Rydal Penrhos School has a long-running history of Outdoor Education, thanks in part to the school’s location close to the Snowdonia National Park and its proximity to the sea.
Mr Cashell is Outdoor Education Co-ordinator, responsible for the organisation of the weekly programme, supported by highly experienced staff including technical director Darren Williams (Mountaineering Instructor Award) of Eryri Mountaineering as well as Dr Lewis, Dr Roberts, Ms Margerison and qualified freelance staff. Dr Lewis is also the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Manager.
A wide range of activities are available as part of the Outdoor Education programme including:
Canoeing and Kayaking
This activity takes place in the school pool during the weekly programme in order to establish sound skill levels before tackling venues such as Llyn Geirionydd and the Menai Straits, or the famous white water of the area. There is a Kayak club help every Friday night organised by Dr Roberts, who is a Level 2 BCU Canoe and Kayak Coach. Mr Baxter and highly qualified external coaches support him in this area. Different paddling techniques are taught as well as white water swimming and rescue skills to ensure the safety of all pupils. For keen kayakers the school runs an annual kayaking week in Slovenia, where the pupils can tackle the rapids of the River Soca.
Climbing and Bouldering
We take pupils to climb both at indoor walls and in the great outdoors, making the most of our superb location. Pupils climb indoors at Indefatigable Climbing Wall, the Beacon and Plas-Y-Brenin (The National Mountaineering Centre) and outdoors at a wide range of single pitch crags offering top-roping, countless sport venues along the A55 for sport climbing and the plethora of locations to boulder such as Angel Bay (famed also for seal spotting!) or the RAC boulders.
As part of the programme in Year 9 pupils take part in mountain journeys involving rope techniques such as confidence roping and classic abseiling, coasteering, gorge walking, use of Tyrolean traverses and mine journeys, whilst also focusing on the historic and environmental aspects of the locations we use.
Walking, Orienteering and Navigation
Orienteering and navigation exercises on foot give our pupils another opportunity to get out into the countryside to develop problem-solving skills. We use various courses from Eirias Park and Conwy locally moving to more complex courses at Nant Bwlch y Hearn and Llyn Padarn. There is a cross-curricula link between map work in Geography and endurance exercise in Physical Education, placing great emphasis on teamwork.
The department believes strongly that direct experience outside of the classroom stimulates and reinforces learning, while also encouraging young people to take greater responsibility for their own learning, increasing self-confidence, developing communication and problem-solving skills and creating a positive can-do attitude.