It was a pleasure to welcome our Jefferys Education Trust colleagues last week for a review of progress at USH. Nigel Ash, our Director of Standards, led a team of local leaders, Liz Stuttle, Jane Wood, Hazel Hayter, Chris Bulmer and Gary Hampton, to determine the quality of provision across our school. It was great to see our students welcome their previous headteachers and the day was a testament to the power of our multi-academy trust; together achieving more.
The feedback included the comment:
"It was a real pleasure to be in your school yesterday. The staff and students were incredibly welcoming and very reflective. Well done to you all."
Nigel Ash has since reported back to us saying, "Many strengths were observed. As the day progressed evidence indicated that the school is an improving school with many appropriate developments impacting on pupil progress and attainment. There has been a significant improvement in challenge."
Thanks to staff and students and parents who all made the day a key milestone in our journey to outstanding.
Thank you to those parents who have taken the time to complete and return their recent parent engagement letters. To give you a quick summary, the information below reflects the votes so far on the five new initiatives we proposed. It’s not too late to return your letter if you wish to influence our future plans.
Initiatives offered to parents:
Reinstating the reward system of producing commendation postcards to highlight pupil achievements Yes 39 No 4 No Answer 1
Offering parents one additional Parents’ Evening open to parents across all year groups Yes 26 No 14 No Answer 4
Creating a parent ambassador from each year group to gather parent views Yes 20 No 19 No Answer 5
Creating a community 'Pride Wall' on our website to allow parents to voice thoughts and ideas Yes 36 No 3 No Answer 5
Enabling you to support your child’s learning through attending information evenings hosted by the school initially on core subjects ie, Maths, English and Science Yes 36 No 7 No Answer 1
I would also like to share some of the ideas that parents have put forward so far:
• More information on how parents can support their child’s progress in reaching aspirational targets.
• More information on homework – pieces set, return deadlines, work completed and grading.
• Additional parent meetings.
• Paper list of staff email addresses – ensure staff links on website are working.
• More notice re key dates, events and holiday return dates.
• Electronic access to children’s progress, behavior, rewards, timetables and homework.
• Parent Handbook in similar format to previous Junior school.
• Review of the current use and purpose of the Planner to aid better communication between home and school.
• When emailing via the school website, ability to add more than one addressee and be able to send copy of email to sender.
• Parents being aware of the schools expectation re the timing of replies to emails.
I invited the parent action group attendees to comment and feedback on this new document. If other parents wish to see this strategy you will find it on the website under the parent tab. Personally, it was a pleasure to meet so many parents at the recent Parent Action Group meeting. It allowed me to run through these results, discuss some of the exciting new projects we are working on, and present our draft parent engagement strategy. I hope all parents took away a clear understanding of our commitment to improving communication, strengthening our relationships with parents, and our desire to work together to help shape our future improvements.
Julie Prince, School Business Manager
Year 9 and Year 11 Parents' Evenings
Thank you to parents who were able to attend the recent parents' evenings and support us with our vision of outstanding progress for all students. If you were unable to attend or wish to follow up on discussions held, please contact the subject teacher directly.
Richard Corser, Assistant Headteacher
The Year 11 evening was an excellent opportunity for teachers, parents and students to engage in a constructive dialogue and set targets for success. Teachers provided a simple overview sheet for their subject, outlining key dates, papers, and topics for revision. If you would like a copy of these sheets, they are now available as one document to download from the website, in the Students – Exams section.
Sian Roberts, Head of Year 11
The school currently subscribes to a service called GCSEPod which is completely free to your son or daughter and which we believe will be of great benefit to them during the coming year.
GCSEPod has over 3,500 teacher-written, audio-visual podcasts produced specifically for mobile devices and containing all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates and annotated diagrams that learners need for GCSE success. The GCSEPod website can be viewed on mobiles, tablets and PCs and the podcasts can be downloaded for offline viewing. The podcasts are also mapped to the curriculum and are designed to support students in the classroom, with their homework and during exam time.
We recommend that you discuss GCSEPod with your son or daughter, ensure that they have correct login details to enter the site and encourage them to make use of this service throughout the year. Many teachers may set homework on the site using the 'Assignment' feature as GCSEPod has already been proven to have a significant impact on A*-C performance and we aim to make it an integral part of learning for every GCSE student studying at the school.
All students have already been registered with GCSEPod and so simply need to activate their account and choose a username and password. To access GCSEPod for the first time, students should follow these three steps:
1) Go to www.gcsepod.com and click 'Login' in the top right hand corner.
2) Press on 'Click here if you are new to GCSEPod 2.0'.
3) Enter their name, date of birth and choose their school.
4) Select a username and password (to be used when they next login) and select the subjects they study.
Once logged in, students can search for podcasts by keyword, by a specific exam or by subject area. Students can create their own personalised learning playlists which can be easily downloaded for offline viewing. Help guides explaining how to use the site are available in the 'Help' section in the top navigation bar.
Once students have activated their account and chosen a username and password, they may also like to download and access the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch App which can be found in the AppStore by searching 'GCSEPod'. The App allows students with Apple devices to download podcasts to watch offline and avoids them having to download podcasts through iTunes to their computer first - a process many students find tricky. Blackberry/Windows and Android users can download podcasts straight from the GCSEPod website.
If you have any questions regarding the GCSEPod service please contact Mr Parsons who is leading the roll out in school. For specific technical advice please use the help pages on the website or email email@example.com.
There is a meeting for all parents and students on 25th February from 6pm until 7pm in the school hall. This is an opportunity for parents to find out about the itinerary and ask any questions you may have. See you all there.
Isaac Took Part in the Pantomime, Robinson Crusoe!
Well done to Isaac Mittoo, Year 8, who was part of the chorus in the pantomime, 'Robinson Crusoe', at the Mayflower over the recent festive period.
Isaac said, "I started drama when I was seven years old. We had to audition for the pantomime and rehearsals started in early November. We had two teams for the chorus so I was involved in about four performances a week. I was also in the pantomime last year, 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. On Saturday I am taking part in the auditions for 'Bugsy Malone' at Portsmouth which will be starting at Easter. I would really love to go to Drama School in the future."
USH Girls Perform at the Nuffield Theatre
Naomi, Laurie, Ella and Mabelle (pictured below) all took part in a Nuffield Youth Theatre production recently. 'Feathers in the Snow' tells the stories of teenage refugees in London, with a quirky fairy tale twist. All the performances were a sell out and working so closely with the playwright, Philip Ridley, was a fantastic opportunity for the girls.
Naomi Clift, Year 11, said, "We did four performances over three nights. I have been part of the Nuffield Youth Theatre for about four years, but I started drama club when I was eight. My role involved a lot of audience participation which was really fun. I intend to carry on with drama in the future."
Laurie Pugh, Ella Marsh Collins and Mabelle House are all in Year 9 and are relatively new members of the NYT. Laurie joined this year, "I was a member of the Nuffield Drama Club before so this wasn't the first time I have performed on stage at the Nuffield." Mabelle commented, "Everybody works very closely together so we don't get too nervous when we go on stage." Ella doesn't find it difficult to learn her lines, "I have been involved with the Nuffield since I was six years old. I definitely want to continue with drama as a hobby."
Year 10 Photography, Ceramics and Textile Workshops at City College
On 17th and 24th January thirteen Year 10 students went to City College to experience a range of exciting new skills in specialist workshops . It was a chance to experiment with photographic techniques in the dark room. They created exciting ceramics and textiles based around the theme of Beaches and Boats.
“It was great to experience what it is like to be at college.” (Sharna Mutero); “I am really proud of the dish I made.” (Rebecca Thomson) and “The dark room was good. We saw our images appear when they went in the developing chemicals.” (Matthew Salway)
Year 8 and 9 Book Group take part in the Southampton Favourite Book Award
On 29th January the members of the Year 8 and 9 Book Group travelled to Woodlands Community College to attend the ceremony for the Southampton Favourite Book Award 2013. Run by the Southampton School Library Service, this award is now in its fifth year, and is intended to encourage reading for pleasure.
In the autumn term the Book Group read and discussed the five shortlisted books: 'Twelve Minutes to Midnight' by Christopher Edge; 'World of Norm: May Cause Irritation' by Jonathan Meres; 'Eleven Eleven' by Paul Dowswell; 'The Secret Breakers - Orphan of the Flames' by H. L Dennis and 'The Nightmare Factory' by L.A. Jones. Each student voted for their favourite, but had to wait until today to find out that the winner was … 'World of Norm: May Cause Irritation', by Jonathan Meres.
We learned that Jonathan worked in the Merchant Navy, in children’s theatre and as a stand-up comedian before turning his hand to writing children’s books. 'May Cause Irritation' is the second book in the 'World of Norm' series, which now consists of five books. Jonathan is intending to write at least two more books in the series.
Jonathan’s experience as a comedian was very apparent. Tom Lewis (Year 8) writes, “We went to Southampton’s Favourite Book Award to meet the winning author. He was entertaining and funny to listen to.” Ellen Wheatley (Year 8), “It was fun, the author was very funny. It was also exciting to find out who won!”
Emma Shutler (Year 8) summed up the visit, “Our trip was amazing and Jonathan Meres was really funny!”
Miss Dutton, Librarian
"During this week the USH Book Club went to the Southampton Favourite Book Award to find out who had won the award. There were five books in the final shortlist. In the end, “The World of Norm” by Jonathan Meres was the winner and we weren’t surprised by this, as the competition was for books written for 10-12 year olds. We weren’t so keen on the book, but we were pleasantly surprised by the author. Mr Meres was a genuinely funny guy that made everyone laugh and smile. Whether all the stories that he told were true or nor is questionable however! To conclude, we had a lovely time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves."
by Alex Symonds, Year 9
Southampton Schools Years 7 and 8 Cross Country Championships
USH did very well last week in the Cross Country Championships which fortunately survived the weather and were able to take place. More news on the team successes to follow but we achieved three individual medals.
Leon Longhurst and Luke Halford, Year 7, pictured, came 2nd and 3rd. Leon said, "I am proud of my silver medal. I run for the school but don't do any special training. I love sport and also play football, golf, snooker and pool."
Luke commented, "USH achieved 4th and 7th places in our race, as well as our 2nd and 3rd places! I play a lot of sport so I don't do training specifically for cross country. I did used to run for my junior school as well."
Isabelle Barnett, Year 8, won a bronze medal. "I came third in my race. I run for Southampton and train with my coach, Bill. Last Saturday I competed in a very big event at Parliament Hill in London. Although I didn't finish very high in the rankings I was just pleased to complete the run. It was so muddy my feet kept slipping and I was worried I would turn my ankle. A lot of the other runners gave up." (Isabelle is pictured wearing the red and white striped vest.)
First League Win for Year 7 Netball Team
The girls had their first league game last week at a very cold Sports Centre. They played the Gregg School and won 5-4. All the girls (Katie Hilliard, Abi Goldstraw, Freya Barfoot, Erin McManus, Maisy Parkes, Charlie Browne, Millie Clark and Maisie Bolton) played very well, and are pictured below.
This week the girls secured another victory, this time at a very damp Sports Centre, beating Bitterne Park 10-2, but unfortunately they lost their following match to Cantell 3-7.
Claire Marks, PE Department
Year 8 Netball off to a Great Start!
The Year 8 Netball team continue in great form this year. They won every game in their tournament before Christmas, remaining undefeated City Champions.
January saw the start of the 2014 league and in our first round USH saw off Redbridge Sports College winning 14-0, and followed that up by defeating the Gregg School 17-2. All the girls worked extremely hard and put in an excellent performance on a very cold night.
This week the team continued to storm their way through the league with more positive results including defeating Bitterne Park School 11-7 and then beating Cantell School 9-3.
All the girls played very well and really raised their game when facing some very tough competition, especially from Bitterne Park. Well done to the team (Jessamyn Berry, Kayleigh Betteridge, Beth McConnell, Georgia O'Dell, Olivia O'Mahony, Alice Orr, Molly Robinson and Flo Stone) who demonstrated themselves to be excellent athletes despite the cold and wet conditions!
Thanks to the parents who came along, see you next week for our games against Oasis Mayfield and Sholing!
Claire Sidney, PE Department
Science Club News
What fun we have had in Science Club during the last fortnight! Last week our young budding scientists looked at the secret of the disposable nappy and discovered how much liquid a typical nappy could absorb…it turned out that the hydrogel could absorb up to 50g more water!
This week we were dyeing eggs using different coloured solutions as well as investigating the effect of salt and vinegar to aid or retard the dyeing process. As we are now in the height of winter, we will soon be looking at how to make handwarmers and how to stay warm. Any Year 7 and Year 8 students wishing to come along and have some fun with science are welcome to join us on Tuesday afternoons after school.
Past Student Represents GB at the Winter Olympics!
Billy Morgan who left USH (formerly Bellemoor) in 2006 has been selected to represent Team GB at the Winter Olympics in the snowboard slopestyle event. It is an event that is making its debut at Sochi. We would like to wish him all the best and hope he can achieve a position to win a medal.
We have recently being trying to return a great deal of lost property to the rightful owners. Please remember to name your child's clothing and equipment where possible as this makes the return of lost items so very much easier.
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:
Wednesday 12th February - 4-7.30pm, Year 10 parents' evening
Thursday 13th February - 6.30pm, PTA meeting
Monday 17th-Friday 21st February – Half term
Wednesday 26th February, 6.30-7.30pm, Year 9 Options evening
Friday 14th March – 7pm, PTA quiz night
Wednesday 19th March - 7-8.30pm, Parent Action group
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 - 4-7.30pm, Year 8 parents' evening
Friday 23rd May - Staff training (Inset) day
Monday 26th-Friday 30th May - Half term
Tuesday 10th June - 7-8.30pm, Parent Action group
Thursday 19th June - 4-7.30pm, 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