Welcome to our final Plymstock blog of 2020
It has been a unique year full of unprecedented challenges. The end of this term feels like no other end of autumn term. However one thing is clear; our students and staff have worked together and achieved so much.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all students, staff, parents and governors for their continuous support, commitment and friendship to Plymstock School.
This week’s blog showcases our students’ empathy, resilience and endeavour. At the end of an extraordinary and historic year, it is a wonderful tribute to our staff and students to see what we have achieved.
Also featured in this week’s blog is the festive feel that was created in school, despite the restrictions and limitations.
We look forward to welcoming all our students back in January 2021 and hope that we return to a greater sense of ‘normal’ as we progress through the rest of the academic year.
Have a great Christmas and I wish everyone the very best for 2021.
Thank you to our staff
We would like to thank @waitrosesaltash for their generous donation to our staff in recognition of their hard work this term. The elves have also been busy preparing each member of 200 staff a little thank you, on behalf of the school for their hard work and commitment.
Well done to all our Year 7 students
Well done to all our Year 7 students for having completed their first term at Plymstock School.
There have been many challenges, due to the current pandemic, and the students have embraced many new daily routines that are now our norm!
We have sanitised and maintained our Year 7 bubble and there have only been a small group of students that have had to isolate, which has helped to maintain a high attendance rate for our Year 7 students.
Students may have moved groups in some subject areas and have now had the opportunity to meet their new teachers, in preparation for the new term. These changes have been carefully managed taking into account teacher assessment, prior assessment and their MIDYIS tests, which were completed back in September.
Each week we have an online assembly and celebrate many aspects of school life. This week it was my great pleasure to have our Christmas assembly, where each tutor group presented a food hamper which they has prepared for the Plymouth Foodbank. I would like to thank parents for their kind donations and to say that we were overwhelmed with the level of support for those less fortunate at this time. The winning tutor group is Mrs Lowe’s and Mrs Oakley’s for their amazing Christmas Tree with individually created baubles and boxes full of food!
Additionally in assemblies we always draw our Golden ticket, which is published in the Blog. This week we also presented students who have gained 100% attendance with their certificate and completed the draw for a Kindle. This happens at the end of each term. The winner for this term is Isla B 7CB who has won the Kindle.
It just leaves us to say, we hope you have a lovely Christmas time and a well-deserved rest.
We look forward to seeing our Year 7 students on Tuesday 5 January 2021.
Take care and best wishes,
Mrs Kirk, Mr Chivers and the Year 7 team.
The Year 11 team have been so impressed with the way the year group conducted themselves during their recent mock examinations. They were perfectly behaved, organised, courteous and well prepared. Invigilators told us that they were the best mock exams they’d seen at Plymstock School for many years and considering these uncertain times, we think that’s pretty incredible.
We wanted to let each and every one of them know how proud we were of them, so this week every student in Year 11 received a handwritten note from Mrs Harris (HoY) and Mrs Smith (AHoY).
“Well done guys, as always we are bowled over by your positivity, resilience and work ethic. Keep up the good work…we are so excited to be on this journey with you!”
Mrs Smith and Mrs Harris held a Year 11 Chrimbo Bingo session over MS Teams in tutor time on Tuesday. Lots of smiling faces and competitive banter. You’re never too old to get into the Christmas spirit!!!!
Alice won a competition to create a History Skills poster for a display in Hu7. Her work was bright, colourful and very informative. Pictured below. Well done Alice. Mrs Wilkins
Collection for the Plymouth Food Bank
Christmas is truly a time for giving at Plymstock School
Year 7 Christmas Hampers 2020
It is estimated that up to 1 in 5 of the UK population live below the poverty line, therefore the service that Plymouth Food Bank is providing is vital for many families.
The donations from Plymstock’s generous students will directly benefit many people in need, which is especially welcome at Christmas which can be a difficult time for many.
Mrs Kirk and Mr Riden delivered 240kg to the Food Bank.
A special thank you to Mr Riden for his enthusiasm and his reverse advent calendar contribution.
Collection for the Plymouth Food Bank
The Plymouth Food Bank is a charitable trust in Plymouth that helps people with food packages when they are in need of support. Students in other year groups across the school have also collected food for the Food Bank to help make a positive difference.
Miss Robb explains:
“All year groups have been collecting donations for the Plymouth Food Bank. We are grateful for all the members of our community that have given so generously in these difficult times. This was just one of the car loads that was delivered this week. When Mr Sprenkel made the delivery in the photo he encountered two of our ex-students who were working at the food bank as well as one of our parents, who was running the operation.
Well done to everyone and a particular mention to Years 7 & 8 who were at the forefront of contributions.”
Mr Sprenkel would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the students who donated; and another huge thank you to the Pastoral teams who oversaw this collection. Pictured below is Mr Sprenkel’s car loaded and ready to go. We also received a generous donation to our collection from Burt’s Chips.
Your actions do make a difference. Thank you to all in our community who made donations.
Christmas Jumper Day – Friday 11 December
Staff and students embraced the traditional annual Save the Children Christmas Jumper day, which took place on Friday 11th December, and have so far raised £144. The charity will use the money to help improve children’s lives around the world. Staff also took part in a Christmas Jumper competition, judged by Mrs Walton our Safeguarding Lead; congratulations to Mrs Lowe for winning. Mr Hill and Ms baker as runners up.
The school enjoys participating in this event to help support those children less fortunate, as well as being a good excuse to get into the Christmas spirit!
Despite the social distancing and self-isolation, staff and students who were at home also entered into the spirit of things.
Christmas in The Den
Students in The Den have been busy in their DT lessons this term, designing, planning and constructing a variety of objects. Lizzie, Ashton, Amy, Poppy and Archie built their ‘dream home’ using shoe boxes, constructed a calendar using nets, built and decorated a pencil case, designed an Autumn display and made decorative flowers using wire, buttons and colourful templates.
The making went into over drive in the last few weeks with a Christmas theme. I’m sure you’ll agree they all did an amazing job constructing and decorating all their Christmas decorations. The Advent Calendar we intend to bring out year upon year. We’re all very proud of their hard work this term
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from all the students and staff in The Den
Plymstock Staff Christmas Quiz Result:
- First Place: Team Professor Quiz Whitty
- Second Place: Team Plymstockings
- Third Place (draw) : Team 2 cool 4 yule + Mr Chick’s Team
It’s been a little hectic trying to get everyone together for a picture so we only have the second place team below. Thank you to Mrs Kent and the staff wellbeing group for organising these much needed get togethers on MS TEAMS.
The Great Plymstock Christmas Bake Off
Christmas Trees gingerbread brownies Technical Challenge
- 1st Place: Mrs Johns
- 2nd Place: Mrs Lowe
- 3rd Place: Mrs Haimes
Well done to everyone who took part last night on TEAMS.
Linguascope website used in Modern Foreign Languages
Did you know that the popular Linguascope website we use in Modern Foreign Languages has a range of apps for learners to use?
Search for Linguascope apps and then download them using your usual Linguascope log-in details.
The Student Column
It’s the last week of school and Christmas is drawing closer! This week’s edition is packed full of all things Christmas!
Plymstock Library News
Welcome back to our special Christmas edition of the library newsletter – the most exciting read of 2020.
Firstly, I would like to start by thanking you for all the fantastic reading that has been going on around the school; I’m so proud of you all.
Please let me know if you are finding the half an hour reading particularly difficult and I will do everything I can (from a distance) to help you.
Have a wonderful Christmas break and remember to stay safe and look after yourselves and those you love
The Great Library Fish Competition
By now your teacher will have told you about the glorious ‘Fish Competition’ that the library runs most years.
The closing date for entries has now been extended until Friday January 8th. The winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher (how exciting) and there will be various (very cool) prizes for the runners up…
We have already had some amazing entries and we can’t wait to see what the rest of you come up with…
Full details below.
Students of the week – Lots of nominations this week!
Well done to all and an absolute delight to meet you and present your certificates
All our winners have demonstrated Endeavour, Resilience and Empathy; Plymstock School students striving to “Be the best you can be”
Our winners include:
In Year 7
- Millie was nominated by Dr Burdett as “She has grown in confidence massively over the last few weeks and is really starting to believe in herself.
- Joshua, Dylan, Isabelle, Sienna and Connor have all been nominated by Mrs Hawker as they have worked really hard on the ‘Elements of Music’ this term!!
In Year 8
Amber, Sophie, Tobey, Jessica, Daniel and Ava have all been nominated by Miss Birchnall for being consistently brilliant in science lessons.
In Year 9
- Ollie, Lucy, Laura, Jess, Louis, Oliver, Charlie, Ed, Necti, Tallon, Danny
- and Jessie have all been nominated by Miss Birchnall for being consistently brilliant in science lessons.
- Evie has been nominated by Mrs Kent for her outstanding work in French all term (classwork and assessment)
- Ruby and Olivia have been nominated by Mrs Kent for their outstanding work in class but also in self-isolation.
- Jacob has been nominated by Dr Burdett as he has had to work on his own for two weeks, because the rest of his science class were having to self-isolate. He has been brilliant.
In Year 10
- Jamie, Michael, Matthew, Jessica and Josh have all been nominated by Miss Birchnall for being consistently brilliant in science lessons.
- Mel, Fern, Will and Eloise have all been nominated by Mr Farrant for an excellent end of topic assessment score in their most recent Biology test, achieving above their pathways with clear evidence of brilliant revision!
In Year 11
Mia has been nominated by Mrs Smith as she went out of her way to do a huge favour for Mrs Harris and Mrs Smith. This was in her own time and the whole year group benefitted from it.
Post 16 nominations
This week Mrs Littler and Miss Monelle have chosen all of Year 12 and 13 as Students of the Week.
The Year 13s have coped amazingly well this year.
They have adapted to all the changes in their education during the first lock down which saw us switch to virtual learning. They have returned to a school full of new procedures and uncertainty and have been fantastic.
Year 13 is not only tough due to their final year of academic study but also deciding their next steps. The usual careers fairs and open days and activities haven’t happened this year but with nearly all UCAS applications sent off and interviews and offers being received and apprenticeship applications being submitted they have done themselves proud.
The effort and resilience they have shown has been great to see and we are very proud of them and hope they all have a very well-deserved break over Christmas.
The Year 12s have joined us to start their A Levels after an extra-long break from school and they have been fantastically positive and engaged. It has been great to see them do so well in their first term of A Levels. It has been lovely to get to know them and see their characters emerging.
We are proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing them after Christmas once they have had a well-deserved break.
UK-German Connection virtual event looking at sustainability
Maddie is my student of the week!
From Ms Baker
Y13 German A level student Maddie was selected to take part in a UK-German Connection virtual event looking at sustainability.
The online workshops took place over 2 weeks and connected young people from the UK and Germany. The focus for Maddie’s workshops was on food sustainability and there were experts from the food industry on hand to give advice and insights. The workshops ran bilingually in German and English.
Maddie found that although Germany has an amazing green reputation and is at the forefront of recycling and energy efficiency, food sustainability is an area for them to improve. A guest speaker told them how they use discarded food from supermarkets and turn it into meals in their restaurant “Restlos Glücklich”.
The groups was then split into smaller teams of 5 and Maddie worked with young people from Ireland, Wales, Hannover and Berlin to discuss their local experiences and to come out with a plan to pitch to councils about how food sustainability could be improved.
Maddie will take part in a follow up workshop in January combining the work from the food group with the work from the fashion group to come up with further sustainability plans.
Well done Maddie amazing work and thoroughly deserved success.
TEACHERS OF THE WEEK:
- Mrs Shillabeer for her super organisation of the Year 11 mocks and making sure everyone is in their right seat. Her kind and calming words of reassurance. From The Year 11 Tutor team.
- Mrs Walton. Our Designated Safeguarding Lead for all that you do to keep everyone safe at Plymstock School. From the Heads of Year and Deputy DSL team.
- Mrs Crookston, our Business Manager for not only making sure the school has enough money for everything it needs but for when she puts on her pink jackets and steps in to help whenever needed. Whether serving lunches, cleaning rooms or looking after students at lunchtime. The MTA team
- Miss Monelle for working so hard behind the scenes sorting out all the students who need to self-isolate when cases arise. She is also always so positive with a smile on her face too. She deserves a medal!
All the Head of Years:
- Ms Robb
- Mrs Kirk
- Mr Wyatt
- Ms Harris
- Mr Wookey
All the Assistant Head of Years:
- Mr Chivers
- Ms Offer
- Miss Davis
- Mrs Holton
- Mrs Smith
For all their hard work and effort this term.
Mr Pearsall for keeping the school as safe as possible during a pandemic and be a caring Headteacher. Nominated anonymously.
Careers Insight – Selling yourself
Talking about ourselves is often daunting, but the ability to be able to confidently ‘sell yourself’ can play a big part in all aspects of life, not just in job interview scenarios.
Spending time with our students in recent months has revealed some ‘difficulties’ for students to do this with confidence.
Babcock ‘Apprenticeships Talk’ virtual careers fair held in school
On Tuesday 15th December, 20 students in Year 11 attended the Babcock ‘Apprenticeships Talk’ virtual careers fair held in school.
The Babcock apprentice recruitment campaign which started on the 1st November 2020 and closes at the end of March 2021, has captivated the interest of many budding engineers in Year 11.
Every year we have many students apply for the Babcock Apprenticeship Scheme, attracted by their leading reputation, fantastic progression opportunities as well as superb employee benefits. It’s always wonderful to see ex Plymstock students in the promotional material and in the video clips!
The first of two groups to attend this event were able to ask questions via the Zoom Chat function, find out more about the specific job roles available and hear from the employees themselves, some of whom, may be interviewing them.
At the end of the session we discussed how to plan and prepare for such opportunity, including CV construction and interview preparation.
With face to face employer engagement in schools on hold at present, we are very fortunate for organisations like Babcock to provide our students with such insightful and meaningful encounters. Thank you Babcock!
The Careers Department
We say farewell to one of our much loved colleagues, who leaves Plymstock today. Mairead Robinson has been part of the English Department at Plymstock School since 1998.
It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to Mairead Robinson at the end of this term. Just prior to lockdown, Mairead wanted to swap city life for a rural setting, so she upped sticks and relocated from Peverell to Tavistock. She now lives in a delightful Beatrix Potter style cottage with a river running through her back garden complete with a vegetable patch! To top it all, she secured a position as an English Teacher at Tavistock College; her daily commute will become a five-minute amble from her cottage to her new school.
Mairead has been part of the English Department at Plymstock School since 1998. In 2004, she moved over to Notre Dame School for a year, but when a part time position arose back at Plymstock, which suited Mairead as she had become a mother, she returned to where she felt she belonged and has been with us ever since.
Mairead loves learning new skills and is never afraid of a new challenge. During her time at Plymstock, Mairead has readily supported the English team by assuming a variety of roles. She excelled in her departmental role as a mentor to trainee teachers and inspired our higher attaining students when she became our ‘Gifted and Talented’ coordinator motivating students through opportunities such as visits to Plymouth University. In addition, Mairead has had responsibility for supporting disadvantaged students; she has enthused many who participated in her creative writing clubs and has shared their poetry and stories via the school’s blog – particularly during lockdown.
Paul Broadwater commented that Mairead’s acerbic wit belies a real compassion that makes her very popular amongst the students who are fortunate enough to be taught by her. Becca Cohen described Mairead as one of the most creative and sharp-witted people she knows. Indeed, Mairead’s humour, and her ability to make everything feel less worrisome by frequently providing a fresh perspective, will be sorely missed by her team. In challenging times, when we have been in need of a bit of light relief, Mairead has carried us through. Mairead has a warmth and compassion that is reassuring when things become turbulent. She is utterly dependable, loyal and a person of integrity. Mairead’s kindness comes naturally.
Becca will never forget team teaching with Mairead and convincing their class they both used to be in the circus…! My classroom is located next door to Mairead’s; I often hear her classes’ laughter and joy as she tells them funny tales to capture their imaginations and inspire their creativity.
I came across a tweet of Mairead’s that is typically self-effacing in terms of her creativity and writing skills; she tweeted: ‘I make stuff up and write it down’! Mairead started a MA in creative writing in 2010 completing it within two years and gaining a Distinction. In 2016 she finished her first novel, ‘The Judas Spoon’, which was accepted by an agent who regrettably left the company so Mairead chose to self-publish. Mairead’s writing has been published in an anthology alongside writers such as Carol Ann Duffy (the first female Poet Laureate appointed in May 2009) and Roger McGough, (children’s author, poet and playwright). Furthermore, Mairead has been published in ‘Mslexia’, a magazine to which many well-respected writers contribute articles. She was also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize – a very prestigious award in literary circles for poetry, short stories and fiction. Mairead shares her creativity with the local community as a member of the ‘The Plymouth Athenaeum’ writing club and she has edited fiction by local writers such as William Telford.
Mairead told me that she would miss the lovely kids and the warm welcoming environment of Plymstock School. But she added that what she would miss the most is the English department. She said: ‘This is the hardest thing to leave – it’s not a usual department’. This is not in doubt! Mairead has colleagues within English with whom she will remain friends for life. We all wish Mairead the very best for her new venture and thank her for everything she has contributed to English and to Plymstock School.