Upper Shirley High

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“I would like to thank you for being such an inspiration to both my sons.” Year 10 and 9 parent


We believe that a curriculum should be enjoyable, meaningful and provide challenge.  It should develop the skills and attributes of students to enable them to reach their potential, so they may make a positive contribution to society - a society that upholds the British values of: personal freedom; tolerance and respect for diversity; equality of opportunity; representative democracy; and respects the rule of law. Students are encouraged to explore the cultural and spiritual opportunities offered to them, to make moral judgements about the world they live in and to link socially with people from many different cultures and backgrounds whilst finding their place in the world of today.

The curriculum offered at USH is:

Broad: We introduce students to a wide range of experiences, knowledge and skills. The curriculum includes the teaching of English, Mathematics, Art, Design and Technology, History and Geography, Music, Physical Education, Science and up to four foreign languages. It will not only be connected to our local community but also involve an international dimension.

Balanced: The curriculum is organised to allow each area sufficient time to make its unique contribution to the educational development of every student. It values their intellectual, physical, emotional, social, scientific and aesthetic development.

Relevant: The curriculum addresses contemporary issues as well as the big ideas that have shaped the world in the past. All aspects of the curriculum are taught in such a way as to link plainly with the student’s own experience and to bring out his or her application to, and value in, adult life. It makes connections between subjects and connections to work. Students will secure fluency in the essential skills (reading, writing, communicating and mathematics).

Differentiated: The curriculum is both secular and inclusive for all. Teaching will consider the ages, abilities and aptitudes of our students. It has a space for child initiated learning throughout and stimulates and challenges students of all abilities.


The Art department at USH is where creativity is driven by the learner.

Students are empowered by visual and expressive vocabulary: giving them the tools to communicate and express visions that are beyond the capacity of words.

The Department

  • Mariella De Ruiter – Art Lead
  • Helen Cadle – Art
  • Jo Field – Art and Photography


Citizenship and PSHE

“Citizenship gives our students a voice and shows then how to use it to make change”

All students in year 7 and 8 at USH receive 2 lessons a fortnight dedicated to PSHE and Citizenship issues. Lessons are delivered in themes, covering topics such as relationships and friendship, making healthy lifestyle choices and looking at strategies to minimise risky behaviours, as well as exploring issues such as Crime, Racism and Animal Rights.</p>

Within Year 9, students receive Sex and Relationship Education through our partnership with the Firgrove Centre,  all students will also get opportunities to participate in a range of events to explore other issues such as Human Rights, The Law and Discrimination within their lessons and during themed days.


  • Suzanne Dibden - PSHE and Citizenship Lead



The Computing curriculum at Upper Shirley High has been designed to equip students to be safe, employable digital citizens.

Students will advance their Computational thinking skills at Key Stage 3. These are transferable life skills that enable students to break down and sequence problems logically. The curriculum also encompasses the use and understanding of information technology. Students will undertake projects that include; web-site building, game creation, architectural design, databases and spreadsheets.

At Key Stage 4 students can choose to specialise in Computing (GCSE) or Information and Creative Technology (Btec). The Computing GCSE has computational thinking as its core. Students develop their problem solving skills, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence.

Information and Creative Technology students will complete coursework designed to develop practical, technical and creative skills. They will gain a broad understanding and knowledge of the industry and will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in new, practical and creative contexts.


  • Peter Harvey – ICT Lead
  • Daniel Hughes – ICT



The Drama department at Upper Shirley High is a place that thrives with creativity and passion. It is a place that promotes confidence, communication, co-operation, consideration, commitment and contribution. The department aims to impart these important life skills needed during these formative years. Our department is a place that prides itself on lessons that educate, but also excite and help to develop our students into well rounded individuals, bringing out their creative side as well as developing their confidence for performing and evaluating. Therefore encouraging and enabling each other to reach their full potential during lesson time or through our successful programme of extra-curricular drama activities which enrich their time at USH.

School Values within the department


  • In drama we take pride in the performances that we devise and share with the class.

  • In drama we take pride in our contributions during whole class discussions, peer evaluation, reflection and group tasks.

  • In drama we take pride in our extra-curricular activities, i.e. drama club, whole school performances and rock challenge. We are proud to represent Upper Shirley High.


  • In drama we trust each other to be supportive when we perform and share our work.

  • In drama we trust the people that we work with by listening to ideas and working to the best of our ability.

  • We trust each other to give honest feedback to enhance our learning in order to improve.

  • Students will trust their teacher to provide a safe working environment where all students will reach their potential.

  • Students will trust their teachers to take risks


  • In drama we respect each other’s voiced opinions and contributions during whole class discussions and peer evaluation.

  • In drama we respect one another’s performances / work and provide sensible ideas using WWW and EBI. We do not talk during any performance. We appreciate all efforts made.


  • In drama we have ambition to climb the drama USH Steps and make progress in the subject. We listen to our formative feedback and aim to make improvements where necessary.

  • In drama we have ambition to create quality performances and learn new skills. We want to impress our audience and work at a high standard in every lesson.

  • In drama we have ambition to take part in extra-curricular activities and school shows.

  • In the drama department we have high expectations in order to get the results.


  • In drama independence is evident when we devise our own performances and create work that demonstrates our individual ideas.

  • During performance although we work as a team and it is about the collaboration we have independence when we create our individual character and perform.

    Miss J Kirk – Head of Theatre Arts



This is no ordinary English department; this is the USH English department- a place where students are encouraged to form positive relationships with words: empowering them with language; giving them the tools to communicate effectively and embracing the power of the written word. English is for life, not just for school!!


  • Anna Collins - English Lead
  • Sarah Poole - English 2nd Lead
  • Clare Williams – English
  • Sarah Turner - English and Literacy
  • Sophie Dunne - English
  • Sarah Baillie - English


Film Studies

The film department is made up of a highly skilled and creative team of staff who are committed to providing the best support to enable all students to develop their creative talents. Through a diverse curriculum, your child will have opportunities to try their hand at screen writing, storyboarding, filming, directing, marketing projects and analysing the impacts of those choices as they are made in the industry, leaving them confidently prepared for a world that is full of media and moving images.


  • Sarah Turner - Film Studies Lead
  • Rob Hind - Studies and USHTV



Choose Life. Choose Upper Shirley High. Choose the food department. Choose tasty food. Choose a balanced diet. Choose the healthy eating guidelines. Choose to avoid the obesity epidemic. Choose happy healthy young people.  Choose to encourage positive change. Choose to work independently. Choose to learn the skills and techniques required to change raw ingredients into delicious food. Choose provenance. Choose positive consumer choices. Choose trading fairly. Choose seasonal food. Choose organic. Choose to learn and grow safely. Choose food hygiene. Choose essential life skills. Choose time management, independence, organisation and budgeting. Choose social interaction. Choose to make over 30 dishes before you are 14 years old. Choose to make your own chocolate. Choose to have fun. Choose Upper Shirley High. Choose Life. Choose the food department.


  • Joseph Davies – Food Lead
  • David Wilding –  Food



Geography is a dynamic subject that is relevant to the 21st century and the world we live in. It is a subject that not only teaches us about the natural and man-made Geography of the world, but also equips students with the key transferable skills that are needed when pupils leave school, such as communication, data analysis and problem solving skills.

Please visit our Twitter page twitter.com/geographyush

Our vision

Our world is our responsibility and our students are at the heart of its future. They are enriched by an awareness of the diversity of our environments and are inspired to seek them out and protect them. Students are challenged to investigate key issues facing the local, national and international communities. Following outstanding geographical experiences that are current, relevant and forward looking, the USH student leaves us fully equipped with the skills, understanding and values to participate as active global citizens.  Geography helps us to learn how we can contribute to a sustainable future for our world.

The themes taught in Geography cover local, regional and global scales.  These include forever changing topics which take into account current world issues and it is this that makes it an exciting subject to study.


  • Emma Hyslop – Geography Lead
  • Rebecca Rendall – Geography


Google Classroom


“A country without a memory is a country of madmen.” 

George Santayana

“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world ~ or the last.” 

John F. Kennedy

“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.” 

Robert Penn Warren

Our Vision:

‘History is for all!  We encourage curiosity, broaden horizons and promote independence through a variety of activities in and outside the classroom. We are all about enquiring minds.’

History is a very popular subject at Upper Shirley High across the key stages. We develop an enthusiasm for the subject in all our students. History is one of the most important subjects in the curriculum because it enables students to know who they are and where they fit in the broader context of their place in society, the world and in time.

We provide opportunities for pupils to develop successful working relationships with others, through group activities and role play, as well as developing their skills of self-discipline, independent learning and problem-solving. A range of active teaching and learning techniques, textbooks and resources, trips and ICT are utilised to ensure that all students are engaged.


  • Stuart Farley - History Lead
  • Stephanie Simpson - History
  • Aimee Floyd - History
  • Adriane Sackman - History



Mathematics; where students develop and enhance their skills of the universal language of communication. Mathematics transcends all boundaries and so do our learners.


  • Victoria Rasey – Maths Lead
  • Adam Hield – Maths 2nd Lead
  • Agnieszka Adamou – Maths
  • Robin Wallace – Maths
  • Chris Hooper - Maths
  • Sukhvinder Sehmbi - Maths


Modern Foreign Languages

Languages; The department where students are enthused and excited about learning languages and new cultures.  Students communicate confidently in another language.

To achieve our goals we all must communicate effectively, increase urgency, empower each other, celebrate wins regularly and build momentum</p>

Language Learning 2013 – 2014:

Year 7 – All students will learn French & Spanish

Year 8 – All students will learn French, Spanish & Italian (with the option of learning Latin)

Year 9 – All students will learn French & Spanish

Year 10 – Students will have the option of studying either French or Spanish at GCSE level

Year 11 – Students will continue with their GCSE course in French and Spanish


  • Gopaal Bhardwaj – Languages Lead & Spanish
  • Marie Connolly – Spanish & Latin
  • Martin Perry – French
  • Francis Barbuti - Italian



USH Music Department

Offering a full range of creativity, expression, communication, understanding, development of skills, appreciation, co-operation and participation. Exploring a full range of media, resources, technologies, genres, styles and contexts, for a full range of abilities, interests, skills and purposes. Believing in excellence and engagement, Respecting contributions and skills and Succeeding in bringing together a community through Music and encouraging the musicians of the future.


  • Louise Owen - Music Lead



Every student has the skills to take ownership of their creative journey, widening their aspirations to achieve critical acclaim.

Helen Cadle – Photography Lead

Jo Field –Photography and Art


Physical Education

I hope you find these pages informative and useful and that they give you a taste of the provision offered to our pupils within Physical Education at Upper Shirley High School. We are proud to offer a broad, balanced, exciting and challenging curriculum to our students at Key Stages 3 and 4, as well as a programme of courses for students to gain a qualification in P.E and Sport during their senior years. 


Upper Shirley High PE department are committed to learning experiences that will enable all students to achieve beyond their potential and develop an understanding of physical well being and a passion for lifelong participation


  • To deliver a broad and balanced curriculum
  • To offer a logical and accessible progression into PE at KS4
  • To promote a positive learning environment in which all students can achieve, regardless of their PE background or ability
  • To increase the self-esteem of students, and engender an enthusiasm for the subject
  •  To monitor the progress of each student regularly
  • To offer a wide range of extracurricular opportunities to develop the work in lessons
  • To provide opportunities for student to undertake roles


  • To provide a high quality PE curriculum that enables all students to succeed in many kinds of physical activity
  • To develop an understanding of the need to live a healthy and active lifestyle
  • To aid students to develop a wide range of skills, and the ability to use tactics, strategies and compositional ideas to perform successfully
  • To provide the opportunity for students to reflect on their own and others’ performances and find ways to improve them
  • To provide the opportunity to work as individuals, in groups and in teams, developing concepts of fairness and of personal and social responsibility
  • To take on different roles and responsibilities, including leadership, coaching and officiating
  • Through the range of experiences that PE offers, that students learn how to be effective in competitive, creative and challenging situations


  • Hannah Wright-Davies - Physical Education Lead
  • Rick Staples - Physical Education
  • Kieran Hall - Physical Education
  • Lisa Suffling – Physical Education
  • Claire Fortune – Physical Education


Religious Studies

At Upper Shirley High, we believe that allowing opportunities for personal and spiritual development is as important as securing the academic skills. Therefore, all students in year 7 and 8 will receive one hour of Religious Studies education every 2 weeks.

These lessons aim to build understanding and knowledge of the different people who live in the UK and the various beliefs represented. Students will be encouraged to think critically, ask challenging questions and consider religious and moral issues that face society today.

In KS3, students will be introduced to aspects of the 6 major religions, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism through examining moral and ethical questions such as:

 How did the world begin?

 Are Humans responsible for evil and suffering in the world?

 Should the UK reinstate the death penalty?

 Can you change things without using violence?

 What is religion like in the 21st Century?

 Why have different groups suffered persecution?

 Is Jedi a religion?

In KS4, all students will continue to reflect and build their understanding of society through dedicated units in the PSHE curriculum focusing on the role of marriage and the family, discrimination within society and issues surrounding blood and organ donation.

For those who wish to continue studying Religious Studies in more detail there is also the option of choosing the GCSE course at the end of year 8.

We follow the AQA Religious Studies A curriculum, which with units on “Crime and Punishment” and “War and Peace” allows us to continue to explore many ethical questions including the rights of animals, the role of men and women in society and the treatment of people today.

For the GCSE course, students are expected to specialise in 2 religions, at Upper Shirley High, we follow Christianity and Hinduism.

As outlined by the Government, parents do have the right to withdraw their child from Religious Studies lessons in order to follow a curriculum, which more closely matches the religious beliefs and values of your family.

However, we would encourage you to contact the school for more information around the lessons taught and the resources used, so you are thoroughly informed used before making that decision.

Subject Lead - Suzanne Dibden



Students follow a 5 year curriculum (DC = data capture)

In year 7 and 8 students are taught using topics, each of which has a theme and homework project. These have been written by USH teachers to inspire and prepare students for their GCSE courses

Year 9 are currently following the AQA  1-9 Trilogy combined science GCSE  or AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Years 10 and 11 follow AQA Science A and Additional Science courses, or AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Assessments are completed mid way and at the end of each topic.


  • Tim Roberts – Science
  • Josh Chudley - Science
  • Andrei Stanescu - Science
  • Tim Adjei - Science



Welcome to the Design and Technology Department. Design and Technology has changed from previous years, where students have had a range of experiences with different materials in KS3, then selecting an area to study at KS4, such as Resistant Materials or Graphic Products.

The new GCSE 9-1 Design and Technology, now requires students to develop an awareness and understanding of real-life experiences in designing and in the developments and opportunities seen in creative, manufacturing and engineering industries.

All students in KS3 with have the opportunity to explore the wider context of design and technology, such as the impact of new and emerging technologies when developing ideas and how environmental, social and economic implications can influence the processes involved in designing and making. All students will have the opportunity to create and evaluate their own products.

In KS4, students will gain in-depth knowledge of at least one material and build upon knowledge and skills learnt in KS3. In Y11, they will be given a theme set from the examination board, which they will have the opportunity to explore, create and evaluate their own product.

The GCSE 9-1 Design and Technology assessment is as follows:

2 Hour exam ‘Principles of Design and Technology’ worth 50% of the total GCSE

40 Hours ‘Iterative Design Challenge’ worth 50% of the total GCSE

Year 7

Create and Evaluate projects will include:

Mechanical Dog, Pop-up Cards and Animal bookends

Year 8

Create and Evaluate projects will include:

Travel Game, Key Fobs and Upcycling

Year 9

Create and Evaluate projects will include:

Wooden Tetris game, Mazes, Packaging and Fabric Holders

Year 10

Create and Evaluate projects will include:

Practical and Theory skills

Year 11

Current GCSE Resistant Materials


 Sandra Nicklin (Subject Lead)

 Mariella de Ruiter

 Helen Cadle

 Jo Field

Products that students have designed and made are on the following social media sites:

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter



Year 11 - Period 6

The Period 6 timetable is in operation from 26th September and students will be invited to attend their session until 4pm. Each period is specifically designed to address knowledge gaps for small intervention groups, and students will be informed by letter which subject areas and skills sessions they are expected to attend. To identify which options subjects are in which section (W,X,Y,Z), the class code on students timetable matches each options block, E.G: 11x Art.

Mr Staples


“The academy has a very good level of awareness about the ‘Prevent’ programme.” Ofsted 2016