Battlefields Trip 2020
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 in very “authentic” conditions. Here is an overview of the trip.
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 the Sanctuary Wood museum. A highlight was being able to put on our wellies/walking boots and explore the large preserved trenches. We then built on the local research of soldiers from the Shirley Roll of Honour by visiting the cemetery there, where Arthur James Harding is buried. He lived at 30 Pond Terrace, Winchester Road and was a milk boy before the war. He volunteered to be a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action on the 20th November, 1914. Interestingly, he is recorded as being 20 when he died, but his birth certificate states that he was 17, suggesting that he lied about his age to sign up. 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 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, where it had been snowing. The students were shocked by the 40,057 French empire soldiers buried here and were struggling to comprehend the sheer number of snow covered crosses.
At Vimy Ridge we visited the impressive memorial for the missing Canadian soldiers who died taking the area in 1917 along with the preserved trenches and battlefield. We were then back on the coach to visit Newfoundland Park at Beaumont Hamel. This is the site we have chosen for our GCSE site study. We were really impressed with how students overcame the wind and the rain to listen to an eye witness account of a private in the Newfoundland Regiment going over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, as we stood on that very spot in no man’s land. We finished our tour of France with a visit to Thiepval Memorial to the 72,000 British Empire soldiers missing at the Somme. Here we found Alfred Henry Budd, a 20 year old private from Station Road, who died on the 29th October, 1916 and Henry Albert Jay, a 24 year old sergeant from 14 Shayer Road.
When we arrived back at our hotel in Ypres in the evening, students enjoyed some well-deserved down time and took part in a game of ten-pin bowling.
On the final day, we visited Langemark, one of only four German cemeteries in the Flanders region, and students were immediately struck by the sombre contrast with the other cemeteries we had visited. We then finished our Battlefields tour under the cross of sacrifice at Tyne Cot, the largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in the world. We all gathered together to lay a wreath on behalf of USH and hold a minute silence to pay our respects and reflect on our experiences across the three days. Oren Manure and Anna Asimi laid the wreath and Jacob Mitoo and Bobo Kinda read the Ode of Remembrance.
I would like to thank the students who were fantastic throughout the whole trip and made this an engaging and memorial experience. They were very respectful and interested in the places we visited and as our largest group ever, they were very inclusive and kind to each other.
I would also like to thank Miss Clay, Mrs Cadle, Miss Bailie, Miss Pasotti, Miss Lyons, Mr Chan and Mr Bennett for their enthusiasm and support on the trip and the colleagues back at USH who supported the trip and made sure everything ran smoothly back in school.
Subject Leader for History
USH Celebrates World Book Day
World Book Day this week was marked here at USH with a series of events to celebrate books and reading.
The day was due to begin with a specially designed online quiz for Year 7 and 8 Tutor groups, challenging the students with questions about books for children and teenagers. Unfortunately, due to the county-wide Internet outage this had to be postponed until the following day. Scores were impressively high and the winning tutor group from each year will be given their prizes on Tuesday.
Students in Years 7 and 8 were given a book token which they could either exchange for one of the specially written World Book Day books, or take to a bookshop for £1 off their next book purchase. The Library was turned into a Book Stall for the day and students were given time to visit and choose their books. As you can see from the photos, this was a huge success. I am extremely grateful to the local independent bookshop - October Books in Portswood - for providing the books.
School staff made the day extra special by dressing up as book characters and there were some amazing costumes. We had characters from James and the Giant Peach teaching Maths and Wizard of Oz characters teaching English and Drama; MFL were Animal Farm and Learning Support became Hogwarts for the day! The Geography Department, appropriately enough, dressed as characters from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and the Art teachers each represented a different painting from The A-Z of Art.
Tom Palmer Visit
This week, as part of our World Book Day celebrations, we hosted brilliant children’s author Tom Palmer to come in and work with some of our year 7s on their story-telling skills.
During the first lesson, Tom was working with a year 7 English class whereby he delivered some top tips on how to create a convincing character voice, before supporting them to write in the voice of the character, Jim in Treasure Island. He gave some great advice about how to get into the character’s headspace and consider their motivations before you start to write, and shared a little bit about how he approaches the task of writing a children’s book.
After this, in the next lesson he worked with a key group of students on how to create a convincing opening that really grabs the reader. Once again, he provided some top tips of the key aspects of a story to think about before you begin to write. The students were really stuck into the task of creating their own openings, and produced some really fantastic examples, some of which are shown below.
During Period 3, Tom had the opportunity to get the students reading more actively with his famous Football Reading activity, whereby students got a chance to read some different types of texts before answering some questions on them. For every correct answer they got, they were able to have a chance at doing a penalty shoot-out into a goal with a football. Always a fun way to engage with reading!
This was followed by a nice opportunity for some students to hear Tom read out an extract from his newest book, After the War, which will be hitting our shelves in May this year, and hearing about how Tom got into writing in the first place. Students also heard about how Tom goes about writing a novel, including the planning stage, researching the topic and ensuring that he is really considering how he will engage his audiences.
In addition to the schedule for the day, we were also lucky to have a stall of books being sold and signed by Tom during lunch time in the hall, which saw some very happy students (and staff!) walk away with a personalised and signed copy of one of Tom’s excellent novels.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported and made the day a successful one once again.
He started running as the bullets zipped past his head and leaving bullet-holes in the ground. Bodies fell from buildings and explosions seemed to go off at random around the city centre. Then, from the heart of the square, where the skyscraper stood, a piercing screech went up and the ground shook. He looked up, and the last thing he saw was the explosion that almost sealed his fate, and then the glass rained down, he couldn’t tell the difference between glass and bullets, and then everything went black.
Most people got a party, and presents on their 13th birthday. Me, I got a bunch of assassination attempts followed by a sub-optimal cake, with only 12 candles. (I think we ran out.) To be honest, I don’t even know why these people hate me so much. I do my homework. I brush my teeth. But I get no reward. Just pain. It all began-
Sorry. I had to move again from the hideout because they’re doing a systematic sweep of the city centre for me. So where were we? Oh yeah. I’m telling you about my tragic life. Right.
It’s never a good sign when the lights flicker during an interview. Everyone dismissed it as nothing, a mere technical difficulty, not knowing what was to come. The interviewer continued on, for another two minutes. She suddenly stopped talking, mid-question. Only the person being interviewed could see the terror, deep within her eyes. He pieced together the situation, but before he could do anything- he bit the dust.
“Hiss! I thought I told you, I won’t eat this whiska’s peasant food, for I am a QUEEN!” screamed Fluffy at her human slave.
“Aaw. You have such a cute meow!” was all he replied with.
She screamed again, “Tiger’s slave serves him Sheba! I will not eat this cheap stuff you’ve put in front of me. How would you like it if I moved in over the road? They give me human food there!” She sighed. It was no use. As she padded over to her cat flap, she prepared her cutest begging face for the neighbours.
She sat outside the door opposite, and prepared her longest, saddest meow.
USH Climate Change Meeting
On Thursday 5th March, I hosted the first USH Climate Change meeting where students were invited to come and voice their views and concerns. We had 19 students attend the first meeting and many of them had some excellent ideas to make USH more sustainable.
We discussed how each of us as individuals can make a difference but also how the USH community can come together to make a difference. We spoke about waste and recycling in the school, fast fashion and energy saving.
I have asked students to research recycling schemes that we could join as a school. Myleta in year 11 talked about fast fashion and has many ideas on how to reduce our demand for this. She is currently promoting the idea of buying a second hand prom dress from Oxfam and has created a poster to support this. Oxfam along Shirley High Street has a dedicated wedding and prom dress section so if year 11s are still looking, please consider buying second hand; not only would this save you money but also you would be more sustainable by reducing the environmental impacts.
If anyone else is interested in Climate Change please come along to the next meeting, held on the first Thursday of every month.
Year 11 Geography Fieldtrip
On Wednesday 4th March, 77 year 11 Geographers went to Bournemouth for the day as part of their GCSE Geography. Despite the cold, wind and lots of rain, the students managed to collect all the data they needed for their Paper 3 exam in June.
We had to change around the itinerary for the day due to the rain but the students coped fantastically. They spent the first hour on the beach, investigating the coastal management for their physical Geography fieldwork and then after lunch, they were in the town centre collating land use data and asking the general public their questionnaires for their human fieldwork.
I was most impressed with the student’s attitude and dedication on the day. They all played their part to make it a very successful day. Thank you to all the Geographers and the staff who accompanied us to ensure it was a very positive experience for the students.
Photography Workshops with City College
Year 9 and 10 students were lucky enough to have a wonderful creative experience with first and second Photography year students from City College. As part of the City College work experience programme the older students taught USH students about the lighting equipment and techniques to create some amazing portrait photography. Over the short time the students became comfortable with each other and the younger student learnt a lot from the more experienced City College students. The results were impressive with every student having the chance to take some unique portraits.
National Indoor Rowing Championships
The National Indoor Rowing Championships took place at the Copper Box arena in the London Olympic Park (the venue was used for Handball in the Olympics) on Friday 28th February 2020.
We were delighted that Verity competed for USH in the Year 9 girls event. In this age group the girls have to row for 4 minutes.
We are told it was a very busy, loud and exciting atmosphere. The event team make clever use of computer graphics so you can see where each competitor in a heat is in relation to each other during their row. In Verity's age group 178 talented athletes from right across the country took part. She rowed really well, keeping a high and consistent pace throughout, and managed to row 983 metres in the four minutes. This placed her in an excellent 26th place.
Verity began rowing with local club Itchen Imperial last May
and will be using the sport as one of her case studies for her GCSE PE.
Results of the event are here: https://www.londonyouthrowing.com/event/njirc2020
Year 10 Mock
Whether applying for FE/Apprenticeships/HE or Employment an interview can be a daunting experience. To help prepare our students for this process, a range of professionals gave up their valuable time to carry out ‘mock’ interviews.
Covering Letters and CVs were critiqued and each student received feedback. The following students attained Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards:
Platinum: Sian, Lou F, Georgia, Finn H, Daniel R
Gold: Zameer, Jessica C, Jake, Max H, Jacob M
Silver: Olivia A, Bonnie C, Maddie F, Evie F, Sam F, Hollie G, Rowan G, Jerry, Eden H, Steven, Toby, Oren, Jess M, Dasha, Dawid, Ryan, Kate, Karl
Well done Yr 10!
Year 8 Choices Workshops
It is important that students consider their option choices carefully. To help with this process students attended workshops run by Solent University; they focused on the right and wrong reasons for choosing subjects, post 16 pathways and career routes.
As you are aware at USH we strongly believe that work experience provides an invaluable insight into life after school and informs future choices. Leading UK businesses report they prefer to recruit people with work experience on their CV.
In the past a number of students have excelled during their placements and as a result have been offered part-time work/apprenticeships.
We would like our students to have the opportunity of placements within sectors they are interested in. Several students have contacted employers without success. Areas of interest include accountancy, law, architecture, engineering, IT, administration, police and design. If you work within these sectors, or indeed any other sector and are able to help by offering a placement or are able to provide contact details of a contact it would be much appreciated. Year 10 work experience is scheduled for 13th – 17th July. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org