The transformation of girl into woman | Portsmouth High School

The transformation of girl into woman

I read about a parent contacting his son’s university concerned that he had not heard from him after arriving at his placement abroad for his year out.

The UK university informed the father that they could not pass on this information as the student was now an adult. Thankfully the overseas university was able to confirm that their son had arrived safely and had lost his phone hence the lack of contact. Universities are waking up to the fact that they have young people in their care and need to involve a student’s family if they are considered vulnerable and at risk.

However, from a school perspective it is vital that we prepare young people for this level of independence once they leave school. It is such a jump from the relative safety of living at home to being responsible for everything from managing a loan to their own health and then there is the business of getting down to studying with no cajoling from parents.

During the sixth form and leading up to it our aim is to give our pupils a taste of life beyond PHS by increasing their independence and autonomy for their own success. Girls are always encouraged to seek out staff for advice or help when they need it. Our enrichment programme in Years 12 and 13 includes units on car maintenance to knowing about finances, from health and well-being to cooking nutritious meals. Also there is outstanding careers advice and support for application to higher education. Even after girls have left they come back and ask Mrs Davies for advice and contacts. The GDST app called Rungway is a unbeatable source of help for sixth formers and alumna.

We hosted a most successful reunion on Saturday with over one hundred attendees from the years ending in nine. Conversations centred around changes to buildings and yet still a familiar space with that same feeling of warmth and collegiality. The previous week an old girl of over ninety visited and she said the school shaped her to have the most wonderful life – she went to Oxford after PHS – and the school continues to shape young women to fulfil their potential. I could not agree more. I see this every year and it is rewarding to witness the transformation of girl into woman – something that PHS has done so well for nearly one hundred and forty years.