Welcome to the Principals Blog Week 7

Welcome back to the Blog, after a welcome half-term break, where the sun did at least shine. Sometimes the dark days of winter make you yearn for those sunny warm days of spring and summer. However, I always get a little excited that the seasons are changing. It makes me reflect on change and how as human beings we are constantly having to adapt to new things in our relationships, work and study.

For young people, this change is always a challenge as bodies change, and with that, temperament and mood. It’s not an easy time, and yet we also have the most stress in our lives as we ask young people to navigate learning and exams. Some of our young people have found that transition a challenge, and it made me think of the book series in ‘Chicken Soup For the Soul’. The series includes stories for teenagers called ‘Chicken Soup for Teenagers’. The first batch of stories consists of 101 tales every teenager can relate to and learn from, without feeling criticised or judged. 

This story contains important lessons on the nature of friendship and love, the importance of belief in the future, and the value of respect for oneself and others. There is one particular student who has had challenging times in his life. Though the chaos of his life and the pressures he has been under, he was at a cross roads regarding which way he would go. Through pure resilience and also an acceptance of his own behaviour, I am now seeing a bright able young man emerging. This week, his efforts have brought me and other staff to tears. That’s how much we care and want our students to succeed. If you’re reading this, hopefully you know I am thinking of you and your Mum. We will get you there and you will succeed. You have my word!

Halloween 2019

Charity starts with our hearts and our minds, and we have hearts and minds firmly set on our chosen charity, Males Allowed.

This week, our Year 9 students made the most amazing effort in creating a wonderful celebration of Halloween with ghouls, gargoyles and ghosts floating around the corridors. Our mufti and bake sale raised over £250 for this amazing charity that supports men on their journey to positive mental health. For our students, it has raised their awareness and it has been a pleasure to invite the boys in from the charity. Paul and Simon dropped in on Halloween to say hello and to see what we had all been doing to raise money. Simply a brilliant, fun day with a message that is dear to our hearts.

It’s okay not to be okay

Our lessons yesterday also had a Halloween spin, and as you can see our ITT Jim had students in year 9 creating Tarsia pumpkins!

Interview for TES

This week we also were interviewed by a journalist for an article on our work with our charity, and how we support students and staff to manage their mental health. Our VP Jo Ware also had an interview regarding our development and presentation of beautiful work. More on that when we are published. What I would like to share with you is some beautiful writing by Ivan in Year 10. What a pleasure it was, when his English teacher Justine shared it with me;

Dagger of the mind

The weather was cold, as always, especially if you don’t have a place to call home. That has never stopped me. My one belonging my one beacon of joy, my guitar. Playing music for whoever would listen. I hadn’t eaten in days, should finally get up and get something. There was always one reliable way to get food, not the most gracious however.

As I lifted the black lid, rotting smells fill my nostrils. Not much is visible at first but upon closer inspection you can find almost edible food. In this case my meal would be leftover chicken from the Chinese restaurant next-door and a sealed container of some sort. No warning labels on it. Sealed things were always the least disgusting thing you could get.

I picked out a nice spot in the dark, damp alleyway to sit down. I wasn’t looking towards taking a sip, but that was always preferable to death right? It hit hard some sort of liquor perhaps, no more like a drug. He stubbed his way around trying to get a grip on himself before collapsing to the ground helpless.

As I opened my eyes a figure appears in front of me and I stood up. A tall man with a leather jacket I had never met him yet I knew I did not think fondly of him, somehow. As I approached closer it became more obvious that he wasn’t actually there? Maybe I had finally passed away, maybe for the better. I tried not to think about it but how could I not.

Time passed, i hadn’t died evidently but what had happened then? My questions would soon be answered as once again the man approached me with some coins in his hand.

“Good show sir, Take some change”. Without a second thought, I pulled out my guitar and brought it down onto his skull in a fit of eccentric bloodlust. His lifeless corpse hit the ground as the guitar crumpled into pieces. What had just happened I had never hurt anyone in before but somehow it felt right. But no one would suspect the homeless man right?

Uniform That Makes Us Different

Not only is UTC Plymouth a great place to learn, we also have the coolest uniform. Mirroring the work place, our students look sharp in their ‘young apprentice’ gear. As modelled by Toby in Year 10, looking the part in his overall ready for Vehicle Tech in the workshop.

Year 10 Work

Great to see our Year 10 students working on practical engagement in engineering. Their teacher Pete was really impressed with their professionalism and work ethic. Well done Year 10.

New Teachers in January

We were really excited to appoint some new staff as our college grows – this week, we interviewed some new staff, and were able to offer Alan and Esther roles at the college. Esther Knight will be joining us as SENCo and Art teacher. Below some beautiful work that our Year 9 students achieved on her interview. Alan Austin will be joining us as Head of Engineering, and we are really looking forward to both our new appointments.

Baby Grace and Baby Frederick

Look who stopped by to see us! Our amazing HLTA Sophie brought the newest addition to the UTC family, baby Grace. She slept the whole way through a busy lunchtime and was handed from person to person. What a treat and such a cutie!

The very next day, we all came running as we heard Freddy had arrived! It was so lovely to see new Mum and Dad Aly and Pete, our Careers and Employer Engagement Lead with their new addition.

On that positive note, we are supporting Children in Need on 15th November and will be posting on our social media. Please note that we will be moving our Open Day from 16th to the 15th. Lots will be happening.

Guy Fawkes next week so please stay safe and have a great weekend.