Dear Parents and Carers.
Thank you for all your support this term- I said to staff today that a term at USH sometimes feels like a year anywhere else! A visitor remarked this term ‘USH is not a school to stand still.’ That’s true but for the next two weeks we will be taking a genuine and well-earned rest and school closes today.
I wish you all a restful and happy Christmas and I hope you have the chance to share good company and reflect on this busy year.
2020 at USH will herald a focus on our value of RESPECT and we will be working to create unity and community across our school and our local area. This year our country has been through a lot- as has our city and the new year gives us a great chance to think about what really matters to us.
Next term, we will be strengthening the USH ethos through
gratitude and kindness to all and will asking families to share our ambition
and hope for continued health and happiness of the USH family. Through our
expansion, we profoundly recognise the need to deepen our connectivity so we
sustain a school where everyone feels they can belong.
We will also be marking the new decade and the achievement of our school’s top 20 Hampshire ranking with a 20/20/20 celebration….get it?
The quality of education and chances we offer children would not be possible without my fabulous and dedicated staff so if you have cause to give share some positive feedback to them- please do take the time to do so.
Merry Christmas Everyone and here’s to a happy and successful new year.
USH's Got Talent!
On our last day of term, December 19th, Upper Shirley High threw a fantastic Talent Show, which showcased a huge range of talents from all five year groups. The audiences watched with giddy glee as the acts sung, danced, performed a comedy routine and took part in some audience-participation challenges – even getting teachers up on stage! Students came in two halves – the Aviators and Engineers had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Finley McGill in Year 7 singing his way to victory with ‘A Million Dreams’, while Mariners and Venturers danced with joy to Kate Tikhomirova’s amazing routine for ‘Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)’.
A huge thanks to everyone involved – from our tremendous
and hilarious hosts, Fletcher Carr and Jacob Neil, and our wonderful judging
panel – Miss Dunne, Miss Baillie, Mrs Rendall, Mrs Mahoney and Mr J Smith – and
our behind-the-scenes superstars, Mr Harvey, Mr Hall, Mr Staples and Ben Farmer
(mastermind lighting genius!). Everyone has been raving about the talent they
have seen, and it’s fair to stay that USH really has got talent! 2020 has a lot
to live up to by these high standards!
Merry Christmas one and all, and a happy, productive and successful new year!
Thank you all for the contributions brought in today for the Southampton City Mission.
Students were invited by tutor group to each bring their donation to the collection point at the front of school. It was a joy to watch the stream of happy students, in their Christmassy themed jumpers walk in convey from their tutor bases to The Pavillions.
We are delighted at the volume of goods that we were able to donate to the charity and thank you for your generosity.
Escape Room Christmas Special!
T’was the week before Christmas (well almost) and all through the class, all students were working, trying to pass… the Escape Room Christmas Special!
Last week, the Year 9 Film Studies cohort were kindly invited to the Solent University of Southampton, by a 2nd year TV Production group of students to take part in their 1st semester TV episode assignment, Escape Room Christmas Special. All the students needed to do was be willing participants in the challenge to try and work out the clues in order to discover 4 codes which would enable them to open 4 padlocks and retrieve the key to ‘escape the room’. Sounds easy, right? Erm, not quite.
Initially, despite my concerns about the students feeling nervous about being recorded carrying out the challenge and not necessarily wanting to be filmed, actually, simply deciding between the willing applicants for the 3 students who would take part in the filmed episode was a challenge in itself! Despite there being a 2nd option of taking part in a second run that was not to be filmed, all of those who wanted to partake in the challenge wanted to be recorded! So this resulted in the students creating a video application to go on the show, which we sent off to the university students in charge of the project to decide on their final line-up.
Once we arrived, we were all amazed by the studio space (all decorated for the set of the gameshow) and the impressive university filming and editing equipment in the ‘gallery’ where the screens and controls for the cameras etc were being managed by the students in the group. Upon our arrival, the 3 finalists were quickly revealed and briefed about how the gameshow was going to run, and then set up ready to take on the challenge. Meanwhile, the remaining students had a great opportunity to watch some of the equipment in use, and also to go upstairs into an even larger studio where a group of students in their 3rd year were carrying out rehearsals for their assignment of 6 episodes of a TV show. This was an excellent opportunity for us to have a go at managing the cameras and being advised by the very experienced lecturer overseeing this project, whose industry credits include some iconic TV shows including Art Attack!
As we returned downstairs, the countdown of the final minute for the 3 participants in the room was ticking down quickly (the students with me were going to be taking part in a second non-filmed attempt, and so were not able to see the first run of the game!) and panic was building between the contestants. It was extremely unfortunate that they managed to misplace one of the codes, and were not able to unlock the final padlock! So unfortunately, they are still in the room now… (Just kidding of course!)
After a very mature-feeling lunch amongst university lecturers and students in the university Starbucks cafe, we made our way back down to the studio and set everything back up for another run, this time with the other group of students who had not managed to take part yet. I am happy to report that they did manage to escape, although still only just in the time! Our conclusion, a very well-designed challenge! And a good day had by all.
Sarah O’Halloran, Head of Film.
Christmas Tree Festival
Shirley Baptist Church held their Christmas Tree Festival last weekend and we were invited to display a tree. Cary and Emilia visited the church on Friday 13th December and adorned the USH tree with blue and orange tinsel and baubles - what other colour would we use?! The final decoration to be added was the hand made star (thank you Mrs Hannah).
This week we received a certificate of participation.
Photography trip to London
December Year 9 and 10 students took part in a full day in the London. First
stop was the Natural History Museum and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year
exhibition. This highly prestigious exhibition of the very best wildlife
photography really inspired the students. The photographs were taken all over
the world and showed some of the most beautiful and hostile environments. The
next stop was the National Portrait Gallery to see the Taylor Wessing
Photography Portrait Prize exhibition. I was very proud to see USH students
discussing the photographs with other people visiting the exhibition. The
recently unveiled portrait of Stormzy was a highlight for many of the students.
The last part of the day was out in the sunshine walking around some of the
iconic landmarks in central London; the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square,
the architecture of Whitehall, the distinctive shape of the London Eye and the
Thames glistening below the Houses of Parliament. We even had time to watch
some impromptu street theatre.
Maths Whizz Winner
The Maths-Whizz winner for this week is Hatty Taylor. Well done.