This week we were delighted to welcome Tony Jarrett to Plymstock School. Tony is a former England sprint and hurdling athlete. He was a silver medalist in the 110 metres hurdles at the World Championships in 1993 and 1995, and at the European Championships in 1990, and won the gold medal in the event at the Commonwealth Games in 1998. He is still the fastest ever Englishman in the 110m hurdles. Tony now devotes his time to coaching and mentoring young people.
Tony spent the day with us and actually taught five lessons in both PE and Religious Studies. Over the lunch break, staff and students had the opportunity to hear his story about life, athletics and his faith. Over 100 students turned up to hear the talk and as you can see below, as soon as it was over, he was swamped with autograph and selfie requests!
It was a brilliant day and we really appreciate Tony giving up his time to come to Plymstock School. A huge thank you goes to Pastor Mark Oliver, from the Plymstock Chapel, who made this opportunity possible.
On Tuesday we celebrated the annual ‘European Day of Languages’. This is a Europe-wide day to celebrate the diversity of languages across the world. Staff dressed up to represent a nationality, country or language and started and ended their lessons in a language other than English. A challenging tutor group quiz about different languages and their origins was won by A9 SDR. The staff language prize for making a real effort to speak other languages during the day (nominated by the students) went to Miss Pelley in Maths and a special staff prize went to the Science department for their whole-hearted embracing of the theme (with some VERY interesting outfit choices – mentioning no names Mr Stanton!). A big thank you from the MFL staff to everyone who took part (and to the MFL team for organising the day).
We have a number of exciting projects coming up within the MFL team, to support our programme of trips abroad. Year 10 French students have recently heard about their opportunity to take part in the “Ocean Citizens of the Future” Erasmus-funded project working with people their ages from Brest in Brittany. Year 7 are excited to be planning their visit to Normandy in February. Year 9-11 German students are waiting to hear on dates for the German exchange and we will shortly be asking for applications from KS4 French students to become Language Leaders and support the Normandy trip. Students interested in any of the opportunities should speak to Mr Downes or Ms Baker.
Also within MFL, we are very pleased to welcome our new Foreign Language Assistants, Stefanie de Capitani from Switzerland and Canelle Morel from France, who join us next week. They will work with students of all ages in lessons and will also be running language clubs at lunchtime for KS3 and after school GCSE-focussed Language cafés for KS4.
This week we received some great news from the Department for Education. Many of you will know that school performance is judged using a variety of different measures. The key measure for schools is called Progress 8, which replaced the older measure of 5 A*-C (inc. English and Maths) in August 2016. This measures the amount of progress that students make (from Year 7 through to Year 11), from their starting points, across 8 different and challenging subjects. The national average is a score of 0. A score above 0 indicates that students in a school are making greater progress than similar students nationally.
This summer saw the introduction of a new GCSE grading system in English and Maths (using 9-1 instead of A*-G), as well as much more challenging examinations. As I previously let you know our outcomes were really strong this year. However, we didn’t know our Progress 8 score, as the DfE had to analyse the data from all schools in the country first.
We are really pleased to let you know that Plymstock School achieved a score of +0.24, which means our students are making much greater progress than similar students nationally. This is also a significant improvement on our 2016 Progress 8 score, which was already strong at +0.13. When the league tables are published in October, we expect to see Plymstock School as one of the strongest schools in the country.
I would like to thank all the students, staff and parents that worked in partnership to get these excellent outcomes. This importantly means that our young people have greatly improved life chances and future opportunities. We are certainly on our way to achieving our goal of being a world-class learning community.
Wednesday evening was the launch event for our new Multi-Academy Trust called the Westcountry Schools Trust, or WeST for short. This is an exciting collaboration between 12 local primary and secondary schools.
The WeST secondary schools are: Plymstock School, Coombe Dean School, Hele’s School, Ivybridge Community College and Callington Community College.
The WeST primary schools are: Dunstone Primary School, Oreston Community Academy, Sherford Primary School (once open), Yealmpton Primary School, Stowford Primary School, Woodlands Park Primary School and Wembury Primary School (joining 01 October 2017).
The event was held at the Plymouth Guildhall. Hundreds of staff from across the 12 schools attended. Such is the significance of our group of schools coming together, several very high profile people from the world of education attended as our guest speakers, including Sir David Carter (the National Schools Commissioner – Picture 1) and Lisa Mannell (The new Regional Schools Commissioner for South West England). We also got to hear from our new CEO, Rob Haring (Picture 2).
Collaboration was at the heart of the event and we are all looking forward to working together to improve not only the outcomes for students in our own schools but for nearly 10,000 students across the local area. Exciting times ahead.
On Thursday lunchtime I had the pleasure of meeting with our brand new Student Senate. Two students from each year group have been selected through their Year Forums to represent their year groups. The main role of the Student Senate is be the voice of young people in further improving our school. This includes coming up with new ideas and helping to shape the future direction of our school. The group meet once per half term with myself as Headteacher. The focus for our first meeting was school uniform and what that might look like going forward. In the meantime, the team are going to be talking to students across the school about uniform and will feedback to me in a few weeks time.
Our Student Senate members are:
- Year 7: Morgan Algar and Dominic O’Carrol
- Year 8: Marley Farr and Charleigh Hopkin
- Year 9: Ed Beresford and Arina Creci
- Year 10: Jamie Coulton and Josh Kelly
- Year 11: Daisie Pulley and Joe Hewitt
I am really looking forward to working this great group of young people over the next 12 months.
I would like to say a huge well done to Mr Luscombe’s Year 7 tutor group. Amazingly, since we started this year, every single student in the tutor group has maintained 100% attendance. On top of that, not one person has been late to school on any occasion either! I’m really impressed – keep it up!
We have two amazing Year 7 students of the week. Morgan Algar and Matilda Ashley have just come back from London having performed on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre, situated in Haymarket, Westminster, as leads in the play ‘The Lazy Ace’. It is a musical comedy set on the glitzy, glamorous Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the casino scene detective Chip Buddy is in search of a card shark known as The Lazy Ace. Morgan played Angel Applewood and Matilda played the judge.
What an achievement at such a young age – absolutely incredible. Well done girls! I am really looking forward to seeing you in action in one of our future school shows too.
We have three students of the week in Year 8 – Maisie Ellis, Harry Mann and Emma Cluer. All three are working hard in lessons and frequently go ‘above and beyond’ to help other students and support their learning. Their efforts are much appreciated by both their peers and teachers. Well done.
Keanu West is our Year 9 student of the week. Keanu has been nominated in recognition of his extremely positive start to the year. He has started Year 9 with a renewed maturity and a strong focus on his learning. Keep up the good work Keanu.
George Webb is our Year 10 student of the week for impressing staff with his performance and attitude to his new Computer Science course. In his first assessment her managed to achieve 91% – quite an achievement. Well done George.
We have a group of students for the Year 11 nominations this week. On Wednesday evening our Year 11 Netball Team (accompanied by Ms Kirk) went to Hele’s School for the Under-16 Plymouth National Schools Selection. The team, captained by Faith Warren, played with mental and physical grace and determination. I am proud to say that having won all their games bar one, they came second overall and now progress on to the next round, representing Plymouth at the South West National School round. The girls were amazing as always and a real credit to our school.
The team were:
- Faith Warren
- Molly Train
- Abbie Cluer
- Aimee Ellis
- Hannah Taylor
- Lucy Pitt
- Annabel Mimpriss
- Katy Christopher
On another note – I can’t tell you how many times this photo had to be retaken because ‘something wasn’t right’. Despite the fact I couldn’t see a difference with any of the photos. The one below was FINALLY approved by the team and classed as ‘okay’.
Last but by no means least is our Post-16 student of the week – George Osborne. He has been nominated by Mr Steward for making an excellent start to a really challenging new programme involving a range of varied activities including Achievement Training, Theatre Royal 2, in-school learning and a swimming club. Well done George – keep up the great work.