Apologies but this week’s blog is a bit shorter than normal. This was due to a visit by Ofsted – which kept us a little busy at the start of the week. We cannot feedback to you yet, as Ofsted must have their report/findings moderated first, and this will take several weeks. What I can say is a huge thank you to all our staff, students and parents who pulled together and really supported the school. Whilst an inspection is always a stressful experience, our students still managed to make me laugh. For example, when the lead inspector was interviewing a group of students about the school, he reached the end of his questions and asked the students whether they had any questions for him. Daisie Pulley in Year 11, immediately jumped in and said “Yes – I do. How’s the inspection going then?”. I do love our students!
I very much look forward to sharing the inspection team’s findings with you all in a few weeks time when the report is published.
I think I will start off with everyone’s favourite subject – Maths. Last week, Miss Monelle took a small group of Post-16 students to the Senior Team Maths Challenge. The group comprised of Will Elliott and Tom Webb in Year 13, and Harvey Palfreyman-Rose and Andrew Hudson from Year 12. The event was hosted by one of our fellow schools in WeST, Coombe Dean, and had representation from every secondary school in the city – giving a total of 18 teams.
Our team did extremely well and managed to achieve a second place finish, after being only narrowly beaten by Devonport High School for Boys. This is the best result we have ever achieved and the boys will tell you that some of the Maths challenges were VERY hard! Miss Monelle, along with the rest of the school, is very proud of them. These young men are also our very worthy Post-16 students of the week.
For those of you who like a challenge, I have included a few examples of the type of questions the teams are required to answer in this competition. Good luck!
Over the summer break, as part of our site upgrades/refurbishment programme, we made some improvements to an internal courtyard area of the school in between the Hub and the Main Hall, called the ‘Beehive’. I have been informed the name comes from a time where the area actually housed bees. Perhaps some of our parents can remember this?
To complete the upgrades to that area, Mr Wookey’s Year 11 GCSE Design and Technology group, have taken this on as a real-world project to design and build outdoor furniture for the Beehive, using reclaimed materials such as wooden pallets. I was lucky enough to be invited by the class last Friday to listen to their pitches, so I could make the difficult decision about what to commission.
I have to say that I was genuinely surprised by the quality of the pitches and the thought and care that had gone into each concept. The students led me through their initial research, mood boards, designs and sketches, and finally through each of their selected ideas. I was so impressed with the creative ideas put before me. In the end, I couldn’t pick just one group and actually chose a number of different pieces of garden furniture, ranging from benching, to curved seating, through to a herb-wall planter. The students will now begin making the items and I cannot wait to see what they they produce. It really did make me feel so proud to see our students in action like this. Well done everyone – you are complete stars.
Year 7 and Mr Wilson have been investigating the shapes sound waves make, along with how frequency and amplitude change what they hear. On Tuesday in Physics, the class used a Rubens Tube and looked at the different shapes that sound waves make when vibrating in the gas particles. Year 7 were very keen to see how some of their favourite songs looked in fire form as well. The song ‘Human’ by Rag’n’Bone Man produced a particularly impressive wave! Next week they’ll be looking at how the ear works.
Whilst the school was being scrutinised by a team of Ofsted inspectors, sixteen brave Year 8s faced a similar test of character in the form of the West Devon U13 Rugby Festival at Elburton.
In cold and wet conditions, the boys put on a great display of tough, abrasive rugby and Mr Bellamy said they were an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Our tally of results at the end of a hard day was W3 D1 L2. After a season of learning about the game we now boast some new club players at local teams such as Plymstock Albion Oaks and OPM, which shows a fine commitment to the game.
A big thank you to the boys for demonstrating fantastic personal and team qualities throughout the competition.
As you know, this week we hosted a three-day visit of Katy Weeks, Assistant Director at the Department for Education (DfE). This was part of a national project aimed at providing DfE staff with first-hand experience of school life and a provide a greater insight into the wider impact of DfE policies, to help shape future education strategy. Participants undertake a three-day placement within a school to gain a deeper understanding of how the organisation operates, and the issues faced by leaders, staff and students. This was also a great opportunity to showcase the innovative practice and expertise in Plymstock School.
Katy had a packed three days that included a tour of the school, visits to lessons, meetings with key staff about our work, attending a governors meeting and importantly talking to our amazing students. It is fair to say that Katy was really impressed with Plymstock School and the quality of education on offer here.
We also now have the opportunity to undertake a reciprocal visit to the DfE to better understand the work of the department.
Returning to rugby – on a bright crisp day last week, our Plymstock Year 7 Boys Rugby team took on the might of Plymouth schools in the annual Festival. They had a great day and scored lots of tries. They produced their best skills to battle to a creditable draw against the only unbeaten team (DHSB) and also drew with a big strong Tavistock side. We had one loss to St Boniface and three wins against the others so finished third overall.
The side grew in confidence throughout the day and was well led by joint Captains, Herbie Bell and Josh Johnson. Will Blewitt was out top scorer and many others played really well on a tough competitive day. Mr Steward, who accompanied the students, was really proud of their behaviour and attitude.
Earlier this season we had as many as 30 boys turn out to play for Plymstock at the central venue competition at Coombe Dean – so well done to all of the boys who made the effort to come and play (especially in the torrential rain just befor half term!!). Special thanks go to Ed Marks, Ehran Duke, Owen Bradley, Archie White and Jacob Davies from the Year 11 squad – who put in many hours to support and coach the Year 7 players.
It’s student of the week time. Starting with Year 7, it is a pleasure to announce that this week’s winner is Aaron Lockwood. Due to his hard work and positive attitude, he has managed to be awarded 9 House Points in just three days this week! Well done Aaron.
Our Year 8 student of the week is Katie Lemon. This great young lady is taking part in the PLYMKIDS production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Barbican Theatre this week. Well done Katie.
Lloyd Fields is our Year 9 student of the week. He has been nominated for the effort and hard work he has shown in Maths this term. Lloyd has always found Maths a very challenging subject but he doesn’t let that stand in his way and is determined to succeed. He has just completed a Maths test and scored a whopping 78%. Well done Lloyd – your hard work has paid off. Keep it up.
William Belcher is our Year 10 student of the week. Will has been nominated for always trying his very best across the curriculum, showing real determination and resilience. On top of that, he has become an avid writer and has just written a script for Dr Who. Send it to the BBC Will – let’s get it on TV!
Tommy Davis is our Year 11 student of the week. Tommy is a talented diver who has just taken part in his first international diving competition as part of the GB team, competing against some of the world’s best divers. Well done Tommy.
Finally this week – it’s not long now until our School Show will start. Please see the details below as tickets are going on sale now! It will be amazing.