England Rugby player, Jodie Ounsley, endorses Portsmouth High School’s support for deaf children’s charity | Portsmouth High School

England Rugby player, Jodie Ounsley, endorses Portsmouth High School’s support for deaf children’s charity

Portsmouth High School’s Head Girl team and Sixth Form launched their week-long Charity Week this morning with a whole-school Fancy Dress Parade.  This has been a slightly different year for the Head Girl team with them leading the pupils via online Zoom assemblies and imaginative ways of communicating with the school community. The Fancy Dress Parades took place across the school within year group bubbles.

The Head Girl team, led by Head Girl, Charlotte Kellagher, 17, are supporting a Portsmouth based national charity; The Elizabeth Foundation.  The Foundation was founded in 1981 by Shirley and David Metherell, whose daughter, Elizabeth, was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 22 months. In response to a lack of local services, Shirley and David set up The Elizabeth Foundation to support other parents of young children with hearing loss. The charity they established has gone from strength to strength over the ensuing years.

‘The Elizabeth Foundation provides such an important and unique service to help children with hearing loss learn to communicate,’  said Head Girl, Charlotte.  ‘This, along with the friendly and open nature of the people working there, made us certain that this charity would be perfect for the Head Girl Team and Sixth Form to support this year.’

At an assembly on Friday, Ms Sam Straker, the Fundraising Coordinator from The Elizabeth Foundation, visited the school in person.  The school also heard from England Rugby player, Jodie Ounsley, an ambassador for the charity, via video link.

Jodie, 19, the first deaf female rugby player to be selected for an international sevens squad, was born profoundly deaf, attended weekly sessions at The Elizabeth Foundation as a youngster before moving to a mainstream school aged four-and-a-half and is thrilled to have the chance to help the charity in any way she can.

‘Portsmouth High School, you are making such a positive impact,’ said Jodie.  ‘By supporting The Elizabeth Foundation you are enabling the teaching of deaf children with the skills they need for the next stages of their lives.  You really do make a difference and a big thank you from me on behalf of The Elizabeth Foundation.’

Sam Straker added: ‘We at the Foundation are so delighted that the Head Girls and Sixth Form are supporting our charity.  With an early diagnosis we can support babies and young children with hearing loss. ‘

Deputy Head Girl, Ruby Dale, added:

‘We are all really excited for charity week because the whole Sixth Form has put lots of hard work and careful planning into all the events.  Even more work has gone on than previous years because of the current circumstances. We can’t wait for everyone to get involved and have fun!’

The girls spearhead fundraising activities throughout the year to generate money and raise awareness of the charity and the fundraising culminates in Charity Week every November.

Charity Week at Portsmouth High School has been running for over 25 years and is always organised entirely by the Sixth Form.  The week is made up of talent shows, live music and other events. It culminates in a two night Fashion Show where the Sixth Form use business acumen and entrepreneurial skills to negotiate with local shops and liaise with local businesses to put on the show. The Fashion Show will take place in early December.

Head of Sixth Form, Mr Rob Smith, said,

‘Our girls have always greatly valued the idea of looking out for others and taking positive action in the community. This message feels especially important and poignant when set against the backdrop of the pandemic.  Full credit to our Sixth Form girls who have, whilst navigating all of the current restrictions, displayed great ingenuity and creativity to put together this wonderful week. A brilliant dose of fun to carry us through the lockdown.’