Senior School newsletter: August 2019
Check all the latest news from the summer at RP.
Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Impressive results from Sixth Form group
Some extremely strong individual performances were the highlight of another superb set of A-level results at Rydal Penrhos School.
Imogen Camp, Gowri Pradeep and Nick Fiorita all began their education at Rydal Penrhos Prep School and have thrived for well over a decade both academically and from an extra-curricular perspective under the guidance and support of specialist staff at both sites.
The undoubted standout was Colwyn Bay resident Imogen, who managed to secure an exceptional five grades at A* in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics.
This incredible set of results for the Welsh youth chess champion has confirmed her place at the prestigious Queens’ College Cambridge, where she will study Natural Sciences.
Her results included 499 out of a possible 500 in Chemistry and 497/500 in Physics.
Departing Head Girl Gowri, who lives in Bodelwyddan, was another to achieve a considerable amount thanks to her sterling commitment to her studies.
With an A* in Chemistry and two A’s in Biology and Mathematics, Gowri will now head to King’s College London to study Medicine over a five-year period.
Nick, who held the position of Head Boy at the school and is a Llandudno resident, attained four A grades in Economics, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology and has secured a place studying Physics at the University of Warwick.
Alistair Irvine, Venus Kwong, Ewan Luke and Caitlin Qu were others that emerged from their respective subjects with impressive results, with a number of Year 12 pupils also achieving considerable success one year into their A-level studies.
The subjects that achieved 100 per cent pass rates were Art and Design, Biology, Chinese, English Literature, French, Geography, Further Mathematics, Music and Spanish.
Oustanding A-level achievement
A group of Lower Sixth Form pupils managed to secure some impressive A-level results.
As results were published nationwide on Thursday, August 15, a large number of Year 12 also achieving extremely pleasing marks to join those in Year 13 that formally concluded their time as a member of the Rydal Penrhos community with some superb achievements in various subjects.
Incoming Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones, Abhishek Bathula and Eddie Farrell all secured A* grades in Mathematics a year early thanks to their sterling commitment under the guidance and support of dedicated staff within the department.
There was further cause for celebration as Bijou Rajagopal and Tomos Cole-King attained A grades, with Tallulah Batley, Matthias Fiorita, Jamie Lavery and William Stewart coming away with B marks in the same subject.
Edward Patrick was another to secure a notable achievement in his Religious Studies AS Level assessment, emerging with an A grade.
Mrs Harding, said: “This represents a significant achievement for members of our Lower Sixth Form group, who have demonstrated their academic prowess and flourished during the first year of life
“This bodes extremely well for the remainder of their studies here at Rydal Penrhos, and hopefully they can carry this trend forward into next summer’s results and add to our rich history of examination success that goes back for generations.”
Queens' College Cambridge place secured
A Sixth Form pupil ended a 16-year stint at Rydal Penrhos with some truly exceptional A-level results.
Imogen Camp, who hails from Colwyn Bay, enrolled at the Prep School’s Reception class in 2003 and has spent the entirety of her education within the Rydal Penrhos community.
This has seen her achieve a significant amount from an academic and extra-curricular perspective, and this success concluded with no fewer than five A* grades when results were published on Thursday, August 15.
The departing pupil achieved this in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics, which confirmed Imogen’s place at Queens’ College Cambridge.
She will be studying Natural Sciences at the prestigious further education establishment, and Imogen’s results were made even more extraordinary with the fact she scored 499 out of a possible 500 in her Chemistry and 497/500 in Physics.
Imogen’s Chess ability was evident from a very early age, winning a series of regional competitions during her time at the Prep School that eventually resulted in a Welsh Youth squad selection later on, with the pupil taking part in prestigious competitions such as the World Youth Championships for her country.
She was also crowned joint-winner of the Welsh Senior Women’s Championship to further enhance her reputation as one of the brightest young players anywhere in the country.
Imogen, who was selected to the Prefect team at the start of the 2018/19 academic year, successfully attained a Gold Award from the British (International) Biology Olympiad earlier this year out of just 681 candidates worldwide.
Departing Head Girl off to King's College London
Outgoing Head Girl Gowri Pradeep, a Year 13 pupil at the school, secured some outstanding A-level results in order to secure her place at King’s College London, where she plans to study Medicine over a five-year period.
This was attained with an A* in Chemistry, in addition to a pair of A grades in Biology and Mathematics.
The influential figure has been a revelation in her role as Head Girl throughout the current academic year, and she has achieved a considerable amount since arriving at Rydal Penrhos as a Year 2 pupil in 2008 after spending the majority of her education within the school community.
She has secured a wealth of academic triumphs, a Conwy county netball selection and some impressive grading accolades from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Another notable highlight was her performance in the British (International) Biology Olympiad earlier this year, which saw Gowri achieve a Silver Award that was attained by just 776 people worldwide.
Gowri has also lent her support to the next generation of Rydal Penrhos pupils in her role as Prefect and Peer Mentor, and her charitable nature has seen her visit Uganda as part of a school charity mission.
There will be a familiar face at King’s College London upon her arrival, with 2018 leaver Sara Owen also studying Medicine at the facility.
A-level triumph seals Warwick place
Departing Head Boy Nick Fiorita, who resides in Llandudno, was rewarded for his exceptional application to his studies with an A* in Physics and three A grades in Economics, Mathematics and Psychology, confirming his spot on the Physics degree course at the University of Warwick.
The 18-year-old has achieved a considerable amount at Rydal Penrhos since enrolling as a Reception class pupil back in 2006, which saw him voted in to the role of Head Boy during his final year of school life.
He has been a significant asset to the school in the coveted leadership position, emerging as a standout role model to the Lower School group and contributing heavily to a wide range of different successes throughout the academic year.
This included a record-breaking Christmas Market fundraising total for Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice in Conwy, and Nick also reached a notable milestone after completing his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in double-quick time.
Mrs Harding, said: “Nick is a pupil that has been with us throughout his education and has grown into a truly exceptional young man with an incredibly bright future.
“He has been a fantastic ambassador for our wonderful school in his role of Head Boy, and the foundations Nick and our teaching staff have laid are going to ensure he becomes a tremendous success in whatever he goes on to do in the future.”
Success stories aplenty
As GCSE results were published across the country on Thursday, August 22, the school announced that 36.1 per cent of all final marks were A*-A (9-7), with the number of pupils achieving A*-C (9-4) grades recorded at 91.6%.
There were a host of individual success stories from the Year 11 group, with Richard Wolfendale’s exceptional application to his studies bringing a truly remarkable set of examination results.
The Rhos on Sea resident achieved no fewer than six 9 marks in English, English Literature, French, Geography, Mathematics and Music, in addition to three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Richard also secured a distinction in Additional Mathematics and an eight score in Religious Studies, and he has been at Rydal Penrhos for the entirety of his education after enrolling in Year 5.
Another standout performer was Vanessa Ma, who attained 9’s in Business, Chinese, English Literature, French and Mathematics, three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, two 8 marks in History and Religious Studies and a distinction in Additional Mathematics.
Colwyn Bay resident Kevin Farrell managed to secure three 9’s, three A*’s and a distinction as a result of his efforts, with Anna Parry-Williams, Eleanour Osbourne, Cerys Cuddihy, Harry Grocott, Sydney Johnson, Morgan Kendall, Nicholas Riding, Amanda Sperring and Alicia Zhou others to achieve a considerable amount.
Among the top performing subjects were Mathematics, Physical Education, Biology, English Literature and Physics.
Executive Principal John Waszek, said: “Our commitment to academic excellence continues to be at the forefront of the well-rounded education we provide here at Rydal Penrhos, and it is extremely pleasing to see the hard work of our pupils paying off with another excellent set of GCSE results.
“It is also a credit to our academic leaders, the pupils' teachers, tutors and parents, who have all guided and supported them exceptionally well throughout their studies and can rightfully be very proud of their respective contributions.”
Exceptional GCSE attainments
A large number of Year 10 pupils at Rydal Penrhos defied their age to secure some outstanding GCSE results.
The candidates found out their fate on Thursday, August 22 as results were published nationwide, which saw some eye-catching results from many of those sitting their respective examinations 12 months ahead of time.
No fewer than 17 pupils achieved either a 9 or 8 grade in Mathematics a year early, with Ameer Animashaun, Derek Ho, Rebecca Mann, Daniel McLaughlin, Simeon Murphy-Thomas, Juan Rajagopal and Cameron Shaw securing 9 marks as a result of their sterling academic efforts.
Isabel Bateson, Shruthi Ganapathi, Megan Gibson, Arthur Hind, Baptise Mazars, Tasnim Mortuza, Josh Peevor, Emily Penwright, and Suhas Shekar managed to attain 8’s to round off another exceptional set of examination results from the department.
Gloria Johnson was another standout performer after securing 9 marks in French and Spanish, and Juan added to his list of accolades with a 9 in Music and three A* grades in his Biology, Chemistry and Physics IGCSE units.
Those sitting the Welsh (Second Language) module also achieved a considerable amount, with Isabel, Lili Minton-Roberts Cameron and Sophie Williams gaining A* grades.
Ammer, Isabel, Shruthi, Megan Gibson, Derek, Rebecca, Daniel, Tasnim, Simeon, Emily, Cameron and Suhas were other that swept the board with A* grades from their Biology, Chemistry and Physics IGCSE units.
Mrs Harding, said: “For so many of our Year 10 pupils to have achieved such a pleasing set of results a year ahead of schedule is a testament to their ongoing commitment to their academic studies and the support they constantly receive from teaching staff and their parents.
“This bodes tremendously well for the remainder of their GCSE studies."
New Prep School Head appointed
Rydal Penrhos is delighted to confirm the appointment of Lucy Davies as its new Preparatory School Headteacher.
The former Rydal School pupil returns to her roots on an interim basis initially, with a decision concerning the organisational and leadership structure of Senior and Prep Schools to be made during next term as part of the appointment process of a substantive Principal.
Having completed a degree in Anthropology at Durham University, Mrs Davies worked in marketing before moving to Exeter University to take her teaching qualification.
Mrs Davies worked in two different maintained schools in Nottingham holding management positions in the subjects of science and maths, as well as being in charge of different year groups in large schools.
Having had four sons the family took the decision to work abroad and Mrs Davies found herself as Head of Mathematics at a large primary school in Qatar.
During her years in the Middle East, Mrs Davies held various leadership positions until finally becoming the Head of Juniors with the responsibility for nearly 1000 students, before taking a second postgraduate qualification in dyslexia and learning.
She has also completed her National Professional Qualification for Headship and was appointed Head of The Firs Prep School in 2014, in addition to completing her Masters in Educational leadership at Chester University in October 2017.
"As a former pupil of Rydal School I feel extremely privileged to return to Rydal Penrhos School in the role of Head of Prep.
The school certainly gave me a love of learning and I know that it still has that special blend of academic rigour alongside excellent individual pastoral care.
I am extremely excited about meeting staff, pupils and parents over the forthcoming weeks."
Head of Pastoral Care & Head of Year 7
Rydal Penrhos is pleased to confirm the appointment of Alison Hind to a pair of prominent leadership positions.
The experienced figure will move from her role as Preparatory School Headteacher to two exciting roles as part of ongoing structural and organisational improvements throughout Rydal Penrhos.
She will now assume the role of Head of Pastoral for both Prep and Senior Schools, which will also see her act as the new Head of Year 7.
Mrs Hind has been Rydal Penrhos’ Designated Safeguarding Leader for a considerable period and boasts significant experience in both Secondary and Primary education.
She will oversee all pastoral care within the school from Kindergarten to Year 13 including responsibility for the induction of new pupils, Additional Learning Needs and Medical Provision.
The role will also see Mrs Hind lead on the improvement of relationships with feeder schools.
Mrs Hind, said: “I am extremely excited to be taking on these roles, which I consider to be key to the overall success of the school.
“Ensuring our children are safe is paramount in this ever-changing world and this is something we take great pride in here at Rydal Penrhos, which in-turn enables our pupils to thrive both academically and during their extra-curricular activities."
Valuable work experience for ambitious pupil
To take his mind off the harrowing wait for GCSE results, Richard Wolfendale spent five days experiencing work at CGG Robertson at Llanrhos, Llandudno.
The French-owned company specialises in the analysis of subsurface data to locate oil and gas around the world.
Richard, for whom geology and science are strong interests, spent time in the Marketing department and on the Africa and Mexico desks.
He was able work with some of CGG’s software, including looking at how rock samples are interpreted with an electron microscope and evaluating oil well data from the North Sea, Mexico and Mozambique.
The Rhos on Sea resident achieved no fewer than six 9 marks in English, English Literature, French, Geography, Mathematics and Music, in addition to three A* grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
He also secured a distinction in Additional Mathematics, and an eight score in Religious Studies.
Richard’s musical exploits have seen him become an accomplished performer and valuable contributor to community and school concerts, with his involvement in Rydal Penrhos’ Golf Academy programme also coming in for significant praise during the campaign.
This saw Richard secure his first-ever hole in one on the 17th at North Wales Golf Club in Llandudno, in addition to achieving a wealth of regional tournament successes both individually and as part of the school squad.
Amy gains near perfect score from LAMDA assessment
A supremely talented Performing Artist achieved a hugely impressive result from a prestigious examination grading.
Amy Yue recently attempted to secure her Grade 8 Gold Medal Certificate in Musical Theatre (Solo) prior to the summer break, which was administered by the London Academy of Music and Performing Arts.
The pupil produced a truly exceptional performance in front of adjudicators, which resulted in Amy attaining a Distinction for her efforts.
This achievement is even more impressive as Amy managed to score 95 out of a possible 100, putting her among the top candidates in the country.
The Chinese boarding pupil has developed her performing skills superbly as part of Rydal Penrhos’ specialist Speech and Drama provision, with Amy nurturing her incredible talent under the guidance and support of teacher Christina Bloomfield.
Her contribution to the outstanding Dramatic Society production of Les Miserables in the role of Cosette drew widespread praise, and Amy’s vocal skills were showcased at a large number of community and school concerts during the academic year.
The Sixth Former was also selected to sing as part of the Spring Gala Festival in January, which is part of a sensational production for the Chinese New Year celebrations in her native land.
Mrs Harding, said: “This is an absolutely extraordinary result for Amy and one she can be enormously proud of."
Distinctions galore from Prep LAMDA exams
The successful Rydal Penrhos Prep candidates achieved some exceptional results as part of their London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts examinations, which are part of the opportunities offered in the school’s thriving Speech and Drama provision.
No fewer than four fantastic performers came away with Distinctions from their Solo Introductory Stage Two attempts, with Steffan Atenstaedt, Siham Clarke, Lexi-May Williams and Ifana Wyn Jones all securing the impressive feat.
There was further cause for celebration at Solo Introductory Stage Three level, which saw Lewis Jellicoe, Joshua Williams, Martha-Rose Johnson and Areesha Owais all attaining Distinctions as a result of their incredible efforts.
Year 6 duo of Keira Luke and Sophie Edwards managed to sign off in style with a Distinction in their Acting Grade One Combined assessment, with Molly Alefounder achieving a Distinction in her Acting Grade One – Solo.
Rounding off the accolades from a Prep School perspective was Lucy Ranales-Griffiths, who came away with a Merit from her Acting Entry Level (Solo) grading.
News from former pupils
The school’s annual Vikings Rugby tournament will take place over Founders’ Weekend on Sunday, September 15, with the festivities set to get underway at 11am.
This year’s event will once again take place under a touch rugby format, with all ages and abilities welcome to take part. Breakfast will be served at Rydal Penrhos’ impressive New Field site from 10am, and there will be a barbecue to enjoy once the tournament has concluded.
Teams will be competing for the Bleddyn Williams trophy, which is named in honour of the former Rydal pupil who as a Welsh international, British Lions captain and was referred to as The Prince Of Centres.
Mrs Head, said: “The Vikings Rugby tournament is a fitting end to our Founders’ Weekend celebrations here at Rydal Penrhos, and it further highlights the community spirit that exists between our current and former pupils.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Rydal Penrhos for the occasion.”
Anybody wishing to register their interest or for more information can do so on the Rydal Vikings Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/4570207778/.
Georgia Wilson, who left the school in 2012, has been crowned para dressage European champion in grade II, having won gold in the freestyle with her 10-year-old British-bred mare Midnight.
The 23-year-old, competing at her first championship, went one better than her silver in the individual test on Friday, producing a dazzling display to earn an enormous 78.19%.
Speaking following her gold medal triumph, Wilson said: “I was slightly ahead of my music so I was a bit worried through the test — I had to really think about how to use the arena and I tried to use all my corners.
“We finished in the right place. But it was a year ago that we did the floorplan and Midnight has got a lot more powerful in that time.
“I’m not sure the silver team medal has suck in yet — it might take a week for this to seem real.”
The Betws-yn-Rhos native managed to relegate Friday’s gold medallist, Pepo Puch of Austria, into silver with Sailor’s Boy after a rousing performance for the Team GB squad.
This is another notable achievement from the former pupil, who continues to enhance her reputation as one of the most polished young riders anywhere in the world thanks to her consistent level of performances on the international stage.
Efan Jones, who left the school in 2016, started for Scarlets A in their weekend clash with Ulster A, and the Wrexham native was at his brilliant best to score a notable treble in a narrow 35-32 Celtic Cup loss for his side.
Jones has widely been regarded as one of the most promising young players anywhere in the country for a number of years and was a leading influence for RGC last term throughout the Indigo Group Premiership campaign.
This saw him come away with the Overall Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year titles from their end of season presentation evening following their final day victory over Cardiff.
He came through their Academy ranks at Rydal Penrhos, where he earned national honours with the Wales U18 squad before moving on to Bangor University to study a degree.
The back’s third score of a pulsating contest gave the Scarlets a 29-23 advantage heading into the closing stages, but they were unable to withstand a wealth of pressure from the Irish outfit late on in defeat.
Mrs Head, said: “Efan’s qualities on the rugby pitch have been there for all to see over the last 18 months, and it was no surprise to see him turn in another exceptional performance on the big stage."
Charley claims national title
Charley Simpson, a Year 9 pupil at the school, travelled to Clyne Golf Club in the pursuit of a major tournament victory at the Welsh U14 Open Championship, which took place on August 22 and 23.
The sports scholar and Golf Wales Academy member produced a fine effort throughout his first round in testing conditions, coming up with a series of impressive strokes to put him in the final group heading into the crucial second round.
With conditions far better during day two, Charley demonstrated nerves of steel to fire in a one-under-par overall round to seal the title by a convincing six strokes.
This included a stunning 24-foot putt for birdie on the final hole, and he responded well to three bogeys during the round by immediately securing birdies.
Charley formally received his Welsh Open Championship and Welsh Boys’ title at a special ceremony following the competition, and this is the latest in a series of outstanding successes for the Rhos on Sea Golf Club junior captain, who has brought his game on considerably since joining Rydal Penrhos’ thriving Golf Academy provision.
He geared up for his national triumph with a strong showing at the England U14 Boys’ Championship, which is regarded as the most testing event for players in this age bracket on the continent.
The teenager tackled the tough course at Trentham Golf Club to become the only Welsh player to make it to the final round, which secured some valuable European ranking points that propelled him to the number one U14 player in the country.
Reuben helps Wales to Division II gold
Reuben Bather was part of the Wales U18 contingent that travelled to Poland for the European Boys Team Championships, which saw the group aiming to restore their Division One status.
The Maesdu Golf Club junior captain was a prominent figure throughout the competition at Toya Golf and CC Poland, and the Welsh side managed to get their noses in front before adverse weather forced the latter stages of the tournament to be cancelled.
This ensured Reuben and other squad members will now compete in Division One going forward, and he received a gold medal at the competition’s evening dinner to round off another hugely successful trip to the continent.
The sports scholar continues to show why he is widely regarded as one of the best young golfers anywhere in the country, and he will be looking to continue his exceptional success since joining Rydal Penrhos’ Golf Academy during his first year of Sixth Form from September.
Mrs Head, said: “This is yet another outstanding achievement from Reuben as part of the Welsh squad, and for him to be competing once again at Division One standard is going to be another massive boost to his overall development.
“He is an incredibly hard working individual who demonstrates an enormous commitment to his golf, and this is something that has been enhanced considerably with our strength and conditioning team here at Rydal Penrhos.”
Owen shines for club and country
Owen Reilly was part of the Welsh U17 cricket side that took on Gloucestershire for a pair of T20 fixtures on Wednesday, August 21, which saw the national side perform exceptionally well on their way to a notable double.
He began with an impressive showing with the ball in the first game, claiming two wickets for the loss of just 19 runs during a five-wicket triumph for the Wales side.
His outstanding contribution continued against a Gloucestershire development side, with Owen further outlining his immense potential at the crease with a half-century knock of 50 from just 53 deliveries, and Owen also aided his side’s cause with two wickets in their dramatic one-run victory.
The first XI captain also made an appearance for a North Wales select XI in their annual encounter against their South African counterparts on Bank Holiday Sunday, producing a score of 39 to round off another memorable week.
The promising teenager has enjoyed a fantastic summer for club and country, which has enhanced his growing reputation as one of the brightest young prospects anywhere in the country.
Josh crowned Snowdon 10km U23 champion
Josh Peevor was part of a large contingent that took part in the 10km category at the Snowdon Trail Marathon, which saw the teenager turn in a superb display on the area’s gruelling terrain.
The 15-year-old demonstrated his incredible potential to finish top of the podium in the U23 boys’ category with a time of 52 minutes and 23 seconds, which represents another significant achievement from the Middle School pupil.
His overall performance also sealed 11th place overall out of 248 entrants in the 10km section of the event, which attracted thousands of competitors to one of the most picturesque areas anywhere in the country.
This feat was made even most impressive by the fact that Josh, who was representing Eryri Harriers, was unable to put much training in prior to the event due to other commitments.
Mrs Harding, said: “This is a tremendous achievement from Josh and one that he can look back on with a great sense of pride.
“Tackling the Snowdon Trail 10km takes an incredible amount of stamina, resilience and determination, which are traits that Josh has in abundance."
National success for Ewan and Zac
Ewan Luke and Zac Blomeley took their place in a supremely talented field at the 29er UK National Championship/Eurocup event, which took place from August 6-11 at the Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy in Pwllheli.
The duo were at the top of their game throughout the high-profile competition, which featured 12 races to determine the overall victor.
After a hugely competitive few days of action, Ewan and Zac managed to secure a notable podium finish, eventually finishing in second to attain a silver medal.
They were narrowly beaten into top spot by fellow Team GB sailing squad members Fin Armstrong and Ollie Edwards.
This is the latest in a series of fine achievements from the team as they continue to enhance their reputation as one of the brightest young pairs anywhere in the country.
Ewan and Zac were exceptional ambassadors for Rydal Penrhos’ RYA Accredited sailing programme, securing regional, national and international success and emerging as tremendous role models for younger pupils looking to follow in their footsteps.
"Ewan and Zac raised the profile of our sailing provision in an enormously positive way, and this result is further proof of how much they have developed under specialist coaching staff at Rydal Penrhos and their ability to perform well on the big stage.
Hopefully the foundations they have laid during their time here will be the platform for bigger and better things in the future, and everyone at Rydal Penrhos wishes them the very best of luck."