It’s been a busy week of activities in school and we find ourselves with one week before half term, and much to celebrate around the endeavour, resilience and empathy of our amazing young people.
The corridors and classrooms have a different feel, teachers and students alike talking to computers through headsets and microphones, but still a real sense of community and connection.
We also welcomed into our school this week ‘Positively Mad’, to support our students’ mental health and wellbeing through looking at motivations. This is linked to “Express Yourself” as part of the annual Children’s Mental Health Week.
Our assemblies, picked up on this theme and looked at rights, responsibilities and respect. Year 7 learnt in their assembly that they had all received a copy of the book ‘After the War’ by Tom Palmer. These books are being given to those students on site and posted to those at home using the funds we have been allocated as part of our COVID Catch Up. Literacy and reading remain two key priorities for all students and you will learn more about the work being led by our Library team below.
In a week where everyone is tired but trying to do their very best, we have had a resounding response to launch a full programme of after school virtual clubs, and in staff volunteering to read out loud the book ‘AFTER THE WAR’. I want to thank our staff for going above and beyond.
It’s a real tribute to our community, that within the restrictions that we are all working in, we are finding ways round problems and not letting ourselves be limited. From virtual ways to conduct practical lessons, to virtual libraries and PE lessons, it’s a fantastic effort.
Many thanks to you all and I hope you enjoy reading about these stories and more in this week’s blog.
Our time to shine!
Even when we are apart, we are under the same sky
All the staff are really missing our students and have been looking for a way to show them we are thinking of them.
This week, we decided to get creative and put together a display of shining stars to represent our students and show how proud we are of them. Lots of different staff have raided their craft boxes and pencil cases to make a star- you might spot some familiar faces and references to subject areas!
We hope you enjoy looking at the stars and messages- we can’t wait to see you all once it’s safe to do so. We’ll keep adding to the display so that you can see it once school is fully open again. Keep shining brightly, Plymstock Stars!
SENCO, Designated Teacher for Looked-After Children and Deputy DSL
Rights, Responsibilities and Respect
This week was Children’s Mental Health Week, an annual week-long campaign run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be. This year’s theme is “Express Yourself” with the focus on children finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas through creativity.
This week we looked at “Express yourself” in our year group assemblies and focused on sharing key messages around anti-bullying. The theme of rights, responsibilities and respect linked to British values. We all have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
One of the main messages that students learnt was how the impact of bullying behaviours on young people can be significant and can lead to long term effects such as depression, low self-esteem, isolation, and mental and physical health issues.
At Plymstock School every individual has the right to:
- Feel and be safe, both physically and emotionally
- To learn
- To be respected and valued
- To be treated fairly
With the majority of young people having to engage in remote learning and ‘live’ sessions at present, it is particularly important that everyone understands that these rights still exist, even though most of us are having to spend more time online than what we might like.
Children and young people are also having to rely on remaining connected with their friends and family through their digital devices, including social media platforms, so we all need to remain vigilant and mindful of any form of cyberbullying.
Recent research suggests that the majority of individuals are victims of cyberbullying via the Facebook and Instagram social media platforms. Teenagers have also reported that they are bullied because of their appearance, academic achievement and race.
The most important message is that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated at Plymstock School and if anyone is a victim of this, they say it, share it, and together we will solve it.
Positively Mad Session Wednesday 3rd February 2021
On Wednesday 3rd Feb Dave from the company Positively Mad joined us virtually to run sessions with years 10, 11, 12 and 13. The session was based on ‘Motivation’:
No amount of badgering from teachers or parents can motivate a student in the same way that self-motivation can. Mastering Student Motivation is designed to inspire students of all ages to find their own reasons ‘Why’ they want and deserve to succeed, ‘Why’ they want to work hard and, indeed, ‘Why’ they should bother to get out of bed in the morning!
This session was much needed for some students who are struggling with motivation with their remote learning, however, feedback from lots of students was that they enjoyed the session and found it really useful.
Below are some quotes from students who took part:
- “I found this very helpful. This lockdown is the one I’ve struggled most in, however the talk about motivation and how it is normal to be feeling that way is a relief. Motivation is my hardest component at the moment so it helped. Thank you.”
- “This really helped me to stay motivated!”
- “The workshop was great and was very helpful.”
- “It really got me thinking and has made me more positive and more motivated (that’s what it was for I know but it really has). I’m excited for the other part of the presentation on 24th. I feel like everyone needed this. Thank you :)”
Dave from Positively Mad has also been in touch to say how impressed he was by how the students joined in and their comments.
As mentioned above, Dave will be back on 24th February to help with students’ resilience and we are all looking forward to this session.
VIRTUAL CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES 2021
Take a look below!
If you want to get involved please email the staff to be added to MS TEAMS group
We hope to add even more activities soon.
Initial Teacher Training with The Learning Institute South West
Despite the challenges of lockdown, our current cohort of trainee teachers continue to go from strength to strength in their development, and are well on the way to an exciting career in education. We currently have 6 trainees at Plymstock School, all placed with us through our ITT partners at The Learning Institute South West.
Since September 2020, the ITT course has been adapted to allow trainees to continue their development throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Trainees have been busy planning, resourcing, and even delivering remote lessons to our students, allowing them to put into practice what they have learnt during their online training sessions. Our trainees were lucky enough to experience some classroom teaching practice during the Autumn term, which is why they are so looking forward to welcoming back our students to Plymstock School.
If you are interest in a career in teaching and would like to train alongside us at Plymstock School, please contact The Learning Institute South West for more details, or pop into one of their ‘Train to Teach’ virtual open days.
‘AFTER THE WAR’ READ BY PLYMSTOCK SCHOOL STAFF
Miss Hogben has this week (starting Monday 1st February 2021) uploaded some new pages on to the Plymstock school library webpage.
This week we held a special assembly for Year 7
Students were all informed yesterday that they will each receive a copy of the book ‘After the War’ by Tom Palmer. These books are being given to those students on site and posted to those at home. A group of Plymstock staff are each reading a chapter of the book and these videos are on the library website.
The first video can be found here: https://youtu.be/gpArsvOJBKU
More information about the book can be found on our ‘Behind the Book: ‘After the War’ page and activities and further resources are also available to support students to understand and appreciate this incredible story.
Miss Hogben would like to remind students who are struggling with reading at home or having access to reading resources to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org through Satchel One or Mrs Elliott and Mrs Sherwood at email@example.com .
Stories from previous DofE’s
Our DofE Ambassadors Natalie S and Lauren B share their experiences of DofE and hope to inspire and motivate others to make their own memories. The pictures attached are from both students on their silver expedition.
Natalie Ssaid, ‘I have completed both my bronze and silver DofE. DofE teaches three important things: life skills, giving back to the community and self-care. This will help unlock your future for you’
Lauren B said ‘I first heard about the Duke of Edinburgh award through my friend who was also interested in doing the award. I instantly did more research on what the award entailed and by looking at the different sections ranging from volunteering to the expedition, I knew I wanted to do the programme to try and develop new skills. Completing my Bronze and Silver awards allowed me to continue to develop life skills such as working in a team and tackling challenges but also enabled me to learn new skills such as navigation and survival skills which I gained from completing my expedition section. My favourite part of completing DofE was the expedition section as the section allowed me to come out of my comfort zone.
Prior to completing the award I had never been camping and had never enjoyed staying away from home, however this section allowed me instantly to forget about those barriers and after competing my expedition I knew I loved going outdoors and I wanted to progress further and complete my Silver award.
I will always have good memories completing my Duke of Edinburgh awards and I recommend the programme to young people who may be interested in completing it’.
Miss O’Connell Academic Support Coach
I completed my Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards when I was 14-17. Because I completed my Gold award, I got to go to St. James’ Palace and meet Prince Edward. As part of this, I did walking expeditions in the New Forest, Dartmoor and Exmoor and canoeing expeditions on the River Severn and The River Wye. I also learnt Further Maths and First Aid, volunteered in a cancer research shop and at a local beaver’s group and attended Zumba dance classes.
The best part of DofE was the expeditions and all the beautiful views I saw, especially whilst canoeing for my Gold Award, as that is something I might not have the opportunity to do ever again.
I also have a very funny memory of my friend having her coat eaten by a horse because she left it out of sight whilst we were resting. The skills that stayed with me were the leadership and team working skills as they were very important when we got lost or were setting up camp. Organisation skills also came in handy when planning the expeditions. These skills still help me today whilst working at Plymstock School.
If you are in Year 9 there is still time to sign up! Just email
firstname.lastname@example.org and check MyEd for an enrolment form and more information.
Mr Farrant’s tutor group fitness challenges
I have been setting my tutor group fitness challenges to help break up the screen time on a daily basis, this latest one has really taken off with some of the students so thought it would be a good feature to share.
You will need a flight of stairs. Your challenge is to see how many floors you can climb in 5 minutes. You will have to start a timer as soon as you start, going up the stairs and down the stairs counts as one floor. How many times can you go up and down the stairs?! (No running!).
I then told them that the Burj Khalifa has just under 170 floors so as a tutor group we should easily make it. We then proved the case when we surpassed the total within the first week.
I then went online and found that Mount Snowdon is roughly 475 flights of stairs comparatively speaking. At the minute the tutor group’s grand total counts at 201 flights climbed so we are nearly half way there! The plan is to keep this going through lockdown and see what mountains we can conquer as a tutor group.
Please find some examples of the students ‘Thinking ME’ PE work, as well as completing a ‘Healthy ME’ workout they had to devise a workout using a sports star as inspiration. (photos below)
Mr MK Taylor
Year 10 Onsite Team
Sue Bettison has been at it again… she has brightened up the Yr10 bubble with a lovely spring themed display which is helping us all get through the wet and miserable winter mornings! (photo below)
Design and technology
For the blog this week, I would like to recognise the effort and hard work being carried out by several of the students in my KS4 Food Preparation and Nutrition classes. The names appear in our Student of the Week nominees section below.
I am also wanting to celebrate the cooking efforts of several of our students, I am missing cooking with our students in school and love seeing what cooking is being done at home, either through the optional tasks that I am setting, or just because they want to show me what they have been making.
- In Year 7, Leland P has made some brownies, Scarlett C-A has made a lemon cake and Lenny M, Alfie S, Levvy E, Alex G, Kadie V have made some oat cookies.
- In Year 8, Charlie T has made a banana loaf and mini frittatas, Jodi A has also made mini frittatas.
- In Year 9, James N made mini frittatas and Helena W made some soup.
- Kiela in Year 11 has made brownies and cottage pie.
- Some pictures below
Mrs Lindsay Worley
Teacher of Design and Technology
Mrs Kent was sent a new twist on ‘my dog ate my homework miss”. She was sent this picture on Satchel as evidence of the work completed. The student told me the dog had helped her doing the French work. The picture has made Mrs Kent’s week
Mrs Slade thought you might like to see this piece from Alicja G in Year 11. “What gives human life value”
YEAR 11 tackling an A level question!
This is one among many examples from the Year 11 students studying
“issues of life and death” for their GCSE. Exploring the idea of…. would it be better to be a happy pig than an unhappy human…… the ideas and deep thinking have been quite profound . Mrs Slade wanted to share Chloe’s thoughtful and reflective piece of work at this time. Thank you Chloe
Sophie’s poster also shows she has really put in the effort to think about and then present her ideas on whether a human life is of more value than that of an animal!
Then finally, I saw these inspiring words about teenagers. Not RE, but this has resonated with me today. See below
Rewards and Golden Tickets
Golden Tickets are given to those students who consistently do their best and uphold the standards and expectations of Plymstock School.
This week’s Golden Ticket Prize Drawer Winners were:
- Yr 7 – Ruby S
- Yr 8 – Madison W
- Yr 9 – Alfie S
- Yr 10 – Louis A
- Yr 11 – Xiayong Y
- 6th Form – Finley M
Keep an eye on your school email inbox for your reward
This week’s students with the most Golden Tickets were:
- Yr 7 – Cameron C (2 weeks in a row!!!)
- Yr 8 – Ella K
- Yr 9 – Alfie S and Jakob T
- Yr10 – Lilia D, Carla M and Rosie s
- Yr 11 – Daisy S
- 6th Form – Abbie C (2 weeks in a row) and Joy O
We have had some brilliant work being produced during on-site provision this week, showing great independent learning skills and high levels of resilience. These students were chosen by their Heads of Year, Assistant Heads of Year and their teachers to receive a treat Friday breaktime.
- Year 7: Luke N, Alice D, Evie V, Ethan H, Sam W
- Year 8: Laci P, Zech B, Reuben L-S, Grace P, Jacob W
- Year 9: Charlotte Y, Isabelle W, Kyran B, Louise C, Tom F
- Year 10: Poppy D, Kyle T, Harrison P, Jess L, Logan M
- Year 11: Finley H, Mille W, Colby W, Emily D
Students of the week
With so many nominations this week and Miss Robb breaking the rules, well they are there to be broken, we’ve awarded two winners to each year group. Fantastic work from all.
All our nominees have demonstrated Endeavour, Resilience and Empathy; Plymstock School students striving to “Be the best you can be”
This week’s winners
In Year 7:
- Anastasia V nominated by Miss Pring for working hard in every lesson but going above and beyond by cooking a variety of dishes including Oat Cookies, Banana Loaf and Chocolate brownies
- Isabelle L nominated by Mrs Hawker for submitting some excellent work in Music and really engaging in the Live lessons.
In Year 8:
- We have a tie this week as Mrs Robb could not separate Rebecca W and Tilly J. Mrs Robb explains “At assembly this morning we held a one minute silence for Captain Sir Tom Moore and I asked for volunteers to write a tribute that we will put in the Year 8 time capsule, both girls volunteered within minutes. I am so proud that they want to honour such a hero”
In Year 9:
- Cyrena W nominated by Ms Reeve “In Computer Science our Year 9 students have been creating storyboards and Cyrena’s storyboard is absolutely fantastic. She has consistently produced some excellent work during the lockdown and I have been really impressed! Picture below.
- Keenan M has been nominated twice and should be very proud of his efforts.
- Nominated by Miss Graves as his artwork has been incredible and he’s demonstrated brilliant effort, he’s really gone the extra mile. He has responded so politely and cheerfully to the feedback he has received.
- An absolute star!
- Nominated by Mrs Bartlett as he works hard every English lesson. He attends all live lessons and participates in them. The standard of the English work Keenan submits is superb. Well done!
In Year 10:
- Maddi O nominated by Miss Cohen for outstanding work on her assessment on ‘Macbeth’
- Harrison P nominated by Mr Dott as he has worked tirelessly since day one of his accessing onsite provision and been a real star! He has kept himself organised and maintained his motivation throughout.
In Year 11:
- Abi W nominated by Mrs Slade. Please see the work from Abi below, looking at the value of human life as part of the course studying “Issues of life and death” many of the full course students have really engaged with this , and some like this piece, are outstanding. I think Abi deserves the recognition for continuing with the work over the weekend too, although I am not suggesting that everyone work over their weekend Thanks Mrs Slade
- Louis W nominated by Miss Reeve as “Louis has worked brilliantly during lockdown on his iMedia course work. He has consistently worked on improving his course work during the lockdown and I have been really impressed! He has produced work to such a great standard that his new grade is an entire grade above his target grade!
In Year 12:
- Computer Science: Sam D for going well beyond the scope of the lessons to push his own skills as a programmer.
- Maths: Oliver K for putting in so much effort and commitment for the resit maths test during so much disruption, just brilliant!
In Year 13:
- RS: Daniel P is just outstanding. He has a fantastic work ethic which is paying dividends in the work that he is producing. On top of that he shares resources with others and always has a smile on his face, always willing to take part in teams lessons…….he really is the epitome of an excellent student.
- Core Maths: He has worked brilliantly despite needing to care for family. Luke D
Lots of nominations this week. Well done to all who were nominated this week:
In Year 8
- Issy nominated by Miss Robb as she did something so incredibly kind for somebody
- Amy P, Casey L and Billy G all nominated by Mrs Hawker for her outstanding contribution during their live music lesson on Blues music
- Reehana G nominated by Mrs Hawker for a beautifully presented piece of work on Blues music, Mrs Hawker
- Polly D nominated by Ms Birchnall for exceptional dedication to remote learning and producing some really detailed well thought through work
- Abi B nominated by Mr Wright for a fantastic World Religions Project comparing Taoism and Judaism. Abi is an incredibly hard-working student. Abi’s work is brilliantly presented and very well researched.
In Year 9
- Isaac P and Jessica G both nominated by Miss Pring for their amazing creativity and design skills in the project currently being undertaken, They have also both shown really good modelling skills. Both could be designers of the future.
- Danny W nominated by Mrs Hawker as he’s just submitted an outstanding piece of work on Club music
- Ellie D and Neve P both nominated by Miss Cohen for making improved efforts and catching up with overdue assignments over the past two weeks.
- Jakob T nominated by Mr Gerry for his fantastic contributions to online mathematics lessons and outstanding work submissions.
- Lucy E and Danny W nominated by Ms Birchnall for exceptional dedication to remote learning and producing some really detailed well thought through work
- Lucy E, Jess G and Louis H all nominated by Miss Cohen for outstanding work on the poetry unit to date:
In Year 10
- James H nominated by Miss Pring for working really hard in every task, attending all lessons and taking advice on board. His work has improved through lockdown and he is taking his time and focusing on quality not quantity
- William D, Fraser L, Amelia K, Isabelle B, Jake W, Sam S, Jack L, Navi N all nominated by Mrs Worley as they have consistently submitted every piece of work to a high standard and deserve recognition for their effort
- Lucy F, Lucy J and Evie N all nominated by Miss Cohen for consistently working hard, making progress and meeting all deadlines week after week
- Jamie D and Violet K nominated by Ms Birchnall for exceptional dedication to remote learning and producing some really detailed well thought through work
- Alana K and Millie D nominated by Miss Cohen for making improved efforts and catching up with overdue assignments over the past two weeks
In Year 11
- Peter C nominated by Miss Pring as, despite all the uncertainty, he has continued to work hard and produce great quality work. He has submitted every single piece of classwork set so far this term
- Sam S, River S, Olivia G, Finley H, Millie W and Kyle E all nominated by Mrs Smith for creating a social peer support group between themselves at break times, they have such a giggle together and it’s amazing to see them all smiling and interact with one another
- Kiela A, Daisy G, Hobson W, Holly W, Katie L, Rhiannon B, Bailey P, Sam U, Madi A, Mia and Abi W all nominated by Ms Birchnall for exceptional dedication to remote learning and producing some really detailed well thought through work
- Poppy W and Natalie M nominated by Miss Cohen for outstanding work on the poetry unit to date:
- Maisie E, Keira W, Mia L and Amber G nominated by Miss Cohen for outstanding work in their assessment on ‘Macbeth’:
- Dedan B, Robert D, Elisha PW, Emma W, Holly W and Isabella W all nominated by Miss Cohen for consistently working hard, making progress and meeting all deadlines week after week
- Kiela A, Katie D, Sam E, Louisa G, Bronwyn L, Sophie N all nominated by Mrs Worley as they have consistently submitted every piece of work to a high standard and deserve recognition for their efforts
In Year 12
- Theatre Studies: The whole class for their excellent focus and observations after watching The National Theatre’s ‘Frankenstein’. This is in preparation for the Live Theatre element of the course and their discussions have been outstanding.
- Destine B, Ed B, Kayleigh G, Jordana O, Ethan P, Lucy R
- Maths: For putting in so much effort and commitment for the resit maths test during so much disruption, just brilliant! Eloise WK
- History:he is so consistent in the work she produces and the frequency in which she submits it – She couldn’t be working any harder. Abbie C
- Maths: for their superb maths submissions Ed B, Megan R, Will H, Erin M
In Year 13
- Kate S, Natalie S and Lauren B for sharing their experiences of DofE and for agreeing to help support the new Bronze cohort
- Computer Science: For continued commitment and independence in his lock down learning. Isaac V
And finally Biology in Years 12 and 13
Every student in my year 12 and 13 biology sets are fantastic, I cannot distinguish between them in terms of effort: Holly B, Nathan C, Ruby C, Joe G, Wiktoria M, Jensen M, Eleanor M, Kate P, Immy R, Beth R, Georgia W, Jacob B, Emma C, Tom D, Georgia F, Mia G, Eva N, Scott P, Kate S
This week we explore the world of Sport!
This industry is all about people enjoying sport, keeping fit and improving their health and fitness.
Jobs in this sector can be in professional sport, either playing or coaching at different levels.
Alternatively, you could work in health promotion through sport and the study of sports science, or perhaps take a fitness role in a gym delivering group or one-to-one training sessions and exercise classes.
Find out more in this week’s Careers Insight.
There is lots going on in ‘Careers’ at the moment
I have also been publishing all of these events on the notices page of Satchel One.
Plymouth Virtual Apprenticeship Fair 2021
Virtual Apprenticeship Fair
- Monday 8 February – Thursday 11 February
- Each day 10am – 12noon
- Meet local employers and training providers
- Each day 2pm – 3pm
You can find out more about these different opportunities by visiting
Babcock Virtual Careers Fair/Parents’ Evening
Babcock International are running two Virtual Careers Fairs/Parents’ Evenings for students who wish to apply for an apprenticeship this year.
- 11 Feb @ 6:30pm
- 25 Mar @ 6:30pm
- Please send the following details to the link below and Babcock will contact you with further details:
- Date of career fair:
- Student name:
- Year group:
- Teachers/tutor name:
- Email address for invite to be sent to closer to the event:
City College Virtual Open Day on Saturday 06 Feb:
Duchy College – Virtual Open Day – Website:
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 look after each other.
Mrs Rebecca Littler
Assistant Head of Sixth Form
Our #DontDoItAlone campaign is live!
As you may have heard last week, today is the launch day for our exciting new #DontDoItAlone campaign.
If you missed the announcement, #DontDoItAlone is our campaign for Children’s Mental Health Week which sees five well-known faces share the importance of not dealing with mental wellbeing alone.
Advice and Guidance During the Covid Pandemic