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USH Newsletter 29th November 2013

Headteacher's News

The more schools can do to bridge the gap between home and school, the more our children benefit. Essentially, parents and carers are the most influential people in a child’s life and at USH we know that you are the expert in all things related to your son or daughter. With this in mind we look forward to our first Year 7 Parents’ Evening, which we hope will give our staff the chance to learn as much from you, as you do about your child’s progress. We hope you have found our new on-line booking system* useful as it gives you greater control over who you see and when.

A very warm welcome to Nicky Caveney who is newly elected as Chair of the USH PTA and to Miranda Boakes-Clark, Vice Chair. We send our sincerest thanks to Sharon Jackopson and Gina Penn for their unstinting work for USH. I am delighted they are able to remain in the group to help its development further. To see the impact of our PTA, please visit our website.

*you can still book via a paper request but I would urge you to be prompt.

Stuart Woods,


Safe Conduct on Arriving and Leaving the School

Over the past week we have observed students arriving and leaving school and would ask that our parents kindly comply with the road markings and refrain from parking or picking up in the zig zag area immediately outside our school gates. 

Efforts continue to secure a zebra crossing at this point but in the meantime we ask for parents and students to be mindful of their safety and the safety of others when picking up and dropping off. 

Upper Shirley High resides on an unfortunate bend in the road and we must all be extremely vigilant to ensure our community stays safe.  Our school pastors do a terrific job in helping us with this but we appreciate everyone's cooperation in this matter.

Online Parent Evening Appointment Launch

The school is launching a new intuitive and easy to use online parent evening appointment booking system for the Year 7 parent evening. This allows you to choose your own appointment times with teachers and you will receive an email confirming your appointments. You may also be contacted by telephone. We are confident this will be an improvement to the previous system and welcome any feedback. We will be looking to roll this system out across all year groups.

Diary date: Monday 30th June 2014

Please note the on Monday 30th June 2014 USH will now be open for all students who should attend as normal.

Open Evening for Parents with Children in Year 7 with Additional Needs, 11th December 4-6 pm.

This is a chance for parents of children in Year 7 receiving interventions to discuss targets with the LSA leads who delivers the intervention and learn more on how to support their child’s learning at home. The school SENCo, Assistant SENCo and Inclusion coordinator will also be present to discuss enquiries. Please book an appointment with Niki Ryan, Assistant SENCo, during Year 7 parents' evening on 3rd December.

PTA: New Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer

We extend grateful thanks to members of the PTA who have stepped down from their officer roles.  Sharon Jackopson has done a superb job as Chair, and has been well supported by Vice Chair, Gina Penn, and Treasurer, Di Mattingly.  Andrea Dixon is continuing in her role as Secretary.  Thank you all for your hard work over the last few years.

We now welcome our new Chair, Nicky Caveney, Vice Chair, Miranda Boakes-Clark, and Treasurer, Ken Voller.  Please have a look at the PTA page on our website http://uppershirleyhigh.org/pta and make contact if you would like to be involved.  All parents are very welcome!

Hampshire Geographical Association Worldwise Quiz

Recently six Year 10 pupils, Alice Wheatley, Kim Alipio, Keanna Emphasis, Tom Harman, David Starkie and Joshua King, took part in the Hampshire Geographical Association Worldwise Quiz. The quiz was held at the University of Southampton and saw fifteen teams from schools across Hampshire compete over seven rounds.

The team answered questions from seven different categories including a picture reveal,  identifying famous UK landmarks, a ‘mixed bag’ and an alphabet round, where our two teams had some very tricky questions.  These questions even had some of the accompanying Geography teachers scratching their heads!

Two of the rounds that our teams excelled in were map skills and the round relating to the built environment. It was great to see our students employing the skills learnt from Year 7, and developed through their involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, to answer the map questions.  They showed great teamwork throughout. 

Although they didn’t walk away with a trophy and a place in the national final, the teams did themselves and the school proud. Congratulations Tom, Josh, David, Kim, Alice and Keanna!

On 18th November, two teams from Year 10 attended a geography quiz run by the Geographical Association with Southampton University. This quiz consisted of several rounds of geography related topics, such as a map round, which included map and coordinate skills as well as logic, a key word round and a more difficult round about the sometimes obscure land marks of the UK.

The two teams did very well, and finished in the bulk of the group. They had a great time, and look forward to any further geographical quizzes.

Ms O’Sullivan, Geography

Geography Lectures

On the 26th of November nine students from GCSE Geography groups in Year 10 and 11, myself included, attended two lectures at Peter Symonds College about Geography organised by the Geographical Association. The first talk was about the effectiveness of Wildlife Conservation and the second about the links between Fair Trade and Globalisation, given by Doctors of Physical and Human Geography respectively. We had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of each talk and we all found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one that was extremely relevant to our GCSE studies. We would like to thank Ms O’Sullivan for organising the trip and taking us, and I hope to be able to attend more lectures throughout the school year.
Benedict Gardner, Year 11

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of taking nine of our GCSE Geographers to the Hampshire Geographical Association Annual Conference. The conference held at Peter Symonds College attracted 200 Geographers from across the region, with thirteen different schools and colleges represented.  USH was one of only two 11-16 schools in attendance. Whilst at the conference the audience heard two different speakers talk about their areas of research, Dr Pippa Gillingham from the University of Bournemouth gave a talk entitled ‘Conserving biodiversity in a dynamic world’ and Dr Nick Clarke from the University of Southampton spoke about ‘Globalisation, Fair Trade and Human Geography’. The lectures were interesting and thought provoking, in particular the issues surrounding the geography of fair trade.

From my perspective, it was great to update subject knowledge on current research from the experts in the field and for the students it enriched and enhanced their geographical knowledge. The conference was pitched at A Level, but our students were able to access all that was discussed and during the Q&A session Benedict asked Dr Gillingham the question, "Does conservation hold up animal adaptation?"  She replied it was a wonderful question to which she didn’t know the answer! It was great to hear our students discussing the issues in the minibus on the way home and it hopefully inspired some to consider Geography for further study in the future.

Miss O’Sullivan

Forgotten Wrecks Project: USH Helps Heritage Lottery Fund application

You may remember reading in our newsletter back in May about how our then Year 7 History students studied the First World War through shipwrecks (see photos).  They were joined by a visitor from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology who brought in artefacts for them to study.  We were delighted to receive the following letter:

Dear Mr Parsons and the Students of Upper Shirley High School,
We just wanted to thank you for your help with our second round Heritage Lottery Fund application for the Forgotten Wrecks project. Your online survey responses and feedback about potential maritime First World War educational resources and activities was extremely useful for our application. The application was successfully submitted on 18th November 2013. We will not hear whether we have been successful or not until March 2014 but we have our fingers crossed.
Thank you again for your help and we hope to be able to offer resources from 2014.
Kind regards

First World War Project Development Officer
Maritime Archaeology Trust

Gymnastics Club

I have been running gymnastics club on a Friday after school and have on average thirty pupils across all year groups turn up. We have been doing a range of gymnastic activities which include individual, pair and group balances, using the gym equipment and trampets. The girls have moved from dive forward rolls to front somersaults and are building self confidence in their abilities which is great results.

I am also working with Mr Jones to create some lifts for Rock Challenge so watch this space.

Ms Marks, PE

Hampshire Cup Football

Superb team performance sends Year 10s through to the Quarter Finals!

Springfield school from Portsmouth were the opponents for the 4th round Hampshire Cup tie for our Year 10 football side.  On a cold and gloomy Monday afternoon the team took on a strong Springfield side and were looking to make the quarter finals for the first time since starting out four years ago.

The game started brightly for USH as good play from James Parker-Trott, Jack Coster and Fabio Manuel led to opportunities for Luke Biffin which were saved well by the Springfield keeper. The game was closely contested with some excellent football on display by both sides. The breakthrough came after twenty minutes when goal machine Luke Biffin slotted home left footed into the far corner of the net to give USH a deserved lead.

Half time: USH 1 Springfield 0

An inspirational (almost), half time team talk from Mr (Mauriccio Pochettino) Hall saw the hosts come out second half and really take the game to the visiting side. More opportunities were created and Raphael Amartey, Fabio Manuel and Kalle Kankare were looking particularly dangerous when attacking.  The back four, well marshalled by Mitch Stedman, remained solid throughout and continued to limit Springfield to half chances which were dealt with comfortably by keeper Dijari Marouf.

As the light faded and final whistle approached, USH put the game to bed when James Parker-Trott rifled the ball in to the back of the net from the edge of the area after good play by Lee Lloyd.

This was a thoroughly deserved win for USH and possibly their best performance as a side since starting out back in Year 7.  The prize for the lads is a quarter final tie away at Brookfield Community School in the new year.  Well done to all of the boys involved!

Congratulations too to the Year 8 and Year 11 sides who have also progressed to the quarter final stages of the Hampshire Cup competition. This is a tremendous achievement as we are the only Southampton school to have made it to this stage in these year groups!

The games are to be played after Christmas before the 31st January:

  • Year 8 – Wildern v USH
  • Year 11 – USH v Robert Mays

Keep your eye on the newsletter throughout January to find out how our boys get on.

Mr Hall

Football Winter Break Summary

With the traditional winter break from league football (to rest our international performers!) I would like to take the opportunity to catch up on the progress of our Year 8 team.

In the league we have displayed a positive level of progression with the boys taking on board some key coaching areas in order to maximise their attacking play. I have been pleased with the performances of Jared Cook and Harry Jones in particular. With only two fixtures played (due to cup commitments) the boys have secured two victories, both with the same scoreline.
3-1 win v Cantell
Probably the most important fixture of the season so far.  The team showed immense spirit to overcome an arguably better team, coming back from 1-0 down.  This really showed how much the boys have understood the tactics and requirements of a mentally strong team.
3-1 win v Hamble
A ‘double header’ as we were due to play the same opponents in the league cup. A safe display of controlled football and great to see a goal on his debut from Connor-Ryan Langan. Big thanks to Josh Reed for stepping in to play in goal.
League cup, round 1: 7-1 win v Hardley
The score speaks for itself here, the boys progressed without trouble to round 2.
Round 2:  5-1 win v Lordshill
Two candidates for goal of the season in one game!  The first was a driven half volley form thirty yards by Seb Szymula and the second a delightful twenty-five yard lobbed effort from Charlie Carter-Banks.
Semi Final:  3-1 win v Hamble
Double header as above.  We are due to play Wildern in the final on 21st March.

Hampshire Cup, round 1: 4-0 win v Testwood
Our first game of the season, and my first ‘in the hot seat’. Brilliant result and great to see the hunger to push on and score four goals.  Goal of the game: Joe Biffin.
Round 2:  3-1 win v Bishop Challenor
Another victory over arguably better opposition.  They arrived with three players on the academy books at Reading and we looked a little shell-shocked when they combined to put their team 1-0 up.  However, a reminder of the Cantell game fired up the troops, and in the end it should have ended 7-1! Our quarter final tie versus Wildern (again) will be played mid-December.

My next report will cover Year 11.

Mr Staples

Science Club

Year 7 students were recently engaged in making bouncing custard balls and then testing how much they would bounce. This involved preparing a mixture involving custard powder and PVA glue. When this was complete, after much vigorous stirring from the students, the mixture turned yellow and ‘behaved’ like an elastic solid and bounced when it was dropped on the floor. However, when the mixture was pushed slowly and gently its shape changed permanently. The students had great fun learning about different types of mixtures and tested their custard balls to see how many lab benches they would bounce across in a recreation of the dambuster’s bouncing bomb scenario. They concluded that the concentration of the custard powder was probably the key factor in the ‘bouncibility’ of the balls.

Last week our super scientists had lots of fun making gas cannons.  They used a chemical reaction between sodium hydrogen carbonate and ethanoic acid (that’s sodium bicarbonate and vinegar!) to generate carbon dioxide gas.  Our scientists put their skills to the test to produce enough carbon dioxide gas to push the cork out of a bottle.  They investigated different containers and then tried various quantities of reactants until the gas cannon launched with a loud pop.  The old style camera film cases were the best!

JFK Assassination Re-enactment Now Available to View

Our re-enactment, during Activities Week, of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, filmed by USH TV, is now available to see on the following link

Ryan Higdon, Year 10, edited over 100 hours of footage to produce this six minute film.  Well done Ryan!

USH Values and Achievements

Sometimes our students convey their views on the school in unintentional ways. On a recent entrance exam paper, a Year 11 wrote beautifully about the school and his view of how different cultures mix and are celebrated.

“Schools, including our very own, are another example of how an assortment of cultures have come together and this is shown in the bond between students and teachers. Our school celebrates everything and everyone, which makes the community bond of the school even stronger and no-one is ignored.”

This quote typifies our values at USH, and to hear it coming from a student gives us pride that we have created a school where students feel valued.  It also shows how special the relationship within our community is, both between staff and the students themselves, and how much we like to take pride in our achievements and celebrate all of those who have done well. On that note, if your child has any achievements that we could recognise and celebrate, please let us know.

Year 11 Prom: change of date

The Year 11 Prom will now take place on Tuesday 8th July 2013 at Chilworth Manor.

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.

Paris 2014

The website on the recent letter gave a link to the EHIC card.  However, this link is for a paid service. The EHIC card is free so please do not pay for this service; use the following link instead https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do

These cards will be requested in the new year.

Collective passport forms along with two recent  passport sized photos were due in by Wednesday 27th November. 

Half of the remaining balance is due by the 6th December – please make any payments to the finance office who will provide a receipt.

If you have any issues, please get in touch.  If forms/letters have gone missing, I can provide new ones.

Mr Perry, martin.perry@ushschool.org

DofE Update

Year 11 DofE

A letter will be coming home with students explaining the deadlines and key dates for submitting log books for DofE.  All students need to show their ‘Keeping Track’ book to a member of the DofE team before submitting on eDofE.

Year 10 DofE

There are meetings every Friday until Christmas.  All groups must complete their routecards, kit lists, menus and activity plans before the holidays. 

Year 9 DofE

An assembly and meeting have been held to introduce DofE to our current Year 9s.  Weekly meetings will start in the New Year on Fridays from 2.45 until approximately 4pm  and we will make all key dates and the training plan available to all.

If your son or daughter missed the assembly or meeting, don’t panic!  Please ensure your son/daughter catches up with one of the DofE team at school.

Any queries to me please martin.perry@ushschool.org.

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:

  • Tuesday 3rd December 4-7pm, Year 7 parents' evening
  • Wednesday 11th December 6pm, Open Evening for parents of children in Year 7 with Additional Needs
  • Wednesday 18th December - Christmas Carol Concert, St James Church
  • 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 - Community Learning day for all staff and students
  • Wednesday 2nd-Friday 4th July - School production at The Point, Eastleigh
  • Tuesday 8th July - Year 11 Prom
  • Wednesday 23rd July - School breaks up for Summer holidays