Rev’d Nick Sissons set to leave Rydal Penrhos after 12 years
January 19, 2021

Rydal Penrhos will be saying goodbye to the Reverend Nick Sissons at the end of the academic year.

Rydal Penrhos is sad to announce that the school’s Chaplain, Reverend Nick Sissons, will be leaving after 12 years at the end of the academic year.

This popular figure has been a huge part of Rydal Penrhos life since his appointment but has now decided it is the right time to make a return to the Church Ministry, giving himself a sufficient period in which to engage with a worshipping community.

Rev’d Sissons will become the new Superintendent Minister for the Bangor and Holyhead circuit and join the chaplaincy team at Bangor University.

John Waszek, Executive Principal of Rydal Penrhos, said: “Nick has been a tremendous source of support for the whole school community since he arrived with his wife Amanda and their two sons.

“He has provided the spiritual leadership much needed and yet so often missing in schools and the wider society. The most recent carol service, in the most difficult of circumstances, was an inspiring reflection of his Christian principles and Nick’s personal talents at getting us to lift our heads from the daily grind.

“He has also been a marvellous colleague to all staff and is going to be sorely missed.”

Nick came to North Wales in 2001 from East Sussex and worked in two local churches in Llandudno and Conwy until 2009 when he joined the school as Chaplain, taking over from Keith Tewkesbury.

However, Nick’s boys had both become pupils at the school as soon as they were old enough (Jack in 2001 and William in 2003) and his wife Amanda did some long-term supply cover in the Prep.

Nick had no formal teaching experience when he came to Rydal Penrhos but in his second year as Chaplain he took the Graduate Teaching Programme at Bangor University and gained his Qualified Teacher Status.

In his time at the school, Nick has taught Religious Studies lessons in some shape or form to every year group apart from Pre-School and Reception.

Rev’d Sissons, said: “One of the things I have greatly enjoyed about my timetable is being able to move, for example, from a lesson on the Verifiability of Religious Language with Year 13 straight to a pretend baptism with the Year 1s.

“I have never tired of enjoying this breadth of age range.”

His teaching also transitioned over to Latin, which was mostly to German boarding pupils but also to some Rydal Penrhos parents and as a qualification to Year 11.

When his own son Jack got an A* in the subject, Rev’d Sissons duly jumped in the swimming pool as promised fully clothed –  he was on holiday abroad at the time – although the school pool has a proud history of being jumped into by staff fully clothed also.

Rev’d Sissons has also played a leading role in the school’s strong charity links with Uganda, which has resulted in four missions to the country working with and helping to boost income for community projects in under-privileged areas.

“Coming across a leopard out strolling in the morning, being presented with a live rooster as a thank you gift and watching the local people dance and ululate in gratitude for some extra funds the school was able to put into rebuilding a house were some of my many memorable moments,” he added.

Chapel has of course played a huge part of his ministry at the school and Rev’d Sissons has worked with some exceptional Directors of Music, without whom he says he could not have done much at all.

His unrivalled commitment to ensuring Chapel continues in a virtual format during the two educational lockdowns are a testament to his passion for the school and its community, with the initiative proving highly beneficial for staff and pupils alike.

“The very best memories of chapel will be those big occasions in St John’s, especially the singing of Calon Lan at the Leavers’ services when it became a raucous but joyful vocal singing match between the Chaplain in the pulpit and the departing upper Sixth Form sitting on the front row right beneath me,” said Rev’d Sissons.

But of course, it’s the people that matter according to Nick and he says he has enjoyed both the support and friendship of many members of staff across the years and also taken great satisfaction from the growing bond with pupils that he has watched grow up from little children to young adults.

The last few years have brought around some substantial changes at Rydal Penrhos – which have been heightened by COVID-19 – but Rev’d Sissons is proud that the school “has kept going and always tried to provide the very best education for its pupils within a caring and supportive environment whilst remaining true to the original ideals of its Methodist founders“.

Reverend Sissons, we will miss you.

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Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos School can do so by calling 01492 530155, email admissions@rydalpenrhos.com or register your interest online here: https://rydal.wpengine.com/admissions/apply-now/