USH Newsletter

21st July 2015

  • Introduction

    Dear Parents

    A very successful term for Upper Shirley High.  We have seen five major school events delivered with panache and precision - Year 11 Prom, We Will Rock You, the JET concert, Sports Day and Awards Evening; truly a pleasure to experience.  I bid you all a final thank you for your collective efforts: staff, students and our hard-working community.  Here's to a restful summer...I am currently considering Cambodia or the Isle of Wight..... both have their distinct and authentic merits.  We are a well travelled lot at USH and I look forward to hearing your adventure stories, be they near or far.  For our retirees, may your adventures continue beyond the summer: Clare Challis, Pete Hadfield and Malcolm Bonning.  Please keep in touch.

    Stuart Woods, Headteacher

  • We Will Rock You/JET Proms

    We Will Rock You

    This has been an exciting half term for the music department with two of the largest performances the school has ever seen – We Will Rock You and the JET Proms 2015 helped to finish the year on a high.

    We Will Rock You saw students from across all year groups come together to perform at The Point Theatre in what was the most fantastic school musical to date. The rehearsals had taken many months and the final production combined on stage acting with projected visuals and video links, along with some excellent singing and dancing. The live pit band (raised above the cast on stage!) excelled once again, with some exceptionally challenging guitar solos.

    The show went from strength to strength as the week went on and the final performance was one in which we all felt a great sense of elation. The standing ovation at the end was a fitting testament to the quality of a production; that was only possible with the dedication from all involved.  The singing of ‘We Are The Champions’ from cast, crew and audience was not only a moving experience, but one that I shall remember for many years to come.

    JET Proms

    The JET Proms is an opportunity for students from across all schools in the Jefferys Education Trust to come together for a fantastic evening of musical performances. The evening started with a massed choir performance of ‘I’m Still Singing’ with students from every school joining together to vocalise their love of singing.

    Each school went on to perform individual pieces from choirs and orchestras with the USH Orchestra performing highlights from the (somewhat epic) Phantom of the Opera. One of my personal favourites at the JET Proms is the Staff/Parent choir, which has now expanded to include ex-students, who will always be welcome in the music department. This year the choir had doubled in size and had two rehearsals to prepare ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’. Their wonderful rendition of this Jazz classic continued to demonstrate that music really is for all.

    The first half finished with all of the orchestras from the JET joining together to play ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ by Edvard Grieg. The second half opened with the USH choir supporting the infant school performances before giving a joyful rendition of the Gospel song ‘I Smile’ by Kirk Franklin.

    As the evening drew to a close the stage filled with all of the vocalists from the evening. Students, staff, parents and ex-students all stood together to sing a song composed specifically for this concert. ‘Dawning’ is about moving towards your dreams, taking it step by step and remembering that it’s never too late to start. The chorus reads:
     This is the dawning, of a new generation
     This is the dawning, and here we come
     This is the dawning, of a new generation
     And now I’ll sing my, now I’ll sing my, now I’ll sing my song

    Phil Griffiths, Head of Music

  • The Sun Shone as Year 11 Students Shine at the 2015 Leavers Prom

    On Thursday 25th June, staff and students enjoyed a fantastic evening of food, music and entertainment at the Ageas Bowl to celebrate Year 11 finishing their time at USH.

    120 students and 50 staff were in attendance in glorious sunshine for the event which most students had been looking forward to for years.  It was amazing to see the efforts that the students went to with their appearance, with a fantastic array of dresses, prom suits and elegant finery on display.

    The evening began with the arrival of students in fancy traditional and non-traditional modes of transport, this year including two students on the back of a sailing boat being pulled along by a van!  Photographs were taken and then it was onto welcome drinks (exotic fruit cocktails) and a first opportunity tosee  the inside of the venue and the décor.

    The main atrium was awash with skilfully created paper pompoms, uplighters, helium balloons and flower arrangements - a very tasteful and fitting arrangement for such an event.

    Food was provided in the form of a two course formal dinner.  Judging by the number of empty plates and the feedback received, the food choices obviously went down well…especially the warm chocolate brownie and salted caramel ice cream desert!

    After dinner it was time for the students (and some staff) to dance the night away, tuck into the amazing chocolate fountain, have a picture drawn by the caricaturist and photos taken with friends.  It was great to see all the students enjoy what was their final farewell to their time at USH and their behaviour was impeccable – something that was commented on by the staff at the Ageas Bowl.

    As 11 o’clock drew in, it was time to wish the students a safe journey home and reflect on what had been a brilliant night for all involved. Special thanks go to the Ageas Bowl for their hospitality and attention to detail, the prom committee and finally to Helen Hudson and Claire Naylor for all of their efforts with helping to organise and give the students the Prom that they deserved.

    We wish all of Year 11 a very happy summer holiday and we look forward to welcoming them back on results day: Thursday 20th August from 10am -12pm.

    Kieron Hall , Head of Year 11

  • Aviators Flying High!

    Sports day was a huge success last Tuesday with an exciting competition between the four house teams. We were fortunate to witness some excellent performances in both track and field events.  The team results were Aviators 1st, Venturers 2nd, Mariners 3rd and Engineers 4th.

    The Victrix Ludorum trophies were awarded to Eleanor Marshall-Cox, Freya Barfoot, Georgia O’Dell, Isabelle Bennett and Adele Walker and  the Victor Ludorum winners were Ewan Haylor, Luke Halford, Leon Longhurst, Daniils Stakanovs and Callum Read.

    The PE department would like to congratulate every student and the many staff who participated with passion and determination.

    Peter Hadfield, Head of PE

  • Arts Award 2015

    During this academic year, Year 7 Students have had an opportunity to complete a four part project in their timetabled rotation time.  Some students have used the rest of the year to perfect and develop their projects in order to be entered for certification.  On Wednesday 15th July a visiting moderator joined us for the morning to validate passed Arts Award portfolios. In the photo is a selection of some of the students with the moderator who passed their Bronze Arts Award.

    Andrew Carr said, “I enjoyed attending a cinema viewing, but also reviewing it and reflecting upon the different Art forms involved. It gave a different experience to attending the cinema and a strong appreciation for film.” 
    Milo Bullock: “Teaching someone else a musical instrument was challenging.  My planning changed throughout the process, but it was rewarding when they got it right.  Now I know what it is like to be a teacher.” 
    Tamsin Mitto: “I saw my brother complete the award last year and was looking forward to doing it myself.”

    This Award allows students to:
    • Develop an appreciation or understanding and knowledge of a new or different Art form. They develop skills and overcome challenges, discover a love for and try  something new that they had never thought of doing.
    • Attend an Arts event and write a review to share with others.  As well as providing a strong literacy element to this, students were able to experience a range of different arts events. They were also able to develop a skill in reviewing and reflecting on an event.
    • Research into an Arts inspiration, discovering new facts and exploring different ways of researching.
    • Share a skill: to develop and be confident in teaching another a skill by planning a lesson, reflecting on the process and receiving feedback.  Students found this part challenging but a rewarding experience as they helped someone else achieve.
    • Develop their independence skills to complete work outside of timetabled lessons.

    During the process the students explored and developed many of the life relating skills of the ‘Habits of Mind’ especially: taking responsible risks, listening with understanding and empathy, remaining open to continuous learning, persisting, creating, innovating and imagining, questioning and posing problems and, most importantly, responding with awe and wonderment.

    The moderator commented that their portfolio work was unique, beautifully presented and commended the students for their individuality, chosen Art form routes and overall commitment to the Arts Award project.

    I would like to congratulate all those who passed the award.  Any current Year 7 who would like to complete the award and be entered in the next round should see Miss Kirk while I am on maternity leave.

    Jo Moroney, Subject Lead for Drama

  • Ogden Trust Science Quiz

    Upper Shirley High was the host school for the Ogden Trust Science Quiz 2015 on Tuesday 7th July.  There were eight teams entered, two from Brookfield School, two from St Anne's, two from King Edward VI’s and of course two from USH.

    The quiz had a variety of themed question rounds, ranging from Science in the news to model making to Science and music!

    The winning team was from King Edward's; USH came 4th missing out on third place by one point.  Our school teams consisted of Oliwia Kowalik, Tamsin Mittoo, Lucy Barlow, Katie Hilliard, Abbie Goldstraw, Mathilda Bull, Benji Graf, Isaac Mittoo, Luke Halford, Ben Naylor and Chesty Mundappally.

    This was the first ever quiz for the Ogden Trust and owing to the success we hope to run it every year.

    Claire Hodgson, Second in Science department

  • Southampton Sports Awards Winners

    Last week we went to the Guildhall with some of our students  to collect all of our trophies from the year's success: a great evening and as you can see, we picked up a lot of awards.

    PE department

  • Congratulations

    Well done to the 61 Year 7 and 101 Year 9 students who have received achievement postcards for outstanding attitudes to learning and exceeding their progress target.

    Congratulatory postcards for 75 Year 10 students will be found in the envelope with their report.

    As a school we are very proud of the enthusiasm and effort that these students have shown.

  • Primary Arts Festival 2015

    Year 5 pupils from Hollybrook Junior and Shirley Junior came to USH for the day on Monday to create beautiful pieces of artwork.  They really showed off their talents and enjoyed the drawing and printing based on the theme of fruit.

    • “I am very impressed with the standard of art skills in this group of Year 5 students. They really showed enthusiasm“, said Mrs Cadle from the Art department at USH.
    • Harvey Whyte, Year 5:  “I thought the art day was fantastic and my favourite part was sketching and also the warm up sketching (1 minute, 2 minute without taking your pencil off, left hand and eyes closed).”
    • Sian, Year 5: “I wish we could do this day again because the printing was fun and I would like to practise my orange drawing.  Also it has inspired me to be an artist even more.”
    • Eden, Year 5: “Today was great! I loved the printing best! I can’t wait to move to this school for Year 7 (only if we do stuff like this in Art!) It was something new to try and I’m so glad I tried it!”

  • Richard Taunton College Founders Day Awards

    The annual Richard Taunton College Founders Day Awards Ceremony took place on 9th July and the achievements of five former students from Upper Shirley High School were celebrated.

    Nathan Hack (Head Boy 2012-13) was awarded the College Award for Music and Performing Arts while Oliver Hack (House Captain for Venturers 2012-13) won the Southampton Solent University Festival of Music and Sound Award.  Kate Ramsden (Head Girl 2012-13) received the College Award for English, Languages and Film and Will Laybourne (House Captain for Mariners 2012-13) was presented with the Southampton City Council Academy Award for his work in Science and Maths.  All the students received individual citations praising their infectious enthusiasm and inspirational commitment to their studies and they look forward to progressing to university.

    In addition Oliver Bromby received the Southampton Solent University Award for Sports Excellence. With a personal best of 6.79 seconds in the 60 metres sprint he hopes to represent the country at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa later this year.  Pictured from left to right are Nathan Hack, Will Laybourne and Oliver Hack.

  • Patchwork Club

    Patchwork Club started last November and a total of ten Year 7 and 8 girls came along at the start.  The idea was to teach them the traditional skill of patchwork and to use a pattern to form a panel made from 25 squares which would finally transform into a cushion.  This is a long process and I knew some would get bored!  As the school year went along the number did drop down to four members and now to end the school year we finally have one finished cushion… Well done Abby! 

    Sandy Kelly, Information Officer

  • Parenting Pre-Teens and Teenagers: Workshops for Parents

    In the Autumn Term we are hosting four Parent Workshops on the subject of parenting pre-teens and teenagers.  The sessions will be led by Lorraine Lee, a Child Psychology Specialist.  They will be offered free to all USH Parents.  Spaces are limited, so please click on the links below for the session/s that you are interested in.

    Session One - Tuesday 15th September: Understanding The Adolescent & Teenage Brain

    Session Two - Tuesday 20th October: Adolescent & Teenage Boys Development

    Session Three - Tuesday 17th November: Adolescent & Teenage Girls Development

    Session Four - Monday 14th December: Managing Anger & Strong Emotions

  • Paris 2015

    Thanks to parents who have paid the final balance and have returned all paperwork to do with passports and dietary requirements.  Anyone that hasn’t submitted this information or paid the final amount risks losing their child’s place and any monies paid so far.  The collective passport has been applied for so we can no longer add anyone to this.

    After the summer holidays, we will be requesting an EHIC card from each student.  Parents need to apply as the main applicant and include information for their child as a dependant.  Without this card, any medical treatment needed in France will have to be paid for by parents.  Use the following link:

    In October, we will be requesting all passports be brought in and put in the school safe.  A member of staff will be responsible for these during the visit and they will be returned when we get back to the UK.  We will also provide a detailed itinerary along with emergency contact numbers.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch,

  • School Uniform

    Thank you to parents and families for your support of uniform this academic year.

    This is a polite reminder regarding our uniform expectations which can be seen under the Parents button/ Uniform on our school website or by clicking on this link:

  • School Meal Prices from September 2015

    The price of school meals will rise slightly in September: please check the School Meals section under the Parents button of our website for an up-to-date list

  • Part-time Kitchen Assistants

    Our school kitchen requires two additional assistants to work for 10 hours a week from 12.15 to 2.15pm.  The pay is £6.50 an hour.

    If you are interested please telephone the Head of Kitchen, Carl Galdins, on 07989 443904.

  • Dates for Your Diaries

    Dates for Autumn Term 2015:
    Tuesday 1st September – Inset day
    Wednesday 2nd September – Year 11 and Year 7 return to school at 8.30am
    Thursday 3rd September – Years 8, 9 and 10 return to school at 8.30am
    Saturday 26th September – 9am to 1pm, Open Morning

    School Closure/Inset Days for 2015/2016 Academic Year:
    Tuesday 1st September 2015
    Friday 18th December 2015
    Friday 12th February 2016
    Friday 18th March 2016
    Monday 27th June 2016

  • Staff Farewells

    Please read on if you would like to know what a difference USH made to those staff moving on this summer:

    “The staff and students of Upper Shirley High have been a part of my extended family for the past three years.  Over this time my work has been about developing people. I have spent time with incredible people, all who possess the energy, talent, and loyalty to accomplish great things.  It is the people that makes USH so special and so successful. I hope that my work will make a difference to the USH community.  Every member of staff goes the extra mile for our children: our children are our focus and remain in expert hands.  I am sad to leave, but I hope to remain in touch and become part of the wonderful USH alumni.“
    Tasnim Curtis, Assistant Headteacher

    “I started at Bellemoor in January 2001, and for the last 15 years have been a part of the school’s transition to USH, and the growth in the education it offers the young people of the community.  I have had the opportunity to work with a superb team in the Physical Education department and with some outstanding students; being able to support and help so many individuals with their sporting achievements has given me a great deal of satisfaction.  I have so many memories to look back on, and remember students who have progressed to represent the school, the City, the County and even their Country.  The School for the last 2 years has been voted as the Southampton Sports School of the Year, this gave the PE team considerable pride in their achievements. After 37 years of teaching PE, I have made the difficult decision that it is time for me to retire.  I know that I am going to miss the students and the staff at USH. However, this time in my life will now allow me to attend many sporting events and be a good Grandad! I would like to thank all the students that I have taught over the last 15 years for their application, and parents for their support. I wish you all good luck in the future.”
    Pete Hadfield, Head of PE

    “It is evenings like ‘We Will Rock You’ and the JET Proms that remind me of what it means to be a music teacher. To share the love of music with those around me is a gift that I shall always cherish.  As I make my departure from USH I must take a moment to say thank you to all of those staff, students, parents and friends who have supported the music department over the past three years.  It has been an immense journey with some exceptional highs and I have memories that I shall hold dear for the rest of my life. One never knows where life may lead and so I shall wish you all the best, until the next time we may meet.”
    Phil Griffiths, Head of Music

    “I joined the then Bellemoor Boys School in September 1987 (just before the huge storm, or hurricane, if you remember that!)  After working in industry and other public services, I have found education the most interesting by far and in all that time (28 years) no two days have ever been the same!  Now retirement beckons but I will never be able to ‘walk away’; I will still be following the fortunes of USH very closely and the memories will always be stored in my heart.  I leave with my very best to you all.”
    Clare Challis, Headteacher’s PA

    “Retirement Beckons: it is with some sadness that I have decided to pack away my tools and retire. It has been a real pleasure to be part of a school which has such dedicated and professional staff who work together as a team to make sure each student has the opportunity to reach their full potential.  I would like to thank everyone for their friendship and support and I wish them every success in the future.
    Malcolm Bonning, Technology Technician (nearly retired)

    “It is with great sadness that I leave USH this summer. I started in September 2008 as a University student and now leave as a member of a community and school family. There hasn’t been a single day I haven’t grown as a professional and an individual. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the success story of the school and PE department and see USH go from strength to strength. I know this will continue and I wish everyone the best of luck in the next step of the journey. Look after each other and take care.”
    Claire Sidney, Head of Girls PE

    “Upper Shirley High has formed the entirety of my teaching career so far.  It is where I completed my PGCE training, and where I have spent my first three qualified years in the profession.  As such, almost everything I am as a teacher has been formed by the staff and students at this school, and for this I am truly grateful.  When I first started out, I would never in a million years have imagined this year ending having just performed in a production of ‘We Will Rock You’ and a final Duke of Edinburgh weekend. However, here I am (utterly exhausted!)  I have built (what I hope are) lifelong friendships with members of staff, had experiences with students that will never leave me, and I am leaving these behind with a heavy heart.  I would also like to thank every parent and student for every single “Thank You” I have ever received; please believe me, it has been my absolute pleasure.”
    Stephen Champney, Second in Maths department

    “Whilst at USH I have most enjoyed being a tutor to an amazing group of students and would like to wish them the very best of luck for the rest of their time at school. I have also had the privilege of being Lead Tutor for Venturers house which has been a fantastic experience: I will miss you all.”
    Sarah Baillie, Modern Languages teacher

    “I have really enjoyed my time at USH and with the fantastic English department, who made me feel welcome and part of the team from the moment I arrived. I have worked with some really fantastic colleagues and students and I feel very privileged to have been able to learn from and with them. Thank you everyone.”
    Claire Macnamara, English department

    “Upper Shirley High offers lots of different thing to its students – we help students academically and push them towards fulfilling their potential.  But this just touches the surface of what the school is about.  Upper Shirley High does so much more than that; it supports students in difficult times whether they are struggling with a subject or having issues outside of school: Upper Shirley High understands.  We take the issues into account and support out students, no matter what.  This is the mark of an outstanding school.  Upper Shirley High is like a family and we never leave someone behind.  When you send your child to Upper Shirley High, you know that they are getting the individual care and attention that they need to help them succeed in life.”
    Matthew Watts, Lead Mentor and support to Catering