An Inspector Calls
This week we took the opportunity to take 260 of our students in Years 10 and 11 to see a live performance of this play, a key GCSE text. I had the pleasure on Tuesday evening to accompany 148 of our Year 10 and 11 students to the theatre with a team of our staff. As you can image turning up to the theatre to find yourself surrounded not just by our students but other schools as well, may not be what you had planned. Staff took another 60 students on Wednesday evening; their behaviour on both evenings was excellent and staff at the theatre stopped us to comment on their conduct and consideration for other theatregoers.
However, the thing that struck staff the most, given how attached young people are to mobile devices; was the level of engagement and interaction with the performance. This was a 2 hour, no interval performance!
A couple who were sitting amongst our students spoke to a member of staff on the way out and asked about the school. They said
“They were really worried initially seeing so many teens but were so impressed with the behaviour and how good they were the minute it started. The lady said it was lovely to see how enthralled they were and ended up increasing their own enjoyment of it”
I am grateful to our staff, both teachers and support staff for giving up their evening to enable our students to have such an experience.
Most importantly, I wanted to thank parents for their support and partnership; our students conducted themselves throughout as exemplary role models and citizens.
Official school performance tables
Following the publication of the official school performance tables, we are delighted to see that once again Plymstock School has achieved one of the strongest Progress 8 scores in the South West, as well as the highest in the city for non-selective schools. As well as this, even though there is a significant increase in challenge of the new 9-1 GCSEs, we are delighted to report that our results were once again excellent and congratulate last year’s Year 11 students on their outstanding GCSE results. Our students, staff and parents worked together as a team and the outcomes achieved were impressive.
I would like to thank our whole school community for their hard work and effort over the last 12-months – you have all been amazing, and we look forward to building further on this success.
We have recently been working with external partners to ensure that this success continues. Just before half term, a team from the West Country’s School Trust led by a HMI undertook an intense two-day review of the school and the work we have underway, in particular around our work to develop long-term memory. I am delighted with the report that has followed that shows teachers and students have worked hard to ensure there is a common approach.
There are many positives in this report but I wanted to highlight this quote
“The review of the curriculum and its sequencing of knowledge have led to teachers embracing the need to build students’ knowledge and understanding ahead of their skills. This has resulted in all lessons being characterised by retrieval practice.”
Last week we also welcomed Tony Bloxham to the school. Tony is working with the Regional Schools Commissioners office to coordinate a joint approach to supporting all schools across Plymouth. Tony was interested in how we could improve from the results we have already achieved and worked with staff and students to learn about the school.
I met with two groups of students to thank them for their contribution during both processes:
Year 12 and 13 : Leo, Jack, Katie, Abigail, Emily James, Martha and Genevieve and in Year 7-10: Louis, Erin, Louis, Jess, Callum, Isabelle, Kiara and Rhys.
They all sat on two student voice panels and both visitors commented that their ‘take away’ from the visit was how passionate and articulate the students were for their school.
Carabao Cup Final
Last Sunday a group of students undertook the long journey to Wembley. Mr Bellamy reports.
The students travelled at 0900 from Plymstock and arrived at Wembley at 1430 so had time to soak up the pre-match buzz. We were sat with the Manchester City fans and a couple of our students (and a member of staff!) managed to wear apparel assigned to Aston Villa, much to the disgust of one disgruntled adult fan who needed to be reminded that football is just a game! The atmosphere was electric and the game did not disappoint. We were there to see City lift this year’s League Cup trophy, as the final score was 2-1. A man of the match performance by Phil Foden was a highlight and we are all hoping now that he makes the full England squad for this summer’s European Championships. Unfortunately, a long day was made even longer by the terrible parking organisation at the ground, which meant that our parents had to collect their children at 0130, so, a huge thank you to them for doing so!
Also thanks to Mr Farrant and Mr Luscombe for accompanying the trip. The group were delighted when they had a tweet picked up by Gary Neville at the game.
World Book Day celebrations
As part of our World Book Day celebrations, we were pleased to reward the students in Year 7 who have read over one million words since joining us in September. A certificate and a glitter star badge were awarded to each student.
We are very proud of all the Year 7 millionaire star readers, a very big well done to you. Zech , Jean , Eloise De , Laci , Gabby , Scarlett , Cherish , Abi , Louisa , Levi and Daniel .
There will be more in next week’s blog about this day and the amazing costumes being worn by staff and students.
University of Oxford
On Tuesday a group of year 12 students went to visit Exeter College (one of the 35 colleges) at the University of Oxford. The day enabled them to gain insight into the admissions process, have a tour of Exeter College (the new and old building) and see a bit of Oxford itself.
This is part of an Outreach Programme Plymstock School are working in conjunction with Exeter College on; the aim to raise aspirations (not necessarily to apply for Oxford) but to look at all the opportunities available to them once they complete their post 16 studies. Students interested will now have the opportunity to take part in a residential in the Summer term staying overnight to get an understanding into what university life could be like.
UK-German Connection Scholarship.
We recently presented Misha in Y13 with a certificated celebrating her UK-German Connection Scholarship. The scholarship enabled her to spend 4 weeks in Germany last summer as part of an international group with 6 other UK students. It was Misha’s first visit to Germany and as an A level student it really helped her use and improve her German. She is now looking at attending university in Germany after a gap year. Misha reported “The visit started in Bonn, then moved for 2 weeks to a tiny village in southern Germany where she spent the time living with a host family and going to a local school.
After a visit to Munich and the Zugspitze (Germany highest mountain) 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. I am so grateful to have 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 people from around the world and hearing about many cultures.”
7Ryder produced some excellent castles as part of their work on Medieval England. Ella was voted as winner of our competition. Her castle and castle guide were exceptional. Congratulations 7Ryder and Ella.
Level 3 Bikeability Award
Last week 30 year 7 students grabbed the opportunity to further their life skills by successfully completing their Level 3 Bikeability Award. The six-hour course was a mixture of theory and practical with riders negotiating some of the more complex and busier roads and junctions of the Plymstock area. Many of these students will now be joining the growing number of students who are choosing to ride to school.
Congratulations to the following students:
7RES Jessica, Eddie, Jake , Connor ; 7RMK Sophie . Harvey, Mackenzie; 7SJF Maddie , Olivia; 7SMC Ellis, Matthew, Rudy; 7DBS Brody, William, Mohammed, Kacper, Harry; 7HJB Jaiden, Kashal, Sam, Lauren; 7AJC Narayan, Amy; 7MAR Charlotte; 7KMD Jazzmin, Maxx; 7MGR Casey, Finley, Erin; 7RSH Polly
If you are keen to start riding to school, the school has a secure area to lock up you bike around the back of the school by the art block…let’s get more people riding and enjoying their bikes.
The instructors commented on how amazing and well behaved the students were. Finally, Many thanks to the PSSP Bikeablity team – Bruce Daykin, Andy Smith, Martin Edgell and Stephen Rowe.
St Luke’s charity sky-dive
On 13 September, Holly and Kate are taking part in a St Luke’s charity skydive.
Holly writes, “This is a charity that means a lot to us because we have seen first-hand the amazing work they do for those in their care.
We would really appreciate any donations we could receive towards this great cause. Thank you!”
They are aiming for £800 and have £255 pledged now. We are proud of their efforts and I look forward to reporting on their success.
This week our Careers Insight focuses on National Careers Week!
National Careers Week is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK. The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education.
The Careers Team
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:
Brody for the resilience demonstrated in being brave in Trampoline Club. Mrs Campbell commented on Brody’s determination to succeed even when the jumps were difficult.
Rebecca has been working hard since the start of the term and in geography and has made a good impression with her teacher Miss Easton. Rebecca has also recently been geographer of the week.
Bogdan was chosen for representing Plymstock School in the National schools championship for Judo on Saturday.
Dominick in Year 9 has achieved 56 merits, 0 behaviour points and 100% attendance, all with a smile.
Charlie in Y10 was been an outstanding local citizen recently and supporting people outside of school. He was simply brilliant and we are all proud of his calmness whilst helping others.
Mayflower 400 badge design competition
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower ship from the UK to the ‘New World’ of America. As part of this anniversary, Plymouth will be celebrating lots of exciting events that recognise the contribution of Service men and women, past and present, within their communities. The event will include representation from the British, American and Dutch Armed Forces.
You have an opportunity to design a badge for the event.
The winning designer, and runners up, will receive their prize from a VIP, during the Mayflower 400 commemoration week, and will see their badge worn by many people throughout the commemoration.
All donations from the badge will support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
• Aim for a simple, bold design that includes the words: Mayflower Muster 1620-2020
• Please draw your design on A4 paper
• Your badge may be any shape
• Think about the Armed Forces taking part
• Try to use no more than six colours
Closing date May 22nd 2020 – See Mrs Wilkins for entry forms
Creative Futures Event
March 11 @ 9:00 am – 3:10 pm
In school careers event
Year 7 Parents’ Evening
March 18 @ 3:45 pm – 6:15 pm
Post 16 Parents’ Evening
March 25 @ 3:45 pm – 6:15 pm