Dear Parents & Carers
And the rhythm of the year bring us around to Autumn half term holiday. Hardly seems like yesterday I was conducting my welcome assemblies.
This fast paced and productive half term has resulted in so many great opportunities for our learners. Thank you to staff for going ‘full-throttle’ into the new academic year; building strongly on this summer’s performance.
Many staff and students left today eagerly anticipating the week off but for some of our community, the change in routines and structure can present a different challenge. I hope everyone gets some rest. Secondary school life can be intense and holidays give important time and space to ‘re-set’. I stood on the gate tonight whilst so many students wished me a good holiday too. ‘Stay safe’ I said. And I mean that for all.
Thank you for on-going support of our school.
Mr S Woods
After an early departure from school, we arrived in Dover to see the clear skies over the channel, things were looking good! We arrived in Paris just in time to hot foot it into the restaurant, collect our bags and get settled into the hotel.
An early wake up for some on Friday, but a hearty breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate started to give us a flavour of the French culture. We took the trains into Paris; always a great experience and certainly a lot quicker than the reported congestion on the roads into the city.
We arrived at the Eiffel Tower to building works going on all around it! It took us a while to find the way in, a real sign of the times compared to how freely you could walk under the Tower not 5 years ago. Amazingly, we got all 100 students up to the first floor with a lot getting to the very top. It was great to see Mr Smith getting the students to repeat back to him how to order their tickets in the language. The beautiful weather had brought out the crowds, however. This meant our planned visit to Scare-Coeur and the artists quarter had to be cut short but the students still managed to buy a range of Paris souvenirs including (bizarrely) cow hats… Dinner in Paris and then the bus ride home.
We arrived at Disney on the Saturday to clear skies. Again, the weather certainly encouraged the crowds meaning queue times for some of the rides were longer than usual. As we met up in the afternoon, students were keen to share their adventures and head over to the Studios for the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith roller coaster. Oh, and to buy anything and everything from the shop including huge teddies, bubble guns and giant slippers.
What a great trip and as always, we were sad to leave. Lots of memories, lots of funny moments we’ll remind the students of when they get to year 11. 28 degress in October was a real surprise, the sun cream came in handy. Thanks year 8, you were wonderful!
Gill Lewis Visit
On Tuesday, 9th October, we were fortunate enough to enjoy a visit from the author of our transition unit text, Gill Lewis.
Our year 7 students began reading and exploring her wonderful book, A Story Like the Wind in the summer term of year 6, receiving USH exercise books to begin their work in, and have since continued that exploration with us in year 7. Therefore, it seemed only fitting that we should invite the author into USH so that our students could have a chance to meet her and hear more about how the book was written, and where her ideas came from.
During the morning, Gill spoke with all of our students in an assembly where she read a bit of the book to them; talked about her personal challenges in becoming a writer; and explained her inspirations for some elements of the storyline, which included aspects such as Mongolian morin khuur players, her experience as a veterinary nurse and the development of travel with the increase of trade 1000 years ago.
She spent the rest of the day supporting students in year 7 in a number of different ways, including a lesson around generating ideas for writing, working with a group of our highest achievers using language to create some stunning imagery, and also another group of students around creating a character from an image stimulus.
We were also privileged to enjoy a book sale at lunch time, and a book signing from her after school where a number of our students came to get their copies of A Story Like the Wind signed by her.
Overall, it was an excellent day with some brilliant opportunities for our students to delve a bit deeper into the text and grow in their appreciation of it.
Gill Lewis Poem
During her visit Gill Lewis worked with some students to create a poem.
Home is where my family is.
Home tastes like smoked salmon pasta with extra, extra cheese (a family favourite).
Home sounds like the bin men outside.
Home is the sound of my cat purring.
Home feels like a sofa because I like to sit on them.
Home is where I snuggle up with my family and dogs.
Home is the smell of a warm roast dinner.
Home is the sight of the sunset.
Home is the sound of my puppy barking like crazy when she hears something or sees a stranger or friends.
Home is where I play football.
Home is the feeling of the soft fur of my cats.
Home is the sight of my baby brother.
Home feels like a PS4 controller because I always have one in my hands.
Home is the sound of laughing….fun!
Home is where I sit and write my book.
Home is the sound of my family talking.
Home is the sound of my dog growling and barking at me as I walk through the door.
Home is the taste of roast potato smothered in gravy.
My home sounds of my mum’s hands dancing across the piano keys as her humming echoes through every wall and floor.
The BookBuzz books have arrived!
Year 7 students were the happy recipients of a free book each this week, a gift from the School Library. Students had chosen their books at the beginning of term, from a list of titles selected for the BookBuzz scheme by a panel of experts. Luckily, students didn’t have too long to wait for the books to arrive, and the books were handed out by the Librarian in English lessons.
GCSE Geography Fieldtrip to Bournemouth
On Monday 1st and Wednesday 3rd of October a total of 112 Year 11 Geography students went to Bournemouth for the day to complete their fieldwork, preparing them for the mock exams in November and their final exams next May.
Despite some traffic delaying our start, we had two great days. The sun was out and so were the tourists which helped us in our investigations. In the morning, students were able to complete a range of tasks, including conducting questionnaires and looking at the land-use in four different locations. Then in the afternoon, we walked down to the beach where we were taking measurements to prove whether or not the coastal management is effective in Bournemouth.
The students are now writing up their findings in their Geography lessons which will help support and prepare them for their exams in November.
Thank you to all the staff who helped make the trip a success!
Subject Leader for Geography
Fundraising for Children In Need - Friday 2nd November
We have decided to hold a Children In Need fundraiser on Friday 2nd November 2018. This is an earlier date than the national charity event, due to the Year 11 mock exams that take place during the middle of November.
The day will be a non school uniform event for a suggested donation of £1.00. We will also have a bake sale and other fundraising activities that students may take part in. We hope to raise a lot of money for Children in Need and thank you for your support.
Thank You Year 11 Parents
The Year 11 parent evening was held earlier this week and it was fantastic to see so many of them here. This is a very important year for our Year 11 students and we work hard to support not just them but to help their parents to support them too. We have received encouraging feedback and we are pleased that the evening has proved so useful.
Year 11 parent - 'I just wanted to thank all the staff for an encouraging Year 11 parents evening. We came home feeling positive and with my child appreciating that we are all working together to help her achieve her best. The information sheets each department handed out provide clear advice and guidance for both my child and us as parents. I’m sure they will prove to be a great help in revision and prioritizing workload whilst studying independently.'
Big Day Out to the Royal Albert Hall is Fast Approaching
USH Instrumentalists are gearing up for our Big Day Out to the Royal Albert Hall in London on 5th November, to play as part of the Massed Ensemble for the Grand Finale of the Music For Youth Proms!
“BSO Symphony 125”, an exciting new composition, is coming together apace, and once we got over the shock of knowing we all had to memorise our parts (it’s not a short piece!) we are finding that breaking it down into chunks is helping getting it stuck in our brains and into our muscle memory!
In preparation, we recently had another excellent afternoon rehearsal led by members of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, hosted by USH students and joined by 20 Shirley Juniors School instrumentalists. Those more experienced USH musicians who play in the Southampton City Orchestras have had extra rehearsals, so are helping to coach our younger players and add their expertise to our weekly Wednesday morning practices. We look forward to joining with the other groups from around the region to put it all together into one big spectacular performance!
Photos/collages from our recent BSO @ USH rehearsal
JEP Community - Governor Vacancy
Hollybrook Schools Local Governing Board is looking to recruit two new governors. We have recently reviewed the skills of our Governing Board and we would particularly welcome interest from anyone with financial or accounting qualifications or experience to help strengthen the board in this area. We are also looking to recruit a new Chair for our governing board, as our Chair has recently resigned. Ideally we would like to recruit someone who has previous experience of chairing a governing board.