Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Foreword from the Acting Head
Acting head Mr McDuff
Welcome to September's Newsletter; another edition crammed full of good news stories about our pupils, past and present.
With our Dramatic Society announcing that Annie is going to be their next production, I can't get the strains of 'Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're only a day away' out of my head (thank you Mrs Crimes) but tomorrow is a day away and today is for living.
This Newsletter reflects this 'living' and clearly shows that the Rydal Penrhos community 'seize the day' in so many different areas.
Many congratulations to all for their many achievements, and thanks to Dean and the marketing department for producing another super record of the same.
Annual showcase hailed a success
Rydal Penrhos was a hive of activity last weekend as the school hosted its annual Open Morning.
Dozens of prospective pupils visited the school on Saturday, October 8, where they were given a warm welcome by staff and pupils alike.
During the four hour event there were plenty for visitors to see, including various demonstrations from different departments including drama, home economics and physical education.
Visitors also got the chance to hear a special speech from Headmaster elect Simon Smith, who spoke about Listening, Learning, and being the best you can be.
Mr Smith, said: “It was lovely to talk with so many families from near and far and to meet families who were here for the first time, or were having another look at the school or were Prep School families wishing to find out a bit more about life in the Senior School.
A young visitor looks through the microscope
“I want to thank all our staff for supporting the event in a multitude of ways and showing the school in such a good light, as a happy and purposeful place.
“More importantly I want to thank our pupils who were brilliant ambassadors for the school whether it was participating in an activity, playing music or accompanying a family around the campus.”
Mr Smith talks to a visitor
Gym work at Open Morning
Following the tours, Mr Smith was also on hand to greet families at the Ferguson Centre, in addition to a host of other staff and pupils to answer any further questions that guests’ may have had.
“Every family I spoke with at the end of the morning were fulsome in their praise of their tour guide. I hope that the morning as a whole strengthens families’ view of Rydal Penrhos as a school that both challenges, and can support children to discover their talent and be the best they can be,” added Mr Smith.
Did you enjoy this year's Open Morning?
Mr Sherrington talks Art at Open Morning
Superb results across the board
The school maintained its high calibre of IB results this year with a large number of candidates achieving exceptional results well above the worldwide average of 30.07 points.
In total, we achieved an average score of 33 in the internationally-recognised diploma, with two candidates scoring 40 points or more – the equivalent of over four A* graded A-levels.
The standout performer was Anjalina Mitra, who achieved an incredible 44 points, one point from a perfect score, and the talented pupil will now go on to study Economics and Maths at the prestigious London School of Economics.
This achievement also puts the 17 year-old in the top one per cent of total scores worldwide.
Hannah Patrick, an upper sixth pupil last year, scored 40, while other scores of note came from German pupil Karl Holthaus, who scored 37, with Molly Jones and Tobias Broering both scoring 35 for their efforts throughout the two-year course.
There were 12 top scores of seven achieved by pupils.
Russell Group universities are accepting applicants with 35 points or over, and no fewer than nine of our pupils managed to achieve this feat.
Pupils achieved a 96.8 per cent pass rate for their efforts in another fantastic year of results.
Once again A* and A were the most frequently awarded marks, with 34.9 per cent gaining the top grades, an increase of 3.4% from the previous year.
In addition 60.3 per cent of entries achieved passes at A*- B, which is a 3.8% hike from 2015.
A* - C grades reached their highest total in three years at 76.2 per cent.
Shaswath Ganapathi, was rewarded with two A* grades in Biology and Chemistry, while also achieving two A’s in Mathematics and Physics, and will now go on to study Medicine at the University of Birmingham.
Other pupils celebrating success are Egle Budrevicuite and Chino Iwobi, who picked up a pair of A* grades, while Alex Bytheway gained one A* and three A’s and will head to York University to study Chemistry.
James Sanders gained two A*’s in Maths and Further Maths earning him a place at Durham University (Computer Science), and Lloyd Parry-Williams, having not applied for university before the results were revealed, has now set his sights on a place after gaining an A* and two A’s.
Chemistry pupils gained superb results, with 75 per cent of pupils achieving A*-B grades.
Ninety-one per cent of the 389 subjects taken were passed with an A*-C grade.
In addition, an impressive 46.8 per cent of these were awarded an A*-A mark, with the number of candidates achieving five GCSEs at A*-C recorded at 93.2%.
The highest performing subject was biology, which topped the table with 90 per cent of candidates gaining an A*-A grade.
Other impressive results came from English Literature, which had 76 per cent for A*-A, while other top performers included Physics (65%), Chemistry (60%), Maths (59.1%) and Religious Studies (56.3%).
Four out of the five pupils who took part in the Physical Education module achieved A*-A, while all six pupils sitting the Chinese exam gained either A*-A grade for their efforts, and 70 per cent of Art pupils were awarded graded A*-B.
The average of GCSEs obtained by each pupil was eight, with subjects such as Drama, Design Technology, English First Language and Home Economics all gaining a 100 per cent pass rate (A*-C).
There were a host of strong individual performances from Matthew Trumper, who gained nine A*’s and one A, Ben Gibson (8A*2A), Sara Owen (7A*3A), Mili Jayadeep (6A*4A) and Olivia Williams (6A*4A).
No fewer than 15 pupils also secured Distinction marks in their further maths exams.
Latest goings on at the school
Retiring Transport Manager Ken Hulme
A much-loved staff member has retired after more than 12 years at the school.
Ken Hulme, who held the position of Transport Manager, finished his final day on Wednesday, September 28.
The popular character received a special cake from staff during morning break, which featured a picture of Mr Hulme with a school bus.
He then ventured to the prep school where he was treated to dinner, before receiving a number gifts from pupils and the skiing team.
Mr Hulme will now begin preparations for a new life in Thailand with wife Nok, who attended the prep school dinner, and the pair plan to depart the UK next month.
Mr McDuff, said: “Ken was a huge part of the Rydal Penrhos community and he will be sorely missed by staff and pupils alike.
"He went out of his way to help others around him and did an enormous amount of good during his time here, and everyone at the school wishes him a very happy retirement as he starts a new chapter with his wife in the Far East.”
Replacing Mr Hulme as Transport Manager will be Phil Hilton, who commenced employment officially on Monday, September 26.
Headmaster elect Simon Smith
Headmaster elect Simon Smith has joined the debate surrounding homework for pupils.
With a recent BBC Education feature highlighting what could be a shift in principles surrounding homework for some schools, Mr Smith stated that he feels the method of learning still has an important part to play.
He said: “Personally I feel homework has an important role in developing those independent study skills and the discipline required of further study in the Sixth Form and at university.
“Homework (or Prep) should, however, consist of a variety of tasks to it keep it fresh, interesting and effective. It might be for revision, reinforcement or to research something new.
How important do you think homework is for pupils?
“It can also be quite liberating and might be to encourage further reading or allow for more creative/digital activities. It should be differentiated and for younger pupils, particularly, with parameters in terms of time and expectations.”
“For a pupil sitting at home, alone, struggling with a concept or the repetitive nature of the task I can see why homework may be viewed with suspicion and disdain but when it’s enriching, collaborative and enhances progress then it is an invaluable tool in a teacher’s armoury and we welcome it’s place in our learning.”
The Rev'd William Hughes with two Congolese boys
Pupils and staff will be part of a special ceremony involving African delegates in Old Colwyn as part of Black History Month Wales.
A group from the Congolese Embassy in London will descend on the town in November, where they will be part of a service at the Old Colwyn Cemetery, where a number of young men from Congo are buried.
This is due to the selfless act of the Rev’d William Hughes, who successfully set up and ran Congo House and then the African Institute based in Colwyn Bay from 1885 to 1911.
His aim was to train young and gifted Africans as Christian missionaries, while also assisting them with either craft or medical skills to use when they returned to their homeland.
Pupils and staff have been busy cleaning up the cemetery as part of a community initiative, which has involving a number of graves that will be officially revealed at the ceremony, and they will also lead the group in song during the service.
Year 11 pupil Isabelle Williams is the Great, Great, Great Granddaughter of Rev’d Hughes and has also volunteered at the cemetery.
A host of local dignitaries will be in attendance, in addition to representatives from Black History Month Wales, who will be joining around 80 Congolese delegates.
Annie the Musical chosen for March shows
Annie the Musical is this year's Dramatic Society performance
A piece of Broadway will be heading to us next spring as details of the school’s annual Dramatic Society production were announced.
This year’s extravaganza, one of the most prominent dates on the calendar, will take place in March and the society will be performing Annie the Musical.
Mrs Crimes, who will be directing the production, said: “'Annie is a production that I have always had in the back of my mind, but it has never been the right time.
“It feels right for this next year because we have some very strong performers in Years 7, 8 and 9 as well as our GCSE and A-level Drama pupils for the 'adult' characters.
“We are also extremely lucky to have Mr Williams and our new music teacher Mr Davies on the team - they are musical aficionados.
Are you looking forward to Annie the Musical?
“I am looking forward to introducing audiences and pupils to the stage version of Annie, as most will only know the film, which is quite different.
“I can't wait to hear the pupils’ singing the showstoppers, and revelling in the spectacular roles of Miss Hannigan and Rooster.
“Anyone coming can expect an all-singing, all-dancing, feel-good piece of theatre. I am hopefully going to bring a little piece of the West End and Broadway to Colwyn Bay.”
TV star family's refugee past at school
The original Ehrenberg-Eton Scholarship booklet
Ben Elton has lent his support to a charity campaign where a number of celebrities have told the tale of relatives’ refugee past with the #Refugene hashtag.
The Refugene initiative is run by Help Refugees, and has been supported by singers Rita Ora and Jamie Cullum among others.
Elton’s family, who are Jewish and had the surname Ehrenberg, fled Germany in the 1930s as Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party began to impose their absolute power on the country.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, he said: “My grandfather, an ancient historian, found a teaching position in London, which secured an entry visa for him and his wife, but not their children.
“It was then that a chat between two strangers on a train in Wales led to news of my family’s plight reaching the Methodist chaplain of Rydal Penrhos School in Colwyn Bay.
“He offered to take the two boys into his school, to house, feed and teach them for nothing.”
The two boys, Lewis and Geoffrey, made the most of their opportunity, with the former studying at Cambridge University on his way to becoming a fellow of the American Institute of Physics.
Geoffrey, who died in 1994, was a historian who had been knighted in 1986 and once recalled: “One memory is clear: we came as strangers, and you took us in”.
To honour the pair, the school launched a special scholarship in 1995 named the Ehrenberg-Elton Scholarship, which is available to pupils from Eastern Europe.
Blind football held for Uganda fund
Action from our charity Blind Football event
The school held a special Blind Football event on Friday, September 23, where pupils competed against each other with proceeds going to our ongoing charity work in Uganda.
A huge turnout cheered on the budding blind footballers, with both pupils and staff getting into the spirit of the occasion, encountering some of the difficulties facing the children they were raising money for.
Osca Clark scores the first goals of the tournament
The sum raised will be put towards other funds raised from the school’s annual Osborn Day last week, with events including a cake sale, bake-off and tug of war.
Wearing blindfolds, the pupils had to rely on their sense of hearing to listen for the bell inside the football, and shouted instructions from the sighted guide and goalkeeper.
Edgar Miranda Conesa taking a penalty
Last year saw a donation of white canes given to the Hornby Junior School Blind Section in Kabale thanks to money raised from the event.
Plans are now being formed for our fifth charity mission to Uganda, which will take place next year.
Mr McDuff, said: “This is yet more fantastic charity work from our pupils and staff, and they are all to be congratulated for their efforts.
Annual celebration of school life
Action from our Old Girls' hockey game on Founders' Weekend
Old Girls’ claimed school bragging rights to claim the annual Natalie Kate Moss Shield.
Pupils past and present clashed on Saturday, September 17 in the Founders’ Weekend contest, which saw the elder stateswomen overcome their opponents 4-0.
Pupils old and new competing
The shield, which is played in the memory of Natalie, also saw the sides battle it out on the netball court, which saw the Old Girls’ triumph again against a spirited first VII effort.
Fighting for possession
Standout performances came from Emily Cashell and Elinor Davies, but the Old Girls’ experience at club and county level shone through on the day which saw them retain the shield.
Mrs Head, said: “It was once again a successful weekend where we welcomed the return of pupils who left the school up to 14 years ago.
“The Old girls’ put out a fantastic display of netball, but our team did not let this deter their efforts."
Nick Dundee on the attack
Pupils old and new took to the field on Sunday, September 18 for the return of the Rydal Vikings contest, which returned to Founders’ Weekend following a five year absence.
Action from the Rydal Vikings clash
Among the former pupils were RGC player-coach Josh Leach, who was one day removed from a substitute appearance in the Gogs’ 28-25 win over Llandovery at Parc Eirias.
Wales U18 international and RGC player Efan Jones also took part, in addition to former academy product and Dolgellau Rugby Club star Danny Evans.
A number of current pupils also took part in the contest, including Adam Sabri, Euan Humphreys and Nick Dundee.
The Rydal Vikings game returned after five years
The teams were split and the blue team ran out 15-10 winners.
Mr Boyd, said: “It was a fantastic spectacle and congratulations go to everyone that took part. The Rydal Vikings game has been sorely missed during Founders’ Weekend and it was great to have it back.”
Mr Williams co-writes Christmas musical
Director of Music Mr Williams
Mr Williams, who was appointed Director of Music this summer, is currently in rehearsals for his take on the Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol” entitled Ebenezer Scrooge the Musical, which he wrote alongside Colin Holmes.
It will be held from Thursday, November 17 to Friday 19 at Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay.
The series of performances will be held by the Colwyn Abbey Players, and has been described as a “sung-through version of the famous festive novel”.
This is an amateur production affiliated to NODA.
Thursday and Friday performances will be held at 7.30pm, with two shows on the final day on 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Tickets are priced from £10-£12.50 and are available from http://www.theatrcolwyn.co.uk
Mr McDuff, said: “Mr Williams is an extremely talented individual and it promises to be a fantastic show.
“He has been a valued member of staff here for a number of years now, and he promises to offer a significant amount in his new role as director of Music.
“We wish all performers and Mr Williams the very best of luck in both rehearsals and in the actual performances themselves.”
News from former pupils
Emma Widdowson, who left the school in 2006, was greeted by rapturous applause as she completed seven marathons in seven days in aid of The Christie, in support of a friend who is being treated at the specialist cancer centre.
The mother-of-two is a nurse on the Oncology Assessment Unit which has been her source of inspiration for the challenge.
The 29 year-old, who wore different colours to highlight the different forms of cancer on each day, started from Notting Hill and ran through St Albans, Rugby and Macclesfield, before finishing at The Withington Centre on September 23.
Friend and patient Mark Bryant joined Emma in the last 5k of her mammoth 182-mile challenge, along with her daughters Isabella, seven, and Amelie, four, who ran the last few metres with her.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, the former pupil, said: “I was so inspired talking to my friend Mark Byrant, hearing about the challenges he has faced as an inpatient on the haematology ward.
“He has faced many hurdles and fought this battle so bravely, as have many of my amazing patients who I have grown so fond of.”
“My legs are seizing up a little bit now, I do need to get some stretches in. But every time I’ve had a horrible or negative thought or if I’ve been sore I use this windscreen wipe thing and wipe the thoughts and feelings away and replace them with positive ones and that’s what’s got me through this as well as the inspiration of all my patients.
“I’ve always loved running but I’ve never done back to back marathons. I wanted a huge challenge to try and match the challenge that my patients go through each day – but this is still nothing in comparison.”
Catfish & the Bottlemen drummer Rob Hall
Rob Hall, who left us in 2011, is now a drummer with Catfish and the Bottlemen, who have had one of their songs selected for the soundtrack of the highly anticipated Fifa ’17 console game.
The Llandudno four-piece, led by lead singer Van McCann, will join the likes of Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club and Jack Garratt on the soundtrack with their track Postponed – which is a hit from their number one album The Ride.
This latest recognition caps off a memorable summer for the band, who have thrilled crowds at a series of festivals including the world famous Glastonbury.
They have also played a special open air gig at Times Square in Newcastle, in addition to playing to an 8,000 strong crowd at Castlefield Bowl.
The Brit Award winners will begin a sold out UK Tour this autumn, and they will also be playing to crowds across the point in the United States.
In a recent article by the NME, having your music chosen for the FIFA soundtrack is now regarded as one of the most important platforms for British music at the present time.
It stated: “Last year, for example, FIFA 16 shifted over 2.5 million copies in the UK alone.
“In perspective that puts it just a few hundred thousand behind last year’s best-selling record, Adele’s ‘25’.
“Admittedly, most people don’t buy it for the soundtrack - but it's become an integral part of the gaming experience.”
Heidi Nash-Smith, who attended Penrhos College from 1992-99, tested her limits in three difficult challenges to raise funds for So We Can, who work with communities and their governments in Kenya and Tanzania to educate and empower, so they can break the poverty cycle, realise their own potential and meet their own needs.
She began by running the Maasai Mara Half Marathon on August 20, before embarking on a five-day trek up Mount Kenya, which is Africa’s second highest peak at 5,199 metres.
The final event saw Heidi take part in the Coastal Classic in Australia, where she now resides, which was held along Sydney’s south coast from Otford to Bundeena, a distance of 29km, on September 3.
The former pupil, who set a target of $5,000, said: “Climbing Mount Kenya was a great experience. It wasn’t easy, but then we don’t do things because they are easy.
“We look for challenges in life, things that will stretch us and build our resilience. Each time I undertake a venture like this, I come away with the confidence that I can do anything if I set my mind to it.
“The world is full of opportunity and I intend to make the most of it.”
This is the latest in a long line of charity exertions for the former Law student at Oxford University, which saw her complete the New York Marathon in 2013 and raised almost £7,000 for The Heart Foundation.
You can find out more about Heidi’s journey by reading her blog at https://marathonefforts.com/2016/08/29/climbing-mount-kenya/
Will Broadway with his ISOBAR invention
Will Broadway, who left in 2010, has invented the “Isobar”, a mobile fridge designed to keep vaccines at the ideal temperature while in transit in developing countries, could save 1.5 million people, according to findings.
Despite this extraordinary achievement, the 22-year-old stated he won’t be trying to get a patent and plans to make no money from the equipment.
Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, the Loughborough University graduate, said: "I wanted to make something for people who have next to nothing. It should be a basic human right, in my opinion, to have a vaccination.
"I don't think that it should be patented to restrict use. It should be a basic human right, in my opinion, to have a vaccination."
"Medical products have such a big mark up that it's unreasonable for people around the world to purchase these items.
"If it is the best thing available, then it should be out there saving lives."
The creation has won him the annual James Dyson Award, which is open to students across the world who “design something that solves a problem”.
The device maintains a steady two to eight degrees for 30 days. It works by heating ammonia and water to create ammonia vapours, which are then released into its main chamber when cooling is needed.
Trio take part in 70th anniversary event
Pupils at the Model UN debate in London
Grace Patrick, Will Marston and Kalina Tsaneva, all upper sixth pupils at the school, were invited to take part in a Model United Nations debate, which is part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the UN, who held their first assembly debate at the Central Hall, Westminster.
The trio formed the Egyptian delegation and recreated debates from seven decades ago, centred on atomic energy and refugees within the context of today’s world, and joined a number of other Methodist Schools from across the country.
Kalina, aged 17, said: “Seventy years on we now have a refugee crisis to rival the end of World War II and yet many Britons whether the man in the street or short termism from politicians still think of ourselves as an isolated island able to survive wholly independently.
Are events like this good for pupils?
“Despite identical resolutions being debated 70 years ago on the topics of atomic energy and proliferation and refugee crises they are still unfortunately very current today.
“A MUN gives pupils the opportunity to discuss matters of great importance in the sphere of politics and current affairs whilst developing debating skills and learning more about how others view the world."
Gail Lavery steps down as chair
Outgoing FORPS chair Gail Lavery with members
Gail Lavery, who has held the position for three years, officially relinquished her role as chair of FORPS at their Annual General Meeting, which took place on Wednesday, October 5.
During her time as chair, Mrs Lavery has overseen a number of charity initiatives, including contributing significantly to our inaugural Christmas Market, which raised more than £2,000 for Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice.
In addition the chair has also helped with major fundraising events including the Summer Fair, Christmas Ball, Chocolate Bingo and Macmillian Cake Sales.
Thanks to the sensational efforts of the group, they have purchased items totalling £18,500 in recent years, including photography equipment, football goals, drama studio lights, defibrillators, and camping stoves for expeditions among a host of others.
They have also raised more than £3,600 for charities including Amnesty International, Action for Children and the International Nepali Fellowship Trust.
Mr McDuff, said: “Everyone would like to thank Gail for all her hard work over the last three years, something which we are truly grateful for."
Chess star shines at World Olympiad
Chess star Imogen Camp
Imogen Camp, a Year 11 pupil at the school, was part of the Welsh Women’s senior team that competed at the World Chess Olympiad over a two week period.
The event, which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, takes place every two years and Imogen was part of a team of five testing her skills against some of the best women players in the world.
The 15-year-old played in nine of the 11 rounds at the event, scoring 50 per cent against strong opposition and earning the international title of Women Candidate Master (WCM).
She also gained an impressive 66.4 points rating from the tournament, securing her position as top U16 girl in Wales and second overall from the competition.
Wales finished a healthy 14 places above their initial ranking in both the Women and Open sections and no less than three of the Women's team earned the WCM title, all in their Olympiad debuts.
It has been a season to remember for the pupil, who was crowned joint Wales U16 champion, while also competing at the World Youth Championships in Greece.
She is also the current British Girls’ champion and currently plays for Colwyn Bay first team in the Chester and District League.
Pupils wowed by presentations
The RAF Education Roadshow
Year 8 and 9 pupils at the school took part in a special Royal Air Force Roadshow on Thursday, September 22.
During the event they were given a special presentation about the various jobs available with the RAF, in addition to learning more about the dynamics of flying and engineering aspects that are key to their success.
There was also a demonstration of a drone aircraft in Rydal Penrhos’ Memorial Hall, while a special headset gave one lucky pupil an insight into virtual reality.
The live, theatre style Roadshow, now in its 11th year, is a fun and engaging presentation designed to capture the imagination of young audiences and inspire them to become the nations future scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.
Over the course of the year the Roadshow will visit hundreds of schools nationwide and will be seen by more than 50,000 nine to thirteen year olds.
Wing Commander Russ Barnes, said: “We are trying to engender enthusiasm and interest in careers in science and technology, not just in the Royal Air Force but across the industrial sector.
“It is really important for us in the RAF, with nearly half of our personnel being involved in engineering, to make sure that girls especially know that there is a choice that is maybe non-traditional to them and the earlier we make children aware of these career choices it will be to everyone’s benefit.”
Dan Owen makes impact for RGC
Dan Owen in action for RGC
Dan Owen, an upper sixth pupil at the school, came on as a second half substitute for his RGC senior debut in their 30-16 Principality Premiership win at Neath
The 17-year-old is part of our Rugby Academy, which is run in partnership with RGC and the Welsh Rugby Union, and has produced a plethora of senior squad players in recent years.
Dan Owen makes a tackle for RGC
Current senior squad stars that have descended from the academy include Mei Parry, Sam Jones, Danny Cross, Joe Simpson, Efan Jones and player-coach Josh Leach.
Owen has made a total of three appearances for Mark Jones' side so far this season.
Scrum down for RGC star Dan Owen
Mr Boyd, said: “He is the latest in a long line of success stories for our academy, which has produced players of international-calibre down the years, which has been extremely pleasing.”
RGC U16 coach Dave Roberts was also full of praise for the pupil, saying: “Incredible for Dan. Well done on all the hard work.
“Premiership rugby whilst still in school is a fantastic achievement.”
Our RGC academy boys
RGC Rugby Academy players have been praised for their efforts during the summer months.
Adam Sabri, Dan Owen and Henry Davies are all part of the Junior Academy, while Nick Dundee and Euan Humphreys are members of the Junior Development Academy.
The offseason proved to be a busy one for the young hopefuls, with a rigorous training programme put in place to aid their progression.
WRU Regional Strength and Conditioning Coach Gareth Whittaker, said: “The summer period allows the boys to train as if they were full time athletes, as with no school we are able to put all our efforts into training.
“From 9am to early afternoon and the boys actually train more than the senior team, as they don’t have work commitments.
Hard at work in the school gym
“We took 23 players with the aim to then select an elite 11 athletes. It is our chance to enhance them from a physical and skills point of view, but also improve their learning. The boys attended five nutritional courses, so they understood what is needed to be a professional athlete.”
“I must also give huge praise to the parents who are the taxi service, and the support network cannot be underestimated in the whole programme."
Jack Jones and Sean Hughes, both Year 11 pupils at the school, have been invited to join RGC’s U16 programme after impressive player-coach Josh Leach, who was in attendance for our 54-0 NatWest Cup win over Hilbre High School.
The talented duo will now begin training with the squad ahead of a possible selection to the Welsh Rugby Union’s latest age grade competition, which is held from December to February.
Sean is described by Mr Boyd as “the fastest boy in school”, and scored a blistering try in the cup success.
Fifteen-year-old Jack has been a part of the RGC West squad in the past and hopes make further strides with the North Wales regional development side.
Jack and Sean in action
Mr Boyd, said: “This is fantastic news for Sean and Jack, and is just reward after a fine start to the season.
“This is also significant for us as there has been no club involvement for either player, so it shows that what we are doing here with our young athletes is working."
Pupil spends week working at Crossrail
Jack Sissons at Crossrail
My week at Crossrail
During the summer holidays, I carried out six days of work experience working with Vinci at one of the Crossrail sites in London. The Crossrail project, when completed, will be a high speed railway running under London and it was an unbelievable experience to be able to spend time on one of the construction sites. This was the perfect opportunity to carry out some work experience in an engineering field, the subject I am looking to study at university.
I was mainly based with a team of four civil engineers and so was involved with a number of tasks both in the office and out on site. Initially, I started by shadowing the engineers as they went about tasks including laser surveying to ensure accurate locations of works, testing the strength of a concrete order and monitoring works to ensure they met the meticulous standards set out by Crossrail. As the week wore on I was given more independence and by the end I had written a method statement and risk assessment for some works, been introduced to CAD (computer aided design) and also had put an order in for a section of pipework that I had designed myself.
The highlight of my time there has to be getting a ride though the tunnels on one of the welfare trains, seeing the works being carried out but also the transition between tunnels constructed in the 19th century to tunnels constructed last year. The six days really showed me how a construction site operates and the role of the engineer within it, including the incredibly high level of detail and planning required for its success. The time has only further fuelled my ambition to pursue an engineering career.
Science with faculty head Mr Robson
How pleased were you with the department’s outstanding exam results this summer?
Exam results last year were the usual mix of some outstanding performances, generally good value added for all students.
Of the three core subjects at GCSE, Science scored slightly better at A*-B (Science 80%, Maths 75% and English 77%). The overall science performance compares very favourably with national data where the Wales average performance is 43% for the courses we take.
Post 16 we had some outstanding performances, such as Anjalina Mitra scoring 7’s in both Physics and Chemistry and Hannah Patrick securing her place at Oxford studying a Physics related subject.
Has the department got anything exciting lined up for the forthcoming academic year?
We have already had the RAF into school this year demonstrating various aspects of flight to Years 8 and 9 including quad copters and jet engines.
We expect to take part in the usual range of extra curricular competitions such as the Physics Olympics, Chemistry Top of the Bench and Biology activities in conjunction with Bangor University.
The Sixth Form Physics group will head across to Manchester University just before Easter to give them an experience of university lectures and workshops focusing on cutting edge astro and particle physics.
Science pupils at the school
These activities all help motivate students to perform at their highest level and should continue the trend of almost all Oxbridge students coming from Sixth Form science courses.
What gives you most satisfaction about being a teacher?
As a teacher, my favourite moments are when you see students have those real light bulb moments. Introducing them to Particle Physics, wave-particle duality or talking about how they are made from star dust from exploding supernovae.
Getting them to really stretch their understanding of the world around them and question what they understand.
Achievements aplenty for pupils
Max Todd, Kevin and Eddie Farrell
Brothers Eddie and Kevin Farrell, in Years 9 and 10 respectively, continued their sensational form by taking home the Feva Class title at the Welsh Zones Championship Regatta, which was held at Cardiff Yacht Club from September 24-25.
The pair, who are both Welsh internationals, have further enhanced their growing reputation as two of the most gifted sailors in the country throughout what has been a trophy laden season for the duo.
There were a number of other positive performances from our sailors, with Hannah Gasem, Emily Madden, Artyom Goode, Dylan Craddock, Oliver Helstern, Josh Manning and Felix Corson all gaining valuable experience at the prestigious event.
Mr Boyd, said: “This is yet further proof of just how talented Eddie and Kevin are, and to be crowned national champions in their class is an outstanding feat.
“The sailing programme we offer here has brought with it a superb amount of success in recent years, which is a testament to Max Todd and the rest of his staff.
“It has been another fantastic season in terms of both development and achievement for our young sailors, and we are confident that this can continue as attendances and interest swell.”
Reuben Bather in Welsh colours
Reuben Bather, a Year 9 pupil at the school, was part of the Wales U15 golf side that tested their skills against Surrey at Windlesham Golf Club on Sunday, September 11.
The talented 13-year-old was in tremendous form throughout the contest and played a significant role in Wales’ 9-3 victory.
Andy Humphreys, Golf Union of Wales Academy Coach, said: “It was a very good win for team Wales and they all played some fantastic golf, along with showing some real team spirit and fight when it needed to be applied.
“Everybody really enjoyed the experience of representing their country and more importantly all scoring winning points for team Wales.”
The sports scholar joined the school’s golf academy this month alongside Charley Simpson, who has also claimed national and international competition success in his young career to date.
Bather will be looking to add to the academy’s success in recent months, with the likes of Louisa Weber and Wilson Reyhan picking up national ISGA honours at the Scottish Open.
Mr Richardson, said: “This was a fantastic experience for Reuben and he is going to be a huge asset to us."
Josh Thomas, a Year 11 pupil at the school, will be part of the Celtic Dragons side at the England Hockey Futures Cup, which will take place at Oaklands College, St Albans from October 26-29.
The 15-year-old goalkeeper was part of our U16 team that were crowned national champions earlier this year, while the gifted stopper has also turned in a number of eye-catching performances as part of the Colwyn Bay men’s side.
He earned the title Young Player of the Year award with his club last season, and also took plaudits for his efforts during the nationally recognised Gemau Cymru showcase.
Mr Mather, said: “Josh has worked immensely hard to improve his game in recent months, something that has brought with it a huge amount of success.
“He is an extremely talented individual who has shown a tremendous work ethic, and these traits will stand him in good stead as he looks to make his mark on the national stage.”
The Futures Cup, which features more than 300 of the most talented players in the UK, is designed to replicate the professional environment of an international hockey tournament.
Melissa Bennett, the EHB’s National Manager for the Single System, added: “The Futures Cup provides a fantastic opportunity for young players and officials from across the country to come together following the culmination of the Junior Regional Performance Centre (JRPC) programme over the last few months.
“The participants will experience a hockey tournament in a performance environment with the focus on implementing the core skills developed over their training sessions.”
Caitlin Teece at her successful grading
Caitlin Teece, a Year 11 pupil at the school, was awarded her Black Belt 2nd Dan in the discipline of Karate after a successful grading on Saturday, September 24.
The pupil has been studying karate since the age of eight and was awarded her 1st Dan two years ago.
She has already begun preparations in the pursuit of further honours, and has now begun her 3rd Dan training, which is expected to take three years to complete.
As part of her grading Caitlin demonstrated multiple techniques including self-defence blindfolded against four attackers, sparring and demonstrating her fitness by completing 100 press-ups and sit-up at the end of her exam.
She also had to submit an essay describing the personal benefits and positive effects of karate.
The talented martial artist trains at John Lynn’s Black Belt Academy in Colwyn Bay, where she also volunteers with the Little Dragons in the hope of inspiring the next generation.
Mr McDuff, said: “This is an incredible achievement for someone so young, and everyone at the school is extremely proud of Caitlin.
“Not only does is it take an enormous amount of discipline to reach the heights of Black Belt, she is also setting a fine example to others during her volunteering at the academy, which is simply fantastic.”
Cricket star Anthony Bowe
Anthony Bowe, a Year 8 pupil at the school, produced a number of fine performances by claiming the bowler of the year award at Prestatyn Cricket Club.
This success came just weeks after the 12 year-old was presented with the Cricketer of the Year award after a memorable year at the school.
In addition to these achievements, the young hopeful was also put forward for North Wales trials by his club last November.
Mr Leach, said: “This is a wonderful achievement for Anthony and one that is thoroughly deserved for the season he has had.
“His game has come on leaps and bounds in the last few months, which is a testament to how hard he has worked to improve his game and the results are evident when he steps to the crease.
“Hopefully this will be the start of his success as he continues to improve into the future.”
Anthony is a member of Prestatyn Cricket Club, who have a number of youth sides, with the senior team plying their trade in Liverpool and District Division One after achieving promotion in a memorable season in 2014.
Hockey stars at continued their fine start to the season with a strong showing at a recent tournament.
The first XI travelled to Wrekin College on Wednesday, September 28 for a 7s competition, and performed well throughout to reach the semi-final stage.
They opened the competition with a creditable 0-0 draw with a strong Denstone College side, before their second contest with Shrewsbury High School also finished goalless.
Ellesmere College were next up for the girls, who came back from a goal behind to secure a 1-1 draw.
Their final group clash brought with it their first win as Lia-Britt Zenker fired home from a short corner to give us a 1-0 triumph over Newcastle-under-Lyme to remain unbeaten and reach the knockout stages.
The pupils faced a tough test against hosts Wrekin in the final-four, and they fell a goal behind despite excellent defensive work from Beth Klazinga.
Sammy Sherrington caught the eye in goal with a number of fine saves, and despite an impressive performance from Elinor Davies they fell to a 2-0 defeat.
Mrs Head, said: “Overall, the girls should be pleased with their play and played consistently well throughout the tournament to finish as semi-finalists.”