Senior School newsletter: July 2019
Rydal Penrhos School's monthly newsletter.
Rydal Penrhos newsletter
New Deputy Head team announced
The school confirmed that Gabriella Murphy and Phil Sutton will form the new Deputy Head team following a successful interview process, with the pair playing a leading role in the school’s success for a number of years.
Mrs Murphy is currently Head of Lower School and will lead on Pupils’ Progress and Wellbeing.
She is a long-standing member of the school community after starting her education at Penrhos College, before securing a BA in Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield.
The popular figure also successfully obtained a TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) from the same further education establishment, and Mrs Murphy joined Rydal Penrhos’ teaching staff in 2000.
In addition to her teaching and leadership commitments, Mrs Murphy is also the school’s current Safeguarding Lead.
Mr Sutton rounds off the newly appointed team and will be responsible for the quality of Teaching and Learning.
Following a degree (BSc) in Engineering from the University of Leeds, he worked in industry for six year before making a career change after attaining a PGCE from the University of Huddersfield. Mr Sutton has taught Design Technology for more than 15 years, most recently as Head of Department at Rydal Penrhos.
Mr Waszek, said: “It is through the staff of the school that our pupils are kept safe, encouraged and enabled to thrive.
“Consequently, we attach the greatest importance to our recruitment of teaching and support staff who, individually and collectively, have the biggest impact on the pupils.
“I am confident that Mrs Murphy and Mr Sutton are going to be a significant asset to Rydal Penrhos in their new roles and congratulate them on securing the posts.”
Inaugural event a success
The school welcomed prospective pupils and their families for an inaugural Open Afternoon, which took place on Thursday, June 27.
There were a host of things to enjoy throughout the showcase, including lesson demonstrations from core academic departments such as English, Mathematics and Science.
Those in attendance were given individual tours of the school with pupil guides, which gave them an opportunity to observe all departments situated at Rydal Penrhos.
Following the tours, there was a chance to speak with teaching and admissions staff, in addition to current parents and alumni to get a broader perspective of the day-to-day life of a pupil, the curriculum, pastoral care and what it is like to be a part of the school community.
The school’s thriving co-curricular provision also provided demonstrations throughout the event, with Music, Art and Design, Drama and Sport featuring prominently.
Anyone that missed the Open Afternoon can book an individual tour by contacting email@example.com or calling 01492 530155.
Year 7 visit Central Gurdwara
Year 7 pupils got the chance to broaden their religious horizons on a recent academic trip.
The Lower School group travelled to Manchester to visit the Central Gurdwara on Wednesday, June 5, which was part of their studies surrounding Sikhism.
Educational and interactive, the presentation by a Sikh teacher captured the pupils’ interest and helped to consolidate, as well as expand on, their prior knowledge of their religion.
As has been the case with this trip for the past five years, a highlight was the Langar – free vegetarian curry – which was prepared and served by volunteers and the high priest, as part of their service to God.
Mrs Murphy, said: “The trip also allowed the pupils to experience another culture and way of life, let alone see how Sikhism values equality and religious freedom, values which are reflected in Rydal Penrhos’ own Methodist ethos and mission statement.”
This is the latest in a long line of educational trips put on by the school throughout the academic year, which are designed to enhance learning and experiences.
Cambridge Technical added
Rydal Penrhos has added another subject option for Sixth Form pupils to further enhance their preparation for the working world.
The school will be introducing the Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Business from the start of the new academic year in September, which is open to Lower Sixth Form pupils.
This is part of exciting ongoing developments both within the curriculum across all age groups and the significant improvements being made around the site at the school.
Changes to the school day, a wider range of options for Lower and Middle School pupils are also being introduced, with the Swimming Pool also on course to re-open following refurbishment.
Mrs Harding, said: “Our Cambridge Technical qualification in Business develops pupils’ core skills and understanding of the requirements of the business sector.
“They will gain hands-on experience and have the opportunity to focus on specific topics such as human resources, marketing, accounting and business planning.
“This is another exciting addition to our Sixth Form options here at Rydal Penrhos, which give each pupil the chance to realise their potential with qualifications that will stand them in good stead once they leave the school.”
Team shine at regional comp
Adam McGuigan, Alys Peake-Jones, Chay Bonnington, Gregor Perry, Henry Battersby, Jacob Cousins, James Copeland, John Williams and Noah Langford formed this year’s Greenpower race team , and they worked considerably hard modifying their vehicle.
Their tremendous commitment to the project saw them turn in a series of outstanding results at the F24 Race, which was held at Anglesey Circuit on Tuesday, June 4.
They began with a practice run before managing to cross the line in first place in their first Kit Car Race of the day in impressive fashion.
This was followed by a series of high finishes in the remaining races during the day to secure a second place finish overall in their category.
The group worked exceptionally well with Mr Sutton and technician Mr Bonser, with improved air intakes, speed control, a telemetry for speed, motor temperature and power contributing significantly to their overall success at the event.
The car has also received a new paint job, and the group have received considerable support from Lower Sixth Form duo Arend Franssens and Jamie Lavery as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award volunteering.
Welsh National Opera workshop
Some of Rydal Penrhos’ most talented vocalists and musicians got the chance to learn from an industry leader at a special event.
The contingent were treated to a music-themed workshop by Morgana Warren-Jones, North Wales Project Manager at the Welsh National Opera, prior to the half term break.
Shruthi Ganapathi, Bella Rutherford, Megan Gibson, Arthur Hind, Ethan Bytheway, Zahra Shamsi, Amy Yue and Ollie Gibson were among the pupils that took part in the workshop, which went over a number of different elements such as stage presence, posture and delivering a strong vocal performance in a pressurised environment.
They then had the opportunity to ask any questions to Mrs Warren-Jones about her work and experiences working within the industry.
As a national company with international status, the gifted opera members sit at the heart of music-making in Wales and play a valuable role within the industry.
Incoming Year 7 enjoy fun-filled event
The school held a Year 7 Induction Day on Wednesday, July 3, which saw the group spend the day around the site and participate in academic and co-curricular activities in readiness for their September start.
Mrs Murphy kicked-off proceedings with a welcoming address to the group, before they were split and taken on a short tour of Rydal Penrhos with Sixth Form pupils.
This was followed by a brief assembly at St John’s Church which featured addresses from the Reverend Sissons and Mrs Harding, and this was followed by a form session that saw each pupil receive their Profile booklets that are to be completed over the summer holidays.
After break, Mrs Williams gathered the contingent in the Carnegie Room to outline a Maths treasure hunt around the site to further acclimatise themselves with their new surroundings.
The pupils then spent the afternoon with Mrs Head and other staff on the Astro for an afternoon of team-building games, and the Induction Day concluded with a question and answer session.
Group take West End Stage
Darcie Harker-Weston, Saul Sugarman and Perry Williams from the Senior School, together with the Prep School trio of Head Girl Grace Watkins, Maggie McDuff and Elliot Spall were part of the cast for the Pauline Quirke Performing Arts Academy production of Troubles a Brewin’.
Youngsters from Academy performed the production at Her Majesty's Theatre on Sunday, June 23.
As part of PQA’s curriculum, students had the opportunity to perform in the heart of London’s theatre-land and get to experience the thrill and buzz of performing on a West End stage.
The group had the freedom to be as imaginative with their part of the show as they liked, from the casting and staging right through to the choreography.
'Trouble's A Brewin' is a musical comedy set in a fictional Midwest town in the 1870s. Sheriff Trifle is on the hunt for a group of bandits who threaten to disturb the peace ahead of the town’s eleventh birthday.
April Herzog, PQA Llandudno principal, said “Students, staff and parents alike were all so excited to be making our West End debut.
"To perform on the West End stage is many an actor’s dream, so for our budding young stars in North Wales to get the opportunity to do so was simply incredible.
"All our young performers simply blew us away. It was a magical experience and one which we’ll all remember for many, many years to come."
Darcie (Annie Weathermoon), Saul (Bill), Perry (Mr Walton Elliott), Grace (Sheriff Trifle), Maggie (Cockroach band member) and Elliot (Townsfolk) all played a significant part in the production, which was another fantastic experience from all involved at the annual showcase.
Year 7-9 Concert showcases talent
The school hosted its annual Year 7-9 Concert in the Donald Hughes Memorial Hall on Thursday, June 27, which saw a host of talent take the stage for solo and group contributions.
A group rendition of ‘See You Again’ from Year 7 and 8 got the showcase off to a flyer, before multi-talented Ethan Akroyd performed a fantastic Piano solo entitled ‘A River Flows Through You’.
This was followed by another Piano piece from the outstanding Liam Farrell, with Noah Lewis also demonstrating his musical prowess with a version of the Keane hit ‘Somewhere Only We Know’.
Gabriel Speakman’s Piano piece ‘Waltz in G’ was another notable highlight from the event, which also included a Piano and Saxophone duet featuring the theme from ‘Up’ from Gwyn Davies and Ivo Vonbank.
Year 8 pupil Hermoine Rose-Toulmin took the stage for the very first time on her own with a superb solo of ‘Talking to the Moon’ that featured an accompaniment from Sixth Former Ollie Gibson, before Gwyn took the stage again for a Cello solo ‘Sonata in C’ which drew a large round of applause from those in attendance.
The enthusiastic trio of Kosi Iwobi, Will Tavernor and Zac Roberts put their own stamp on the cult classic ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, with Martha Hind’s beautiful Recorder performance of ‘Kingfisher Willow’ standing out considerably.
Emily Jones’ version of ‘Piece by Piece’ was a just demonstration of the way she has developed her craft throughout the academic year, and Ethan Bytheway’s exceptional ‘Trumpet Concerto 2nd Mvt’ was played with his customary composure.
The concert concluded with a simply sensational vocal from Ada Vonbank, before the Senior Choir closed out the show with ‘More than Words’, ‘Ain’t No Mountain’ and Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Selfless efforts praised
Brona Richardson, Holly Battersby and Raha Aminnejad all donate a portion of their free time helping out at nearby Merton Place Care Home in Colwyn Bay, which is situated across from Rydal Penrhos on Pwllychrocan Avenue.
The trio have made a fantastic start to Sixth Form life throughout the academic year, contributing across a wide range of different areas in addition to assisting with charity events.
During their time volunteering at the facility, each pupil assists in any way they can and speak with residents for a prolonged period about their current studies and their lives in general.
In recognition of their selfless efforts, a representative from Clwyd Alyn presented Brona, Holly and Raha with a special certificate outlining their appreciation during the recent Volunteers’ Week, which is an annual initiative and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
Judith Gavin, of Clwyd Alun, tweeted: “Super kindness ambassadors from Rydal Penrhos are regular volunteers at Clwyd Alyn's Merton Place care home in Colwyn Bay.
“Thanks to Brona, Raha and Holly for making a difference with our residents.”
All three pupils were recently appointed to prominent leadership positions within the Sixth Form for the 2019/20 academic year, with Holly appointed to the Deputy Head Girl team alongside Tallulah Batley.
Brona will take on the Morgan House Captain role with Matthias Fiorita, and Raha secured a Wesley House Captain role with William Stewart.
FORPS event brings in the crowd
The Rydal Penrhos community turned out in force for one of the most prominent dates on the fundraising calendar.
The Summer Fair, which is organised by the Friends of Rydal Penrhos committee, took place on Friday, June 27, and Prep and Senior pupils enjoyed a wonderful occasion in glorious weather conditions.
There were a host of stalls, a bouncy castle and a bungee inflatable were prominent features on the Memorial Quad, with a virtual reality suite proving to be another very popular feature of the fair.
Those attending were kept entertained by a variety of music and drama performances from pupils and while refreshments were available in abundance in the form of a cake stall and barbecue.
There was also a grand raffle with a host of superb prizes on offer, with all proceeds going towards a number of projects in various areas of Rydal Penrhos.
Mrs Harding, said: “Our fantastic FORPS Committee did another sterling job of organising this year’s Summer Fair."
News from former pupils
The class of 1967 took part in a two-day reunion event on June 8 and 9, which saw them reminisce about their time at Rydal School and pay tribute to a much-loved former pupil who recently had a bench at New Field named in his honour.
Mike Trinder attended Rydal School from 1963-67 and had a massive influence during his time as a pupil, securing a Prefect position and also representing the school’s senior rugby and cricket sides.
The bench, which was visited by the alumni in attendance, is located at Rydal Penrhos’ picturesque New Field site.
Among those that were also present throughout the weekend was Chair of Governors Julian Barnes, Governors Anne and Guy Watson, in addition to Executive Principal Mr Waszek.
Another notable attendee was Duncan Kenworthy OBE, one of the most famous faces to emerge from the school.
He is a leading film producer and BAFTA Award winner, and he has a room named in his honour at the Sixth Form Ferguson Centre after contributing a large sum to the pupil-led fundraising campaign to renovate the facility.
Mr Kenworthy also got the opportunity to see the room for the very first time.
The reunion came a decade after the first such event involving this particular group of departed pupils, who still hold close relationships and hold the school in very high regard.
The reunion consisted of a special meal at the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno, before taking a ytour of Rydal Penrhos before lunch the following day, which consisted of a barbecue on New Field.
Mr Barnes, said: “Ten years after our first reunion, we repeated the fun as we are all 70 this year.
“In many ways, such close friends do not really change. Plenty of reminiscing, plenty of laughter and a few serious speeches. We decided we would repeat in five years’ time.
“Many of us are also signing up to the Donald Hughes Memorial Fund."
Sam Jones, who left the school in 2015, has ended a long association with RGC to sign for triple Indigo Premiership champions Merthyr, which sees the dynamic back move closer to home after notching 19 tries for the Gogs’ last term.
The pacey winger recovered from his recent injury problems to produce a series of exceptional displays for the Stadiwm Zip World based side over the course of the campaign, with the player also securing the Principality Premiership Try of the Week Award on multiple occasions.
Jones came through the Academy ranks at RGC at Rydal Penrhos School and Bangor University, where he obtained a sports science degree, and the player issued an emotional statement via the RGC website when the move was confirmed.
He said: “RGC has been a big part of my life from when I left home at 16 to join the Academy, study at Rydal Penrhos School and following on from that studying at Bangor University.
“But after graduating it has become increasing difficult with the travelling from my home in Llanidloes to Colwyn Bay with a four-hour round trip to training and home games.
“It’s been a privilege to play for RGC senior team over the past four seasons and three years’ previous to that in the age grade setup.
“There have been many highs and lows throughout my time in North Wales including promotion to the Premiership, winning the National Cup as well as playing against the Welsh national squad.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, all the players and all the coaches and staff that have helped me in my development as a player.
“Also, a big thanks to all the RGC fans who travel up and down the country to support us on a weekly basis.
“I am looking forward to see what the next chapter holds for myself and I wish all the RGC boys the best for the upcoming season and the future.”
Sporting achievement recognised
The school’s incredible academic year of success has seen it shortlisted in the Independent School of the Year for Sporting Achievement category at the Independent School Parent magazine's Independent Schools of the Year 2019 awards.
It has been another phenomenal year of success for Rydal Penrhos’ sporting provision, which continues to produce international-calibre athletes thanks to its elite coaching programme across a multitude of different areas.
The likes of Reuben Bather and Zach Speakman are two of the best young prospects in the country in Golf and Swimming, with Sixth Former Keira Bonnington recently crowned British Indoor Skiing Champion in the U18 girls’ event.
Sailing continues to be one of the cornerstones of the school’s sporting success, with Josh Manning securing a place on the Team GB squad for the World Youth Championships and the duo of Ewan Luke and Zac Blomeley also part of the national set-up.
There has also been plenty to shout about from a Cricket, Rugby, Netball and Hockey perspective, with Cameron Shaw also enhancing the school’s Triathlon reputation thanks to a series of exceptional results in a competitive environment.
Dr Helen Wright, Chair of the Independent Schools of the Year 2019, said: “The response we have had to Independent School Parent magazine's Independent Schools of the Year 2019 awards has been fantastic and we are thrilled to have surpassed the number of entries received last year.
“Hundreds of schools of different sizes and from across the country have again submitted high-quality entries in all 20 awards categories and we are delighted by the enthusiasm being shown by schools.
“The aim of the awards is to highlight the excellence of the student experience in independent schools, and on the evidence of all these submissions, there is no doubt whatsoever that the independent school sector in Britain is thriving.”
The judges will be meeting again at the end of summer, with winners to be announced in October.
Outdoor Nets opened
The school has been constructing a new five-bay grass outdoor cricket nets facility over the off-season, with the new area situated on Blackburn’s Piece opposite the outstanding New Field surface.
This is the latest in a series of significant improvements around Rydal Penrhos in recent months, which is part of the school’s ongoing strategic development plan to enhance facilities for a well-rounded academic and co-curricular experience.
A formal opening took place on Monday, June 10, which saw legendary former teacher and Head of Cricket Mike Leach returning to cut the ribbon.
He also spent time with Year 7 and 8 hopefuls working on their technique during the first session in the new nets, with James Gilman securing the honour of taking the facility’s first wicket.
The Rydal Dolphins, who are a team comprised of former pupils and people associated with the school, contributed to the cost of the development of an outdoor cricket nets facility, which will be used by aspiring young cricketers looking to improve their game under the direction of dedicated coaching staff.
The donation was made in memory of Brian Lewis, who was a Rydal School pupil from 1953-62 and left a gift in his will for the Dolphins following his passing.
Other notable contributions to the project came from The Percy Heywood Bequest and The W. Stephen Jones Memorial Fund.
Surface upgrade complete
The popular play area situated behind the Swimming Pool is now fitted with a HG5 Acrylic Slip Resistant Colour Coating by Sporting Surface Solutions, who are specialists in the construction and refurbishment of tennis courts, netball and multi-use games areas.
The same company also installed the original MUGA with heavy duty Goal Ends and Rebound Fencing back in 2011 when the area was constructed.
This is the latest in a series of exciting development around the site since the appointment of John Waszek as Executive Principal, which includes the refurbishment of the Donald Hughes Memorial Hall and installation of improved technology within the building.
The school’s Swimming Pool also remains on course to open in time for the start of the academic year in September, with a colour scheme competition Prep pupils that will enable the winning team to be the first group to use the pool upon re-opening.
Mrs Harding, said: “The play area is a very popular area for our pupils here at Rydal Penrhos, and they now have an improved facility to have fun and relax during their time away from the classroom.
“We are constantly striving to make improvements where needed to ensure our pupils get the very most out of their time here at Rydal Penrhos, and Sporting Surface Solutions did a wonderful job throughout the process.”
National triumphs galore
A significant number of sailing squad members picked up prestigious national titles from a high-profile event.
The school’s hopefuls travelled to Pwllheli’s Plas Heli Sailing Club to compete at the Welsh Youth and Junior Open Championships, which ran over a two-day period.
It proved to be yet another exceptional competition in terms of achievement and consistent level of performance from each sailor involved, with the Upper Sixth form duo Ewan Luke and Zac Blomeley demonstrating the immense potential on the water by finishing top of the podium in the 29er category.
This is the second time that the Team GB youth squad members have scooped the accolade, further enhancing their legacy at Rydal Penrhos as they prepare to depart for university this summer.
There was further success from a Senior School perspective in the form of Llion Morris, who has shown tremendous commitment to improving all technical aspects of sailing in recent weeks and was rewarded with a first-place finish in the Topper event.
Prep School sensation Fflur Pierce was at the top of her game throughout a strong field in the Tera fleet, with the senior Prefect digging deep to secure first overall from the competition and attain a second championship at national level.
Another to emerge from the event with a great deal of credit was Ellie Knight, who was the second girl and fourth overall in the Optimist Fleet which represents her best outing at a competition of this magnitude, and the team of Keira Luke and Freddie MacLaverty finished with a silver medal in the Feva fleet.
The brother trio of Eddie, Kevin and Liam Farrell also performed extremely well, as did fellow Rydal Penrhos sailors Ollie Gibson, Sophie Morris and Aidan Skinner to round off an incredible weekend for the school.
Busy summer ahead for Reuben
Reuben Bather will be part of the Wales U18 squad that will compete at the European Young Masters, which will take place from July 25-27 at the Golf and Spa Kuneticka Hora in the Czech Republic.
The Welsh squad will take part in two practice days on July 23 and 24 in the lead-up to the competition, with the first round of stroke play commencing on Thursday, July 25.
This will be followed by a second round of action on July 26, and Reuben will be hoping to be at the top of the leaderboard following the third and final round on Saturday, July 27.
It has been another exceptional year of achievement for the Maesdu Golf Club junior captain, who has secured a wealth of notable successes to further enhance his reputation as one of the brightest young prospects anywhere in the country.
This is included a Cardigan Trophy triumph with the national set-up, an ISGA Northern Open title and he was also part of the Rydal Penrhos squad that reached the ISGA National Matchplay Championships alongside fellow pupils Adrian Lewis and Charley Simpson.
Mrs Head, said: “Reuben’s ability to compete at a consistent level on some of the biggest stages a young golfer can compete is something that has done wonders for his overall development, and hopefully this is a trend that can continue long into the future."
Success stories aplenty
James Gilman turned out for Mochdre Cricket Club’s 3rd XI in a weekend fixture against Bangor, which is the first time he has been selected to the senior squad in a competitive environment.
The former Prep School Head Boy made a telling contribution for the side, bowling nine overs despite his tender age and restricting the batting order to 29 runs during his spell.
He also impressed considerably with the bat after going in at number eight, finishing the day unbeaten on 14 as Mochdre narrowly fell short of reaching their required target.
This is the latest in a series of outstanding cricket achievements from James, who has also been part of the school’s senior side in recent weeks to further enhance his experience and development.
He has been working exceptionally hard with dedicated coaching staff at Rydal Penrhos on all areas of his game both during the campaign and as part of the school’s winter nets programme, in addition to the extra hours James is putting in with Mochdre’s youth and senior set-ups.
James’ excellent progress has also seen him selected to the Eryri squad in recent weeks.
Keira Bonnington took her place in the U18 girls’ category at the British Indoor Skiing Championships, which was held at the Chill Factore in Manchester.
The sports scholar and Prefect demonstrated her incredible potential on the dry slopes to record a best time of 15.72 seconds, which was enough to see her finish top of the podium and secure the title.
This represents a significant achievement from the Sixth Former, who has been one of the leading lights of Rydal Penrhos’ thriving ski provision.
Her performance played a hugely important role in the school winning the Mixed Team title at the competition, with brother Chay Bonnington and Ben Davies finishing ninth and tenth respectively in the U16 boys’ event.
Prep School pupil Xavier Poynton scooped the U10 boys’ category, with Cameron Pye also performing well at the event.
Mrs Head, said: “Keira is a supremely talented young sportswoman who has really been at the top of her game across multiple areas during the academic year, and for her to win such a high-profile event is a just reward for her outstanding overall contribution."
Sam Bixby was part of the Menai Bridge cricket squad that clinched the North Wales T20 Championship for a second consecutive year with a 52-run victory over St Asaph.
Bridge opener Luke Jones was able to make 16 before playing a Danny Ryan delivery into the hands of Elliot Morris, shortly prior to skipper Dion Holden being ousted from the crease by Jason Foulkes for a duck.
A standout partnership from wicketkeeper-batsman Jack Gower and Carl Jones put the visitors back in the ascendancy, with the former eventually clean bowled by Foulkes after making a quick-fire 63 from 45 balls.
Jones fared far better, with the talented individual smashing his way to an unbeaten 83 off 51 deliveries, which included no fewer than ten boundaries, as Bridge set an imposing target of 202-3 from their allotted 20 overs at the crease.
The city side were given a revised target of 117 due to the deteriorating weather but never looked likely to reach their target, with Danny Ryan’s unbeaten 15 enabling them to post a score of 64-5.
The student and the master competed against each other at a high-profile sailing event recently.
Felix Corson took his place in the field at the WASZP UK National Championships, which was held at Rutland Sailing Club over a three-day period.
The Middle School pupil was joined in the field by Max Todd, who is a seasoned international competitor who is also Head Coach of Rydal Penrhos’ thriving sailing provision.
Despite this being Felix’s first time competing in an all-adult foiling event, he showed his class to achieve a creditable 19th placed finish overall, which is even more impressive as an overhaul problem forced him to retire from the third race of the competition.
Mr Todd quickly established himself as one of the leading contenders for the title, finding himself in second place until a broken sail meant he eventually came in fifth position overall.
This was one of the first UK events to be sailed on the new larger foil which is now standard on all WASZPs and all sailors agreed this has been a great change for the class.