USH Newsletter

26th February 2016

  • Message from Mr Woods

    We continue to work on improving our school and I am proud of the observations Ofsted made in their recent visit. I hope you have the time to read the report (following the link below) and permit me to highlight the comments which I feel reflect our ethos:

    “You are very ambitious for the success of pupils and staff here and you drive improvement strongly and securely.  You are supported in this by a strong senior team and effective middle leaders.  ‘Learning without Limits’ is the clear message, and the expectation of all.”

    “Learning is promoted strongly.’’

    “The academy benefits from being part of a local multi-academy trust.  You particularly value the close links this gives the academy with its community.”

    Pupils feel challenged and stretched and say that many of their teachers are ambitious for them.  This inculcates positive attitudes to learning and to examination success.”

    “All pupils are aware of their target grades and use this information to steer their learning.”

    Finally, before I sign off, I’d like to take opportunity to congratulate our Rock Challenge winners; very well done.

  • Rock Challenge Success!

    We had an amazingly successful start to the week - our Rock Challenge team came first on Monday evening and we are all looking forward to their next performance in Portsmouth on June 23rd.  Watch out on the website for further details.
    Here are some quotes from the children who took part:

    “Waiting for the awards and going on stage was exhilarating and nerve wracking, but once it was over, I loved every second of it. I was really shocked when we won and overwhelmed with how well our school had done.  I am looking forward to the next stage and seeing all the other schools that we are competing against”

    “It was an amazing experience.  I am really proud that we came first and that we won loads of awards.  I met new people and we worked really well as a team.  I am really looking forward to performing again in June!”

    “It was a really fun experience and I enjoyed it a lot”

    “My experience was amazing; I met so many people and had so much fun!"

  • Year 10 History WW1 Battlefields Tour

    Year 10 History students recently participated in a two night, three day tour of the WW1 Battlefields in Belgium and France. The students were brilliant and represented USH fantastically throughout. They engaged with the many sites we visited, asked lots of insightful questions and made the most of the experience.

    The first stop on our tour was Lijssenthoek Cemetery, which is the second largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium due to the nearby casualty clearing station. Here students were able to explore graves of all nationalities, rank and regiment, including Nellie Spindler, a nurse who died as a result of a shell explosion saving others at the front. We then drove beside the old railway line the 14km to the front line trenches, where students were able to visualise what the war was like thanks to the many artefacts at Hooge Crater museum. Here students put on their wellies for the first time to explore actual preserved trenches. Being in the trenches in the cold and mud surrounded by two massive mine craters and concrete machine bunkers gave the students a grim idea of what soldiers had to go through on both sides.

    Back at the hotel, students enjoyed their first evening with a friendly game of ten-pin bowling before rising early the next morning to cross the border into France and to the numerous cemeteries and sites which commemorate the Battle of the Somme. On route we visited the largest French military cemetery, Notre Dame de Lorette. The 40,057 casualties buried here are a stark reminder of the massive sacrifice made by the French. Students were taken back by the rows and rows of crosses and the diversity of the Muslim graves for the Moroccan division.

    As we travelled along the front line of the Somme students explored the many memorial sites and cemeteries in honour of the fallen from different countries around the world. One highlight was when we all came together to have a group photo under the epic Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. Another was students going over the top at the very spot the Lancashire Fusiliers did on the 1st July 1916. Being confronted by a cemetery just as they entered No Man’s powerfully summed up how little the Fusiliers made it as a result of the German machine guns waiting on the ridge. We walked up to the ridge and around to Newfoundland Park where students stood by the death tree and listened to an account of a soldier from the Newfoundland division who describes the harrowing experiences of soldiers trying to make it through the only gap in the barb wire. 

    In the evening the students took part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, a nightly tradition for the missing British Empire soldiers going back to 1927. Finally students were rewarded for their efforts throughout the day with a visit to the local chocolate shop.

    On the final day, the students explored In Flanders Fields Museum dedicated to the hugely significant role Ypres played in the war. We then visited Tyne Cot, the largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Here we came together under the cross of sacrifice, Hamish Hannah and Lara Williams laid our USH wreath and Tom Hayter and Rachel King read the Ode of Remembrance as we all shared a minute silence to pay our respects and reflect on what we had experienced. We then visited Langemark, one of only four German cemeteries in the Flanders region, and students were immediately struck by the sombre contrast.

    Now on our way back to Calais, we stopped at the town of Poperinge, a place behind the frontlines where British soldiers could relax and be human again. Here, students were faced with the difficult concept of the ‘Death’ cells where British soldiers were imprisoned and in rare cases shot at dawn for serious civilian crimes and military crimes such as cowardice.

    Even with the delayed Eurotunnel coming home, Year 10 arrived back at USH in great spirits. I would like to thank them and Miss Turner, Miss House and Mr Bhardwaj for making this such a memorable trip. I would also like to thank colleagues back at USH who supported the trip and made sure everything ran smoothly. The students really were a credit to our school and I was extremely proud of them.

    Mr Farley
    Subject Leader for History 

  • World Book Day

    World Book Day is nearly here!

    Here at USH we love books and reading, so we are planning a series of events to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March.  To start the day, there will be a book quiz for tutor groups, with prizes for the winning group. Part of the Library will be transformed into a special Book Stall for the day, run by the Librarians. In English lessons, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 will each be given a free £1 book token which they will be able to exchange for a specially-published World Book Day book at our Book Stall. Of course, students may choose to spend their token at any participating Book Shop, where they can use it in part-payment for any book. All week, students will be encouraged to be detectives by trying to discover the favourite books of various teachers, with prizes for the winners.

    On Friday 4th March, we are excited to welcome the award-winning children’s author Morris Gleitzmann to talk to our Year 7 students about the process of writing, reading and publishing. Morris has written over thirty-five books, and is an author with whom many of our students will be familiar, having written titles such as Extra Time, Belly Flop and the Once series. If you wish, there will be an opportunity for students to purchase one of Morris’s books, which will be signed by him on the day.

  • BBC School Report Day

    Year 9 Film Studies Students and the USH TV Crew are continuing their preparations for BBC School Report Day which is coming up on March 10th. Before half term, the Year 9 group worked incredibly hard to produce a ten-minute live news broadcast using a multiple camera set up that required a lot of co-ordination and thinking on the spot. The team worked really well to keep the show going, despite some technical hitches (which we are now ironing out) and we are now getting ready for the “real thing”. The students are also working on their interview technique and developing the skills needed to produce the show. Visit the web page to see the report we produced in 2013 and do return on the 10th when our 2016 report will go live at 4pm.

  • Looking for a pathway into teaching?

    Looking for a pathway into teaching?

    'A teacher affects eternity; you never know when your influence stops'. This profound quote by Henry Adams is perfectly true and should be experienced to be fully understood. Teaching changes children’s lives and is supremely rewarding.
    Upper Shirley High (members of Wildern Partnership SCITT) is delighted to offer salaried training placements in English, Maths and Science for next academic year (2016/17). In collaboration with the highly rated Wildern SCITT programme, USH offers a tailor-made experience which brings out the best in each trainee; preparing you fully to begin your career in teaching. Our school is welcoming and nurturing (the local school of choice) and you will be mentored and advised by committed caring professionals. Salary arrangements for next academic year have yet to be confirmed by the DfE but you will be paid on the unqualified teacher scale as you train (current training payments are in the region of £16,000).

    To find out more the SCITT programme go to:

    To attend one of our school experience sessions, please contact for more details.

  • Headlice Advice

    Please be aware that, as in all schools, we have occasional outbreaks and it is still a really good idea to regularly check your child's hair.  Wet combing is the most effective method, but there is a lot of very useful advice on the NHS website (please see the link below); it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms.

  • Used Postage Stamps

    Many thanks to those of you who have sent in your used postage stamps. Four packages of them have already been sent to the RNIB to fund Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Please continue to give your stamps to Reception in order for us to continue helping in this way.  A 1cm border should be left around the stamps when they are removed from the envelopes.