Bon voyage Year 11 – it’s been emotional!
Today our Year 11 students completed the last of their whole year group examinations. At 10:05am, the GCSE Physics exam finished and the feeling of relief was palpable in the exam hall (although our thoughts are still with the 40-50 students who have exams next week). For most of the year group – they were done – it was all over! It’s been 5-weeks of relentless examinations for them. Once they had left the hall, they gathered with staff outside the Galley to celebrate. There were tears, laughter and the obligatory shirt signing. Throughout, the last 5-weeks the students have been brilliant and gave it their all. It’s just the long wait now until Thursday 22 August when all will be revealed!
I would also like to say two big thank yous. Firstly to our staff who have put in so much additional time to work with and support these young people. So many people have really gone the extra-mile, including giving up weekends and holidays for our students.
Secondly, I would like to thank all our parents. Without your support (inc. dealing with the emotional turmoils at home during this stressful time), this just wouldn’t have been possible.
Well done Year 11. Enjoy your summer – it is well deserved.
As you will be aware from my recent letter, I will be leaving Plymstock School at the end of this academic year to take up a new post within our Multi-Academy Trust, as Director of Secondary School Improvement. Initially for 12-months, this role will involve working collaboratively with all five secondary schools (inc. Plymstock) within the Westcountry Schools Trust to help improve outcomes for every child. After 18 years, this was a very tough decision to make, as Plymstock School has been a major part of my life and I love it dearly. Thankfully, I will still get to work with our school community, as well as embracing lots of new challenges. I would like to thank all of you for your support of me – you really have been amazing.
In terms of Plymstock, I am delighted that Rob Pearsall (photo below), will be taking over as our Headteacher. Rob, who is currently a Deputy Headteacher, has been at Plymstock for 10 years and has successful leadership experience in a wide variety of roles. I know that Rob will do a fantastic job for our school community and I wish him the very best.
We are now well into our busy Duke of Edinburgh expedition season, with only the Silver qualifier left to complete next weekend. 45 of our Bronze participants successfully completed their qualifier expedition last weekend and are well on their way to achieving their Bronze Award. 20 Silver Award participants have already completed their practice expedition and will complete their qualifier next week.
Having to be completely self-sufficient can be gruelling at times but the expedition section gives the participants a true sense of independence and can be both exhilarating and empowering. It is a privilege for staff to see how confidently and successfully our students overcome challenges both individually and as a team. Getting to the finish is a real triumph!
The expeditions are just the icing on the cake though. This is just one of the four sections that the participants have to complete. They have all been working tirelessly behind the scenes, committing at least 48hrs to complete their personal development programmes. This requires participants to learn a new skill, work on their physical fitness and volunteer to help someone else. Completing any DofE award demonstrates commitment, resilience, motivation and discipline, which is why it is the world’s leading youth achievement award and considered so highly by educational institutes and employers alike.
I would like to thank Mrs Tyrrell, Mr Roberts, Mr Steward, Mr Wright, Mr Campbell, Ms Taylor-Roberts and Ms West. who have all given up weekends to support our students with these fantastic opportunities.
Next week we will be launching the award with Year 8 students. If you are interested in getting involved then please contact Mrs Tyrrell.
It has been a busy time for the Languages Department, with our French partner school visiting, as well as students from the Hörderlin Gymnasium in Southern Germany, who use the textbook that Plymstock School actually features in.
The French students are from a school in Ernee, which is the town next to Chateau Beaumont, where Year 7 visit on the Normandy trip. We did some fun activities with Year 8 (who visited Ernee during their Normandy trip last year). It was great to see some of the original friendships reawakened and new ones made. We will be back in Ernee next February.
The German group worked with students from both Years 8 and 9, and also enjoyed a friendly game of rounders – a sport that isn’t actually played in Germany. We are hoping to visit them near Stuttgart next year during Challenge Week.
On both occasions the groups stayed for break to get a better experience of life in a British school. They were afforded something of a ‘celebrity status’, with many of our students coming to say Bonjour or Guten Tag and exchange contact details.
Now it’s time for our students of the week. This week’s winners are:
- Dulcie H – Dulcie recently applied to become a critic for the Theatre Royal Plymouth. Out of hundreds of young people who applied, she was chosen and is the youngest person in the group. She will have the chance to review shows and write blog posts about her experiences that will appear on the website. Well done.
- George G and Oliver F – both of these students have given up their own time to help re-string and restore the electric guitars in the Music Department, allowing all our guitarists to use instruments in a much better condition. A huge thank you to both of you.
- Leon L – in recognition of his exceptionally kind and caring nature, in which he provides amazing support for other students in the school.