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USH Newsletter 4th April 2014

Headteacher's News

Dear Parents

Last night’s Easter concert was a real treat. Rightly so, the evening ended with an (out)standing ovation…. the music at USH is some of the finest I have heard in schools…ever.

Students at USH have such a good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres, not least classical music. They have an excellent understanding of how musical provenance – the historical, social and cultural origins of music contributes to the diversity of musical styles…what a lot of talent on show. What Mr Griffiths and Mr Wyse do is to combine technical brilliance with sheer zeal….and yes, I do know how lucky USH is to have them!...we treat them very well.

So many students at USH benefit musically, personally and socially from regular and active involvement, as shown by their high levels of commitment to a diverse range of additional activities.

Congratulations to everyone involved, and thanks to the PTA for the delicious refreshments provided; much appreciated.

It remains for me to say I hope you have a happy, restful and safe Easter break, wherever you may be spending it. Thanks to everyone for your collective energy this term; our feature in a double page spread from the Daily Echo yesterday by Sian Davies said USH has a ‘zest for learning’…. I couldn’t agree more.

This term we say farewell to Frankie Eyre who is leaving to pursue a new career as a STAR Coordinator; Frankie; you will be missed and we wish you every success in your future.

Kind regards

Stuart Woods

Cashless Catering

In the last newsletter I mentioned that we have a 'live' date of 9th June for our new cashless catering system. This is an exciting change for the school and to introduce it to parents I have arranged a parent demonstration on Tuesday 29th April at 6 o’clock. This will involve me and a representative of the cashless catering provider, Nationwide Retail Systems, providing an overview of the system and answering any questions that you may have. Please put this date in your diary.

To give you a quick summary, there are a number of benefits in bringing in this new system:
• increased speed of service reducing queuing times;
• facility to pay online;
• no need to carry cash preventing loss/theft;
• automatic alerts to stop pupils purchasing allergy trigger items;
• students learn about important lifestyle control by monitoring their own accounts;
• reporting facilities help decrease wastage and improve the overall efficiency of the meal service.

This will be a biometric system which means a student thumb will be used to identify individuals. The system will use an algorithm based scan, which reads between 50 and 130 points on the finger/thumb. Please note, it is not a fingerprint and is of use only in the cashless system. Parents will be given the opportunity to opt out of this option and in these cases children will be allocated a four digit PIN Code to use at the catering terminals. Further information will be sent out straight after the Easter holidays and you can attend our information evening.

From 9th June the canteen will no longer accept cash from students to pay for their snacks and meals. No cash will be taken at the catering terminals, and all food will be paid for by account. A student account will predominantly be funded by parents making a payment online using our new Internet Payments system. Any amount of money can be paid into a pupil’s account, and any money spent on food and drink will be deducted on a daily basis.

I know that many parents have registered already but I would strongly recommend that all parents register for this system as soon as possible using the unique pupil code and details provided in our introduction letter.  This will ensure you are up and running in readiness for the live date. Please contact the school if you have mislaid this letter.

For those parents who do not have online access we will have a re-evaluation unit located in school. This unit will be used by pupils to top up their accounts by placing their finger/thumb on the sensor, or by entering their four digit PIN Code, followed by inserting their notes or coins into the unit. This will immediately update their account. This is not designed to be used by the school as a primary method of topping up accounts.

If anyone has any specific questions about the new system ahead of the information evening, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With best wishes,

Julie Prince
School Business Manager

Your Child's Report

Dear Parents

As a result of an on-going review of our reporting policy and following feedback from parents and staff, we have decided to post your child’s report home after the Easter break.  These reports will contain a summary of your child’s progress and attainment since September.  You will then have the opportunity to ask teachers any questions that you may have straight away as opposed to having to wait until the end of the holidays.  We thank you for your continued support and feedback.

Mr Taylor, Deputy Headteacher


Jefferys Education Trust Parent Directors

As part of the structure of the Jefferys Education Trust (JET) Board two parent directors were recently elected by the parent community.  Natalie Rogers represents the Primary phase and Lea Hayes the Secondary phase. 

The role of parent director on the JET Board is strategic rather than being involved in the day to day running of the individual schools. In this way the role of parent director is similar to that of a school governor and will focus on the development of the whole learning community of schools within the multi-academy trust.

If you need to make contact with either Natalie or Lea they can be reached at the following email addresses:

primaryparentdirector@jetrust.org (Natalie Rogers)
secondaryparentdirector@jetrust.org (Lea Hayes)

Alternatively you can contact Sam Mawby (Clerk to the JET Board) on 02380 325333.

School Production: Starlight Express

After the amazing success of CATS last year, the Performing Arts team has been busy delivering dance, drama and music workshops for this year’s whole school production of Starlight Express. The workshops culminated with auditions and we are pleased to say that the show is now cast. We also have a wonderful array of students on skates and scooters that are already impressing the team with their skills and speed while remembering choreographic moves.

This year Starlight Express will be performed at the Point Theatre in Eastleigh and will run from the 2nd-4th July. Tickets will be available to purchase soon. If there is anyone who is a dab hand at sewing to help with costume making then your help will be gratefully appreciated. Please contact jo.moroney@ushschool.org.

The rehearsal times for the show are currently as follows;

Rehearsal days and times:
Mondays for the ensemble, 2.50-4.30pm
Tuesdays for the ensemble, 2.50-4.30pm
Thursdays for the principle cast, 2.50-4.30pm

The Performing Arts team thank you for your support in the lead up to the show and look forward to seeing you at one of the performances. 

Paris 2014

Sixty students went on this year’s visit, our most ever!  The weather just about held for us to take in the sights of Paris and spend a day at Euro Disney.  A great time was had by one and all.  Here is a selection of quotes from students…

“I mostly enjoyed visiting the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland because all of the scenery is amazing and I wish I could go back there right now. The hotel and food there was great. Thanks to Mr Perry and Miss Adams for leading the groups.”

“What I liked most about Paris was on the journey back when we re-capped the highlights.  The ferry was also really fun.”

“I enjoyed going up the Eiffel Tower; it was great.”

“I really liked going to the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur because it was a really sunny day and we had Disneyland to look forward to.”

“It was really fun in Paris because it is a beautiful city; also the activities were really fun and exciting. The Eiffel Tower visit was tiring, but was a real adventure with an amazing view from the top.  Disney had some brilliant rollercoasters!”

“I really enjoyed the trip; it was a great new experience.  I particularly enjoyed the spectacular view from the Eiffel Tower.”

“I had a lot of fun and thought it was a good life time experience.  I really enjoyed walking through the city with its lights and the visit to Euro Disney.”


Mr Perry

Year 10 Art Exhibition: 'Beaches and Boats'

On the 20th March Year 10 GCSE Art students exhibited their first coursework project on the theme ‘Beaches and Boats’.  The students were responsible for setting up the exhibition and inviting three guests: a friend, a teacher and a family member.

The exhibition was  a huge success and students received amazing feedback from the guests through personal comment books.

"Well done Owen, just beautiful.  Both your seascapes are so soothing." (Owen Budd)

"I want to commission your work, adore the yacht scene and would love you to see my own in its place with your creative and artistic flair." (Owen Budd)

"Your presentation is excellent. What an original idea."  (Kitti Bojte)

"Amazing variety of techniques. Great texture and form." (Georgia Basham)

"Amazing work and beautiful detail. You will go far."  (Olivia Headington)

Bright Sparks and Blue Fusion at IBM

To celebrate Science and Engineering week, a team from Year 8 (Kamil Balin, Justin Basham, Liam Biggs, Oliwia Kowalik, Alice Orr, Lucy Spencer) and a team of Year 10 students (Joana Galhanas, Nikol Nikolova, Charlotte Knight, Ryan Doswell, Alex Donovan-Lowe, Owen Budd) participated in two annual events organised by IBM: Bright Sparks (for Year 8s) and Blue Fusion (for Year 10s).

Our students had to work as a team on a variety of challenging tasks related to Physics, artificial intelligence, communication, teamwork and environment.  There were six activities based around the theme, ‘Space’, challenging them on sine wave manipulation, astronautics, cryptography and recursion.

Both our teams did really well, especially the Year 8 team who were placed third (out of eleven teams).

The students also had the chance to be presented to the newest IBM invention called 'Watson' (the computer of the future).

It was a very educational visit and each of the students enjoyed a new experience.

Mrs Adamou

UKMT Year 10 Maths Challenge

"The UKMT Year 10 maths challenge was a great experience and it enabled me to truly challenge my Maths - something I have always enjoyed.  It got me thinking in further depth and even taught me to count as though I only have six fingers!  Unfortunately we didn't win, but one of our teams came second and I think we did learn a lot from the questions we were asked, which will certainly help us with Maths in the classroom."

James Wareham,
Year 10, Student Representative of Psychology

The PTA Minibus Appeal

Last month we launched the PTA minibus appeal; we are trying to raise £5000 to help purchase a second minibus for the school.

Many thanks go to all those who have already generously donated money to the appeal. This money, together with the money raised at the hugely successful Pirate Quiz Night, brings our total so far to £700.
This is a great start, but there is still a long way to go!  It is not too late to make one-off donations (for more details please see http://uppershirleyhigh.org/pta), but we also have several other fund raising ideas, so watch this space!!

New Cycle Shelters for USH!

After securing funding from Southampton City Council we now have brand new cycle shelters which will accommodate over forty bikes for staff and students! Having a storage facility with protection from the worst of the weather will hopefully encourage even more students to come to school by bike.

For more information regarding healthy travel options please go to  http://www.myjourneysouthampton.com/

Mrs Mawby, Sustainability Officer

Our Fantastic Year 8 Netball Team!

The Year 8 Netball Team have continued to dominate Southampton School City Netball, undefeated in winning the Netball League for the second year in a row! They have won everything they have entered in the City since they started at USH and now hold both the league and cup titles for the year.

In Round 1 of the League they beat Redbridge 14-0, The Gregg School 17-2, Bitterne Park 11-7, Cantell 9-3, Oasis Mayfield 13-1, Sholing 10-0 and St Anne's 7-4.

In Round 2 the girls beat Redbridge 12-1, The Gregg School 6-1, Bitterne Park 9-5, Cantell 8-1, Oasis Mayfield 19-1, Sholing 10-0 and St Anne's 10-4.

A massive well done to the girls (Alice orr, Georgia O'Dell, Molly Robinson, Olivia O'Mahony, Florence Stone, Jessamyn Berry, Kayleigh Betteridge and Elizabeth McConnell).  Each week they performed incredibly well showing a high level of skill, determination and sportsmanship! Thank you too to all the parents who supported each week.


Miss Sidney


Molly Robinson said, "I started playing netball in Year 7 when I came to USH.  I play goalkeeper so I am the last line of defence!  We train each Thursday and play our matches on Tuesdays.  I also play hockey, tennis and athletics but I enjoy netball the most."

Free Sports Sessions

Lisa Gowling from Southampton Football Club come in to speak at the house assemblies to students this week.  She talked about free sports sessions that students can attend at various local locations, including football, street dance, free running, and a choir that will be on Match of the Day. 

Lisa held a football challenge within the houses to see who could keep the ball off the ground as much as possible:  the students who won will receive medals and an all access tour around St Mary’s!

Well done to everyone who took part.  Students interested in taking part in the free sessions should see Miss Marks.

Performing arts – 6pm-8pm – Cantell School
Choir – St Mary's Stadium – 5.30-7.30pm
Indoor activities (table football, xbox pool) – Oasis Academy Lordshill 6pm-8pm
Choir – Oasis Lordshill – 6pm-8pm
Football – Oasis Academy Mayfield – 5.30-7.30pm 
Football – Woodlands College – 5pm-7pm
Football – Woodlands College – 7pm-9pm
Girls Youth Club – Woodlands College – 7pm-9pm
Football – Cantell School – 6pm-8pm
Handball – Cantell School – 6pm-8pm
Football – Oasis Academy Mayfield – 7pm-9pm
Choir – Oasis Mayfield – 7pm-9pm
Football – Fleming Park – 6pm-8pm
Football – Veracity Recreational Ground – 6pm-8pm
Street Dance – Oasis Academy Lordshill 7pm-8pm
Indoor activities – Oasis Academy Lordshill 6pm-8pm
Football – St Mary’s School – 6pm-8pm
Football – St Mary’s School – 10am-1pm

USH Annual Book Quiz

On Thursday 27th March the school library hosted the sixth annual USH Book Quiz. Pupils from Years 5 and 6 from Hollybrook and Shirley Junior schools were invited to participate, along with some of our keenest readers in Year 7.  Each year group was given a different book to read and teams were put together comprising a student from each group.  The teams were tested in several rounds, including questions on the specialist books, plus general book knowledge questions and a covers round.  It was a lively occasion, and it was apparent that we have some very knowledgeable readers in all schools!  For the first time ever we had to have a tie-breaker question, with Titanium Grapefruit Bookworms narrowly beating Team Book.

Mrs Mount, Senior Librarian

"On 27th March, Year 5 and 6 students from Shirley and Hollybrook Junior Schools came to USH library to do a book quiz. There were five people in a team: two from Year 5, two from Year 6 and one from Year 7, and they were asked to choose a team name.  Some of the names we came up with were Book ☺, Preposterous Walruses, Titanium Grapefruit Bookworms and Chocolate Covered Rubber Duckies (my idea!)

We started off with a book cover round, which everybody did well on, and moved on to the actual quiz. Everybody enjoyed snacks while doing the final round. We had to have a tie breaker between Book ☺and Titanium Grapefruit Bookworms, guessing which book characters Miss was explaining about.  Unfortunately, Book ☺ came second because Titanium Grapefruit Bookworms knew who the leader of The Secret Seven was.

I think everybody enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed it and I would love to do it again."

by Erin Won, Year 7

News from Science Department

I am pleased to announce that the Science department has appointed a new highly skilled and experienced teacher who will be starting after Easter. Our new appointment will replace the current long term supply teacher who has been teaching the classes during the interim period in the spring term.
In order for students in these lessons to experience practical experiments, it has been necessary to rotate science teachers from their attached classes. I hope that, as parents, you understand the rationale behind this decision to enable all students to have equal access to the science curriculum. 

Miss Adams, Head of Science

Science Club

Last week our super scientists rolled up their sleeves for some kitchen chemistry.  Using red cabbage they created their own homemade indicator which they transferred to paper for some pH painting fun. 
Lemon juice, vinegar, washing powder and baking powder were just a few of the liquids used to create a fabulous colourful picture.

Year 7 and 8 students are very welcome to come along on a Tuesday to join in the fun.

Year 7 - Introduction to Textiles Club

This club was started just before Christmas, and the girls started off by making their own book using a binding method.  They have learned  a variety of techniques including applique with felt, weaving with paper and different fibres and machine stitching, but the one that was most fun has to be lathering up in the wet felting!

Mrs Kelly

Crafty Chicks - Mother's Day Hanging Hearts

As you can see, the girls made these wonderful hanging hearts for Mother's Day, using a variety of techniques, including needle felting (a very addictive hobby of Kirsty Allsop!)

Mrs Kelly

Donation of Clothes for PTA Fashion Show

Are you having a clear out now that Spring is here?  The PTA would be very grateful for donations of clothes for the 'Worn Again Fashion Show'.  This will be held at the Ladies Night on Thursday 10th July.

If you have any good quality clothes, shoes or accessories which you would be prepared to donate to raise funds for the school mini-bus appeal please bring them to the school office.  Any unsold clothes will be given to charity.



Skoolkit in School to Sell Uniform

Should you need to buy any new uniform for your son or daughter, please note that our suppliers, Skoolkit, will be in school on the following dates:

Wednesday 25th June 2.40 - 5pm and

Tuesday 1st July 5 - 8.30pm (New Intake Evening).

Parents' Emotional First Aid Course

Since you have had children do you:


Everyone knows you are a parent but do you remember who you are?   

 The Community Room (which is behind the Parklife Café)
 St James’ Park, St James’ Road,
 Shirley, SO15 5SD


22nd April - Introduction:  10.00 - 11.00 
 6th May  Session One:  9.45-1.30 }
 13th May  Session Two:  9.45-1.30  }
 20th May  Session Three:  9.45-1.30 }  you need to attend all six sessions
 3rd June  Session Four:  9.45-1.30 }
 10th June  Session Five:  9.45-1.30  }
 17th June  Session Six:  9.45-1.30  }

This course is free of charge

To find out more or book a place contact Marina Murphy on 02380 779763 (leave a message if I’m not there) or 074434 72726 or via email  marinainthevalley@outlook.com

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, Alison.small@ushschool.org.

Dates for Your Diaries

Dates to note for this academic year:
Friday 4th April - School breaks up for Easter holidays
Tuesday 22nd April - Return to school
Monday 5th May - Bank Holiday
Thursday 8th May – 6.30pm, Year 8 Options evening
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