It’s okay not to be okay
Our theme of the week, led by Mr Yendell and the pastoral teams has been around mental health and well-being; on Wednesday each year group received an assembly.
You can view the assembly here:
I joined Mrs Harris and Year 11 who talked about the following as steps to looking after yourself.
- Stay connected
- Maintain routines
- Try a new activity or hobby
- Get outside
- Connect with nature
- Look after your body
- Limit what you read and watch
- Reach out for help
Of those routine, is without doubt the one many of us find helpful to ensuring we stay well and with so many changes with daily life, it often becomes harder to be resilient and keep adapting and creating new routines. This is particularly so with so much news and speculation, coupled alongside the anxiety and stress the virus has brought families.
Education remains as it should be, one of those constant themes. Yesterday, the education secretary clarified that the rollout of daily contact testing (Lateral flow tests in secondary schools) will be paused, other than for schools involved in further evaluation. However, to continue to test staff regularly (twice-weekly where possible, and to now only test pupils twice on their return to school.
There has also been continued discussion around when, if and how schools might re-open, something we all wish to see as soon as transmission rates allow and much discussion around the consultation that has started on what format Year 11 and 13 will be assessed for their GCSE’s.
I saw this well known motivational quote this week, Will Rogers’ adage: “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” However, it does seem at the moment that many of yesterday’s issues will remain for today, for now. We all want answers, and although our patience is being tested by this pandemic, as a community our strength comes from tackling these issues together and supporting one another through this period.
The mantra of tennis champion Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”, leads me to the pragmatic advice we keep going back to; deal with each problem and day, one at a time. Words my mother used to say to me as a child, and still does on occasions!
Our advice to our students remains, try your best every day, follow your timetable, stick to a routine and when you are stuck ask for help.
To misquote Professor Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows “Help will always be given at PLYMSTOCK to those who ask for it.”
We may no longer be able to say “Keep Calm and go the HUB” but help remains on hand daily; even if that hand is through a digital divide.
Even when some can’t ask our staff, we will continue as part of our daily routines, to be reaching out to those who may need a little extra support and encouragement to establish and maintain those routines.
If you need further support please click on:
Take care, stay safe and well.
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.
We all need to look after ourselves as well as looking after each other.
Mrs Rebecca Littler
Assistant Head of Sixth Form
Books To Africa
Some time ago, Plymstock School raised money to send books to Africa.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic, amongst other reasons, we were unable to use the money to ship the books out to African schools. We now have the opportunity to use some of this money to support the charity Education East Africa.
This charity is supported by a lovely retired maths teacher who also makes and sends weekly current affairs quizzes to us to use with our tutor groups. If you would like more information on this charity please go to
Key Stage 4 – Office 365
Important reminder from Mr Sprenkel and Mr Taylor
The following message and detailed instructions has been sent to all students in Years 10 and 11 via Satchel 1 about an important update happening this weekend.
We need to move your email box to the Office 365.
This process will happen this weekend (23rd & 24th January).
After the change you will need to log in to Office365 and MS Teams again but using your school email address ending in .org.uk
You password has not changed
The user name ending in .net will no longer be needed and won’t work any more!
Post 16 options
Year 11 have started to think a little bit more about their futures this week!
Students had their Post 16 options assembly on Monday and responses for their options form, as well as applications for Plymstock School Sixth Form, have now started.
All Post 16 Options and Sixth Form information, including a recording of the assembly, can now be found on our new web page:
A reminder – all year 11 students must complete the post 16 options form (link on webpage) by Wednesday 24 February 2021, we look forward to seeing your responses.
Assistant Head teacher, Director of Learning for KS5
Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust
The Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust have created a free ‘Virtual School Library’ for students and staff to access during Lockdown. They will be offering free reading and writing activities from children’s authors and their books. Every week popular authors will be providing free reading books, videos and activities.
This week’s author is Jacqueline Wilson, and the free online book is ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’.
For more information go to the library website (DEAR page) or here is the direct link to their virtual library.
Plymstock School Virtual Library
Please don’t forget the Plymstock School virtual library. It has LOTS of resources and links to free audio books and videos of authors reading from their books, to support students with reading at home.
Miss Hogben reads…
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.
Please contact Miss Hogben at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like extra support.
Do you need your work printing?
Local help is on hand for students at home who have no access to a printer.
Whilst we all follow the Government’s advice to reduce attendance to schools as much as possible.
Please find details below of a very generous offer to support students and families at this time
Year 12 English Language and Literature
Year 12 English Language and Literature group are studying Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”. One of their tasks last week was to engage in a piece of recreative writing based on one of the chapters from the novel. Here are three excellent examples of the task by Sophie, Joy and David.
Ms Cohen and Mrs Bartlett
Year 11 Science
This is following a really wonderful parents’ evening and some excellent work during the past few weeks. These students in particular have not been phased by the lockdown, cancelled GCSEs or having to work online. The appointments last night were brilliant, the students are so determined to do well, and focused on their futures. I felt so proud to talk to them!
Ellie B, Josh C, Finn C, Olly C, Tom E, Jess J, Caitlin L, Lexie M, Joe T and Ela W
Year 13 Physics
I’d like to mention Isaac V and his chorus of Year 13 Physicists who fully embraced the Remote Lessons on MS Teams this week to not only sing another student Happy Birthday but played Happy Birthday on his guitar on camera. Great effort from Isaac who has been a brilliant student during Remote Learning along with all the Year 13 Physics Students. Mr Wilson
Year 8 Science
I’d like to give a shout out to:
Daisy B, Charlie B, Isobel B, Megan C, Imogen F, Louisa G , Emily H, Rico K, Sam L, Summer L, Grace P, Eden R and Mitchell S
They have all shown a fantastic attitude to their Remote Learning tasks, doing every piece of work on time and attend every Live lesson and engage and answer questions. The written work is of brilliant quality and we are putting as much of it as possible on the Science Instagram page to celebrate their hard work.
Well done Year 8!
Students of the week
This week’s winners
- In Year 7: Hermione D nominated by Miss Cleary as she continues to put huge amounts of effort into both her EPiC project and her Science work. Hermione’s work is a pleasure to read.
- In Year 8: Dan M nominated by Ms Birchnall. Despite technical problems with video lessons, he always perseveres and produces good quality work. He has gone above and beyond this week by completing a science practical at home and sending in some photos showing the time period and the location of the xylem within a plant (see picture below of one lesson’s work including the results of the practical)
- In Year 9: Chloe H nominated by Miss Graham for her outstanding commitment in Maths
- In Year 10: Joel G nominated by Miss Pring. He has worked really hard on every task I set. On a drawing task I could see that he was finding it challenging so gave him some feedback and attached an extra link for him to follow. He then went away and had another go at the task and the progression and transformation was incredible. He really deserves recognition for his effort and resilience.
- In Year 11: Keira W nominated by Miss Cohen. Keira has completed amazing work for every remote learning assignment since the start of this term. She’s going over and above the task requirements and it’s because she is aiming to achieve a grade 7 or higher in English (which she is currently working at), above her target of a 6. In the class quiz on ‘Macbeth’ this week she also impressed me with her answers via Teams. All in all, an excellent start to Lockdown learning.
- In Year 12: Amy G nominated by Mrs Richardson for Sociology. She produced an outstanding assessment and I am really proud of her. 100% A*, an improvement of 3 grades from her last assessment
- In Year 13: Eva N nominated by Miss Evans for her effort and dedication to her Biology.
Nominees for Student of Week
All our nominees have demonstrated Endeavour, Resilience and Empathy; Plymstock School students striving to “Be the best you can be”.
Congratulations to all who were nominated this week:
In Year 7
- CadenM nominated by Miss Cohen as he’s set up a reading log and sent me some excellent new vocab lists. He’s put a lot of effort into the reading assignments since the first week back – much more than the basic lesson requirements.
- Martyna F nominated by Mrs Hawker for her brilliant music work and friendly messages when sending work in.
- Ella L nominated by Mrs Hawker for responding to feedback and submitting a great piece of work.
- Alfie C nominated by Mr Riden for his perseverance even though he has had some difficulties, he has kept on top of his work and been a superstar.
In Year 8
- Finleigh F nominated by Miss Graham for always being the first student in her class to submit his work.
- Olivia J has been nominated by Mr Davies as she has been brilliant for the last few lessons, asking lots of questions when needed and always submitting top quality work! Keep it up Olivia!
- Crystal E and Erin H both nominated by Mrs Hawker for the amazing videos of them playing the 12 Bar Blues on their keyboards at home.
- Ethan O, Hugo Le M, Ellie E and Mitchel S all nominated by Mrs Lowe for outstanding effort and brilliant work in music.
In Year 9
- Alfie S has been nominated by Mrs McCoy as he has been working consistently every day in school and completing daily work. Alfie is developing great resilience and perseverance. Well done!
- Ella B nominated by Miss Graham for her outstanding commitment in Maths
- Gracie F and Jack B nominated by Miss Marshall for their contributions to her MS Teams live maths sessions.
- Rowena M nominated by Miss Pring as she is always present for lessons as well as tutor sessions and assemblies. She is an all-round ‘good egg!’
In Year 10
- Taneisha A nominated by Ms Cohen as she has completed amazing work, putting in extra effort for every assignment this term. She is working well above her target currently and has also kindly agreed to let her share her written responses with the class (anonymously, of course)
- William B nominated by Mrs Boyle for his excellent contribution to live MS Teams lessons.
- Owen L nominated by Miss Cohen for consistently completing all English remote learning assignments to a high standard.
- Ben P nominated by Miss Burston for consistently engaging well in the remote learning, making excellent notes and completing all tasks to a very high standard. Yesterday in the live lesson, Ben contributed really well and, like always, engaged positively with both her and Mrs Slade. He also answered a challenging question during the live lesson which was excellent and impressed both his teachers.
- Sawyer T nominated by Miss Cleary for consistently putting in a lot of effort into his work and producing brilliant biology notes every lesson.
- Dulcie H, Spencer P and Dominick O’C all nominated by Miss Marshall for their superb engagement in maths lessons and for constantly questioning how/why to further their understanding.
- Caolan H nominated by Mr Davies for some excellent work and always on time to meetings, and always willing to ask questions and discuss topics!
- Ben P nominated by Mr Davies for always attending meetings, engaging nicely and writing some incredible answers!
- Oliver G, Ben R, Maddy S and Oliver S all nominated by Mr Rogers for continued and consistent effort in Computer Science.
In Year 11
- Madi A nominated by Mr Watteau as she has demonstrated great resilience and a strong will to go over her mock results. She asked for support and revision material to improve in French. Well done Madi!
- Finley H nominated by Mrs Smith for an excellent attitude towards his online learning and continued engagement with his lessons.
- Amber G nominated by Miss Cohen for consistently completing all English remote learning assignments to a high standard and for comments / answers during live lessons.
- Livvy J, Katie L and Charlie N. All nominated by Miss Marshall for their MS Teams contributions to live maths lessons.
- Tom E and Joe T both nominated by Mrs Johns for consistently working hard, submitting detailed work with improvements and working flexibly in a manner to suit them. It shows the high levels of maturity and excellent attitude they have to their learning.
- Jack S nominated by Miss Pring as he has been working hard throughout lock down despite the uncertainty. He has taken part in live lessons, asked sensible questions and always submitted his work.
In Year 12
- David T and Denzil B nominated by Mr Rogers for Computer Science – for exceptional commitment to their development as programmers
In Year 13
- George W nominated by Mr Rogers in Computer Science for consistent effort in all areas of his studies.
Lots of updates from our careers team and some amazing opportunities
Careers@PlymstockSchool Update – January 2021
ONLINE CAREERS FAIR
The National Careers Service has brought together speakers and resources for a Virtual Careers Fair to showcase opportunities in different sectors, and help people think about their next step, whether that’s a first step into a new career or changing careers.
The fair is free to join and has some live talks from organisations, speaking about their opportunities (e.g. BT and the NHS) and what it’s like to work in their sector, as well as some offline resources.
The event is split into two days:
Day 1 (27 Jan) – Exhibition Day – A chance to hear from organisations about their opportunities, and hear the experiences of people doing the jobs; what to expect, what skills you need, and routes in. As well as other useful careers resources.
Day 2 (28 Jan) – Virtual Jobs Fair – join your local fair to see vacancies in your area.
To book a place, get inspiration for a new career for 2021, and receive notifications as new sessions are added:
Some sessions have limited numbers of tickets numbers.
Virtual National Apprenticeship Show – 10 February 2021
The National Apprenticeship Show has gone virtual! it will be on 10th February 2021 11am – 6pm
Confirmed exhibitors include:
- The Dyson Institute
- Astra Zenica
- HM Government Counter Fraud Profession
You can register now for the event and the full workshop schedule will be available online from 18th January
South West Virtual Apprenticeships Expo 2021 11 February 2021
With over 30 employers exhibiting, this virtual event is a chance to engage live with real apprenticeship employers and current apprentices to discover the benefits of earning and learning through an Apprenticeship.
School sessions run from 2pm – 4pm, & 4pm- 6pm. Open to teachers, careers leads, parents, and students.
Register now: https://hopin.com/events/south-west-apprenticeship-expo
Or for more information about the Virtual Apprenticeship Expo 2021 contact the apprenticeship team on email@example.com or ring 01392 400800
Samsung – Solve for Tomorrow competition
Solve for Tomorrow is a nationwide competition for 16 – 25 year olds who may have a brilliant tech idea that they think solves a real-world issue within one of the following areas:
- Social Isolation
- Diversity & Inclusion
The winning idea will receive long-term mentorship and support from Samsung and Digital Catapult to bring their solution to life, as well as a cash prize of £10,000! Entries are welcome from individuals or for teams of up to 5.
For more information including a video visit the Solve for Tomorrow website
Vodafone work experience – 15 – 19 February 2021
Vodafone have launched their virtual work experience programme to be held 15th – 19th February 2021.
They are offering a week-long virtual work experience programme where students will attend a series of live webinars, panel discussions and workshops designed to develop industry focused skills, valuable experience, and an insight into working life at Vodafone
Willmott Dixon Virtual Work Experience for Construction Management
Willmott Dixon have launched their virtual work experience for construction management roles.
Careers Insight – eSports
This week we are exploring the exciting world of eSports!
You may have seen the word “esports” in a newsfeed, heard your students talk about it, or in an article you may have read.
The recent increase of eSports into mainstream culture has resulted in a lot of questions. But what is eSports?
Find out more in this week’s Careers insight.