Although it is less than two school weeks since I arrived at the school as Executive Principal, I wanted to share my observations and reflections, but also to give some sense of the way in which the school is developing and will develop over the coming months.
The pupils of Rydal Penrhos School are an absolute delight. They are unfailingly polite, well- mannered and well-engaged in their learning, from our youngest in the Prep School to those currently preparing for A-level and IB examinations.
Their demeanour is a tribute to themselves and to their parents; it is also testament to their relationships with, and the guidance of, the staff of the school.
Within the Senior School I have been able to see a large number of lessons, particularly in Mathematics, English and Science, and I have been impressed by the high quality of learning within those lessons.
This is enabled both by excellent teaching and pupils who are well-engaged and keen to learn.
Within the Prep School the atmosphere is calm, orderly and purposeful, and in particular our younger pupils clearly feel secure within the environment.
As a parent of four daughters that is something that I have always considered to be of the utmost importance, especially for our youngest children.
The pupils of the school, regardless of their age, all tell me that the best things about Rydal Penrhos are the strong sense of community, the wide range of opportunities available to them, and the support they receive from their teachers.
I have heard these reflections from numerous pupils of all ages, and their maturity and confidence in expressing their views reflect the considerable strengths of Rydal Penrhos School.
The school is currently reflecting on how our traditional strengths can be implemented in the 21st century so as to have the most effective impact on the pupils. I strongly emphasise that it is the impact on the pupils that will be the touchstone of any developments.
Under the able leadership of Mrs Sally Harding, Head of the Senior School, the academic staff and in particular Heads of Department have been conducting a review of the school day and the curriculum.
Mrs Alison Hind is leading a similar review for our younger pupils at the Prep School. I have been very impressed by the well-informed and professional approach of the staff, and it is our intention that parents will shortly be able to see these proposals.
Teaching time will not only be preserved but enhanced by more effective use of the school day. The curriculum will be modernised so that, where appropriate, new subjects can be offered.
The fact that I have personally observed so much high-quality teaching informs me that a considerable amount of curriculum development is already occurring and has in fact, been the norm at Rydal Penrhos School.
Simultaneously, teaching staff have been reviewing co-curricular provision, which is also much valued by the pupils, so that pupil experience remains a broad and balanced one. I anticipate that the full details will be shared with parents in the second half of this term. All these initiatives will be fully scrutinised so as to ensure the best possible impact on our pupils.
I have been pleased to be able to meet with a number of parents at school events including the fascinating talk by Dr Sandeep (forensic psychiatrist), various sports fixtures and the Celebration Assembly at the Prep School. I shall continue to be present at events such as these, primarily to enjoy spending time with pupils, but I am also keen to meet parents and friends of the school.
Rydal Penrhos is a really good school with a committed and talented staff, wonderful pupils and an atmosphere within which pupils can feel safe and thrive.
I have witnessed first-hand the high level of commitment by staff to ensure that our children receive the very best that the school can provide.