Rydal Penrhos Prep newsletter
Foreword from the Head
Regardless of political opinions, when the dust has settled from the surprise results in recent votes, we will be left with the truism that it is worth aiming high and having a go, because it could all prove to be successful.
Whether it be throwing oneself into dressing up for Languages Day, skiing one’s heart out to become National Champions, or giving everything to a performance in the concert (to name but a few), this newsletter is evidence that the ‘have a go’ spirit is fundamental to all that we do at Rydal Penrhos.
As ever, the results are stunning and I am sure, that like me, you will enjoy catching up on all of the news.
Thanks, as ever, go to Dean for putting it altogether and for keeping us so well-informed. Enjoy!
Annual event hailed a success
Zac Coverley and Tristan Griffiths
A host of families descended on us for our annual Open Morning.
The annual showcase, which was held on Saturday, October 8, was hailed as a huge success as prospective pupils and their families’ flocked to the school to see what we had to offer.
During the four hour event there was plenty for visitors to see, including various demonstrations from different departments including art and information technology.
There was also a group of pupils at our impressive Forest School area, before they met with Mrs Hind and Mr McDuff, who answered any questions that visitors’ young and old had on the tour.
Mr McDuff, said: “Our Open Morning is one of the most important dates on the school calendar and it was once again an enormous success.
“Our staff and pupils did a fabulous job of making visitors feel welcome, and they were only too happy to answer any questions they may have had.
“They were a credit to themselves and the school and I would like to thank them all for all their hard work.”
Pupils dress to impress
European Languages Day
As part of European Languages Week, pupils were encouraged to dress up in something relating to a specific country, with everything from Portugal, Spain, France and Wales represented.
There were a host of activities throughout the day, including a special slipper throwing contest which was won by Olivier Gilmartin and George Watkins.
Ellie Knight and Lucy Ranales-Griffiths
A special treasure hunt was also organised by staff, where pupils had to follow clues in order to capture hidden flags hidden around the school.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, said: “Europe's nations are always at their strongest and most prosperous when we are open and outward-facing, willing to embrace other ways of life, and when we welcome those who can contribute to our societies."
Team crowned National Champions
Our skiing team were crowned national winners after taking home the Kelly Elson Cup from the Welsh Schools’ Championships, which was held in Llangranog on Sunday, October 9.
A large number of individual and team successes were the catalyst behind the victory, which included a victory in the U8 boys’ category from young sensation Xavier Poynton.
Biv Gilmartin and Xavier Poynton
Another superb showing saw Agatha Favill claim second place in the U8 girls’, while the in-form Biv Gilmartin added to his list of accolades with the U10 boys’ prize, with Cieran Milligan in third.
Year 6 pupil Telor Jones was second in the U12 boys’, and also finished second overall just ahead of Gilmartin in third.
Our national skiing champions
There were also a pair of podium finishes in the U12 girls’ section, with captain Ariana Milligan and Ella Northcott finishing in second and third respectively.
This led to a fifth place overall finish from the girls’ team, with Rydal Penrhos’ A side claiming the overall title ahead of the B team, who secured a third placed finish to ensure they were crowned National Primary School Champions.
Learning enhanced on visits
Year 6 pupils visited the Drapers’ Field Centre in Betws-y-Coed on Monday, October 10, to support their classroom work on rivers.
During the visit the eager pupils got to participate in fieldwork at three different sites at the centre, where they measured width, depth, size and shape of a plethora of rocks.
Mrs Culver, said: “The centre instructor was very impressed with all members of the group, especially their teamwork and knowledge of the features that exist within a river.
“It was a valuable experience to see what they have been learning in a real life environment and will aid them considerably with their studies on the subject in the classroom."
The centre, which is run by the Field Studies Council, has been set up as an outdoor classroom where concepts and theories spring to life.
Year 6 were also treated to a variety of action packed activities on the Isle of Anglesey at the Arete Centre, which is situated in Llanrug from Monday, September 19 to Friday 23.
Pupils got the chance to climb around some of the picturesque mountains of Snowdonia, they rafted through lakes and even explored underground slate mines.
The fearless group also took part in sea kayaking, rock climbing, scaling waterfalls and underground dinghy trips.
In addition pupils also got to investigate the local wildlife in special missions.
Mr McLeod, said: “The pupils had a fantastic time and the amount of energy they had was great to see.
“The activities were really broad and they managed to test the pupils in a variety of ways, so it was a very fun and worthwhile experience for everybody concerned.
“Having the opportunity to do activities is something that we are extremely fortunate to do here at Rydal Penrhos, with North Wales providing so much in terms of outdoor activities and beautiful landscape, and we are already looking forward to visiting again.”
Bear feeding at Welsh Mountain Zoo
As part of their curriculum on Bears, our Reception class visited the Welsh Mountain Zoo on Friday, October 14, and in addition to viewing animals the group also had the privilege of feeding the grizzlies.
Mrs Devilleforte, said: “The children had a fantastic time at the zoo and even more so in the play area.
“Trips like this are important for pupils, especially ones in this age group, who may not have seen animals as large and rare as this too often, and they got to learn a little bit more about the Bears’ habitat and way of life for their curriculum, which was great.”
During the trip the pupils got to hear from a zookeeper what the day-to-day life of a bear actually is, their eating habits and hibernation periods, which will aid their learning on the topic in the classroom.
Are trips like this beneficial to pupils?
Year 2 voyaged to the Groundworks Wrexham on Tuesday, September 20, where they took part in a special Celtic workshop.
During the day they reverted back to their Celtic selves by wearing woollen tunics, having lime washed spiked hair and adorning their faces with woad, which was custom before a battle.
Among the activities the pupils took part in were spear throwing, in addition to learning how to weave wool on a loom and make clay thumb-pots.
This is the latest in a series of trips planned throughout the prep school during the term, which will see them take in places from Manchester City Football Academy to the Welsh Mountain Zoo.
Mr McDuff, said: “The Celtic workshop is something we have been involved in for some years now, and once again it was a hugely fun and informative day for our pupils.
“Learning outside the classroom is something we actively encourage here, and trips such as these give our pupils a chance to experience first-hand a new and interesting way of gathering new information about a specific subject or period of time.”
New prayer space created
Reverend Nick Sissons
A new Prayer Space has been created at the school, which will give pupils the chance to explore various themes through an interactive display.
Reverend Nick Sissons began the new scheme with Year 5 pupils over a two lesson period, where they produced a Prayer Space entitled Big Burning Questions.
It was based on the story from Exodus where Moses sees a burning bush and asks 'Why is this bush on fire but not burning up?'.
Rev’d Sissons, said: “Last Monday's assembly was based around this story and introduced the idea of the Prayer Space. In Founders' week we thought about how important it is in school to be curious.
“It's great when children have chance to ask some of the great questions that life has to offer even if there are no simple answers. This Prayer Space gives them the opportunity to do just that.”
A display has been made by the group and is on display at the Lyndon Library and other pupils have been invited to contribute by writing their own burning question in flame coloured card and add it to the piece.
Plans are now in place to continue this initiative, with different Religious Studies groups looking to produce similar displays on various themes in the coming weeks.
Pupils take part in portrait workshop
Year 1 pupils travelled to the Oriel Mostyn Gallery on Friday, October 14, where they took part in a special portrait workshop.
During their visit the budding artists were given the opportunity to explore and experiment with a variety of different techniques and materials, in addition to making their own choices in regards to what materials and resources they used for specific pieces.
They also had the chance to mix, shape, arrange and combine materials to create their own images.
Following the workshop the pupils were given a guided tour of the Clitch exhibition, and ventured inside a hot air balloon.
Our young stars will now have the chance to win either Artist or Singer of the Week, and the awards have proved to be a smash hit with pupils despite being in their infancy.
The music award has been devised by Mr Davies and is given to the pupil who has shown the most application in-and-out of lessons throughout the week.
Year 6 pupil Caitriona Searl was the inaugural winner of the prize, with William Rutherford and Liam Farrell the other to receive the accolade so far.
The Artist of the Week award, which is issued by Mrs Morris, was also launched at Celebration Assembly, with the first honour going to nine-year-old Gabriele Subkovaite for her work on a stunning portrait.
Mrs Hind, said: “These awards are designed to recognise the hard work of our pupils throughout the week, and it gives them an extra incentive to work that little bit harder in order to gain the prize.
“This is a fantastic idea and goes very well with the Stars of the Week awards throughout all years at Rydal Penrhos, which has been running for some time now.”
Young Performers' Concert
Eloise Brown on the Piano
A host of musicians got the chance to showcase their skills at the first Young Performers’ concert of the year.
The event, which took place on Thursday, October 6, was hailed as a huge success and featured a number of gifted musicians across all age groups.
Among the highlights were a stunning rendition of the Sound of Music by Year 6 pupil Caitriona Searl, while Zac Roberts got the crowd going his version of the Oasis cult classic Wonderwall.
A wide range of instruments were demonstrated throughout the evening, including piano, flute, harp and clarinet.
This is the first in a series of spectacles throughout the academic year, which gives pupils the chance to demonstrate their musical prowess.
Music teacher Mr Davies has been putting the group through their paces ahead of the performance, with a final rehearsal taking place on the morning before the concert.
Young Performers: Georgia Brown, Eleanor Tunstall, Caitriona Searl, Lily Copeland, Eloise Brown, Zac Coverley, Kiera Luke, Benjamin Richmond, Ellie Knight, Isabella Peevor, Cerys Williams, Hattie Maddocks, Anna Heyes, Zac Roberts, Tori Maddocks, Liam Farrell, Harrison McKinnell , Grace Tavernor.
Man City tournaments
The U11 side, together with Year 5 pupils James Gilman and Liam Farrell, travelled to the multi-million pound academy complex of Manchester City on Wednesday, October 12.
During the visit they took part in a mini-tournament with other schools from the region, with notable performances from Zac Roberts, Laurence Richardson and Jonathan Osbourne.
After the competition they were given an all-access tour of the Citizens’ Etihad Stadium, which saw them walk the same halls as the likes of Sergio Aguero and manager Pep Guardiola.
They also went down the players’ tunnel, in addition to the directors’ box and changing rooms.
Football captain Oliver Davies, said: “The boys played really well throughout the tournament and it was a great experience.
“Seeing things like the dugout and pitch at the Etihad Stadium was also amazing. The stadium was absolutely enormous and everyone really enjoyed it.”
The U8 side travelled to the academy complex on Wednesday, October 5, where they competed in an IAPS tournament.
They began their group games with a resolute defensive performance to hold Stockport Grammar School to a goalless draw, before securing another point against Bridgewater School.
This positive momentum could not be replicated in the final two matches as they suffered narrow defeats to Manchester Grammar School and Bolton School.
“The performance the boys put in against much bigger schools was superb and one that they can take a great deal of pride in.
"They played their hearts out whilst having a great experience along the way.”
Football captain Oliver Davies
Year 1 pupils also visited the impressive site on Wednesday, September 28, where the budding footballers took part in a Football Festival at the complex under the watchful eye of academy coaches at the home of the former champions.
During the day pupils went through a number of drills designed to improve their skills, before putting their new moves to the test in a series of short games.
All pupils that took part received a certificate acknowledging their efforts.
This is the latest in a series of visits by Rydal Penrhos to the site, which continues the strong links between the school and club.
Mr McLeod, said: “This is a fantastic way for our pupils to develop their skills, and I would like to thank everyone at Manchester City for inviting us up to the football festival once again.
“We are very proud of our association with such a world renowned club, and I know that our pupils get an enormous amount out of it, so long may it continue.”
How imprtant are experiences like this for pupils?
Triumphant summer scheme
Benjamin Richmond, a Year 4 pupil, read a jaw-dropping 79 books during this year's summer reading challenge, which was comfortably a new record at the school.
The initiative has once again been hailed as a roaring success, with dozens of pupils taking part in the scheme, which is designed to improve reading and writing outside of the classroom.
The initial target set by the challenge is to read five books and produce two book reports during the holidays, with many pupils surpassing this target and reading upwards of 25 books.
Mr McDuff, said: “This scheme is something we have run for a number of years, and once again our pupils showed tremendous dedication to achieve success.
“However, what Benjamin managed to accomplish during the summer was nothing short of extraordinary, and to read 79 books is a truly phenomenal achievement.
“Well done to all pupils who took part and I am confident our summer reading challenge can continue long into the future.”
Catering manager says goodbye
Keith Williams, who has held the post of Catering Supervisor at the school for the last 33 years, said goodbye to staff and pupils for the final time on Wednesday, September 14.
To mark the achievement, prep school pupils presented him with two books of art with good luck messages, together with other gifts, while staff also presented Keith with a number of presents during morning break.
Mrs Hind and Mrs Davies gave a speech on how valued he was at Rydal Penrhos, and that he will be “sorely missed” by pupils and staff alike.
Prefects Christian Cheesley and Eve Durrans then led the entire school in a round of three cheers.
Domestic bursar Julie Chmara, said: “Keith Williams was an amazing Catering Supervisor and a much valued colleague at the Prep School.
“We will miss him greatly and wish him every happiness and success in his new career.”
Keith will be succeeded by Darren Wyn Jones, who has been in his role for the past few weeks.
“Darren is really happy to be here, and looking forward to getting to know everyone better and carrying on Keith's legacy with a few tasty treats of his own,” added Mrs Chmara.
Showjumping star selected for Wales
Welsh showjumper Hattie Maddocks
Hattie Maddocks has been selected for the Welsh U10 showjumping squad after a number of eye-catching efforts at regional and national events this summer.
The talented 10-year-old will now join up with the squad in competitive action for the first time at the Home Pony Show, which is being held at the South View Equestrian Centre in Winsford.
It has been a memorable few months in the saddle for Hattie, who finished seventh in her category at the British Championships in August.
Despite her young age the Aberconwy Pony Club member has already competed at county level and had success at standout shows including the Flint and Denbigh, Eglwysbach and Royal Welsh in what has been a promising career to date.
Mr McDuff, said: “This is fabulous news for Hattie and her national recognition is extremely well deserved.
“She has made great strides in her short career, and her potential is limitless if she continues to work hard.
“Everyone is thrilled for Hattie and wishes her well with the Welsh squad.”
Pupils battle at inter-house event
The annual inter-house cross-country event took place on Wednesday, October 19, saw Year 3 to 6 pupils battle it out in separate categories with the aim of claiming the overall prize for either Snowdon, Pembroke or Brecon houses.
The Year 3 race brought with it immediate drama when Lily Copeland took a tumble in what is now known as “Copeland Corner”, having claimed her brother James last year.
She battled well to recover and finished in second position, with Snowdon teammate Charlotte Payne running out a comfortable winner, with Eloise Brown of Pembroke in third.
The boys’ race was a highly competitive affair with Dominic Chamberlain (Snowdon) beating off the challenge of Archie Jeeves (Brecon) and Nathan Richards (Snowdon) to claim the prize.
Pembroke’s Cieran Milligan had his sights set on the course record in the Year 4 boys’ race, but despite cruising to victory the record remains intact – at least for the time being – and he finished 40 seconds ahead of Freddie MacLaverty (Snowdon) and Theo Roberts (Brecon).
The ever-impressive Fflur Pierce came away victorious in the girls’ race, with Kiera Luke (Brecon) and Gracie Tavernor (Pembroke) finishing second and third respectively.
Year 5 brought with it a number of impressive performances, with Pembroke’s Cerys Williams digging deep to finish first, with Ella Northcott (Snowdon) and Jasmin Beckett-Donald rounding off the podium places.
James Gilman was the standout performer in the boys’ race, finishing just ahead of Snowdon compatriot Harry Fardoe, who marked his first ever inter-house appearance at the school with second, while Ethan Akroyd (Pembroke) finished third.
The final race of the afternoon brought with it the fastest time of the day as Pembroke’s Will Tavernor claimed the Year 6 boys’ category in a time of nine minutes, 26 seconds, with Zac Roberts (Snowdon) and Matthew Stubbins (Pembroke) rounding off the top three.
A highly competitive girls’ category saw recent arrival to Lily Davies (Snowdon) led the way ahead of Caitriona Searl (Snowdon) and Kalis Wilson-Lawrie (Pembroke).
Snowdon were crowned overall champions after achieving the most podium finishes, with Pembroke in second and Brecon third, while Eve Durrans picked up this year’s Endurance Award.
A full gallery of images from the event can be found at http://www.facebook.com/rydalpenrhosschool
Pupils earn regional squad call-ups
Christian Cheesley, Llion Morris and Matthew Stubbins have earned a place on the RYA North Wales Junior Topper Squad, which is a new sailing class within North Wales and through which they will be placed on the RYA development pathway.
The trio impressed selectors throughout what has been a superb season on the water for the school, and in particular at the recent RYA Welsh Zones Championship in Cardiff.
All three pupils undergo training and evening development sessions at the school, with 10-year-old Christian developing his craft only under the stewardship of head of sailing Max Todd.
This is the latest in a series of squad call-ups at the school, with a number of prep school pupils being selected for prestigious programmes in a number of classes.
Senior school Deputy Head Mr Cashell, said: “Congratulations to all three pupils on their well-deserved selection to the North Wales Junior Topper squad.
“Also a huge well done to our sailing staff Max, Andy, Dan, Olivia, Anna and Leah who have variously been responsible for the delivery of an excellent programme of sailing tuition as well as allowing so many of our pupils the opportunity to represent the school competitively.”
Kiera, Freddie and Fflur
Fflur Pierce, Keira Luke and Freddie MacLaverty have been called-up to the RYA North Wales Junior Tera Squad after a number of eye-catching performances over the course of the season.
The trio have been in hugely impressive form throughout the campaign, and finished off their fixtures in style with resounding success in the recent Gresford Reservoir Regatta.
Keira is following in the footsteps of brother Ewan, who has achieved enormous success with sailing partner Zac Blomeley, most notably at the RS Feva World Championships in Spain this summer.
The three pupils will now begin a winter training and development programme with the squad ahead of next season.
"This is the latest in a long line of recent sailing success stories, and congratulations go to Keira, Fflur and Freddie on their achievements."
Zac Roberts will join the Welsh Optimist North regional squad after a number of impressive displays throughout what has been a thoroughly successful campaign.
The 10-year-old will take part in the squad’s winter training programme as he prepares for the 2017 sailing season with the group.
The Welsh National and Regional Squad Programme supports around 120 talented sailors from Wales and is a proven pathway for young sailors to follow into GBR squad, Olympic and Olympic Development Squads.
"This is a huge honour for Zac and one that he is richly deserving of.
He has had a wonderful season on the water and has shown an incredible desire to get better in all aspects of his sailing, something that is already paying dividends.
"Everyone is so proud of Zac and wish him the very best of luck at winter training.”"
Host of achievements from pupils
Jonathan Osbourne picked up the U11 Athlete of the Year from Colwyn Bay Athletics Club at their end of season presentation awards.
It has been a memorable first season of competitive action for the 10-year-old, who has achieved a number of notable successes in both the 75 metre sprint and long jump.
His first outing saw him win the U11 75m sprint in a superb time of 11.8 seconds in a Cheshire League meet and was the only young athlete to go under 12 seconds in his age group, which consisted of 40 performers.
The pupil has since gone on to break three personal bests (11.6 seconds) in what has been a fantastic summer, and he has now begun using the facilities at the Senior School, where he will be working with the school’s Strength and Conditioning staff to enhance his development.
Mr McLeod, said: “Congratulations to Jonathan on his award, which is a testament to how well he has performed throughout his first season at the club.
“He is an immensely talented individual with a great willingness to get better, which is sure to bring with it even more success next summer.”
The Swimming Squad
Swim stars descended on the pool for a hotly contested evening of action on Wednesday, October 12, where they competed against each other in a series of races at the annual Squad Gala.
After a competitive gala, Nathan Richards came away with the top boy award in the Year 3 category, with Ellie Knight coming away with the top girl in the same class.
Novice Cieran Milligan won the top boy in Year 4, while Gracie Tavernor produced a fine effort to come away with the top girl prize.
James Gilman and Isabella Peevor won the top girl and boy Year 5 groups respectively, and the Year 6 awards were won by Zac Roberts and Ariana Milligan.
Head of Swimming Mr Ruszkowski, said: “It was a very competitive gala and all the squad are to be congratulated for their fine efforts.
“The quality of performances on display shows just how much talent and potential we have within our prep school swimming squad, and it bodes very well for future success.”
Competitors: Lily Copeland, Archie Jeeves, Ellie Knight, Nathan Richards, Cieran Milligan, Freya Berklay, Gracie Tavernor, Ethan Akroyd, Liam Farrell, James Gilman, William Rutherford, Isabella Peevor, Zac Roberts, Laurence Richardson, William Tavernor, Ariana Milligan, Matthew Stubbins, Lily Davies, Isabella James.
Will Glanville and Felix Griffin, Year 3 and 2 pupils, will be part of the Conwy Jackdaws U8 side after impressing at a recent trial.
The talented duo made their debuts for the club in a friendly against Llandudno recently, and will look to make a further impression next weekend when they take on Llysfaen.
Manager Matthew Gilmour commented on Will’s incredible pace, while Felix narrowly missed out on a debut goal when a fierce shot rattled the Tudno crossbar in the friendly encounter.
Mr McLeod, said: “Congratulations to Will and Felix on their selection, who are two very talented young pupils.
“We have a rich sporting tradition here at the school and potential like Felix and Will have displayed ensure that this is going to continue long into the future.”
Conwy Borough ply their trade in the Huws Gray Alliance and have a number of academy sides under the guidance of director Paul Braithwaite.
No fewer than five pupils achieved another step on the karate black belt ladder on Sunday, September 18 at Parc Eirias.
The karate kids, who are part of the Little Dragons class at John Lynn’s Black Belt Academy in Colwyn Bay, trained for three months leading up to the exam and were rewarded for their efforts after impressing judges.
Floyd Curtis and Dominic Chamberlain gained blue belt tabs, while Lucy Ranales-Griffiths and Ellie Knight gained purple belts.
Year 2 pupil William Cheesley rounded off the success by getting his hands on an orange belt.
All pupils will now be working towards future success under the guidance of Master Yoshi, an 8th dan black belt and owner of the karate school.
Mr McDuff, said: “Congratulations to all five pupils for their marvellous efforts as part of John Lynn’s Black Belt Academy.
“Learning a martial art is both demanding and rewarding in equal measure, and our pupils have shown a tremendous commitment to developing their skills over a prolonged period of time."