Upper Shirley High

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“We like the school because of the friendliness of the staff.” 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 Drama department at Upper Shirley High is a place that thrives with creativity and passion. A place that promotes the 6’cs, 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 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 level ladder 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. </li>


  • 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 - Drama Lead



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
  • Gemma Bull - 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
  • Alison Fountain – Geography



“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


Information Technology

Your children could be the Computer Scientists and ICT professionals of the future and who knows what technology will emerge in years to come? Therefore we need to teach them transferrable skills to be able to adapt to the ever changing technological environment.  They need to be able to analyse problems and design efficient, intelligent solutions. It is paramount for them to get to grips with new technology quickly and solve their own problems independently. There is a wealth of information out there but students need to learn how to navigate through it effectively and critically evaluate their sources. Once they have implemented their solutions they need to be able to follow a robust set of testing measures to ensure their systems will not fail. Finally they need to be able to reflect on and evaluate their work so you can learn from your mistakes and build better, smarter solutions in the future.

The students will not spend their entire time on the computer in these lessons as we need to teach them skills in order to plan and draft their solutions; work independently and as a team.  We believe in using the latest developments in teaching methods in order to allow deep learning to take place. As you can see from the curriculum, students will learn a number of creative technologies such as animation, image creation and manipulation and website design. They will learn how to write programs and design their own games. They will also learn how to store, process and analyse data.  Our ultimate goal is to equip our students with the skills they need to be able to take whatever the future technological world throws at them and run with it with ultimate success in whatever career path they choose.


  • Peter Harvey – ICT Lead
  • Daniel Hughes – ICT



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
  • Daniel Woollard - French



USH Music Department Vision

Music. The department where emotion pervades the curriculum. Where passion is creatively channelled to develop the musicians of the future. In music all are included, no barrier is too big and no gap is too wide.


  • Susanna Shaw - Music Lead




  • Helen Cadle - Photography Lead

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

Our vision is to be an outstanding department that delivers an engaging, relevant and varied curriculum. This curriculum combined with high-quality and passionate teaching will provide opportunities for personal and spiritual development, where students develop critical evaluation skills, respect and tolerance, enabling  them to flourish in a diverse and ever –changing society.


  • Susanne Dibden - RS Lead


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



The Vision:

The Department of Design and Technology at Upper Shirley High strives for the highest possible standards of success for our diverse disciplines, fostering critical and creative thinking, effective communication, problem solving, learning community engagement, and stewardship, while maintaining a safe, inclusive, and diverse environment for our students, department, and staff.

The Department of Design and Technology will be widely recognised for the quality, accessibility, and academic rigor of its educational and extra-curricular programs, as well as its broad access for our students and the community.

The Department of Design and Technology insures the quality of its output through the nurture of our students and staff, developing positive relationships and the focusing of partnerships and resources.

Design enhances the life, imagination and education of our young adults. We create vocational skills and cultural assets among our students, who excel in the fields of Design becoming great problem solvers in the growing technologically and design aware world.

Our program of learning teaches creative and critical thinking alongside comprehensive communication skills. The Department of Design and Technology is poised for greatness, not simply responding to existing needs but charting a progressive course for our respective medias as we adapt to a dynamic, global society. We look with excitement to a changing tomorrow.


The Department of Design and Technology has been created for the innovative thinkers of the future. With that in mind the department has been extensively automated with CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) at its heart. We have two design suites with 40 modern PC’s at its core. We run the most up to date design software focusing on 2D design, Photoshop, Illustrator and Solidworks and have at our disposal high definition A4 and A3 printers as well as an A2 laser cutter capable of rapid prototyping of a student's design solution. Throughout a student's design career at USH we endeavor to promote creativity and ownership of their design learning, tailoring projects to suit the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our young learners. It is expected that our design apprentices will develop time, resource and management skills as well as acquiring the knowledge to successfully problem solve and successfully communicate proposals.  


  • Sandra Nicklin - Design and Technology Lead
  • Richard Corser - Design and Technology


“Pupils are making better progress in the academy.” Ofsted 2016