This year completes my thirtieth year of teaching at Bellemoor School and Upper Shirley High; a suitable landmark, I feel, to begin a period of semi-retirement. I could not leave you without wishing to thank all past and present students, parents, staff and governors for your support over these many years. It has only been possible to make such progress for our school by working closely together. My decision to live and work within the community has meant that a great number of entire families are known to me. You have played a large part in my life and it has been a privilege to be a part of yours; thank you all. I shall still see you around - so say hello!
Stephen Laybourne, Science department
It has been a privilege to be part of the USH success story. The school is so different now to what it was eight years ago. There has always been a family feel to the school and our PTA work tirelessly to support this. Our students have been lucky to experience the diverse environment and range of activities, from International Day to the USH Village Show to all the trips aboard - and how can I forget the memorable talent shows? I have enjoyed working with the most fantastic and talented staff and, of course, our outstanding students. It has been a difficult and heart wrenching decision; however it is now time to say goodbye.
Mindo Virk, EAL Coordinator
Retirement now has become a reality. In a few days, a lifelong career in teaching will cease and exciting opportunities for travel, new interests and family will beckon. I will miss my friends and colleagues at USH and I would like to thank all of you for your constant support throughout my seven years here. My heartfelt thanks go to the English department - past and present - for their unstinting support and hard work. Last but not least - the students. Will I miss you? Yes of course I will and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you happy and fulfilling lives.
Rosemary Hough, Subject Leader English department
I joined Upper Shirley High in July 2007 when it was still Bellemoor Boys School and I was a newly qualified teacher of Religious Education. My University tutor and a local parent recommended it highly and what an incredible journey it has been! I am so glad I took their advice. As a keen traveller with a love of different cultures, highlights for me include my international experiences (made possible through the school): trips to France, Kenya, Poland and Chicago - seeing the world through the eyes of our students.
I have also loved being part of the transformation of Upper Shirley High into the local school of choice and seeing it at the heart of the local community. However, the real highlights of my time here are the things that happen every day in the classroom, the interactions with students and as a teacher of RE, Humanities, and Psychology, the immense privilege of seeing young people developing their views on the world they live in and the issues it faces.
It is time for me to move on and take on a new challenge with education but I cannot thank the school enough for all the opportunities, both professionally and personally, that it has afforded me, the amazing staff team that I work with and most of all, the incredible students who make every day different and no work day ever boring.
Sian Roberts, RS, Head of Year 11
After six years at Upper Shirley High it is time for me to move on to work at Kings’ School in Winchester. I would like to thank many valued colleagues for their support and friendship throughout my time at USH. I am constantly inspired and motivated by the amazing and talented students that I have the privilege of teaching. I will miss you all and I wish every one of you lots of success and happiness for the future.
Kerry Harman, Science department
The end of full-time work and a step towards retirement is a significant milestone that offers up new and exciting opportunities. Having relocated to Hampshire and left my previous, long held post as a head of Maths in Suffolk, I have spent the last four years of my career at USH where I have worked with some fantastic colleagues. I am moving to become the Maths Coach at Toynbee School in Chandlers Ford where I will be working with small groups of students for two days a week. It is a new role and one I am looking forward to. As for the rest of the week, I will be spending lots more time with my delightful grandsons!
Diane Pugh, Maths department
Three and a half years seems to have gone in a blink of an eye! The day before I had my interview at USH my youngest daughter, Anna, was born and the prospect of a job interview after being awake all night filled me with dread. Anna will turn four in October and when I think about my departure from USH I can’t help but think how much has changed since then.
I will leave with very fond memories of both the staff and the students, who I can honestly say are the best group of students that I have had the pleasure of teaching in my fourteen year career. Some of my highlights would include going on the day trip to Boulogne, only to leave my car parked on Bellemoor Road, totally unlocked, with the windows down and house keys on display! I think it is fair to say that Mrs Parsons (who some of you may well remember) wasn’t too impressed. You may want to ask Mr Perry about this as he is the one who had to take a call from Mrs Parsons whilst we were on the ferry!
Of course, visiting Berlin in 2012 with Miss Simpson, Miss Eyre and Mr Champney and the most incredible group of Year 11 students will also be happily remembered, as will having the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau with Miss Roberts last summer.
I would also like to thank Mrs Cookson for being the ‘face of Upper Shirley High’; you've certainly made me smile each day! Finally, I would like to thank and wish good luck to the incredible team of teachers that I have been lucky to work with in the Humanities Department. I can only hope that my colleagues of the future are as dedicated and committed to enhancing the lives of our youngsters through the teaching of the Humanities subjects as they have been. Have a happy and restful summer.
Grant Parsons, Head of Humanities