USH Newsletter

5th December 2014

  • Introduction

    As Year 11 mock exams draw to a close, the focussed and measured approach with which our Y11s have approached them is testament to the importance that they have rightly attached to the fortnight; it will be worth it. We could be mistaken for believing this is all about exams…it isn’t and the fact that our younger students have been amazing in supporting Year 11s through this period says a lot about the team ethos at USH; children working together to achieve more.

    I would like to thank the PE department who had to relinquish the hall and gym for the exams and to the USH staff who prepared the students and the exam spaces so well.

    Richard Corser
    Assistant Head

  • BBC Studios Tour

    On 26th November forty-six film students from Years 9 and 10 had the exciting privilege of attending a trip to the BBC Broadcasting House in London in order to find out how the building works and what sorts of roles and responsibilities are involved in the researching and broadcasting of the iconic news that we see every day.

    Nervously, the students queued up for their turn through security - nothing is left to chance when it comes to such an important establishment. Once successfully cleared, it was past the Tardis and into the spectacular Media Café, where they were given time to graze on their lunch and take in their new and unfamiliar surroundings.

    The café boasts a stunning view into the newsroom below, where journalists and news presenters could be seen at their desks, mid-way through their 12-hour shift, their fingers dancing away on their keyboards as they excitedly researched their next big story. In the corner of the room the green screen and autocue machine could be seen set up, ready for the next round of weather to be broadcast by the highly-skilled meteorologist (who will have created their very own presentation for us to behold).

    In groups, the students and staff were called up for their tour and presented with professional-looking lanyards to wear, ready to embark on the voyage of discovery that was the wonders of the BBC.

    Excitedly, each group gradually disappeared with their guides in a blur of excitement and colour, many still gazing through the magnificent window as they into the bustling newsroom below, desperately trying to get a glimpse into the recording studio where the news had just ended. Ah, the one o’clock news presenter, just sitting down at her desk! It really was quite something to learn the reality of the roles the staff carry out throughout their long shifts.

    Along the tour many students experienced such opportunities as presenting the news using the autocue machine; reading the weather in front of the green screen; trying their hand at acting or creating astonishing sound effects for the radio drama, and having the delectably comfortable chance to sit on the sofa, in the spot of some of their favourite celebrities on the set of The One Show!

    Photography flashed and inquisitive questions flew around all day, with the students trying to capture the experience in whatever way they could. Thanks to the help of our USH TV crew, some superb footage was captured along the way and will enable us to relive and share the experience for much time to come.

    The day ended with purchases from the gift shop, more pictures of the Tardis and some fairly tired staff! (and perhaps students!)

    Sarah Turner, English/Media Studies department

  • Nick is Awarded a Place at The Purcell School of Music!

    Nick Willsher, Year 11, has just been awarded a place in the Jazz department of the Purcell School, a specialist music college at Bushey on the outskirts of London.  He will board there from September and study jazz saxophone, piano and composition and take his A Levels. 

    Nick has played Alto Sax in Southampton Music Services Jazz Workshop since he was nine years old and has had tuition at the Junior Jazz departments of the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music during the last three years.  He will be the third member of this workshop to go on to study Jazz in higher education. 

    This is a great honour for Nick and his family and we are all delighted for him; he will have really top tutors and the facilities at the school are amazing.

    Congratulations Nick!

  • Jessica Wins Again!

    Well done to Jessica Harrison, Year 9, who has been winning more awards with her pony, Priestwood Pipit.  Jessica has had Pipit since April and they won four first place rosettes at Portchester Horse Show, including the Best Condition, Young Handler and M&M Small Breed classes.  They have also qualified for the British Show Pony Society Winter Championships in 2015.

    Jessica now has three horses altogether, having bought a larger pony, Lowri, in October - ready for next year’s shows!

    We wish Jessica all the very best for the BSPS Winter Championships.

  • Our Shining Star!

    I just thought I would share some lovely news with you about Susan O’Brien, Catering Manager at USH.

    I nominated Sue some time ago for a ‘Be a Star’ award for her passion and team work - a constant noticeable attribute that she brings to Chartwells and the school on a daily basis.  I am delighted to inform you that Sue won the award which I was honoured to present to her at our recent Managers’ Roadshow at the Madejski Stadium in Reading.  My speech about Sue prior to presenting the award was on the lines of how much pride I have in her, her ability to take on a new contract and make it work and her overall care to her team.

    Sue really is a ‘shining star’.

    Julia Bonner, Regional Manager, Chartwells

  • Netball League Winners!

    The U14 netball team continue to strive for accuracy in their netball.  They completed the league in first place, receiving their medals and trophies this week. 

    In the cup they played on Tuesday night and remain unbeaten for the third year in a row, not conceding a single goal!  It was a bitterly cold evening but the girls worked very hard; special thanks to Freya Barfoot from Year 8 who helped out on the evening.

    USH 5 - 0 Greggs A
    USH 5 - 0 St Anne's
    USH 5 - 0 Bitterne Park
    USH 6 - 0 Greggs B
    USH 8 - 0 Redbridge

    Claire Marks, PE department

  • The Year 9 Rugby Team Kicks Off!

    The Year 9 rubgy team recently played their first game since they have been Upper Shirley.  There was a great turn out with nineteen eager players for a fifteen-a-side game, many of them having never played a match before.  The team were also wearing their brand new kit! 

    We had a good crowd and it was evident that when the boys made a surge or a saving tackle they could hear the support.  There was a really great atmosphere and the game was played in good spirits.  Unfortunately we lost but the boys are not disheartened and really grew in confidence towards the end of the game.

    Rick Staples, PE department

  • Updates for Parents

    Parent Link to our Information System
    We have had a phenomenal interest in our new information system for parents, SIMS Learning Gateway.  200 parents have signed up so far and more applications are being received daily.

    As a quick reminder, using the system will give you access to the following information about your child:
    • Assessment grades, behaviour points, reports and attendance details.
    • Homework: this will include details of homework set, overdue, handed in on time and handed in late.  This is all colour coded to make it easy for parents to interpret.  We have only just started recording homework; we aim to have all aspects of homework recorded from January 2015 onwards.
    • Personal and contact details for parents (you will be able to update using your secure log in).

    Details of how to access this system were recently sent home to parents.  If you have not received a letter you can download a copy from our website under the Parent/Letters/Whole school letters tab.

    Please direct any questions about the system to our generic email address:

    Cashless Catering: topping up
    The top up machine located in school was designed to be used for emergencies and occasional use only. It appears that an increasing number of students are bringing cash into school on a daily basis; this is resulting in queues at break and lunchtimes.  Can I please encourage parents to top up their child’s catering accounts online; this method is more secure and avoids the need to give cash to students.  If anyone needs any advice or support in setting up, or making an online payment, please contact our finance office:

    Julie Prince, School Business Manager

  • Maths Drop-in Clinic every Thursday

    Please can the Mathematics department remind all students that there is a drop-in clinic for any maths queries or homework help every Thursday at 2.40pm.

    The Maths Team

  • Textiles Club

    Year 8s decided to have a break from our bird themed work this week and make3D snowflakes at Craft Club!

    Textiles for Year 7s after Christmas – Tuesdays after School

    Year 7: don’t forget if you have a flair for Art and would like to use materials in your artwork, come along and give your name to Mrs Kelly in the General Office.

  • DofE News

    Students attended a DofE evening at King Edward School on the 27th November to celebrate completing their Bronze Award.  This was a lovely event with a number of students who had left the school over the last couple of years turning up to receive their certificates.  Mr Griffiths, Miss Turner, Mr Champney and Mrs Murphy were there to support and congratulate the students and helped hand out the certificates. 

    Over thirty students have completed their Bronze Award; we hope they will go on to complete their Silver or even their Gold Awards.

    Many of our students currently doing their DofE bronze are well under way with completing the different sections of the award although some still need to log in and upload their evidence.  Students in Year 11 who have yet to log in to their eDofE account may need to see Mrs Murphy in the general office in order for her to reactivate their account.  Activities can only be backdated three months so students should complete the section of their bronze award promptly before it expires.

    Our current Year 10 students should be working on completing the final touches to their Powerpoint or the filming of their qualifying expedition.  When finished they will hold a presentation evening so that parents to see what they got up to while out in the New Forest! A letter will be sent out once a date has been set.
    On 15th December we will be having a Year 9 assembly to talk about the Duke of Edinburgh award.  Students already doing the DofE will talk about their experiences so that the Year 9s know what to expect if they decide to take part.  Any who wish to enrol will need to collect a letter for parents to complete and return together with the fee. 

    Jenny Murphy, DofE Coordinator

  • Paris 2015

    Thank you to those who have paid the full amount for the trip.  The balance was due last week so please make any final payments as soon as possible.  A reminder that the total cost is £340.

    Passport information was also due in November – there are a few still missing.  If you son or daughter has their own passport, we simply require a photocopy so we know it is valid for the visit.  The other option is to travel on a collective passport – we require information for this as soon as possible.  Two recent passport photos are needed along with the completed nationality form sent home in October.  Please see me for a copy if you no longer have this.

    All students require an EHIC, available for free at:
    Please order this as soon as possible of you do not have one for your son or daughter.

    We intend to have a parents' information evening early in the new year (provisionally planned for Thursday, 8th January from 6-7pm in the school hall). We will confirm this (or a different date) in writing before Christmas.  We will go through the itinerary, some of the logistics and you will get to see and meet the staff going on the trip.  You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

    We look forward to seeing you all.

    Mr Perry and the Paris Team

  • Carol Concert, Wednesday 17th December

    The 2014 Upper Shirley High Carol Concert is rapidly approaching and I would like to extend a warm welcome to all.  The concert will be held at St James’ Church at 6pm on Wednesday 17th December. Students, parents and staff from across USH are taking part and it would be wonderful to see you. Friends and family are all invited and there will be no entrance fee.  Refreshments will be provided at the end of the evening.  I look forward to seeing you there.

    Philip Griffiths, Head of Music

  • RM Books School Online eBook Library

    The USH Library and its team have now launched the RM Books school online eBook library.

    RM Books is an educational tool to help support raising attainment, particularly in literacy.  By using a modern approach to reading, students can find eBooks more engaging and easier to access than their physical counterpart.

    There are five iPad minis that can be used by students during break and lunch to read the eBooks they have borrowed using the online system.  However any device with an internet connection can be used and at any time, in school or away.

    For more information and to obtain logon details students should contact one of the school librarians.

  • Library Book Sale

    To celebrate the return to normal opening hours of the Library after the Year 11 Mock Exams, we shall be having a grand book sale. 

    A huge variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction, will be for sale all at the amazing price of 10p each! Students, come and bag yourself a bargain!

  • Awards for our Former Students

    We were pleased to see two of our former students, Max Wrigley and George Bligdon, win awards at Richard Taunton College Presentation Evening.

    Congratulations to Max who won the prize for Science and Maths and to George, Sportsman of the Year. 

  • Poppy Appeal

    USH raised a total of £149.01 for the British Legion Poppy Appeal this year.

  • Please respect our neighbours when dropping off students

    We ask that you respect that this is a residential area when dropping off or collecting students from the school by keeping car radio volumes turned down.  Thank you.

  • Vacancy for a Caretaker and Exam Invigilators

    We are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic Caretaker as soon as possible to join our experienced site team. This 37 hour week post involves an afternoon and evening working pattern to accommodate the needs of the school and its lettings schedule.

    Upper Shirley High prides itself on the cleanliness and tidiness of the site and is looking to appoint a reliable caretaker who has held a previous physical position (i.e. handyman, caretaker, decorator, carpenter, labourer).  Previous school based experience would be desirable.
    This is an exciting opportunity for a courteous, helpful and pleasant individual with a proactive ‘can do’ approach. The successful candidate will work under the direction of the Site Manager and will be responsible for securing the school site at the end of the day.

    Annual Salary: £15,207-£19,742 (depending on experience)

    We are also seeking to employ an additional number of Exam Invigilators on casual contracts to grow our regular team.  We are looking for individuals who can promote a supportive atmosphere for our students so that they achieve their best.

    Our pool of exam invigilators  are required at various times throughout the year; however the two main periods are during the mocks exams (November/December) and during the summer term (May to June).

    We are looking to appoint people with an educational background or an interest in education. Applications are welcome from people with experience, but training will be provided. Applicants should have a calm, authoritative manner with a ‘natural presence’.  You must be punctual, reliable, a good communicator, and have a flexible attitude to work.

    Duties include laying out stationery, observation, checking attendance, collecting scripts and liaising with candidates and examinations staff to resolve queries. This will require standing and walking around for up to two hours at a time.   The rate of pay is £8 per hour.

    A full job description and application form for both positions can be downloaded from our website under the ‘Staff’ section.

  • Used Postage Stamps

    I am collecting used postage stamps for the Royal National Institute of the Blind charity.  Please bring stamps into Reception. 

    Stamps (UK and foreign) should be removed from envelopes, leaving a 1cm border all round.  Many thanks.

    Lesley Cookson, Receptionist

  • 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.

  • 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

    Thursday 11th December – whole school Careers Day
    Wednesday 17th December – 6pm, Christmas Carol Concert, St James Church
    Thursday 18th December – Christmas lunch for students; school breaks up for Christmas holidays at 2.40pm
    Monday 5th January 2015 – school reopens for Spring Term

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

    Dates of parents’ evenings:
    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 10th March – Year 7 parents’ evening 1 (*as a result of feedback USH has given an additional earlier opportunity for Year 7 parents to come and meet teachers)
    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 2
    Tuesday 30th June – New intake parents’ induction evening