The final blog of this half-term and one that celebrates our students’ achievements; so much has been achieved in just re-opening and operating as normal as possible.
One thing that the last 6 months has taught us is that our school is so much more than a building. It is the people and our bond that make us a school, wherever we are.
As well as the day to day our staff and students have been working together to create resources to support parents and students with information on choosing your secondary school and information to support studying at GCSE. If you haven’t seen these videos and pages do have a look on our website and via our newsfeed. We hope you enjoy our virtual Open Evening videos but in particular this video by our students:
Thank you to the whole community for all that you do in support of our children.
We look forward to seeing everyone after half-term.
Take care, stay safe and well
Poppy, Lizzie and Amy all worked extremely hard last year engaging with tasks from their ASDAN programmes. ASDAN is a curriculum development and awarding organisation that helps young people develop knowledge and skills for learning, work and life. Poppy gained her Bronze Award, whilst Lizzie & Amy completed a credit of work each. All three students will be continuing their ASDAN studies this year, aiming for Silver Awards.
All these students are Students of the Week and I was delighted to be asked to present their certificates this week. A fantastic achievement.
Remote Learning – trialing virtual lessons
Ms Birchnall is off school with a broken foot but this has not stopped her exam classes from continuing. Some Year 10 and all her Year 11, 12 and 13 classes have been engaged in remote learning via MS Teams. They have been working through their mock revision and their normal lessons in classrooms, with Ms Birchnall using the visualiser and PowerPoints from home to deliver lessons.
I popped into her Year 12 lesson yesterday.
Ms Birchnall said, “The point at which Mr Pearsall dropped into this lesson was when Year 12 biologists were looking at the properties of water and their importance to life. Students were completing a safe mini practical predicting how many water droplets fit on a penny and then using the science taught that lesson to explain their findings. In these ‘live lessons’ I can talk to them from home and they can see my face using a visualiser in each classroom, I can point the visualiser at paper and use it as a white board or they can point the visualiser in the classroom at themselves so that we can have class interaction and discussion. I can also share the PowerPoint presentation for parts of lessons whilst they can still hear me talking through a process or concept and they can still talk to me and ask and answer questions. It has been an extremely effective way of continuing near normal teaching and learning whilst I am incapacitated with my poorly leg at home. Students have responded really well to it and it has become our ‘new normal’.”
I have to say I was really impressed with our students and this different type of lesson although I did nearly jump when Ms Birchnall suddenly spotted me and stopped her delivery!
Mr Foot explains his experience as a cover supervisor supporting Ms Birchnall:
“The most important thing about the distance learning trial is the learning environment for the students. With mocks around the corner the students understand the importance of having their teacher with them in lessons. Working as a team, Ms Birchnall and myself have created an environment where students have a specialist teaching the content, with the added help of support within the classroom.”
Feedback has been brilliant, students have really benefited from the lessons this week. They have really excelled and adapted to what could be, for many, an example of teaching leading up to Christmas depending on circumstances. They have given me clear feedback on what went well and what could be improved to give them the most out of the hour they have in lesson.
It’s really helping our planning and involving the students in this process has allowed us to understand their views and what works best for them.
The Student Column
I was also delighted this week to receive the first edition of our new student blog section called “The Student Column”; I’ve included some extracts below and their section on staff member of the week. Thanks go to Destine, Abbie and Anna.
“Welcome to the first full edition of The Student Column, written by the students for the students – and teachers of course! We thought it would be a great idea to have a space to share stories, thank yous and anything that is important to us as students.”
We also think it’s important to have a space where we can recognise the staff at Plymstock for all the hard work they do so today we will be announcing the first recipients of the “Teacher of the Week Award”. We would encourage you to nominate a member of staff. Thank you very much!”
The group have also written the following article about Black History Month
Black History Month:
As you may know, this month is Black History Month and in light of recent events that have impacted the world, we thought it would be interesting to explore the origins of Black History Month and recognise some notable black figures who have displayed resilience and determination to achieve amazing things.
Black History Month was first launched in London in the 1980s, where the aim was for the local community to challenge racism and educate themselves and others about the British history that was not taught in schools. Throughout history black people have always been present in the UK but we may not always know about it. In paintings of Henry the Eighth you can see black members of his court in the background.
Queen Victoria had a black goddaughter called Omoba Aina. Born in 1843 she was given to the Queen when her parents died after being captured by slave traders. Her name was changed to Sarah Forbes-Bonetta.
Our article below
Year 13 Health & Social Care
Students are currently working on their Anatomy & Physiology unit. This week they have studied the Digestive System. Here are some of their Knowledge Organisers. Nakyta has been particularly creative!
Children in Need and British Legion Poppy Appeal
As many of you will be aware, when you were able to pop into reception you would have seen the poppies crocheted by Jan Brown our receptionist, sold in support of this important annual appeal. This year Jan has taken on an additional challenge and has come up with a COVID safe way for staff, students and parents to support these appeals through her work if you wish to.
“Hello, a lot of you may know that for the last few years I have been crocheting and selling poppies to raise funds for the British Legion Poppy Appeal. Every year thanks to the generosity of staff/parents and members of the public who visit Reception I have managed to raise a substantial amount to give to this worthy cause.
This year for a change, and to help get me through lockdown earlier in the year, I decided to try and do something to support the Children in Need campaign as well and I have crocheted some Pudsy Bear heads. There are 2 versions of these, the one to wear as a brooch and the other which is on a key ring chain.
Because of Covid restrictions this year it is more difficult for people to come to Reception but if you would like to send me an e-mail letting me know what you would like I can put your request to one side and it could perhaps be collected at the end of the school day when it is quieter.
If any parent would like to purchase any of these they could perhaps e-mail me adding the name of the student in school who will collect and then the student could collect/bring in the money at the end of the day. There is a limited supply so don’t delay in putting in your order
My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
All of them are individually bagged and have been in their own little bags for over 2 weeks so should be perfectly Covid safe.
Could you also please note that they are not toys and would not be suitable for small children. “
Year 10 English
Miss Grainger’s students have been enjoying bringing one of their texts to life!
“We are currently studying Macbeth and some of the students have really engaged with the text so far. Josh, Kianna and Adam can be seen here acting out a passage from the play and embodying their role as witches whole heartedly! There were some great voices and cackles from the whole class which really helped the scene come to life!”
Remembrance – sacrifice and service
This year I am running a competition for Remembrance based on service and sacrifice. You can all get involved. Boris Johnson has said that in 2020 we all need to react to the threat of Covid-19 in the same way as we did as a Nation during the World Wars.
We would like you to create a poster that reflects the values of the recruitment posters of the World Wars but focuses on the needs of our communities now.
Get Creative …
What people do we need in our time of crisis? What services are needed? Are the needs of the community the same now as then? Are the qualities of the people needed the same?
Please complete your entry by 19th November and pass via your Tutor and Year Group Hub to Mrs Wilkins. There will be a prize for the best in each year group and an overall winner.
Good Luck, Mrs Wilkins
Golden Ticket Prize Draw Winners this week were:
- Year 7 – Rio S
- Year 8 – Stevie-Leigh H
- Year 9 – Jessica M
- Year 10 – Ana-M G
- Year 11 – Millie W
- 6th Form – Lucy R
A huge congratulations to these students for upholding the values of our school and going above and beyond every day.
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 other winners include:
In Year 7
Poppy K and Imogen P both nominated by Mrs Campbell. They both play football out of school. They transferred their skills and showed great leadership qualities in their hockey block.
Rosie J nominated by Mrs Campbell for showing her excellent hockey skills – she plays hockey outside of school at Marjons and is a natural attacker.
The following are all recognised for sending in these wonderful postcards pictured below. Mrs Kirk continues to receive these cards which were sent out during partial school closure. This week from: Lilah T: Eden, Max S: Plymstock School roundabout, and Matthew L: Tiger
In Year 8
Year 8 were asked for volunteers to keep the Cricket Pitch tidy by litter picking and we have been inundated with offers. The team has done an amazing job and we are so proud of them for their community spirit.
Below is a photo of last week’s litter picking team. They are: Daisy B, Livia A, Amy M, Maddison W, Emily P, Ruby W, Mitchell S, Lyla-Mae B, Indie E and Cassia A.
They all received certificates as Students of the Week for their fantastic contribution to our community:
Emily, nominated by Mr Hurd-Thomas for excellent homework drawing
Molly nominated by Mr Farrant as she has gone above and beyond in recent Science lessons and performed above her pathway in a recent end of topic test.
Callum, nominated by Mr Chick for Great work in ‘Ghost Stories’ – it was a real shame we couldn’t perform the pieces this week.
Finleigh nominated by Mr Chick for Life Education – always giving ideas and has shown a great understanding of Mental Health issues people face.
Louisa nominated by Mrs Parish for her positive attitude in every lesson; excellent homework; always working hard
Lilia nominated by Miss Robb, Head of Year 8 for always having a smile on her face and being so polite.
In Year 9
Olivia, nominated by Mrs Campbell for outstanding levels of effort and determination throughout the hockey block.
Daniel, nominated by Mrs Hawker for being “Amazing” in ‘Blue Remembered Hills’ group. He was leader of his group and not afraid to get up and perform. Outstanding characterisation!
Edie nominated by Mr Johnson for great effort and has really settled in well with a positive attitude and polite manner.
Charlotte, nominated by Mr Leal as she has been a Star in lockdown and consistently working really well since our return to school, as well as always willing to support others.
Nell, nominated by Mr Wilson for outstanding work in Physics recently, asking interesting questions and tackling difficult work. Always completes her work to a high standard and quickly too.
In Year 10
The following have all been nominated by Mr Wyatt, Head of Year for being outstandingly positive, focused and hardworking this term despite the elevated pressures of studying for GCSEs for the first time during a pandemic.
Zack, Layla, Ellie- Marie and Iuan.
Eloise nominated by Mr Chick for GCSE Drama – Outstanding performance during drama mini-project.
Sophie, nominated by Mr Leal for consistent hard work and always quietly focused in school and with Homework.
Dulcie, nominated by Mrs Parish for superb class and homework; being a great partner in lessons.
Oliver nominated by Mr Rogers for his persistent enthusiasm and for consistently doing the right thing all the time in Computer Science.
Lizzie and Amy mentioned at the start of the blog for their hard work and achievement in their ASDAN course.
The majority are pictured below after school, with 4 days this week, it’s been a little tricky getting everyone together and thanks go to Mr Wyatt, Mr Dott and the students for their patience waiting for me for this after school get together.
In Year 11
The following have all been nominated by Miss Cohen for their excellent effort and achievement on their recent written and speaking assessments:
Isabella, Dedan, Maisie, Amber, Holly, Emma and Keira.
Rowan, nominated by Mrs Parish for English: working really hard in lessons, doing extra work, having a really positive attitude.
Poppy mentioned at the start of the blog for her hard work and achievement in her ASDAN course.
The students decided they wanted a photo with masks on this week and smiling with their eyes. It was a pleasure to meet them all, including those not in the photograph and celebrate their achievements and hard work towards their GCSEs.
Post 16 nominations
In Year 12:
Computer Science: David for his consistency in both effort and the excellent results his dedication produces.
Drama & Theatre Studies: Destine for her outstanding knowledge organiser created for homework, pictured below.
History: Abbie for her effort and application this half-term
Business Studies: Oliver for showing determination and drive to succeed in his coursework and trying to get ahead in it too!
Applied Science: Charlotte for absolutely smashing her end of unit test earning a distinction!
In Year 13:
Computer Science: George nominated for his dedication to his NEA.
History: Dan for his excellent effort this half-term with his NEA
Business Studies: Jacob for his great answers and engagement in Business Studies lessons and Tabitha for showing really good use of knowledge organisers and knowing how to use them really well!
Drama & Theatre Studies:Shannalea who is always willing to volunteer for anything in Theatre Studies. A really reliable student!
This week’s TEACHERS OF THE WEEK:
- Mr Foot was nominated by Luca and Sam in Year 8 as they wanted to show their appreciation for his efforts in supporting them while covering their Science lessons,
- Mrs Pitcher was nominated by six members of 10KJT for being incredibly kind, caring and very helpful. Tristan added that she helps him to feel more confident.
- Mrs Offer was nominated by Sharna from Year 8 for all the support she has been offering since September.
- Mrs Richardson was nominated by Lucy in Year 12 and Leah in Year 13 for her amazing criminology lessons – they love being taught by her.
- Miss Grainger was nominated by Adam in Year 10 because she always goes out of her way to help him in topics he finds difficult.
- Mr Wyatt was nominated by Finley in Year 10, saying that “He is the best and he is funny!”
- Mrs Hawker was nominated by her Year 12 Theatre Studies group for the outstanding level of help she has given them for their monologues. They really appreciate all the time she has spent with them individually in the last week and feel much more confident about performing them.
- Mrs Childs was nominated by Lizzie in Year 10 for always being so lovely to her!
- Mrs Littler was nominated by us at The Student Column and many Year 12 students for the support she has given them during their first term at Sixth Form. She has been so kind and friendly and has made transitioning from Year 11 to 12 so much easier. We also wanted to nominate her for all her support with starting up The Student Column!
- Mr Pearsall was nominated by The Student Column for all his help with starting up the Column. We really appreciate his enthusiasm and advice and support with the overall project.
- Mrs Hughes was nominated by us again for her vital role in the logistics of The Student Column. We really appreciate her help and could not have done this without her!
As nominated by our students through The Student Column group.
Carl is the Owner and Managing Director of Obedair Construction in Plymouth. He is the Enterprise Adviser for Plymstock School.
He explains in this case study why this is such an important role to him. https://skillslaunchpad.org.uk/what-we-do/case-studies/carl-obedair-construction/
We are really appreciate all the support Carl provides our students and staff who benefit greatly from his industry based experience.
Careers Insight – Maritime Careers.
With the global maritime sector expected to double in size to be worth a huge $3 trillion by 2030, we need the next generation of innovators and problem solvers to join maritime and shape the future of the world we live in. From Shipping and Naval Architecture to Engineering and Super Yachts; working in maritime is exciting, rewarding and unlike any other industry.
Find out more in this week’s Careers insight.
Forthcoming Virtual Events
Welcome to Plymstock School – Come and join us
Plymstock School Open Events for current Year 6 parents (2021 entry)
At Plymstock, we understand that deciding on a secondary school can be a complex process.
Due to the current restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, regretfully our on-site open events for prospective Year 7 students and their families has been cancelled.
Therefore, to support you and your child, we have created this virtual Open Event page to help with your decision.
The Open Events page gives parents and students the opportunity to find out more about each department and the teaching at Plymstock School. You are able to view our excellent facilities and to see and hear from our students and staff, including our Headteacher Rob Pearsall.
The virtual tour of the school, gives visitors the chance to familiarise themselves with the grounds.
You might also like to explore our Gallery of school events from 2019-20 and our School Blog, these showcase the many opportunities our students take part in to be the best they can be. Showing their hard work, resilience and empathy; we are particularly proud of their efforts during the partial school closure and the many stories of students undertaking charity work to support others less fortunate in the community than themselves.
If you have a question which is not answered here then please contact us and we will do our best to provide the answer. Support@plymstockschool.org.uk
Our admissions criteria can be found here:
We hope you enjoy our virtual Open Evening videos but in particular this video by our students: