MAY 2012 ISSUE #002 £1
Bus Cuts: Who’s to blame? Students stranded from school after subsidies subside feature title DESCRIPTION PAGE NO
As I am sure most of you are aware, Plymouth Citybus are withdrawing a number of school bus services as of September 2012. Articles in the Herald and letters to the
schools affected were very vague and loose; many students, parents and staff felt that they hadn’t been given enough information. The Spectator decided to delve into the details
of the proposed cuts and so I organised a meeting with the Acting General Manager at Citybus, Peter Oliver, to try to cast some light on the situation. The
Herald’s article on the issue listed all the buses being affected, with the 104 from Crownhill, the 109 from Chaddlewood, the 110 from Plympton on the list of routes
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contents 2 -democracy: a call to arms 3 - Old enough to drive 4 - the real story behind the bus cuts 5 - michael gove: a profile 6 - is politics still an old man’s game 7 - party funding: all in this together 8 - Book review: the hunger games 9 - carpe diem 10 - how to make the most of your exam season 11 - another regeration for the peer mentoring team - devonport voice introduces subject ambassador scheme 12- is it really sport 4 all? editors James Clarke Rahul Raman design & layout Tom Brewer our writers Ms Davarian Laura Harbach Tom Weatherby Alex Lea Ben Scott Dylan H Morris Oliver Demaine Tim Cannon Luke Vicary Tom Phillips Will Reis 2
Democracy: a call to arms
Why engagement with the political process is vital for today’s youth.
A literary work which has had the single most impact on my life is George Orwell’s ‘1984’, a classic piece of dystopian fiction whose central protagonist, Winston
Smith, yearns for liberty in a society dominated by surveillance, fear of a distant oppressor and by the frightening manipulation of language. The thing that startled my sixteen year old mind the most though, was the fact that Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian society had been based in part on some of the structures and institutions he had encountered in his own life: working at the BBC, as a police officer in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma and fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. How on earth does this relate then, to
my experience of democracy? In more recent times at DHSB I have enjoyed lively political discussion and debate with students, which has been stimulating
and interesting and made me feel hopeful that some young people are interested in politics. Indeed, we have some vociferous and active young politicians in the school community – those who stood for Youth Parliament but also others who are card-holding members of the main political parties in the UK. Many students are aware that in the past I have stood for the Liberal Democrats for the local council elections; my own involvement in local politics is fairly modest but proves that it is very easy for any individual to engage
with the democratic process. Regardless of your political persuasion, anyone who puts themselves forward for a local or national election should be respected and applauded, as, although it’s easy to criticise people based on their political colour, I fear that there aren’t enough people willing to get involved in the democratic process. So this brings me back to ‘1984’. Many people will be familiar with Orwell’s vision because of those concepts which have become almost hackneyed or trivialised in our pop culture use of them: ‘Big Brother’, the ‘Thought Police’ and ‘Room 101’. But for me, his nightmare
vision of society is not a distant fear but a distinct possibility if voters continue to be disengaged or disenfranchised from the political process in this country; to be disillusioned
with politicians is one matter but to avoid holding them to account through disinterest or by saying ‘they’re all the same’ is disastrous – or ‘Ungood’ in the lexicon of ‘1984’. That’s why we need young politicians and bright minds like those at DHSB. Written by Ms Davarian
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Old enough to drive?
At a time when some schools are introducing driving lessons for 11 year olds, should the driving age be increased to 18? According to government statistics, nearly 1 in every 2 drivers killed on our roads is under the age of 25. Currently the minimum age young people can learn to drive on public roads in the UK is 17. The Government is considering increasing the legal driving age to cut the death toll on our roads. Government ministers have recently decided to review the legal driving age; new proposals suggest a minimum of 12 months as a provisional driver and a zero limit on
alcohol for all new drivers. Recently it has become popular for
driving skills to be taught to children as young as 11. These lessons are usually offered by driving schools or under 17 drivers’ clubs and take place on private land. They are offered to encourage the next generation of drivers to be more mature and skilful drivers. Those in favour believe that they will reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads caused by young drivers. The idea is to teach young people to be safe and careful
drivers, aware of the dangers, to gain experience of driving
and learn about safety in a controlled environment. Not everyone is in favour of teaching younger people to drive, however, some say it trivialises driving, so when those young people are legally allowed to drive on the roads they won’t take it seriously enough and will be less safe drivers as a result. Some argue that these lessons will cause more young people to believe they are capable of driving a car and make them
too confident - leading to an increase the number of joy riders;
having an impact on the already expensive cost of insurance. But is age actually the most significant reason for the high accident rates in our country? Other countries allow driving at younger ages, for example in the USA you can learn to drive at 15 or 16, depending on the state and in Italy, you can a drive a very low powered moped at the age of 14, which many young city dwellers do. Surely education is always to be encouraged? Perhaps the age at which a person learns to drive is not the major issue. Peer pressure from passengers to drive too fast, alcohol, cars which are too
powerful, not enough follow up after the driving test, not enough preparation for driving in different conditions, might all be of equal or greater importance. As the statistics often refer to ‘under 25s’, why would increasing the age limit to 18 make a difference? Written by Laura Harbach
The real story behind the bus cuts
the decision made by plymouth citybus to cut the school bus contract will leave many people struggling to get to school from september. the SPECTATOR got in touch with the company to see what they had to say.
serving DHSB to be axed. The 101 from Tamerton Foliot and the 102 from Glenholt are, “likely to continue from September but in a slightly different form,” Citybus said. This wording was exactly the same as the phrase in the letters that schools received just two weeks before Easter and doesn’t make things very clear for the users of the 101 and 102.
are you affected by the cancellation of your school bus? get in touch and let us know what you think about the decision to terminate these contracts.
The Devonport Spectator now has the first insight from all the publications in Plymouth into how these services are to run. Plymouth Citybus told me that they have two plans drawn up at the present moment and are analysing them both to see which would be the most viable option. These plans are either shifting the passengers currently using these buses onto the 42 and creating an extension once a day to DHSB, or redistributing the passengers onto the 34 service which would most probably not be able to run to the school, in which case students will have to walk from the City Centre. Naturally, these buses would have to be double-decker to cope with the added strain of transporting a hundred extra passengers each day. One thing that Mr Oliver did say, was that the 34 would become
extremely overloaded with passengers as it is already a very popular route into the City from the Derriford area. At this point I asked the question that many parents and students are wondering: how are these buses not generating a profit? The 101 and 102 are packed every day to and from school, with students regularly having to stand up when the seats are full, so how can they possibly be not financially viable for Citybus? The answer it seemed was simple. The bus only does two trips a day and never gets Adult-fare income. This was the overwhelming theme of my conversation with Mr Oliver. The affected buses all get their income from Child-fare tickets whereas the contract buses to Tavistock, Callington and Trerulefoot are all based on Adult-fares. Apparently, a childfare just isn’t enough to keep these services going which begs the question: how can the other services cope, when the busiest buses can’t? The reason why all these services are being cut is ultimately down to two things: the withdrawal of subsidies from Plymouth City Council,
and the rising cost of fuel. In 2003, the Council contributed to the travel of students across the city with £1/3 million which has steadily been decreasing and is now completely gone. The Council sold Citybus to a private firm in 2009 and are spending the money on improving the road network, covering potholes, line-painting etc. Surely this profit should at least in part go to helping students get to school? As a private firm, Citybus has no “duty” or mandate to provide school bus services as its primary interests lie in its profits and pleasing its shareholders. Plymouth City Council should recognise this and intervene in what is a plainly very disruptive issue for Plymouth schools. The cost of fuel for buses has risen 170% over the last 10 years compared to around 65% for cars, a fact which Citybus are keen to point out. At the moment, Citybus is suggesting that schools release some of their budget into subsidising student travel as the vast majority of those affected have control over their finances by being either academies or independent schools.
Mr Oliver said that some schools already spend a significant amount of their budget on helping Citybus subsidise travel, and that the rest should follow suit. But the view of the senior staff and many teachers is that the school shouldn’t have to spend thousands of pounds on something the Council ought to be assisting with. Plymouth Citybus said, “We are more than happy to negotiate with schools in bridging the gap in terms of costs. Our business cannot continue to run services that are making a loss. Schools should decide how to proceed with their budgets with us, or start looking for other operators”. At the moment, things are still a little unclear, but The Spectator will endeavour to keep on top of things and notify the students when a deal/ decision/disaster has been reached. Written by Will Reis
Michael Gove’s Report Card a look at a controversial figure in british politics The british Secretary of State for Education
Robert Gordon’s CollegeReligious EducationMichael is very keen on Religious Education. He tries to do that little bit extra, but his deeds, although well intended are a little misguided. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible he decided to do sponsored bike ride to raise funds to buy every school a Bible. I must admit that this seemed a little overambitious, but we were all flattered by his somewhat reckless generosity. He did quite well, but couldn’t find a sponsor, and was not able to cycle the 400,000 miles that would have been needed. Unfortunately he has landed himself with thousands of Bibles sitting in a foreign warehouse unable to ship them. Still, it’s the thought that counts. ScienceMichael is still
struggling. However, I am delighted he feels science is so important and is convinced all pupils need a “rooting in the basic scientific principles” and that we should all know Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, Michael will need to do some more revision before he is ready to take his GCSE. Newton never made any laws of thermodynamics; it was in fact Lord Kelvin. Media StudiesMickey has enthusiastically embraced his Media Studies course. He has become very interested in journalism and he has especially enjoyed helping his friend Ru Murdoch on his project. Ru has been trying to make money out of education and Mickey seems very keen to help Ru enter this field, which he has been heard calling a market. Art-
Mike started quite well, but his early enthusiasm was not sustained. He has now dropped it from his new English Baccalaureate. I note however that some of his more artistically
me how exciting and dynamic ICT was. Hopefully he will prefer our new computing course. HistoryMike is very interested in history but once wrote in a
minded peers seem disappointed that they can’t now gain full credit for subjects they enjoy. GeographyMichael has enjoyed the work on volcanoes and oxbow lakes, but he struggles with human geography. He finds it hard to understand that cutting teachers’ pay in poor areas may increase the rich-poor divide in both wealth and education. ICTI have very much enjoyed teaching Michael this year, but was slightly hurt when I heard him calling it “demotivating and dull”. This is a shame because his predecessors told
piece of homework that said that “Like Chairman Mao, we’ve embarked on
a Long March to reform our education system”. As much as I am delighted by his knowledge of the history of communist China, as a teacher I am slightly worried, since Mao’s reforms to the education system involved the murders of many teachers and the closure of schools in China for a decade. Headmaster’s comment: Although Michael is a relatively new boy he seems to be enjoying his role as head prefect. He certainly has some very strong opinions, perhaps a career in politics beckons? Written by Tom Weatherby
Is politics still an old man’s game?
an Interview with 18-year old Labour candidate, Kate Taylor.
In what was considered a bold move by their supporters and opponents alike, the Plymouth Labour Group selected 18 year old Kate Taylor as their candidate in Devonport ward for the upcoming local elections. Having only experienced publicly elected office during her two-year tenure as a Member of Youth Parliament, I met up with Kate over a game of pool to discuss the challenges she is to overcome if she wants to win the hearts and minds of the Devonport electorate, and win a place on Plymouth’s City Council.
did you face much opposition from within The Labour Party?
DHM: Thanks for meeting us, Kate. How are you?
from, because it was an all-women’s shortlist. It came down to me and one other woman called Linda Riggs, and I was chosen! Labour is pretty big on equality, and so neither my gender or my age was seen as a barrier to my selection, and as I’ve been a longtime campaigner within the Party, there was no reason for me not to be selected. Nicky Wildy, my predecessor, is a Champion of the Young, and she said that it warmed her heart to see my name
KT: I’m good thanks. Quite tired, but I’ve been resting all day. This has been my first day off for a pretty long time. Elections are hard work! DHM: I can only imagine! Well, if we dive right into the interview, I can let you go as soon as possible. KT: That sounds good to me. DHM: Fantastic. So,
KT: Not really, no. There were five women to choose
on the ballot paper. DHM: Okay, so you mention that you were selected as part of an all women’s shortlist; do you think
youth of today in politics. Also, when it comes to things like all-women’s shortlists, I don’t think women need a shortlist to themselves.
standard. I don’t feel disadvantaged by my studies, and I think that, if I’m given the chance, I will be able to serve the people of Devonport to the highest possible standard too. DHM: How confident are you of winning Devonport? It’s one of the safest Labour held seats in the City, so surely you must be pretty sure?
Kate, centre, dressed as a pasty in Plymouth’s City Centre an all young persons shortlist would be a good thing? KT: No, I wouldn’t agree with all young persons shortlists, though I do think it’s important to get young people into politics. I think rather than have things like that, we should be investing time and money into creating an environment where young people can be active within the political landscape. Youth societies which people can take part in are a massive step toward involving the
It shouldn’t matter where you’re from, how much you earn, what gender or race you are, as long as you can do the job. DHM: I’m sure this is a question you’re asked all the time, but do you think that you’ll be able to juggle being a Councillor, and get a good degree at the same time? KT: Absolutely! There are plenty of Councillors that juggle a 9 to 5 job and still represent their constituents to the highest possible
KT: I’d never be complacent, I’m working very hard in the ward, and it’s a lot of hard work, and I’m hoping we’ll get a good result on May 3rd. I’m getting a fantastic doorstep reception, as have all those that are canvassing alongside me. Initially, I worried that it wouldn’t happen, but the more people that you talk to, the more you realise that they are just people that want their voices heard. They’ve been very supportive, and I have heard from many people that they would definitely support someone as fresh-faced as I am. DHM: It’s a wellknown fact that Labour have their eyes on controlling the City Council this year. How confident
of that happening are you? KT: A lot of people are unhappy with the current council, and they’re unhappy with decisions made. The Tory sale of CityBus has forced fares sky high, and I’m personally very angry with their decision to cut school routes. I caught that bus every day when I attended Notre Dame. You need to ask yourself: why are the most vulnerable in society being targeted? Young people are bearing the brunt of a lot of decisions made locally and nationally, and the people of Plymouth are fed up with it.
DHM: The Labour Party, both locally and nationally, have been vocally opposed to the replacement of EMA. What can your Party do locally to help those affected by the change?
knowledge amongst Plymothian politicos that your leader, Tudor Evans, is a fairly unpopular man. Do you think that you hold a better chance if you scrap Tudor and get a new leader?
KT: We wish to create a “Local Grant Scheme” to give young people the opportunity to stay in further education and not be worried about the costs that it may entail. I think that this is especially important in places like the Devonport ward, as people often cannot afford to travel to school, to get their equipment, or to buy their textbooks.
KT: I think that he is a competent leader. The response that we are getting on the doors suggest that people are coming back to Labour, for reasons both local and national. I think we have a strong local party, and the people of Plymouth should be thankful to Tudor for what he did in offi--
DHM: It is common
DHM: Do you mean like selling our local airport to a private firm? Which has
subsequently closed? KT: People are becoming disenfranchised with the national Tories, and they’re even more disenchanted with the local Tories. Tudor is strong and knows what he’s always talking about, and he will lead the council well. On the issue of the airport, I would support the re-opening and development of the airport, but I am also passionate about the planned three-hour train link to London. On a usage ratio, I think that the trains are far more popular, and so if it came to a choice between the two, I’d choose the trains.
DHM: I think I’ve heard all I need to hear, thank you for your time, Kate. KT: Thanks for the interview! You’d better not be too nasty when you write it up, I know what you’re like! DHM: No promises, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it. If you would like to find out how Kate has done, check her twitter page @ yeskatiedear Written by Dylan H Morris
Party funding: all in this together? A brief analysis of the state funding of political parties, and why it’s a bad idea.
Party funding has been the hot topic of late on the UK political battleground. Many say that it is unfair and corrupt. Some even say that it is ruining the political system we live in. One suggestion to sort out these ‘backhand’ deals is to state fund all political parties; I guess today I am writing to fight the corner of those who do not want to see the taxpayer propping up politicians. Firstly, I think people have forgotten the purpose of a government; they should only have a duty of care for its citizens, not to become the nanny watching over us! If we allow the state to pay for politics means it is expanding even more into the lives
of its populace, and further eroding civil liberties. Of course the Conservative Party has had its problems - with funding from wealthy, influential individuals, but it is not alone! Labour’s main source of funding is off the Unions, with over 90% coming from them, this poses a problem that the MPs are puppets of these Union Barons – as the Unions have so much power over so many people’s lives. Sorting out these issues, by making the funding system more transparent so one can see what the parties are exactly getting, is what should happen. But if we lose touch of a free, democratic system then we will lose the
basis of our great nation. Furthermore, we cannot afford to keep expanding the state. If we start to fund systems which can be funded by other, independent means, it will be toxic to our very poor national deficit. Also, why should people have to be forced into whom to fund? Is it not our choice of what parties we want to in our political system? Then there is the size issue, if we fund all parties that walk into politics, there will be an imbalance in the size of the parties. We will see the Green Party having an increase in funding and size with no correlation to its electoral results, along with very minor parties with literally no political sway
receiving funding from the taxpayer when they have little, or no, public support! Allowing the state to fund the politics of our great nation is madness and not fair for those who trust that their vote actually matters. Adapting the current ‘free market’ system is the plan of
action, not allowing the state to have an excuse to take even more money off us to spend on a stupid concept. Big society, small state is what I say! Written by Oliver Demaine Year 11.
The stark reality of Labour’s donation woes.
the hunger games May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour
The Hunger Games, the film that broke box office records by becoming the highest grossing non sequel film, is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Suzanne Collins. Before I saw the film, I managed to devour the book series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For people who aren’t aware, ‘The Hunger Games’ is about a girl, Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District 12 in Panem, with the capital being called the Capitol. Every year The Hunger Games (a competition) is hosted, where two representatives of each district (1-12) are entered into the competition, where they are then pitted against each other in a fight to the death. The concept is very similar to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The Running Man, but more suitable for a younger audience.
The book itself is incredibly well written, with various cliff hangers, suspense and all sorts of things that just make you want to carry on reading, even into the dead of night, which is what happened to me. Collins has created characters that you actually care about. Granted, some you may not like but on the whole you truly can invest in them and can experience the same emotions that they do, with the help of the first person narrative. The content and the message of the book is also not one to be taken at face value, as there are deeper meanings behind The Hunger Games. The main one being the empowerment of females with the overall strength of the heroine. There is also the idea of revolution and empowering the masses by breaking away
isn’t exactly suitable for younger children. Other than that, the collective trilogy is one that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
from the controlling government. I think the franchise is getting unfair publicity by being called the new ‘Twilight’, which may put people off the idea of investing in it. There is no comparison; yes there is a tiny element of romance in it, but
even so, that does not make up the bulk of the story. Also, with this, the heroine is in charge of herself, rather than relying on others. The Hunger Games is not particularly aimed at a specific age group, although some of the content
I cannot stress how much I recommend that you check out this franchise. They’re relatively easy to read, mainly because they’re so gripping that you just want to turn one page immediately after the next. If you’ve already read the books, you should watch the film and if you liked the film, you will love the books themselves! Written by Ben Scott
At all points in life, we are faced with decisions we must make. Whether it’s which subjects to choose for GCSE, to join the school choir, or to eat your lunch at break, and then be hungry later. Some of the choices are easier than others, as we can predict with fair certainty the consequences of either decision (If you eat the muffin
now, it will definitely not reappear after next lesson). Others however, such as subject options, are much harder to think through, as we are considering much greater time scales and much grander plans. I remember fretting in Year 8 that I had to drop Drama, as at that time my heart was set on Law, and I had decided that Latin would be more useful.
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Despite that decision, I dropped Latin after GCSE, and have continued to take part in school productions. The big
point is, with dilemmas, we
will never know what would have happened if we had picked the other option, or gone down the other path. Now that is slightly tragic, but it also can give us energy. There is no point in attempting to guess what might have been - most of the time it’s difficult enough to analyse the past! As Tolkien wrote ‘even the very wise cannot see all ends’.
time spent reminiscing is lost, when it could be used making the most of the path that you have chosen, and a difference to your life and those of others. Written by Tom Phillips
I think that Frost in this poem is saying trust in yourself and your own decisions. All
The Road not taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost 9
How to make the most of your exam season
with exams upon us it is time to knuckle down and be productive in your revision to achieve success this summer
It is, once again, coming back around to that joyous time of year, during which thousands of students up and down the country prepare themselves emotionally, mentally, and in some cases, physically. All over the UK, tears will be shed, pages will be ripped and a colossal quantity of comfort food will undoubtedly be devoured. Exams have that habit of creeping up on us, and before we know it, we haven’t given ourselves enough
time for revision for the numerous exams which are to come. With hindsight, there will always be something we wish we’d done; started revision earlier, not spent quite so much
time on the internet or even not stayed up quite so late cramming on the night before the big day. But is there anything you can do to ensure that the odds are ever in your favour? First of all, ensure
that if you have not already begun your revision (you should have started during the Easter holidays at least), it would probably be prudent to get your books out and become at least semi-hibernating for the next few weeks or so, to ensure that you have all the core knowledge and that you’re confident in what you know. During your study, make sure you find a method that works
for you. Whilst some people may prefer to sit with a head in a textbook trying to absorb the content, and others prefer to express themselves in terms of mind maps, if these don’t appear to be helping you, try finding other ways to improve concentration and retention. For example, my preferred method of revision is to revise, either with a book or through making revision notes for example, for half an hour straight, then taking a ten minute break, before moving to another place in the house and starting the cycle all over again. On the night before the exam, don’t stay up too late revising. You’ll be better off having an extra hour or two of sleep and being fully rested than spending that time cramming knowledge which will all have but evaporated from
the chasms of your mind by the time the
else. If you come out at the end feeling like
examination begins. On the morning itself, have a full breakfast and keep a level head during the time leading up to the start, and try not to get caught up in discussing things that you and your friends think might come up; they’ll only make you anxious and distract you from your concentration. Once it’s started, try to achieve a balance between answering questions that you’re confident at answering with the weightings of marks for the harder questions, and also make sure to write legibly. Remember not to spend too much time on a single question, but also don’t rush yourself and find yourself with a half hour to spare. Again, finding a happy medium is strongly advised. Finally, remember that you should justify your efforts to yourself, and no-one
you’ve done yourself justice and can be proud of what you’ve achieved, then you shouldn’t feel the need to answer to anyone else about your performance. Everyone at the spectator wishes you a successful and stress-free exam
season! Written by Tim Cannon
Another regeneration for the Peer Mentoring team The Peer Mentors are a group of students, from year 9s right through to year 13s, whose sole aim is to improve the social and emotional aspects of every pupil’s experience of DHSB, particularly in years 7 and 8, as our newest pupils ingratiate themselves with our vibrant school community.
The team is constantly evolving and changing, as the older mentors leave the school and move on to pastures new and new mentors with
new ideas and new skills are recruited to take their place, and the last two months in particular have been very busy. Dan Marker and James Sinclair, who’ve led the team ably through the last year, have stepped down from their roles and a new leadership team of myself, Nathan Vosper and Tom Weatherby have been appointed to guide us through the next. A challenge with which we were faced almost immediately was organising the recruitment of new mentors, whose
addition to the team is far more important than our own selection as leaders. After discussions among ourselves and with the rest team, we are, at the time of writing, near finalising a process for this, with applications open to year 9s and year 12s who have entered the 6th form from other schools. This does open up the fascinating possibility of, for the first time since the inception of the Peer Mentoring Scheme under John Ware, having girls on the team, and if any
are successful in their applications, it will be fascinating to see what sort of effect this change in the group’s demographic will have. I hope to be able to write a column in the next issue of the Spectator telling you what a success the application process has been and introducing to you another fantastic crop of mentors who will bring new ideas and a new approach to the team. The weeks and months ahead are exciting times for
us Peer Mentors, but at the end of the day our service to you is, and always will be, much more important than our service to ourselves, so we hope that whatever changes and additions we make to the team will lead to the best outcome for you! Written by Alex Lea on behalf of the peer m en t o r team
Devonport Voice introduces Department Ambassador Scheme A look into the purpose of this new and exciting development within our school community
One of the flagship schemes of the new Devonport Voice student leadership has been the introduction to the school of the position of Department Ambassador, the brainchild of their current Chair, George Hawker. But what is it for? What are the Department Ambassadors here to do? The basic idea is that pupils will take up responsibility on behalf of a department for organizing enrichment activities, trips, clubs, mentoring and any other things they and the department think appropriate to improve the learning
and motivating them to do more outside lessons and to give them a support structure in which to take and create such opportunities”.
of that subject within the school, particularly focusing on how it is applied in the real world. For the lower school, this increases awareness of how what they are learning can be put to real, tangible use, and for the 6th form, it gives the opportunity to improve leadership, organizational and communicational skills (among others)
and take up some responsibility within the school, in addition to the benefits it supplies the lower school. In the words of George Hawker, Chair of Devonport Voice, “[Devonport Voice] is about getting pupils to engage with their school, to encourage leadership and students to take responsibility, helping, encouraging
On where he got the idea of Department Ambassadors, he says “The idea came about when I was organising the CERN trip. I realised how much time it really takes organising these things and knew and saw how little time heads of department have with everything else they have to do. I think most people in the sixth form have realised that to look at studying their chosen subjects in [Higher Education],
it’s all about starting to look at the subject outside the classroom and saw the potential to create roles to encourage this, while fitting in with the needs of departments.” So, now you know what the Department Ambassadors are. The positions have been filled with some excellent candidates, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. But who are they? What are their ideas? How can I get hold of them with my suggestions or querries? We’ll have a much more indepth look at this next month, so make sure to look out for it. Written by Alex Lea
Is it really Sport 4 All?
written by luke vicary
When the school announced its plans to introduce a bundle of new sports facilities, such as a new astroturf, cricket wicket and other additions such as renovating the gym located in Hansom, I was in two minds about it. Half of me, as an avid sportsman loves the idea and was excited to see the changes. The other half was asking two questions: “How much is this going to
nature of the school, they may not be able to secure a place in the teams which can easily lead to disheartened men, and a less enthusiastic approach to their chosen sport. The new house system with the addition of two extra houses has been one way in which these boys can express themselves, with more houses meaning more house competitions, and more opportunity. And this is where
money was not being spent on academic aspects there is no need to worry as the scheme is not instead of those things, but as well as those things. Compared to schools like Ivybridge, it must be said that our facilities currently don’t compete. In fact, one of the first things Mr Earley asked when first entering the school premises was “Where is the Astroturf?” As the head says, the
environment (e.g. playing for a youth sports coach with the right values) a boy or girl can really come out of their shell and express themselves through sport. Their confidence builds
cost?” and “Why not spend the money on items like textbooks?” However, after talking to a passionate Mr Earley about the scheme, I must say: I’m sold! As Mr Earley and I agreed, within the school, we have many guys who love sport. However, in the highly competitive
Sport 4 All starts to kick in. With around three quarters of any year group wanting to actively take part in sport, with these new facilities implemented, students, along with the rest of Plymouth can enjoy the toprate facilities. And for those, like me, who were asking why the
students within this school deserve the things this scheme will bring, and why shouldn’t we have facilities that can compete with any other schools in Plymouth? We are living in a world today where academic success is not the only thing universities and employers look at in a person, but how well rounded they are as an individual. Sport is one avenue where you can build your character and become one of these men and women. In the right
and that can be taken directly into the classroom, and social and leadership skills can be refined as you communicate with your team-mates and coaches. There is also the tendency for a student who is busy through positive pursuits like sport to be engaged, focused and self-disciplined. These student-athletes learn that they need to focus and recognize that they must lead disciplined lives. That’s not to say they can’t enjoy themselves and take advantage of “being young”, instead they will
also understand that discipline can help lead to achievement and success. So, when can we expect to see building begin, with promises being made of the Astroturf being ready for the next academic year? Well, as I was told by Mr Earley, it’s extremely difficult to spend your own money on your own land, and a number of pre-conditions were included in the planning permissions, with such things like soil samples needing to be taken before building began. However, I was assured that we can expect to see the Astroturf by September, and planning permission has been achieved for all the proposed facilities except for the floodlights for the Astroturf. News on that is expected to come through sometime during this month, but with or without the lights, building on the Astroturf will begin. And I must say, I’m excited to see Sport 4 All being introduced into an already outstanding school.