I have been at USH for 8 years and it has been a privilege to teach many of the students here. It has been a very eventful year, and it is now time for me to move onto new challenges. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at USH who have helped me develop as a teacher. I want to thank my wonderful year group, who have made me smile, laugh and cry in the last 2 years. As you move into Year 9 you are growing into the most amazing group of young adults. To all the students I have taught in those 8 years, you have been fantastic and I have loved sharing my passion for history with you. And finally, to my 2 GCSE classes you are all fantastic and with your focus and motivation you will all excel in your exams at the end of Year 11.
Miss Simpson (History Teacher and Head of Year 8)
I was first asked to do some freelance work at Upper Shirley High School in the autumn of 2009, when the school was involved in a Creative Partnerships Project. Creative Partnerships was a scheme which provided funds to bring artists and other creative practitioners into schools to develop projects with the young people and USH was hoping to develop a TV station as part of its project. Having worked on a successful documentary film project at The Sholing Technology College, I was asked to run the TV station and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to develop something unique. In the first year we made 6 TV programmes which included an episode of a soap opera, a game show and a sports new programme. An important part of the project was to ensure that the films we made were initiated by the pupils and reflected their interests and what they wanted to say. After a successful first year, the TV station went from strength to strength in the final year of the Creative Partnerships project with lots of further films being made including news reports, documentaries and much more.
At this point the Creative Partnerships project came to an end and USH TV could have ended there but the school could see the value in the work being done and I was delighted when I was offered the chance to join the staff and continue working at the school. The acting head at the time, Martin Brown, very generously offered me a job at the school to continue the USH TV project, on the condition that I would be some teaching too, which I was happy to do and this led to the reintroduction of Film Studies at the school which had been part of the curriculum in the past but was not being offered at that time. As I was working part time at St Vincent College in Gosport, I was at pains to point out to the school that I would only be available for two days a week, and that would very likely be Wednesdays and Fridays. So of course, two periods of Film Studies were timetabled on a Monday, presenting us with a problem! Very quickly, English NQT Sarah Turner was approached as the school thought that she had a media degree – alas she did not, but that didn’t stop her being timetabled to teach Film Studies anyway! After a quick crash course in film theory, Sarah was in the classroom teaching film later that week. Sarah and I shared a class of 7 students in that first group and we spent the majority of the first term planning and shooting a superhero movie called “The Free Runner”, a brilliant way for the students to find out about the nuts and bolts of film making.
At the same time, USH TV continued as an extra curricular activity with students coming along to USH TV club after school or taking part in film making projects during the school day and over the next few years they produced a huge and impressive body of work. “The USH Show” was launched, USH's version of The One Show with studio guests chatting about issues affecting the lives of students at the school such as the PCSO who came on to talk about cycle safety after a student was knocked off their bike near the school, the students who visited the studio to talk about the DEAR scheme which had just been introduced and the new headteacher who came on the show to discuss the new uniform he was introducing!
USH TV crews also got out of the school to make films at Hillier Gardens, the Harry Potter Studio tour and at the Big Bang STEM events in London and Birmingham. The Birmingham event was a particular highlight as I wasn’t able to attend due to work commitments at college so the students were escorted on a 2 day, overnight trip to the event by teachers with no technical knowledge of TV production at all. Without any adult support, this group of students planned, shot and edited a TV report about the event that received a standing ovation from the crowd when it was screened in the hall on the evening of the second day a phenomenal achievement.
USH TV was also involved in many aspects of the curriculum at the school and many films have been made highlighting the great work done in many departments including Design Technology, Art and Food Technology. Perhaps the highlight for me was the full scale recreation of the JFK assassination which was mounted in the summer of 2013 in partnership with Mr Parsons and the History department. Dozens of USH students performed as extras and a parent kindly spent the afternoon driving their convertible car up and down the driveway at USH to enable us to shoot all the footage we needed to recreate the historic event. All this footage created a complex editing job which was taken on an executed to perfection by USH student Ryan Higdon.
USH TV has been a regular participant in the BBC's School Report programme for several years. On one day per year, students are challenged to produce a news report to a strict deadline of 4pm that covers the days events. Typically ambitious, USH TV recorded an as live 15 minute news bulletin complete with news anchors, films from location reporters, entertainment and sports news as well as the weather. On more than one occasion we were supported by a mentor from BBC South Today who was highly impressed with the work that the students were able to produce.
USH TV has also supported the wider values of the school with a series of films created to highlight the various Habits of Mind that students at the school are encouraged to use in their learning. Over a year, dozens of students were involved in a project to shoot a series of films, each representing one or two of the habits of mind and the resulting films were used in tutorial sessions at USH and screened on the TV screen in school, along with many other USH TV productions.
There have been plenty of other highlights over the year, such as a number of film projects created with local primary schools such as Wordsworth and Shirley Juniors, getting a parking ticket on the school minibus while on location making a documentary about the school's work experience programme and even filming underwater in a diving pool to create some films for the Little Mermaid stage show.
It's incredible to look back on my time at the school and reflect on such a varied and high quality body of work that the students have created over the years. It's also rewarding to see how Film Studies has grown as a subject area in the school to become and area of outstanding provision under Sarah Turner's leadership. I shall always be grateful for the opportunities that the school gave me to work with so many talented young people and to create something that I think is unique in the British school system. Although I won't be able to come to the school regularly as I am taking up a full time position at St Vincent College, I hope this won't be the end of my association with Upper Shirley.
You can look back on many USH TV productions at the USH TV Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/uppershirelyhightv
Rob Hind (Film & Media Teacher)
Unfortunately I leave USH this summer after four fantastic years as Head of the English Department. I’m moving to Porchester Community School where I will take up a post as Assistant Headteacher. During my time I have been lucky to work with some wonderful colleagues whose priority has always been the well-being and progress of the students. I am extremely proud of the English departments’ many achievements over this time. The students here at USH are confident, enthusiastic and thoughtful, and I will miss their energy and caring natures very much. May I take this opportunity to thank all the parents and carers for your support of me throughout my time and wish you all a wonderful summer.
Mrs Collins (Subject Leader for English)
I joined Upper Shirley High 4 academic years ago and was very excited about the opportunity to work here and I wasn’t disappointed. I have had a fantastic time and have so many memories, which have been a great mixture of inspirational, funny, moments I didn’t believe could happen and above all rewarding. I am leaving to relocate to Surrey as a Head of Maths where my partner is based. There is a fantastic Head of Maths starting in September who will drive the department forward. Thanks to all who I have worked with and especially the students of Upper Shirley High who made the job here so enjoyable.
Work hard, dream big.
Mr Hield (Subject Leader for Maths)
I’m going to be going to the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, UAE where I’m going to be teaching English as foreign language and French. I’ve had two wonderful years at USH.
Mr Barbuti (Italian Teacher)
A big thank you to all the parents I’ve been in contact with over the year with their support in making sure their children are happy and doing what they should be. Best of luck to 7A2 who I will miss but I am sure they will do great here at USH. I am off to Noadswood School as it is closer to home.
Mr Chilton (Science Teacher)
It has been an absolute pleasure to work at USH for the past 6 months covering for Mrs Fortune. Both the pupils and staff have been extremely welcoming. It has been great to see the pupils grow over the past 6 months especially the year 7 netball team who remained undefeated in both their league and tournament and then went on to secure 3rd place in the Hampshire games finals. This was one of many highlights from working at USH this year. It will be very sad to leave and I wish all the pupils and staff the best in the future.
Miss Davey (PE teacher)