Due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rydal Penrhos School staff are currently teaching remotely on government advice.

Our Prep School site is offering free childcare provision to keyworkers in the community. All calls made to the school are now being streamlined to the Prep site.

Please see the Coronavirus Information page located in the menu section of the site for the latest developments.

CLOSE MESSAGE

Following the Welsh Government’s announcement regarding school closures due to coronavirus, Rydal Penrhos shut until further notice on March 19.

This page will give pupils, parents, staff and family members all the latest information regarding matters relating to the school.

We are also very active on our social media channels during the closure.

Twitter: @RydalPenrhos

Facebook: RydalPenrhosSchool

Instagram: @RydalPenrhosSchool

Statement on school reopening

The following is a statement from Rydal Penrhos regarding the decision to reopen schools across Wales later this month following the coronavirus lockdown.

Dear Parents of Rydal Penrhos School,

Following Mrs Alision Hind’s email last month, you will be aware that, during the period of remote operations, the School has also been busy preparing and putting plans in place to enable a safe return to the site for pupils and staff.

With today’s announcement from Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, stating that Schools in Wales will re-open with a staggered start for all year groups on June 29, we are now in the process of finalising arrangements for safe reopening.

We are writing to inform you that we will be in touch again on Tuesday, June 9, to provide you with details of the School’s plans for the remainder of the summer term.

With best wishes

Mr John Waszek (Executive Principal)

Mrs Sally Harding (Head of Senior School)

Mrs Lucy Davies (Head of Prep School)

Parent Information document
A message from the Chairman of Governors

 

Dear Parents

I am writing to reinforce and support the essential messages of the Principal. The safety, education and progress of our pupils is the highest priority of the Governing Board, and we commend to you the action of the staff at this very difficult moment. I know how much time and effort has been devoted to putting together a programme of learning for the pupils.

As you will be aware, the School will also be continuing to offer particular support to key workers, which include many of our parents.

It is important to stress that the School remains open to all, even if the campus is closed. We will continue to provide education through remote teaching and learning until such time as we are advised otherwise. If at that point it is in the best interests of the pupils, then term dates will be reviewed and additional tuition provided.

Until the School campus is able to reopen, our staff face a daunting period. This is particularly evident in Years 11 and 13 where the cancellation of examinations will mean that our teachers have to carry out and moderate, extensive and rigorous assessments during next term and potentially into July.

The continuity of the education for the pupils has been made possible by the excellent work and dedication of our staff in tackling the challenges we currently face. I know that their work is greatly appreciated and I have read the numerous supportive comments received from many parents.

We are only too well aware of the financial pressures that the current situation is placing on our families. We are hopeful that the various packages announced by the government will enable the School to amend the fees for the period by subsidising the cost of employing the school staff, whose role will be critical to the pupils. As with all independent schools which are charities, we do not have large reserves of cash; the funds we receive each academic year are, quite rightly and properly, devoted to our current pupils.

You will not be surprised that by far and away our largest expenditure is on the 56 teachers who provide your children’s education and whose work is crucial to pupils. Their work is currently of great importance and will be so much needed once this period is over.

Consequently, we ask that the summer term fees be paid to the School in three instalments on 21 April, 21 May and 22 June and this will be reflected in the invoices we distribute. In some areas we will able to reduce costs, such as in catering and transport. To the extent that government subsidies cover some of the running costs of the School, then we should be able to amend the fee payments accordingly.

Finally, I would also like to thank you for your continuing support for our School and to wish everyone good health and happiness and a period when we can all get back to a sense of normality in our lives.

Yours sincerely

MR J BARNES

Chair of Governors

Year 13 exam information

 

Dear Parents and Pupils,

Following recent announcements made by Qualifications Wales (the examination regulators in Wales) and Ofqual (their equivalents in England), we are in a position to provide some clarity as to how the situation will evolve for members of Year 13 for whom we have submitted examination entries for Summer 2020.

However, I must start by explaining the examination context within which Rydal Penrhos operates; in selecting the examinations specifications which are best suited to our candidates, we offer a mix of subjects of which a few are normally supervised by Welsh regulators, while the remaining subjects are supplied by the examination boards regulated in England (AQA, Edexcel/Pearson, CIE, OCR and Eduqas).

In the case of the current Year 13, as a result of a quirk of planning, it is fortunate that all of their examinations fall under the remit of the regulators at Westminster. It is of course to be anticipated that certain minor details will differ as to the way in which the cancellation and replacement of the traditional examinations will be handled under the two regulatory régimes.

As you will already know, no traditional examinations will be taking place in Summer 2020, their being replaced with centre-assessed grades which will be supported by a rank order of candidates within each grade for each subject; these grades will subsequently be standardised by the awarding bodies using a statistical model about which we as yet have few details, prior to the eventual publication of grades. Under normal circumstances, the A Level results would have been issued on 13th August, but the regulators hope that they may be able to do this a little earlier so as to bring some clarity to the situation.

You will be reassured to know that the regulators expect that “the grades awarded to students will have equal status to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers”.

The concept underlying centre-assessed grades is a familiar one to teachers, as certain elements of examinations have been treated in this way for some years under the labels of coursework and non-examination assessment. Centre assessed grades are defined by the regulators as schools “using their professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement of the grade they believe a student would have achieved, had they sat their exams this year”.

The regulators continue by stating that “teachers and Heads of Department will have a good understanding of their students’ performance and how they compare to other students within the subject/department this year, and in previous years”.

In arriving at a candidate’s centre-assessed grade in a particular subject, teachers will make reference to “the full range of evidence” available, and the regulators suggest that this evidence might include the following:

  1. a) any non-examination assessment material that forms part of that subject’s specification;
  2. b) the results of any prep assignments;
  3. c) the results of mock examinations;
  4. d) any other records of pupil performance over the course of study, including for example progress review data, classwork, and indeed participation in performances in subjects such as Music, Drama and Physical Education;
  5. e) previous results at the school in a particular subject. “These will vary according to a number of factors, including prior attainment of the students, but our data shows that for most centres any year-on-year variation in results for a given subject is normally quite small”;
  6. f) “The performance of this year’s students compared to those in previous years”.

For those candidates with access arrangements, the regulator specifies that “schools … will judge the grade that these students would most likely have achieved if they had been able to sit their examinations with the intended reasonable adjustment or access arrangement in place”.

The regulators conclude that, given the timing of the announcement of the closure of schools, they “recognise that centres will have incomplete evidence, and that the range and amount of evidence will vary between different subjects. Judgements should be made on the evidence that is available”. Please be assured that all items of evidence at our disposal will be given our full consideration.

As this grading task is a complex one, the regulators have stated that the earliest deadline for the submission of centre assessed grades would be 29th May, and this gives us a useful period of time to make and to refine our grade judgements in the light of all the evidence that is to hand, and which indeed continues to become available.

All schools and colleges have been provided by the regulators with the following instructions:

“Centres must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents / carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before the final results have been issued. This is to protect the integrity of teachers’ judgements, and to avoid teachers, Heads of Department, senior leaders or Heads of Centre being put under pressure by students and parents to submit a grade that is not supported by the evidence”.

It goes without saying that the School will be doing its very best for each and every candidate, and that all teachers will be making the most considered judgements that they can on the basis of all the material at their disposal; they will find it easier to come to their conclusions if they are not hindered by enquiries, wholly understandable as the latter may be.

Should any candidate not achieve the results that he or she had anticipated, the regulator in England plans to hold an autumn examination series, but the timing of this is as yet uncertain as the virus pursues its course; this would make a traditional examination opportunity available to our candidates in all subjects, although it does raise substantial timing issues, particularly with regard to the individual’s progression to Higher Education.

Your son or daughter now has every incentive to continue to work rigorously in pursuit of the following objectives:

  1. a) the provision of the highest-quality evidence to support the determining of centre assessed grades, the final deadline for the submission of which falls at the end of May;
  2. b) the opportunity as a fall-back position to sit traditional A Level examinations at some point in the autumn;
  3. c) the imperative of keeping the individual’s Higher Education options wide open by continuing to work on all of his or her A Level subjects;
  4. d) the opportunity to make a flying start in the pupil’s ultimate Higher Education subject(s) on the basis of continuous and recent learning.

It is important that you have access to all of the information at the School’s disposal for the sake of transparency, and we will ensure that we keep you up-to-date as further details are released by the regulators; however, please treat anything that you might encounter in the media with caution, as this is a complex situation and the journalists might not necessarily be in possession of the full picture.

You will undoubtedly appreciate that this process will be giving us considerable cause for thought, and it would certainly appear that the authorities in Wales and England are doing their very best to provide a level playing field for their Year 13 candidates.

Should you have any questions regarding the content of this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me – gnorthern@rydalpenrhos.com.

Kind regards,

Guy Northern

Examinations Officer

Boarding Accommodation open for critical keyworkers

 

Rydal Penrhos has opened up its boarding accommodation for critical 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.

Anyone requesting assistance during this trying time regarding accommodation can email Liaison Officer Sarah James at SJames@rydalpenrhos.com.

Keyworker childcare provision

 

Rydal Penrhos School is now offering free childcare for critical keyworkers of non-parents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The school has been providing care for children of Rydal Penrhos parents since last week but is now opening the offer to the wider community after contacting Conwy county council to offer their assistance during this difficult time.

John Waszek, Executive Principal of Rydal Penrhos, said: “Whilst as an independent school our staff are not technically part of the public service, I consider our moral responsibilities to the community mean that we must operate as if we are.

“To do otherwise would, in my opinion, be utterly disloyal. In addition, the school’s mission calls us to service, as does our charitable status.”

The service currently runs from 8.30am-5.30pm from Monday-Friday and those using the provision should bring packed lunches and snacks. Children will be kept busy with projects and outdoor activities under the supervision of staff.

The school is also willing to open earlier from 7am and stay open until 10pm if needed due to shift patterns. The age categories are from Pre-School to Year 9.

Two-year-olds are also being accepted but need to be potty trained. The school is not accepting turn-ups on any specific day due to staffing ratios.

Those attending must meet the critical frontline worker criteria outlined by the government, which can be found online, and trained first aiders are on site each day.

Prep School head Lucy Davies, who is coordinating the care provision, added: “We are practising social distancing at school but it is not practical to keep young children at a two-metre distance so there will be some instances of closer contact.

“We are carefully sterilising the environment each day and taking the temperature of all staff and pupils upon arrival.”

Places are limited so to secure your spot, please contact prep@rydalpenrhos.com or call 01492 530381 at least 24 hours in advance.

Useful Links

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-key-critical-workers -Welsh govt – 27th March – list of keyworkers

https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace  Welsh govt – 7th April – social distancing in the workplace