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Visitors to Rydal Penrhos frequently remark on the attractiveness of the campus, and the quality of our facilities and grounds, which present a year-round challenge to our hard-working and inventive Estates department; just this summer, for example, the department has undertaken the refurbishment of Ashcroft boarding house, which is now the new home of Hathaway house, and created a new Lower School centre for Years 7 and 8. In As You Like It Duke Senior declares, ‘this our life...Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing’, and we hope that the setting of the school inspires and encourages our pupils to enjoy their learning and aspire to do the best they can in their public exams in sport and in other extra-curricular activity. We have just embarked on a new academic year with high hopes of building on the successes and achievements described in this newsletter, and that applies to the unsung heroes and heroines of the school just as much as to those who have won the prizes and accolades recorded here. Regardless of what the politicians choose to do with the public exam system, we aim to instil our pupils with lasting values and the confidence to step out positively to the future. Patrick Lee-Browne, Headmaster

Exam Results 2012

Pupils from Rydal Penrhos continue to reach new heights with record achievements at the top of the A-level scale.

Out of 41 A-level candidates, 40% were awarded A* and A grades (the A* is awarded to candidates who score more than 90% in their final papers). Fourteen candidates achieved at least one A*, and the outgoing Head Boy, Thomas Warrington, was awarded 4 A*s, which has secured him a place at Cambridge University to study Engineering. Eleanor Murphy, Natasha Kanvinde and Gary Wu were awarded 2 A*s each, and Harriet Barlow, Nick Bellamy, Freya Cassia and William Pullman also scored on apiece. The top grades were achieved in Biology, Chemistry, Design and Technology, English Literature, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Religious Studies. Just over 64% of pupils scored grades A*-B, which is an improvement on last year’s best-ever figure for those grades at the school.

The results of the International Baccalaureate were published in July. The average points score of 31.6 for the 26 candidates was an improvement on last year’s performance, representing the equivalent to 2 A*s and an A grade for each candidate. Amelia Dunton, Deputy Head Girl, scored 42 points out of a maximum 45, and Joel Sugarman scored a very impressive 39. Amelia is going to study English at Leeds, while Joel will be studying Medicine at University College, London.

When the A-level and International Baccalaureate results are combined, the average UCAS score is 367 points, which represents the equivalent of three A grades for each candidate. These results confirm that the school excels in preparing its pupils to achieve real academic success in the Sixth form. The breadth of subjects in which pupils achieved the highest grades – four A*s in English Literature alone – shows that the school equips its pupils for a wide range of university courses as the next stage towards their chosen careers. Year 11 candidates celebrated their GCSEs, with some excellent individual and subject achivements. The results reflect the hard work that the pupils have put into their exams, and the year group scored an average eight-and-a-half A*-C passes.

Lydia Davidson achieved a clean sheet of 10 A*s, and Hannah Davies, Sophie Cashell, Alexander Farnell and Sara Popa scored all A*s and As. Laurie Brummitt and Jingyi Xie also scored 20 As and A*s between them, and a total of 18 pupils achieved at least seven A* or A grades each. A good number of subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, Drama, English, Physics, Spanish and Welsh achieved a 100% pass rate at A*-C. Issue 2 - Page 2

Academic News Leavers’ Destinations

The school is happy to report great success at securing chosen university places this year for both A-level and IB students. At the time of going to press, many IB students are still in the process of applying for universities in mainland Europe, the USA or the Far East (who recruit later than UK universities).

Amongst the many successes this year were Tom Warrington with 4 A*s, now going on to study Engineering at Cambridge, and Gary Wu with 2 A*s and 2 As who will study Accountancy at Bristol. Nick Bellamy secured his place to read Medicine in Edinburgh while Amy Yu goes to City University, London, to read Economics. Mandy Lau, who achieved 3 A grades, will study Business in Hong Kong. Julienne Krool, with 4 As, is taking a year out as are Catherine Davies and Anna Stevenson who also achieved straight As. Amongst our IB students, Amelia Dunton is going to study English at Leeds, and Joel Sugarman will read Medicine at University College, London. Mike Farnell, Head of UCAS and Careers

Inspired by the Olympics

The Olympic Games inspired the work of the Lower Sixth form as they carried out a Science Project, which forms part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

From testing the effectiveness of different brands of sun lotion, analysing how the sugar in energy drinks really affects performance, or the effect different music genres have on heart rate, pupils planned and researched their subjects thoroughly. They then undertook experiments to support their theories. In groups of four or five, pupils analysed their results along with the social, ethical, economic and environmental implications of their topic.

To complete their projects, pupils presented their findings to pupils and teachers, creating interactive displays in the Science Labs. Younger pupils were invited to participate in experiments and research as they explored the different projects to help the Sixth form pupils to complete their studies. Pupils in Year 7 in particular were fascinated by the displays and encouraged other pupils to visit the Science Labs to find out more.

Public Speaking Challenge

Rydal Penrhos School was awash with well thought-out arguments and opinions, as pupils in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 took turns competing in the Inter-House Public Speaking Competition. With subjects ranging from modern art, chocolate, evolution, the media and Facebook, the competition was hugely informative for the assembled audience of peers and teachers, and the judging panel of six pupils from the Lower Sixth form. Pupils were required to decide upon and research their topic, develop their opinion and arguments, write a speech and present as part of the competition.

The judges were impressed by the range of topic choices, the confident and fluent delivery of the pupils and their rhetorical skills. The Years 7 & 8 competition was jointly won by Oliver Smethurst (not pictured) and Lily Spillane, with third place awarded to Caroline Large. The Years 9 & 10 competition was won by Glen Davies for his highly engaging arguments and in-depth research. Joint second place was awarded to Eve Davies and Gabriel McCluskey.

Upcoming Open Events

Saturday 29 September, 9am-12pm Preparatory, Pre-Prep and Early Years Open Day

Saturday 6 October, 9am-12pm Rydal Penrhos Open Day

Friday 9 November, 9.30am-12pm Forest School Open Morning

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Wednesday 12 November, 6.30pm Information evening for new Year 7 parents

Tuesday 13 November, 6.30pm Into the Sixth Information Evening

View our complete calendar of events at

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Arts & Sport


Adventures in Borneo

It took our Borneo Team, consisting of Rydal Penrhos pupils from the ages of 15 to 18, nearly a year and a half to prepare for our expedition to Borneo, the third largest island in the world. We spent much of this time planning, as well as completing a practice expedition in Snowdonia, several other team development activities, and running a series of fundraising events.

After so long preparing, on 17 July we finally caught a bus (the first of very, very many!) from Colwyn Bay, to Hayes Community College in London. We began 30 hours of travel the next morning to get to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. This included a nine-hour wait in Brunei airport. From Brunei it was a short, 40-minute flight to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysian Borneo’s Sabah district. Arriving in the City Park Lodge (our base for the next three weeks), hot and tired, at around 9pm local time it wasn’t long until we had all collapsed onto our beds. The next day began with a seven-hour bus journey across the country to the MESCOT headquarters, on the Kinabatangan River, and after a brief introduction we were soon on a boat heading downstream to our new home deep in the floodplain rainforest. Here we set up our hammocks and got settled in.

We spent the next two days in the jungle learning about the plants and animals around us and collecting over 1,000 saplings to help with afforestation. One particular highlight was spotting a wild Orang-utan on one of the river cruises! On the third day, however, it was even hotter than before. The day’s task was clearing out an area of elephant grass, a very stubborn, invasive species that had overtaken areas previously cleared by logging. After four hard hours of chopping and slashing with machetes in the sweltering heat and humidity, and 40 litres of water later, everyone was struggling with heat-stroke to varying degrees. We had managed to clear an area three or four times bigger than our guides had been expecting, (partly down to determination, but mostly due to Sam Heron’s utter efficiency!) so we headed back to camp feeling tired but very proud of our achievements.

We went back to the site on the following day and planted some of the saplings we had collected, before travelling back to HQ to be assigned to our home-stay families. We were divided into pairs to live, eat and sleep in these family’s houses for two nights, whilst also working on various community projects. On the final night, we gave a cultural performance for the local people, demonstrating the best of British sports.

The next morning we took a bus to the Sepilok Orang-utan rehabilitation centre, founded in 1964, and apart from being able to see Orang-utans, we were also all overjoyed to finally have flushing toilets again! We arrived just in time for a somewhat unexpected performance from a group of Macaque monkeys before the Orang-utans arrived for the morning feeding session.

After our short stay at Sepilok, we had a rest day in City Park Lodge back in Kota Kinabalu before travelling to Miki’s Survival Camp, which lies on private land at the foot of Mount Kinabalu. While here, we learnt some rudimentary survival skills, such as fire-building, some of the many uses of bamboo, including trap-building, and how to skin and cook the animals we caught. Ben Proudlove, the expedition leader, took all this learning to heart and became only the third person in 13 years to catch an animal (a squirrel) in his trap whilst at the jungle camp!

From there, our group journeyed to the very base of Mount Kinabalu itself, the 20th highest in the world, standing at 4095.4m. It took nearly five hours for us to reach the hut where we would spend the night, about 800m below the summit. Leaving the hut at 3am the next morning we climbed the final 3km, but as we got higher and higher, the walking became much harder as altitude sickness, fatigue and a lack of oxygen began to take their toll. We reached the summit at about 7am and looked out over the stunning views feeling exhausted but ecstatic as we all knew we had achieved something remarkable. After another bus journey back to Kota Kinabalu, we spent the night recovering in City Park Lodge before travelling by boat to the TAR islands the next morning for some much needed R&R. We spent the last couple of days of the expedition relaxing on the sandy beaches, snorkelling on the coral reefs and playing volley ball against the locals. We stayed a final night in City Park Lodge before leaving for the long journey home. The expedition was all but over and each us knew that we had learned many new things about ourselves, our capability to work as a team in difficult situations, our own personal thresholds for fatigue and, indeed, pain, how to cope with extraordinary and life-changing opportunities and so many other lessons that will undoubtedly remain with us for the rest of our lives.

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With thanks to Oscar Sanchez for his fantastic photographs and Tom Warrington and Sam Heron for their account of the trip.

Speech Day

Speech Day this year took place on a gloriously sunny June day in the celebration marquee on New Field. The Headmaster Mr Patrick Lee-Browne started by greeting the Chairman, Guest Speaker, Mrs Kearsley-Wooller, the Mayor, Governors, Alumni, parents and members of the school. “I must start by thanking Tom and Catherine: they have been excellent role models for the rest of the school, because they embody many of the qualities that we want to foster in all our pupils: integrity, a genuine and well-developed intellectual appetite, a real sense of fairness, obvious ability to take responsibility and a willingness to join in such a wide range of school activities at a high level.

Here, today, more than ever we need to prepare our young people for an uncertain future; maybe not just a blip, but a permanent state of insecurity. That preparation includes learning to work in teams, learning to respect other peoples’ differences, developing self-discipline and intellectual and emotional stamina; it includes being willing to take risks and put yourself outside your comfort zone, being willing to come in early to prepare for an event or an activity, or staying late to make sure that it is a success; and it also includes learning how to be resilient, to be patient and to be able to read people and situations effectively.

The landscape of higher education has changed so dramatically in the last twenty years, dominated by issues of the increasing competition for places at the best universities, questions about the quality of A-levels as preparation for university study because schools feel obliged to teach to the test rather than educating young people more broadly for life and work, tuition fees, and the marketization of universities that sets a value on different degree subjects and differentiates increasingly between teaching and research.

Independent schools are uniquely experienced in many of the areas that universities will have to work at: educational value for money, pastoral care, advice on the next stage of pupils’ careers, the all-round preparation for life and, above all, building the understanding that the other things that you do are so important; the extra-curricular activities, the group identity, a moral and spiritual dimension to your weekly routine, working with pupils who may be younger, or less able, or come from a very different part of the world, or from very different family circumstances – all these things give our pupils a proper preparation for university and for the life beyond.

Two prominent characteristics of the education we provide are so important in preparing pupils for adult life: our international dimension and our commitment to a wide extra-curricular programme.

The opportunity for day pupils to enjoy the cultural breadth that our boarding community represents is very special, and gives them a unique experience of living and working in an international community that will prepare them for the multicultural and global job market that awaits them after university. By the same token, our international pupils thrive in a school community that is well grounded in the region and provides them with a unique experience when they move on to the next stage of their lives.

That other USP is the extra-curricular dimension of the school. Remember the competition for university places, and the expectations on the job candidates of the future to stand out from the rest, not just in a list of activities and achievements, but in who they are as a person. Academic results remain central to a successful application, but there is also an ever increasing demand for experience of problem solving and teamworking in the workplace, independence and initiative, and resilience and selfdiscipline. To develop pupils’ skills in those areas, we offer a very wide core of extra-curricular activities that include team games and individual sports, outdoor education, house competitions, clubs and societies, art, music, drama which have gone from strength to strength.

Our objective this year was to develop an enrichment programme for the lower school that includes a range of intellectual, cultural and practical activities to stimulate pupils’ interest, and a service programme for Year 11 and the Sixth form, and we are very pleased with the progress that the new initiatives have made. I know from many years of working with secondary pupils that the ones who stand out and command attention are those with interests, opinions, a willingness to challenge and question; in other words, an extra dimension beyond the syllabus and the compulsory curriculum.

I would like to thank all the teaching and support staff for their contribution to the school over the course of the last year. They continue to work really hard to bring out the best in the pupils, and not only in the classroom, but just as much on the rockface, the orchestra rehearsal, in the drama studio, the games field or Astroturf, in debating, art, learning or language support, while being on duty in the boarding house or taking a weekend trip to Liverpool or a theatre trip to Llandudno, the added value that they offer provides that inspiration that motivates the pupils to aspire higher.”

To read the Headmaster’s speech in full, and that of the Guest of Honour, Sarah Kearsley-Wooller please visit our website where the full list of prize winners can also be found.

A selection of prize winners

Year 11 English, French & German Sara Popa

Edwards Prize for Art & Design, Margaret Holden Prize for English Literature and Religious Studies Eleanor Murphy

IB Prize for Economics Jakob Schrandt

The Rick Maple Design Technology Project Prize Thomas Kirby

The Jane Crosland Good Samaritan Cup Adam Garrett

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Latest News

The Sixth form is an exciting transition from the structured world of the compulsory years of education towards the total independence of university life.

Pupils are equipped with ‘skills for life’ and receive excellent levels of tutor contact and have individual education plans to assist them with their studies. Since 2004 we have offered Sixth form pupils the opportunity to study AS/A-levels and the International Baccalaureate. This year also sees the introduction of the OCR Nationals in Sport and Tourism, allowing pupils to follow their pathway to new horizons.

The school recognises the importance of enhancing the leadership qualities of the Sixth form as it helps pupils to become ‘all-rounded’ individuals. There are significant opportunities to take part in activities including sport, drama and music. In addition pupils take part in a two-day Leadership Course which is used as part of the process for selecting school prefects. All prefects become involved in leadership of the rest of the school through running a number of committees, such as Charity, Social, Sustainable Development and Management.

Head Boy – Henry Salisbury

Since joining the School in Year 7, Henry has been involved in a huge range of activities including sailing, skiing, hockey, rugby, football, cricket, tennis, swimming, ski trips, drama productions, debating competitions and RNLI services to name just a few!

During his year as Head Boy, Henry, who is studying the International Baccalaureate, aims to integrate the whole school by bringing members of each year group closer together, to make a bigger and better family. “I am very excited for the new school year and am ready for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Henry will be applying to Oxford, Imperial College, Edinburgh, Durham and Exeter to study Geophysics, before following his ambition of joining the oil industry.

Head Girl – Annabel Large

She says, “I am thoroughly looking forward to the year ahead, and hope I can fulfil the role to its expectations.”

Arts & Sport


Prefects 2012-13

During her year as Head Girl, Annabel hopes to help the integration between year groups, bringing the school as a whole closer together. Annabel will set a good example to those in years below and is a fantastic role model as she takes part in a huge number of group activities, including choir, drama, orchestra and sporting teams – and she has recently raced in the Cross Country Championships. The complete mix of international students and the family atmosphere are the things that Annabel most enjoys about Rydal Penrhos.


School Life

Sixth Form

Annabel hopes to pursue a career in medicine and will be applying to Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle and Bristol universities.

Henry and Annabel will be assisted throughout the year by Deputies Roy Sterling, Valentin Abend, Laura Nunez-Mulder and Jaime Chan along with Senior Prefects; Leonie Bartels, Vanessa Biermannova, Jack Braund, Max Davies, Ann Yu Engebretsen, James Fulker, Emily Harrison, Natalia Holgate, Annika Lenz, Max Lenzer, Pia Roth and Oliver Sharples.

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Reflections on Life in Year 7

Starting a new school can be a daunting experience with new teachers, classrooms to find and new friends to make. Rydal Penrhos aims to integrate new pupils as quickly and smoothly as possible with the help of small classes, form tutors, the Head of Lower School and current pupils. We asked a few pupils in Year 7 to reflect on their experiences during their first year at Rydal Penrhos; Senior School has made me think about how I learn. Before, when I thought to myself “I need to work better”, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but now I’m beginning to see exactly what that involves and how I should be doing it. Mostly it’s about thinking hard and asking the teacher if you’re stuck. In Form Time we discuss our grades for Effort and Achievement and our Tutor helps us to set targets. Nicholas

My Mum and Dad live in Nigeria so I came here as a Boarder. I like boarding because I study more and I have made lots of friends.To me it’s like a sleepover! Boarding has taught me to be more social and how to be organised. Rydal Penrhos is awesome and now I have a whole family of new friends. Gabby

During the week at different times we have a programme called Enrichment. It’s lots of activities which help to develop skills e.g. debating, or jewellery-making. They’re good fun because they don’t really feel like normal lessons and you don’t realise you are learning until you think about what you’ve just done. The programme breaks up the school week and makes it more enjoyable. Carmia

Some weekends, if my parents are going away I board at Beecholme. I enjoy it because I join in with everything. The last time I was there I walked to Rhos with a friend and we bought an ice cream and went to the oldfashioned sweet shop. Rhys

Once a week we have an afternoon of Activities. They are great fun. This year I have done, among others, rock-climbing, sailing, camp-craft and bio-geography. I’ve enjoyed learning new skills and I’m looking forward to doing more next year. Jack When I first came here I was a bit shy and quiet. My tutor organised a Conversation Club for me and I go to it once a week. Some girls in Year 9 and 10 talk to me and this has helped me build up my confidence, as well as making new friends. Maheen One of the best bits of Year 7 has been getting ready for the Lower School expedition to Jordan. We have had to think of ways to raise money. I have run a tuck shop and we have also had a table top sale. The Jordan trip has made me use my initiative and we have all had to show enterprise. Finn

When I started Senior School I didn’t know anyone so I joined the Choir. So far we have sung at St John’s Church and in the Memorial Hall. We rehearse every Friday after lunch. I sit with the Choir in Chapel. Through Choir I’ve got to know more people. Now I feel like I belong here and I was even voted Form Captain. Jessica

I’m not a very organised person but being at Senior School has helped me because we have a Planner and we are taught to fill in Prep and note down other important stuff. I also have an extra lesson to help with organisation and so I can do well in maths. Gabriel

I didn’t know any other Year 7 pupils when I started here, but my Form were really nice and I got on with them all. In PSHE we learned about making and keeping friends and discussed how to be a good friend to others. The piece of advice I’d give for new pupils is just smile and treat everyone as you’d wish to be treated. Matty

Year 7 has been a good year. My confidence has definitely grown and now I ask lots more questions in class. I look forward to new challenges now, because I know I am capable of being organised, working with others and working independently. Rydal Penrhos is a superduper school and I hope I never have to move schools! Elysia

London Calling

A weekend of sightseeing, theatre and fun awaited pupils from Year 7 as they travelled to London. Pupil Lily Spillane has provided us with her account of the action-packed weekend:

On Saturday, we visited the London Dungeons, it was terrifying! After that, a trip to the Tower of London was an interesting experience, especially seeing the crown jewels! We then made our way down to the River Thames, for our boat trip where we learnt a lot about the city and its buildings. Following some free time to shop around Covent Garden, we met up to have an Italian meal followed by the show

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‘Matilda’. It was terrific, and everyone enjoyed it, especially since the next day we heard it had won seven Olivier Awards!

On Sunday, we had a tour of Madame Tussauds. The wax works were cool, and we all took a lot of pictures. We made our way back to Euston, and travelled home. We all had an amazing time and I for one want to go again next year. Issue 2 - Page 7

The annual Leavers’ Ball took place in the Celebration Marquee on New Field to welcome pupils in the Upper Sixth into the Rydal Penrhos Society and to celebrate their time at School.


Arts & Sport


School Life

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Leavers’ Ball

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Photographs from the Leavers’ Ball can be viewed at

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Year 11 Celebration Dinner

Year 11 pupils celebrated the end of their academic year with a Celebration Dinner which took place in the Ferguson Centre and the Dining Hall. The evening was the last opportunity for the year group to spend an evening with friends before their GCSE examinations began.

Photographs from the Celebration Dinner can be viewed at w w w. r y d a l p e n r h o s. c o m

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New Look to Art

It is with sadness we say goodbye to our former Head of Art, Karen Teal, who has taken up a position in Dulwich College International High School in Suzhou, China. Since joining Penrhos in 1990 she has applied her broad artistic experience to the service of the school, and been equally inspiring with textiles, technology, fine art, ceramics, print and photography.

In her place we welcome Mark Sherrington (RS 75-86) who has spent the last 12 years teaching Art to all age groups at Caterham School.

“After 25 years I am returning to Rydal Penrhos. I have a great deal less hair than I did when I left, but my interest in Art is undiminished and I still have the enquiring mind that Rydal School helped to create.”

Mark will be initiating new techniques and ways of working, including dry-point etching and latex model and mould making. There are also plans in place to create a small photographic studio in the Art department to enable pupils to control the lighting and environment of their pictures. Alongside this, Mark hopes to set up a dark room to work side-by-side with a digital facility to develop photographs.

Vibrant pieces of art created by pupils will begin to appear around the school and look out for surprise art exhibitions taking place around the buildings!

Mark continues, “It is a very exciting time within the Art department and with the help of our new teacher Anna Morgan and the experience and vibrancy that Suzy Walsh can offer I am sure this next chapter within the Art Department at Rydal Penrhos will be a fruitful and creative one.”

A-level art pieces, class of 2011/12


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Arts & Sport


Creative Arts

Music to Fill the Corridors of Rydal Penrhos

We are excited by the arrival of Julian Whittaker as the new Director of Music at Rydal Penrhos, a role which he has already held for 15 years, the last seven of which were at Ysgol Brynhyfryd, in Ruthin.

Julian has a reputation for his innovative, creative and inclusive teaching and his ethos of making music central to life of the school and the area. He loves enthusing young people to participate in diverse musical styles, giving everyone the opportunity to change their lives through music.

A choral conductor, pianist and viola player himself, Julian has prepared choirs, bands and orchestras for tours and performances a-plenty in the past and hopes to have the same opportunities at Rydal Penrhos. He anticipates competitions, tours home and abroad, making singing part of everyone’s

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daily life in school, a try-a-new-instrument initiative, and developing a culture of performing anytime, any place, anywhere. Julian says, “Participating in a musical activity and playing an instrument develops teamwork, enables you to make new friends, improves your maths and other subjects – and it is fun!” Julian also wishes parents to get involved in all kinds of fun and exciting musical activities in school – so please keep your eye out for invitations to join in over the coming months!

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Fantastic Five Selected to Represent Wales U17 Cricket Squad for Sean

Sean Kitchen has been selected for the Wales U17 National Cricket Squad.

Sean, who is also a member of Llandudno Cricket Club, was selected for the national side following successful trials at Ebbw Vale.

Sean’s father thanked Rydal Penrhos for the role the School and in particular Mr Leach, Head of PE & Games had in Sean’s success, commenting, “We are particularly grateful for the time and effort that Mr Leach and his team have given to Sean, which has undoubtedly helped his development.”

Hannah is Youngest Player

At 14 years old, Hannah Cashell has become the youngest member of the Wales U16 Hockey Squad.

Hannah was selected for the Welsh team following a gruelling selection process which included a day of squad training followed by a two-day training camp in Wrexham. Hannah now has the opportunity to play in the squad for three years.

The squad travelled to Holland over the summer holidays for a number of games where Hannah made her international debut.

Cricket Success for Jack

Jack Sissons has successfully secured a place in the Wales U13 Cricket Squad.

Despite a wet summer, Jack, 13, has had a very successful cricket season, having also been selected to captain his club side, Llandudno. He also made his debut for the School’s 1st XI. w w w. r y d a l p e n r h o s. c o m

Dion joins Wales U18 Rugby

Dion Jones, a WRU RGC Academy player was called up for the Wales U18s Squad for its tour of South Africa which took place over the summer.

As part of the Academy, Dion has spent the last two years being put through a thorough programme that covers all aspects of the modern game including technical, tactical, physical and mental skills.

Dion will study Sports Science at Swansea University from Autumn 2012, alongside which he has also been signed up to the Scarlets Academy Squad.

Of his fantastic achievement, Dion says, “Having this opportunity with the Scarlets will help me develop further in my rugby, allowing training and possibly playing experiences with the seniors along with a chance to study and pursue my academic career.

These experiences and opportunities will help me develop into a player to play in the Wales U20s for 2013, should I be fortunate enough, and hopefully one day I will achieve my dream of playing for Wales’s senior side.”

Dion was among the first to join the WRU RGC Academy at Rydal Penrhos. The venture allows those selected for the Academy to follow an integrated timetable that includes study of a wide range of academic and vocational courses together with between 14 and 16 hours of rugby development every week.

The training enables players to develop their skills on the pitch, as well as their physique and fitness, through the integrated programme, along with training with the RGC 1404. The School provides players with access to outstanding facilities, a strong rugby fixture programme and two highly qualified senior coaches.

Welsh Eventing Team Call-up

Upper Sixth form pupil, Stephanie Hughes has been selected to represent Wales as part of the Under 18 Welsh Eventing Team.

Stephanie was chosen for the team following her performance at the Pony Club Championships held at Cholmondeley Castle, where her team were placed in 8th position against teams from Scotland, England and Ireland. Issue 2 - Page 11


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Arts & Sport


Pupils Complete Methodist Marathon

The Methodist School Marathon saw pupils and staff take part in an initiative to complete the distance of a marathon as part of the Methodist Schools celebrations of the Olympic Games taking place in London.

Taking part in their respective houses of Wesley, Osborn, Morgan and Payne, each team was challenged to complete the distance of a quarter of a marathon. A fierce competition took place as the teams raced to cover the distance of 10,500 metres in the quickest time possible. Wesley house emerged victorius with the delighted pupils pictured with an Olympic torch, kindly lent to the school for the day by former pupil Keri Ringstead (RS 19982005). The total finishing time for the whole school was an impressive 2 hours 34 minutes and 20 seconds.

A fantastic video of the Marathon is available to view via our YouTube channel, which can be found at

Gold, Silver & Bronze for Skiiers Fab Season for Tomos The ski season ended on a high for the skiiers as they took part in the North Wales School Ski Championships in Runcorn.

The Girls’ team of Sara Owen, Seren Kerfoot-Robson, Pia Roth and Vanessa Biermannova all produced runs that were quick enough to put them on the podiums of the individual age category races and between them they picked up three Gold medals and one Silver medal.

The Boys’ ‘A’ team went into the race as Welsh champions and were determined to live up to their billing as favourites. Team members Sean Robinson, Henry Salisbury and Ben Crocker packed out the podiums in the individual age category races, and also took home the North Wales Championship and Gold team medals.

The Boys’ ‘B’ team of Solomon Kerfoot-Robson, Morgan Roberts and Finn Batley all produced great runs and their Bronze team medal clearly show the potential this young team have in the future.

Tomos Cuddihy, 12, continues to impress in the swimming pool, having a particularly successful 2011/12 season.

Starting well, Tomos achieved personal best times in all 12 of his races at Llandudno Swimming Club’s Championships where he set a club record for the 100 metre freestyle. Tomos’ good form continued as he won a number of silver medals and once again set personal best times for his races at the Conwy Autumn Open Meet. The North Wales Gala took place in February and saw Tomos swim in ten races, where he continued to impress by achieving personal bests in all ten races. The Gala also saw Tomos win one gold, four silver and two bronze medals.

Tomos is currently ranked in the top 15 in Wales for most of his events for his age group and is in the top five in North Wales.

Football News

Issue 2 - Page 12

The football team is headed by captain Andrew Welden this season and the coaches are Mike Farnell and Lee Williams. Football is a relatively new sport in the school, but is well loved and supported by staff and pupils alike. The training is on Wednesdays from 5-6pm and fixtures start again in the spring term. The one to watch this year is the Ellesmere match which was played and won by the newly formed Rydal Penrhos team last year and they definitely intend to win again this year. w w w. r y d a l p e n r h o s. c o m

Sports Dinner

The annual Sports Awards Dinner took place on 11 May to celebrate the sporting achievements and contributions players have made to sport throughout their time in school.

For the first time, younger pupils who have played in senior teams were invited to the dinner to help their team mates celebrate their successes. The evening began with Mr Leach reflecting on the past year’s team achievements in netball, hockey, rugby, football, tennis, cricket, fives, swimming and athletics before highlighting some impressive individual accomplishments.

Following a delicious three-course meal, the prizes for most improved player of the year were announced. They were awarded by Richard Greenwood, special guest for the evening, who gained five caps for England and played for Rugby Roma before turning his hand to coaching.

Most Improved Player of the Year 2011/2012

Girls’ Hockey Netball Boys’ Hockey Rugby Girls’ Tennis Boys’ Tennis

Stephanie Hughes Beth Mather Gleb Shakavets Andy Welden Laura Schamel Max Neuendorf

Girls’ Hockey Netball Boys’ Hockey Rugby Girls’ Tennis Boys’ Tennis

Catherine Davies Catherine Davies Sean Kitchen Nick Bellamy Vanessa Biermannova Adam Scarff

Derbyshire Shield

Catherine Davies

Player of the Year

Most Outstanding Contribution to Games Morphy Cup

Nick Bellamy

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Issue 2 - Page 13


Latest News

School Life


Arts & Sport


Boarding House News As part of the current extension plan there have been developments and improvements in the boarding houses during the spring and summer of 2012. At present Rydal Penrhos has five boarding houses which are all conveniently located close to the school and its sports facilities. The refurbishment is designed to house more pupils and will see Hathaway relocate to Ashcroft at the top of Pwllycrochan Avenue from September 2012. The refurbishment includes internal and external decoration and improvements in keeping with previous work in Netherton, Edwards and Walshaw.

Living Room in Edwards

Up to now Hathaway has been a Sixth form house. As a result of the refurbishment, from September 2012 new Hathaway will provide accommodation for pupils from Year 10 upwards, allowing greater flexibility and developing the principle of boarding houses that integrate all year groups – so-called ‘vertical boarding’. New Hathaway will have 28 beds, larger room sizes, more communal areas and improved amenities, as well as upgraded on-site staff accommodation.

Across the road from Hathaway, work has been taking place throughout the summer in Beecholme, where all the bedrooms on the top floor have been refurbished. Commenting on all the improvements Deputy Head (Pastoral) Tim Cashell said, “The redevelopments are part of a continual enhancement programme that the school is working on in order to maintain extremely high standards of student living.” Many of these recent changes have been based on feedback received from the Boarding Forum, a discussion group that takes place regularly throughout term and provides opportunities for boarding pupils to express their likes and dislikes about boarding in the school.

Weekend Activities

At Rydal Penrhos, a diverse programme of weekend activities forms an integral part of the school’s ethos for all pupils – both boarding and day. In the summer term, these activities included many trips that made the most of the school’s fantastic location close to the mountains and rivers of Snowdonia and the beaches of Anglesey. Pupils took part in white-water kayaking and gorge-walking in Snowdonia, and surfing in Rhosneigr. In addition, an outing to the Chill Factore in Manchester was used as an ideal opportunity to practise skiing and snowboarding skills in preparation for the school ski trip in 2013. As well as sporting activities, Rydal Penrhos offers pupils a range of opportunities to become involved in the local community. Recent examples have included the regular tea parties held at St John’s church for elderly local residents, and the volunteer marshals provided by the school to help and support runners at the annual 10-mile race in Llandudno. Many pupils also enjoy the popular shopping excursions to Liverpool One and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, as well as thrill-seeking trips such as ice-skating, go-karting, or outings to Alton Towers.

Issue 2 - Page 14

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History Department visit Rome

The History Department visited Rome during June 2012. Gabriel McCluskey, Year 10 offers his account of the trip:

Our first full day in Rome was a frenzy of activity, with a group made up of pupils from Years 10 to 13 visiting two of Italy’s capital’s greatest and busiest locales; the seat of religious power that is the Vatican City and the glorious and beautiful expanse that is the Piazza San Pietro, or the square of Saint Peter and the Church of that self-same moniker. Truly, the inherent beauty of these buildings, these trophies of mankind’s endeavours and faith, cannot be instilled into the most sophisticated of words, but must be experienced and witnessed to be truly comprehended and appreciated.

On our second full day in Rome we again visited some of its greatest spectacles, the Coliseum and the Forum, both sights which inspired an almost beatific feeling in several members of the group. We also witnessed some papers of vast historical importance in the ‘Lux in Arcana’ museum exhibit, including a transcript of a trial that was nearly 60 metres long; edicts of war between countries; the signatures of men and women of vast importance both historical and cultural even today; ledgers and inter-Vatican missives so far unseen by the general public.

Our far too brief excursion to Rome was one that will certainly remain with its participants for years, although Rome was not built in a day it will certainly leave millions of people across the width and breadth of the Earth with memories that will last them for their entire lives. And I, for one, am deeply thankful that I was permitted to experience such a place so soon in my life. Thanks go to Mr Bennett and Mr Lavin for taking us.

Rydal Penrhos Society Prep School News There are over 4,000 members of the Rydal Penrhos Society, with ages ranging from 18 to over 100, and with a huge variety of occupations and interests. These members have an incredible bank of knowledge and experience which, if shared, could be a tremendous asset to our pupils. This prompted us to ask our alumni to consider becoming Careers Mentors for current pupils. Rydal Penrhos provides a fantastic careers service, offering advice and guidance regarding career choices and university applications, however nothing will ever match the knowledge of someone who has real experience in their chosen field.

Our aim is to work alongside the school careers service to give pupils the opportunity to have their questions answered by people with a real understanding of their chosen occupation. This service will not be limited to current pupils however, as Mentors can also be available for those who are just starting out on the career ladder, or those who are having a change of direction later in life. We have had a fantastic response so far, and now have a group of former pupils ready and waiting to answer questions!

If you are a former pupil of the school and are not currently in touch with the Rydal Penrhos Society, please contact Sarah Ritchie, Alumni & Development Director, at w w w. r y d a l p e n r h o s. c o m

The Autumn term will see some real differences at Rydal Penrhos Prep School.

Music lessons in Year 2 will include learning the recorder and in Year 3, the violin. The teaching of chess will be introduced in Year 2 and Years 3 to 6 will have one lesson every fortnight of learning and thinking skills. These lessons will include topics such as mind-mapping, active thinking and learning, and different types of questioning. Their aim is to enable all children to keep alive the natural curiosity they have as young children as well as being able to stand out from the crowd, having confidence in their learning and thinking skills.

In the Prep department we are also introducing two afternoons of games as opposed to one. PE skills will be incorporated into the games lessons whilst swimming will still take place separately. This change will allow us to teach more games skills alongside playing fixtures, and to support this, our team squads in major sports will be open rather than selective.

Finally, we are upgrading many of the schools computers and looking forward to the arrival of four tablet computers, the use of which we shall be trialling in Year 6. Issue 2 - Page 15

Rydal Penrhos School Issue 2  

The second issue of the Rydal Penrhos School newsletter, covering the Summer term 2012.

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