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USH Newsletter 16th January 2015


A belated Happy New Year to you.

Welcome back.

I commend the work of our staff and congratulate students on our Celebrating Reading event. Many of our Year 8 students are now published authors as a result of this opportunity…an amazing achievement. Well done.

I have two introductions to make this term, Mrs Floyd (Deputy Head) and Mrs Tearle (Teaching and Numeracy Consultant) who join us with an impressive track record in student achievement, welcome to USH and I look forward to seeing the impact you will have on our community.

Stuart Woods, Headteacher
“My previous school was Wildern in Hedge End where I had numerous roles that developed students into exceptional and skilful learners who achieved amazing results. I believe passionately in the potential of each individual within the USH community and believe that there are no barriers to learning and achievement but simply challenges that can be overcome through excellent teaching.  I am incredibly excited to continue my learning journey and professional development at USH and have been made to feel very welcome by students, staff and parents. I look forward to meeting many more over the coming months.”
Aimee Floyd, Deputy Head

“I have been given the opportunity to join the team at Upper Shirley High for two terms as a Teaching and Numeracy Consultant.  This is really exciting, as I believe passionately in every child’s potential to learn, and in their right to be challenged and to feel a sense of achievement, and this ethos is reflected at Upper Shirley High.  As Deputy Head at Shirley Juniors I led assessment across the school, and I feel I have a range of experience and skills in this area that can be of benefit at Upper Shirley High.  Maths has always been one of my passions and I am very much looking forward to teaching it here.  I enjoy the challenge of making it fun, engaging and relevant to children, particularly those who feel that it is hard – I am on a mission to change their minds!

I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again (both children and parents!) and getting to know some new ones.”
Jo Tearle, Teaching and Numeracy Consultant

USH Carol Concert, December 2014

The church sat quietly in anticipation, waiting for the first organ note.  The choir of students, ex-students, parents and staff stood poised and ready.  A moment later and the introduction of ‘And the Glory of the Lord’, from Handel’s Messiah, had finally begun.  This piece, of somewhat epic proportion, had encapsulated the hearts and minds of the choir for many months and now, at the Upper Shirley High carol concert, the time had come to perform.

Each year Upper Shirley High takes over St James’ Parish church for two days in order to prepare for a very special concert, and this year was no exception.  The 2014 carol concert saw performances from the choir, orchestra, boys’ choir, brass band, a cappella choir and a massed choral ensemble for the school’s most impressive concert to date.

The dedication from all involved was clear from the outset of ‘O Come all Ye Faithful’ right until the end of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, with particular highlights coming from the boys’ choir’s rendition of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and the harp solo of ‘Canon in D’.  The packed congregation were in full voice for the carols and gave a thunderous round of applause at the end but, for many, the pinnacle point in the evening came from a piece by the late, great, George Frideric Handel.  The opening solo alto line showed no sense of nervousness and the first combination of all of the voices showed that this was a choir to be reckoned with.  As the complex musical lines weaved together in wonderful polyphony the choir fully embodied the joyful mood of the piece and shared it with the church. The rising soprano lines were confidently sung and helped to lead the piece forward and, as the tenors and basses raced towards the final cadence, only one thing remained.  To pause and reflect on what had been achieved by an outstanding group of musicians.  The final perfectly plagal cadence signalled the end of months of dedicated work and the most musical of performances.  It was nothing short of superb!

Phil Griffiths, Head of Music

Year 8 Christmas Lecture and Science Magic Show

Just before Christmas  twelve Year 8 students had a very enjoyable trip. We spent the afternoon at Southampton University where we were treated to a Christmas lecture on Biology and Chemistry.

A PhD student told us all about her research into neurobiology and how she was investigating Alzheimer’s and dementia and how it impacts brain function. The lecture was interactive and really interesting.

A chemistry PhD student then gave a lecture on big global issues and linked each one back to chemistry.

After the lectures we enjoyed a science magic show with Ian Dunne.  Ian is best described as a cross between Einstein and Doc from Back to the Future!  He is also really funny and had the audience participating in several tricks.  Highlights from the show were using a banana as a hammer, freezing a balloon puppy and smashing lettuce into pieces!

Geri Adams, Head of Science

Celebrating Reading

On Friday 9th January Year 7 and Year 8 students came together for a special assembly to celebrate reading.  At USH we have a strong reading culture: we believe that reading is one of the most powerful things we can do in our day to affect the way that we not only communicate, but also how we see the world.  It not only improves literacy, but can raise achievement in all subjects.

The assembly was held to promote a real buzz about reading and to celebrate the amazing reading successes we have seen so far this year.  Not only were there awards for individual achievements in reading and writing handed out, but staff also shared their passion for reading, with Mr Woods reading excerpts from his favourite books, and various teachers – Ms Nicklin, Mrs Moroney and Mr Davies – explaining what and why they love to read.

Year 7 and 8 students are all taking part in the Accelerated Reader scheme, and those who had met their targets for the first term were awarded certificates.  Those students in Year 8 who have had their work published in a compilation of mini-monologues were also commended.  Finally, Word Millionaire badges were awarded to Andrew Carr, Thomas Gilbert, Benji Graf, Maisy Parkes and Yasmin Sinha: they have already read over one million words on the Accelerated Reader scheme!

Year 9 CoPE Charity Week

The week beginning Monday 19th January is the Year 9 CoPE award charity week.  All money collected in will be in aid of ‘Help for Heroes’ and events will be running every day

• on Monday a Year 8 5-a-side football tournament on the astro turf
• on Tuesday a 7-a-side rugby tournament on the field for Years 7 and 8
• on Wednesday, another Year 8 5-a-side football tournament on the astro turf
• on Thursday a cake sale in the hall at break and lunch and then
• an X-box FIFA 15 tournament after school in the new build plus
• each day there will be a guess the number of sweets (in three jars) competition for house groups.

All team events will have prizes and the three jars of sweets are also up for grabs but students, you have to be in it to win it!!

Make sure you look out for posters and sign-up sheets; all events will cost 50p per person.

Rick Staples, Head of Year 9

Recycle Your Christmas Cards

The Eco Council are currently collecting Christmas cards as part of the Marks and Spencer campaign to plant a tree for every 1000 cards recycled. In order to reach their target of 1000 we need another 308 cards!  If you have Christmas cards at home that you would like to recycle please send them in to school by Thursday 22nd January.  (Cards can be given to Mrs Mawby or handed in at Reception).

Sam Mawby, Eco Council (sam.mawby@ushschool.org)

DofE Updates

With the start of the New Year we are turning our attentions to registering our current Year 9 students for the Duke of Edinburgh award.  Just before the Christmas break we held an assembly to show them what a great opportunity this can be.  A couple of our current DofE students came along to talk about their experiences and what they have gained from doing the Bronze award.  We also held a meeting on Friday 16th January to register interested students and give them the dates of training sessions.  The students enjoyed a chance to make hot chocolate on trangia burners!

Students will need to pay the £16 enrolment fee to order to register with the DofE Trust; then they will be sent a welcome book, and an activity booklet which they will need to complete and upload to the DofE website.

The preferred method of payment for this fee is through the online payment system under DofE enrolment.  However if you wish to pay by cheque please make is out to JET and return to the finance office, clearly stating the student’s name and what the payment is for.  Students will still need to complete and return their forms to me in the general office. 

Any current DofE students who have not logged into their DofE online account in the last six months may find their account has become inactive; if this is the case they should speak to me to arrange reactivation.

For Year 10, we will soon be holding a final meeting to go over the final touches to their PowerPoints and filming presentations.  A letter inviting parents in for the presentation will be sent out once a date has been set.

Jenny Murphy, DofE Coordinator

Paris 2015

Thank you to all of those who attended last week’s meeting.  If you have any follow up queries, please let me know.

A letter will be sent home for those who couldn’t attend outlining the main points addressed.

It is vital that you inform us of any medical and dietary issues, even if you think it may a minor issue.  Please send this in with your son or daughter or email me.

Finally, we have asked all students to inform us of the friendship groups they’d like to travel with on the coach.  This need not be pairs - it is friendship groups, whatever size they may be.  Please accept my apologies for not making this clear on the evening – hopefully everyone has had some time to think about this and we can do our best to accommodate everyone’s wishes.

Martin Perry  Martin.Perry@ushschool.org


The U12 and U13 league starts on 20th January at the sports centre.

Training will be on Tuesdays and Fridays up until this date; it will then continue on Fridays after school until all games are finished.

Claire Marks and Claire Sidney, PE department

Vacancy for Exam Invigilators

We are 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).  The rate of pay is £8 per hour.

Please see the full advert and details on our website www.ushschool.org under Staff/Vacancies, or click on this link http://uppershirleyhigh.org/staff_vacancies.

Donation to Naomi House

For several years some members of staff have made a £5 donation instead of sending Christmas cards to colleagues.

This Christmas we raised £110, which we will again donate to Naomi House Children’s Hospice.

Communicating with USH when your Child is Unwell

It is very important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. 

We have also installed 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. 

Otherwise you can report any absence directly to the Attendance Officer, Alison Small, on 023 8052 2721.

Thank you.

Alison Small, Attendance Officer

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 8052 2721 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.

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.

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

Dates for your Diaries

Wednesday 4th February, 7pm in library – Parent Action Group meeting
Friday 13th March, 7pm in school hall – PTFA Quiz Night, Hollywood Bollywood theme

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

Dates of parents’ evenings:
Monday 19th January 2015 – 6.30pm, Year 11 parents’ information evening: iGCSE exam
Wednesday 21st January  – 4.00-7.30pm Year 11 parents’ evening
Thursday 29th January – 4.00-7.30pm Year 9 parents’ evening
Thursday 12th February – Year 9 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 8 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