USH Newsletter

27th September 2013

  • Headteacher's News

    Dear Parents

    Fostering a love of books and reading will enrich every child’s learning potential.

    “We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”

    I love this quote by Philip Pullman and it’s timely and appropriate for two reasons; The USH behaviour Policy is under review and we are upgrading our focus on reading  across the school.

    It matters to us that behaviour is outstanding at USH. Our new policy will be in consultation with students, staff and parents* in the coming weeks and importantly will be based on our re-established core values; those of Trust, Respect, Ambition, Independence and Pride. At USH we know that excellent behaviour is underpinned by courtesy and manners and our students are ready to step to the next level to support their own and each others' achievements.

    I believe that the DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) initiative is pivotal to our learning culture and pays dividends in every subject our student undertake. A recent study, by the Institute of Education, London University, examined the reading habits of 6,000 children. It indicated how reading significantly improves a child's development. The researchers concluded a wide vocabulary helped children absorb information across the curriculum. There was a 14.4% advantage in vocabulary, a 9.9% advantage in maths and an 8.6% advantage in spelling.  Aside from the research…reading is a pleasure and a privilege. We ask that parents continue to champion reading for pleasure at home too.

    At Key Stage Four I have called for the introduction of DEAR’s partner initiative READ (Reading to Enhance Academic Development). Each day, students in the upper school will be supported to add depth to their subject knowledge and personalise their learning further by reading new (appropriate) texts. Reading is a superb way to strengthen subject knowledge, skills and understanding and it may involve time to re-read a piece of extended writing for example to help make improvements.

    *The launch of our new Parent Partnership Group will be on 24th October at 7pm until 8.30pm in our Lecture Theatre. All parents are welcome so if you can spare the time and would like to affect further improvements at USH, do come along.

  • Latin at USH

    As a school we have decided to reintroduce Latin into our curriculum as we believe that its study broadens both minds and horizons.  The links between Latin and foreign languages are perhaps more obvious but, in fact, a familiarity with Latin improves analytical skills and trains our brains to make connections and problem solve.

    Latin is still very much alive and kicking and relevant for the following reasons, to name but a few:

    • 60% of English vocabulary comes from Latin.  Your English can and will improve through Latin;
    • Latin has evolved into Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese.  Studying Latin will make your other languages easier;
    • the Romans gave us law and early technology.  Latin is still the dominant root language in law, medicine, astronomy and a key language in finance;
    • students who engage with Latin improve their analytical skills;
    • understanding ancient languages gives us the key to a different world of history and literature.

    We are looking to offer Latin in curriculum time to Year 8 and as an after-school club on Tuesdays to Years 9 and 10.  Classes and the club will commence in the week commencing 30th September.

    Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any queries.

    Carpe diem,

    Marie Connolly, Teacher of Languages,

  • Sports School of the Year!

    Students and staff had the pleasure of attending the Southampton Schools Sports Awards at the Guildhall prior to the summer holiday.  The students' success in a range of sports last year was acknowledged with the presentation of numerous trophies and certificates.  These successes included netball, rounders, athletics, cross country, football, trampolining, basketball, table tennis and swimming.

    However at the conclusion of the evening the ultimate accolade was USH being presented with the trophy for Southampton Sports School of the Year.  Many congratulations to all students that represented one of our teams and, of course, to the PE staff for their commitment to sport at USH.

  • Amazing People at Learn and Grow

    At the end of last term we attended a celebratory evening at the Novotel hosted by Solent EBP in partnership with Southampton and Hampshire Local Authorities and community and business sponsors. The evening was a celebration of the time and commitment businesses, schools, colleges and other partners had invested in innovative programmes supporting young people in their preparation for adult life and work.  Two of our students, Josh Powell and Lloyd Hubbard  (now in Year 11), were nominated for the Solent EBP Amazing People Award. 

    All nominations were supported by a short video and USH's video was chosen to be shown on the evening.  Josh and Lloyd were cited as showing commitment and reliability with a natural flair for practical projects which involved tools, such as making vegetable beds and building sheds.  Although neither of them won the Award they did each receive a 'Highly Commended Certificate'.   Well done, lads!

    You can view the video on You Tube: 'Josh Powell and Lloyd Hubbard at Solent EBP Amazing People Awards':

  • Visit to Southampton Boat Show

    Having secured tickets for the Boat Show for Friday 20th September, I offered selected students from Years 8 and 9 the opportunity to apply to visit to one of the major, prestigious events on the south coast.  Students had to explain why they might be considered suitable to take part and write ten questions that they would research whilst at the show (five questions of their own and five from the teachers of the subjects they would be missing on the Friday in question).  Visiting the show would give them the chance to learn about the marine industry from the experts and to develop their understanding of marketing and business, giving them more enthusiasm to become independent learners. 

    Following the visit, students commented, “I learnt different types of marketing strategies and how to use most of the space in a boat” and “I have learnt about business and advertising tactics, the history of boats and how boats are built and sold”.  They will now share their experiences with the rest of their classes to practise their presentation skills.  They also have the opportunity to choose a speaker they would like the school to invite in to talk to them about specific career paths.
    Mrs Adamou

    "The Boat Show trip was fun and educational.  We got to see lots of boats and how they work, and all the linked businesses.  I think this will really help me in later life, not just because we were allowed to ask questions, but it also gave me an insight into the Southampton business world." by Katherine Brocklesby, Year 8.


  • More Success for Jessica!

    Following on from all her achievements at the Royal London Show, including winning 'The Gwyneth Championship' (pictured above), Jessica and her pony, Hollie, entered the Pinkmead Autumn Show on Sunday, 15th September and enjoyed yet more success.  They won a 2nd in the Best Turned Out class and a 1st in Best Condition.  This took them into the Championship in Ring 5 class which they won to become Champions!

    In other classes Jessica and Hollie won two 3rd places and a 6th.  Jessica will need a bigger bedroom soon to display all her rosettes!  Congratulations, Jessica, everyone at USH is very proud of our equestrian star!

  • Year 7 Football

    The Year 7 boys football team started the season last week with a friendly against Test Valley. A pleasing performance resulted in a 2-0 victory, with goals from Alex Lake and Kane Wilson. In defence
    Owen Powell and Toby Phillips looked strong, and Sam May and Harry Fay caused problems to Test Valley with their passing ability. The next game is against Lordshill Oasis - more news to follow.

  • USH PTA - Come Along to the AGM

    The PTA will be holding their Annual General Meeting from 6.00-7.00pm on Thursday 24th October in the meeting room at the school.  All welcome!  If you would like to discuss any of the positions which will be up for re-election or would like to be added to our mailing list please contact the chair, Sharon Jackopson,


  • Accelerated Reader is back!

    At USH we have a commitment to improving literacy across the curriculum. One proven way of doing this is by encouraging students to read for pleasure. All learning starts with reading. Reading is a skill and, like all skills, requires practice. The Accelerated Reader (AR) programme, in which all students in Years 7 and 8 participate, is a way of encouraging, monitoring and rewarding reading for pleasure. As part of the process, students are tested using a simple ten minute online test. This gives a reading range for each student, linked to books that are neither too easy nor too challenging, so that students can enjoy the text and get the necessary practice to improve.  Students read books of their choice at their own level, then take an online quiz to demonstrate their understanding.

    The books used are popular fiction titles from the school Library. Students may also read books from home or other libraries as most children’s fiction titles are included. To find out if a particular title is included in the Accelerated Reader programme you can look on the ARBookFinder website at  This month we have been introducing Year 7 students to the Accelerated Reader programme and encouraging Year 8 students to continue.

    The main reward for success in AR will be the opportunities that come with great reading skills! However, we know that students like to get extra rewards for making good progress , so house points are awarded for taking quizzes and extra prizes are awarded for progress and achievement. If you have any queries about Accelerated Reader, please contact Rosina Mount, the AR Co-ordinator at

  • Careers News

    Careers Fair, Thursday 24th October
    We are holding a Careers Fair for Year 11, 10 and 9 students in the main hall from 2.30 to 6.30pm. This is an opportunity for Year 11 students and parents to collect information and ask questions of the local colleges, universities and training providers.  It is also the ideal opportunity for Year 10 students to find out what is available post 16 and to help Year 9 with their option choices.  Please support your son/daughter by attending this event.

    Work Experience
    Congratulations to those students who successfully completed work experience.  We have received numerous excellent reports from employers.  Comments include:
    "Excellent communication skills – asked lots of questions – very interested in the role";
    "Mature in outlook and understanding of difficult situations";
    "One of the best work experience students we have worked with";
    "Very hard working; fitted in well with the team";
    "Willing to help in all areas and was not daunted by anything during work experience".
    The Employer Report is used as part of a student’s school leaving report and is invaluable as part of a student’s Record of Achievement.

    Dates for Work Experience 2013/2014 will be announced shortly.

    Amendments to College Open Evening Calendar
    A calendar of college open evenings has been issued to all Year 11 students.  Unfortunately since printing a number of changes have been made. 

    Additional Open Evening dates:
    Itchen Sixth Form College  Tuesday 8th October  5.00pm – 8.00pm
    Eastleigh College Thursday 17th October 4.30pm – 7.30pm
    City College  Saturday 18th January 9.30am – 1.00pm
    Changes to published dates:
    Richard Taunton’s Sixth Form College
    Tuesday  15th October 6.30pm – 9.00pm
    Wednesday 13th November 6.30pm – 9.00pm
    Thursday 27th February 6.30pm – 9.00pm

    Year 9 Careers Day, Thursday 5th December
    As part of the careers education programme and to help with option choices and the transition process from Year 9 to Year 10 we are planning a ‘Go To Work With A Parent (family member or friend) Day’ on Thursday 5th December.  The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the world of work.  This opportunity will allow your son/daughter to gain valuable first-hand experience of the workplace, an important element of the careers programme which we are unable to offer in school.  If you are unable to take your son/daughter to work please arrange for him/her to go to work with a family member/friend. 

    Mrs Anderson,


  • Eco Council

    We now have more than twenty Eco Council members with the recent addition of an enthusiastic group of Year 7s.

    The Council have agreed that the focus for this year will be:
    • developing the wildlife area;
    • completing a short film on the impact of deforestation;
    • supporting USH to save energy.

    The Council appointed Luke Shutler (Year 11) to be USH’s first Eco Prefect. Well done Luke! Congratulations also go to Abigail Goldstraw (Year 7) who has designed the winning entry for the new Eco Council badge.

    If you would like to support USH in becoming a greener school or have an idea that you think the Eco Council could work on please contact me at

  • Year 8 Trip to Paris 2014

    This trip is open to all Year 8.  Any students interested should see Mr Perry for information.



  • DofE News

    The current Year 10 DofE students completed a three legged challenge around the Common as part of an effort to raise funds for new equipment just before the summer holidays.  The students raised a total of £351.30 - a staggering amount!!!  The monies have so far gone towards new cooking stoves which have been christened by the same students who raised the money.

    We’ve had two practice weekends so far.  All groups survived the two day hike and overnight camp and managed to cook hot meals and deal with the varied weather we encountered.  Getting lost is part and parcel of the experience and all credit must go to the students who all got themselves to somewhere familiar no matter how lost they may have been!  The final weekend is the 19/20th October.

    Some keen Year 9s have been asking when they can get involved – this will happen towards the new year.  Year 10s will soon be planning their final expeditions, so this is where the DofE team’s focus lies at present.  Our numbers are growing year on year, so we hope to see as many Year 9s as possible attending the welcome meeting when a date is confirmed.

    Year 11s should be completing their Award and uploading their booklets onto eDofE.  All Year 11s need to make a presentation of their expedition project – we aim to do this all in one go on the 7th November (to be confirmed).  Parents and family will be invited to view the presentations and celebrate the achievements of all students.

    These are exciting times for DofE – we want as many students involved as possible!  It’s a fantastic Award!

    Thanks, Mr Perry and The DofE team,

  • Watch Out For.....

    Isaac Mittoo, Year 8, will be appearing in the pantomime, Robinson Crusoe, this Christmas at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.  We look forward to hearing all about Isaac's experiences in due course.


  • Reminders: Health and Well-Being

    In the interests of safety for all our students parents should not drive onto the school site.  Please park in the road (but not on the bend, zigzag or double yellow lines!) and let your child walk the last few yards.

    We are a Healthy School and as such promote healthy eating and exercise as tools to support learning. Students will be reminded of this throughout the week, so please can we ask that parents do not allow children to bring fizzy drinks, including energy drinks, or crisps onto the school site.



  • Examination Invigilators Required

    We require more invigilators to supervise school exams during certain parts of the year.  If you think you might be interested in doing this then please see our advert on the website (click on Staff, Staff Vacancies) for further details.

  • Dates for Your Diaries

    Dates to note for this academic year:

    • Tuesday 15th October - Year 7 parents evening with tutors
    • Thursday 24th October - 6-7pm PTA AGM
    • Thursday 24th October - 7-8.30pm launch of parent action group
    • Monday 28th Oct-Friday 1st Nov - Half term
    • Wednesday 13th November - GCSE Presentation evening for last year's Year 11
    • Monday 18th November - Staff training (Inset) day
    • Tuesday 3rd December - 4-7pm, Year 7 parents evening
    • Thursday 19th December - School breaks up for Christmas holidays
    • Friday 20th December - School closure
    • Monday 6th January 2014 - Return to school
    • Wednesday 22nd January - 4-7pm, Year 11 parents evening
    • Thursday 30th January - 4-7pm, Year 9 parents evening
    • Wednesday 12th February - 4-7pm, Year 10 parents evening
    • Monday 17th-Friday 21st Feb - Half term
    • Friday 21st March - Staff training (Inset) day
    • Friday 4th April - School breaks up for Easter holidays
    • Tuesday 22nd April - Return to school
    • Monday 5th May - Bank Holiday
    • Tuesday 20th May - 4-7pm, Year 8 parents evening
    • Friday 23rd May - Staff training (Inset) day
    • Mon 26th-Fri 30th May - Half term
    • Thursday 19th June - 4-7pm, Year 7 parents evening
    • Monday 30th June - Staff training (Inset day)
    • Wednesday 23rd July - School breaks up for Summer holidays