30 Oct

  • By Communications

You can now view the October Newsletter on the link below:

October 2018 Newsletter

Message from the Headteachers

Dear Parents and Families, As the first half term of the academic year comes to a close, the first thing that we would like to do is say thank you for your continuing support. It has been an incredibly positive start to the year, with the vast majority of students demonstrating a readiness for learning that is both commendable and inspiring. We feel we must make a special mention of our post 16 students at this point. They have been working with us, running focus groups and sharing ideas to enable us to better prepare ourselves for our journey towards becoming an ‘Outstanding’ school.

Earlier in the term Mr Collins, our new Regional Principal, visited and commented on how much progress the school had made since this time last year. In particular, he praised the displays and how visually appealing the environment is now – an essential element of a ‘Good’ school, and something that cements us on the journey to ‘Outstanding’. School inspectors also consider the working environment in terms of visual appeal since it impacts on wellbeing and attitudes to learning. One of our colleagues said only this week that he couldn’t believe the difference in his working environment this year. Our start of the day is carefully managed, with age appropriate Tutor Groups and Tutorials daily; there has been a drive on punctuality and readiness for learning since January and this is beginning to pay dividends. Our Reception area is welcoming and corridors clear, with students’ work celebrated in displays. Classrooms are cleaner and displays engaging, in the main, and for those of us who work here on a day today basis, it is fair to say that many feel that the school is more purposeful in becoming a place where creativity is encouraged and our students leave us as ‘life ready’.

The drive to improve has certainly paid off in terms of the 2018 GCSE results. We are delighted to share with you the good news that Plymouth has been acknowledged as one of the best in terms of value added GCSE results – second out of twenty four campuses.In summer 2017 our value added for GCSE results was – 0.4, in contrast to summer 2018 where our score was +0.9. This represents a tremendous improvement which we put down to two things:

  1. the mature attitude of last year’s Year 11 students to studying – they even undertook extra classes on Tuesdays after school for most of the year;
  2. the quality of teaching, with its focused use of past papers and comprehensive revision work, supported through CANVAS.

While all subjects achieved a positive value added score in the 2018 examinations analysis, we felt you would like to know that a few subjects even managed to be within the top 3 subject departments across all Focus Schools: 

English Language and English Literature; French and Geography.                                                           

Furthermore, our Year 10 Citizenship results, with 100% achieving Grade 5 or above (a remarkable achievement by any standard), were amongst the best across all Focus Schools, where standards in Citizenship had dipped as a whole. Well done everyone!

Last week our Primary pupils had a wonderful study visit to the ‘From Destruction to Construction’ display in Plymouth, followed by a journey of key historical landmarks. The resulting work was excellent, proving that a change is definitely as good as a rest. Some of our post 16 students have been visiting other campuses and we have had several emails, as a result, praising their positivity and attitudes to learning.

On Wednesday 3rd October, we had an incredibly successful MacMillan Coffee and Cake charity event, ably led by Warriors House and their friends and families. A huge thank you to all who contributed, either through organising the event, making and selling cakes and coffee, clearing up afterwards or by buying cake and coffee.  The afternoon was a great success – and the cakes and coffee superb! As a result, we are delighted to share the following news with you: a total of £468.80 was raised for MacMillan’s – in memory of Mrs King, a past teacher at Focus Plymouth.  This was broken down as follows:

– Cake and Coffee Afternoon: £327.69;

– Elodie’s Tuck Shop proceeds: £110.61 (thank you Elodie for adding this amount);

– Donations (following the event): £30.50.

What an amazing achievement that stands as testimony to the remarkable learning community to which we all belong.

Further successes came in the form of the Prize Winners of the ‘Seasons’ photography competition:

Spring Winner: Dulcie Buckley   

Spring Runners Up: Alysha Buckley and Camelia Parson   

Summer Winner: Cherokee Glazebrook                                                             

Summer Runner Up: Leroy Glass

Congratulations! Prizes were awarded in Assembly.

In terms of leadership, we would like to share with you the good news on staff appointments that support a more distributed leadership model:

Mrs Hillier has been appointed to the post of SMSC Co-ordinator– and she will work on the special themed days and activities, as well as assemblies;

Mr Street has been appointed to the post of Lower School Senior Tutor (Years 3 to 8) – and he will work with Lower School Tutors on Induction, standards and pastoral care;

Mrs Irving has been appointed to the post of Upper School Senior Tutor (Years 9 – 11) – and she will work with Upper School Tutors on mentoring, standards and pastoral care.

Moving on – a plea from Mrs Smith and Mrs Irving: please make sure that your child has an actual laptop case to hold their laptops if they wish to take them home.

To conclude, you will hopefully have received your child’s report by the time you read this. These are Short Reports that let you know, in brief, how your child is doing in their studies in relation to their end of year or course target grades. We have set aside opportunities for you to speak to your child’s Tutor regarding their report as a whole: you will have been allocated an appointment on either Tuesday 30th or Wednesday 31st October. We trust that this is timely and helpful.

In the meantime, we hope everyone has an enjoyable half term break and look forward to seeing everyone again on Monday 29th October.

With very best wishes,
Ms Jo Warburton and Mrs Wendy Roderick