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Headteacher's Retirement

4th January 2018

Dear Parents / Carers

I am writing to inform you of my intention to retire from post as Headteacher of Plymouth High School for Girls from the end of the Spring term 2018.  This is a difficult letter to write and I have very mixed feelings about moving on from Plymouth High.  It has been a privilege to be the Headteacher for the past 10 years of such a wonderful school and I will leave with many fond memories of my time here.  However, for health reasons, this is the right time to hand over the leadership reins.

I must firstly thank all of the Governors for putting their faith and trust in me on my appointment so many years ago now, and hope I have repaid their confidence as we’ve continued our journey of improvement in such turbulent, challenging and uncertain times educationally, politically and financially.  I have enjoyed being the Headteacher of such an exceptional school; a very special place for our students to thrive, flourish and excel.

I have complete confidence in the Governors making an outstanding appointment for my successor.  The Board of Governors have taken the decision that from April 2018 until September 2019 they will appoint Shaun Willis, our Deputy Head, as Interim Headteacher.  This will ensure that they are left with sufficient time to find the best person to fill the post of Headteacher.

I will miss everything about the school – your wonderful children who engage me every day with their amazing contributions, drive for success and achievements; you, the parents who have been so supportive of our developments; and of course my outstanding staff and Board of Governors.  I feel I will be passing Plymouth High over to a new post holder in a very positive and healthy position.

Thank you all once again for all your friendship and support and for having the belief in me.  I end my career on a positive note.

Yours faithfully


Oxford and Cambridge News


We are delighted to have heard that 4 of our current students have passed the initial entrance tests for Oxford and Cambridge and have therefore been invited for interview in the first week of December. Their choice of courses vary from English (Lola Beal and Iona Brooke) and History (Natasia Leggett) at Oxford to Engineering (Virginia Cangelosi) at Cambridge – we wish them all the very best for their interviews.


Meanwhile we are also thrilled to have news of last year’s students who are currently at Oxford – Jo Gregory, (Exeter College, History) and Anna Gee (Somerville, Biological Sciences). Their term has been short and crammed with work but both are doing well and enjoying the range of opportunities on offer at Oxford.  Jo has sent us a brief message reporting that “I don’t think I’ve ever read so much in such as short space of time and the library has now definitely become my second home. I can’t complain because (and I did not realise this until I got here) the History Faculty Library is in the Radcliffe Camera which isn’t such a bad place to work! Both my tutors are very lovely and the tutorials themselves, although quite intense, I have only three a fortnight and weren’t quite so terrifying as I thought they were going to be. I’m really enjoying the course topics themselves and I’ve chosen another medieval paper for next term which I’m very much looking forward to. I also met with Anna Gee not long ago; she is really enjoying herself too and it was very lovely to see someone familiar”.  She has been doing some thought provoking work such as a discussion on ‘To what extent are constructions of national identity gendered?’ and for the week on women’s history it was ‘Has the rise of gender history made women’s history superfluous?’ Something which might well provoke a lot of discussion in our own history lessons!


Jo is also involved in a project called Reach-Out South West because, currently, students from the south west are the most underrepresented group studying at universities in the UK. Although it is aimed at non-selective state schools, she is keeping us informed of its work so that we can help and encourage our students with their applications. Jo is also hoping to contribute something to the project website.


Tegan Louis Puttick is set to take up her place at Cambridge next September after her exciting gap year in Senegal.  She will be reading studying Human, Social and Political Science at Churchill College, Cambridge and we wish her well and hope to hear about her exploits upon her return from Africa.


We welcome news from other recent old girls – teachers always curious to hear about the paths their students take after leaving so please do keep in touch.


Ms C Eales-White

Jo Gregory at her Oxford Matriculation in October 2017

National Poetry Day

Published Poet visits Plymouth High on National Poetry Day by Emily Im



Rosemarie Corlett, a poet published in magazines including Mslexia, and Doctoral Teaching Assistant in Creative Writing at Plymouth University, made a special appearance at Plymouth High School’s National Poetry Day event which was organised by English teacher Mr Rutherford. Taking place in the library on Thursday 28th September, the event attracted students across all years as well as several teachers and saw the return of the infamous yellow 'Poetray'.

National Poetry Day, founded by entrepreneur William Sieghart, is an annual UK celebration of poetry. Not only does it promote the writing of poems but also the performance of them. Thus, the occasion began with Corlett reading aloud her own poetry about flightless birds, a subject she is becoming an expert on. When asked why she is specialising in the animal, she explained, “My first bird poem was written after a pigeon broke its neck in my mother-in-law's back garden and died in her hands. It was this moving experience of death that plunged me into this world of birds and the brutality of their lives. Now I look more at how humans construct meaning around birds, for example, the dove representing the spirit, and what we can learn about human thought from the stories we tell about birds.”

As this year’s theme was 'Freedom', there were no limits to what people could write about, so many stretched their imagination and shared poems based on some unexpected topics including a whale who was sad it had no feet (the poem did earn several laughs from the crowd) and Santa (indeed, Christmas came surprisingly early). Some were more serious: one poem talked about terrorism and there were even a few digs at America for claiming to be ‘the land of the free’.

Of course, the event was not complete without teacher participation: Chemistry teacher Miss Joynes proved science and art can mix and Mr Neve delivered a wonderful poem centring on how free he felt after leaving his old job.

The audience were attentive whilst students and teachers performed. In particular there were passionate performances from drama enthusiasts such as Grace McDonald and Head Girl Lola Beal. 

Corlett said of the event, “I loved it. I was really impressed with how relaxed, confident and willing the girls were to have a go and thought the writing was of a great standard. I think it's really important to have these sharing of writing/events as it reminds young people to access their own voice in poetry, so they're not simply critically engaging with others' poetry but being creative agents in that world too.”

Prior to the National Poetry Day celebration, Corlett ran a poetry-writing workshop for 6th Form students. After offering some useful writing advice – for example, empty out the chaos in your minds by writing complete nonsense for 15 minutes in the morning; don’t think, just do it – we were tasked with creating a poem focussed on a mundane object. One chose toilet paper; another was inspired by a staple. Natasia Leggett, who claimed her school pass was really just a ‘dead dinosaur’, found the workshop to be an enjoyable experience. She said, “It was particularly rewarding to work with Rosemarie in a small group. It was a really creative environment and I felt like we could all just be ourselves.’

With the success of the event and workshop, hopefully Plymouth High will continue to appreciate poetry over many years to come. 

Exam Success

KS4 Celebrations

Plymouth High School for Girls are delighted to announce another excellent set of results from our students in years 11 and 13.

GCSE results day was again full of smiles and cheers after another excellent set of results from our Year 11 students.

There are many students who could be individually praised with 24% of our results achieving A*, 9 or 8 grades. Special congratulations go to Izzy Ambler, Erin Eastman, Natalie Gee, Tamsyn Hills, Amber Johnston, Katie Law, Ella Steeds and Catherine Zhang; all of whom achieved at least 8 or more A*, 9, 8 grades.

Staff and students were also celebrating results of many others who had exceeded their target grades and achieved impressive results which will enable them to move forward onto the next stage of their education. We are now busy enrolling the vast majority of these students onto KS5 courses and look forward to achieving more success with them in the next two years.

Mary Utton expressed her delight at the excellent results of all students: It is always a pleasure to see students, parents and teachers celebrating all the hard work of the past two years. Students and staff at Plymouth High work so hard to succeed and it has been wonderful to see them progress. Well done to all at Plymouth High - really well deserved’.

KS5 Success

'For life not school, we learn’ – KS5 success.

In year 13, over 51% of students achieved A* - B grades, with many securing higher than their target grades: these excellent results are a product of hard work and determination from students, staff and parents over the past two years. Congratulations to all.

There are so many individual successes, it is difficult to name particular students but some outstanding results were achieved by Tegan Louis-Puttick (A*, A*, A*, B), Freya Lowther (A*, A*, A), Selwin Hulme-Teague (A*, A*, A), Charlotte Lagoni (A*, A, A) and Amber Schumacher (A*, A, A), as well as numerous students of all abilities who achieved some truly excellent results. There were lots of individual subject celebrations as well, with many subjects exceeding 75% of students achieving A* - B.

In keeping with our motto ‘For life, not school we learn’, these students are now moving onto exciting new horizons whether that be university, employment or apprenticeships. The majority of our students achieved their first choice of university, with students studying a range of courses at a range of different universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. The remainder of students are continuing in their choice of apprenticeships, gap years or the world of work!

As a school, we are delighted with the success of this year group and all they have achieved. We wish them well in their exciting new adventures and are sure that that they will look back fondly on their time at Plymouth High School for Girls.

Congratulations to all students who have picked up results this year and good luck to you all for the next stage in your careers!