Prep School newsletter: June 2019
Rydal Penrhos Prep School newsletter
Foreword from the Head
'Not a moment of idle time'
Reflecting on the month of May, a relatively short half term, it is clear that there has not been a moment of idle time in the Prep School!
Every day has been filled with exciting and stimulating opportunities and adventures both in and out of the classroom.
What struck me most, reading and looking though this Newsletter, is the evident joy, energy, excitement and commitment of the children (and staff).
They have so much to be proud of in their individual, team and class endeavours.
Congratulations to all!
U11 side clinch U12 National Championship
The U11 squad travelled to Newtown on Thursday, May 9, where they took their place in the Welsh U12 National Hockey Plate Finals.
They booked their place at the showcase by winning the North Wales regional event, and a resolute defensive display to emerge saw them start with a 0-0 draw against Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron.
The side followed this up with a dominant display in their 3-0 victory over Penyrheol Comprehensive School, and the squad continued their positive momentum with another 1-0 triumph at the expense of Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn.
This was followed by another superb all-round display in their 3-0 success over Whitchurch School, before battling hard to extend their unbeaten streak with a 1-1 draw against St John Girls’ School.
Their final contest saw Rydal Penrhos take on Llanishen High School, and they turned in another fantastic display to secure a 3-0 victory to secure the coveted silverware on the national stage.
It proved to be another exceptional overall display from the squad, who scored 11 and conceded one playing a year above their required age bracket, with two U10 players also contributing significantly throughout.
Mrs Hind, said: “This is a truly remarkable achievement and one that everyone at Rydal Penrhos is enormously proud of.
“For them to secure so many accolades against older and more experienced opposition is a testament to how well they have all worked both individually and as a group, with Mrs Pyves developing their skills considerably to help them reach their goals.”
U11 squad: Keira Luke, Fflur Pierce, Gracie Tavernor, Pippa Roberts, Lily Copeland, Sophie Edwards, Charlotte Payne, Freya Berklay, Grace Watkins.
Mary Poppins confirmed as Year 6 play
The Year 6 contingent are already busy rehearsing ahead of their annual play, which will be the iconic Walt Disney tale Mary Poppins.
Mr Davies has been working incredibly hard with the cast ahead of their two-night production, which will take place on June 19 and 20.
This follows on from last year’s Year 6 play Aladdin, with the 2017 production of The Lion King another notable highlight.
Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers.
The screenplay is by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, based on P. L. Travers's book series Mary Poppins.
The film, which combines live-action and animation, starred Julie Andrews in her feature film debut as Mary Poppins, who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family's dynamic.
It was shot entirely at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California using painted London background scenes and received critical acclaim upon its release, receiving a total of 13 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture – a record for any other film released by Walt Disney Studios – and won five.
"Mary Poppins is one of the most heart-warming tales of all time and it will be a fantastic way for our Year 6 group to sign off their time with us.
Their annual play is always one of the highlights of the academic year and everyone at Rydal Penrhos is very much looking forward to it."
Mr Waszek announces colour scheme competition
As part of Rydal Penrhos’ recent announcement regarding the school’s Swimming Pool, Executive Principal John Waszek announced a colour scheme competition open to any Prep pupil has now been launched.
This will see creative minds come together to form a new colour scheme as part of the refurbishment, with Mr Waszek outlining the details during Rydal Penrhos’ weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday, May 17.
The winning entry will see their colour scheme used throughout the Swimming Pool site, and they will have the privilege of being the first group to use the facilities once it has been officially re-opened.
The school confirmed that work on improving the Swimming Pool - originally opened in 1964 - is set to be completed in time for the start of the academic year in September 2019.
Mr Waszek, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into making the necessary changes to our Swimming Pool to ensure it is a sustainable asset for years to come.
“This is another massive boost for the exciting academic and co-curricular provision we provide as part of a well-rounded and exceptional education here at Rydal Penrhos.”
Simultaneously, all pupils from Reception through to Year 9 will receive a weekly swimming lesson as part of exciting curriculum changes.
Reception to Year 4 Concert hailed a success
Rydal Penrhos held its annual Reception to Year 4 Concert on Wednesday, May 22, which saw a host of outstanding individual, group, vocal and instrumental contributions throughout another hugely successful showcase of musical talent.
April Williams, Emily Nurse and Martha-Rose Johnson kicked-off proceedings with a rendition of Firework, before Emily remained on the stage for a piano solo of Little Bo Peep.
Year 1 lent their support to the concert with a group performance of Best Day of my Life, with Layko Driver demonstrating her impressive Piano prowess by playing Night after Night.
Elliot Spall and Martha-Rose were next up with impressive performances, with Reception’s incredibly cute version of The Ants go Marching drawing a huge ovation from those in attendance.
Other notable solo contributions came from Honey Hodgson-Roberts, Shane Ayeni, Charlotte Knight, Xavier Poynton, Siham Clarke, Will Cheesley and Lewis Jellicoe, before Will Northam, Harry Nurse, Hudson Lamb and Will performed the song Shotgun as a group.
Another solo from Martha-Rose further highlighted her overall contribution to the event, with Ava Culver, Ella Ffowcs Williams, Alexandra Lopez Moreno and Noah Roberts closing out the solo performances.
The concert came to a close with group efforts from Year 3 (When you wish upon a Star) and Year 2 (Over the Rainbow), before every member of the Reception to Year 4 contingent came together to perform Sing in the final performance of the evening.
Mrs Hind, said: “This was another superb indication of the fine work being done from a Musical perspective here at Rydal Penrhos, and every pupil involved can be incredibly proud.”
Flower topic enhanced
Early Years children explored the topic of flowers during their latest outdoor learning session.
The youngest members of the Preparatory School community took part in a series of fun-filled and informative activities during another Forest School session, which have been implemented by staff to enhance their respective experiences and boost their overall development.
During the sessions, each member of the group took part in numerous flower-related activities such as planting their very own sunflowers in unwanted wellington boots and observational drawings of different flowers situated throughout the Coed y Plant facility.
The contingent also got to grips with printing using bright colours on the flowers and making their very own flower creations from materials found throughout the Forest School.
Early Years staff member Nikki Taylor, said: “They have gained a lot of knowledge from these activities which has developed their creative skills and physical skills."
Group praised following Ironbridge residential
Preparatory School pupils travelled to the heart of Shropshire for their annual residential trip.
The Year 5 Rydal Penrhos group visited Wilderhope Manor and Ironbridge over two days, and managed to take part in numerous activities during their stay.
Their first port of call was the Museum of the Gorge, where pupils learnt about the history of the area and the important part it played in the industrial revolution.
They then travelled the short distance to Jackfield tile museum where they had a tour of the museum, in addition to taking part in a workshop where they had the opportunity to create their own encaustic tile.
Following this, the pupils visited the Ironbridge itself where they had the opportunity to sketch the bridge and learn a little more about its history and construction.
The following day the group visited Enginuity, an interactive design and technology centre where they toured around the exhibits and participated in a workshop.
Blists Hill Victorian Town was the final venue, and pupils got a first-hand look at what an education was like during the era.
There was plenty of fun to be had during the residential, which saw them visit a mini fun fair and a dry ski slope to further enhance friendships and experiences during another worthwhile initiative put on by Rydal Penrhos’ exceptional staff team.
Year 3 and 4
Liverpool residential boosts learning
Rydal Penrhos’ Year 3 and 4 groups travelled to Liverpool for a special residential, where they took part in an action-packed schedule with support and leadership from members of the school’s dedicated staff team.
Their first port of call was the World Museum, where they spent considerable time in the Ancient Egypt exhibition looking at artefacts and finding out more about one of the most fascinating times in human history.
This also involved a special workshop surrounding the life and times of the Egyptians to further enhance their experience.
They concluded their first day with a special indoor climbing session at Awesome Walls Climbing Centre, where each pupil scaled the vast walls at the facility in impressive fashion.
Their second day began at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, where they took in the Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story exhibit, which tells the story of Liverpool's links to the ill-fated liner.
Pupils once again took part in a workshop that presented a unique learning opportunity and was led by an experienced member of the museum’s education team.
The residential ended on a high at the sensational TATE Gallery, where the group had the opportunity to look around the different collections in small groups and take part in a tour of the site from one of the gallery’s visitor assistants.
Large number complete Challenge
A large number of pupils have become the latest to complete a thriving academic initiative.
Rydal Penrhos staff devised the popular Spelling Challenge scheme for pupils in 2017, which has three different levels each with 110 words.
The pupils have been encouraged to work towards their incremental targets of Gold, Silver and Bronze within each stage, with Deputy Head Girl Violet Roberts is now the proud owner of a Stage Three Gold Award after coming through her final assessment with flying colours.
Year 5 duo Cameron Pye, Lily Copeland and Charlotte Payne also achieved success at the same level of difficulty to add their name to the list of pupils that have completed the challenge after an outstanding effort throughout.
Rounding off the successes was Gracie Tavernor, who also struck gold.
Mrs Hind, said: “It is always fantastic to see our Prep pupils across all age groups really striving to achieve success in our Spelling Challenge."
Half termly award winners revealed
The four hard-working individuals received their respective distinctions from Mrs Hind and Miss Hughes at Rydal Penrhos weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday, May 24, with the quartet impressing Science teacher Mrs Wareing considerably with their enthusiasm and overall application to the particular subject.
Year 6 pupil Freddie Barrington-Chance and classmate Pippa Roberts secured Outstanding Effort in Science Awards, with Year 5 standout Lily Copeland securing the Consistent Outstanding Effort in Science as a result of her wonderful efforts.
Rounding off the achievements was Year 3 pupil Xavier Poynton, who is now the proud owner of a Consistent Outstanding Effort in Science Award.
Other award winners will be revealed following the half term break who were not in attendance during the Celebration Assembly.
Mrs Hind, said: “Our young Scientists have all worked tremendously hard during the half term on a varied range of exciting and though-provoking topics from Mrs Wareing, who does an incredible job of inspiring creativity and getting the best out of those under her care on a daily basis."
Group take part in STEM project
Our Year 4 group have been covering Ratio and proportion objectives in mathematics lessons.
Led by myself, the class embarked on a STEM project which involved designing and creating a range of ‘mocktails’. As well as working out measures using their knowledge of ratio and proportion, they also had the opportunity to consider why certain mixes were the most or least popular.
From that, they then reconsidered the ratio of different ingredients to improve their product. Introducing STEM is vital while a child is developing learning habits within primary education.
STEM lessons incorporate integrated mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology; while introducing young minds to schools of scientific linear thinking, creative problem solving, inventiveness, and instilling the importance of collaboration and teamwork.
At Rydal Penrhos Prep School, we are committed to providing cross curricular approaches to learning and a range of opportunities for children to use an apply their knowledge when problem solving.
We are very excited to be planning further Enterprise activities over the next term where the STEM approach to teaching and learning, alongside business studies, will be delivered.
Speech & Drama
Chester Festival success
Six passionate Speech and Drama pupils competed at the recent Chester Festival, with all giving a very good account of themselves to secure some outstanding overall placings.
Areesha Owais and Martha-Rose Johnson enjoyed a superb day at the event and finished joint-first in the Prepared Original Scene in the Year 6 and under class, with the duo also achieving second spot in the Year 3-4 Mime category to round off their exceptional contribution.
A large number of other pupils competing received moderate, merit or commended marks as a result of their outstanding performances, with Steffan Atenstaedt, Siham Clarke, Ifana Wynn-Jones and Sophie Edwards gaining some valuable experience in a competitive environment.
This is the latest in a series of impressive achievements from the Prep School’s Speech and Drama provision, with each participant benefitting enormously from the expert guidance and support of coach Andrea Wilder throughout their development.
Mrs Hind, said: “This is yet another very encouraging performance from our young Speech and Drama group, and to see them thriving at such a high-profile event is a testament to their talent and overall desire to improve."
Annual Snowdon climb completed
The Year 6 class at Rydal Penrhos took part in a special walk up Mount Snowdon on Wednesday, May 22, which is part of a series of fun-filled and challenging activities devised for them before they depart.
After a tough day of walking and climbing, they finally reached the highest point in Wales early in the afternoon, where they posed for pictures and took in the picturesque views that come with reaching the summit.
They were joined on the walk by members of Rydal Penrhos’ dedicated staff team, in addition to their parents who kindly gave up their time to lend their support.
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles south of the Scottish Highlands.
Mrs Hind, said: “We are fortunate to have some of the most picturesque surrounding in the entire country on our doorstep here at Rydal Penrhos, and we strive to ensure that this extreme benefit it utilised to its utmost.
“Each member of our Year 6 group has been a privilege to have here, and it is fantastic that events like this will give them even more fantastic memories before they start on the Senior School journey."
Pupil receives Royal letter
Steffan Atenstaedt produced a picture-postcard for HRH Prince Charles surrounding climate change, and, in particular, the damage plastic is having on marine life.
The eight-year-old received acknowledgement of his efforts with a special letter of thanks from a representative of the Prince of Wales, which was read out by Executive Principal John Waszek at Rydal Penrhos’ weekly Prep School Celebration Assembly on Friday, May 3.
Claudia Spence, a member of the Victorian Order who sent the letter on behalf of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, said: “I have been asked on behalf of his Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, to thank Steffan for a wonderful picture-postcard that was so passionate about saving the environment.
“His Royal Highness was delighted to hear how enthusiastic you are about saving the environment, which is a vital issue you are right to be concerned about.
“He has spoken many times about plastic and the increasing damage of plastic materials in the ocean, and His Royal Highness sends you his warmest thanks.”
In addition to the letter, Steffan also received a special picture of Charles and Camilla for the caring pupil to keep as a memento.
Mrs Hind, added: “Steffan was absolutely thrilled to receive his letter and it will be something he can treasure forever."
5-star hygiene rating maintained
Following an inspection by Conwy County Council’s Environment Health Officer, Rydal Penrhos’ catering facilities were given a five score, which is the highest available mark they can receive.
This is the same rating that Rydal Penrhos Senior School received from the local authority last year, meaning both the Prep and Senior sites continue to operate under the maximum score for hygiene standards.
The school have benefitted considerably from the introduction of Holroyd Howe as its catering providers in recent months, who provide high-quality, nutritional meals for children across all age groups at the site.
Mrs Hind, said: “I am delighted to announce that we have once again equalled the maximum score of five awarded by the Conwy EHO for the ‘Scores on the Doors’ food hygiene rating system.
“A big thanks to all catering staff at the Prep School on this fantastic achievement, this type of rating involves a lot of hard and dedicated teamwork and I am proud of them all.
“This is the type of exemplary standards we set across all areas of life here at Rydal Penrhos, which has been part of the culture for more than a century and is a key component in the overall success of the school.”
Fab five qualify for national finals
No fewer than five young athletes booked their place at the IAPS National Prep Schools’ Championships at the Alexander Arena in Birmingham later this year thanks to their sterling performance at the Northern Regional heat, which took place in Manchester on Friday, May 17.
Year 6 pupil Freddie Barrington-Chance turned in a superb display in the U12 javelin event, securing first place in the standings thanks to a sensational 22.33-metre throw.
Joining him at the national finals is Cieran Milligan, who demonstrated his trademark pace to cross the line first in the U12 100-metre race, with Tristan Griffiths finishing top of the podium in the U12 hurdle final after a rousing display.
The incredible stamina of Freddie MacLaverty was once again evident on his way to gold in the U12 800m race, and the boys’ 100m relay team of Freddie BC, Freddie M, Cieran and Dominic Chamberlain achieving a notable triumph in a time of approximately one minute.
Another standout effort came from Shane Ayeni, who produced a sprinting masterclass to clinch the U11 title despite being a year below the required age bracket.
Narrowly missing out on qualification were Freya Berklay, Theo Roberts and Dominic, who all finished second in the Shotput, Hurdles and 200m events.
Mr McLeod, said: “This was an absolutely incredible performance from a group of young children who always seem to rise to the occasion on the big stage.
“Their willingness to succeed and drive each other on to bigger and better things has been evident throughout their time here at Rydal Penrhos, and we continue to punch well above our weight in a sporting environment on a consistent basis.”
National success with regional rugby side
Cieran Milligan formed part of the North East Wales Schools’ U11 side that took on Rhymney Valley in the Welsh U11 Championships at Llanidloes Rugby Club.
The Prep School rugby captain played a major role in a pulsating final contest that saw both sides trade the lead throughout, with the Valley eventually emerging victorious at the death.
This ensured the North East Wales squad were crowned runners-up in the competition, which represents a significant achievement and the highest finish the set-up has achieved in the last 20 years.
They booked their place in the showcase with a 5-3 victory over Newport in their semi-final clash, which saw the group dig deep to produce another rousing display.
This is the latest in a long line of achievements for Cieran, who played a significant part in the squad’s rise to prominence throughout the competition during the season.
He also skippered the Prep School to their fifth straight Cooper Cup victory against Colwyn Bay to further enhance his growing reputation.
Pembroke claim title
Talented athletes battled it out for bragging rights at Rydal Penrhos’ annual Sports Day.
The young Prep School sports stars competed in a series of events on Tuesday, May 21 in-front of a packed out audience of parents, families and staff on a gorgeous day on the Plateau, with the event following immediately after the annual Pre-Prep Sports Morning.
After events including hurdles, obstacles, egg and spoon, relays and sprints, Pembroke emerged victorious by a narrow margin, with House Captains Freddie Barrington-Chance and Gracie Tavernor picking up the coveted trophy from Mr McLeod and Mrs Hind.
There were a number of impressive individual performances throughout the event, with the likes of Cieran Milligan, Shane Ayeni, Freddie, Archie Jeeves, Tristan Griffiths, Gracie, Chloe Tillman-Lennon and Ifana Wynn Jones all contributing significantly to the overall Pembroke success.
Other notable contributions came from Pippa Roberts, Ella Payne, Erin Mart, Felix Griffin, Dominic Chamberlain, Sophie Morris, Robyn Borg Barthet, Jorvan Toor, Lily Copeland, James Davies and Fleur Roberts, with all Prep pupils taking part in the hotly contested event.
More national success for Xav
Xavier Poynton took his place in the U10 age group at the first series of the Pendle Club National, which was the first in a series of events to determine the overall winner in various categories.
The eight-year-old produced another exceptional series of runs to finish at the top of the podium in his age category of choice, with brother Xander cheering him on throughout.
Xavier is also competing against some of the most promising young skiers in the country at the GBR Series, which is held over a number of weeks in an indoor and outdoor environment.
The pupil managed to secure a high-profile sponsorship deal for the event, with Zip World making Xavier a Brand Ambassador for the competition.
His first leg efforts were exceptional on the outdoor circuit, resulting in Xavier securing top of the podium in the U10 category thanks to a series of standout runs.
This was followed by another medal-winning performance in the first indoor leg at the Chill Factore in Manchester, where Xavier finished in third spot.
Pre-Prep Sports Morning
Snowdon claim spoils
Young track and field hopefuls took part in Rydal Penrhos’ annual Pre-Prep Sports Morning.
The young Prep School sports stars competed in a series of events on Tuesday, May 21 in front of a packed out audience of parents, families and staff at the picturesque Plateau playing surface.
After events including hurdles, obstacles, egg and spoon, relays and sprints, Snowdon emerged victorious by a narrow margin in what was a highly competitive competition, with Archie-Glyn Chesworth and Beatrice Brookes-Fazakerley collecting the coveted trophy from Mr McLeod and Mrs Hind.
There were a host of impressive individual performances throughout the event, with Harrison Simmons, Freddie Griffin, Layko Driver and Frencesca Berklay all securing some outstanding results as a result of their efforts.
Mrs Hind, said: “Our Pre-Prep Sports Morning was another wonderful event that really brought out the best in our young pupils, and they all got an enormous amount out of the experience in front of parents and family members."
Wealth of achievements
Fflur Pierce took her place in the field at the RS Tera Squad Selector, which was held at Northampton Sailing Club.
The Senior Prefect is looking to extend her impressive collection of results on the national stage throughout what promises to be another busy summer, and Fflur was at her consistent best during the series of races at the event.
This resulted in Fflur attaining a second place finish from the hotly contested competition, a result that is going to give her plenty of confidence as she looks to enhance her reputation and one of the brightest young sailors anywhere in the country.
Fflur competed at the World Championships last summer alongside fellow Prep School pupils Freddie MacLaverty and Keira Luke, and she has been a hugely influential member of the Year 6 group before moving on to Rydal Penrhos’ senior site in September.
Mrs Hind, said: “Fflur has demonstrated an incredible amount of potential since joining our sailing provision, achieving regional, national and international success from a truly exceptional young career to date.
“This trend shows no sign of slowing down if her performance at the RS Tera Squad Selector is anything to go by, and we are enormously proud of Fflur and what she has accomplished so far.”
Keira Luke was part of the Colwyn Bay Hockey Club side that competed at the National Championships, which took place in Newtown.
The young side secured their place at the competition with a notable triumph in the North Wales regional heat, and after a hugely competitive series of fixtures the Bay squad managed to seal third spot in the standings on the national stage.
This is the latest in a series of notable hockey achievements for Keira, who played a starring role for Rydal Penrhos U11 side who defied their age with a Conwy and North Wales Plate championship double at U12 level to secure a spot in the Welsh Schools’ Championships later this year.
She also captained the school’s U11 side to victory in the Urdd Conwy Championships and subsequent qualification to the Urdd National Finals.
Mrs Hind, said: “Keira is a multi-talented individual who is simply thriving across all areas of her academic studies and co-curricular activities, and she deserves an enormous amount of credit for the way she conducts herself and continues to improve on a daily basis.
“This is another notable addition to her list of accolades and I would like to congratulate Keira and the Colwyn Bay team on their excellent performance at the national championships.”
Assistant Head Miss Hughes announced Rydal Penrhos’ Rounders captain and vice-captain for the upcoming season of fixtures at the school’s weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday, May 5.
Year 6 pupil Pippa Roberts will be tasked with leading the group after being appointed as skipper, with Freya Berklay working closely alongside her after securing the vice-captaincy.
Both are very influential members of the Prep School community and serve as fantastic role models to younger children, offering support and advice throughout all areas whenever it is required.
They will now be responsible for organising the U11 side during a busy series of upcoming fixtures throughout the summer term as Rydal Penrhos looks to continue its rich history of sporting success under the guidance of Head of Girls’ Games Mrs Pyves and other dedicated staff.
Mrs Hind, said: “Congratulations to Pippa and Freya on their respective appointments, and I am confident that they are going to excel in their roles.
“They have demonstrated impressive leadership qualities during the current academic year, and hopefully this can make a smooth transition to the Rounders’ field in what should be another fantastic season for a talented group of players.
“Both of them are sure to get the very most out of the overall experience and I wish them the best of luck.”
Hudson Lamb travelled to the iFly Indoor Skydiving Centre in Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester, for a fun-filled and exhilarating day of adrenaline enhancing activities.
The thrill-seeking individual took part in his gravity-defying day under the watchful eye of instructor Aden Pesarini, which included belly flying forwards and backwards, in addition to up and down movements to further enhance the overall experience at the facility.
Hudson was presented with a certificate acknowledging his incredibly brave efforts throughout the day, which was presented to him by Prep School Head Mrs Hind and Assistant Head Miss Hughes at Rydal Penrhos’ weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday, May 10.
Mrs Hind, said: “Hudson certainly embraced the challenge considerably, which is even more remarkable when you consider his age and the unfamiliar environment he found himself in.
“His enthusiasm, adaptability and willingness to embrace every experience both in and out of school are all fantastic traits to have, and this is going to serve him extremely well as he progresses through his education and co-curricular opportunities.
“I know Hudson got e tremendous amount of the day, and it is something that even some adults would have trouble doing.”