What matters more, taking part or winning? The answer is neither, they are both important to learning.
Our entry to this year’s Rock Challenge (Burning Bright; Tiger Conservation) was a tour de force, not least because it was entirely led and choreographed by our students. As a result (amongst other awards) USH won the Student Leadership Award and the much-coveted Spirit of Rock Challenge, voted for by the other schools. We were disappointed not be placed for the next round but the conversations which followed showed me how reflective and mature our students can be. Their level of collective leadership inspired me to decide that we are ready to commit resources to Rock Challenge every year as well as aiming to stage a full size musical. A visitor to USH this week remarked on how strong the arts are here. They are. My annual contribution to the extra-curricular arts offer is a highlight of my year and something I value greatly. I relish the opportunity to work alongside the students, creating new works and supporting their physical, emotional and spiritual development.
Finally, I want to commend our Year 9 Peer Mentors (brilliantly led by Kay Bolton) who delivered a moving and thought-provoking assembly to their year group on February 28th. They spoke with insight and wisdom on woman’s contribution to politics, science and the arts, and marking 100 years of votes for woman. At the end of the war, in 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 the vote, and in 1928 this was extended to all women over the age of 21. Coincidentally, this year is the 10th anniversary of girls joining USH and we will be featuring articles in future newsletters to mark this important year.
As ever, thanks to staff and parents for helping USH realise so many opportunities for our students.
Rock Challenge - 'Burning Bright'
Congratulations to a successfully student led Rock Challenge entry this year, just over 100 USH performers, technical assistants and staff took park in the regional heat. This year’s piece named “Burning Bright” was based around the concept of the decrease in population of tigers fewer than 4000 remain globally for the first time in 100 years the tiger population is increasing.
The team have worked tirelessly over the last 5 months to create a stunning 8 minute piece of choreography and the actual day of competition was long awaited and very much enjoyed by all. The students were absolutely fantastic the entire day supporting all the other schools with their rehearsals; even going as far as the backstage crew opting to assist the other schools with the manoeuvre of their sets on and off of stage. With the students supportive and mature attitude this shone through and we were voted by the other schools for Spirit of Rock Challenge; this is now two years running we have won this awards and it a huge credit to the students.
Although disappointingly USH did not win a place for the next heat of Rock Challenge we came away with a number of the main awards namely Student Leadership, Spirit of Rock Challenge and Best Crew. These awards reflect the school values of Believe, Respect and succeed; these are what mattered most to us this year that the students were awarded for their continued hard work and resilience, the experience of taking part in such a large competition against schools in the south is what excites our students and gives them the thirst to work hard.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved. It was a piece worthy of our school and it has been great to see the brilliant support offered by more staff than ever in the planning and preparation. Everyone’s contribution was very much appreciated.
Year 7 Local History Project - Spitfire Production in Shirley during WW2
On Friday 9th March, our Y7 cohort got to experience their classrooms being requisitioned by a government requisition officer, a policeman and a female engineer for the purpose of Spitfire production. They were then taken out to a 1940s bus to find out the local History behind this re-enactment.
The Year 7s were brilliant and it was great to see their faces as the actors stormed into the classrooms in their uniforms. They were really engaged with their local and as we found out from many students in the debrief session, personal history.
The production was led by Nuffield Theatre and I would like to thank them for providing such an excellent, local History experience for our students. The pitch was perfect and the students were asking really insightful questions in the debrief based on what they had learnt. I would also like to thank our Year 7 students for the curiosity and engagement they displayed throughout the sessions.
I have attached a PPT showing information/maps/photographs about what the students were learning - the maps show the businesses which were where Pets at Home, Halfords and the Range are today were all requisitioned to make spitfires which kept pilots in the sky during the Battle of Britain and the red dots on the other map show the resulting heavy bombing around the school during 1940-41.
Nuffield Theatre will be returning to Shirley to share this local History with the public soon. I will let students know when this is happening and also please continue to let me know any personal History with reference to Shirley during WW2 via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get ready to rumble……
The year 8 Geographers were set an extended project for homework on the topic of volcanoes and earthquakes. The students were given the choice to either make a volcano, design an emergency disaster kit or create a presentation on an eruption or earthquake of their choice. We had lots of amazing projects handed in. Many students opted to present to their class; some examples were the eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington State, USA and the Italian earthquakes of 2016.
We had many fantastic volcanoes; including edible ones, one built from Lego and one that even lit up! Well done year 8!
Subject Lead for Geography
GCSE Geography Fieldtrip to Bournemouth
One very chilly Friday in February, the year 11 Geographers went to Bournemouth for the day to complete their fieldwork, a requirement for their GCSE.
The students spent the day collecting data. In the morning, the focus was on human Geography, where students were looking at whether coastal Bournemouth was predominately tourist related. Here they completed a number of activities including looking at the land-use and completing questionnaires. Some of our students even had the opportunity to ask the Mayor of Bournemouth our questions!
In the afternoon, the focus changed to physical Geography, where we spent time to the beach to look at whether the wooden groynes were effective at managing longshore drift. Our results were surprising in places, which was mainly due to the easterly winds we were experiencing. I stood on the beach explaining to the students about how the winds were travelling across continental Europe, bringing the colder temperatures, which later was termed ‘The Beast from the East.’ This gives the students a very memorable experience and something they can add when evaluating their findings on the day.
Despite the cold temperatures and the strong easterly winds, the students were fantastic on the day and are now writing up their findings back in the classroom in preparation for their exam, which they will sit in June. Thank you to Mrs Rendall, Mr Wilding, Mrs Murphy and Mrs Andrzejewska for helping to make this a very successful Geography fieldtrip.
Subject Leader for Geography
Internet safety is becoming increasingly necessary in this modern age. Young people can receive and send abusive or inappropriate content without realising the consequences of their actions. Despite the best efforts of parents and education from school, there remains a danger that our young people can be vulnerable while on-line.
You may have seen in the press that software is now available to help protect our young people. While we do not endorse any specific individual products, an example of one has come to our attention is Safetonet. This type of software, once installed on both a parent’s and child’s device, allows for parental monitoring leading to greater safety online whilst maintaining a child's privacy. Many of these companies offer a free trial. This, and other types of software, can be useful when children are speaking to each other whilst gaming. This is increasingly becoming a source of concern for parents as they attempt to monitor these discussions and who they are interacting with.
We have a page on our website that gives further guidance for parents and there is teaching regarding personal safety in all years at USH through our Personal, Social and Health Education programme. If you would like further information regarding e-safety, please follow this link.
Snow Can’t Stop Us Reading!
School was closed due to snow on World Book Day – Thursday 1st March – but this didn’t deter us from celebrating books and reading. All students in Years 7 and 8 were given a free £1 book token, and the book stall in the Library was rearranged during last week, so that each class had a chance to spend their tokens on one of the special World Book Day books. We are very grateful to October Books in Portswood for supplying us with the books.
£1 tokens for students from other years were distributed by the Librarian. These can be spent at book shops and supermarkets, and this year there are five special full-length titles for teenagers, at a cost of only £2.50, or £1.50 with the book token. The World Book Day organisation has extended the last date of redemption until 31st March, to compensate for the bad weather.
To celebrate World Book Day, the Library had also organised various book-themed quizzes, which ran throughout the week. Year 7 and 8 tutor groups took part in an online literature quiz. The winners – 7A1 and 8A1 – were awarded their prize by the Librarian. Students also had a chance to take part in a ‘favourite books’ detective trail, where they had to track down the 20 members of staff who were displaying the title of their favourite book on their ID badges. The winners were Sukhi & Rhea from Year 7, and Ananya & Tomas from Year 8, and runners up were Trinity, Bonnie & Mali from Year 8. Finally, there was the ‘Guess Who’s Reading’ quiz in the Library, where students had to identify the photos of staff reading their books. This was more tricky that it sounds, however, as only the tops of the teachers’ heads were visible above their books. Olivia A. and Tomas B. each received an Easter Egg prize for correctly identifying all ten staff.
Hampshire Schools Cross Country Championships
On Tuesday 6th March, six of our Year 7 and 8 students were selected to represent Southampton Schools at the Hampshire Schools Cross Country Championships in Basingstoke. They all performed brilliantly in some very muddy conditions, including a very respectable 23rd place for Lou Forder, and were a real credit to the school.
National Rowing Competition
Two of our students, Eleanor Marshall-Cox and Millie Terrell qualified for the National Rowing Competition on Friday 9th March.
Millie achieved 4th place and lost out on 3rd by 2 metres and Eleanor came 28th out of 151 competitors from all over Great Britain so this is a huge achievement for both girls, well done!!
Reporting an Absence
If your child is going to be absent from school, it is important, for safeguarding reason’s, that you contact school before 9am to explain the reason for the absence.
You can report an absence in the following way;
Telephone – 023 80522721/023 80325333
Text message – 07860 005066
Email – Alison.Small@ushschool.org
If your child has a medical appointment during the school day, please notify the school prior to the appointment and provide a copy of the appointment card/letter for our records.
Students will not be permitted to leave the school site on their own without school first having verbal permission from a parent.
All non-urgent medical appointments must be arranged outside of school hours except hospital appointments. Thank you for your co-operation.