Over the weekend more than 2,000 young people set off on this year’s Ten Tors challenge. Hundreds of students from Plymouth were among the participants from schools from all over the country. Dartmoor plodders (with three ex-students as leaders and expertly managed by Huccaby Brown) combined with seven amazing Plymstock students to compete in the tough adventure. As many of you know the training and the event is all about endurance, navigation, independence and coping with the most difficult mental and physical challenges that Dartmoor demands.
Training began in October and was supported by the amazing and varied talents of our leaders (Huc, Jess, Laura, Al, Adam, LaLa, Beastie and Mark). Our intrepid hikers developed into a committed and formidable 35 and 45-mile teams. Characters grew and skills were honed through the extreme demands of Dartmoor’s tough terrain and wild weather.
It became obvious we had a very special group of walkers and we were all looking forward to the event which finally arrived last weekend. Despite the early morning nerves on the Saturday, both teams set off at 7:00am with amazing energy and determination. The 45-mile team (which included Andrew Hudson and Lucy ‘Jeremy’ Evans) had an incredible first day and didn’t stop to camp until 10pm that night – then back up at 4:15am on Sunday to get walking again – they crossed the finish line at a remarkable 10:20am. The team were complete and described the event as ‘easy!!!!’ – Magnificent effort – well done to all of them! Roll on the 55-mile challenge next year!
The 35-mile team – Jacob Barry (Team Leader), Jacob Goode, Alex Dodimead, Charlie Bartlett, Ethan Matthews, Angus Cotton and Lucy Carter were an awesome group right from the start in October. A lovely bunch of fit and enthusiastic hikers who quickly learnt the navigation and camp craft skills needed to succeed. During the training period they bonded into a really tight and supportive team. On the event they had a good Saturday and arrived in camp early at Tor 6. Also up early on Sunday and steady walking through the morning saw the complete team finish at 1:12pm. Tired and elated the team looked quite fresh – A brilliant effort!
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all the leaders and parents who have supported the students through this season, it takes a sustained effort from us all to create a successful team.
Perhaps most importantly of all – huge thanks go to Mr Steward who has given up so much of his free time (including many weekends) to enable this happen. I know that everyone really appreciates what you have done – you are a star.
I am delighted to see that our cohort of Duke of Edinburgh Award students are making great progress with all of them working hard on the different aspects of the award. Some examples include (photos are below):
- Maddison Todd volunteering to help the homeless by collecting clothes and raising awareness.
- Jessica Evans volunteering at the Elburton Heights Care Home.
- Daylon Marshall and Callum Beecher coaching an Under-9s football team.
- George Webb helping to support the school hockey club.
Last week we held the expedition parents’ meeting, which was very successful. Two reps from Cotswold Outdoor joined us to help with the kit talks. Everyone seemed to be in very high spirits and very much looking forward to the first expedition on the 20 May 2017. Again, you can see some of the ongoing preparations in the photos below.
Keep up the great work everyone and the best of luck with the upcoming expedition.
This week was the national Mental Health Awareness Week and Plymstock School provided a variety of information and advice to our students over the five days to promote mental health wellbeing.
The theme of the national week this is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ so it made sense to focus on the things we can do or changes we can make to have a positive impact on our lives. The key message is it is ‘okay not to be okay’ as the campaign says, but instead of focusing on the negatives, we have tried to get the students’ to focus on the positives. Each day had a slightly different focus that included:
- The positive things in our lives
- The importance of sleep
- The impact of social media on mental health
A huge thanks to everyone who was involved but especially Mrs Littler (our Mental Health Lead) and Mr Hurd-Thomas (our Mindfulness Lead).
One aspect of my job that I love, is seeing the great work our students produce. Students in Mrs Johns’ Science class were asked to design a greenhouse to show how they could maximise photosynthesis for crop growth. The students in the photo (Toedora Bogoslov, Holly Weaving and Esmae Lamb) took it one step further and created models of their designer greenhouses! You can see from the models they have thought about all the factors, including lighting, temperature and a water supply. Well done to the girls for their time, thought and effort into making these excellent models.
This was the final week before the GCSE and A Level examinations start and Year 11 and 13 have been feverishly making their last minute preparations. It has been great to see the positive attitudes of our students and a real readiness to accept the challenges ahead. Below are a couple of examples.
The first is a photo of our Year 13 Applied Business Studies class, who were celebrating the submission of their final pieces of coursework with Mr Hughes and Mr Pearsall – bringing to an end two years of study. The majority of the group studied business from GCSE and have chosen to pursue careers in business related subjects by applying for apprenticeships or degrees this year. A number are also budding entrepreneurs, with several having previously engaged in Plymstock School’s enterprise project ‘OurWay’ in 2015.
The next photo is some of the students in Ms Tendell’s Year 11 Religious Studies class getting ready for an after-school revision session. She describes the group as really positive and in their own individual ways, they are showing high levels of dedication, excellent work ethic and strong commitment in their run up to their first exam on Monday. They are also supporting each other so well. What a great group of students. P.S. Grace – we can still see you!!
Congratulations this week go to Joe Taylor in Year 7. Joe has been playing hockey since he could hold a stick properly and is in the first team for Plymouth Marjon Hockey club. He is also captain for the Under 13 Boys school team.
After attending several sessions at Exeter University (each session lasting more than 6 hours of skills, fitness and games), Joe has been selected to play for the U13 boys West Panthers in the UK Festival of Hockey Championship Cup held in Nottingham. Over 75 boys went for trials to represent this team. He will be representing West of England playing against teams from Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. Well done Joe.
Congratulations also go to the Year 7 futsal team who won the Plymouth schools tournament last week. Well done gentlemen – you are having a brilliant season.
It’s student of the week time. First up is our Year 7 winner – Maisie Ellis, who is something of a reading champion. She has just completed her 29th book since September. Maisie has managed to do this without compromising her school work either. Well done.
We now move on to two boxing stars. The Year 8 winner this week is Frank Newton-Westlake for his exceptional commitment and success with boxing. Our second boxing star is Frank’s sister. Jilly Newton-Westlake is our Year 9 student of the week. She has just had her first ever boxing match and won it in the second round! On top of that her dad had to drive for about 6 hours to get her to the tournament! Unfortunately Frank was not available today for a photo, so Jilly is representing the both of them.
Tanisha Bennett is our Year 10 winner. She has been nominated by Ms Kirk for her all round sense of citizenship, community spirit and her random acts of kindness.
Hannah Whitley is this week’s Year 11 winner. Hannah is just a wonderful all-round student. Always smiling, always positive and always helpful. On top of all that she is incredibly hard working and an extremely talented singer and actor, as shown in her starring role in Bugsy Malone.