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High fives

A warm welcome from the Headmaster

‘Value-added’ is a term that is used frequently in education, but what exactly does it mean, and how is added value measured? The article on the next page of this newsletter gives a brief description of how we use it at Rydal Penrhos, and every page illustrates different facets of the value added education that our pupils enjoy. Extra-curricular areas such as the peer mentoring programme, sports such as fencing and fives or department activities such as the visit to the Bank of England and the music and art workshops all enrich our pupils’ experience. Enjoy this two-dimensional celebration of their three-dimensional lives.

page 7: art news and views

Patrick Lee-Browne, Headmaster

Update on University offers

At this time of year, offers from UK universities are coming in thick and fast. As predicted by UCAS, there is anecdotal evidence of more offers being made this year, as universities seek to avoid the unfilled places of last year.

Our pupils are certainly receiving many successful offers and Leonie Bartels, Sravya Bathula, Max Davies, Natalia Holgate, Sam Pritchard, Ollie Sharples and Andrew Welden have already received offers from all five applications. Many others still await responses from some universities and hope to join this list with 5/5 offers.

page 8: girls’ netball

As has been the case in recent years the two most popular courses applied for are Medicine and Economics/Management. This reflects a national trend of increased applications for more vocational degree courses. Similarly, pupils have received many offers from Russell Group universities including Warwick, Bristol, Durham, Glasgow, York and UCL. Congratulations to Laura Nunez-Mulder who has secured a conditional offer from Cambridge University to read Medicine. Those applying to most European universities are able to delay their applications until IB results are published on 6 July.

2013 Open day events

2013 Key school events

• Friday 17 May 2.30pm – 4.30pm Senior School open afternoon

• Friday 5 July at 9.30am Memorial Hall Prep School Speech Day and prize giving

• Wednesday 15 May 9.30am – 12pm Preparatory, Pre-Prep and Early Years open morning

• Saturday 25 May at 10.00am Celebration marquee, new field Senior School Speech Day and prize giving

page 14: little shop of horrors

FORPS & society events • Saturday 15 June at 2.30pm Leavers of the 1980s Afternoon tea at 2.30pm at the school followed by a 3-course meal at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno * BOOKING REQUIRED

• Saturday 28 September Leavers of the 1990s Tour of the school from 2.30pm and a 3-course meal at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno * BOOKING REQUIRED

sally harding director of studies

julian noad deputy head academic

Academic News

Top 10% of schools Record results for for adding value History Department The ability to add value to every child’s education and encourage them to perform above original expectations sets a school apart.

The Yellis Baseline Test, produced by Durham University, is one way that added value can be statistically analysed. As a school, Rydal Penrhos has chosen to adopt this method of testing when pupils are in Year 10, enabling the school to identify issues and take action to improve the performance of pupils.

The findings look at the GCSE results each pupil was predicted to get and compare these against their actual GCSE results at the age of 16. If pupils perform beyond expectations this is reflected in a high value added score. Rydal Penrhos prides itself on consistently achieving results that put the school in the top 10% of Yellis tested schools, achieving residuals averaging over 0.5. This means grades are at least 0.5 higher than might be expected for an average pupil, or that every other GCSE grade earned at Rydal Penrhos School is at least one grade higher than expectation. Dedicated teachers and wellmotivated pupils ensure that year after year, Rydal Penrhos is able to outperform far more selective schools at this level.

The History Department is celebrating record results in GCSE History papers sat so far this academic year.

With 50% of Year 11 pupils scoring A* and A in the International Relations paper, and 55% scoring A* and A in the paper on Germany, this signifies some of the best results the department and school has had in this subject for several years, and shows the school is delivering significant ‘value added’ to pupils in what is effectively a non-selective cohort. Some pupils achieved 2 grades higher than their Yellis testing suggested they might, and the average value added was one grade per pupil. There is a significant number of the cohort now going on to study History in the Sixth form, either at A-Level or International Baccalaureate.

And science is celebrating too...

For GCSE scientists who have sat papers this academic year: 90% scored A* and A in Biology, Chemistry and Physics; 100% achieved A* – C; and 8 papers achieved the maximum score possible. All pupils were on or above their Yellis target grade.

Scientific Society

Rydal Penrhos Scientific Society is a new pupil-led initiative that develops interest in and furthers understanding of science.

A committee of pupils meets regularly to set the agenda. Their major task is to organise guest speakers – pupils, parents and friends of the Rydal Penrhos community. This year we have enjoyed contributions from Dr Cath Bale, consultant oncologist, who enthralled her audience with the latest understanding and developments in the world of cancer therapy, and Mr Jonathan Luke, engineer and CEO of a technology company, who gave a fascinating insight in to his world of energy control systems and how technology can be used to plug the ‘energy gap’. It is planned that meetings will sometimes take the form of pupil presentations of their own work, or for staff to enjoy an opportunity to share one of their ‘pet’ subject areas which may not be within the normal syllabus. The target audience is Sixth form scientists, although anyone interested is welcomed: pupils attending have ranged from years 10 to Upper Sixth; adults have included teachers, parents and support staff. For each session, the best part is always the opportunity to engage, particularly in afterthe-event discussions with refreshments. The quality of questioning from all ages has truly impressed our visitors. If any member of the Rydal Penrhos community has suggestions or might want to take part, either on stage or in the audience, they would be most welcome to contact Julian Noad, Deputy Head and Physics teacher at:

Breaking News

Jordon Tam wins Gold in fencing

A Sixth-form pupil from Rydal Penrhos School has won a gold and silver medal at the Stirling Sword International Fencing Competition in Scotland. Jordon Tam, 17, from Hong Kong is a boarding pupil at Rydal Penrhos and a seasoned International competitor who has fenced in competitions in Hong Kong, Beijing and Japan. Jordon began fencing at the age of ten and now practices six days a week to compete at this very high level. He is currently coached in the UK by Valerijs Scipanovs in Chester.

Following his success at the Stirling he has recently competed at the qualifying rounds of the British Youth Championships in Blackpool at Arnold KEQMS School. Here he played nine matches against U16 and U18 players, winning every match. He then went on to the U18 semi final and final which he won a resounding 15/7 against his coach’s son, and despite numerous setbacks with his equipment including three broken foils.

Next Jordon will be facing stiff International competition at the Uhlmann Cup in Leeds and then in the first week of May he will be competing in the British Youth Championships in Sheffield.

His presence in the school has evoked such interest and enthusiasm for fencing amongst the rest of the pupils that fencing has now been adopted as one of the school’s wide range of extra-curricular clubs. Thanks to the coaching of Valerijs Scipanovs, the following pupils have achieved Foil Award Grade 1. Congratulations to: • Egle Budreviciute • Katharina Ihrig • Sian Stanworth • Sebastian Carnegie-Wuster • Andriy Levitskiy • Simon Torres • Geoffrey Yung

• Erik Hansen • Scarlett Salisbury • Robert Warrington • Sasha Handley • Clemmie Saunders • Will Turner

Duke of Edinburgh Awards

The Duke of Edinburgh Awards are an important part of the extracurricular programme in school. The Bronze Award challenges pupils in a variety of ways including fitness, learning new skills and doing a minimum of three months of volunteer work. Pupils must also plan, train for and carry out a two-day (one-night) expedition.

This term, Year 9 also completed a Rescue Emergency Care course to ensure they can recognise a medical emergency and offer immediate first aid until more qualified help arrives. The 6-hour course, delivered by Rocio Siemens of Young First Aiders, covered emergency action, airway problems, breathing problems, circulation problems, bleeding unconsciousness and CPR. It had the additional benefit of completing an aspect of the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Congratulations to the following who all gained their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards this term: • Oliver Bull • Lydia Dickson • Tom Lawton • Alexa Rowlands • Theo Smout

• Hannah Cashell • Alex Farnell • Constance McMahon • James Sanders • Matthew Thomas

• Sophie Davies • Shaswath Ganapathi • Sam Merrick • Alex Sharples • Nandan Muthukumar

School skiing trip Austria, 2013

Each year the school has a skiing trip for the advanced and national championship skiers within the school, and also for complete beginners. Often the destination is America, but this year it was decided that Zauchensee in Austria would be the chosen location. So at the beginning of February half term, a party of 38 pupils and five members of staff set off from Manchester airport for Munich, and then a coach into Austria itself. With abilities ranging from beginners to advanced skiers, the pupils were divided into appropriate small groups for their instruction. There were also groups for learning and improving snowboarding. The pupils rejoin each other every evening for various activities and exploits which included bowling, a disco, karaoke, quiz night and thermal swimming at a water park.

For the full skiing story please see Ruby James’ report at: and watch the Austria 2013 video on the Rydal Penrhos channel of YouTube:

Rydal Penrhos Economists at the Bank of England Four Lower Sixth students,Viktoriya Ulasavets, Alexander Farnell, Dominic Hearth and Andrew McDonald, visited the Bank of England this term to take part in an Inflation Report meeting. This opportunity follows on from the success last November of a group of Rydal Penrhos Economics students in Target Two Point Zero – The Bank of England and The Times Interest Rate Challenge.

This fantastic opportunity allowed the students to meet top industrialists and leading bankers as well as providing key insights into the importance of data collection and analysis, future forecasting, overall macroeconomic trends, and whether or not the Monetary Policy Committee would continue to target the inflation rate in the light of other more significant problems. A special thanks must go to Babak Emamian, OR who left school in 1978. He facilitated the visit and then entertained the group at the Liberal Club. He was the perfect host and helped to make the entire day a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Let us hope in years to come we might see the current students giving up their time so generously in similar challenging and enlightening environments. John Matthews Head of Economics and Business Studies

Music workshops and more…

The spring term has provided the School’s musicians with a number of opportunities to learn about different instruments and increase their playing confidence through a series of exciting workshops.

In the first of these, ‘Building Confidence’, pupils were involved in practical exercises to learn new techniques for developing confidence whilst performing in front an audience. The second was a ‘Klezmer workshop’ which offered a glimpse into the world of Jewish music, and in particular the music used during Jewish wedding ceremonies. For ‘Learning to play the Organ’, two sessions were led by school organist and teacher, Mrs Fay Adamson who explained how the organ works, the different types of stops and pedals and the three different keyboards (called manuals). Each pupil was able to experiment with the different sounds and timbres and play pieces ranging in style from J.S. Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Satie to Coldplay!

Conwy Big Band

Two Year 11 pupils, Glen Davies and Nico Widdowson, have been selected as members of the Conwy Big Band. Glen, a talented saxophone player and Nico, a hugely gifted pianist, were selected for the band following recommendations from their music teachers. Under the direction of Paul Roberts, the Band rehearses monthly in preparation for bi-annual county performances at St Paul’s Church, Colwyn Bay. Both Nico and Glen are prominent members of Rydal Penrhos’ Jazz Band and the duo have also been busy this term arranging the music for the school’s production of ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’.

“Pupils learnt new techniques for developing confidence whilst performing in front an audience.”

Singing success

Harp harmonies

The choir meets twice a year, during the Easter and summer holidays when intensive courses take place to develop vocal technique across a wide range of challenging music. Anjalina plans to take part in the Easter course which culminates in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 14 April.

Sian has been learning the harp for seven years, starting on a lever harp and moving on to the more advanced small pedal harp. She is taught by Dylan Cernwyw, and recently took her Grade 4 exam. She loves to play a wide variety of music ranging from traditional harp melodies to “anything from the musicals”. She is now preparing for her GCSE music practical for which she will perform a solo piece, and an ensemble piece with other members of her year.

Anjalina Mitra (Year 10) has sung her way into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Anjalina began singing lessons with Nigel Shaw when she joined the school in Year 7. For her audition in November she had to sing two pieces from memory and complete exercises to test her vocal potential and sight singing skills.

Talented harpist, Sian Stanworth (Year 11), appears frequently in school musical events, and can sometimes be found duetting with Miss Hearn.

stephanie hughes

Art news and views…

But despite all this technological advancement there are still certain techniques and rules that need to be learned so that the individual can become more visually aware and therefore a better photographer. Photography is an exciting new element being offered at A-level at Rydal Penrhos. In the first term of AS photography we concentrate on teaching the pupils to look. This is done by taking hundreds of photographs locally, returning to the studio and then discussing and editing the images with the staff and other pupils. The pupils are soon working on their own individually chosen subject matter. The second year of the course builds on the first, but students take more control of their work and projects become increasingly independent. Pupils are offered many opportunities to experiment, including using old-fashioned, wet-based, chemical photography, producing large digital images and even making films or animation.

Conceptual art in the classroom

frances barr

Photography is embedded in everyday modern life. We are all photographers and film-makers, whether using our cameras, phones or iPads.

oscar sanchez

Photography at Rydal Penrhos

Philip talked to the budding artists about his work, showing slides of conceptual pieces before answering pupils’ questions. Philip was a pupil at Rydal School until 1989, he then went on to study an Art Foundation course in Wrexham before earning a place at the prestigious St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in London. After gaining an MA in Art, Philip became a Master’s lecturer and has since become an internationally recognised artist, having his work exhibited all over the world.

oscar sanchez

Former Rydal Penrhos pupil Philip Newcombe was welcomed back to the school this term when he came to speak to Year 11 and Sixth form pupils about his career as a conceptual artist.

Sports triumphs and challenges Netball news

The 1st VII Netball team came second in the Conwy Tournament, only missing out on the Eryri final by one goal in the final game. The U16 team won the Conwy netball tournament which took them through to the Eryri Final, where they lost only two games against the eventual winners and runners-up of the competition. The U14s won the Conwy Tournament and came 2nd out of seven teams at the Eryri Tournament.

Fives goes from strength to strength

Fives continues to flourish and has seen some impressive victories this term in home fixtures against Wolverhampton Grammar School and Shrewsbury. Our U15 and U14 boys have had comfortable wins over their opponents, in particular Shaswath Ganapathi and Tom Cotterell (U15), Adam Sabri and Jack Sissons (U14), and Tom Hamilton-Pritchard and Tom McCloskey (U14). At the Shrewsbury Spring Festival, Rydal Penrhos competed against players from King Edwards, Shrewsbury School, Wolverhampton Grammar School and Wrekin College. Emily Cashell and Sam Randall (U12/U13 girls) were winners; Ewan Luke and Jack Jones did well to achieve 3rd place in the U12/U13 boys competition, and Matt Harding and Dan Phillips were victorious at the U14/U15 level. We are looking forward with anticipation to the National Championships at the end of the month.

Rugby Sevens

The senior sevens squad has had a busy season this term, with mixed results at tournaments in Brecon and Hereford, culminating in success at the Birkenhead School tournament.

At Birkenhead our group consisted of the host school, St Edward’s College Liverpool, Stockport Grammar and Cheadle Hulme. Our players played consistently well throughout this stage, conceding only 5 tries in four games whilst scoring 21. The semi-final was against Kirkham Grammar School, winners in 2000 and 2009. Our defence allowed us to capitalise on their errors and ease into a 14–5 lead at half time. Although Kirkham rallied to get the score back to 24–19 they ran out of time and we progressed into the final. Here we faced St Ambrose and whilst 5–5 at half time we really took control of the game in the second half to win 24 points to 5.

RPS Annual Tournament

This year the annual Rydal Penrhos Tournament had a brand new format. The boys changed from rugby to hockey and the girls had an U13 and U15 netball tournament.

In the netball, the U13s started brilliantly with fantastic shooting by Becky Lawton and Bethy Klazinga, resulting in a win against Liverpool College. As the morning progressed Rydal Penrhos faced tough opposition, but it did not deter them and they worked hard to secure 5th place. The U15s played well, particularly in defence with Sasha Handley seeming to appear from nowhere to get some brilliant tips to stop the opposition in their tracks. Despite their best efforts they were unable to secure a win and finished 4th overall.

In the hockey, the U12 team finished 3rd out of four teams in their tournament and the U14 ‘B’ team battled hard in all of their matches against strong opponents. The ‘A’ team went a goal behind in their opening fixture against a skilful King’s School Macclesfield, but goals from Adam Sabri and Tom Hickman turned the match on its head with an eventual

Will is Player of the Year

At the annual Cricket Wales Welsh Caps lunch in the SWALEC stadium, Cardiff, home of Cricket Wales, Year 7 pupil William Sissons was crowned Player of the Year for the U11 Wales Cricket team.

William (left) was presented with his trophy by former Glamorgan player, Robert Croft – in recognition of his contribution during his first season as part of the national side. The lunch also saw William formally presented with his Welsh cap, and he will receive a cricket bat from the U11 team sponsors as part of his prize as ‘ Player of the Year’.

Hockey nationals Girls’ hockey

Both our 1st XI and U16 hockey team competed in the National Welsh Hockey finals this term.

In the U18 National final, we were up against teams with international representatives and despite some good play we did not progress to the semi finals. The U16s won their first match 2–1, but went on to lose their next two games although in both games we conceded only one goal thanks to the efforts of our keeper Angharad Grindall (Year 10).

For the Eryri Hockey final, we took an U14 team with players from years 7, 8 and 9. After an impressive win, 2 draws and 2 losses we finished joint 3rd in Eryri.

Boys’ hockey

Both the U12 and U14 boys hockey teams have qualified for the National Welsh finals next term. In the Rydal Penrhos Tournament, the U12s came joint 3rd, and the U14 team won their age group (see report on page 8).

Junior sports tour

Twenty-eight Year 7 and 8 pupils, 16 girls and 12 boys, set off with high expectations for the annual Netball and Hockey tour to the South West in February. The first fixtures were against Warminster School. The Netball teams played well in extremely blustery conditions. It was not until the final quarters of each match that the results became clear, with victories to Warminster. Sam Randall and Daisy Lee-Browne were awarded Player of the Match trophies. In the boys’ Hockey, Warminster led 2–1 at the break. In the second half Rydal Penrhos equalised through Jack Jones and went ahead with a goal from Ewan Luke. Our victory was secured when Zac Roberts fired in a fine individual goal to win the match 4–2. Will Sissons was awarded Player of the Match. Saturday saw an presentation and tour of Bath Rugby Club followed by fixtures at Monkton Coombe, where we were well beaten across all three teams. Olivia Williams, Gowri Pradeep and Tom Bale were awarded Player of the Match trophies.

On Sunday we went to Bath University for a six-match hockey tournament. We fielded an U12 ‘A’ boys’ team, a first strength U13 girls’ team and a mixed team. The mixed team battled hard and were indebted to Player of the Tournament Sammy Sherrington who worked tirelessly in goal. In the girls’ team, Caitlin Teece won Player of the Tournament for her superb keeping, helping her side to a joint 3rd finish. The boys’ team secured 2nd place, with Ewan Luke deservedly winning the Player of the Tournament award for his attacking play.

Urdd swimming success

Once again the school’s swimmers had great success at the Urdd National Swimming Finals in Cardiff, returning with a clutch of medals. The Senior relay team of Roy Sterling, Tom Harding, Jake Lovatt and Dylan Coombes secured Gold medals in both their team events, the Freestyle and Medley relays. In his last year representing the school, Roy Sterling also won an individual Gold medal in the 100m Breaststroke event. Congratulations also go to the Junior team of Tomos Cuddihy, Matthew Harrison, Thomas Bale and Mason Clarke who secured a Bronze medal in the Freestyle Relay.

New clubs and challenges

The clubs that are included in the enrichment programme at Rydal Penrhos are devised either as a result of requests from pupils, or by teachers identifying the needs and desires of pupils.This academic year, lots of new clubs have been introduced, three of which we describe here. They are proving to be very popular.

Young Enterprise club

The Year 9s have begun running their own business enterprise here in school.Their aim is to make as much profit as possible!

After deciding on Energise Enterprise as their company name, the students are thinking about how they can start to sell products and promote their business. They hope to be able to sell snacks and refreshments at the upcoming school production. The idea is to develop essential team-working, creative and entrepreneurial skills that will stand them in good stead for their future school careers and beyond. If successful, the group will share out any profits made equally whilst contributing a proportion towards a charity of their choice.

Mr Gove’s Challenge…

Ms Jones in the maths department has recently set up a new club called ‘Mr Gove’s Challenge’.

The club (and its name!) is a response to the Education Secretary Mr Gove’s controversial statements in December suggesting that poor maths skills were a contributing factor to the financial crisis. He said that there was a crisis of maths because people rely on ‘dodgy equations’ to do the work for them, instead of having sound problem-solving skills.

Ms Jones decided to put our pupils to the test and stimulate their learning – not only in the curriculum but also in the enrichment programme, by setting up a problem-solving club. The club has been very well-received by the pupils and they are certainly meeting Mr Gove’s and Ms Jones’ challenge. Here is one of the problems they have tackled to have a go at yourself:

Stray Dogs

“Okay, now I’ll tell you a puzzle about dogs” I said.

Peer mentoring

At the start of the autumn term a group of Rydal Penrhos pupils, predominantly from years 11 and 12, joined a Peer Support scheme. This scheme pairs mentors of a like mind with ‘mentees’, largely from years 7 and 8. It forms part of an initiative by the school to integrate younger pupils in the school community as soon as they join. When asked why they had joined the Peer Support scheme, pupils gave reasons ranging from the most altruistic – that they wish to help other pupils – to wanting to increase their own confidence and to learn new people skills. Over the course of the sessions so far the group has been trained by school councillor Georgie McDonagh together with Mrs Richardson and Mrs Cashell in both team-building and listening skills.

“I once saw some stray dogs walking down a lonely country road. There were two dogs behind a dog, two dogs in front of a dog and a dog in the middle. What is the smallest number of dogs there could have been?” “Five,” answered Tony.

“Not so!” said his sister Alice. Who was right?


Creative writing

Description of a Beach by Hannah Patrick (Year 11)

The beach is almost deserted. It lies quietly in the still autumn air, an endless expanse of dark-gold sand striped with bands of milky evening sunlight.

The waves are dark and soft and flow into shining puddles between the rocks. The clouds hang, motionless, in the lonely pale-blue dome of the sky, their feathered grey edges untouched by wind. It is silent.

On the west side of the beach stand the peeling metal struts of the pier. The shabby wooden structure is mildewed and unloved, and infused with the smell of seaweed; it is useful now only to the countless crabs, snails and starfish that huddle in the salty, rustcoloured pool beneath its creaking planks. As the years have passed, the pier has slipped deeper and deeper into the damp, grasping sand, almost as if it knows its time is past. But today a small boy is crouching beside one of the shallow pools, poking at the jewel-bright shells of tiny crabs that scuttle hastily out of reach in silent wonder. His father is throwing a ball for a large shaggy dog that lollops excitedly around the rusty metal struts like a rather clumsy slalom skier, its exuberant bark now shattering the evening silence. On the other side of the beach, a half-finished sandcastle waits forlornly for completion. The lopsided flag stuck into its collapsed side is flapping in the rising breeze, and the small pile of shells left beside it is almost buried. There are also traces of some letters in the sand, “Ra...chel w..� A group of teenagers saunters past it, one girl kicking carefully collected mussel shells aside with the toe of her boot. As the beach sheds its final few visitors, the sky turns blue and the first stars ride on the edge of visibility. The only sign of movement is a single gull, wheeling and diving high above the vast ocean; now gliding downwards, its shadow a blur on the silver-grey waves, now a speck against the dark clouds. The beach far below is deserted again, quiet and empty under the navy sky. As the waves lap at the hushed shore and the rocks glint slimily in the last vestiges of daylight, it is silent.

City Child by Sam Randall (Year 8)

Look at this city boy, his head is full Of all the games he knows, his pockets with loose change, His phone, bank notes and more, the hours He spends inside with all his gaming gadgets Look at his eyes, square as screens; Mark how no sun has touched His pale and spotty face for many days Notice his parents, frustrated and annoyed~ As he continues to grow but still acts as a child From careless screen days to a life lawless and wild.

Sonnet by Ellie Scarff & Charlotte Owen (Year 9) Shall I compare thee to a broken heart, Thou art more painful and devastating. Everything was magical at the start, But you left me in the cold night waiting. I should have seen through all the simpering, For now I can hear the cracking sound. You left my heart silently whimpering, The lifeless shards cascaded all around. For when it cracked I found nothing inside, But the darkness you left will always be. When all hope was lost I then sat and cried, And no one around would ever help me. I then saw there was nothing left to give, And my deep dark sorrow will always live.

Preparing for life

Who am I?

‘Who am I?’ teaches confidence for today’s world. It provides a forum for looking at personal development through self-awareness and goal-setting. It is tailored to each group member in order to bring out their strengths and, if there are weaknesses, to learn strategies to overcome these. We look at the aspects of the self that members would like to work on, focusing on four main areas: Public speaking, interview performance, the art of conversation and other social skills.

Public speaking: The aim is to help pupils overcome their fear of facing an audience, to control nerves, to use the voice effectively and to learn the art of rhetoric. One pupil could not even stand at the front of the class in week one, but has recently succeeded in giving a short, confident talk.

Interview techniques: Pupils examine their own skills and strengths and think about how to give examples of these at interview. We also examine ways to answer difficult questions at both university interviews and in the world of work (provided by my contacts in both environments). We role play interviews so that pupils can identify with both interviewee and interviewer. The art of conversation: Many students fear having to talk to older generations and this unit encourages them to explore ways of making meaningful conversation: How to keep a conversation ‘open’ and how to avoid confrontation. Using role play, the pupils also learn how to use body language to look interested and engaged. Social skills: Teenagers often feel shy in social situations and lack confidence. At first, we learn how to quell nerves and use body language to send confident signals, then pupils are asked to try out brief exercises in real-life situations to build confidence. Overall, ‘Who am I?’ is about being able to put yourself across well and communicate effectively, vital attributes both in school and beyond. Christina Bloomfield

Home Economics

With almost daily reports in the media about the importance of teaching children the basics of nutrition and the practical skills of cookery, it is appropriate that one of the most popular subjects with pupils at Rydal Penrhos is Home Economics. It’s popular with parents, too, as once a week years 7 to 9 bring home some delicious suppers!

The primary aim of teaching home economics in school is to help prepare pupils for some of the important aspects of everyday living and the adult responsibilities of family life. This is a subject that allows pupils to apply knowledge and understanding in a practical context – pupils learn how to organise their time and make use of available resources to best effect. The study of Home Economics at Key Stage 3, and also at Key Stage 4 for those who select the subject for GCSE, also lays an appropriate foundation for post-16 studies in areas such as food science, food technology, consumerism, nutrition and dietetics. Mrs Irene Proudlove

“ The world as my parish” John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church once famously said, “I look upon all the world as my parish.” Thus a principle was established for all Methodist institutions, that they should place the highest value upon educating people to have a global perspective and a concern for all, in particular those in need.

In our school this principle is distinctively focused in the initiative entitled World AIMS (World Action in Methodist Schools), which encourages pupils to engage with worldwide issues and to look for the global angle in whatever area or discipline they are involved. Some of this can be achieved through regular academic lessons, some comes specifically through non-academic activities such as morning chapel, charitable giving, community service or overseas links. The aim is to ensure that whatever pupils do when they leave school, they do not leave unaware of their responsibilities as a citizen of the world and of the claims that the global community has upon them. Rev’d Nick Sissons

Around the corner

At Rydal Penrhos we are very conscious of the high aspirations that pupils have for their career paths. Through their PSHE programme, pupils maintain a curriculum vitae, develop interview skills and learn how to research careers.

Increasingly we are beginning the process of university research earlier and earlier. Year 10 receive instruction on how to use course searches and also get information about university courses designed for their age group that are held during the holidays. Year 11 have recently been afforded the opportunity to take the Preview careers test,which assesses a pupil’s interests and personal qualities and matches them with needs and requirements of more than 45 broad career areas. I now run an after-school careers and university advice club. Additionally my blog contains links to useful course and careers information and can be found at Michael J. Farnell

Personal Social & Health Education Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) helps pupils to lead confident, healthy and responsible lives as individuals and members of society.

Through weekly lessons and a range of activities across and beyond the curriculum, pupils gain practical knowledge and skills to help them deal with the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues they face as they approach adulthood. PSHE gives pupils opportunities to reflect on their experiences and how they are developing. It helps them to understand and manage responsibly a wider range of relationships as they mature, and to show respect for the diversity of, and differences between, people. It also develops pupils’ well-being and selfesteem, encouraging belief in their ability to succeed and enabling them to take responsibility for their learning and future choice of courses and career. Mary Richardson

Little Shop of Horrors

As a contrast to last year’s in-the-round production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society presented ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ towards the end of the Spring Term.

The full houses were a welcome response to the hard work, commitment and dedication of all of those who were involved in the show. The production was a truly collaborative effort: the actors and musicians were ably supported by a stage team who organised the set changes smoothly and effectively.

The lighting effects were an important element in the production – creating contrasting moods. One moment the stage is flooded with warmth and colour, next through a lurid green sea of smoke, we see the extra-terrestrial plant consuming its hapless victims!

Nico Widdowson and Glen Davies spent most of their summer holidays transposing the musical score of the show for the Jazz Band, resulting in some wonderful arrangements to complement the ensemble and solo singing. Under the direction of Julian Whittaker, the music was one of the highlights of the evening. The acting and singing by the cast was confident and assured with memorable performances from Matthew Grosart, Glen Davies, Emily Harrison and Will Murphy. Mention must be made of Jack Braund who voiced Audrey in a Southern American drawl, redolent of Barry White!

Rydal Penrhos Society

“I found Rydal gave me the confidence in myself to believe that I could achieve whatever I set out to do in life if I worked hard and made the effort. I also loved the fact that is it multicultural and this influenced my life greatly, enabling me to work globally without fear or prejudice and I wanted the same for my own children. ”

Parent Alumni

For some people the Rydal Penrhos experience continues long after they have left school. Former pupils can keep in touch with the school and attend events through the Rydal Penrhos Society, however some have an even closer relationship with us, either as a member of staff (currently there are eight members of staff in the senior school who are alumni), or as parents or grandparents of current pupils.

Prep School news

‘Challenge and invite’ is a new strategy being introduced at Rydal Penrhos Prep School to help our gifted and talented children progress appropriately, whilst ensuring that all our children benefit from a stimulating environment.

We are looking more and more to challenge each individual in all aspects of school life. Beyond the classroom we have started to introduce a broader range of activities, for example Research Club, Culture Club and the Chamber Choir. This initiative is in its infancy but we have already seen beneficial results, not least in our recent concerts.

Debbie McCluskey

Debbie McCluskey (Gabriel, Year 11 and Noah, Year 9) attended both Penrhos College and Rydal School before going to UCL to study African Geography and Hydrometeorology. She then worked in Africa before travelling the world as a Fashion Buyer. Debbie returned to Colwyn Bay when she had her children, and now works in the Marketing Department at Rydal Penrhos.

Mark & Karen Sherrington

Mark and Karen Sherrington (Samantha, Year 8) met each other when they both attended Rydal, and began dating in the 5th form. They have many fond memories including discos in the Carnegie Room, candlelit dinners in the old Dining Hall and the school choir, and are grateful for the many friends that they made for life. They returned to Colwyn Bay last summer when Mark took up the post of Head of Art at Rydal Penrhos.

Holly Roberts

Holly Roberts (Zac, Year 7 and Violet, Reception) loved spending time on the stage at Rydal and has fond memories of taking part in a performance of ‘Death of a Salesman’ which was directed by Denis Lavin and also involved local actors. This experience cemented Holly’s desire to act, and on leaving school she secured a place at the Arden in Manchester where she obtained a degree in Acting Studies. She has worked in theatre, film and television and is now following a new direction in teaching and art. Holly returned to Colwyn Bay eight years ago when Zac was nearing school age, and they chose Rydal Penrhos for its locality and for the fact that it has served three previous generations of her family.

Rydal Penrhos School Pwllycrochan Avenue Colwyn Bay LL29 7BT

Telephone: 01492 530155 Email:

Rydal Penrhos Senior Newsletter March 2013  

Newsletter for Rydal Penrhos Senior School

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