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Richmond Park Academy announces a 7% year on year uplift in A Level results

posted 17 Aug 2017, 05:26 by Michele Colt

The hard work and determination of Richmond Park Academy students
was rewarded when the 2016/17 A level results were published today. Students across the sixth form achieved a 95% pass rate with 43% achieving A* - B, a 7% increase on the 2015/16 results. 

Reviewing the results, Principal Paul Mundy-Castle said, “I am very proud of our 6th form students and hugely encouraged by the significant improvement in results. Not only have our A’ Level students excelled themselves, our year 12 students have also signposted their A’ Level intentions with encouraging AS results. This bodes well for RPA’s 6th form and its hard working students and teaching staff.”

A’ Level Exam headlines
95% pass rate across all exams
14% of results were A*s
20% of results were A*/As
43% of results were A*Bs

Student snapshots
Charlotte Hall – 4 A*s
German, creative writing, English & art
Charlotte returned from teaching English in Ghana to pick up her results and was delighted she had. She achieved a perfect score of 4 A*s and will now read Comparative Literature at UCL. Charlotte joined us for the sixth form after an education in the German system and said, “I am delighted with my results! Everybody was very welcoming when I arrived at RPA in Year 12. It has been a real adventure with great support from all teachers, especially Mr Potapov who did everything that he could to get the best for his students.”

Sophie Heath – 3 A*s and 1 A
Creative writing, English, history & psychology (A),
Sophie was overwhelmed with her results which have opened up a number of new opportunities. She will be re-applying based on her fantastic grades with the view of studying English at university in 2018. In the meantime, reading and travelling will be at the top of her “to do” list. When asked to sum up her time at RPA Sophie said, “I can’t quite believe that I am leaving RPA – but what a highlight to end on! The teachers have been the biggest difference. They did everything they could to make sure we got the results we deserved.”

Jack Michaelson – BBC
History, geography, biology
Jack has made dramatic progress since his GCSEs which has resulted in his very strong A Level results. RPA backed his potential in the 6th form and Jack delivered during his exams. He will now be studying geography at degree level. Reviewing his time at RPA, Jack said, “I re-evaluated what I wanted when I took my GCSEs and knew that I needed to step up if I wanted to be successful. I had a lot of fun at RPA; it has helped to make me the person I am today. I am happy with my results and really looking forward to the university experience.”

Patrycja Cygan - CC
Patrycja was one of our most overjoyed students! She is a talented film maker and has spend much of the last year managing her film projects on top of her exams. As she explained, "It was a stressful time and I very nearly dropped out of my studies. However, Ms O'Brien persuaded me to stay and I am so glad that she did!" Patrycja can now follow her dream which is Digital Film Production at Greenwich University. When asked whether there was a particular highlight she said, "Ms Blease's  - mock photography 6th form video  - then the British Film Institute project (introduced by Mr Potapov) and work experience at Garden Production (introduced by Ms O'Brien) There was help across the school at every turn. I couldn't be more grateful."

This is great news for our talented 6 formers who now leave us for further education, and an endorsement for our hard working 6th form team who identify every opportunity to get the best out of their students! Well done to everyone involved!

Tyrone Myton, new Deputy Principal of Richmond Park Academy, talks to Governor Mona Adams

posted 11 Aug 2017, 05:47 by Web Admin   [ updated 16 Aug 2017, 03:36 ]

Tyrone Myton
From September, Richmond Park Academy will have a new Deputy Principal, yet another educationalist with an impressive track record. But when Tyrone Myton graduated from Roehampton University with a BSc Hons in sports science and business studies, he had his sights set on a future as a professional footballer and not the classroom. In promising style, he played for a clutch of top semi-professional teams, among them one of the oldest in the world, Corinthian Casuals. During his time with them, he achieved a sporting highlight and was selected to kick the round ball on the hallowed turf of the new Wembley in one of the stadium's first matches. When his budding sports future was fractured by injury, he started coaching youngsters, got badly bitten by the teaching bug and began a PGCE at St Mary's College, Twickenham.

Tyrone Myton's teaching skills were honed in a secondary school in Streatham where, for the next eight years, he rose through the ranks - from PE teacher to Head of Department to Director of Sport to Associate Assistant Head. He says: 'During my last year when I was in charge of whole school data and Year 11s, the school posted the best figures ever, 85% A*-C including English and maths plus a progress score in the top 10% of schools nationally. And, yes, I was proud of that result for the students and teachers, because I believe a teacher is someone who not only supports you but helps you to understand that the only person who can capture your potential is you. I've always worked with that in mind because it doesn't just apply to students, it applies to teachers too'.

His next job was as Assistant Head in charge of achievement in a west Wimbledon secondary. It was a school, Mr Myton observed, which had underperformed for a decade. '60% of the kids were not getting five A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths. Three weeks after I got there, Ofsted reported that the school 'requires improvement'. Post that report, a new leadership focus was established and we all knew we had a challenge on our hands, but challenge motivates. The mandate was to turn the place around, to use joined up thinking to make it a solidly good school'. Four years later, Mr Myton - now the single Deputy Head in a school of approximately 1000 students - reported marked progress. '65% of our students were now achieving five GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths and when Ofsted returned in 2015, the school was rated 'good'.

So what brought this successful deputy head to RPA? 'I had worked with your Principal, Paul Mundy-Castle, in west Wimbledon and when I saw his ad for the deputy headship here, I was very keen to be part of his team because we had already worked so successfully together. Impressions on my first visit to RPA? They say the first taste is with the eye. I thought the campus was amazing, the students friendly and polite, the staff dedicated and enthusiastic - and the atmosphere was very welcoming. It is so important for a school and its students to look good, important for them to take pride in their appearance, take pride in their uniform and demonstrate respect both for their school and for the local community. That's what local parents, visitors and stakeholders see first'.

Although he doesn't join us officially until September, Tyrone Myton has already been into RPA several times since his appointment. One of the things he has looked at is the school data, his speciality, so that he can begin to assess the story it is revealing 'Data doesn't provide answers,' he says, 'but it can highlight clearly what questions you need to be asking. What is striking me is that the potential I've already seen throughout the school and the overall data doesn’t, in some subject areas, link to the results one might expect'. Mr Myton thinks that the reason could simply lie within a daily routine of raised expectations and a reassessment, perhaps, of whole school culture. Whatever the reason, he is looking forward to meeting and working with his new colleagues to find that missing link. 'The school', he says, 'is going through a period of change and the excitement of the development potential here is what made me want this job. It is important to challenge at every level, regardless of student ability and background. We need to make sure that, as teachers, we are delivering at the very highest level and that the curriculum is tailored to need'.

The new Deputy Principal underlines how important it is for students to recognise and embrace at every level the challenges which educational success requires. He says 'With the right mix of hard work, ownership by students of personal success, top quality teaching, tutoring, intervention and extended learning, GCSE achievement is a given. When students progress to A-levels, to university degrees, to doctorates, they begin to realise just how important those GSCE exams - although not, in retrospect, as academically challenging - were to the underpinning of future success and how important it had been for them to get the best possible grades. I am convinced that, once we get the process right - and there is always something you can do to make things better - the outcomes will take care of themselves because outcomes are only the end game. The process is where success lies'.

To end this interview, I asked Mr Myton if he could describe RPA in three words. 'Yes', he said, without hesitation, 'a sleeping giant'.


posted 2 Aug 2017, 04:17 by Michele Colt

Assessments for these responsible, role model positions take place in the term preceding appointment. The candidates are asked to prepare a statement of capability for the role, give a speech to their peers and undergo a rigorous interview by senior leadership.  At the end of this year's selection process, the successful candidates  - who will begin their terms of office in
September, 2017 -  are Ellie Crump and Sydney Mason.   Here's what they had to say about their new roles.

Ellie began her school days at East Sheen Primary.   She is a student with ambition and, as she prepares to begin her Year 11 studies, already has her sights set on a career in either medicine or law.  But, as Ellie says, first things first. She is looking forward to her year as head girl and is keen, as part of that role, to make student links with local primaries. 'It is important', she says,' not only to impress potential students but also their parents about our school and what is happening here. How would I do that? Well, for example, I know local schools hold coffee mornings and I want to find out how I can visit some of those. It is important for students in their last year at primary school to be able to talk to us about transition, which can be a bit scary,  and find out how successfully it works here at Richmond Park Academy. I want to tell them that, by the end of my Year 7, I felt very comfortable at this new big school and was really enjoying what I was doing'.  

Ellie is also keen to set up a mentoring channel between her and younger RPA students and to play an active role in the Student Council. She also plans to take part in assemblies. 'The prefects, the head boy and I will work as a team. We will l try to help students to enjoy their time here, to have good memories of RPA and feel accomplished'.

This head girl designate is very proud of her school. She says the teaching is getting better and better, the facilities are really good and it is becoming very popular with local families. 'I have high expectations and I feel supported by my teachers. But I know the responsibility for filling in the gaps – if I unavoidably miss a lesson, for example – is mine. Sharing responsibility for my own progress is something I've learned here and  I know that will be useful not only in my role as head girl but as I prepare for future exams'.

One of the first big organisational tasks the new head girl and boy traditionally take on is the planning of the Year 11 prom.  'We will have to find a venue, arrange the food, the entertainment and the decorations. It's a huge job', Ellie says, ' but one which will give us good experience of problem-solving and working together as a team'.   

Come to think of it, problem-solving and team work is not a bad recipe for success. Looks as if Ellie might be on course with those ingredients in the mix...

Sydney is a local boy.  He moved here when he was two and a half, went to Barnes Primary, is a QPR fan, enjoys swimming and water sports – and includes maths in his list of hobbies. Sydney says 'I came to RPA with two friends from my class in primary school. The transition arrangements here helped me to feel comfortable very quickly -  not too overwhelmed – and to make new friends'. Sydney was impressed by the sports facilities at his new school – the football field and astro turf area – but he also loved the campus space, the buildings, the facilities generally but particularly the science labs. He confessed to being awestruck by the experimenting possibilities and 'the action bit of science'.

From Year 7, Sydney knew he wanted to be a school leader. Why? 'Because', he says, 'the school had been so brilliant when I first came here that I wanted to give back. How I might do that was continually in the back of my mind'. When the opportunity to take part in the head boy application process arose, Sydney lost no time in submitting the paperwork.  He told me: 'I had to write an essay about why I wanted to do this job, why I thought I could do it and what I wanted to achieve.' His essay, the rigorous interview and the presentation to senior leadership which followed must have done the trick because, from September, he'll take over officially as head boy.

The plans for the prom will be one of Sydney's first tasks – working in tandem with Ellie and the prefects' team – and, he feels, this will be an appetiser for some of the organisational things he will be involved in when he officially takes on the head boy role. 'But the prom', he says ' is not just about entertainment;  it is also a very good way for students to share and celebrate the successes that have been achieved here'.   

Sydney is not yet sure what he wants to do at 6th form – but there are some things about which he is absolutely certain. 'There are loads of good teachers here and I am constantly encouraged to make best better- because there is always something else you can do to improve.  I talk to friends at other schools – both state and private – and my feeling is that we could compete academically with any of them and hold our own'.  Sydney plans to read zoology and although he says, Bristol would be good, Oxford is on his wish list.

And finally, his message to those on the cusp of moving to secondary school is a very definite 'come to RPA'. He repeats: 'the facilities are fantastic, the teachers are very good and, during that potentially wobbly Year 7, they are very supportive'.  A special additional message for all those students who will be joining us in September:  both Ellie and Sydney will be there to give you a warm - and proud -  RPA welcome.

Year 10 work placement students wow their employers

posted 1 Aug 2017, 02:21 by Michele Colt

During July, our Year 10s have taken part in their work experience with real commitment. Students realised early on that securing the job placement was the first challenge to be overcome. Some students started the process of looking for placements last autumn and have come across obstacle after obstacle in getting their placements arranged. Other students found placements at the eleventh hour and managed to find something which perfectly suited their career goals. Sectors that the students experienced ranged from banking and ICT to film editing and theatre. Regardless of how students found placements, there was much success to be celebrated within the year group.The employer feedback has been hugely impressive and has given students a real boost in confidence. We are very proud of how they represented themselves and the school. Feedback is shared below

HANAA B: During her week with us, Hanaa has been using PC and software we use to create CGI images. She is a quick learner and created her own great drawings. She has great communication skills and was able to create good working relationships with all of the team members. Hanaa took part in team meetings and has shown interest in understanding the context of the business and roles within the practice. She managed her time very well and did more than was required. Hanna was a real pleasure to have in the office during her week-long placement. She is a hard working, trustworthy and highly capable student, very interested in learning. We all wish her success in her future education and career endeavours. 
NJ E: "NJ is a great kid who carries himself with confidence of someone far older. He is very determined and driven. He shows that he can take responsibility for his actions and learn from his mistakes. He will do very well in whichever path he chooses to take. I wish him all the best."

LAWRENCE B: "Just want to thank you for sending another great person to us, Lawrence was really good and picked up things very quickly and is a real credit to your school. He came in on Saturday and sat with me for our half day and he came into my interviews to open accounts and was speaking to our customers as well. We are trying to promote mortgages and mobile phone banking in our branch and he was looking as to how we could be more visual in the branch but also when customers came in on saturday with their mobile queries he was able to also explain how the app works. The team really enjoyed his company. Once again thank you for someone who really wanted to learn what we do."

BOBBI-MAY W: "It has been an absolute pleasure having Bobbi working for us this week. She showed initiative and enthusiasm at all times and got along with all of the team really well."

OLIWIA R: "Oliwia was a pleasure to spend time with! She asked lots of interesting and thought provoking questions to myself and a range of colleagues in the settings we visited. There was a lot of new information to take in and I was impressed at how well Oliwia coped. She seemed pleased to be able to contribute genuinely useful information and was able to work self-sufficiently. Without doubt, she was a credit not just to herself but to all learners at Richmond Park Academy. Thank you!"

JORDAN D: "The students were put in teams of 3 or 4 and asked to come up with a bill/policy to present to Zac Goldsmith. Jordan and his team put together a great presentation using PowerPoint. Jordan was fantastic during his week with us. Enthusiastic and polite. He even asked to be kept up-to-date with campaign sessions, and was keen to do more."

OWEN J: "Owen knew what he needed to do and went above and beyond. All the staff loved having him here. An excellent student and a credit to the school."

JASMINE I: "Jasmine has had all sorts of tasks thrown at her this week (from prop making and sourcing, operating lighting desk, assistant stage management, working with young people, to putting together raffles!) all of which have had an element of problem-solving and using her initiative which she has excelled at. It has been an absolute pleasure having Jasmine with us here this week and she has been such a help to have around. She brought so much enthusiasm and willingness to learn every aspect of the work and shown a real aptitude for working in a busy theatre environment."

CHRIS S: "Chris immersed himself into a video editing project which required a high degree of accuracy and initiative, he took ownership of the project and completed it to a very high standard. He communicated effectively at all levels and built positive relationships with his colleagues. He worked with a high degree of autonomy, followed instructions effectively and required limited management. Chris was resourceful, efficient and self-motivated and applied a great deal of initiative to his work. He showed dedication and commitment to completing the project within the deadline. We take this opportunity to thank Chris for his hard work, commitment and support during his work experience placement and we wish him every success with his studies and future career."

Forwards, upwards, outwards - a plan for all seasons

posted 25 Jul 2017, 17:45 by Web Admin   [ updated 25 Jul 2017, 17:46 ]

Paul Mundy-Castle
Principal Paul Mundy-Castle reflects on his first year at RPA with governor Mona Adams 

Paul Mundy-Castle is coming to the end of his first year as Principal and it is obvious, since he took over, that Richmond Park Academy has changed, will continue to change under his watch and that staff, students and parents stand shoulder to shoulder on a stimulating, challenging educational journey marked by milestones of measurable progress and achievement. These are indeed encouraging words - and ones that we all want to hear - but where's the proof? Has measurable progress been made in this first year? What kind of year has it been? Has the new Principal imbued the staff, the students and the parents with that 'can do' philosophy which he brought with him when he stepped into the school for the first time? As uncertainty appears to threaten all our futures - Brexit, a hung parliament, new American alliances - can we look at our school, at our students, at our teachers and say with a measure of certainty that here, at least, we know what the future holds?

At the end of his first year Paul Mundy-Castle stands by his assurance to parents - which he made in his interview last February - that, and I quote: 'governments change, policies change, teachers change, but our ambition at RPA - to provide an outstanding local academy - remains steadfast'.

In this most recent interview, he underlines the tangible, measurable, sustainable progress that has been achieved so far and looks at how he and his team can build on that progress for the future. As our new Head Boy so wisely said recently 'there's always something you can do to make things better'. So no resting on laurels - at least, not yet...

1. The big question which occupies parents' thinking at this time of year is - are the exam results going to be good. What, if any, indicators are there that results may improve?

As with any form of testing, rigorous preparation is key to success. For public exams, we have, over the last year, expanded what we have done in the past. We have introduced to all our years 10 and 11 students GCSEPod - an online revision system providing instant, personalised access to key subject information which has been shaped and directed by their teachers. So that class learning can be consolidated, this reservoir of online revision material includes not only two-minute lesson videos but key subject questions, thus enabling both student and teacher to gauge independent learning ability and accurately monitor progress. The enthusiasm for learning and personal development which our students are currently demonstrating can be measured by the number of times (11,929) the Pod has been accessed since it was introduced. The national average for a school of our size and type is 6,800.

Controlled assessments already banked in religious studies, science and ICT are better than the banked grades from last year and, in addition, the last data collection in April was good, indicating improved outcomes for the summer. During the exam season, we provided daily wrap-around care, free breakfasts and bottled water to help our students concentrate on the job in hand and perform at their very best level.

2. When you took over, you immediately laid out a 3-year plan for improvement. At the end of year one, what has been achieved and what not?

Attendance has improved - to over 95% - and, despite a shortage of teachers nationally, we are fully staffed for next year with qualified teachers in all departments. A lot has been achieved in this first year which I have pleasure in sharing with you in this interview - but we still have a long way to go. My focus is on quality first teaching to ensure students are challenged and supported in all lessons and at all levels and my team is consistently monitoring outcomes to ensure that this challenge and support translates into good results.

3. Residential weekends for revision and lesson consolidation have been introduced for year 11 students. Has take-up been good and are they having the desired effect?

We have held three residential weekends - for maths, English and science - and every place has been taken up. Students have capitalised on these experiences to deepen their learning with teachers in a different context and have commented positively on their experiences. In subsequent assessments, improvement has been registered.

4. What strategies have you put in place to make sure that all our teachers are good or outstanding? Are those measures working and how is improvement measured?

We have introduced a new online performance management system which puts self-diagnosis centre stage. All teachers now have the power to evaluate personal performance against national core teaching standards and use that evidence to close gaps and address areas where improvements can be made. Senior management - responsible for monitoring the success of teaching and learning throughout the school - will regularly analyse data and signpost teachers towards areas of support. The system is already having a positive impact as the percentage of good teaching has increased and teachers are telling us how much they value the ownership of their own professional development which the new system gives them.

5. The curriculum has, under your watch, undergone changes. What are they, why were they necessary and are they working?

We have made morning lessons longer, thereby increasing teacher contact time and have also, at the same time, introduced individual learning time (ILT) in the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to give - and support - the tools for self-motivation so that students see the advantages of - and are enabled to - develop responsibility for their own progress. We are already measuring a positive impact on outcomes. In September, we will be introducing individual learning homework projects. This will stretch able students and allow outstanding progress to be adequately measured. We will also be offering the right support to students who need it.

Our students' GCSE journeys begin in Year 9 when they will be offered appropriate guidance about possible pathway choices. By Key Stage 4 (Year 10) those personalised learning journeys will be well underway. Early, informed and supported guidance will help wrong pathway choices - and the subsequent waste of precious learning time - to be avoided.

6. Lesson and learning targets: how are they set and monitored?

To make sure that all our students are better prepared for public exams, we have devoted a lot of time to re-writing schemes of learning which are now more closely linked to GCSE specifications. In addition, faculty heads and senior management have a core responsibility to create lesson schemes with associated monitoring to ensure that all our teachers are delivering at the highest level. AET also has a network of subject leaders who will, when requested, come on site in an advisory capacity. We have recently had AET support for English, maths and science.

7. Last time we spoke, you reported that progress was not good enough - was below the national floor standard. Has that improved and can RPA, as was your aim by the year's end, now show a progress measure above that national floor line?

There were a number of reasons why, last year, progress was poor. Those have now been individually been addressed This year, the first thing we did was to make sure that all Year 11 students were taking enough GCSEs to fill their progress buckets. In instances where they were not, additional subject study was added to their personalised curriculum to enable them to increase their totals. The second task was to make sure that no Year 11 student was working on subjects which discounted against each other. For example, there are three buckets to fill. The first contains maths and English, the second science, MFL and humanities (history or geography) and the third - an open bucket - could contain textiles, art, PE, music, etc. As only eight GCSE subjects are allowed to count against progress, it is important to get the mix right. Last year, some students successfully completed GCSEs in both art and textiles but, because they belonged in the same bucket, they discounted against each other. I am confident that, because of the changes we have put in place, progress will now be better than the -0.55 we last reported.

8. What are the school's strongest faculties and where is more work needed?

Music has been consistently good all year. Single sciences, art and textiles have also performed well. My key focus for next year will be core science and I am happy to report that we have appointed an outstanding Assistant Principal to lead the science department. Additionally, we have recruited an experienced KS3 Co-ordinator from the Ark family of schools. Both will join us next term.

9. I know you think it is important to raise expectations both in school - of students and staff and outside school - of parents. Is that happening - and how?

It is important to work closely with families to achieve the success we want. Last spring we held an information evening where teachers and parents met together to discuss and plan improvements across the academy. On the back of that very successful event, we created a page on our website 'You said, we did' so that we could constantly keep under review the practice of working together to improve.

10. You have said that educational success depends not only on good teaching but on student resilience and independent learning. Are students beginning to take ownership of their own learning and success and do they have the tools to do that?

Improving resilience is key to the development of successful learners. We have put all Years 7,8 and 9 students through a resilience course led by an external professional. Participation in the course, together with the newly initiated independent learning tasks being embraced by our students in the classroom, are helping to grow the type of learners who will know what they have to do to succeed - and succeed they will.

11. Another area which parents think important is discipline because it often acts as a litmus test of what is happening in the school as a whole. Can you see any difference between when you took over as Principal and now? And what has caused that difference? 

Students must be given ownership of their behaviour so that they learn to be more reflective about personal choices. We have a behaviour management system in place which rewards the kind of behaviour we want our students to display - and clearly sets out the consequences of negative choices. The students here have been amazing. They've embraced the new systems without complaint - and they are encouraged, through Student Voice, to discuss the value of doing the right thing and to come forward with suggestions for further school improvements.

12. We are in partnership with AET, the Academies Enterprise Trust. Can you tell me what they have done to support you and the school during your first year and how do you rate that support?

As a new Head, it is good to be part of a network which provides opportunities not only to work with other experienced Heads but to be able to speak to them about any issues I might need to share. I also have regular meetings with AET's regional adviser John King who is also always available on the phone for discussion and reporting. We meet quarterly to share information on the quality of teaching and learning at RPA and to monitor progress. AET has insights on pupil premium spending, SEN provision and safeguarding - and they share valuable information with me on how to continue improving things here.

13. Do you think the new leader of the Council, Paul Hodgins, or the proposed secondary school on the Mortlake brewery site will have an impact on our future planning?

Paul Hodgins has recently visited RPA and, setting aside any issues around academies, has voiced his support of what we are doing here, i.e. raising standards to improve. We have the potential to expand our intake to 210 students on an excellent campus without any building modifications and I feel that our school should be filled before any new school is built locally. I appreciate that results have not been what I want or what I am aiming for but with the support of local families, with AET and with the local community, we have made rapid progress over the last 10 months and we will soon be in a position to deliver the outcomes which we - and local families - demand.

Annual prizegiving celebrates student success

posted 17 Jul 2017, 06:01 by Michele Colt

Prize Giving 2017 took place last week and was resoundingly supported by both students and their parents. 149 awards were presented to 107 students in an event which featured performances from the RPA Choir and Isha H on her clarinet and a return visit from 6th form alumnus, Fred Beaty. 

The awards were delivered by faculty with each Head of Faculty outlining the highlights for them for this last academic year. The faculty awards were then followed by progress awards, which were presented by the respective Heads of Year, and the special awards including 2 new awards presented by Waitrose: The Waitrose Prize for Enterprise and the Waitrose Prize for Business Acumen. 

Many students won awards for this year but there were many others who achieved outstanding results. Next year, it may be their turn on the stage!
You can view the complete programme below for the list of our award winners for this year. We are very proud of them all and look forward to seeing what the next year will bring. Congratulations to them all! 

Sparkling RPA production of Hairspray comes to Hertford Hall

posted 15 Jul 2017, 06:36 by Michele Colt

Over 200 people enjoyed 3 performances of Hairspray, the award-winning 1960s American musical, last week and wowed the audience with their enthusiasm and delivery. 

Rehearsals have been numerous and intense, often taking place during lunchtimes – a measure of the enthusiasm shared by both the cast, the crew, the set designers and the drama staff.  That level of commitment showed throughout the performance. 

The singing received fantastic reviews with Seaweed (Jonathon C), Link (Tom A), Motormouth (Lakenya T-S) and Amber (Ailani V) all bang on key, confident and convincing. Noam S B as Corney Collins shone throughout – not only because he was wearing a wonderful silver jacket but because his personality and stage presence consistently sparkled.  The costumes – so important in a production of this kind – were of their time, in vogue and in harmony. The set tableaux were expertly designed by the directors, perfectly executed by the players – and they all remembered to smile.  Both the blocking and the choreography of the cast were superb throughout.

The crew deserves a special mention as so much of a production's success depends on getting props on and off the stage quickly and smoothly.   This crew was well schooled and did an almost invisible job of shifting and lifting, a measure in itself of how successfully they worked as a team. The set designer and builder (Mr Chevous) did an incredible job with, we are told, various degrees of notice.

This was a superb performance by everyone which left Mr Walker, Director, delighted with the production and the support from the audience, “We’ll do 4 nights next year!” he said, already planning the next RPA production extravaganza!

You can see images from the show, taken by the multi-talented Mrs Wardlaw, below.

Hairspray 2017


Smiling students at RPA Sports day

posted 14 Jul 2017, 07:20 by Michele Colt

Richmond Park Academy's Sports Day took place last week. It is one of the most joyful occasions here at RPA as the students represent their house groups. There was a number of standout performances with a sensational high jump competition which culminated in Y10 Chris S pipping Year 8, Jake F to top points but only after jumping 1m 83. 

Nightingale Foxes were very excited to win the Sports Day trophy. We were also delighted to award highest point scorers to the following students who worked really hard in intense heat to score for their houses. Well done to: Ellie C and Chris S in year 10, Emma D and Selim TB in Year 9, Ella B and Emilia R (joint) and Tahr M in Year 8 and Niamh R and Milo K in Year 7. Our overall highest point scorers were Niamh and Tahr. Well done everyone!

For a snapshot of the day, take a look at our slide show!

Sports Day 2017

RPA announced the @RPA Summer Camp

posted 3 Jul 2017, 06:27 by Michele Colt

RPA has launched its first Summer Camp programme for the 2017 summer holidays. The Summer Camp features basketball, football and an ICT Masterclass all aimed at 11-16-year-olds. At £60 for a week they represent excellent value for money so if you want your child entertained over the summer go to the @RPA Summer Camp page and book your place now!

Sporting fixtures update! Cricket, Cycling and Rounders

posted 25 Jun 2017, 23:55 by Phil Broughton

We have been quite busy over the last few weeks with fixtures and competitions taking place. Below is a quick update on all that has been going on!

Cricket team
Richmond Schools Junior Cricket League

RPA beat Christs School by 3 runs - Tuesday 6 June

The weather was distinctly average but the cricket far from it. RPA batted first and despite a slow start, some flashy hitting from Max C, Oliver D and Ed S in the last four overs meant they set a competitive total of 62 from their 12 overs. Christs looked set to make the total comfortably as they only required seven runs off the final 14 balls but some outstanding bowling at the death from Ed S and Matthew T held them at bay. Man of the Match: Edward

RPA beat Twickenham Academy by 13 runs - Tuesday 13 June

The weather decided to play its part as RPA and Twickenham Academy served up an absolute run-fest in the sun at Bushy Park. RPA batted first and bludgeoned their way to 107 runs off 12 overs, aided by a depleted Twickenham Academy fielding unit. Iwan C, Matthew T and Max C all retiring after reaching 25 without giving up their wicket. Twickenham Academy started like an absolute train with their openers smashing 47 runs off the first four overs of their response - game on. A couple of quick wickets exposed the lack of depth in the Twickenham batting unit and despite Twickenham Academy scoring 15 off the last over, RPA held on for a tight win. Man of the Match: Max

Cricket squad: Iwan C (captain), Matthew T, Max C, Edward S, Kyle MJ, Harry S, Oliver D, Archie D, Juan B, Julian B, Nik K, Julian B.

The boys have one more league fixture against Turing House with qualification for the final nearly secured after two wins from two.

Richmond Grass Cycling Championships
Richmond Grass Track Cycling Championships

Wednesday 14 June

Waldegrave School was the venue for the highly competitive Richmond schools grass track cycling championships. After a fun-filled training session at RPA, three boys and three girls were selected to represent the school against four other Richmond schools. On a scorching hot day, fitness levels were tested as all the riders completed two 40 metre sprints and at least four laps of a challenging circuit winding across Waldegrave's playing field. The team performed superbly to finish third in the overall team event but the undoubted star of the show was Ella B who performed an overtaking manoeuvre Lewis Hamilton would have been proud of to claim gold in the individual Girls' event.

Squad: Ella B, Esme OBT, Gwen C, Ludwig N, Cameron B, Godfred Q.

Richmond Schools Junior and Senior Rounders League

The Year 7 and 8 team have embraced the rounders season with lots of enthusiasm around the sport. The students improved over the season with some brilliant fielding skills being developed - in one game we got all of the other team out before all their balls had been bowled. Unfortunately, their hitting skills let them down slightly leading to no games being won over the four matches. The girls worked really hard and I look forward to taking them to the tournament to show off their improved skills.

The senior team comprised of mainly Year 9s but their skill and teamwork led for some really great games. They won against Orleans School and Teddington School but unfortunately lost to Christ's School. The student have shown real maturity playing against older students and have developed their tactical play. I look forward to seeing them do well in the tournament next week.

Coming up soon...

Year 8 Boys Richmond Football Final v Christs (Date TBC)

Borough Sports: Wednesday 28th June

Sports Day: Friday 7th July (Provisional)

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