USH Newsletter

24th March 2014

  • Headteacher's News

    Last Friday's Inset day saw USH meet together with the other JET schools for the first time for a conference at the Ageas Bowl.  The collective ambition of the JET group of schools means that our local children get a better deal for their learning.  Look out for future newsletters for the key projects happening around our locality for the benefit of the students.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the PE department for their fund raising in aid of Sport Relief.  What a worthy cause!

    Stuart Woods,

  • School Updates

    I really enjoyed talking with parents this week at the Parent Action Group. Thanks to our members for your commitment. I would recommend that all parents try to attend these meetings; one parent said last night, "It’s great to see improvements to USH come out of these meetings". You’ll have an opportunity to meet staff and learn about our exciting new plans but if you can’t make it, the notes and agendas from previous meetings are stored under the Parent tab on our website.  You can also make suggestions for future topics of discussion by using the contact section under the Parent Action Group section. The next meeting is on the 10th June - I will give you a reminder nearer to the time.

    As you know, the school has ordered a brand new 17 seater minibus. This will be delivered in the next few weeks. It is currently being painted a brilliant blue to reflect our USH livery. The PTA are currently fundraising for a second minibus; please support them in their future fundraising plans. I know many of you enjoyed their fabulous pirate themed quiz last week all organised to raise funds towards the second vehicle.  Any parent wishing to get involved in the PTA, or share fundraising ideas, please contact the PTA via the link on our website. They are always looking for new members!
    Finally, I just want to update you all on some of our other developments:
    Internet Payments - I hope you have all used the log in details recently provided to set up your online account. Please let me know if you have had any problems creating your account. It is really important that you are set up in readiness for our new cashless catering system.
    Music Fees - Parents of children who enjoy music tuition lessons in school can now use the internet payments system to see their balance owing and make payments to the school online. I would urge those parents to log in to check they are making payments in line with our payment schedule at the start of this year.
    Cashless Catering - I am currently arranging the installation of this system. I am working towards a “live” date of 9th June.  Don’t worry, I will be arranging a parent information evening and more details will follow very soon!
    SIMS Learning Gateway – The school uses a system called SIMS to manage its pupil information. We will shortly be introducing SIMS Learning Gateway to give you a secure online access to certain parts of this system. You will be given instant access to your child’s achievement, progress and attendance information. We have also purchased an additional add-on to track homework. I demonstrated this system to the Parent Action Group this week and the feedback was really positive. We are aiming to roll this out to all parents in the summer term.
    As you can see we are working really hard to improve our parent engagement and strengthen communication links with parents. If anyone has any specific questions about any of our new systems please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Julie Prince
    Schools Business Manager

  • Exam Countdown Evening for Year 11 Parents, 2nd April

    Year 11 parents, the Countdown begins...we are pleased to invite you to USH for an evening dedicated to your Year 11 child and their forthcoming examinations……. less than 30 days and counting!

    6.30pm Welcome - Sian Roberts, Head of Year 11
    6.40pm Elevate Education Parent Seminar - Experts in the area of exam preparation, Elevate Education will be running a seminar on how to help support and prepare your son or daughter for the exam period.  There will be an opportunity for a question and answer session.
    7.30pm Close

    Refreshments will be provided.  We hope you are able to make this, we can do this together!
    RSVP by Friday 28th March 2014 to

  • World Book Day

    Here at USH we promote reading for pleasure every day with our Drop Everything and Read sessions, but it was good to have a reason to further celebrate books and reading on World Book Day on Thursday 6th March.

    The Library was turned into a busy book stall for the day. All students in Years 7, 8 and 9 received a free £1 book token, which they could take to the Library and exchange for one of a selection of specially published books costing £1. There was also a small selection of popular titles for sale, and students were able to use their book tokens as part payment for these. Thanks go to October Books Independent Bookshop for making this possible.

    The ‘Guess Who’s Reading’ quiz in the Library was enjoyed by students and staff alike, as they tried to guess the ten members of staff who had been photographed reading. This was more tricky than it sounds as the readers’ faces were mostly obscured by their books, with only the top of their heads and eyes showing!  The winners of the quiz were Adrianne Broadgate (Year 7), Emma Shutler (Year 8), Gurvinder Pahal (Year 9) and Maisie Parsons (Year 10).

    There were literary quizzes for lower school classes to do together, which featured questions about popular children’s fiction, including asking students to guess the book from its first line. The winning classes in each year group were 7I, 8I and 9U.

    Finally, USH TV made a film of Year 7 and Year 10 students talking about their favourite books and this was shown throughout the day. To view the film, please go to

    Ms Mount, Senior Librarian

  • Colombian Visitors

    We had the great pleasure of welcoming a group of five Colombian teacher-educators to Upper Shirley High on Tuesday March 4th.  Gabriel Cote, Norman Durán, Zulma Buitrago, Bertha Ramos and Danilsa Lorduy have been visiting the University of Southampton over the last few weeks and had expressed an interest in visiting a local school so we were happy to oblige.

    Our guests are particularly interested in the teaching of languages and how English is taught in UK schools.  We arranged a school tour for them and some visits to English, Spanish and French lessons.  They loved the emphasis on group work and questioning and thought DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) was a fantastic idea. 

    Their comments included: "Your school really values thinking and your teachers teach students how to think" and "Your school is very inspiring."

    We hope to maintain contact with our visitors via email.

    Mrs Connolly, MFL department

  • Red Button Challenge

    USH entered two teams from Year 8 into the Cisco Red Button Challenge on 18th March.  Although neither of our teams won, the students really enjoyed the day and gained a valuable insight into the workings of a large multi-national networking IT company.


    Teams had to design an app and make a prototype for use with TV and iphones.  One of our teams produced an app from which you could order a takeaway meal by pressing a button on a TV remote control; the other designed a travel app for booking holidays and travel and through which you could even customise a hotel room booking.


    Poppy Young commented, "It was a challenging and interesting experience to take part in the Red Button event."

    Alex Davis, "I found this a great new experience from which I learned a lot."

    Jai Chungh, "I enjoyed this and I am now considering a career in technology."

    Patrick Poulson Sear, "Having to present our information as part of the challenge was a really confidence-boosting experience."

  • Street Art Workshop

    On 14th March fourteen Year 9 students took part in a street art workshop run by three local artists. The work they produced will be displayed at the Solent Showcase Gallery as part of an exhibition entitled ‘What’s Up’. They worked collaboratively to produce a piece of artwork that reflects our city's environment, architecture and culture. One of the visiting artists commented that the students responded intelligently and were totally engaged with their work.

    Charlotte White: “It was great to work as a group to produce a piece of artwork.”
    Beth Wellman: “I really enjoyed the day. We did things we don’t usually do in Art. I’m looking forward to the exhibition."
    Jordan Boota: “The work was exciting and vibrant.”

  • Green Fair

    Three classes of Year 8 students had the opportunity to attend the Green Fair hosted by Richard Taunton 6th Form College on Tuesday 4th March, meeting with a range of organisations who promote more sustainable behaviours and raise awareness of environmental issues. The organisations who attended included the Maritime Archaeology Unit, Southern Water, IKEA, Southampton City Council, the National Park Authority, Hampshire Wildlife Trust and a local Fair Trade initiative. Students were able to get an insight into a number of issues including the impact of climate change on our coasts, why we shouldn’t pour fat down the sink and the benefits of walking and cycling to name a few.

    The Green Fair was a collaborative effort across the learning community with students from Wordsworth, Shirley Infant and Junior, Hollybrook Infant, Great Oaks, Upper Shirley High and Richard Taunton College joining in the activities. 

    The students enjoyed the interactive approach of the Fair in getting across key environmental messages and the event helps to enrich the Geography Key Stage 3 curriculum.

    Mrs Mawby, Sustainability Officer

  • Isabella Swims at the Hampshire County Championships!

    Isabella Fraser-Corbridge, from Year 7, swam at the Hampshire County Championships in early March.  She was the first Dolphins Swimmer ever to qualify for all 400m, 200m 100m and 50m races, achieving an impressive sixteen County qualifying times!  Overall Isabella came sixth in her age group, and achieved six regional qualifying times.  Her best achievement was in the 200m final where she took twelve seconds off her personal best time. 

    Well done, Isabella!

    Isabella will be swimming at the South East Regional Swimming Championships in June. We wish her every success.

    Miss Dunne, USH Swim Team

  • Year 8 Swim Gala at Wildern School

    On Tuesday 11th March the Year 8 Swim Team travelled to Wildern School to compete in a triangular gala between Wildern and King’s School.

    The USH team was Lexie Towner, Lilly Rapley, Isabella Fraser-Corbridge, Finlay Forder, Charlie Carter-Banks, Will Grant and Alex Sanders.

    The girls' team were unbeaten in all six races achieving the 'Gold position' out of all three schools.  The boys put in a great effort to come away with Bronze.

    Overall we achieved the Silver position.  A great effort by everyone!

    Our 'Star Swimmer' was Isabella Fraser-Corbridge (Year 7). She stepped in for a Year 8 who had to play in the Netball cup match, raced in four out of the six races and came first in every one!

    Congratulations to the USH swim team.

    Miss Dunne, PE department

  • Netball Winners!

    For the first time USH entered the Year 7 and Year 8 Southampton City Netball Cup. We are very pleased to say both teams were undefeated throughout the evening, winning all twelve games during which we only conceded eight goals in over two hours of gameplay.

    The Year 8s continue their unbeaten record since starting USH!

    Both teams played incredibly well showing resilience and a determination to succeed.  Excellent sportsmanship was displayed by all throughout!

    Thanks to all our parental support.  Well done to all the team players.

    Ms Marks and Ms Sidney, PE department

  • Basketball Champions!

    The Year 11 basketball team went to the play-off final at St Mary’s Leisure Centre last Wednesday. They have had a very good season in the league, winning nine games and losing just one. In the play-off final they played Test Valley School from Stockbridge, who had inflicted that one defeat. The players were well prepared and highly motivated to achieve success in the final.

    Led by Bradley Fallows and Yisrael Uson they started well and by the end of the first quarter led by fifteen points. Playing against a very tall and physical team it needed Gedeon Matonga, Ellis Roy, Lee Lloyd, Kane Lewis and Morgan Day to defend well and dominate the rebounds, which they did to a high standard. When players started to tire Harjeet Bhakar, Raiven Oga and Umar Chowdhary were able to bring energy to the team. The final result was 42-23.

    The players should be proud of their performance. I would like to thank all the squad that have played this season and represented the school with pride.

    Mr Hadfield, Head of PE

  • Science Club

    Last week students attending Science Club used citric fruit and vegetables to generate enough electricity to power an LED.  They enjoyed experimenting with their choice of lemons, vinegar and potatoes and explored voltage and current using variations of these.  At one point they has constructed a series circuit using twelve half lemons, a potato and two beakers of vinegar. Quite a feat!

    We discussed the reactions between metals and acids and how a break in the circuit, like a light switch, could affect the flow of electrons . This week students will be getting involved in pH painting - intriguing!   Come along and join in.

  • 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 2nd April – 7-8pm, Countdown to exams evening for Year 11 parents
    Thursday 3rd April – 6pm, Easter music concert
    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 – 7pm School production: Starlight Express at The Point, Eastleigh
    Tuesday 8th July - Year 11 Prom
    Wednesday 23rd July - School breaks up for Summer holidays