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USH Newsletter 17th February 2017

The Little Mermaid

The school production of The Little Mermaid Jr was a real success because of our talented students. The students have worked incredibly hard since September and their energy, commitment and enthusiasm made the show very special. All students involved were fantastic and a real credit to the school. I am very proud of what they achieved throughout the process. This also applies to the students that worked behind the scenes with hair and make-up, choreography, the making of the costumes, backstage crew, wardrobe and lighting. The show was a real team effort. I am grateful to have worked with such wonderful young people. 

What made the production special was the community spirit that was evident during the entire process. This involvement and spirit was crucial to the success of the show. A plethora of parents were involved with the making of costumes, helping with hair and make-up and ushering throughout the evening performances. A large number of staff helped out and showed their support during show week. I would like to thank everyone involved. 

Janine Kirk

Year 10 History WW1 Battlefields Trip

Year 10 History students recently participated in a two night, three day tour of the WW1 Battlefields in Belgium and France. The students were fantastic and it was a great experience for all involved. Here is an overview of what the students got up to. 

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. A new feature at the museum was the reconstruction of part of a German front-line trench. 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. 

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. Students were then rewarded for their efforts during the first day with a visit to a local chocolate shop.

Students were up for an early start the next day in order to cross the border into France. Our first stop was to visit the largest French military cemetery, Notre Dame de Lorette. The feedback from students as they stood amongst the 40,057 French soldiers buried here was how they were struggling to comprehend the sheer number of crosses. 

At Vimy Ridge we were given a tour of a British tunnel, which was used to bring soldiers and supplies to the frontlines. Out of the tunnel we explored the preserved battlefield and visited the amazing memorial for the Canadian divisions who took the area in 1917. We then visited Newfoundland Park to explore the preserved battlefields, memorials and cemeteries from the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Here students stood by the death tree and listened to an account of a soldier from the Newfoundland division who described the harrowing experiences of soldiers trying to make it through the only gap in the barb wire. We finished our tour of France with a visit to Thiepval Memorial to the 72,000 British Empire soldiers missing at the Somme. 

A real highlight from our time in France was that Maisy Parkes and Ben Naylor were able to lay crosses at the graves of their relatives who they had researched prior to the trip. In addition, we saw the cemetery where Ami Nicholls’ relative is buried and Abigail Goldstraw took a photo of her relative’s name on the Thiepval Memorial. Ben has written about his experience: “Percy Thompson was my great, great, great uncle, I felt very honoured to visit his grave and place a remembrance cross next to it whilst on the battlefields trip. It is an experience I will never forget.”

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. Despite the pouring rain, which allowed us to picture what happened here in the Battle of Passchendaele quite vividly, the students continued to be interested and engaged and it was here under the cross of sacrifice where we all gathered to lay our USH wreath. We then visited Langemark, one of only four German cemeteries in the Flanders region, and students were immediately struck by the sombre contrast. Here we showed our respect to the German soldiers who lost their lives by laying another USH wreath.

Now on our way back home, 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. 

I would like to thank the students who were fantastic throughout the whole trip and made this a really enjoyable experience for all. I would also like to thank Miss Simpson, Miss Sackmann and Mr Bhardwaj for their great effort and support on the trip and the colleagues back at USH who supported the trip and made sure everything ran smoothly back in school. The students really were a credit to our school and I was extremely proud of them all. 

Mr Farley

Subject Leader for History  

Photography Trip to London

On the 15th February Year 9 and 10 Photography students visited London to visit 2 galleries and take photographs of the capital. At the Tate Modern Gallery they explored an exhibition, The Radical Eye, of 150 the most prestigious and influential photographs of the first half of the twentieth century.  It was an impressive exhibition which students were able to study in detail. Tate Modern also has a viewing gallery on the 10th floor overlooking the Thames. This gave the students a wonderful opportunity to take photographs of some iconic buildings and London’s cityscape. Walking over the Millennium Bridge, students then went to The National Portrait Gallery to view The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition. This annual prize showcases the top portrait photographers currently working and has inspired the students to use the techniques they saw in their own photography. 

A rather rainy Trafalgar Square unfortunately was not the best location for our photoshoot to capture the atmosphere of the busy capital. Walking around to take photographs the rainbow over the London Eye was a highlight.

Ella, Year 9 -“ The best part of the day was taking photos at the top of the gallert because it was high up and had a 360 degree view.”

Livvy, Year 9- “I learnt how emotion can be developed through images.”

Phoebe, Year 10- “I enjoyed the Taylor Wessing Prize exhibition because I connected with the photos and they were all really crisp and clear. Whilst I was analysing the photos, I realised how much thought professional photographers put into their work and that I should focus on the composition of my photos.”

Naomi, Year 10- “ I learnt the when I normally look at photographs I pass them by, but analysing them really made me think and look at them I saw little details that I might have missed.”

Meet a Photographer

On Friday 27th January photography students were able to meet professional photographer Nathaniel Reeks and ask him about his career. He explained when he first became interested in photography, which course he took and his experiences at university. He was able to show students examples of his photographs and he brought in a variety of cameras, old and new, for students to look at.

“A lot of useful information which helped me think about the courses I want to take” – Hazel C Year 10

“ It was very informative and I enjoyed finding out about the different paths. I also liked looking at the cameras” – Abby J Year 10

“It was informative and made me open my eyes a bit more for where I could take photography” – Owen B Year 9

Small Faces Exhibtion

On the 21st January Year 9 Art students took part in an enrichment workshop led by Artist Joe Ross. The work created will be exhibited at the ‘Small Faces ‘Exhibition, 3rd March – 21st April.  (See invitation for details)

Small Faces is a postcard portrait exhibition by everyone, for everyone. It is a collective act of creativity where anyone can submit as many portraits as they wish and no-one will be turned away. The aim is to make a floor to ceiling installation of portraits that covers the entire gallery in a sea of faces that reflects the community of Southampton and beyond.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working alongside an artist and are excited to have their artwork exhibited alongside artists such as Peter Blake and Holly Johnson.

Swimming Success

Well done to Isabella Fraser-Corbridge.  As regulars to the Newsletter may remember, Isabella is one of USH's most successful sportswomen.  Isabella swam in the County Championships this weekend and once again came home with trophies and cups galore.  Her haul included 6 trophies and cups and 22 medals.  She competed in 9 individual events and won medals (came in the top 3) in every event she took part in.

However, the highlight was definitely Isabella being crowned double Hampshire County Champion. Isabella's times mean that she should be in the top ten nationally.

Isabella's next competition is the South East Regional Championship in May.

Everyone at USH wishes her well in this; her gruelling training schedule has really paid off.  Well done Isabella!

Hampshire Cross Country Championships

Several students took part in the County Cross Country Championships at the end of last month.  All of the students represented the school very well, but we should make special mention of Toby Hale who did particularly well in his group.  Well done all!

Junior Girls
Eleanor Marshall-Cox - 48th
Chlose Tsao - 75th
Holly Pitts - 76th
Team: 7th

Junior Boys
Oliver Cook - 55th
Leo Dodds - 62nd
Team: 7th

Intermediate Girls
Isabelle Bennett - 45th
Team: 3rd

Intermediate Boys
Toby Hale - 3rd
Luke Halford - 39th
Ben Bowles - 55th
Team: 3rd

Miss Wright Davies


World Book Day is coming soon – on Thursday 2nd March – and the Librarians and English teachers are busy preparing all sorts of events and activities focussed around books and reading, including:

  • Free £1 Book Tokens for all students in Years 7 to 9
  • Book Stall in the Library
  • Design a book cover competition for all students (see below)
  • ‘Guess Who’s Reading’ quiz in the Library
  • Creating a beautiful Book Tree display featuring students’ favourite books
  • Detective trail to discover teachers’ favourite book characters

There will be prizes for competition winners, so don’t forget to enter for a chance to win.

PTFA Fashion Show

Come and join us for an entertaining evening of fashion, fun and fundraising organised by USH PTFA.  Starring some familiar faces from the Infant & Junior School teachers, the Fashion Show will be held on Friday 31st March. Doors open at 6:30pm for pre-show drinks, with the show starting at 7:30pm. 

The show itself will last between 45 and 60 minutes,  During this time Travelling Trends will showcase a vast selection of garments from their current range. The collections come from high street brands such as Top Shop, Per Una etc and always follow the seasons and there will be a mixture of classic and fashionable lines to suit ladies of all ages, shapes and most sizes.

After the show you are free to browse through the rails, purchase drinks from the bar and try garments on.  All budgets will be catered for with prices between 30% and 50% off RRP as standard with even greater discounts on selected lines, there will be plenty of bargains to be had.


Future PTFA Events

Charity Auction - Friday 7th July 2017

Car Boot Sale - Saturday 14th October 2017

Forthcoming School Trips

Paris 2017

We have had massive interest in the Paris trip – over 80 students wishing to go!!  We are finalising details of the trip with the travel company and I will write to you with details of the cost and when payments are due to be made.

Please note – we use a travel company and are bound by their payment dates; the school does not hold onto monies paid.  If you want to withdraw your son or daughter at any point, monies will only be returned based on the travel companies cancellation policy.

Camping 2017

Again, we have over 80 students interested in the trip and I will be able to confirm costs after Half Term.

If you have any queries about trips, please contact Mr Perry: Martin.Perry@ushschool.org

Benefits of making online payments

With an increasing offer of school trips and an extremely popular canteen service more and more parents are using our online payments facility. 

Online payments are currently being used in school for the following purposes:

  • To top up catering accounts,
  • To make payments towards trips (day and residential),
  • To pay for music lessons,
  • To buy school resources,
  • To refund the school for lost library books.

We would like to take this opportunity to encourage all parents to sign up for this service; this process is quick and easy and support is available from the school finance office. 

To help you make the decision, we thought it would be useful to share some of the key benefits of using our online payments system:

  • Parents  don’t need to find cash in the morning and can top up online at a time convenient to you,
  • It eliminates the risk of money being lost or spent before getting to school,
  • In terms of the canteen, it allows parents to keep track of their child’s spending (plus they can monitor their canteen purchases over break and lunch),
  • Parents can set spending limits for their child on a daily basis,
  • Your child won’t need to queue up over break and lunch to ‘top up’ their catering account,
  • It removes the need to monitor when cheques are being cashed,
  • It makes it easy to check an account balance for your child’s catering account or the balance remaining for a trip. This makes it easier for you to budget and stay in control of your finances.

It really is quick and simple to register your child’s account. For more information and or a link code to get started please contact:

Karen Hartley
Finance & Payroll Officer
02380 325 333

Lunch time Loan Facility

The school currently offers a ‘lend’ facility at lunch time to enable students to have a meal if they have either forgotten their packed lunch or their lunch money. 

Unfortunately, this system isn’t working and an increasing number of students are requesting a ‘lend’ on a daily basis. This is creating the following problems:

  • We are faced with an increased number of overdrawn catering accounts which are becoming unmanageable,
  • Some parents are not responding to our texts or emails regarding topping up catering accounts,
  • Some parents do not appear to be supplying their child with either a packed lunch or dinner money on a daily basis,
  • The finance staff are struggling to cope with the demands for ‘lends’ over break and lunch.

After half term we will be introducing a new system to ensure ‘lends’ are offered only on the exceptional occasions when money has been forgotten/lost or a packed lunch has been left at home. 

We want to share our new procedure with you so everyone is clear on how it works:

  • If a student has forgotten their lunch, or does not have enough money on their catering account, we will offer a ‘lend’ facility of £2.30 in the normal way. This will enable a student to purchase a meal deal for the day (cooked lunch + dessert) 
  • Parents will be informed that a ‘lend’ has been given by way of text and email; we urge parents to top up when they receive this communication from us.
  • A ‘lend’ facility will only be offered over our lunch service (this will not be offered at break time).
  • Students with an overdrawn balance will not be eligible for a further ‘lend’ (once one lend has been given we will expect parents to repay the school before further purchases are made from the canteen). 
  • Only under exceptional circumstances will a ‘lend’ be available on day two and this will need to be authorised by a member of the school leadership team.
  • If a student has an overdrawn catering balance parents must ensure they supply their child with a packed lunch until their catering account is brought into credit.

We would encourage all parents to use our online payments system to help them to monitor their child’s catering balance and to make regular top-ups. Students can check their account balance using our ‘top up’ machines in the foyer. 

The finance office can help parents to register for this system, please contact them using the details below:

T: 02380 522693

E: finance@ushschool.org

Recycle unwanted USH uniform/kit

Upper Shirley High is happy to accept donations of outgrown school uniform items in good condition. Blazers and rugby shirts are particularly welcome. Please drop any donations into Reception.

Messages for children during the school day

The school is receiving an increasing number of calls from parents asking for messages to be passed to their children. Whilst we will always do this for an emergency or an urgent matter, on many occasions the messages are seemingly routine. Although we appreciate it is not always possible, can you please try and make all necessary after school arrangements with your child before they leave in the morning. We thank you for your cooperation in this to avoid disruption to your child’s lesson or break times.