Where does the time go?
We have only been back for a week or so and already plans are being put forward to the half-term break in February. It promises to be a very busy term and I thought it would be helpful to give you a brief summary of some of the recent developments…
Revision Days during the February Half-Term
I have been incredibly impressed by the response of the Year 11 students who have echoed the willingness of previous GCSE cohorts in supporting revision days during the half-term break. I am delighted that with the support of our teaching staff we can offer two days for revision. Monday 20th February will be for the two members of Year 11 who were unable, through no fault of their own, to complete the Geography field-trip which took place in December. Mr Street has agreed to repeat the field-trip and supervise the day with support from several parents (much appreciated!). Ms Moody and Mr Turnbull have also offered the opportunity for Year 11 students who are taking D&T or Food to spend the day working on their projects.
Tuesday 21st February will be for ALL Year 11 students and several teachers have agreed to organise revision sessions. The students have been given the choice of which subjects they wish to study on the day. There will also be a brief presentation for parents who are dropping off students on ‘Revision Planning: How can parents help?’ The Year 11 students continue to show the level of commitment and determination to do their best. They appear to welcome the challenge of beating last year’s record GCSE performance.
At time of writing, there is also a proposal to run a ‘Careers Day’ during half-term but this has not been confirmed yet. More details will follow and be sent out to the relevant students.
New Sporting Opportunities for our Students
We continue to make the most of the excellent sports facilities at the Plymouth Life Centre. It offers a fantastic opportunity to try out new sports and thanks to the generosity of the Trustees/ CA Team we have been able to employ specialist coaches in Trampolining and Volleyball. We also employ a Supply Teacher for Girls’ PE and she has proven to be a great asset – introducing girls’ football and more recently, handball. We continue to use the MOD pitches for football and girls’ hockey. Badminton and Table-Tennis remain very popular within school. We are also fortunate to have a trainee-teacher from the University of St Mark and St John (Marjon) in Plymouth who is willing to support Primary PE. Badminton lessons have already taken place for all primary aged pupils and this will encourage the growth in popularity of this sport in the school. Whilst we can provide badminton rackets in school, one of the benefits of taking up this sport is its relatively low cost. Any High Street sports shop will carry a range of badminton rackets with prices starting from as little as £10. I know some students have already brought in their own rackets and table-tennis bats and this will help ensure that if anyone needs to borrow a ‘school’ racket/bat there will be one available.
When we return from Half-Term many students will be acutely aware that public examinations are on the horizon and that they must begin (if they have not already) focusing on preparing for final examinations. In addition, Mock Examinations take place immediately after the half-term holiday, i.e. from Monday 27th February onwards.
I have been encouraged by the positive response staff and students have made to the opportunities for Self-Directed Learning which is a most important initiative from Focus world-wide. Our new SDL room (designed and refurbished by students) continues to be a ‘hub’ for SDL activities and there have been some fantastic assignments completed.
This initiative continues to produce excellent results with students at all levels keen to show off their talents in the kitchen! Thanks to Ms Moody this competition has been a catalyst for developing OneSchool Skills and encouraging SDL and I believe it will continue to motivate and encourage our students. I always look forward to the judging of the various menus (it is a tough job having to taste the various dishes but someone has to do it!).
This is a lovely school to work in. Behaviour is excellent and the atmosphere within the school is warm and harmonious – which is certainly in keeping with the school’s ethos and mission. It is a happy school and that is the result of teamwork over several years which is now seeing its reward. The positive relationship that exists between Trustees/CA Team/Staff/Students is proving to be a powerful force which will help us achieve our aim of becoming an ‘Outstanding’ school and I thank you for your continued support.
M P Kerridge