Our care, guidance and support are also outstanding because students are known and treated as individuals (OfSTED).
At Upton we really get to know our students ‘inside out’ and ensure that their individual needs are not only met within the classroom, but also beyond. We nurture each individual and ensure that they are making the most of every opportunity available. Our students leave Upton as confident, mature, and extremely well-qualified young adults, ready to take their place in the world of the future.
Our ethos is built upon excellence – in progress and achievement; in learning; in effort; in pastoral support and care and in behaviour.
We are a school which provides wonderful opportunities for all of our students both at home and abroad - we are extremely proud of our prestigious International School Status, awarded by the British Council, in recognition of the outstanding opportunities available to our students and our many links across the globe.
We seek to educate the whole person and provide excellent opportunities in sport, music, the arts, technology, languages and leadership development both in the lower school and in the Sixth Form.
We have one of the largest and most successful Sixth Forms in Chester, enabling us to offer the widest possible range of courses and opportunities; most Upton students stay at the school for seven years to complete their education.
At Upton we are fully inclusive and open to young people of all abilities, of all faiths and of none, to reflect real life.
Mrs. Paula Dixon
School uses state-of-the-art gadgets to prepare students for life in a technical world.
The days of ‘chalk and talk’ are over at one Chester high school where Year Seven pupils are using iPad Minis to become active participants in their own learning.
No longer does a grey-haired old teacher lecture at bored students in the vain hope that some of the knowledge being thrown at them will stick to the inside of their brains.
So in English, teacher Stephanie Nelson last week presented her class with the line ‘frost-fallen leaves whispered past them’ displayed on the interactive whiteboard at the front – this is the modern day equivalent of a blackboard but is in effect a giant computer screen.
“Is it an example of alliteration, metaphor, similie or personification?” asks Miss, who is holding a quiz.
In a nearby modern languages lesson, pupils are learning how to introduce themselves, say their name and give their date of birth, all in German, but with a fun twist.
Teacher Ed Tugwell asks them to use the iPads to film themselves and five other pupils going through this routine. During the editing process they can add titles, sound effects and music.
“Back when I was at school we would watch loads of videos but we didn’t have the ability to make videos ourselves. It gets the kids really involved. It’s so interactive,” he said.
Using iPads may sound like an individualistic approach to learning but in fact they can engender a collective spirit.
Mr Tugwell explained: “Now we have internet access for each student so any games we play on the whiteboard, where we would have two kids at the front, we can now get all the kids playing so they don’t feel left out.
“You don’t have to pick up that one person who’s not doing what you’re asking.”
As well as relating to the pupils through the IT culture they understand, the use of tablets better prepares them for the world of work where computers are part and parcel of the every day life.
“We should be preparing our kids for that technological world,” said Mr Tugwell.
“If teachers aren’t ready to move with the times then we are leaving our kids at a disadvantage.”
‘iPads are a great tool – but we still need teachers!’
Deputy headteacher John Keegan says iPads are a useful tool but doesn’t envisage a day when teachers will be replaced by robots.
“I can’t see that,” said Mr Keegan, who is leading the project. “This is a tool, another tool that will help them to learn. It doesn’t replace everything.”
And nowadays you are as likely to hear ‘iPads down, closed’ as ‘pens down, fold your arms’ when the lesson moves to a different phase.
Using iPads has been a learning challenge for teachers as well as students but they have received training.
And ironically the students often find themselves in the role of educators, which is enhancing pupil-teacher relationships.
“The students are going to be training the staff as well, so we have Elfs – e-learning facilitators – staff Elfs and student Elfs and I’m the head Elf!” said Mr Keegan.
The school is running the project with the E-learning Foundation charity. Families donate what they can afford each month towards the £400 cost – usually about £10 – and after three years the machine is theirs. This way the parents get a good deal and the school receives Gift Aid which can be ploughed back into the scheme.
However, the cost does include insurance for faults and accidents – so far there have been three cracked screens since the scheme started this term, which is not bad out of 250 pupils. The school chose iPads because they are ‘very intuitive’ and the ‘best in the market’. There is no commercial relationship with Apple.
There has been a 96% take-up among parents, although every pupil gets to use an iPad whether or not they contribute financially. The only difference is that those not paying for their iPad have to leave it in school overnight.
The school iPads are linked to a server that filters out gambling and pornographic sites as well as Facebook, although Twitter is allowed. Games can be downloaded but these can only be played at home.
“Handheld devices are here to stay” said the deputy head. “We want to teach them to be responsible, instead of ignoring it and banning it, we are trying to take control of it and teach them to use it in the right way.”
A big worry is security given the children are carrying around iPad Minis worth ï¿½270.
Mr Keegan explained: “One of the first things we say to them is; on the way home the iPad is in your bag and it stays in your bag and on the way to school it stays in your bag and you don’t get it out until you’re in school.
“If someone threatens you and wants to take it, your personal safety is more important than a piece of equipment.”
Each new intake of pupils will get iPads so that eventually the whole school will be kitted out.
Building on a small success, by gathering experience and resources, was considered the best approach.
2013/14 Year 7 iPad for learning scheme
Following the widespread support received from parents and carers to our proposed iPad Scheme, we are pleased to confirm that it is going ahead. Please accept our apologies for the delay in notifying you of the outcome. We would like to thank you for supporting our school in this exciting new initiative and we will press ahead over the coming months in preparing for the introduction of the iPads for September with a view to maximising their educational benefit for our new Year 7 students.
Now that a decision has been made to run the Scheme we intend to process the Direct Debit forms and refundable deposits received. For parents/carers making donations by Direct Debit, the initial donation will not leave your account until September 2013. We intend to bank the cheque deposits received during week commencing 10 June 2013. We aim to distribute the iPad minis plus accessories (case, stylus and screen protector) to students at the beginning of September.