USH Newsletter

30th January 2015

  • Introduction

    Before I hand you over to our Bake-Off Special Edition Newsletter, I want to say thank you to staff and parents for dedicating so much time and effort in support of our students. In the last two weeks we have had two parents’ evenings and the feedback we’ve had has been very positive; it was wonderful to see such a good turn-out in this wintery weather.

    On our staff training day this term we focussed on developing even more ways to personalise your child’s learning and looked at how best to support literacy development across all subjects. I know that staff are keen to take this best practice into the classroom.
    Lastly, we say goodbye to Mrs Lau from the maths department. We wish her great success for the future.

    Phill Taylor, Deputy Head

  • The Great USH Bake-Off 2014-2015

    Although it will certainly be impossible to summarise and encapsulate the magic of this year’s Bake-Off with a few words and pictures I feel that for all those who were not fortunate enough to take part in or observe the event it is important that I try.

    With over 110 students signing up for taking part this year the 2014 Bake-Off was bigger and better than ever and as the names on the sign-up sheets continued to grow, so did the excitement.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank every student who signed up and all of the parents who helped provide the ingredients; without which this special event could not take place.

    With only sixteen final places available and over fifty teams, the route to the final was extremely tough.  All the bakers made an excellent account of themselves and we really could have had two finals.

    Congratulations to the students and two staff who made the finals, after having created an outstanding bake in the first round:
    Year 7:  Molly Ellis and Ema Rafiu; Holly Whyte and Millie Griffiths;  Olivia Norton and Rebecca Crawley.
    Year 8: Millie Palmer and Serena Apadoo; Ben Naylor and Oliver Young; Thomas Barbour and Allan Pope; Layla Ansell.
    Year 9: Ellen Wheatley and Emma Shutler; Finlay Forder and Jamie Mawson Sidley; Oliwia Kowalik and Matilda Bull; Alice Orr and Flo Stone.
    Year 10: Oliver Watkins and Ben Conway; Patrick Wood.
    Mixed year groups: Isaac Mitto (Year 9) and Tamsin Mitto (Year 7).
    Staff:  Sophie Dunne and Mariella De Ruiter.

    The finalists were given the final brief of ‘a show stopping celebration bake’ for any occasion and they had the Christmas holidays to ponder, create and practise in time for the final.  Once 2015 had arrived, the eve of the Great USH Bake-Off final was upon us.

    Each of the bakers knew that there was only 150 minutes between them and baking glory. On your marks, get set, BAKE!!!  A real sense of drive and purpose was tangible in the atmosphere and this really did continue throughout the final.  The variety of themes and ideas was magnificent: we had made up days (chocolate day and sweet treat day), a Disney castle, two croquembouche, red velvet hats, a controversy wedding cake, a chocolate roulade, a giant Battenberg, a giant oreo, a spring delight, piped vines and flowers, a rainbow cake, a jubilee cake, a French frazier cake, a layered ginger sponge and a chocolate cake with choux buns and sparklers in celebration of bonfire night! Quite a line-up!

    Lots of parents came in for the last hour to join in the celebration and you could really feel the tension rising as the final touches were being done and the final seconds ticked away.  As the last bits of equipment were cleared up the bakers began to assemble their final bakes on the central table and the awe and wonder began in earnest.  The results really were something to behold  and with the help of four guest judges (Mr Woods, Mrs Connolly, Miss Simpson and Mr Watts) I started the judging.  Each contestant was marked out of ten in five categories (‘wow’ factor, technicality, finish, eating experience and execution) and when the scores were checked and moderated it actually came down to just one mark.  The top five were given special recognition along with the staff winner and two other awards; the parental vote and the show stopper award.

    And now for the results of The Great USH Bake-Off 2014:

    Staff Winner: Miss De Ruiter.  A three-tiered ginger layer cake: immaculate execution and eating experience.
    Parent Vote: Molly Ellis and Ema Rafiu’s spring celebration.  A miraculous achievement for two so young to complete such a visually stunning and technically challenging bake.
    Showstopper Award:  Matilda Bull and Oliwia Kowalik’s fairy-tale castle cake with orange biscuit trees.  I defy anyone not to stop, look and enjoy this vivid and colourful baking scene.
    Joint 5th: Rebecca Crawley and Olivia Norton’s chocolate tart.  This really was pastry perfection.
    Joint 5th: Isaac and Tamsin Mitoo.  Brilliant fondant fun and a joy to eat too.
    4th: Matilda Bull and Olivia Kowlik’s fairy-tale castle cake with orange biscuit trees.
    Bronze Medal Bake: Serena Apadoo and Millie Palmer’s spring celebration cake.  A stunning and simple finish which helped us all look forward to the coming sunshine.
    Silver Medal Bake: Emma Shutler and Ellen Wheatley’s chocolate fire cake with profiteroles. This was a very strong entry which scored highly in all categories and was both a joy to see and eat.
    Gold Medal Bake: Florence Stone and Alice Orr’s Easter croquembouche.  Fun, attractive, technically brilliant and an immense treat.  Worthy of any celebration and a deserved winner of the 2014 Bake-Off title.

    Congratulations to all the specially commended bakes and winners and thank you so much to everyone who participated, contributed or helped in any way.

    I look forward to seeing you all next year for another incredible round of The Great USH Bake-Off.

    Joseph Davies, Head of Food Technology

  • Year 11 Mock Exams: Well Done Postcards

    Well done to the sixty-one Year 11 students who were recognised by the heads of department for their outstanding attitude, progress and performance in the recent mock exams.  They have all received a postcard informing them that their effort has been recognised and that they should be proud of themselves for the effort they are putting into their studies.

  • Year 8 Citizenship

    An important skill for any young person is to learn how to present their ideas to other people in order to share their views and opinion. 

    This was the challenge issued to all Year 8 Citizenship students before Christmas. They had to choose an animal that was endangered and prepare a presentation to inform others about that animal, as well as campaign for its protection. The format of the presentation was up to the student and we have seen speeches, news reports, PowerPoint presentations and quizzes enabling the students to become the teachers.

    In addition to this students had to create a prop which showed the animal.  The choice was up to them and we had  cakes, sewn cuddly toys, adoption packs and billboards.

    Year 8 should be congratulated for their hard work over this project, not only for the quality and variety of the props they created, but also for controlling their nerves and stepping up to present. For many of our students it was the first time that they had to stand up in front of their class, and ‘teach’; this required managing their nerves and finding their inner bravery.

    Suzanne Dibden, Head of RS, PSHE and Citizenship

  • Safety Online

    Safer Internet Day (SID) 2015 will be celebrated on Tuesday 10th February 2015, with the strapline of ‘Let’s create a better internet together’.

    Safer Internet Day is in February every year to promote a safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.

    In the week beginning 9th February tutors will cover how students can keep themselves safe whilst online and when using their mobiles phones.  As parents if you would like any guidance in this matter please refer to

    David Wilding, Assistant Headteacher

  • Year 9 CoPE Charity Week

    The Year 9 CoPE award charity week was a resounding success with £87 being raised for Help for Heroes.  The group showed strong teamwork and planning to ensure their events took place and the participants involved really enjoyed themselves!

    Well done team!

    Rick Staples, Head of Year 9

  • Future Olympian Trains at Upper Shirley High!

    Upper Shirley High has been pleased to support Joy Haizelden in her bid to be a member of the Great Britain basketball team at the Para Olympics in Rio 2016.  Joy lives in our community, and at just sixteen is already a member of the GB team.

    Joy has a real passion for basketball and wants to fulfil her dream to be in Rio.  She wanted to train more regularly and required a local facility and so the school offered their support by enabling her to use our basketball court.  Twice a week Joy is shooting baskets and developing her skills and fitness.

    Joy recently presented the school with a signed GB basketball vest in appreciation for our support.  She was also interviewed by the students about how wheelchair basketball differs in its rules.  She talked about her training regime and the experience of seeing different countries that playing for GB has enabled her to do.

    We would like to wish Joy every success and hope she can bring back a medal from Rio.  It is also exciting that Joy has a sister, Miriam, who is also a very talented basketball player and is working hard to follow in Joy’s footsteps.

    Peter Hadfield, Head of PE

  • A Good Start for Netball this Term

    The Year 7 and year 8 netballers had their first games last week at the sports centre.  A few parents came down to support them despite the cold weather, which was great to see.

    The Year 8s played an early game against Cantell, winning 6-1 with some excellent shooting from Erin McManus and Katie Hilliard.

    The Year 7s had a nervous start, losing their first game to Greggs 2-11, but managing a good draw against Sholing (3-3) with some great defending from Eleanor Marshall-Cox. 

    A good start for all the teams!

    Claire Marks, PE department

  • Paris 2015

    Students have chosen which friendship groups to be in on the buses to France.  These have been put on display and we’ve asked all students to check they are happy with who they are with and to see a member of staff if they aren’t.  The lists will shortly be sent to the travel company and we will apply for the collective passport: once these lists have been sent, changes to buses will not be possible.  We do not know what capacity rooms we will have until much nearer the time.  Lots of students have asked about this and while making plans is fine, we cannot assure anyone that they will be with exactly who they want.

    All students require an EHIC, available for free at:  Parents will need to fill in their information and add their child as a dependant.  Please forward these to myself or Mrs Allen in the Guidance and Achievement Office as soon as possible.

    Any queries, to me please,

  • DofE Update

    Those students interested in doing their Duke of Edinburgh award came to the first meeting on Friday 16th January; they were given a brief talk about the different sections that make up the Bronze award and how much time and commitment it requires.  The students then set up trangias and made hot chocolate for themselves!  Every Friday during the DofE meeting the students will train for the expedition part of their award.  The volunteering, physical and skills section are organised by the students themselves but if they need advice we are always here to help, or they can visit the Duke of Edinburgh award official website.

    The DofE Room (situated in the music block) has some helpful posters giving students ideas and guidance on the different sections.  I am based in the general office and will be able to help with any queries that students or parents may have.

    There is still time for students who are interested in doing their Bronze DofE award to sign up if they come and see me.  Please enclose the enrolment fee (cheques should be made out to JET) or pay online when you return the completed medical and enrolment form as we are unable to register any student until this fee is paid.

    Once students have registered they will receive a welcome book and activity booklet to complete and upload to the DofE website.

    Any students who find their eDofE account inactive will need to speak to me so that I can reactivate it. 

    A final meeting was held with Year 10 students to go over the final touches to their powerpoint and filming presentations; they will be showing these to staff after half term.

    Jenny Murphy, DofE Coordinator

  • Sainbury’s Active Kids is back!!

    The USH PE department would like to ask for your help again.

    Last year we collected over 15,000 Active Kids vouchers which helped us buy plenty of new equipment. We are asking you to help us again this year please and donate any vouchers collected between 28th January and 5th May 2015.

    Students and parents can hand in vouchers at the collection box at front reception.  If possible we would love to beat last year’s total.  Thank you for your contributions!

    USH PE department

  • 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

  • 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 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.

  • 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

    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 date for this academic year:
    Friday 20th March

    Dates of parents’ evenings:
    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