This week I have decided to do something a little different to the usual blog. A key part of my job is making sure I am visible around the school, especially by calling into lessons to see the great things that staff and students are doing. So this week (the hottest June week for over 30 years!), I took a camera so I can share with you what I saw.
I first visited Mrs Slade our Head of RS. She was teaching a wonderful group of enthusiastic Year 7 students. They have been learning about Sikhism. The focus today was on the Golden Temple at Amritsar. The students started the lesson watching a tour of the temple with Michael Palin, before moving into class discussion and their activity. The students were creating a booklet to showcase the Golden Temple that incorporated facts they had researched from homework, but additionally they had to clearly explain the Sikh ideologies of equality, serving others and respect. For those that wanted a further challenge, they could also give an account of what happens in a UK Gurdwara (that’s a Sikh place of worship). The students were full of energy and keen to tell me everything they had learnt about the Golden Temple.
The next lesson I visited was a boys’ GCSE PE class, that focused on applying the principles of training and progression. This included the physiology of the bicep curl (or ‘guns’ as Mr Taylor referred to them – in a clear attempt to ‘connect with teenagers’!), followed by a Q&A session where students were using really good subject-specific vocabulary. Just as I departed, the students were applying what they had learnt to a training video.
Next up, I popped in to a Year 10 Art class, with Mr Hurd-Thomas, where the students were engaged in a drypoint print making technique from the intaglio family. This is a process in which an image is incised into acetate plate with a hard-pointed needle/blade. The etching is then covered in ink to fill the grooves and is carefully wiped off. Wiping too hard removes the ink from the grooves and wiping too little can lead to smudging – so it’s a little tricky. The plates are then pressed using a machine onto card. The students were working really hard and had produced some genuinely impressive pieces as you can see.
From Art, I moved on to see Mr Chick’s Year 10 Drama group in action. The students were working on a devised piece based on a short story called ‘The Star’. It’s about a boy who finds a shooting star which transports him off to lots of different worlds. The students have been tasked with developing a piece for a target audience – in this case, primary school students. When I arrived up the group were in full swing developing their pieces.
This was followed by a visit to Miss Monelle’s GCSE Maths class. The students were using formulae to calculate the perimeter of different shapes – but with a difference. They were engaged in a treasure hunt where all around the room, various shapes had been hidden with the wrong answers – meaning the students had to calculate the correct answer and match them up to the right shapes. Time was of the essence and some students were getting a little competitive. Whoever says Maths can’t be physically active is wrong!
Then it was off to see Mrs Baker’s Year 9 German class. When I walked in, the students were all engrossed in a code-breaking activity looking at the differences between school life in Germany and the UK. Following that the students took part in an activity using a Kagan Cooperative Learning strategy (called Quiz-Quiz Trade), where they worked in pairs to complete a translation task and coached each other on how to improve their pronunciation and vocabulary.
My final stop was Mr Skorka-Brown’s Year 8 Design and Technology class. I walked into a thrum of fast-paced activity. The students were engaged in manufacturing designer desk tidies. The students were arranged into small groups, with each group being one part of the production line. The atmosphere was great and all were intensely focused on their individual roles, with no one person wishing to slow the production process down.
It was great way to end my walk around the school. It is a real privilege that I get to see all this on a daily basis and it always reminds me what a fantastic group of students and staff we have here at Plymstock School.
This week saw the HMS Heroes Awards take place in the city and I am delighted to say that a number of people from our school community received acknowledgement for their efforts and contribution to service families. Lucy Rickwood in Year 8 was Nominated for ‘Most Supportive Young Person’. Rebecca Hart in Year 8 won the ‘Dedication Award’ and Mrs Wilkins (our Service Family Coordinator) won the ‘Adult Lead Award’. A huge congratulations to all three of you. We are very proud of all that you do to support others.
On Monday 19th June, Mrs Elliot and Miss Grainger took a small group of students to Notre Dame School for the Plymouth Schools Carnegie Challenge. Each school, in the local area, is given a book from the national Carnegie Award shortlist, to ‘champion’, during a ten minute presentation. We were given ‘Rail Head’ by Philip Reeve, a futuristic thriller about a street thief, called Zen.
Preceding the day, the students read the shortlisted books in their own time and gave up many of their lunchtimes to work on their performance. They were amazing on the day and a real credit to the school; their behaviour was impeccable and the staff said they were an absolute pleasure to spend the day with. The students were: Ela Wimpress (B7SET), Evie Yates (B7SET), Lexie Moss (S7LNP), Grace Burt (B11EMM), Max Port (A7PGB) and Izzy Sherriff (L8CHJ). I’d really like to thank Mrs Elliot and Miss Grainger for their support and for making this happen.
Unfortunately, our performance didn’t win (we were robbed apparently!) but the students are all keen to take part again next year, so watch this space…
Last Friday saw the annual Surf Club BBQ at Bigbury. Although the waves were small, the students had lots of fun and then tucked into burgers, hot dogs, played beach games and were accompanied by lots of members of staff who made the time to pop along and enjoy the party! It was a great way to end Surf Club this year and a huge thanks to all the staff over the year that have supported this activity.
A big well done to our Year 7 students that competed in the Plymouth Schools’ Athletics Championships this week. There were a total of 12 teams involved. Our boys’ team came second and the girls’ came sixth. When combined, Plymstock School achieved an overall second place finish – only narrowly beaten by Mount Kelly (a private school!). The students were superb and represented us with pride.
Our Year 7 student of the week is Archie Warne. He has outstanding attendance, works hard in all his lessons and has especially impressed in PE, where his effort and attitude has been second to none. Well done Archie.
The Year 8 winner this week is the fantastic Izzy Sherriff. She is a great student who always displays a positive attitude, works hard and tries her best. In addition, she did really well representing the school in the recent Carnegie Challenge.
Edward Bearman is the winner for Year 9. He has just been selected by Cardiff University to participate in the ‘Dare to Engineer’ course. This is a three-day programme looking at engineering careers and working with professionals to design and manufacture products. Well done Edward and we hope you really enjoy it.
Our Year 10 student of the week is Louis Hardiman, who has been awarded this in recognition of his recent commitment to improve. Over the last few weeks, Louis has really shown that he is determined to improve his levels of effort and achievement. Keep up the good work.
Finally, our Post-16 student of the week is Ellie Spark. She has successfully passed her Level 2 Certificate in Young People’s Workforce. Her tutor has commended her excellent effort and attitude throughout the course. She has also been on work placement this year, every Thursday, with the “All Aboard” Nursery (at Hooe Primary). Recently the Nursery have offered Ellie a Level 3 Apprenticeship, starting this month! Brilliant news for Ellie – well done to her – all her hard work has paid off. She is a quiet and lovely young lady who is reliable, sensible and enthusiastic. We are very proud of you.