Meet the Team | Portsmouth High School

Meet the Team

Head of Sixth Form

John Paget-Tomlinson is a Deputy Head (Academic) at Portsmouth High School  and leads the Sixth Form staff team. His philosophy of education follows from a belief that whatever you are teaching you can make it interesting, relevant and inspiring…

“I have always been fascinated by the process of education. At school I was one of those students that teachers either loved or loathed. I was very well behaved when motivated by the lesson and absolutely appalling when not. I had no intention of being a teacher; I was much more interested in running a small European country or being James Bond. Sadly neither of these paid off and sitting in lectures at university made me think about how to convey my interest in history to others without boring them to death.

My philosophy of education followed directly from this belief that whatever you are teaching you can make it interesting, relevant and inspiring. In my current position I have been fortunate to find a school that thinks the same way. Education is so critical to ensuring the progress of society that it must be more than just examination grades. I want my students, at whatever level, to think about what they are doing in the broadest possible sense. We have a duty to ensure that our girls are capable of working through problems logically and creatively; a duty to ensure they can face challenges with anticipation and not trepidation and a duty to equip them to be tolerant of the myriad of beliefs, opinions and metanarratives that will face them.”

How it all happens…

0545 – I start my day early with emails first thing and breakfast with Radio 3.

0730 – Headmistress Mrs Prescott lives close by and we often walk into school together and discuss the day ahead.

0800 – After arriving at school there is often a Senior Leadership Team meeting at 0800.

0830 – I teach a reduced timetable so at some point in the day I teach history and Latin so Year 12 get to listen to my anecdotes about the crusades or Year 8 hear me waxing lyrical about the join of the dative in their Latin class.

Whatever my timetable for the day I will make time to talk to Sixth Formers in the common room or kitchen of Sixth Form House, often scrounging biscuits or anything else on the menu as I move about the building.

1200 – I invariably eat lunch for 15 minutes at 1200. After lunch there are sometimes lunchtime meetings with girls or staff who have queries or need help and guidance. One of the great benefits of my job is to be able to have the time to speak to parents directly, so I will make phone calls or meet with parents who need clarification on something which could be anything from the changes to A Levels to advice on option choices in Year 9.

1540 – This is the official end of the school day when the girls go home unless they are staying on for one of the huge range of co-curricular clubs on offer. I normally have more meetings to attend or, at this time of year, revision sessions to run followed by an evening event.

1800 – I normally leave school at this time unless there is a later evening event on such as a concert or drama production. When I get home it is to Mrs P-T (teacher at PHS) and to Eleanor, 8 and Isabella, 6, both of whom attend the Junior School. We are thinking of having family ‘I Love PHS’ t-shirts printed!

Assistant Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral)

Mrs Sarah Paget-Tomlinson

I am delighted to be working in the Sixth Form as part of such a strong team. I have taught history at both a Sixth Form college and a school with a Sixth Form before coming to PHS. Prior to my teaching career I worked at a Sixth Form college and a university as a school liaison officer and press officer respectively.

My experience of working in a range of educational environments with students of school through to university age, lends itself to my pastoral role. The wellbeing of our students is at the centre of all that we do here at PHS and the friendly atmosphere within the Sixth Form house reflects this. The small class sizes, excellent tutorial system and the extra-curricular opportunities complement students’ academic studies and enables them to become resilient and confident individuals, who are well prepared for the future.

Assistant Head of Sixth Form (Academic)

Mr George Maude

I am the teacher of classics at Portsmouth High, teaching Latin and classical civilisation to students in the Sixth Form and below.

Before taking on my current role, I was a Sixth Form tutor for two years, overseeing a mixed group of Year 12 and 13 students and helping them to navigate the transition to a more mature style of working as well as the process of applying to university. One of the things that makes PHS special is its supportive atmosphere and ability to focus on the individual needs of each pupil, and our tutor team are crucial to that.

My current role within the Sixth Form focuses on the academic side of life. As well as helping to monitor students’ progress towards their examinations, mentoring and encouraging students so that they can achieve their very best, I encourage ambition and curiosity within the whole cohort. Having had the privilege of studying classics and English at Oxford, I now oversee the Oxbridge preparation programme at PHS, helping to tailor individual support for our candidates as they undertake this ambitious process.

In addition to this, I work with our Sixth Form academic ambassadors, Mr Paget-Tomlinson and Mrs Davies (Head of Careers), to promote competitions, talks and other events at which our girls can sharpen their intellectual teeth and empowering them to use opportunities such as academic fortnight and the school’s societies programme to present and discuss their ideas at a level far beyond the national curriculum. We prepare our students for university and life beyond it, not just for examinations, and this super-curricular enrichment is essential to that process.