On Monday the government’s statement included this quote “these actions will change the ordinary lives of everyone in this country”. We now all fully appreciate how these measures are going to be “very significant ” so that they “save lives and to stop this disease”.
Plymstock School will close at the end of the day today, except for certain categories of children:
• Vulnerable children (eg. those with an Education Care and Health Plan; those with a social worker).
• Children of essential workers such as health, police, social care, delivery drivers.
You will find full details on our dedicated ‘Distance Learning’ page:
and all letters and updates on Coronavirus here:
I will continue to keep you updated with future developments via our MyEd messaging service and webpage as we get them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and your ongoing support and understanding; your messages of support have really helped our staff this week and are greatly appreciated by all.
Stay safe and healthy.
This week’s blog is dedicated to our students in Year 11 and 13
Year 11 and 13
Our Year 11 and 13 students have been amazing in response to the cancellation of this summer’s public examinations. The way they have dealt with the news about their GCSEs and A levels shows such maturity and resilience in these uncertain times. We are very proud of all of them.
I cannot really fully describe the real sense of loss they have experienced over the last two days – for all that work, the experience of sitting the exams and really feeling that they have achieved something.
Their response has been typical of the strength of character our students display; they are resilient, pragmatic and looking forward to what comes next. Over the last two days, we have talked to Year 11 and 13 and reassured them that:
Things will be ok, to focus on things you can control, keep learning (especially in areas in your future plans!), we are really proud of you, we care deeply about you and we don’t know all the answers yet but as soon as we do we will tell you.
Finally, Plymstock School is committed to educating the whole person; it is not just about the exams and grades. Central to our curriculum is the fact we build valuable life skills: resilience, tenacity, teamwork, aspiration, self-care and kindness to others
What happened on Wednesday evening is unprecedented but it has NOT stopped them from learning the above in their time with us.
Good luck, we will not forget you, there will still be a last day and a leavers’ assembly; just at the right time!
Keep in contact.
WELL DONE, YEAR 13
Today saw us saying goodbye to our current Year 13’s. The goodbye process normally lasts for several weeks and students and staff normally have time to prepare/psyche themselves up for emotional goodbyes, so the rush of goodbyes today and not knowing when we will get a chance to celebrate has definitely left everyone feeling a mixture of emotions.
However, in traditional sixth form style the Year 13’s carried out a prank on the Head of Sixth Form (never the Assistant Head of 6th – they know better than that!). This year the students felt Ms Monelle’s car needed a new paint scheme and gift wrapped her car in multi-coloured/patterned paper – quite a professional job – they can definitely add gift wrapping expertise to the C.V’s!
The Sixth Form Senate also decided to raise everyone’s spirits and planned a Easter Egg hunt for all of sixth form to find hidden treats and left little gifts for the sixth form team.
To the Year 13 Class of 2020; it has been a pleasure and a privilege over the last two years to have seen you grow into these amazing young adults – the future is extremely bright for all of you.
We will miss you all but will celebrate in style later in the year – plans are already afoot!
Beckie, Ms Monelle & Gemma
Supporting our local community
Staff and our student helpers have been busy since Wednesday collecting non-perishable and hygiene items to deliver to those in the school community most affected by the current situation. We would like to thank all staff members who have generously donated over the past couple of days. This is something we will endeavour to continue for as long as we can.
Well done to our Sports Ambassadors on raising £90 for Sport Relief; they organised lunchtime and break time activities for our students last Friday. They would like to thank Mr Bellamy for his goal-keeping efforts in ‘beat the goalie’ and to congratulate the students who were involved in the dodgeball competition.
The staff sweepstake was announced as part of a national reveal of a hidden sporting item and it was Mr Hughes who won by choosing the tennis ball. He has agreed to donate the winnings back to Sport Relief.
Around the school
I have been around the school this week dropping into lessons and I was struck by the sense of normality and calm, given the events that are taking place nationally. Below is a selection of lessons I have dropped into over the last two weeks. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for preparing our students for distance learning at home and for their hard work and dedication to our school and wider community. I have been inundated with offers of support from our staff.
My first stop was Miss Graves’s lesson with Year 10. The students have been working on a Flora and Fauna project for their art GCSE coursework. They have recently studied the print artist, Angie Lewin. Whilst distance learning, they will be prepping their own designs for a lino print and will be producing further artist studies as inspiration for a future clay sculpture.
I was so impressed with the purposeful atmosphere but also the quality of the work, and I hope to report back over the coming weeks on how some of this work develops.
Miss Graves has been working with Plymouth Box project for over a year and another casualty this week was the cancelling of the preview opening we were going to attend next week.
Next, I popped in! (sorry! this will become obvious in the photographs) to Ms Birchnall’s lesson where the students were treated to far more than pops in the demonstration she had planned. Literally, the lesson went off with a bang! Students in her Year 7 class were enthralled with this live demonstration of oxidation and combustion; students had just made magnesium oxide using Bunsen burners to react magnesium with oxygen and Ms Birchnall was making water by setting fire to a hydrogen balloon. Business as usual!
One of the causalities this week has been the provision of after-school clubs and I would like to thank Ms Birchnall and Mr Cooper for the work they have done in their own time after school this year to engage and encourage our next generation of scientists. A few highlights below. Not for the squeamish!
I popped in to see Year 7 with Mrs Kent who wanted me to feature their recent work on their crazy sandwich. Mrs Kent is grateful to the parents who both tested and then consented for their pictures to appear in this week’s edition. You will see that not all enjoyed the ingredients their children had chosen for them. Mrs Kent is very proud of the work the students have completed and the high standard of work produced.
Mrs Kent is renowned for her novel and creative approaches to teaching languages and I was deeply impressed once again by the passion and pride the students had in their work and how they wanted to improve their use of a modern foreign language.
Mrs Robb, Head of Year 11, reported back from break time duty on how our students have adapted. Our Year 11’s playing football with Year 7’s: The Year 11’s were outclassed by the younger students (there were admittedly more of them but if you averaged out the height, I think we would have been on a level playing field).
Our students have been incredibly resilient in the face of unprecedented events and have adapted without fuss. We are so proud of them.
I also popped into several Year 13 classes today along with Year 11 to discuss and talk through yesterday’s announcements. It was very humbling and I’m incredibly proud of our students and staff and the working relationships they have formed. There was a real sense of loss today.
Our Year 13 Physicists might have lost the ability to take their final exams but they have gained so much more than that over the last two years. They have new knowledge, new skills, confidence in themselves, a much deeper understanding of the universe around us, resilience, an addiction to the colour of a spreadsheet, an understanding of the importance of cake and so much more.
Tears were shed but now it is on to the next step and Mr Wilson and Mr O’Neill would like to wish them all success and fulfilment wherever they end up.
WELL DONE YEAR 13
Here is a poem from Alfie in Year 8
Year 9 Distance Learning
As you are aware we started distance learning on Thursday with Year 9.
The MFL department earlier today sent me an example of live learning taking place.
Graeme came in to award the hard work and creativity of the year 9 EPiC classes. I never thought that year 9 students would want to be awarded a pack of toilet rolls rather than an Easter egg!
The students had produced some amazing pieces of work as seen in previous blogs and in their lesson this week their dedication to this project and their ability to raise challenging questions was finally rewarded.
Thank you to Graeme for coming in to facilitate this work and for being so generous with his time and the prizes.
Dear Year 11,
It has been a strange few days. For the past couple of months I have been trying to get to grips with the fact that you would be leaving, I never imagined I would have two days’ notice. To say that I am devastated for you is an understatement but believe me that it will be ok and you will be able to take your next steps, and I know that you will fly. I have been so impressed with the way you have stepped up your game and the dedication you have put into your studies and so proud of the wonderful young people you have become.
It only seems like yesterday you were a bunch of fresh-faced and small year 7’s and you were put into my care. These five years have flown by, too fast, I wish we could do it all over again. I will move on to a new year group but you were my first and you will always hold a very special place in my heart. You have grown as young adults but you have also helped me to grow and I am thankful to you for that.
I’m sorry that I can’t say this to you in person but you know what I’m like, I’d only get choked up and cry. If you get chance, please come and say goodbye. Keep checking your school email and Show My Homework, I will keep in touch.
Thank you Year 11, you have been awesome, I have been proud to be your Head of Year.
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:
All of Year 11 and 13 are students of the week
Jess and Alfie in Year 10 for their community-spirited work in thinking about those who are vulnerable in our wider community: Alfie for all his help yesterday in arranging wellbeing packs; Jess does a paper round, and it has a lot of elderly on her route; she, along with her mum, made a hamper for a particular gentleman and also posted notes through doors asking if they needed help, then to call them.
UK-German Connection Scholarship.
Recently we featured an article by Misha in Year 13 celebrating her UK-German Connection Scholarship. This week in tribute to our amazing Year 13, I have included Misha’s full review of her time in Germany.
A Month in Germany
After applying, this time last year, to the German Scholarships Programme, I, along with 7 other students from the UK, left England for 4 weeks to spend July travelling around Germany. Our group was made up of international students, including young people from the Netherlands, Chile, Serbia and Palestine – all awarded with the opportunity of a fully funded trip to Germany through UK-German Connection. I spent the whole month communicating (almost entirely) in German! It was my first visit to Germany and, studying A-Level German, I absolutely loved it!
We spent the first 5 days discovering Bonn, the previous capital city of Germany, before travelling to the tiny village of Wilhelmsdorf, in the very south of Germany. Here, we spent 2 weeks, each staying with a separate host family and taking part in our own lessons at the local school (which we were astonished to learn, began, here in this region, at 7:20 am). We also went on trips: such as that to Lake Constance; a coach trip to simply cross the border and spend a day walking in the Austrian Alps and a visit to a Käserei (dairy farm and cheese factory). I spent the evenings and weekends enjoying activities with my host family, which among others, included visits to the nearby lake, for a swim and picnic, a visit to a high ropes course or rather just playing card games and watching films in German. At the end of the two weeks, we said goodbye to our host families to travel to Munich, where the highlights included trips to: the Zugspitze (the tallest mountain in Germany); the Olympiapark and a visit to the Ludwig Maximilians University, to learn about the opportunity to study in Germany. Our final destination was Berlin. These last 5 days were particularly fascinating (and unfortunately sometimes rather saddening) to discover the history of the city. Although the last night felt rather miserable (knowing that each of the friends we had made were travelling back to different parts of the world) it was, for me, also a time to be thankful for, that we had had such an opportunity to not only spend a month speaking completely in German and getting to know the German culture, but also for getting to know one another and hearing about many cultures.
I am really grateful for the experience the trip gave me, which has improved my knowledge of German (particularly that of speaking) tremendously, but also for the international friends I have made, with whom I was able to communicate, through German. With many of them, I am still in touch, through sending postcards, writing letters and messaging one another online.
On return to the UK, we were required, as part of the programme, to complete a couple of tasks, to promote both our experience and the learning of the German language. I therefore ran a workshop, at my previous primary school, introducing a class of Year 6 pupils to German phrases. Although it was the part of the programme that I was the most nervous for (and had rather been dreading) by the end of the session, they were all able to confidently hold a conversation with one another. The enthusiasm of the kids was of great excitement to me, knowing that these pupils would not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn a little bit of German before going to secondary school. To summarise our experience, each of us from the UK also completed a trip report in German, of which snippets from each of us appear on the UK-German Connection website. Perhaps the loveliest task of all, was that of the photo collage – I was (as I’m sure everyone else was too) rather spoilt by the many wonderful memories from which to choose.
Written by Misha (Year 13 Student)
School Closure: school will be closed from Friday 20 March to almost all children, until further notice.
On Monday 23 March, the school will be open as advised by the Government, for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs.