“WE ARE in some of the best times the school has ever seen.”

That’s the view of one Southampton head teacher.

Stuart Woods, now in his fifth year at Upper Shirley High, is proud of the school’s ‘good’ Ofsted rating, its community feel and its excellent results.

And now the future looks bright for the kids who will soon see the benefits of a £2.5 million extension.

With school numbers set to rise by around 30 per cent the addition of eight new classrooms, IT suites, a new library and technology and science labs can’t come soon enough.

And with phase one near completion, phase two will see a new sports hall and gym developed on the site in the coming months.

Mr Woods said: “The planning has already gone through. The expansion is because one of our feeder schools, Wordsworth, has changed from an infant school to a primary, meaning an increase in numbers. But we’re also keen to push as much as we can the ‘all through model,’ which means children stay within the Jeffereys Trust all the way through.

“Parents will believe in the value you get from knowing a child from primary right through to secondary. Shirley has a real specialness about the community.”

  • THE current year 11 netball team have had some great success in recent years, winning the under-12 cup and the under-13 league before going on to score a league and cup double at under-14 level.

And the girls balance their academic commitments with two training sessions a week – and say this dedication is the key reason for their ongoing success.

But their efforts would be in vain if it wasn’t for what they call the “constructive criticism” and commitment from the school’s PE department who have helped them understand the importance of teamwork.

  • PUPILS at USH are now the proud users of two new £65,000 science laboratories– part of the major school expansion that will see an increase in facilities and students, needed because Wordsworth Infant school has become a primary and most of the children will move up to USH.

Pictured here are Year 7 students Kal Robinson and Verity Telford making use of their new facilities with their teacher Andrei Stanescu.

They’re carrying out some flame testing experiments – a technique in which you burn materials and determine which compound they are by observing the colours of the flames.

  • HEAD of music Susanna Shaw gets pupils playing in the orchestra and singing in the choir with regular performances in the community.

Students also have access to two practice rooms and weekly one-to-one tuition from Southampton Music Service.

Ms Shaw said: “Although guitar and drums are more popular, there are more opportunities with classical instruments – there would only be one guitarist or drummer in a band.

“Music is about creating a feeling of community and playing together.”

  • JUST as immaculate as their brand new kit is the current Year 8 boys’ football team’s record.

Getting off to a flying start with a 4-1 win over Woodland Community College they followed it up with a 5-0 victory over Regents Park Community College.

Captain Elvis Berry singled out Lewis Russells after his hat-trick against Regents Park. Russells, along with James Sensier and Henry Brooks, have played with Southampton Schoolboys- and local hero Franny Benali is a USH alumnus.

  • SUBJECT leader Joseph Davies tasks his Year 7 students with making a simple but nutritious meal. Students in food technology are asked to design their own plate in accordance with the government’s ‘Eatwell’ healthy eating guide, making sure their meals contain a balance of food groups.

Students have also been busy channelling their inner Mary Berry, with the school staging an annual Bake Off competition which featured more than 40 teams.

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Daily Echo:

HEADTEACHER: Stuart Woods (pictured above)

IT’S a great time to be at Upper Shirley High (USH). Our first 180 student cohort has started in Year 7 and our multi-million pound building plan has started.

This summer, our Year 11 achieved best ever A*/A results and 16 of our subjects achieved best ever overall grades. USH proudly belongs to the Hamwic Education Trust and we work closely with our local partners within the Jeffery’s Education Trust.

This local model allows us to decide our own future direction and build strength in collaboration with Wordsworth Primary; Shirley and Hollybrook infants and juniors; and the Tremona Road Hospital School. It’s a powerful connection, one which is further strengthened with our great relationship with local sixth form colleges.

Our students are characterful, strong-minded, ambitious and they thrive on challenge. Collectively, students speak 43 languages and success with our large number of more able students means we offer parents a competitive alternative to grammar and private education; all in an inclusive and friendly setting. A parent recently described USH as ‘an international school with a village feel’. After USH students thrive too. As an example, five ex-USH students began a course at Oxford or Cambridge this September.

I believe our success is down to three things; the emphasis we place on positive relationships, the commitment of our parents and the talents of our staff.