USH Newsletter

17th October 2014

  • Introduction

    Last night Year 7 parents were invited to attend our Meet the tutor event and have an opportunity to discuss how students have settled into secondary school life.  The evening was a great success. Many parents were accompanied by their Year 7 child who eagerly showed them around their new school with such pride.  Whilst walking around and talking to parents, students and tutors it seems that Year 7 have made an excellent start to Upper Shirley High and are clearly very happy.  It was wonderful to talk to parents again and we are hearing that you would like an additional opportunity before the next calendared parents’ evening so we’ll be working on this… to follow.

    Our parents said:
    • “So helpful to come and speak to our tutor one to one.”
    • “The atmosphere has been calm and felt lovely.”
    • “It was lovely to talk about how many friends my daughter has made since starting school.”
    • “Thank you for the constant support.”
    • “My daughter’s made great new friends…. and so fast too”
    • “My son has never talked so much about school; he loves it”
    • “After communicating with tutor and Mr T, my daughter has settled so well.”
    • “Summer transition has really helped with making friends.”

    Stuart Woods, Headteacher, and Jason Tanihatu, Head of Year 7

  • Remembrance 2014

    When the Queen Mary 2 arrived in Southampton on Wednesday 8th October she brought home a very special cargo.  It was the final sandbag of soil brought back from the First World War cemeteries in Belgium and we were invited to attend the ceremony as part of the centenary Remembrance events. Captain Oprey handed over the sandbag of sacred soil to the Mayor and it was transported to the Civic Centre before completing the onward journey to London.

    It was a very moving experience and we were honoured to take part in such a momentous event.  Last year we saw the cemeteries where the soil was gathered and helped to load the sandbags on a gun carriage at the Menin Gate and it was good to see the soil come home.  We were interviewed by the local news who were interested in the project and our own personal links to relatives involved in the war.  My grandfather’s brother, ‘Uncle Jim’, died on the Somme a year to the day after he arrived in France.  He had joined one of the Pals Battalions in 1914 and was killed in action trying to rescue a group of soldiers who had become encircled after pushing forward in November 1916.  Two cousins, aged just 18 and 19, also died.  But every family was affected and some were devastated by their huge losses.

    We will remember the Southampton war dead and any relatives in our Remembrance display and Field of Poppies at school on November 11th.  Thank you for the information about relatives that we have already received.  If you have any copies of photographs that you would like to contribute to the display please contact me at  Personal links and connections to the World Wars are becoming more and more distant, but they help to make Remembrance so meaningful to the younger generations.

    Also, if students currently have dads, uncles, brothers, mums, aunts or sisters serving in the armed forces we would like to include them in our display.

    Over the next week your son or daughter will dedicate a poppy to a soldier from Southampton or relative who was killed in World War 1 for our Field of Poppies.  If you have any personal links please give these to your son or daughter so that they know the names to write on the poppies.  Their regiment, place and date of death would also be good to include.
    Please also remember to get in touch if you know of any relatives who died in the First World War and would like a wooden cross to be laid in their memory.  You can contact me by email at the above address with the soldier’s name, regiment and date of death so that I can arrange for the crosses to be inscribed.  We will lay them in London with a wreath on behalf of the school and their names will be added to the school’s Book of Remembrance.

    Jo Laybourne, Humanities department, and Lizzie Laybourne, Year 11

  • Year 9 Radiate Creativity!

    Students in Ms O’Sullivan’s Year 9 Geography classes have been learning about the world’s major ecosystems with a major focus on the rainforest and its structure.  A recent homework was to design a rainforest creature that is fully adapted to the tropical rainforest ecosystem and climate. Students had to explain the different characteristics of the creature and how it is suited to the environment, applying knowledge of the ecosystem and adaptations learnt in their lessons.

    The students have excelled in this task, producing creative and imaginative pieces, as you can see from the photographs. They were able to refer to keywords and link their ideas to what they have learnt in the lesson, illustrating a great understanding of the topic.  Many students went above and beyond what they were asked to do, making models of their animals. Through the task the students were demonstrating many of the Habits of Mind, they were ‘creating, imagining and innovating’, ‘responding with wonderment and awe’ and ‘applying past knowledge to new situations’. It was also great to see the students have such pride in their work and to hear their willingness to share their homework ideas and talk about their creatures with others in the class: truly demonstrating the USH values of ambition, pride, independence, trust and respect all in one go!

    Well done 91 and 9Z – I’m going to enjoy marking these!

    Victoria O'Sullivan, Geography Department

    The photos show the work of  Beth McConnell (9z), Emma Rantakangas (9z), Georgia O’Dell (9I), Parmjeet Tack (9I), Victoria Latala (9I) and Emma Shutler (9Z).

  • Designing our own Rugby Kit

    "I was one of three students chosen, along with Aaron Barfoot and Daniils Stakanovs,  to go to a Rugby kit designing day at Millbrook RFC where we worked with kit manufacturers, Canterbury.  We were to design a new school rugby shirt for the team. When we first sat down our ‘product manager’ told us the meaning of rugby shirts and how they can embody different things to different people, and then we looked at other schools' rugby shirts from the previous year have and how they designed them in a way which meant something to the school so that they could be worn with pride when playing rugby.

    As we started to design our rugby shirt we were handed colours,  basic design ideas and details of stitching to help us create our team's kit. We avoided these and decided to make something a bit different: something that would really represent us. There was a short pause in the making as we had our lunch but after that we got straight back to business and coloured our final design on an A3 piece of paper. We had chosen a slow blending of two colours from dark blue up to a lighter blue as this made us seem bigger and more intimating to the eye. We wanted to give our team a name so we decided to go with an animal: we came up with a wolf as they work in packs, like a team, and are aggressive to their prey.  We designed scratch marks below the numbers on the back of the shirt to show that even if we are injured we will still carry on. The wolf will be a tribal design looking down from the right of the shirt (this is just because we liked the way it looked).  We, as a team, are proud of our shirt as most of it has a meaning and it represents us as a team.

    I really enjoyed the day and the experience to work as part of a design team.  We had a really tight deadline and the pressure was high.  I learned that the habits of mind 
    • listening with understanding and empathy,
    • creating, imagining and innovating,
    • striving for accuracy, and
    • thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
    are vital ingredients to achieve success."

    by Henry Rowden, Year 8

  • Our Netball Teams Keep On Winning!

    Recent results for the U14s and U16s:

    - Bitterne Park 2 - USH 16
    - The Gregg School 2  - USH 12.

    The U14 team still remain unbeaten throughout their time at USH!  Their latest victory was 22-0 against Redbridge (please see photo of the team).

    Well done to all the players involved.

    Claire Marks, PE department

  • Elevate Education Seminars

    Elevate Education returned on Wednesday 8th October to provide two Year 11 workshops which focused on providing the students with the skills required to be able to revise effectively, deal with the demands of the year and how to use time efficiently.  Ross Jennings was the seminar leader and delivered enthusiastic and engaging sessions which had our students hanging on his every word. The students were described as ‘angelic’ and ‘a real asset to our school’, so this was glowing praise from a company who deliver sessions in the UK, USA, South Africa and Australia.

    Students will be encouraged to use the skills learned during activity tasks that will be set through tutor time and we will also encourage revision to begin in earnest in preparation for next summer.

    Elevate will be returning on Wednesday 12th November to again work with our Year 11s: we look forward to their return.

    Kieron Hall, Head of Year 11

  • Latin at Upper Shirley High

    We are delighted to be able to offer Latin to our Year 8 students at Upper Shirley High.  Below you will find an explanation as to why Latin may be a good option for you.

    Latin is still very much alive and kicking and relevant for the following reasons, to name but a few:
    • 60% of English vocabulary comes from Latin. Your English can and will improve through Latin.
    • Latin has evolved into Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Studying Latin will make your other languages easier.
    • The Romans gave us law and early technology. Latin is still the dominant root language in law, medicine, astronomy and a key language in finance.
    • Students who engage with Latin improve their analytical skills.
    • Understanding ancient languages gives us the key to a different world of history and literature.

    Our aims for the course:
    • To enable you to decode and understand Latin texts.
    • To establish links between English, Spanish, French, Italian and Latin.
    • To increase your grammatical awareness.
    • To introduce you to key areas of Roman life.
    • To work towards a recognised qualification (Cambridge Latin Course, WJEC Certificate).

    If you fancy trying something a little different, Latin could be the option for you. Please see me if you have any questions.

    Carpe diem,

    Marie Connolly, Languages department

    NewsflashFor Year 9 students who completed Cambridge Latin Book I last year, I would like to run a period 6 Latin club in which we will cover Book II.  Please let me know your preferred day  (Tuesday/Thursday) so we can make arrangements to start after half-term.

  • USH PTA AGM and 100Club Update

    USH PTA AGM notice
    We would like to invite all parents to our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 6th November.  Doors open at 6.45pm for coffee and we will start promptly at 7pm. The meeting will take place in the conference room in the new build and should last an hour.
    The main item on the agenda is the adoption of a new constitution (please see the website for the agenda and a copy of the proposed new constitution, ).  We would also like to gauge opinion on the sort of activities/events parents would like to see organised.  We really hope to see you there!

    USH PTA 100Club
    Last term the PTA invited parents and staff to join the 100Club - an in-house lottery designed to raise much needed funds for the school.  Unfortunately the take up for this venture has not been enough for us to proceed. All those who did apply will be contacted shortly about the return of their cheques/cash.

  • DofE Expedition

    Most of the Year 10 students have successfully completed their assessed expedition with flying colours. Their assessors were impressed with their behaviour and how well they worked together as a team, supporting each other throughout the weekend.  One assessor said our students were some of the strongest navigators he had seen at Bronze level and were a credit to the school.

    After arriving at the campsite and setting up tents the students set about cooking their dinner and then cleaned up before relaxing with a game or just talking: they all seemed to enjoy themselves. The following morning they had breakfast and were eager to set off for the final day of the expedition. Whenever we met up with them at a check point they were always in good spirits.  At the end of the second day of walking the assessors had a quick briefing with the students and let them know whether they had passed.  Students will have access to a report posted on the eDofE site.

    The assessors look at how much the students have learned over the past year as regards navigation, map and compass reading, setting up tents, the packing of appropriate equipment for a weekend of camping, and whether they are able to cook a meal. They also look at how the students work together.

    The final group of students will be going out for their qualifying expedition soon. Students will need to be dropped off at the start points by parents and they will be greeted there by staff and the assessor for their group. They will have a quick briefing, with the assessors explaining a little about what they will be expecting and looking for.  Staff will meet up with students at various check points. The assessors will leave camp once the evening meal has been cooked and return again the following morning during breakfast to see the students off on the final day.  Again staff will meet up with students at the assigned check points to deal with any problems which may have arisen and will be at the finish to make sure students are collected by parents, collect any borrowed equipment, and congratulate all students who complete the expedition.
    Jenny Murphy, DofE Coordinator

  • Paris 2015

    26th to 29th March
    Letters have been available for all students to take home.  If you haven’t had one or need a replacement, these are available from room 21 at lunch or break, or can be sent via email.
    Thankyou to the parents who have been in touch regarding the online payment system: there was an error with this which has now been resolved.  A good number of you have paid further instalments online or to the finance office already.
    If there are any issues with payments or you have any concerns, please get in touch as soon as possible.
    If your child has a valid passport, they can travel on this.  We will ask for a photocopy before Christmas.  If your child does not have a passport, they can travel on a collective passport for which we will require two passport sized photos.  Please note however that children born outside of the UK will need to travel on their own passport – the collective passport is not an option.  More information will be sent out before Christmas.
    All children will need a valid European Health Insurance Card, available for free (do not pay for this service) at:

    Martin Perry,

  • Minecraft Club

    IT Services (ITS), ICT curriculum and students are joining forces to bring IT innovation and MinecraftEDU to the ICT after school club. 

    MinecraftEDU is a school-ready remix of the original smash hit game Minecraft, played by over 30 million people worldwide. Students and staff will work together to see how MinecraftEDU can become embedded across the whole school curriculum, exploring and building worlds based on subjects such as Maths, Science, Technology, English, Languages and Arts plus more.  It’s not just Minecraft though… there will be lots of emphasis on the new ICT curriculum with ITS bringing all their knowledge and computing background (a combined 50+ years’ experience between them) to help inspire and share knowledge wherever possible.

    Raspberry Pi, robot wars, electronics and programming will feature.  The ITS team have donated a server to the club which will be used to host MinecraftEDU of which the students will be responsible for the administration, upkeep and any future expansion.

    Boys and girls from all year groups are invited to come along and take part in the club regardless of previous experience with Minecraft. The Minecraft World is our oyster!

  • Medical Appointments

    If your son/daughter needs to leave school during the day for a medical appointment, please contact our Attendance Officer, Alison Small, on telephone number 023 80522721 prior to the appointment.  For safeguarding reasons, students will not be allowed to leave the school site on their own if we only receive a note in their planner.

    Whenever possible, please make appointments outside of school hours.

  • 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,

  • 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

    Monday 20th October – 7pm Parent Action Group
    Monday 27th to Friday 31st October: Half Term
    Thursday 13th November – Year 11 Exams Evening

    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 13th November – Year 11 Exams evening
    Tuesday 18th November – GCSE Presentation Evening for last year’s Year 11
    Thursday 11th December – Year 10 Progress evening
    Wednesday 17th December – 6pm, Christmas Carol Concert, St James Church
    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