On Thursday 29 November, Plymstock School teamed up with WeST partner Ivybridge Community college to visit the enchanting German Christmas Markets. Students studying German from Years 8-13 were accompanied by Ms Baker and Mr Dott, and spent the weekend trying out their language skills in a range of authentic situations.
The group stayed in the centre of Aachen just a few minutes’ walk from the Hexenhof markets and started the tour with a night time visit. Under a thousand twinkling lights the students tried delicious ‘heisse Schokolade’ and some had their first taste of a traditional ‘Curry Wurst’ which was a big hit. After a much needed good night’s sleep, the group headed off for a day in the renowned Cologne Markets. Starting with the Markt der Herzen, the famous food and drink market under the imposing Cathedral. Students showed a keen interest in both the bustling stalls and the historic Dom, taking time to walk through, admire the beautiful stained glass and light a candle.
A short walk followed to the picture perfect Markt der Engel where the students enjoyed fluffy, sweet waffles and fell in love with traditional German Lebkuchen, inscribed with the famous ‘Ich liebe dich’ motto. Next was the moment the students had all been waiting for: the Lindt chocolate factory! An engaging and enthusiastic guide led students through the museum section, explaining the history and process of deriving chocolate from cocoa beans. Here the students could try chocolate in its various stages from cocoa bean (very bitter!), through cocoa butter, to chocolate itself. Then it was on into the chocolate making section. This is where students were able to (repeatedly) sample the sumptuous velvety Lindt chocolate fountain!
The guides were really impressed with the students’ conduct and participation in the tour and gave them a glowing review. The Lindt outlet store also proved a firm favourite with students able to stock up on treats, as well as buy some lovely Christmas presents for a real bargain.
Aachen centre was the destination for Sunday with plenty more Christmas cheer to enjoy. The markets snake around the ancient cathedral up to the medieval ‘Rathaus’, which is surrounded by wooden beamed houses. Here the students perused the variety of stalls crammed with intricate and delicate Christmas decorations, as well as customary wooden German soldiers. The visit to Aachen cathedral revealed a church even more beautiful and ornate than Cologne with gold leaf ceilings and detailed stained glass. After some exploring of the town it was time to start the journey home, tired but with a host of fantastic memories (and lots of chocolate!).
On Monday 03 December two Year 9 teams from Plymstock School took part in the Subsea Challenge at the National Marine Aquarium. The aim of the event was to promote careers in the subsea industry and the challenge was to design, build and test an autonomous underwater vehicle which would be capable of following a predetermined route around the seabed, without damaging marine life. Both teams did brilliantly and built vehicles which managed to complete every challenge they were set.
The final part of the challenge was to market their vehicle, including producing a storyboard for a TV advert, and present their pitch ‘Apprentice style’. Again, both Plymstock teams did brilliantly and gave confident presentations. The final judging put Plymstock third and fourth out of ten teams. Well done to everyone who took part.
An ex-student and ex-member of staff came in to visit the Year 12 Criminology students to talk about his role as a Police Officer. The students found this to be a very valuable experience and gave them a real life perspective on some of the issues that they cover in their course. We are always happy at Plymstock to bring the real world into the classroom – especially when they are part of our alumni. A big thank you goes out to Mark for giving up his valuable time.
Last week we took 87 students to London to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios to see ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’. The purpose of the trip was to thank all the students that have contributed, over the last two years, to making the school library and reading programmes the success that it is today. The students were invited for a variety of different reasons:
- Literacy Leaders – students who give up their time, once or twice a week to work with younger students to improve their literacy.
- Reading Mentors – students who give up their time to work with younger students to improve their reading.
- Library Monitors – students who work in the library, in a supervisory role behind the desk, general house-keeping, running library activities, once or twice a week.
- Purple Star Students – students who give up their own time to improve their literacy or reading (e.g. participating in Literacy Leaders, Easter School, extra reading at break or lunch).
- Readers – students who have excelled at reading in some way. This could be by constantly challenging themselves or working hard to improve their reading (at any level).
- HOGWARDS – students who participate in Plymstock’s own book award ‘HOGWARDS’ by reading and reviewing a variety of different books, over a 5-6 month period.
- Carnegie Challenge – students who get involved in the inter-schools Carnegie challenge. This involves reading the official Carnegie Medal shortlist and putting together and performing a persuasive presentation about one of the books, to the other schools in the local area.
The students chosen for the trip were those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in some way to support literacy and reading across the school, and have been an integral part of the growth and transformation of the library over the years. It highlights to the students the importance of self-motivation and how constantly striving to improve themselves (whether as a mentee or mentor), contributing to their own learning environment, and that of others, is a valuable and essential life skill.
The trip itself was a huge success and this is largely due to the amazing behaviour and attitude of the students who attended. They were absolutely brilliant. As a group, they were so supportive of each other and looked out for one another the whole time. They were so upbeat and excited and yet waited patiently in queues and followed all the instructions given. Miss Hogben said it was a pleasure to run a trip with such lovely, responsible and happy students I would like to say a big thank you to the staff who supported the trip.
News just in as I write this blog! Our Year 8 boys football team have just played Colyton Grammar School in the Devon Cup. I am delighted to say that we won a staggering 8-0 with goals from Spencer F (2), Stanley B (3) and Rhys M (3). Rhys M, in addition to his hat-rick, also hit the crossbar four times, but was eventually awarded Man of the Match. Well done to the team – an amazing result!
Our Post-16 students have been busy collecting food for a local food bank, through the Shekinah Mission. The students did amazingly well and the donations were very well received by the local charity. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
Congratulations to all the Year 7 students that have been involved in school football this year.
30 plus Year 7 boys students been regularly training every week on Tuesdays and Fridays. They have been helped and supported by some of our Year 10 leaders, who have been coaches and referees. It has been a busy term that began with a 10-0 thrashing in the English Schools Cup in the first few weeks of term but we are pleased to say that things have got considerably better since then!
All the students have been given the opportunity to represent the school in friendly festivals. The first was against Eggbuckland Community Colege which saw some excellent skills on display and resulted in some close hard fought games.
In the Plymouth Cup the team bounced back to beat a strong Stoke Damerel Community College side 2-0 with Jackson F grabbing a brace from right midfield. Most recently the team won their first round Devon Cup game against Holsworthy 6 – 2 (Jackson again with a brace, Archie W with hat-trick and Noah M also on the scoresheet) sending them through.
Mr Taylor said “It has been a pleasure to work with all of the boys and I look forward to more games in the New Year”.
Despite the the challenging weather, Plymstock School recently hosted the Plymouth ‘Chance to Compete’ Cricket Competition.
The students had a chance to play a number of games and narrowly missed out on qualification for the Devon round after close matches with Stoke Damerel Community College and St Bonifice’s RC College. Batting first in all the games, the team were given a great start by Ben W who managed to hit a number of boundaries in all games, racing to retire in quick time. However, despite some clean hitting on occasion by the other batters, our running and aerial shots saw us fall well short of the totals we should have set. This put too much pressure on the bowlers and despite the best efforts of Jemima J, who showed why she is making excellent progress through the Devon CAG programme, we simply didn’t have enough runs! The event was ably supported by the Year 9 cricketers who scored and officiated all games. They get their chance to qualify in the New Year.
Congratulations go to Jasper in Year 10 who recently, on an extremely wet and bitterly cold Saturday at Bikepark Wales, entered his first big Enduro event (a downhill mountain bike racer event). Jasper was competing in the 14-19 age category, and he achieved a very respectable 9th out of 39 making him the fastest 15-year old (Year 10) rider down the mountain that day. Well done Jasper and we wish you the best of luck for the 2019 race season.
Every year Plymstock School holds a Christmas Hamper Competition, where tutor groups in Years 7-9 compete to produce the most spectacular hamper. Clearly this is a competition for CHILDREN. However, that doesn’t stop some of the staff getting overly competitive! For example, our Head of Computing – Mr Rogers, was photographed hidden away over a lunch break frantically making decorations because he feels this is ‘his year’.
Last but no means least is our students of the week. Our winners for the last blog of 2018 are:
- Amelie – this young lady has been relentless in getting involved in the wide variety of activities on offer and ensuring her school work is tip top. She attends at least three clubs, helps in the library, will do anything to help her tutor group, is involved in ‘Hogwards’, is organising her group’s Christmas Hamper decoration and much more!
- Georgia – in recognition of her exceptional work as a Peer Mentor and also for being a fabulous all round student who takes pride in all aspects of school life.
- Aidan – to celebrate his amazing achievements in swimming. He has recently competed in the British Winter Nationals, participating in six events, and is now ranked 3rd in Britain for Under 14s in the 50m and 100m Freestyle. Well done Aidan.
- Ashli – to acknowledge what a fantastic all round student she is. Miss Holton, the Assistant Head of Year 11, is full of praise for Ashli.
It just leaves me to wish each and every member of the Plymstock School Community a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Thank you for all your support over the last 12-months – it is really appreciated.