A Brave New World – The Rhythm and Routine of School Life
We are all now acutely aware of this week’s key government message that we should all ‘act as if we have the virus’, the impact on our lives of the lockdown and the anxiety and challenges it brings.
The Government have again clarified this week in new DfE guidance that:
- Limiting attendance does not suggest that schools and colleges have become significantly less safe for young people.
- Limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.
- In the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal
- To reduce all our social contacts wherever possible.
None of this is easy and like our Government, we are all having to adapt quickly and make the necessary changes. This week has been all about supporting everyone to adapt to this new rhythm and learn the new routines.
This week, in school, we have been working to further develop and adjust our approach to online learning, in response to several updates from the Department of Education (DfE). Mr Sprenkel, Deputy Headteacher, has taken overarching strategic responsibility for the quality and delivery of remote education. He has been working closely with our staff and alongside Mrs Duff, Miss Monelle and Mr Taylor, our Directors of Learning.
One of the constant pressures for us all at this time is the endless flow of news with regards to all aspects of our lives. Staff are very aware of the impact statements and announcements have on our students; supporting our young people with understanding on how the changes affects their lives is at the forefront of our work.
Naturally, this week has focussed on students in Year 11 and 13 with the announcement by the DfE and OFQUAL on the consultation that has started on how they are to be assessed. To support and enable discussion, Mr Taylor hosted a drop in for our Year 11 parents/carers and students on Wednesday evening; Miss Monelle has been hosting calls with Year 13.
Mr Yendell, Deputy Headteacher, working with our pastoral teams has overseen the start of a programme of specific assemblies, the overarching theme of “Be kind to yourself!”, this week E Safety – Staying Safe Online. I was delighted to be invited to join the Year 7 assembly hosted by Mrs Kirk. In the coming weeks, our assembly and tutorial programme will cover: health and wellbeing, community kindness, anti-bullying and celebrating difference.
To support parents and carers we have updated a number of pages on our website with information and have a one stop page that has links to other key pages.
Throughout the blog we have highlighted other aspects of our work this week.
Thank you for your ongoing feedback and messages of goodwill, these are very much appreciated.
Take care, stay safe and well
There has been much circulating in the media surrounding remote learning.
On January 11 OFSTED published ‘What’s working well in remote education’.
In the light of this guidance, we have produced a guide for parents using a Department for Education template released at the same time, which clarifies what parents, carers and pupils can expect from remote education at Plymstock School.
As a school we always seek to do what we believe is right for our students. These are challenging times for all, and things change rapidly.
Rest assured that we will continue to adapt and modify our practice as and when necessary, but will always do so based on sound educational principles, keeping parents informed at all times.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for their support throughout this period. Your patience and understanding, as well as feedback, has been and will continue to be very much appreciated.
Deputy Headteacher and Strategic Lead for Remote Education
This week has seen a great start to the new term. We are all learning new ways of working and beginning to get to grips with online learning. I am sure some days the internet is at capacity! It has been great that our Year 7 students are enjoying blended learning and are now becoming experts at using Teams. Many teachers have taught part sessions on Teams this week, with all tutors leading sessions. It was amazing to see so many Year 7 students in Assembly on Thursday with 210 students and staff present. The target is to get to 300! It was also interesting to read the chat after Assembly and I am glad so many of you are engaging with online learning.
I want to take this opportunity to thank parents for their commitment and support with online learning, as a parent myself I know how difficult it can be. Please make it work for you and your family and if you are having any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact us in school.
I want to finish by saying thank you to all our Keyworker children who are in school and we are helping with their online learning. They have been outstanding in their behaviour, attitude, and commitment within school. Thank you also to the parents for the work you do every day.
I am going to finish by saying it is a rollercoaster journey, be kind to yourselves. Have a nice weekend.
Mrs Kirk, Head of Year 7
This week the Year 11 Pastoral Team launched their brand-new Instagram page to inspire, support and motivate the Year 11 students.
The account is full of study tips, mental health support, inspirational quotes, and the odd hilarious meme.
It’s just another way that we can keep the Plymstock School Spirit alive and kicking during lockdown 3.0. We have loved the engagement so far (even if we have been trolled by Mr Wookey and the Year 9 Instagram page already!)
A special shout to 11EN/Trevor – Ms. Cohen has been singing their praises to the pastoral team. They are really engaged in their live lessons and are submitting fantastic pieces of work for her.
So, Year 11 students, give us a follow @plymstockschool_year11 and get involved!
Mrs Harris, Head of Year 11
Year 11 ‘Drop in’ clinic
Another Plymstock first occurred on Wednesday evening.
We held our first virtual Year 11 ‘Drop in’ clinic organised and facilitated by Mr Taylor (Assistant Headteacher – Director of Learning for Years 10 & 11).
The session was on MS Teams for any parents or students to ask any questions or voice any concerns about remote learning, mock results, or next steps.
Mr Taylor would like to thank all those who took part. He will be organising another for Year 11 and Year 10 shortly.
If you were unable to take part and have any questions, please do email Mr MA Taylor using MATaylor@plymstockschool.org.uk
Sixth Form Update
Miss Monelle and Beckie would both like to congratulate students in years 12 and 13. For year 12 this is the first time they have had to negotiate remote learning, and although year 13 have experienced it before, both year groups have risen to the challenge and embraced the variety of different tasks being set, including live lessons, group chats and messaging teachers. Thank you from both of us to all the students who are doing exactly what is being asked of them, you’re a pleasure to work with at this time.
The introduction of tutor times and assemblies will continue next week (hopefully the teething problems are now all ironed out). A reminder that if any students need any help at any time just to contact us, we are here to help. Students should continue to check their school email accounts as well for any general information we are sending out!
We understand the uncertainty still about exams, and more details will follow when we have them.
The latest information from this week can be seen here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-55641364 as mentioned previously to all students, the hard work needs to continue!
Advice and Guidance During the Covid Pandemic
We have updated this one stop page as a central Covid information webpage for parents/carers and students.
Here, you will find everything you need to be aware of regarding the procedures and systems in place at Plymstock School during the current pandemic. We hope that having all the information in one place will make it easier for everyone to access.
This week we have re-organised and updated the page so that the information covers broad themes:
- Mental Health and Wellbeing – link to our main mental health page
- Year Group – links to specific information to support your child, we will add information relating to both academic and pastoral support
- COVID-19 ABSENCE – including our COVID related absence line
- General Parent Information – including links to our key parental information booklets
- Remote Learning – policies, guides and help sheets
- On-site Learning – who to contact and an outline of our provision
- Parental letters – sent home by MyEd, copies to year groups appear on those pages
You will also find additional information in our newsfeed https://plymstockschool.org.uk/news/
What should I do if I have questions?
If you have questions, please email using: firstname.lastname@example.org and these will be directed to a member of staff to answer.
We hope that this will help with locating information, you will continue to receive news through our MyEd messaging service.
Plymstock School Library Update – Miss Hogben Reads…
From Thursday 14th Miss Hogben (with kind permission from Collins Egmont/Harper Collins children’s books) will be reading from ‘Code Name Bananas’ by David Walliams every day, during DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time.
This is to enable students who do not have reading materials at home or who are unsure what to read next to engage with reading.
The book is suitable for all year groups with an interest level for KS3. Miss Hogben has included some comprehension questions and some tricky work explanations to offer further guidance once the reading has finished.
The recording is not live so can be accessed at any time of the day. Miss Hogben will keep all videos uploaded until 1st April 2021 when, legally, they need to be taken down.
The link to the page on our virtual library is:
Mental Health and Wellbeing page
A reminder that the Mental Health and Wellbeing page on our website has links to several organisations and agencies for those needing help during the pandemic.
A reminder that the Mental Health and Wellbeing page on our website has links to several organisations and agencies for those needing help during the pandemic.
We all need to look after ourselves as well as looking after each other.
Mrs Rebecca Littler
Assistant Head of Sixth Form
Merits and Golden Tickets
We will be continuing to award students merits and golden tickets.
Over the last 12 months based on parental feedback from surveys, we have been increasing the number of opportunities to reward students for their hard work, resilience, and empathy. Trying to be the best they can be. I have heard from many parents over the past week about how they are helping to motivate and engage their children with the remote learning. From Monday, golden tickets will be awarded as a MERIT rather than a badge – this will allow Satchel One to write back to SIMS so a report can be run each week so we can look at totals and recognise those students and be able to do a virtual prize draw and send the winner an Amazon voucher.
From next week, alongside our other whole school reward processes, we have refined the way that we will issue certificates to the Headteacher’s student of the week. With our new systems and badges within Satchel One, we again revert to just one student in each year group receiving the award. This is a prestigious award for individual students who really have achieved something outstanding, whilst allowing teachers to recognize all our students’ hard work through our main rewards system.
We will continue to list all our nominees in the blog so they that can be recognised for their achievements.
Miss Evans, Associate Assistant Headteacher
I’m really impressed with the dedication and determination of Ruby, Mike and Scott in 10CFr2– they are always on MS Teams live/support sessions asking questions to improve their knowledge. Even if they needed motivation, they still turn up. Well done guys!
9zFrRhine: I’d like to say a big well done to Nidal, Mimi and Cohen for their impressive literacy work being sent in from OSP, they’re working really hard and it shows in the quality of the work they are handing in! Well done! Additionally, I’d like to say a big well done to Keenan and Addison in the French half, for being so organised and producing fantastic work, despite it being challenging to learn a language in lockdown.
Miss V. Ellis
Students of the week
All our winners have demonstrated Endeavour, Resilience and Empathy; Plymstock School students striving to “Be the best you can be”.
Our winners include:
At Plymstock School, we have something we try and instil into students: it is okay to fail if you do not give up. It is important to see the journey and remember that you simply haven’t’ got there yet! This week’s nominees have all demonstrated that mindset and trait.
In Year 9
Louise she has worked brilliantly all week, has kept her focus, followed all instructions, not complained, and completed all work set ahead of schedule. Mrs de Mora
In Year 11
- Rhiannon B for her attention to detail and sheer hard work in Chemistry remote learning. Ms Birchnall
- Harrison B for making his teachers laugh and smile with his energy and enthusiasm. Mrs Harris and Miss Graham. Pictured below.
- Katie D the quality of the work that she has been submitting since the beginning of term has been outstanding and worthy of recognition. I am proud of her. Ms Birchnall
In Year 12
- Biology: Nathan C for his contribution in live Biology lessons – without having to be picked on!
- Psychology: Joy O has submitted everything on time and asked some sensible questions that show she is really thinking about the work
- Abi C for her remote Core Maths work – simply outstanding (see attached).
- Applied Science: Rosie H whose work has been of a high standard and extremely punctual!
- Criminology: Ralphie H for submitting every piece of Criminology work early!
- Criminology: Isaac W for submitting every piece of Criminology work early!
- Business: Hannah S for her quick submission and high-quality work.
- RS: Millie C for being brave enough to have her camera on and fully engage in our MS Teams lesson this week.
- RS: Grace C for making excellent synoptic links between our study of religious language, a metaphysical God, and the epistemic distance!
- Chemistry: Anna Mc F for always being prepared to break the radio silence on teams and contribute to live chemistry lessons
- Chemistry: Erin M for always being prepared to break the radio silence on teams and contribute to live chemistry lessons
In Year 13
- Tabitha B an excellent essay on audience reception from the media, I loved reading it and could see Tabitha had taken all feedback on board and was determined to do the best she could!
- Lucy McG a brilliant intro and first paragraph in her essay which really impressed me! So much so that I had to message her on satchel one to tell her how good it was!
- Anya C working hard during lock down and answering some tough questions with great answers.
- Aliya S for her excellent answers to the questions in the last piece of work!
- Millie P for asking for help, discussing the topic, and then conquering the understanding!
- Tiegan P for brightening Miss Marshall’s day with the cutest picture of her puppy Romeo.
- Physics: Harriett R is working really hard and they are seeing lots of improvement.
- RS: Daniel P for finding and sharing support and revision resources with his peers (and teacher!)
- German: Maddie C for excellent participation and level of work in Y13 German
- Chemistry: Emma C for just being so well organised, motivated, and determined to do her best.
Mrs Kirk has been out and about with her camera again and has shared this amazing sunset. Mrs Johns has also added a photo from her weekend walk.