I hope everyone managed to find some time to rest, relax and spend quality time with family and friends over half term within the current restrictions.
Over the next two weeks an announcement will be made regarding the next stage of restrictions being relaxed. While this is good news, we will remain vigilant to the spread of infection and continue to promote system of controls within our school; it’s crucial that we all continue to work together to ensure the safety of our whole community parents/carers, pupils and staff.
You will be aware from the news that information from the Ofsted enquiry into sexual harassment within schools has been published. The link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-57411363.
This has been completed on the back of the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ movement and the significant concerns raised about the normalisation of sexual harassment within schools.
Plymstock School has been actively supporting the Everyone’s Invited campaign by reminding all our students that any young person who reports that they have been affected by this issue will be supported in line with our existing safeguarding protocols. Mr Ellerton our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), together with Mr Yendell, Deputy Headteacher Pastoral, have been coordinating our work as a school over the last half term.
Mr Ellerton explains in the article below what further actions we as a school are taking to support our students.
Ofsted enquiry into sexual harassment within schools
The clear message that came out of this enquiry is that up to 9 out of 10 girls reported facing some form of sexual harassment during their education including being called sexist names and sent unwanted explicit pictures.
It is clear that a much-needed national cultural shift is happening around the importance of understanding sexual harassment and it not being tolerated. Ofsted have highlighted within their report that the reaction from school in regards to dealing with cases of sexual harassment is often strong. However, there is a lack of preventative work and a requirement for a cultural change throughout all schools regarding the approach to this topic.
Here at Plymstock we are working hard to promote a cultural change around the understanding of sexual harassment for students and staff through an updated curriculum, clear safeguarding policies and processes, as well as open discussions about the societal issue of sexual harassment. Since the assemblies run by Mr Yendell on this subject before the half term we have seen an increase in the number of referrals regarding peer on peer sexual harassment at Plymstock School. Whilst this may initially be concerning, today’s report highlights that “sexual harassment and peer-on-peer abuse of a sexualised nature is prevalent across schools in the country. Our school and the schools within Plymouth will be no different and we must cultivate a culture of “this is happening here”.
Although this is clearly a difficult and upsetting topic to deal with, we feel it is positive that students are feeling able to speak to staff about the situations they have experienced and can be supported by professionals to report this appropriately so it can be dealt with.
This is one step in the right direction, but my hope is that a continued cultural shift happens at Plymstock where no forms of sexual harassment are tolerated and students’ knowledge of sexual harassment and consent continue to grow.
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
To my amazing Year 7 – a message from Mrs Kirk
It has been an absolute privilege to work with you all this year. Today was our final online assembly where Mr Chivers and I said goodbye and introduce the new team.
Thank you for always being the ‘Best you can Be’
As we draw to the end of your child’s first year at Plymstock School, I would like to take this opportunity to say it has been a pleasure to have been your child’s Head of Year. It has been a most challenging time for all, with lockdown through the Year 6 transition process and then another lockdown during Year 7. Regardless of everything our students have shown great resilience and have grown in confidence and maturity.
A huge thank you goes to the parents and carers for their support over what has been a very different year and I wish your child the best of luck going forward.
Good Luck and keep being AMAZING,
The Den’s ‘Helping Hands’
As part of their Life Skills lessons, Lizzie and Amy, along with Poppy, have been improving their fine motor skills by drawing hands and also drawing around their own hands. They thought it would be fun to create a banner thanking Key Workers for their ‘helping hands’ over the lockdown and decided on a rainbow design. We used coloured paper to create a rainbow effect and decorated it with some of the brightly coloured hands they had also created.
Lizzie and Amy were both excited to put the finishing touches on the display this morning and I have attached a photo should you wish to include it in the blog.
Duke of Edinburgh Award – spotlight on Year 9
This week’s spotlight is on year 9 Bronze DofE student Charlotte Y.
Charlotte has been very busy working on her three sections for her award. For her ‘volunteering’ section she has been helping with First Radford Rainbows. Her goal is to provide assistance to the Rainbows group and demonstrate/help with activities. In her first session she commented ‘I volunteered at my local Rainbows community. We taught the kids how important it is to keep fit and healthy. We practiced some stretches and played some games. I had fun and it was nice meeting everyone!’
For her ‘physical’ section she has been taking part in yoga sessions. Her goals are to practice flexibility and improve her overall wellbeing. In her first session she commented ‘We worked on mindfulness meditation and stretching to relieve tension in the body. I had lots of fun! In the second session we worked more on stability and workout-based sequences. It was refreshing to breathe and forget any distractions such as social media or the stress of school’.
For her ‘skills’ section she is taking part in Acting & studying for her LAMDA exam. Her goals are to pass her Grade 4 acting exam and work towards future exams. Over the last few months she has taken her LAMDA exam and is waiting for her results. She commented on her recent weekly sessions ‘We did some preparation for our show number and ran it through a few times. I’m excited to perform it in summer!’
As you can see from the pictures below, she has made a great start!
Keep up the good work year 9 and remember to upload your evidence weekly to the eDofE site.
Mrs de Mora
I am very pleased to share this with you – all our DofE participants have managed to continue to offer hours of volunteering during the pandemic.
Volunteering is a key part of the DofE programme because we know the impact it has both on a young person’s life, and on the wider community. We’ve been celebrating stories of volunteering during previous blog posts and we are pleased to share with you a certificate celebrating the impact of our DofE group’s volunteering.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are immensely proud of the dedication, effort, and achievement of our young people.
Participants from Plymstock School dedicated 91 hours to volunteering between April 2020 and March 2021, with a social value of £414.05.
Mrs de Mora
Plymouth’s Elizabethan House
The historic property is re-opening as fully immersive visitor experience shinning as a light on some of the people who have lived in it over the past 400 years.
The multi-sensory audio-visual tour of the building is led by the ‘voice’ of the House. Acting as a narrator, she shares her memories with visitors as they are led through each of the carefully restored rooms. You meet the first owner, a washerwoman, a wig maker, get a glimpse at the House’s architecture and see what life was like for the rich and the poor. Projections, images and smells all add to the experience. Each room is dressed with a series of carefully selected props to enhance the stories even more – from a dreidel to represent the Jewish owner of the House to a fishing rod to symbolise a fisherman lost at sea.
Other objects, some of which have been specially commissioned, include Wedgwood pottery, clay marbles and a christening dress, in memory of the babies who sadly died in the House. For tickets: contact www.theboxplymouth.com or Plymouth’s Tourist Information Centre.
The voice of Eric, a child who lived in the house, is Y7 student Matthew D. Matthew shared this experience with his History class this week – it enhanced our learning of Elizabethan England. Matthew has also recently auditioned for the West End production of Matilda. Well done Matthew – we wish you every success in your ventures.
Matthew has been awarded a Headteacher’s Personal Achievement Award in recognition of his achievement.
Students of the week
All our nominees have demonstrated Endeavour, Resilience and Empathy; Plymstock School students striving to “Be the best you can be”.
This week’s winners
In Year 7:
Martyna F has been nominated by Mr Willcocks for excellent effort in Year 7 History
In Year 8:
Mr Withey has nominated Lillie-Mae O “Over the last few weeks Lillie has submitted extra work in History to both build upon her classroom learning and get ahead in her studies. She has worked independently and to an exceptionally high standard. Really well done.”
And Lille_Mae is a double nominee and deserving winner. Well done
Lillie-Mae O has also been nominated by Miss Barr on behalf of Mrs Chesney “Mrs Chesney has been very impressed with Lillie’s improved and positive attitude both before half term and during this week. This has included completing extra work outside of lessons (especially in History and Science) to help her understanding improve. Overall a positive improvement in both effort and attitude.”
Lillie-Mae is pictured below receiving her award from Miss Robb her Head of Year.
In Year 9:
Mrs de Mora has nominated Charlotte who has been very busy working on her three sections for her year 9 Bronze DofE award. As highlighted above in this week’s DoE spotlight.
Charlotte is pictured below receiving her award from Mr Wookey her Head of Year.
In Year 10:
Alfie J has been nominated by Mrs Boyle who says “His efforts in chemistry in the last half term have been really positive and always contributes in lessons.”
Well done to all who were nominated this week:
Student of the Week Nominations
- Emmanuel A-A and Zech B have both been nominated by Mr Willcocks for excellent lesson contributions on the causes of World War One in History.
- Mrs Kent has nominated Evie H for outstanding work in French EVERY lesson, focused on her work EVERY lesson.
The Student Column’s – TEACHERS OF THE WEEK:
- Mr Dale – for very kindly lending out reading books – 7GMD
- Mr Davies – For allowing singing in class – especially Frozen – 7GMD
- Mr Broadwater – For being himself – 7GMD
- Miss Cockburn – For being a really good teacher – 7JNB
- Mr Willcocks – For being very funny and helping me a lot – 7JNB
- Mrs Grenney – For being so nice all of the time – 7JNB
- Mr Bishop – For being a great tutor and maths teacher – 7JNB
- Mr Wyatt – For being funny – 7RLR
- Mr Wright – because we will miss him – 7RLR
Guide Dogs for the Blind
During a random morning registration conversation with my tutor group, one student asked if we could get a tutor puppy. Always the practical thinker, I responded with “But who will look after it?” And then a thought popped into my head and I shared it with the group, “we could always sponsor a guide dog puppy!”
After a quick group vote, it was decided and we worked out that if at least 10 students brought in 10p each week we could cover the minimum cost. Anything extra was a bonus and would be saved up to hand to the charity.
We then had a tough job selecting the puppy and it was fairly unanimous – Niko (seen in the picture below) was the choice. The process is simple and we will get to watch him grow from a six-week-old bundle of fur into a fully qualified guide dog. After 24 months of training Niko will give freedom and independence to someone with sight loss.
We will receive regular updates following his journey. He will have his own Facebook group and we will receive a photo album, photos of Niko, a personalised certificate and a Guide Dogs Calendar.
This is an incredibly important cause, did you know…..
- Every hour another person in the UK goes blind
- 180,000 people with sight loss do not leave home alone
- Almost £2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss
- By 2050 that could be nearly £4 million
- The charity relies on donations to continue the life-changing work.
We would just like to say a great big HELLO to Niko and welcome him to 9EJP!!!! We will keep you all updated with Niko’s progress and as the tutor group prepare to complete their final term at Plymstock when in year 11 Niko will prepare to become a fully-fledged guide dog and change someone’s life forever!
Careers Insight – Army Medical Services
Find out more in this week’s Careers Insight below