade 8 guitar triumph for Zac!
One of the more pleasing things to emerge from Rydal Penrhos during the last 12 months is the unrivalled enthusiasm and drive from pupils to keep their goals unaltered despite the ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
This is reflected in the school’s exceptional and record-breaking examination results at A Level and GCSE last summer as well as some incredible individual extra-curricular achievements across a wide range of different activities and interests.
A fine example of this comes from the school’s Music department, which has continued to produce assessment results of the highest quality in the face of some incredible adversity regarding tutoring and preparation for pupils young and old.
The latest example came from Zac Roberts, who is a Year 10 pupil at Rydal Penrhos and has been developing his guitar playing skills both onsite and from the comfort of his own home in the lead-up to his Grade 8 assessment from the London College of Music.
This represented a significant challenge for the pupil considering the level of difficulty associated with a typical Grade 8 examination. Zac rose to the occasion in customary fashion to secure an outstanding Distinction after a polished performance in front of adjudicators.
Zac’s incredible result drew some well-deserved praise from Director of Music Pete Williams, who was thoroughly impressed with the pupil’s application throughout.
He said: “Zac has been a credit to himself and everyone at Rydal Penrhos. He is a very talented young man who works hard at his craft, so it’s especially pleasing to see him rewarded in this manner with a wonderful final mark.
“We have been thrilled with his progress throughout his school life and he deserves all the credit in the world for such a result.”
Reception transition sessions underway
Making the big step to full-time school can be a nervous time for a young child. At Rydal Penrhos, staff have come up with a special initiative to make the process a little smoother for Pre-Schoolers moving into Reception during the 2021/22 academic year.
The school has devised a series of transition sessions for the “Superstars” held in addition to the regular activities Pre-School children participate in across the main school site, meaning that their “new” surroundings next year won’t be nearly as daunting.
Pre-Schoolers who are moving up in September have also been spending time with Reception class teacher Louise Devilleforte during the sessions, who will be teaching them during their first year as a member of Rydal Penrhos Pre-Prep.
Mrs Devilleforte has created some exciting challenges for the group to help them find their way around the Reception areas. These include the all-important classroom where lessons take place, the creative room where additional skills are developed and the outdoor learning zone – which has proved highly popular with Reception pupils since its introduction.
The transition sessions will continue throughout the summer term and will stand some of the youngest members of the Rydal Penrhos community in good stead ahead of the move up, replacing trepidation with eager anticipation in the process.
One thing is certain, Rydal Penrhos’ teaching and support staff are always on hand to provide support.
Rydal Penrhos is continuing to provide pupils with Assemblies and Chapels in a virtual format in accordance with current restrictions.
This has been a welcome boost to the structure of the school's provision throughout COVID-19 and is further evidence of keeping things as normal as possible in ever-changing times.
The latest Celebration Chapel to conclude another week on Friday 7 May saw a prestigious guest deliver an important message not only to Rydal Penrhos pupils, but to every Methodist Independent school across the United Kingdom.
The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin - otherwise known nationally as Bishop Rose - is Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury. She has oversight for Canterbury Diocese and is one of the leading religious figures in the country.
Other contributions throughout the Celebration Chapel came from Reverend Nick Sissons, the school's Chaplain, Director of Music Pete Williams and pupils to round off another successful week across all age groups.
Rose was born and raised in Jamaica, educated at Montego Bay High School for Girls and later at Birmingham University.
She served as a priest in Hackney (Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston and All Saints, Haggerston) for more than 16 years, before she was appointed as a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen in 2007.
In 2010, she became the first female appointed to the position of the 79th Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Rose took on the additional responsibility as Priest in Charge of city Church, St Mary-at-Hill near Monument in 2014.
Rose has twice represented the Church of England at the World Council of Churches and served as its priest representative on the Anglican Consultative Council for nine years.
She also served as a Selection Secretary for the Church of England, helping to select men and women seeking to test their vocation to the ministry. Rose was also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and has wide experience of media engagement including some religious broadcasting.
Stars of the Week
7 May 2021
Prep Stars of the week:
- Pre-School ‘shining stars’ group: Nina – for brilliant creative work
- Pre-School ‘super stars’ group: Morgan – for working really well as part of a team
- Reception: Henry – brilliant progress with his handwriting
- Year 1: Ajwaa – super progress in her reading
- Year 2: Cody – for his boundless self-motivation, focus and attention to detail in his work
- Year 3: Layko – for working hard at the tricky concept of scale in maths
- Year 4: Odin – for setting into the class well and working really hard
- Year 5: Lexi-May – super spelling improvement and great creative writing
- Year 6: Jorvan – fabulous improvement in maths and English
- Artist of the week: Charlie in Year 5 for his creative flair when making his collage chameleon
Teacher of Year 2
Teacher of Year 2
- One year, fixed-term contract
Due to rapid growth of the School over the last year, Rydal Penrhos is looking to appoint another Year 2 Teacher to cope with the growing demand for places.
The successful applicant will be an organised and creative Key Stage 1 Teacher who believes in teaching 'the whole child' and supporting their mental and physical health. All applicants should have experience teaching in Key Stage 1.
This is an exciting opportunity to join a thriving independent day school with 350 pupils and over 100 staff to teach Year 2 pupils and make a significant contribution to the school’s pastoral and broader life.
Full details and how to apply can be found in this digital document