Seaford College gives back to the community this Valentine’s Day

Seaford College student chatting with home care residentAs part of the school’s Community Programme, Seaford College hosted their second annual ‘Love Lunch’ for residents of local care homes on Sunday 12th February.  Minibuses brought 53 residents, carers and drivers from 6 local Shaw care homes from Gosport to Crawley to Bognor.

In the warmth of the dining room they were welcomed by the girls from Mansion and Heden Court houses, offering them a ‘nice cup of tea’ (or coffee) to revive the spirits. Once all the residents had arrived, they tucked into a traditional roast gammon dinner followed by syrup sponge and custard.

Betsy Vernon, from Seaford, was “so impressed with how caring and attentive the girls were, seeing them to their places, settling them in, talking to them throughout, taking them to the cloakroom and serving their welcomed Gammon Roast Sunday lunch, with scrumptious dessert. A number of residents had seconds!”

“Seaford student Yolanda Gumpo played the keyboard beautifully and sang a number of songs, and even encouraged one of the residents to get up and sing a song he had composed himself. Another student, Lee Li, was our fantastic photographer for the day. He went round, introduced himself to the residents, and he took a number of shots to capture the atmosphere and sense of the afternoon.”

Seaford student Yolanda Gumpo chats with care home resident after singing and playing the keyboard for Seaford's guests

The ‘Love Lunch’ replaced the Christmas Dinner that Seaford College used to organise for the Shaw care homes, because it was felt that so much is happening at Christmas yet there is nothing during the long, dark days of January and February. The event is seen to be a bit of light in the wintry gloom – so much so that residents had been looking forward to it all month.

Shaw care homes and Seaford College have now been working on inter-generational projects for four years. Every week several students go to visit residents in their Petworth and Pulborough homes and during Seaford’s annual community ‘Big Day Out’ students take out groups of residents to restaurants in the area for a spot of lunch … or cake …or both!

Angie Douglass, Hillside Lodge Manager commented: “Everyone’s had a great day and once again Seaford College have done us proud.”

The Sixth Form Boarding Experience

A couple of our Year 13 students, Fergus Guiry and Yolanda Gumpo, shared their thoughts with us on boarding at Heden Hall and Heden Court, here at Seaford College.

Why did you choose Seaford?

Fergus: The sport is really good, and Seaford’s academic focus and individual attention is second to none.
Yolanda: I love the music department and I’m a music scholar. Seaford is known to be excellent at academic and extra-curricular pursuits as well as pastoral care.

What do you like about Seaford both from an academic and an extra-curricular perspective?

Fergus & Yolanda: There is a massive range of extra-curricular activities, from sport to CCF, music, art, drama and all the
adventure stuff, it’s such a bonus. From an academic perspective, the teachers at Seaford actually care about your learning. In the Sixth Form there are smaller classes and everything is a lot more concentrated. The teachers know you very well, they know how you learn and they care a lot, which really helps us to do well. You really feel like you have the freedom to be who you want to be.

How have you found the transition from GCSE to A Level?

Fergus & Yolanda: We’ve really liked it: at A Level there are fewer subjects, whereas at GCSE you study eleven or twelve. It’s a lot more concentrated, and although it does get harder, we’ve really enjoyed it because we love the subjects we study, and you get to go into them in a lot more depth.

Fergus Guiry at Seaford College Fergus, how do you balance you studies with your rugby? Do you train every day?

During the season I will train every day either at Seaford or with London Irish, and I get a lot of support with my timetable from my teachers. I make sure that I get work done in my free periods. I also have prep for 2 hours in Heden every evening, so I will get my work done. I have been able to balance my workload and my rugby. I really enjoy being Vice Captain, I’ve enjoyed seeing how all the boys have progressed from Year 7 and Year 8, and how different players progress
and take on different attributes. My leadership skills have improved as well; I feel really confident in front of a big group, which will help me in the future.

Yolanda Gumpo performing at SeafordstockYolanda, how do you balance you studies with your music? Do you practice every day?

I agree with Fergus, we get a lot of support from our teachers with our studies and this gives me time to focus on my music. I’m in the school choirs and in the Jazz Band. I do my academic work in my free periods and after the 2 hours of prep in the evening I go to the Music Department and do 2 hours of practice every day. It doesn’t feel like work though because I love it. I’m also on the School Council and like making a difference to the community. It’s fun and I like being in charge.

What are your plans for the future?

Fergus: I’d like to get a professional contract with London Irish, my back up plan is to study International Business at University.
Yolanda: I’d like to follow in the footsteps of Tom Odell (who studied at Seaford) and I’m going to the same university. I’m going to the BIMM in Brighton to do a song writing course and I want to be a professional singer and song writer.
How does boarding at Heden Hall compare to your experience of boarding at the other houses?

Fergus & Yolanda: Heden is a lot more grown-up. Everyone in Heden is deciding what they want to do in the future: whether they’re going to university, having a gap year, or getting an army scholarship. If you want to go to university, then you have to put the work in. Dr Pothecary & Mrs Reynolds make that really clear, and they really motivate us. We feel grown up and self-motivated. We’ve also introduced a bowling league which is great fun.

Do you think Heden is good preparation for university halls?

Fergus & Yolanda: Heden definitely prepares you for university life; it’s really up to you to do the work. We’re not spoon fed, we have independence and we are learning about organisation and preparation, so we are really young adults now. There is a lot of responsibility and trust and we have both really matured.

Do you think you will be lifelong friends with the other boarders?

Yolanda: You learn to get along with people from all walks of life and that is great life experience for the future. I like the time when the boys and girls socialise together, I like having a mixed group of friends.
Fergus: They’re really good mates, and I would definitely see most of them as lifelong friends. I enjoy the social time in the common room where the boys and girls socialise together. I like the balance this gives.

What are the main benefits of boarding at Seaford?

Fergus & Yolanda: It’s very good from a work perspective. You get the work done, if you’re a day pupil it’s harder, you go home and eat and lounge about. Also, there are all the activities, you’re never bored. It’s like a sleepover with all of your
mates, and there’s never a dull moment.

What do you like about Dr Pothercarys’ and Mrs Reynolds’ style as a Houseparent?

Fergus: Dr Pothercary is laid back, disciplined, reasonable and treats you like an adult. He listens and will make improvements from our suggestions. He is keen that we enjoy ourselves and work hard. It’s a good ethic.
Yolanda: Mrs Reynolds is firm but fair. She gives us the space we need and it’s good preparation for university. She helps us see the consequences of our decisions. She is friendly, a lot of fun and has a great sense of humour. They also both have experience with their own teenagers and work well as a team to unite the two Heden houses.

A Conversation with the Cuthbertsons

Alana and Bill Cuthbertson with pupils from Heden CourtBill and Alana Cuthbertson have devoted the last sixteen years to Seaford College, taking on a variety of different roles at the school. Well-loved Heden Court Houseparent Alana retired at the end of the Summer Term and before she left we spoke to her and Bill about the sixteen years they have dedicated to the school.


How did you become houseparents at Seaford College?

: I hadn’t even thought about being a houseparent. I came here doing rugby coaching, doing three to four different jobs, but I wanted to settle down. I was asked if I wanted the houseparent role and I said ‘houseparent, you must be joking!’ I’d been a parent before, but never a houseparent. But I took the job, and I’ve never looked back. Alana was my assistant, and then Continue reading

The Mansion Boarding Experience

Sarah Brabin chatting in Mansion Girls Boarding HouseSarah Brabin, Lower Sixth, is a boarder at Mansion. She joined Seaford in September, and we had a chat with her to find out what boarding at Seaford is like, and how she is finding her A-Levels.

For how long have you been a boarder?
I joined Seaford in September, so I started boarding then. I had never boarded before that, so it has been quite a big change. But I am really enjoying it, especially the social side of boarding, as I’m getting to know lots of different people.

What are you studying?
I am studying for A Levels in Physics, Maths, IT and Psychology.

What kind of activities do you get involved in at Mansion?
I do the pilates class and this Thursday we’re having a pizza and movie night, which I am really looking forward to. I’m a weekly boarder, but I do stay on the occasional weekends to take part in the trips. I went on the Continue reading

A Conversation with Angie Prince-Iles

Angie Prince-IlesAngie Prince-Iles is Head Houseparent of Mansion, the Girls Boarding House at Seaford College. Parents of pupils have thanked her for ‘all the wonderful care, love, and support’ she has shown to their children, commenting how it is ‘really reassuring knowing that she is a mother figure in our absence.’ We had a conversation with Angie about what it’s like to be a houseparent and to look after the 24 girls in the boarding house, as well as finding out what life is like for the boarders at Mansion.

What opportunities are there for boarders at Mansion?
We have a Head of House, a Deputy Head of House, and House Prefects. The girls can air their opinions at the Girls Boarding Meeting, which is run by the Prefects and the Head of House. We give our boarders life skills; for example we have a kitchen rota and girls are asked to keep their rooms’ neat and tidy which teaches the girls how to take responsibility. We promote other life skills like cooking; recently we baked cakes for charity, as well as giving the girls the opportunities to join in evening clubs and events such as Greenpower, Music and Drama performances. We also like to celebrate different cultures in the evening, so the girls can get a good understanding of different backgrounds.

Are there any activities for boarders at the weekends and in the evenings at Mansion?Mansion Girls Boarding House
We have a lot of weekend trips. On Friday nights the students go to Sainsbury’s to stock up on their basics, and then Saturdays are usually shopping trips to places like Chichester. On Sundays, we visit places of cultural importance like Stonehenge. The weekend activities we offer are very good; other schools just don’t offer the things that we do. The girls really appreciate the trips, and they have a say in where they get to go. At the beginning of the year we have a house bonding trip, and this year we went bowling. Some evenings the girls have a pizza night or go to the cinema. We also do pilates, yoga, and aerobics in the evenings. We have a beauty night coming up; one of the teachers is also a beautician, so the girls will learn how to do manicures and facials. We are also looking into having a sign language workshop.

What do you think the students get out of their boarding experience?
I think they’re very settled at Mansion. The boarders don’t have a journey home in the evenings, and they have an environment in which they can relax and also know that they can get their prep done. We monitor academic performance closely within the house, using boarders challenge grades to set individual targets every few weeks. As a Housemistress I read all of my boarders’ reports and discuss both these and any other feedback I receive from their teachers with them. There are also lots of staff on site to help them with their prep too. If they are struggling, I promote group work, and they really bounce off one another then. The older girls really like to help the younger ones; one of our Year 12s is a great mathematician and helps out the other boarders. Also, the girls get a social aspect in the evenings that Continue reading

The Sixth Form Boarding Experience

Boarding at Heden HallWe caught up with Harry Collins, Deputy Head Boy and Captain of the rugby 1st XV to find out what it is like to board at Heden Hall, Seaford College’s boarding house for students in the Upper Sixth.

For how long have you boarded at Seaford?
For seven years, as a weekly boarder. I am now in the Sixth Form studying A Level Geography, Business Studies and PE.

What was it like moving away from home to board?
I started boarding when I was 11. When I first arrived they made it clear that students do get homesick, but there were just so many things to do all of the time, I got distracted from ever feeling homesick. It was really nice, I really settled in very quickly, it’s like a massive sleepover and I really enjoyed it. Boarding makes you a lot more organised, and all the facilities you need are onsite, which is fantastic.

How does boarding at Heden Hall compare to your experience of boarding at the other houses?
Heden is a lot more grown-up. Everyone in Heden is deciding what they want to do in the future: whether they’re going to university, having a gap year, or getting an army scholarship. If you want to go to university, Continue reading

A Conversation with Tony Phillips, Houseparent of Heden Hall

Tony Phillips Houseparent at Heden HallTony Phillips has been a houseparent of the Upper Sixth boarding house Heden Hall for the last ten years. During this time, he has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many students, with one former pupil describing him ‘as possibly the most inspirational person I have met in my life.’ Another former student said: ‘he gave me the confidence and the drive I have today; I could not be where I am today without his help and guidance.’

How does one become an ‘inspirational’ houseparent? We caught up with Tony Phillips to find out, and to discover what life is like for students who board at Heden.

What is the most important thing about your role as a houseparent?
I see my first and fundamental priority as ensuring that each and every student comes through the Upper Sixth safely and happily. By safely I mean that they are not subjected to any forms of bullying or any negative or detrimental peer pressure, and by happily I mean that they are achieving their potential. My overall role is to make sure that they achieve their academic potential.

What do you enjoy about being a houseparent?
I make a difference to the lives of young people, and I make a positive difference to the lives of the individual. It’s the best job in the school. Part of my role is about moral leadership. I try to make the students believe that in order to get fulfilment, it is important to live their lives not just for themselves, that they must strive to help others. There is no fulfilment in living life for oneself. As humans we have a duty to right wrongs, serve man, and do justice.

How do you go about being a houseparent?
I do try to treat the students like adults. In that way there is a sense of empathy, and we build up a feeling of trust. I like to converse rather than dictate. So I will explain why they can’t do something and the consequences of their actions, rather than telling them simply ‘no.’ I also have an open door policy; the students know they can come to talk to me with a degree of confidence, and there is always the support of the excellent pastoral staff.

What opportunities are there for boarders at Heden?
There are opportunities for leadership in the Heden Cabinet, which is a student body we have in the boarding house. They meet and come up with various ways of changing the environment around them. I appoint students to various roles: head of a particular wing, head of a corridor, head of social events, head of international students and fulltime boarders. Everyone’s views are heard. Full-time boarders go Continue reading

New roles for Georgie Sims and Kasia Miliam supporting the girls

GEORGIE2webCongratulations to Georgie Sims who has been appointed Head of Girls in the Middle School and Kasia Miliam as Head of Girls Sixth Form. The roles are to support the girls at Seaford and offer an immediate ‘go to’ person for the girls. Both have ambitious and exciting plans for the girls at Seaford.

Georgie Sims
1. How long have you worked at Seaford College and in what roles?
I started working at Seaford in September 2011 having just graduated from The University of Chichester. I have been teaching PE alongside many other very rewarding and enjoyable roles, such as a tutor, head of Charmandean house, assistant head of year nine and now Head of girls in the middle school.

2. When you were at school did you always want to be a netball coach?

I have played netball since I can remember. I also enjoyed helping out with some of the younger teams at my club as I grew up. I think coaching netball was where my love for teaching actually came from. Coaching the girls here at Seaford has been such an incredible experience, watching them make so much progress. I had so many compliments last season about our senior girls’ team, and how lovely they were, that it just made me so proud. I am hoping for another fantastic season this year for all teams!

3. Why is it that girls mainly play netball?

Netball is a very traditional game for girls to play across the UK. It is a fast and dynamic game that requires a high amount of speed and strength, combined with the ability to discipline your body. The game has developed a great deal in the past 10 years, with far more TV exposure and awareness. I actually found at University that the males on the course fell in love with netball and really worked hard to learn the disciplines of the game. The boys and girls here had great fun playing in the mixed netball tournament last season, which we aim to repeat this year as it was such a huge success.

4. What is your new role at Seaford and what does it entail?

I have really enjoyed my first term as head of girls in the middle school. I feel that I know the girls really well anyway, and hope that I am an approachable person to act as another level of support for our girls. We are so very proud of each and every one of them and want to ensure that their education is a very positive one! The first half term has seen a lot of nagging about uniform, but I must say that the girls really are making an effort to take more pride in their appearance. My aim is to teach them all that they do not need make up and short skirts to feel good about themselves and to have the confidence to not let these worries affect them as much as they sometimes do. It has been fantastic to start our girls meetings in the pink house, which are a great opportunity to chat openly about school life. There shall be more of this to come as the year progresses.

5. What are your key attributes that got you the role?

I like to think that I am approachable, as I have mentioned, meaning that the girls can always come to me with any worries or concerns. I genuinely care about the students and really want for them to do their best in school. I like to be really organised and hope that this will help me to plan some exciting things for the girls this year. I really give my all to everything I do and intend to make sure I do a good job looking out for our girls.

6. Did you board at school?

I did not go to boarding school, but have said on many occasions over the past couple of years how much I would have loved to have boarded at a school like this. I see how much work the girls get done during their time in the evenings and how much fun they also have; mixing all of this with spending more time with your friends; I am sold on the whole idea of boarding!

7. What is boarding at Seaford like for girls?

The house this year has had a lovely feel to it. The new ideas that Miss Prince Isle has brought to the house have taken the house from strength to strength. The quiet reading time is really working well and has helped mean that the prep time is calm and productive for all. The girls have heaps of freedom in their spare time to socialise with friends and take part in various activities. It seems a very happy and positive place to be right now, which is reflected in the fact that we are bursting at the seams.

8. Do you live onsite? If so what’s it like living at Lavington Park?

I have just moved into mansion house at the end of the summer holidays. I am so fortunate to be living in such a beautiful flat and not many people can say that they live in a mansion. The park is just stunning and I cannot wait to get a dog and really start to make the most of the grounds. The boarding house is very vibrant and a friendly place to be and I love that so many other people are on site too.

9. What events do you hope to plan in your new role?

I do not want to give too much away, but we have been talking as a school about ways that we can get the students to socialise more outside of their usual friendship group and to develop strong relationships with others. I am hoping that this will be an exciting year.

10. Your job is very busy what do you do in your spare time to relax?
My first love was netball. I am fortunate enough to still play on a Sunday in regional league, which is hard work but so very rewarding. I think it is really important to keep doing the things that you love if you can fit them in around a busy schedule. Having had to limit the amount of netball that I do has made it even more precious to me. I spent my childhood playing netball every day of the week! I also like to see friends and family whenever I can and really look forward to holiday time when I can catch up with all of the people that I go months on end without seeing.






Kasia Miliam

1. How long have you worked at Seaford College and in what roles?

I joined Seaford in September 2006 to work as a maths teacher. I later became Second in the Maths Department supporting Mr Kettlewell. I have also worked on creating the Option Blocks for years 9 and 12, with the aim of enabling all to pursue their chosen subjects.

2. When you were at school did you always want to be a maths teacher?

In the sixth form I changed my mind about what I wanted to study at University, I ended up choosing Maths over Law. It was after I had finished my studies at Bristol University and then taken a gap year abroad, that I decided that I wanted to teach maths.

3. What is the most exciting thing about teaching maths?

From my point of view it has always been about the challenge of solving problems. Maths helps to develop the problem solving skills which everyone needs at some point. I find it intriguing to observe as students use what they have learnt to go on to develop strategies of their own, to tackle and overcome difficult problems. It makes me feel proud to see what they have achieved.

4. What is your new role at Seaford and what does it entail?

I will be Head of Sixth Form Girls. In short, my job will be to ensure the highest standard of girls’ care in the Sixth Form. I will be working closely together with Miss Sims. We want to strengthen the support network for all girls in the school.

5. What are your key attributes that got you the role?

I don’t know exactly! I hope that my genuine enjoyment of working with the Sixth Form came across. I have been inspired by watching our students progress through the school and become confident, well rounded individuals by the time they leave. I remain in contact with some of the girls who have left the College, and enjoy hearing about their lives at University, their aims for the future and also their reflections back on their time at Seaford. This has given me insight into our strengths, and also what can be built upon further; I hope to apply this knowledge and understanding in order to improve the overall provision for our students.

6. Your job will be very busy what do you do in your spare time to relax?

Life will be very busy! I have an adorable baby daughter; I love spending time with her and watching her grow and learn. I am making the most of the remainder of my Maternity Leave before returning full-time to Seaford in March 2015.

7. Being on Maternity Leave, do you miss Seaford?

Yes, although I love every minute with my daughter too. I have the best of both worlds at the moment: I remain in close and daily contact with some of my colleagues and I am absorbed in planning for my new role. It is all very exciting. Taking this temporary step back to care for my daughter has helped me to better appreciate the qualities Seaford has, especially its strong sense of community. Between our students, there is such a wealth of experiences and skills and cultural backgrounds, and we have a framework of extremely supportive members of staff. I miss particularly these aspects of Seaford.