The RP Weekly: April 3
The weekly digital newsletter from Rydal Penrhos School.
The RP Weekly
April 3, 2020
A message from the Executive Principal
Dear Parents and Pupils
I should like to begin by thanking you all for your support over the past week. I am aware that parents are providing a great deal of help for our pupils and we are very grateful.
The world is in a difficult place and it is by working together and supporting one another that we will complete this difficult journey.
Over the course of the past week, I know that many pupils have been working very hard on the tasks set by our teachers. Irrespective of when we can come together again it is important that we continue working so that there is no “learning loss”.
At some point in the future, all pupils will face assessments at GCSE and A level, and those will have a significant impact on the opportunities available to our pupils after their schooldays. It is very easy to lose learning which has itself taken a lot of hard work: that cannot be allowed to happen.
Since it now seems that we will not be able to reopen the school buildings on 21 April as hoped, we shall be moving into the next stage of our provision for pupils. I am extremely grateful for the feedback we have received from pupils and parents about their experiences to date.
Teachers, and especially the Heads of Faculties have been monitoring the progress of pupils. Clearly, our assessments of the progress they are making is a major factor in determining the style and content of the academic work teachers are/will be setting.
So, I am writing to inform you about some of the changes to the way learning will be taking place after the Easter break. This has been led by Assistant Head, Mr Andy Thomas and any queries regarding this aspect of school life should be directed to him by email: email@example.com.
I know that it is of paramount importance to us all that our children are safe, happy, making good progress in their learning and flourishing as much as possible during this time.
As pupils use more and more digital technology this is accompanied by the greater risks to e-safety. So, we encourage our pupils and parents to be vigilant over the use of digital technology and social media. Mrs Hind (Head of Pastoral Care) will be re-issuing guidance regarding general e-safety. It should act as a useful refresher during this time of increased usage.
Online Learning Programme
Over the past week pupils, parents and teachers have given very useful feedback and pointers regarding how online learning can evolve. The following describes some of the changes that will be in place at the start of the Summer term.
Pupils, especially in Year 7 to 10 have reported that the 6 teaching periods each day, that we follow in school, has been difficult to follow online and that 6 separate lessons or tasks, with a variety of deadlines, has proved overwhelming.
So, we are rewriting the school timetable for the start of next term. The ‘virtual’ school days will be divided into 3 or 4 slots of double lessons. This change will enable pupils to spend time focused on learning. We will continue to ensure that there is plenty of meaningful work to do and plenty of opportunities for pupils to interact with their teachers.
The new timetables will be emailed to parents and pupils during the Easter break.
Interactions with Teaching Staff
There will be opportunities throughout each day to interact with teaching staff, and in addition to ‘Show My Homework’ we will use the software package ‘Microsoft (MS) Teams’.
This will give pupils opportunities to ask questions and interact with the member of staff. During this time, pupils will also be able to interact with each other via the chat feature on MS Teams.
Interactions with Form Tutors
There will be dedicated time slots to meet online with form tutors and the form group each week. This will be a time for staff to deliver key information, for staff and pupils to engage with each other, chat and ask any questions they may have.
MS Teams Protocols and guidelines
Pupil and parent instructions, along with an updated remote learning policy, will be emailed to pupils and parents over the Easter break. Pupils will be delivered clear instructions via email, Show My Homework (SMHW) and during form time.
One of the positive results we are already seeing, in response to the current situation, is the range of free online resources and activities being made available. At the end of this letter are links to a number of these excellent resources that your child may wish to take advantage of. These resources have all been checked as suitable for young people to use.
If you are aware of any others and want to share those, not least so that we can first confirm that they are safe for young people to use, please contact Mr Andy Thomas, Assistant Head, who is responsible for online learning.
Reports for Years 11, 12 and 13
Within the next few days we will be issuing, as normal, reports for pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 via iSams. Full details of these reports, and how pupils and parents will be able to consult with teachers will be provided.
Appointment of Head Boy, Head Girl and Senior Prefects
We must continue to plan for the future and one very important set of appointments to make are those of Head Boy, Head Girl, their deputies and the prefect team.
As last year it is our intention that Year 12 pupils play a major role in these appointments. In the next few days, they and the staff of the school will be asked to vote and I anticipate that we shall be in a position to announce the successful pupils at the start of next term.
The Easter Break
There is a need for all of our pupils to experience an Easter break that feels different from the day to day remote learning environment they will be experiencing during term time. Prep work will be set as usual over the Easter break for Years 10 to 13.
I appreciate that typically during the school holidays, pupils will spend time with their friends, visit family or take a break elsewhere in the U.K. or overseas. Most, if not all, of those will not be possible this year. Consequently, we have decided that all pupils in Years 7 to 9 will be invited to take part in 6 Easter challenges.
There will be a variety of fun and exciting challenges. Each of our six faculties will shortly be sharing the challenges via SMHW. There will be prizes from each faculty for those that best meet the challenge in each year group.
I should be very happy to receive suggestions for suitable prizes. I have suggested that a free trip to Alton Towers, once it reopens, will be one of them!! The challenges are non-compulsory, but we do hope that everyone gets stuck in and enjoys taking part.
The School is committed to continuing to provide academic and pastoral support to our pupils. We are working to mitigate the issues resulting from the disruption to GCSE and ‘A’ level examinations, for Years 10 to 13, and parents and pupils will be informed as the various examining authorities clarify the process that will be used.
As part of the school’s wider responsibilities, we are continuing to offer free care for the children of key workers, and I am very grateful to the staff who have volunteered to enable this to continue over the school holidays.
As we approach the Eastertide, the most significant period in the Christian calendar, I wish you a Holy and Safe Easter.
Mr J E Waszek
Rev'd Dr Glasson
Message from President of Methodist Conference
As President of the Methodist Conference, I am writing to thank you for all you are doing as parents, teachers, governors, chaplains and support staff in our Methodist Schools.
The Methodist Church has always been proud of its schools and no more so than in this present crisis. We know that, as always, you all have the wellbeing of children at your heart and will consistently go ‘the extra mile’ to give them not only a good education but a sense of belonging and value.
Through you, they achieve not only their potential but also a positive view of the world. This commitment has had to stretch to new limits in recent days as you have been required to make difficult decisions swiftly and provide resources in different ways.
In all this, you continue to embody the grace which is the core of our Methodist heritage. Thank you!
Please let us know if there are any practical things we can do to support you. There are regular prayers on the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church Facebook page and we would be delighted if you be-friended us in this virtual world.
With the help of the Connexional team we are also planning to initiate a writing competition for children - we will let you know more details in due course.
Meanwhile, a heartfelt thank you to everyone and many blessings for Easter, even now we are joined in new life and fresh hope as we journey together.
The Vice President, Professor Clive Marsh and I will continue to hold you all in our prayers.
With many blessings
Rev Dr Barbara Glasson
President of the Methodist Conference
Boarding accommodation open to critical frontline workers
Rydal Penrhos has opened up its boarding accommodation for frontline keyworkers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes after a local firefighter, who lives with an elderly relative, came to the school requesting assistance as he is unable to go home due to the risk of infection.
Coincidentally, the firefighter is also a former pupil and Rydal Penrhos will now offer this service to the wider community to assist further in the community effort relating to Covid-19.
Executive Principal John Waszek, said: “It is our duty to provide the community with whatever they need to help them during these unprecedented times.
“The world is in a difficult place and it is by working together and supporting one another that we will complete this journey.
“Our critical frontline workers are doing such a fabulous job throughout the region, and they deserve our help and gratitude.”
The school will respond to requests on a case-by-case basis, and this is the latest initiative organised by Rydal Penrhos.
Rydal Penrhos’ design technology department, together with Sixth Form pupil Jamie Lavery, is making protective masks for NHS staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd and other care facilities across the region.
The school is also offering free childcare for critical keyworkers during the coronavirus closure.
Anyone requesting assistance during this trying time regarding accommodation can email Liaison Officer Sarah James at SJames@rydalpenrhos.com.
Masks project to help the community
The first protective masks made by Rydal Penrhos’ Design Technology department have been delivered.
Teacher Mark Harmsworth, technician James Bonser and Sixth Form pupil Jamie Lavery have been busy working on producing protective headwear for keyworker staff across the community to use during the current coronavirus pandemic.
They were asked by a parent who works for the NHS if they could help in any way, and the trio are using the school’s state-of-the-art 3D Printers situated in the Design Technology department.
The first masks were delivered to nearby Merton Place Care Home in Colwyn Bay after a special request for assistance from the facility.
Another delivery was made to Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Maternity Ward on Thursday, April 2 to aid staff in the fight against Covid-19 in the coming weeks.
The PLA headbands have an acetate face shield, and a crowdfunding page to assist with the costs of the project has received a tremendous response from the school and wider community.
More than £1,000 has been raised so far, which equates to 430 protective masks.
Any organisation or charity that wishes to request some of the masks from the school should contact Liaison Officer Sarah James via email at SJames@rydalpenrhos.com.
To donate to the project, visit this crowdfunding page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/sarah039s-campaign-for-rydal-penrhos-limited.
Y13 group's mechanics project
A group of Sixth Form pupils at Rydal Penrhos were tasked with a thought-provoking project to boost their knowledge surrounding mechanics.
The Year 13 further mathematics group, which consisted of Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones, Jamie Lavery, Abhishek Bathula, Tallulah Batley, Eddie Farrell, Bijou Rajagopal, William Stewart and Matt Fiorita, worked the teacher Darren Baker on creating a project relating to this particular part of the syllabus.
The topics chosen for the project were Elastic Collisions, Work Energy and Power, in addition to Elastic Strings and Springs.
Mr Baker, said: “The aim was to develop a deeper understanding of the mechanics syllabus by researching and teaching, which hopefully benefits them with solid revision for any assessment that may be upcoming and developing presentation skills needed for their university courses.”
There were several stages to the presentation, with each pupil needing to understand the key point required for their particular concept before putting a plan into action.
They also talked through an exam-style problem from a theoretical perspective and spoke about how their applications would make the transition to the working world.
It also included a practical example of how it could be used in industry, and the pupils created their very own physical model to further explain their idea.
The presentation brought some fantastic conclusions that received considerable praise from Mr Baker prior to the coronavirus school closure.
Thank You NHS
Childcare provision art project
Pupils using Rydal Penrhos’ keyworker childcare provision took part in a special project to thank members of the National Health Service.
What was initially a smaller-scale art activity turned into something much bigger in recognition of the fine work NHS are committing themselves to across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working alongside Prep School head Lucy Davies, Drama and English teacher Fiona Earle and the Reverend Nick Sissons, the school’s Chaplain, each child took time to create a chalk drawing featuring the ‘Thank You NHS’.
This took pride of place on the Prep School playground, where Rydal Penrhos is holding its childcare provision during the Covid-19 closure.
Their hard work was rewarded with a fantastic final outcome that left each child involved beaming with pride.
Mrs Davies, said: “Just a few children working together with a couple of adults can make something truly creative given the time.
“All of the pupils involved have parents working for the NHS and they were so proud to do this photo for them.”
Rydal Penrhos is offering free childcare to critical keyworkers from the community throughout the coronavirus school closure.
For more information or to book your place email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01492 530381.
From Rev'd Sissons
Tree planting memorial for former pupil
A special tree has been planted within Rydal Penrhos’ senior school grounds in memory of a former pupil.
Scarlett Salisbury, who attended the school from 2009-2016, sadly passed away on March 18, 2019 and Rydal Penrhos held a tree-planting ceremony on the anniversary of her untimely passing.
Mr Jeremy Salisbury, who is Scarlett’s father and a member of the school’s Governing Body, was in attendance, in addition to her brother and ex-Head Boy Henry Salisbury.
Current Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones and Head Girl Millie Collins represented the student body at the short ceremony, with Executive Principal John Waszek, Senior School head Sally-Ann Harding and Head of Pastoral Care Alison Hind were present on behalf of the senior management team.
A considerable number of current and former staff members were also in attendance to honour Scarlett, who left a lasting impression on Rydal Penrhos life thanks to her unrivalled enthusiasm and determination.
The Cratageus laevigota tree will produce Scarlet blossom once fully grown.
Mrs Harding, said: “Scarlett was an inspiration to us all, she was always remarkably resilient and positive even when the going was tough.
“She was highly respected by both her peers and all of the staff that came into contact with her. She made the very best of every opportunity that came her way and was always determined to find a solution for herself without having to rely on others.
“Resourceful and reflective are two of the adjectives that immediately come to mind when I think of Scarlett, but also caring with an iridescent glowing charm which affected all of those around her. Her smile, sense of humour and fun were infectious."
Childcare provision's Forest School sessions