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USH Newsletter 25th October 2013

Headteacher's News

Thank you to all the parents who braved the windy night and came to our first Parent Action Group. The dedication and commitment of USH parents is incredible; so too your ability to see which aspects of our school we can further improve. We are never complacent and are constantly striving to get better in all aspects and your help is invaluable to us. News on the key actions as a result of this meeting will follow after half term.

Recently an ex-Year 11 student wrote a moving letter to Ms Simpson thanking her for her work and saying how much he missed USH. The letter finished with a quote which highlights one of our core values: he said, "I feel like nothing says respect, than to know you've been remembered".  We hope our all our ex-Year 11s are flourishing  and look forward to welcoming them for our GCSE Awards Ceremony.

The student quote is also pertinent when you read Mrs Laybourne's lead piece which follows my introduction; USH is immensely proud to be involved in the Gathering of the Soil Project.

I wish everyone a restful half-term break.


Stuart Woods
Upper Shirley High School

Remembrance 2013 and the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden 1914-2014

It is almost a hundred years since the start of the First World War and over the next year there will be many local, national and international events commemorating the anniversary. One of the largest and most symbolic of these events will take place in a few weeks’ time at the Menin Gate in Ypres on 11th November when school children from Belgium and Britain will come together in a ceremony called ‘The Gathering of the Soil’.

‘The Gathering of the Soil’ project aims to create ‘The Flanders Fields Memorial Garden’ in London to honour those who fought and died during the First World War and provide a lasting symbol of hope and peace. In this extraordinary project seventy schools from Belgium are working with seventy British schools to set up joint projects in the context of peace and remembrance and, as such, it brings together pupils, schools and parents from both sides of the Channel in memory of the human suffering and sacrifices of an entire generation a century ago. 

The Memorial Garden will be located alongside the Guards Chapel at Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace and the soil used in the garden is very symbolic. Last month it was collected by  Belgian students from seventy cemeteries across Flanders and put into sandbags. These are now on display in the Cloth Hall, Ypres.  On 11th November the sandbags will be loaded onto a gun carriage by the British and Belgian students at a ceremony attended by the members of the British and Belgian Royal Families.  The sandbags will then be brought back to Britain to be used in the memorial garden which will be opened in 2014. 

While many schools applied to be part of the project I am delighted to say that Upper Shirley High School has been invited to send a parent/teacher and student to take part in the ceremony and our school community will be represented at other events throughout the year. 

I am proud to say that my daughter, Lizzie, and I will be representing the school on 11th November in Belgium. We will lay a Remembrance wreath in a First World War cemetery on behalf of the school community and individual wooden crosses on behalf of families who lost relatives in the First World War.  If you know of any relatives who died in the First World War and would like a wooden cross to be laid in their memory please contact me by email at Jo.Laybourne@ushschool.org with the soldier’s name, regiment and date of death so that I can arrange for the crosses to be inscribed. The deadline for this is Wednesday 6th November.  There will also be a Remembrance display in school in the week leading up to 11th November. If you have any copies of photographs that you would like to contribute to the display please also contact me on the above address.  Other events and commemorations will take place over the next year including the creation of a Book of Remembrance for the school community and we will keep you informed every step of the way.  If you would like further information on any of these events the following website is useful www.memorial2014.com.
Jo Laybourne

We Will Not Forget

When I was young, a soldier, I
went off to war, perhaps to die.
For love of country, forth I went –
looking back, a sad lament.

But only glory could I see
in battle lying ahead of me.
A brave new army, trained and proud –
over the top!  No deserters allowed.

Shells explode, the big guns pound,
death and destruction all around.
The weeks go by, and now the rain,
enough to drive a man insane.

Cold wet mud, the awful stench.
The horrors of living in a trench.
Letters from home – is that life real?
They don’t understand the way I feel.

Monotonous food and the scuttling rats,
lice in your clothes and those heavy tin hats.
Losing your comrades, mourning a friend -
this is the war for which all wars end.

Beneath the mud the bodies rot
and young of mine will ask me what
was it all about?  Why, oh why
was the flower of youth sent out to die?

written by a member of USH staff

Smile! Encouraging a More Positive Ethos

The fact that young people have the power to change the world for the better is just one of those things that teachers have just got to believe; otherwise, what are we working for? People tend to notice negatives and ignore the positives, too, which can be difficult to cope with for a young person who tries hard to do the right thing and does not get recognised for it.

Teachers are being asked to help to support a campaign of smiles and compliments by giving smiley stickers to students who show an act of kindness or generosity, or who are complimentary when assessing one another’s work. Also, tutors may ask each person in their group to pay a compliment to another member so that everyone begins to feel less awkward about receiving and accepting praise. The aim is to build a more positive ethos of care and to work against the effects of bullying - which always has its evil roots in the way negative some people speak to each other.

At Upper Shirley High we have a group of amazing young people who stand up for what is right and for what is good. They are our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, who trained last year with the Diana Award and we are really proud of their work. They are here to help, here to listen, and to show that it is cool to be kind. We have twenty-six Anti-bullying Ambassadors who wear the blue A, based on Princess Diana’s stylish handwriting. Look out for them, and look out for smileys!

Mr Laybourne



Arts Award

USH would like to offer the chance to complete a very exciting and worthwhile award to students in Key stage 3.

The Arts Award is
• a great way for young people to explore creative skills;
• a nationally recognised qualification;
• a framework for learning new skills and sharing them;
• a link between young people and creative professionals in arts and media;
• a rapidly growing award that can be achieved throughout England.

Doing the Bronze Award means your child will take part in an arts activity, anything from dance to creative writing to beat boxing, go to an arts event of their choice, find an arts hero or heroine, research their story, and discover how they got to where they are today and share their skills by helping to run a workshop or by giving a demonstration to others. They must build a portfolio of their ideas and activities in their own personal style and format. They might make a folder or sketchbook, a video diary or website - it's up to you. The Bronze Award will usually take them about forty hours to complete.

There is then an opportunity to complete their Silver award, and even their Gold award, in further education if they wish.

The Arts Award is recognised by universities and employers on CVs.  By doing the Bronze Arts Award it will give students the chance to try new experiences in the arts world – plus a valuable Level 1 national qualification.

If you would like more details please contact Mrs Moroney, jo.moroney@ushschool.org .

Year 9 Geography Trip to Kew Gardens, Friday 11th October

"We went to Kew Gardens in London on a Geography trip. There was a workshop, a tour, and some time to go round by ourselves. We saw many new things we haven’t seen before along the way.  We had different activities to do, such as drawing some of the plants we saw growing in the different climates. All of the people that went seemed to have a brilliant time and had loads of positive things to say."   by Tina Jardim, Lara Hicks and Katarina Wilkins, Year 9

Katarina: “My favourite part of the trip was the rainforest climate tour in the glass greenhouse and the workshop; overall I really enjoyed the trip.”

Lara: “I had a lot of fun especially in the Princess of Wales conservatory where there were things from all over the world.  I would love to go again.”

Tina: “All the things we saw were brilliant, my favourite part was the cinema room where we learnt a little bit more about the different plants.”

“This was the first USH trip to Kew Gardens and it was a great experience for students. As staff we all learnt something new too as workshop staff at Kew were incredibly knowledgeable about the rainforest ecosystem and the uses of the rainforest plants. We are certainly looking forward to going back next year.”                                                                                                                                      Ms O’Sullivan  

Photo 1: Students learning about the rainforest plants from Kew Gardens expert staff.
Photo 2: We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits, sheltering under the toadstall sculptures!
Photo 3: Students sketching plant adaptations in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Photo 4: Inside the Palm House at Kew.

There's a Buzz in the Library!

Over the past few weeks all students in Year 7 have been invited to the Library to choose their own book to keep from the BookBuzz scheme.  BookBuzz is supported by the Book Trust and is partly funded by children’s publishers and partly by the school.  We at USH are committed to encouraging reading for pleasure and therefore wanted to give all our new students a chance to choose a book of their own.  The BookBuzz selection of books has been chosen by a panel of experts to be suitable for 11-12 year olds and reflects a variety of genres, styles and reading levels. There is already considerable excitement among students about the books, which we expect to arrive at the school by the end of November.

Here are some of the things that Y7 students said about BookBuzz:
Tom Brokenshire chose 'Space: the whole whizz-bang story' and said, “I read a few lines and I could tell I was going to like it”.  He thinks BookBuzz “is good because it will encourage people to read more”.
Lily Lavin said “It’s good being able to choose your own book and the choices are good” and Beth Cole (pictured with Lily) said “There’s loads of choice. I like new books because I’ve read all the books I’ve got at home”. They both chose 'Butterfly Summer' by Anne-Marie Conway. 
Charlotte Andrews chose 'Soldier Dog' by Sam Angus and explained her choice: “I like things about animals and I’ve read War Horse”.

A Piece of Descriptive Writing by Alex Tilley, Year 10

The Roman Coliseum is a very old place, with a peaceful atmosphere. As you walk up the steps leading into the centre of the arena, you can almost hear the cheers of excitement that must have come from the spectators all those years ago.

The sunlight strikes your face as you emerge from the darkness of the holding cells where the Gladiators were once kept. Temporarily blinded, you are only able to make out the silhouette of the towering complex surrounding you.  As your vision clears you can finally see the immense size of the Coliseum. The sun’s rays continue to shine through the archways, basking you in light, and making the building appear to be a place of holy omnipotence.

The wind moans like a ghost as it flows through every passage and secret tunnel that the Coliseum hold within its ancient walls, sweeping up granite and sand as it goes, scattering it at your feet.

A miniature sand storm snakes its way around your legs, stinging the bare skin that isn’t covered up.
To avoid the sand storm, you decide to climb to higher ground. You make your way up the steps to the seating area, and look out across the fighting pit. It is here that the Emperor of Rome stood. It is here where the lives and fate of so many brave heroes were decided. Your legs begin to shake as you feel the weight of hundreds of years of history pressing down on your shoulders. You walk the circumference of the Coliseum, taking in your surroundings. The whole place smells of damp stone and blood, although you think you might just be imagining the blood. But, after all, how much blood must have been shed here?  How many people must have died for the entertainment of the people of Rome?

Success with our Cross Country Teams

The cross country teams have started the season very well.  After three races the league standings are:

Year 7 Boys: A Team: USH - 1st position with 13 points

Year 7 Boys: B Team: USH - 1st position with 8 points

Junior Boys: A Team: USH - 1st position with 15 points

Junior Boys: B Team: USH - 1st position with 6 points

Year 7 Girls: A Team: USH - 1st position with 9 points

Junior Girls: A Team: USH - 1st position with 9 points

Junior Girls: B Team: USH - 1st position with 4 points

Many congratulations to all the 56 runners that have represented the school in these races.  We still have five further races but success at the end of the season looks positive!

Year 10s Maintain Unbeaten Start to the Season

As half term approaches, the Year 10 football team can go in to the mid-season break confident in their own abilities after a tremendous first few games.  The side are currently unbeaten and are in with a chance of silverware in all three competitions entered.

In the league (Division 1), USH started with a 6-0 victory over Cantell, Luke Biffin’s hat trick being the highlight of the game. Sholing are the next opponents so the boys will be hoping to remain at the upper end of the division with another victory.

In the city cup, USH have progressed through to the semi-final stage with victories over Priestlands  (2-1) and Oasis Mayfield (6-3).  We now await the winners of the tie between Noadswood and Bitterne Park. 

The Hampshire Cup has seen USH have to produce two excellent performances to defeat schools which arguably have a greater number of potential students to pick from.  A first round victory on penalties over rivals Romsey was followed up earlier this week by a battling yet well deserved 1-0 win away at Bohunt school in Liphook.

The squad deserve a great deal of praise for their commitment and efforts to date, and if this continues there is no reason why USH shouldn’t be winning some silverware at this age group come spring 2014!

Well done to all of the squad: DJ Marouf, Johnny Stickells, Halder Schaho, Josh Wickens, Josh Price, Mitch Stedman, Fabio Manuel, Raphael Amartey, James Parker-Trott, Jack Coster, Luke Biffin, Lee Lloyd, Kalle Kankare, Danny Randell and Bart Berry.

Mr Hall, team manager

USH Swim Team

Having seen recent success in the inter-school swimming galas, the Upper Shirley High PE Department have decided to set up a swimming club, available to swimmers with experience at club level in Years 7-11. We will begin training after half term and have contacted, and later hope, to hold galas with Wildern School and many more in the near future. This will be a great addition to the already large and successful PE department, and we hope to inspire USH students to take up swimming competitively. Miss Dunne will be running the sessions on a Wednesday between 3.00-4.00pm and I will be helping, along with three of our sports prefects.  If you are interested in joining the USH swim team or would like more information, please contact Miss Dunne.
Benedict Gardner, Head Boy, Year 11

Year 11 Prom - Deposit Due

If Year 11 students would like to come to the Prom in the summer a £5 deposit is due by 15th November in order to give us a rough idea of attendees.  If you have any issues with paying the deposit please contact Mr Roberts before this date.

Thank you

Erin Murray, Head of Prom Committee

Year 8 Paris Visit

We have had a massive response to the Paris visit and so we are having to make different arrangements with the holiday company regarding the hotel.  As soon as alternative accommodation has been sorted, I will write to all parents with information regarding the price, payment dates etc.  Apologies for the delay on this, we didn’t anticipate such huge interest!

Any queries, please contact me, Martin Perry  Martin.Perry@ushschool.org

DofE News

Year 9 DofE: this will start in the New Year.  Meetings will be held every Friday from 2.45 to 4pm approximately.  A week by week plan including key dates of expeditions is being formulated and will be made available on the website nearer the time.  We look forward to welcoming as many Year 9s as possible and are hoping for our biggest cohort yet!

Year 10 DofE: meetings will run every week after half term until Christmas.  Groups will be planning their final expeditions, as well as getting key information about completing and logging the different sections of the Award.  Weekly attendance is compulsory.  Expedition dates will be confirmed after half term.  The provisional dates are the last weekend in April (26th/27th) and the middle of May (17th/18th).  If there are issues with either of these, please let me know as soon as possible.

Year 11 DofE: all Year 11s are making their expedition presentation on 7th November from 6pm to 7.30pm.  Parents are invited and should have received a letter; please fill in the reply slip so we know how many people to expect and can provide the necessary seating and refreshments.  The evening will be a celebration of the students' achievements and it is hoped many parents and relatives will be there to share in this.

Thanks, the USH DofE Team, Martin.Perry@ushschool.org

Eco Council Update

As part of the work to develop the wildlife area the Eco Council gave up their lunchtime to clear up the entire area armed with litter pickers! At the same time they conducted an audit of what currently exists within the wildlife area and started to compile a wish list which includes ducks and chickens!

The Eco Council will start the process of consulting with students and staff to gather ideas which will help in the design of the area after half term. If you have any skills that could help us put together a design to help to create a new learning space at USH we would really like to hear from you. All you need to do is contact Mrs Mawby at sam.mawby@ushschool.org.

French Penpal Club starting after Half Term

A French Penpal Club will run every Tuesday at 3pm in Room 29.  Students from Years 7-10 are most welcome to come along.

Ms Bousseau

Southampton Community Safety Conference

Southampton City Council have asked us to publicse the following:

Local residents are invited to attend a Community Safety Conference that will take place from 6pm until 9pm on Tuesday 29th October 2013 at Central Hall, St Marys Street, Southampton, SO14 1NF.

The purpose of the conference is to

• promote the key safety messages agreed by the Safe City Partnership;
• publicise the Safe City Partnership Plan;
• obtain community views on how the plan priorities can be implemented.

There will be a number of workshops themed around the five agreed priorities of the Safe City Partnership Plan

• reduce re-offending;
• reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in key localities;
• reduce the harms caused by drugs and alcohol;
• reduce repeat victimisation;
• reduce youth crime.

On arrival there will also be a number of information stalls run by City Council teams and partner agencies to offer advice and answer questions.

This is an ideal opportunity for residents to better understand and engage with the city’s community safety plans, and seek views about the challenges and opportunities faced over the next couple of years. 

When your Child is Unwell

It is very important to ring the school if your child is going to be absent.  Please
report any absence directly to the Attendance Officer, Alison Small, on 023 8052 2721.

Dates for Your Diaries

Dates to note for this academic year:

  • 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