Well, that’s the academic year over – and what a year it has been! I can’t believe how quickly my first year as Headteacher has passed. I won’t lie – at times it has been very challenging, but no matter how ‘interesting’ a day has been, our fantastic young people always manage to put a smile on my face. I can safely say, this really is the best job in the world and each day I feel highly privileged to be the Headteacher of our great school. On a personal note I would like to say an enormous thank you to staff, students and parents for their amazing support over the last year and I am confident that together we can all ensure that Plymstock School goes from strength to strength. I do hope that everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable summer break and I look forward to the return in September.
Last week was our very busy Challenge Week where the whole school was involved in a wide variety of interesting and exciting activities.
All of Year 7 participated in our Community Cohesion programme, which gave our students the chance to meet people and take part in experiences from across our diverse local community. The students engaged in activities led by refugees, European migrants, the Red Cross, the RNLI, Amber Initiatives and the Police. In addition, they learnt about the Holocaust and E-safety, as well as taking part in a workshop with the Dance Factory, a morning of team-building activities and completed a marine-based field trip to Wembury (in conjunction with the Wembury Marine Centre).
Years 8 and 9 had a wide variety of experiences to choose from, including residential visits to France, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and PGL activities. There were a huge number of day trips and in-school activities, including fishing, water sports, horse riding, a Dartmoor challenge, Paignton Zoo, National Marine Aquarium, photography, film making, go-karting, football coaching by Plymouth Argyle, creative cooking, an aviation focused activity (building gliders, visiting aircraft museums etc..) and many, many more.
Year 10 students completed their work experience week, giving them a valuable taste of life in the working world. We had students in a large number of different placements including Vetrinary Practices, the Royal Marines, Primary Schools , Princess Yachts, Travel Agents and the IT industry to name but a few. Ours students really did us proud. Today, many schools no longer offer work experience, but we continue to strongly believe in its importance for our students.
One student enjoyed their trip to the Isles of Scilly so much, they wrote a piece for my blog. Here it is…
The Isles of Scilly trip was a once in a lifetime experience which I got to share with my friends. Some of us had never been camping before and by the end of the week knew how to put up and down a tent. While we were away, we did Bush Craft, where we all got the option to skin rabbits and gut fish. We did water sports, walking, beach competitions, fishing, swimming, archery and shooting, campsite sports, shopping, crabbing, and finally on a rib-boat trip!
These where all amazing experiences which we will remember forever. We made new friends and loved the whole trip! The teachers catered for everyone’s dietary needs and prepared delicious meals. After creating beach sculptures, we enjoyed an amazing fish or sausage and chips.
We enjoyed competing at archery and trying to get bullseyes. On Tuesday, we had a busy day planned but due to bad weather we changed the arrangements, put on waterproof coats and went for a 10 mile walk, which we all enjoyed.
On Thursday, we went for a speed boat trip which was awesome. We were lifted into the air by the waves and then dropped back down with a big splash. Overall I was really glad I went to the Isles of Scilly for activities week.
On Friday 07 July staff, students and parents all gathered together at the Boringdon Golf and Country Club for the Year 11 Prom. It was absolutely wonderful to see our students dressed up to the nines and arriving in style. We had limos, party buses, supercars and even motorcycle escorts bringing the students to the event. To top it off, the weather held off too, which made the red carpet arrivals even better. The students had a meal, a fireworks display and even had the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull. Obviously the big thing was dancing and our students fully engaged. It was quite a sight seeing over 200 teenagers performing the Macarena in perfect unison!
Our students were impeccably behaved all night and as usual were a complete credit to the school. It was a lovely way to celebrate five years of hard work and memories.
Just before Challenge Week, our Post-16 Criminology students went to Plymouth Magistrates’ Court to observe the criminal justice system in action. This annual visit is always a life changing experience for the students and it is sobering to witness defendants being given a range of sentences from imprisonment to conditional discharges. Understanding the way that the various different elements of the justice system work is vital for the students, and Ms Williams would love to hear from any parents/members of our community that work in this area, that could offer visits or come in to speak to the students. If you are able to help, please could you email LAWilliams@plymstockschool.org.uk
Mrs Worley recently took her Year 10 GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition class to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth (formerly the Holiday Inn) to experience an afternoon tea as part of their research and preparation for designing their own. The students were tasked with working in small groups to research the background of the afternoon tea, decide a theme and create two dishes each, showcasing the technical skills that they have learnt over the past year.
The students worked incredibly hard to produce the dishes in the time given. Themes included James Bond, Alice in Wonderland, Disney/Unicorns and Roald Dahl. The trip to the Crowne Plaza allowed them to experience an afternoon tea, something which many of them never had done before and their behaviour was a credit to the school (the restaurant manager commented on how well behaved and polite they all were).
Below are some photos from the visit followed by some examples of their creations.
Three of our Year 9 students – Gaia Bennett-Butterwick, Ed Bearman and Sophie Newton have just submitted an entry into the Spirited Art Competition. The aim is to combine the subjects of Religious Studies and Art. The students had a number of themes to choose from. Gaia, Ed and Sophie chose the question ‘Is religion dying out?’. They have produced a really innovative piece and we wish them the very best of luck in the competition.
Congratulations go to Codie Curzon-Berners this week as he has just been awarded ‘Most Improved Player’ for Plymouth Hockey Club Under 12s. This is a fantastic achievement for Codie and a real recognition of the huge amounts of hard work that he has put in. Well done.
This week ends a brilliant year of reading, by all year groups. However, the Year 7 students in particular have had a fantastic year and will be receiving their end of year rewards, during registration this week. Although, there are hundreds of students who received rewards for reading, Takondwa Shawa and Maria Elliott have received this term’s ‘Black Star Award’. This award is usually just given to one student, who has made extra special effort to improve or develop their reading. This year, however, we have two students who have really stood out in their personal efforts and determination to improve their reading.
At this point I would also like to mention Joshua Pasmore, already an avid reader; Joshua was the winner of the ‘Black Star Award’ last term. Joshua has now read over 60 books and has read 4,960,823 words! The highest we have ever had on Accelerated Reader. Joining him as ‘millionaire readers’ (students who have read over a million words this year) are:
Daisy Sawbridge, Amber Gawron, Xiaoying Zhen, Jess Green, Leah Green, Emma List, James Milne, Lorcan Powell, Rhys Prevost, Isabelle Sargent, Imogen Stokes, Dedan Benjamin, Matthew Cochrane, Rafael Folz, Abi Wright, Hayley Wright, Caitlin Byrne, Olly Cornish, Jack Dixon, Alicia Jasper, Caitlin Lewis, William Maunder, Leala Morgan, Lexie Moss, Makenzie Stevens, Arianna Turner, Ela Wimpress.
The Year 7 tutor group who read the most books this year is L7KMG and the Year 7 English group who read the most words (29,0999,431) was 7xEn Eagle. In other year groups, the top readers for Year 8, are Jay Taylor and Eleanor Moyse. For Year 9 it’s Grace Maunder and Brandon Williams and Year 10 it’s George Piper and Ella Warwick.
I would also like to mention the amazing Year 8 Reading Mentors, who have been brilliant this year and a real credit to the school. They have given up their time to help students in Year 7 develop their reading skills, with some incredible results. One of the reading mentors, David Moisob, not only worked with Takondwa (his mentee) every day, he also gave up an hour every week, after school, to help Takondwa improve his literacy. Their patience, hard work and support has had a really positive effect on the Year 7 students. As well as seeing an increase in all their reading ages, many of the Year 7’s have been asking to be mentors themselves to the new Year 7 students in September! The Year 8 Reading Mentors for this year were: Wiktoria Maszke, Isabelle McAuliffe, Eleanor Moyse, Megan Rowe, Keegan James-Kearney, Amelia Rogers, Alex George, Ben Stanbrook, Lalani Chandra-Stewart, David Moisob, Kate Phillips, William Hardiman, James Eastwood, Amelie Bevan, Anna McFarlane and Evie Shell.
On Sunday 9th July, Destine Benjamin (Year 8) and her brother Dedan (Year 7) got a fantastic opportunity to have a weekend at the Muller Anniversary Games as their Mum is working for British Athletics during the World Championships and Para-Championships later this Summer. They watched a range of events, including David Weir’s final race before retirement, Mo Farah’s final Diamond League appearance, and the 4×400 rely team receiving their medals. They also got to meet some athletes in person including James Ellington, who after his recent car crash is still recovering, and told Dedan he’ll be racing again soon. In addition, they saw Adam Gemilli and Dina Asher-Smith. Finally they met Vernon Turner from Team USA, the high jumper, and managed to get a photo!
Finally, if you are heading off anywhere this summer, don’t forget that Hays Travel on the Broadway are offering all staff, students and parents of Plymstock School exclusive exchange rates on all currencies.