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USH Newsletter 19th September 2014

Headteacher's News


I hope your summer break was restful.  I extend a warm welcome as the new term begins; particularly to our new Year 7s…I see you’re settling in well.  During lunchtime this week, I asked a Year 7 student how she was finding USH and she said, "My teachers are nice and help me to learn" …"and how do they do that?" I said…she paused and replied, "Well…effectively, Mr Woods!"  That made me smile.

A warm welcome to our new staff too: Helen Hudson (Data Analyst); Anna Collins (Subject Leader for English); Stuart Farley (Subject Leader for History); Gopaal Bhardwaj (Subject Leader for Languages); Gareth Day (Science); Adam Hield and Linda Lau (Maths); Daniel Hughes (ICT and Media); Lucy Sanders (Art and Photography); Alice Early and Matt Watts (Lead Mentors). Thank you for choosing USH; I know we’ll do great work together.

Congratulations to Gareth Day on his appointment as Lead Tutor of Mariners House. Mr Day will take up the position as of Wednesday 23rd September, developing the spirit and ethos within Mariners House.
The Lead Tutors at USH are: Aviators Ms Claire Marks; Engineers Ms Sophie Dunne; Mariners Mr Gareth Day; Venturers Ms Sarah Baillie.

I’d like to also say congratulations to our ex Year 11 students, firstly for your individual and collective achievements in your exams but also for securing your college place, your apprenticeship or your work with training; well done all.  Here’s how we performed (subject by subject) for A*-C and A*-A (an asterisk denotes the best ever result for USH).

I’d like to point out that many of our subjects have performed well, so it’s disappointing that we have recorded a dip in our overall 5 A*-C (including both English and Maths) which fell by 8% this year. There is much talk across the country about changes to grade boundaries, examinations and entry regulations but what matters is that we learn from last year and continue to focus our commitments for the good of our students.

 Qualification Name  A*/A    A*-C 
English Language       19%*    66.2%* 
Maths                          11.3%   61.3% 
Biology                       51.6%* 100%* 
Chemistry                   61.3%* 100%* 
Physics                       67.7%* 100%* 
Core Science                1.8%    42.3% 
Additional Science       5.4%    36.9% 
Art                                24 %*   48% 
BTEC PE                      28.9%* 100%* 
PE                                   4%        48% 
Spanish                        11.9%    54.2% 
Classics                        30.8%*  92.3%* 
Drama                          46.2%* 100%* 
English Literature        19%*     45.1% 
Film Studies                 42.9%*  85.7%* 
French                          29%*     80.6 %* 
Geography                   12.5%    64.1% 
History                         17.8%    64.4% 
ICT                                13.5%    53.2% 
Italian                           66.7%* 100%* 
Music                           43.8%*   81.3%* 
Other languages           88.9%* 100%* 
Catering                         6.5%*   80.6%* 
Religious Studies         13%        59.5% 
Citizenship                   14.4%     65.6% 

Stuart Woods, Headteacher


Summer Work
What a fabulous start to this new academic year.  The site and IT team worked incredibly hard over the summer to complete a challenging list of projects, and the school has never looked better.  To demonstrate our investment into our IT infrastructure and site, I would like to share some of our key summer projects with you:

Site Projects
• Classroom moves to consolidate departments’ working areas.
• Redecoration of Library, Coaching room and all classrooms involved in the department moves.
• Lecture Theatre conversion into a new Food Technology classroom.
• Creation of ten additional staff parking spaces.
• Exterior painting and waterproofing of the modular builds.
• Start of upgrade to the two DT classrooms (ongling).

IT Projects
• Installation of new phone system.
• Installation of new copier system.
• Creation of new school web-based inventory.
• Installation of new AV equipment as part of classroom moves.
• Installation of new AV equipment in new Food Technology classroom.

From 1st September 2014 all schools within the Jefferys Education Trust moved their catering provision to Chartwells.  Chartwells are a leading provider of contract catering within the education sector in the UK.  If you would like more information on this company please visit their website: www.chartwells.co.uk

Chartwells have introduced an exciting new menu, with food choices being offered on a three week rotation.  Parents can view their menus via our website under the Parent/School Meals tab.  Our website also contains pricing information and special menu information.

Our canteen has never been busier, with more children than ever using our catering services.  We recognise that this has resulted in queues, and we have a number of solutions being put in place to address this:
• Additional training and support for the catering team.
• Three additional catering staff.
• Installation of a ‘Grab and Go’ serving counter.
• Installation of an additional catering terminal.
In the coming weeks we will be introducing a new breakfast service.

Parent Engagement
During this year we will continue to work hard to improve our parent engagement and strengthen communication links with parents.  I thought it would be useful to share some of our current initiatives with our new and existing parents.

Following a successful pilot of ‘SIMS Learning Gateway’ with our Parent Action Group in the summer term, we will be rolling this out to the whole school in the coming weeks.  This system will give you a secure online access to certain parts of the school management information database.  You will be given instant access to your child’s achievement, progress and attendance information.

I would like to recommend that more parents try to attend our future Parent Action Group meetings; dates for this year will be shared with you very soon.  They are a great opportunity to meet staff, understand our vision and values, and learn about our exciting new plans.  Notes and agendas from previous meetings are stored under the Parent/Parent Action Group tab on our website.  You can make suggestions for future topics of discussion by using the contact email within this section.

We held a review meeting at the end of last term and the feedback from parents was outstanding: I thought it would be useful to share some of the fabulous quotes from parents:

“The PAG has been a good conduit for parents’ views. The school’s willingness to engage has allowed the group to be a powerful advocate for change; significant changes have been made!”

“Being involved in the development of policy and initiatives helps to give an insight to the direction and strategy of the school.”

“I have found these meetings informative, responsive and it is so nice to see what has been discussed being put into action, and fed back to us”.

Finally, I would like to remind all parents that our PTA is currently fundraising for a second minibus for the school.  They are always on the lookout for new helpers, whether this is new members to join the committee, or just parents willing to help at fundraising events throughout the year.  Any help is always very much appreciated.  The PTA can be contacted via the Parent/PTA tab of our website.

Julie Prince
School Business Manager

Motivating Speaker Wows Year 11!

On Monday 15th September, all of Year 11 were treated to an hour of motivation and inspiration courtesy of Jim Roberson.  Jim is an American living in the UK, a former American Footballer and PE teacher who spends his time touring schools delivering sessions to students to motivate them to achieve and to realise the importance of an education.  His delivery style is unique and to see 144 students holding on to his every word was a sight  to behold!  The students were encouraged to reflect on what they needed to do to succeed at school and to make note of three things they will do to make a change this year.

This was the first of many opportunities Year 11 will have this year to hear from outside speakers about the importance of making the most of this school year.  We look forward to seeing our students demonstrate the skills learned during their academic studies over the coming weeks.

Kieron Hall, Head of Year 11

Awards Evening, July 2014

We again held our annual Awards Evening at Central Hall, St Mary's Street. It was a fantastic evening, if a little warm, with over 400 individual awards being collected by students from all year groups. This proved to be our biggest ceremony ever, with a record number of students being recognised for their efforts.  I would like to congratulate all the award winners, and personally thank Mr Griffiths for arranging the incredible music on the evening. 

David Wilding, Assistant Headteacher 

Sports Day, July 2014

We were fortunate to have some excellent weather and witnessed some keen competition between the house groups during Sports Day at the end of last term. The PE Department would like to congratulate everyone that participated on their performances.

The final results were:
Year 7 Girls
Mariners 120 points; Aviators 118 points; Engineers 107 points; Venturers 99 points
Victrix Ludorum: Freya Barfoot
Year 7 Boys
Aviators 127 points; Venturers 82 points; Engineers and Mariners 76 points each
Victor Ludorum: Leon Longhurst
Year 8 Girls
Aviators 112 points; Venturers 110 points; Engineers 64 points; Mariners 51 points
Victrix Ludorum: Isabelle Bennett
Year 8 Boys
Venturers 159 points; Mariners 129 points; Aviators 98 points; Engineers 78 points
Victor Ludorum: Bastin Punneliparambil
Year 9 Girls
Aviators 110 points; Venturers 108 points; Mariners 76 points; Engineers 58 points
Victrix Ludorum: Adele Walker
Year 9 Boys
Aviators 137 points; Engineers 117 points; Mariners and Venturers 83 points each
Victor Ludorum: Reece Reed
Year 10 Girls
Aviators 108 points; Venturers 87 points; Mariners 67 points; Engineers 57 points
Victrix Ludorum: Grace Robinson
Year 10 Boys
Aviators 118 points; Venturers 103 points; Engineers 81 points; Mariners 75 points
Victor Ludorum: James Parker-Trott

The overall results were:
1st Aviators with 928 points; 2nd Venturers with 823 points; 3rd Mariners with 677 points and 4th Engineers with 638 points.

Congratulations to all Aviators on their success.

Peter Hadfield, Head of PE

USH: Southampton Sports School of the Year (again!)

Students and staff had the pleasure of attending the Southampton Schools’ Sports Awards at the Guildhall prior to the summer holiday. The students' success in a range of sports last year was acknowledged with the presentation of numerous trophies and certificates. These successes included netball, athletics, cross country, football, basketball, table tennis, indoor rowing and swimming.

However, at the conclusion of the evening the ultimate accolade was USH being presented with the trophy for Southampton Sports School of the Year. This is the second year in a row that the school have received the award!  Many congratulations to all students that represented one of our teams and, of course, to the PE staff for their commitment to sport at USH.

Peter Hadfield, Head of PE

Year 11 College Information Session

As you are probably aware, A Levels are changing.  From 2015 students will take a mixture of the ‘old’ A Level syllabus and ‘new’ A Levels.  The ‘new’ A Levels will be phased in over the next three years.  Under the ‘old’ A Level system, the first year of the course was called AS Level and the second year A2 Level.  An AS qualification could be attained as a standalone qualification at the end of one year, or the subject could be continued in the second year to A2 Level and the AS results would contribute 50% towards the final mark.  The ‘new’ A Level qualifications will be studied over two years with final exams at the end of the second year.  Although it is still possible to take a standalone AS Level after one year the marks will not contribute towards the final A Level grade.

The 'new' Linear A Levels from 2015 are : Art & Design, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computing, Economics, English Language, English Literature, History, Physics, Psychology and Sociology.

To help students with their post-16 planning, we have invited local colleges to take part in a college information afternoon on Thursday, 2nd October (2.30 – 4.00).  This will be an opportunity for students to ask questions and collect prospectuses prior to college open evenings.  Parents are welcome to attend. 

We strongly recommend you and your son/daughter attend the college open evenings.  This will be an opportunity to discuss choices with experienced staff and subject experts.  The college open evening calendar is on the school website and your son/daughter will be issued with a copy of the calendar shortly.

Carey Anderson, Careers Adviser

Work Experience

As you are aware at Upper Shirley High we firmly believe that work experience provides an invaluable insight into the world of work and informs future choices.  Therefore, I am pleased to report in July all our Year 10 students participated in work experience.  Well done to students who found their own placements and thank you for supporting your son/daughter.  Several work experience awards will be issued shortly.

Year 10
Work experience will commence on 13th July 2015 and will ideally last for two weeks. We recognise that this runs into the holiday period: we are therefore suggesting three models to try and accommodate your needs:
Model 1: a two week placement, 13th – 31st July
Model 2: a placement, 13th – 22nd July
Model 3: a placement for one week, 13th – 17th July
Please support your son/daughter by helping them to find a work placement.

Carey Anderson, Careers Adviser

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 want to give all our new students a chance to choose a book of their own.  The BookBuzz selection of books have been chosen by a panel of experts to be suitable for 11-12 year olds and reflect 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:
Nathan Glasspool said, “I think BookBuzz is a brilliant thing because it’s a book for you to keep. I chose 'Wild Boy' because I like mystery and murder and even from reading the first page and the blurb I can tell it’s a brilliant book.”
Adam Hodges said, “I like BookBuzz because there’s a variety of books to choose.  I chose 'The Great Ice Cream Heist' because I like funny books.”
Adiela Manore said, “BookBuzz is a good idea because it helps children to read. I chose 'Geek Girl' because it looks exciting.”

DofE Expedition

Year 9 students completed their practice expedition just before the end of the summer term. Although it was extremely hot the students showed great determination to complete the practice and enjoyed themselves right up to the end.

After the summer holidays the students should be relaxed and ready for their final qualifying expedition which will take place in the New Forest. The students, who were grouped into smaller sets during the year, will go out over three different weekends and will be assessed by independent assessors. The assessors will be looking at how much the students have learned over the past year, such as navigating the route, reading a map and compass, setting up tents, whether they have the proper equipment and are able to cook a meal. They will also watch how the students work together.
When students are dropped off at the start point by parents they will be greeted by staff and the assessors who will go over final details.  Staff will meet up with students periodically to check that all is well and to refill water.  The assessors will also meet up with the individual groups but may also observe from a distance.  Once at the campsite students will need to set up tents and cook their evening meal.  After the evening meal the assessors will leave and return again the following morning for the final part of the expedition.

Paris 2015

The dates have been confirmed for the 26th to 29th March 2015.

Please ensure you son/daughter has collected a letter from Mr
Perry or Ms Bousseau in room 21 detailing the total cost of the visit.

Numbers currently stand at 98 – a record for the school!

Further details about passports and medical information will be requested later in the year.

If you have any questions or would like an electronic copy of the letter, please get in touch.

Martin Perry,  Martin.Perry@ushschool.org

Science Club

Science Club will start next Tuesday, 23rd September after school in room 37 and is open initially to Years 7 and 8.

Week one will be Catapults and Trebuchets!  See how far you can catapult an egg or two!

Please see Miss Hodgson or Mr Day for more information.

Eco Council

The Eco Council has started again with even more students coming along than last year! The group is busy deciding which projects they will be working on this year with a focus on recycling, litter prevention, energy saving and planting looking like the front runners.

If your son or daughter is interested in joining the Eco Council and helping USH to be a greener school they are very welcome to join us every Tuesday lunchtime in the Conference Room of the new building.

Mrs Mawby, Sam.mawby@ushschool.org

Craft Club

Craft Club will be starting on Wednesday 5th November (after half term) and will run from 2.45-3.45pm each Wednesday for students in Years 7 and 8.  Their first project will be to make a patchwork cushion.  Numbers are limited, so interested students should see Mrs Kelly in the General Office for more details.

Communicating with USH regarding Attendance

USH has decided to install an automatic communication system that will allow you to contact us directly by text message in order to keep the school updated with any information regarding attendance, for example:
• Absences
• Lateness
• General enquires about your child’s attendance.

Our school’s dedicated mobile number is 07860 005 066. Please confirm your child’s name at the start of your text. 

We will be able to text back using the system; the aim is to free up time in the attendance office.  During busy hours the staff receive many phone calls asking questions that are not of an urgent nature, so by using Text Messages In you will be helping the school.  Thank you.

Alison Small, Attendance Officer

Applying for Free School Meals (Eligibility Checking)

This is to let you know that you can now apply online for free school meals for your child.  Here is web address for the application:

However, if you prefer you can still complete a paper application and hand it into the school. We can then apply via the web form on your behalf, and let you know the result.

Applying for free school meals not only gives your child the opportunity to have a meal but the Government also gives the school additional money to help with your child’s education.  In the new financial year this has been increased and it is therefore to your child’s advantage that you apply for free school meals even if your child doesn’t actually take up the offer of a meal.

Dates for Your Diaries

Saturday 27th September – 9.00am to 1.00pm: Open Morning
Monday 6th October - ‘Invisible Difference’ workshop for Year 10
Tuesday 7th October - ‘Invisible Difference’ workshop for Year 9
Thursday 9th October - ‘Invisible Difference’ workshop for Year 8
Friday 10th October - ‘Invisible Difference’ workshop for Year 7
Thursday 16th October - Year 7 parents’ evening with tutors

Inset day/school closure dates for this academic year:
Monday 17th November 2014
Friday 19th December
Friday 23rd January 2015
Friday 20th March

Dates of parents’ evenings:
Thursday 16th October - Year 7 parents’ evening with tutors
Thursday 13th November – Year 11 Exams evening
Thursday 11th December – Year 10 Progress evening
Wednesday 21st January 2015 – 4.00-7.30pm Year 11 parents’ evening
Thursday 29th January – 4.00-7.30pm Year 9 parents’ evening
Thursday 12th February – Year 8 Options evening
Tuesday 24th March – 4.00-7.30pm Year 8 parents’ evening (*please note change of date)
Wednesday 1st April – Year 9 Options evening
Thursday 23rd April – 4.00-7.30pm Year 10 parents’ evening
Thursday 18th June – 4.00-7.30pm Year 7 parents’ evening
Tuesday 30th June – New intake parents’ induction evening