USH Newsletter

27th March 2020

  • Message from Mr Woods

    Dear Year 11

    I hope you are keeping well after the unexpected early departure last week. I hope you have managed to get some rest. Difficult I know when you must be feeling quite unsettled.

    USH staff send you their best and are working behind the scenes to move things forward for you and we are aiming to communicate weekly (excluding Easter) on the following matters:

    1. College applications and transition: update below

    2. Exam grade update: update below. More to follow.

    3. Advice and guidance on how to best spend your time between now and college: In addition to our existing advice on continuing to study subjects linked to your college courses, we are looking at various options for you including additional short courses and The Extended Project. News to follow soon.

    Firstly, I want to forward the message I have received from the colleges; they want to reassure you that they will honour their offer of a place for you to study.

    It is unlikely that welcome events will take place in June, however, the colleges are planning for the enrolment interviews in August.  It is at this stage you will be offered advice on exactly which subjects and courses to study.

    If you have applied to a college but haven’t had an interview, you will be called to have a telephone interview.

    If you haven’t accepted your offer of a place, please do so as soon as possible.

    Richard Taunton’s, Itchen and City College are still taking applications so if you haven’t yet applied, do so as soon as possible.

    Please let the colleges know of any changes to your contact details (email, phone number or address) so that they can keep you updated or if you prefer contact me and I’ll let them know.

    Keep monitoring your emails for information.  If you have any concerns or queries please don’t hesitate to contact Mrs Anderson on and she will do her best to help. Please do remember, everyone is going through this situation and you are not going to be disadvantaged for a situation beyond your control.

     Year 11 Grades 

    - OFQUAL and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer

    - You will receive a ‘calculated grade’

    - The aim is to provide these calculated grades to you before the end of July

    - If you do not feel that your grades are ‘correct’, you will be allowed to appeal.  If you feel that your calculated grade does not reflect your performance, you will have the opportunity to sit the exam at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools/colleges are open again. You will also have the option to sit your exams in summer 2021.

    Finally from me, we are thinking of you and send you our collective good wishes at this difficult time. I know you will be using some of your time productively helping loved-ones at home. A good deed goes a long well to help everyone feel better.

    Beyond the practical arrangements, please do feel free, (if you are ever at a loose end) to tell me your thoughts or feelings.

    I’ll be checking this dedicated inbox every week 

    This Newsletter is dedicated to you by your staff. Enjoy!

    Best wishes

    Mr Woods 

  • From Mr Hall

    Hi Year 11,

    I am sorry that you didn’t get the send off you deserved today but I hope you understand the difficult and challenging situation we are all in.

    I wanted you all to read what I wanted to say to you all this afternoon if all had gone to hear it is!

    I may have only had you as a year group since September but you have easily left a lasting impression on me. Since the start of the year you all accepted me into your group and I was and am extremely proud to have been your HOY. You are an amazing group of individuals and seeing you all over the past two days has shown you to be a group of young people who are ready for your next challenges!

    I hope you have enjoyed year 11 and remember you will forever be known as being part of that group who sacrificed their exams to help protect and save lives in the fight against this virus.

    I look forward to seeing you all when it is safe for us to get together again. Please enjoy your time away from school but stay safe and look after each other and your families!

    Love and best wishes,

    Mr Hall

  • Year 11 - A Message from Art

    We just wanted to say a massive well done and thank you, for all the amazing work that you have created over your time in GCSE art. We have loved watching you develop as artists and as people.

    We have so many happy memories made from our time with you, and are incredibly proud of you and the incredible work that you have produced.

    We know that the last few days have not been what any of us have been expecting, however what we need to remember is that your Art careers at USH were never going to be defined by a 10hour exam; they come from the experiences you have had, the skills you have developed and the love you have found for your own individual way of working. We have loved being a part of it all with you and appreciate the efforts that each and every one of you have put into your course and for the dedication that you have shown.

    We are so proud of you all. Well done year 11, you should be very proud of what you have achieved.

    Mrs de Ruiter Hough and Miss Field

  • Year 11 - A Message from Citizenship

    To the interesting bunch of Citizenship students, remember to always follow the news and be aware that there are very few issues that can be seen as purely black and white. You have worked hard to develop the skills to question, now use them to find the truth that is out there. 

    Your obsession with everything crime related does worry me, but I am assured by your awareness of the wider world and the injustice seen within it. I know that some of you are hoping to pursue careers in law, crime and public services, the knowledge you have will help you to make your mark in the world. Make sure you keep fighting to make a difference. 

    I have asked via google classroom that each of you creates a page about your experiences from the course, which will serve as my memento of your time at USH.  I want to know what you become and look forward to hearing about your next few months and move from one course to another. 

    Mrs Dibden




  • Year 11 - A Message from Computer Studies

    This is so surreal. It feels like we’re living in a John Wyndham novel. John’s apocalyptic books (Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes) often imagined what would happen if humanity came under attack. You might want to read them so I won’t spoil the plots, they’re really good. The point is that we are all having to adapt to circumstances beyond our control. I think young people are better at this than adults. For instance, today we marked a series of two metre spaces (with sticky tape) in the dining hall. The students (who are in school) were using them to queue without any fuss (like they did it every day) while the teachers were trying to jump from one to the other and mucking around.
    The end of school was really abrupt. Everyone was really disappointed and sad that you were unable to enjoy the hastily arranged party and say goodbye. I am sure that we will organise an event for you after isolation.
    Thank you 11Z Computer Science for three great years. You have explored strange new codes, sought out new bytes and new representations and boldly gone where no class has gone before. Many of you were also involved in Robot Wars in Y8 which remains a stand out occasion for me at USH. You will find the thinking skills involved in Computer Science are totally transferable in fact the whole course has set you up to succeed. You also know how to change a car wheel.
    Social media actually is ‘Social Media’, finally. I know that you’re using it really effectively and that is great. You don’t need me to tell you (but I will anyway) to keep a healthy balance between screen time and physical exercise. Don’t let your brains ‘atrophy’ (waste away) in the coming weeks. Use whatever resources that you have (revision guides, Seneca) that are applicable to what you’re doing at college (or whatever your next step is) to keep that grey muscle in shape.
    What cheese can you use to disguise a small horse?

    Answers on a postcard to Mr Harvey.

  • Year 11 - A Message from Drama

    I am so proud of all of you and I will truly miss teaching you all.

    I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have been your Drama teacher; watching you grow in confidence and into the amazing young people that you are today.

    I wish you the best of luck in the future.

    We have so many great memories and I loved watching you all perform your monologues to the examiner.

    You always made me feel very proud.

    Take care of yourselves.

    You will be missed,

    Mrs Lambert



  • Year 11 - A Message from the English Team

    Dear Year 11,

    Let me start by saying that it has been an absolute joy – for all of us in the department – to teach you English! When I started at USH in September 2018, I was immediately struck by how much fun I was having teaching your year group – a feeling that was shared, and continues to be shared, by everyone in the English team.

    Individually, you will be feeling all sorts of different emotions right now: uncertainty, relief, frustration, shock; but collectively, you should be feeling proud. Your learning in English cannot simply be measured in the work that you have done since September, or indeed the work that you would have done in an exam room in May. It is so much more than that. During your 5 years studying English at USH, you have developed many valuable skills and qualities which will serve you well throughout your future lives, studies and careers. To name just a few of these, you have:

    • Stood up in front of a class of your peers and delivered a speech about an issue that is important to you – this is never easy to do!
    • Explored, questioned and empathised with the moral and immoral (!) decisions that human beings choose to make
    • Developed an understanding of your culture, and how it is shaped by history, religion and politics
    • Challenged the meaning of words, refusing to just accept one meaning and instead looking for multiple meanings in the things that people write and say – so, so important in this world that we currently find ourselves in
    • Let others share their thoughts, and taken the time to listen
    • Learnt to be good storytellers

    I’m sure you’ll agree that this is an impressive list. As English teachers, this is exactly what we hoped you would get from our lessons and while an exam wouldn't have given you the opportunity to show all of these skills, that doesn't mean you don't possess them. 

    And let’s not forget vocabulary! I very much hope that you will continue to get some fantastic words like ‘tyrant’, ‘cacophony’, ‘cataclysmic’, ‘myriad’ and ‘epitome’ into your conversations – even if it means getting a few funny looks from the people you’re talking to!

    Like I said, you should be feeling proud of your learning in English - it belongs to you and you should take every opportunity to show it off.   

    Although these are challenging times, please try to enjoy the next few months – rest, relax and look forward. You’ve earned it!

    Take care,

    Miss Goldman J

    p.s. I hope I’ve impressed you with my range of punctuation!

  • Year 11 - A Message from Film Studies

    Hey my lovelies,

    What a week! I cannot believe that we went from revising Rebel on Wednesday, to no exams anymore today. I do not know how each of you must be feeling, but I am really hoping that you are able to still take some amazing memories, skills and knowledge away with you.

    You probably do not know this, but my vision for the Film Department and for you guys is: 'All students will emotionally respond to moving images, appraise filmmaking craft, and connect with the world from an empowered position.'

    My vision to equip you guys does not relate to exams or the exam board syllabus. My hope for you was to help develop your emotional connection to the world around you, and do that through the ever-growing medium of film. To teach you the art of communicating a message through a moving image. To be able to critique another piece of work, and to recognise how it positions you to feel certain things and respond in certain ways. To empower you as members of society, to recognise when the media is trying to sway you to feel or think one thing or another, and to be able to step back and really think about it first. My vision was to equip you to take on the world. Not to pass an exam.

    So I really hope that you feel that you are in a stronger position to do that. To watch films and be able to see how directors, and editors, and screenwriters have conveyed subtle meanings through the choices that they have made. And maybe, I hope, to one day be one of those filmmakers yourself, telling your stories to the world.

    It has been so amazing working with you all over the past 3 years. From the gruelling moments to the great, from the slog of homework to the laughs we've had over the funny moments in some of the films you've made, you have all been such wonderful individuals to teach. When I think about the quality of your films and screenplays in year 9, to the phenomenal work that each and every one of you has produced over the past 6 months, I get a huge sense of pride. Your work is your legacy. Be proud.

    Take care, please stay in touch.

    Mrs O'Halloran

  • Year 11 - A Message from Food

    Both classes have really embraced the food course and have been engaged throughout all the challenges and sensory experiences it had to offer. It has been a real pleasure to see them progress into fantastic cooks with great underlying nutritional knowledge and food science understanding. We all feel grateful that the food practical exams were before the shutdown and we got to see (and taste) the incredible culmination of all of their endeavour. The students really showed their love of food through the food of love. We are making a mural of all of their brilliant work and we know it will inspire many more future students to follow in their culinary footsteps. We also know they'll take their marvellous cooking skills onwards into their future lives and we like to think that when they cook we will always be there with them. 

    Team Food USH 

  • Year 11 - A Message from Geography

    Hi Geographers,

    What a fabulous 3 years we have had together! And for some of you, 5 years with me! I have been at USH as long as you have and it has been an absolute pleasure to get to know you. You are the reason we do what we do. You have been an incredible cohort of Geographers. Your dedication, commitment and passion you have shown for the subject has been inspiring and I hope you felt that was reciprocated from myself, Mrs Rendall and Mrs Ndupuechi. We feel very fortunate to teach our subject; to open the eyes of our students to this amazing, albeit challenging world we live in.

    We’re sorry our time together was cut short but this doesn’t take away your knowledge, understanding and the diverse range of skills you have learnt with us.  Your questions and inquisitive minds has shown us that you appreciate Geography exists beyond the classroom.

    Whatever path you choose, wherever life takes you please remember that Geography is everywhere. Take time to appreciate the world around you, even in these tough times. You are so much more informed and are now able to apply your learning to real life situations. We all wish you well for the future. Stay safe and please stay in touch!

    Mrs Hyslop


  • Year 11 - A Message from History

    Dear Year 11 historians,

    You have been a brilliant cohort, we have really enjoyed teaching you History and amazing memories, such as the Battlefields Trip, which will stay with us for a long time. Thank you for all your curiosity, engagement and hard work!

    Mr Farley – 11X:

    It has been an absolute pleasure to see you all grow and develop over the last 5 years into the amazing young people you have become. You have had such an impact on my journey at USH and capture why I love teaching here. I will miss engaging in historical enquiries with you all and hearing/reading your well analysed and supported arguments, but I am excited for what the future holds for you all and all the great things you are going to achieve. All the very best for the future and stay in touch.

    Mrs Mahoney - 11Y:

    I just want to say how it has been an absolutely incredible journey to teach each of you. Each of you are unique in your own way and I am so proud to have seen you grow academically and personally. Although your GCSE journey ends here, your future awaits and they are bright for all of you. You will be greatly missed in History. I know you will go on to do great things and I hope you keep in touch with us.

    Miss Clay – 11Z:

    It has been fantastic and a pleasure seeing you grow and become such caring and wonderful young people over the past 2 years. I will miss you all so much and teaching you was something I always looked forward to. I wish you all the best in college and your futures and I know that your passion will do you well for whatever you do. 

  • Year 11 - A Message from Maths

    Hi year 11, I hope you are all well!

    Obviously it was a real disappointment to us to have your year cut short – we’ve all felt like you were such a lovely year group to work with and we were really looking forward to working through the booklets with you and seeing how you did! But honestly that’s not really the point of what we’ve been doing.

    On one hand you’ve all been learning some fantastic Maths and are now far more capable with it than you were when you joined us. This means whenever Maths comes up in life, like working out how many tables you need to seat guests at your wedding, or working out how much paint you need for your house or how your repayments for your mortgage work, you are now more able to deal with this. Just as relevant is that when younger family members, or even your future kids, come to you for help with their Pythagoras homework hopefully you will remember your Maths lessons fondly as you help them out.

    But more to the point, I’ve seen you grow in confidence, independence and self-belief! One of the reasons I most love being a Maths teacher is watching the journey students take – I’ve seen students who didn’t believe they would ever achieve in Maths and who gave up whenever they saw something new or difficult, morph into these brilliant problems solvers who know that even if it takes them a while they can do anything. And that is the point – you can improve at anything.

    Other things that will stay with me include; your brilliant attitude during the walking talking mocks, the hard work of students at revision sessions, including early morning Friday sessions, and on a personal note the awesome people that came to Frisbee last Summer. Not to forget some brutal pirate games!

    Thanks for being awesome year 11, we will miss you and we hope to see you when everything calms down.

    Mrs Eyre and the Maths team.

  • Year 11 - A Message from MFL

    To the amazing Year 11 French/Spanish/Italian classes,

    We really wanted to see you all during the lunch on Friday, but fate meant that we were unable to round off the year in the way you deserved it to be; we are going to miss you all. I hope you read this and can find closure from it.

    We know there have been mixed feelings about the announcement last week and the cancelling of the exams, but your four and a half years at USH were not just about tests; it was about so much more! We have had the pleasure of teaching you for three years and some of you for your whole time at USH. Learning a language is not about a GCSE exam and a grade; it’s about enriching your life with another culture and opening up a whole new world of possibilities.

    We have seen you all become more and more confident in your foreign language and that is worth so much more than grades to us. Our wish is that you use these skills in the future; for work, holidays or use the odd word you have learnt to talk in Spanglish/Franglais/ Itanglese! You have developed so many skills in your time learning languages at USH; you can adapt, manipulate and problem solve, but more importantly, you are so resilient. No other year group at the school could have handled what you did with so much maturity.

    Mr Perry’s highlights were; “Ben breaking my hole punch, Connor stealing my thunder, the Colonel…  Hard to choose a single moment, but those of you that overcame your fears to have a crack at the mock speaking exam, I salute you.  Just don’t bowl there, son”.

    Mrs Connolly (so weird writing in the third person!) has really enjoyed being a small part of your language journey. When we started out, many of you were shy and lacking in confidence. To see you blossom and start to believe in yourselves has been an absolute pleasure. Your responses in lessons have shown deep understanding and an ability to manipulate language, which I hope you will use long into the future. I genuinely will miss you.

    Ms Calamelli’s highlights were playing ‘Macedonia’ with you this year, seeing how much progress you have all made and how much more confident and creative you are with your Italian. “I am very proud of you and wish you all the best for the future!”

    Mr Bhardwaj’s absolute highlight was the way you were so amazing with the pass the parcel surprise questions; it showed how much you had progressed, being able to handle such spontaneity.  He felt so proud of you all that day! He will never forget the number of students who kept falling asleep in his lessons, as he ‘talks too much’, forming Spanish romances in the class and being able to bully you all so much!

    We will miss our lessons, our connections, our banter, but we won’t miss the number of pens we had to give out EVERY lesson!

    This is definitely not ‘au revoir/ciao/adiós’… please keep in touch and we cannot wait to hear about all your successes. We will see each other again.

    ¡Buena suerte! Bonne chance! In bocca al lupo!

  • Year 11 - A Message from PE

    We thought we would show a blast from the past with the Boys football team and the Girls Netball teams and remember their success throughout their time at USH school.

    Good luck to all of you and as a department we wish you all the success in the future.

  • Year 11 - A Message from Photography

    Hi Photographers,

    This week has been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. We started with the final preparations for our exam, with amazing ideas being discussed, only to be told that that our exam wouldn’t happen. Having had 2 days to think about this I hope, like me, you have come to realise that you don’t need an exam to become a photographer. Looking back through your work has made me realise just how much hard work and dedication you have all put into the course. You have all spent 3 years learning how to see the world through a lens; how to show the viewer of your photography what you want them to see. The skills and confidence that you have developed will be of great benefit when you go to college, even if you don’t follow a creative path. But most of all it has been great fun teaching you. I am immensely proud of all of you and I hope that you keep in touch.   Mrs Cadle

  • Year 11 - A Message from RS

    When I reflect on the RS students in Year 9, I was confronted by a class who were curious, but most of you had a clear idea of how religion related to your life. I want to say sorry at this point for coming along and challenging those ideas, but my job is get you to think about what people think and what might be out there. 

    I hope you have enjoyed studying RS, and I have always tried to ensure that you hear from a range of views and get the freedom to make your own choices about what you believe.

    I know many of you have chosen courses which focus on people and the motives behind their actions and I hope that your RS knowledge will continue to help you in this.

    You will always be the class who love to learn by songs and actions, and I'm not sure I'll miss hunting children's songs to help you learn key ideas.

    Like the Citizenship group, I hope that you will leave a page for me about you and what the impact the course had had on you, I plan on creating a display book about you all and look forward to seeing how you move on.

    Mrs Dibden
  • Year 11 - A Message from Science

    We explored the world around us, we laughed, we learned

    You ploughed through past paper questions. You attended interventions and after-school revision classes, despite feeling exhausted and just wanting to go home and relax

    Please remember: just because there are now no exams, it doesn’t mean that it was all for nothing.

    So please, stay safe. And know that, whatever happens, we will weather this storm together. We are proud of you – exam results or not. 

    Andrei Stanescu

  • Message to 11E1

    Good luck 11E1!

    I am so glad that I was your tutor.  I really will miss seeing you all every day.

    One of my favourite memories was our final Christmas tutor and we had the Christmas wrapping paper fashion show.

    Please take care and keep in touch.

    You will be missed,

    Mrs Lambert

  • Year 11 The Butterflies: A special poem by Ruby H

    A cocoon,

    Enveloped and sheltered, wrapping us in warmth and safety,
    A place to call home, a place to rest and a place to grow.

    Our cocoon was threatened by an outside force,
    An invisible force, which cracked it open too soon,
    With us feeling vulnerable to the elements outside.

    We weren’t ready for this,
    Unprepared for life out of our cocoon,
    Rushed, confused, saddened, frightened,
    Feeling tiny in a strange new world,
    How will we succeed?

    We stop now and notice our reflection,
    We have grown, in size and character,
    We are stronger, in mind and body,
    We are wiser, we are braver.

    We have developed wings,
    And each lesson learned has added to their beauty,
    Unique patterns and colours developed over time,
    And as we stretch out those wings for the very first time,
    We realise we were ready to fly.