OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 123 - 9th March 2018

Issue 123 - 9th March 2018
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Welcome back to this week’s newsletter.

As you know, we did a lot of work at the start of term defining the mission statement of the school. We work every day to provide nurture, support and excellence for all students. This newsletter really exemplifies each element of our mission statement alive in the work we do.

In terms of nurture, our transition work carries on a pace with another really successful week at Saturday Academy. The Utterly Butterly ukulele challenge was a lot of fun for those students from Year 6 who work with us every Saturday.

Support is absolutely central to what we do and this edition features an LGBT event and a mental health awareness event for Year 8, both designed to support and educate students in the wider aspects of life.

Excellence shines through this edition, from staff and students. The excellent contribution (and a lot of fun) of staff who really went for it on World Book Day to promote a love of reading as well as the personal excellence of Mr Gillard and students Alice Willard and Millie-Lou Smith really do demonstrate what a great school this is to work and learn in.

We are making great strides forward as a school but will never rest on our laurels and will look constantly for ways we can improve. Communication is really important to us; do keep an eye out for our new website (which will launch after Easter) and, if you use social media, do follow us on Twitter @OBAcademy. If any parent has any ideas for how we can improve communication, you can also email us at

Thanks for reading, and have a great week

Mr. E Wright

World Book Day

On Thursday 1st March OBA celebrated World Book Day. Staff went all out for our annual fancy dress and the results were fantastic! 

Students from across Years 7 to 10 took part in a range of different workshops. Over 40 students took part in sessions with illustrator Joseph Witchall who was our special guest for the day. Joseph discussed with the students what it means to be an illustrated; shared his work and even drew some special one of a kind sketches just for us with the input of our students. 

We also had OBA English teacher and published author, Mrs Littlemore, running creative writing sessions with 20 students. The students were able to find out all about how you can become an author and the students then rewrote a section of Mrs Littlemore’s first book, Flow. Mrs Littlemore said:

The students were incredible. They worked extremely hard and had some fantastic ideas.

A Primary Book Box was created as part of the Year 7 Big Book Project linked to World Book Day. Year 7s were set the challenge of creating a children’s fiction story aimed at one of 3 age ranges (4-6, 7-9 & 10 -11). The aim of the project was to allow students to experience the full process of creating a book. Students worked in pairs to plan, draft, edit and illustrate a full book. 

Our Year 7’s fantastic creations have now been carefully packaged in a big book box and are ready to be delivered to younger students in our local primary schools to enjoy.

English Teacher, Miss Smith who led on the World Book Day activities said:

The day was a huge success and all students worked incredibly hard.

Utterly Butterly Ukulele Project

The Beast from the East did little to deter our tropical plans last week as our Around the World students attended in mass and embraced the Hawaiian themed activities. 

60 ATW students had the chance to work with the fantastic Utterly Butterly Ukulele Project to make their very own TUB-Ukes from completely recycled materials! Constructed using an Utterly Butterly tub, a piece of wood and fishing line for strings the students made a fully functional instrument which could then be tuned and customised.

As part of the session, children spent some time learning how to play useful chords before taking part in a Tub-Uke orchestra with the Utterly Butterly band! 

Well-known songs such as ‘In the Jungle’ were played alongside special catchy numbers including ‘The Utterly Butterly Ukulele Song’ and ‘Blow Your Bubble,’ which had the ATW students happily singing and strumming along.

Students commented that this was one of the best weeks yet!

Mrs Snagg, Director of Transition said;

We have worked with the Utterly Butterly Ukulele Project for a number of years now and every year their session is a highlight of the ATW Calendar. The children have lots of fun making the ukuleles and particularly enjoy being able to customise them. The ‘performance’ at the end is a great way for everyone to show off their new instruments and the songs are so catchy they stay in your head for days! It is such a unique idea! We are already looking forward to the Tub-Uke session again next year

Odd Mugs Cafe

Year 8 student Alice Willcott, had the brilliant idea last year of opening a Tutor Group Café to raise money for charity. She brainstormed her ‘Odd Mugs’ idea with friends Wendy Kelley, Abi Bell and Lauren Joyce and originally the Tutor Group Café opened on Tuesdays and Thursdays for fellow students. Due to popular demand it then also opened on a Friday, just for teachers! 

Tutor group friends Rhys Simpson, Leon Spurr, Adam Moseley and Ellie Unsworth all helped with the morning Café which opened as early as 7.30am. Staff from various different departments came to show their support and purchased the treats (hot/cold drinks, chocolates and biscuits) on offer. The mix of friendly, helpful students combined with a maximum good’s price of 50p, proved a winning combination and by the end of the school year 2017, Alice and her team had raised an amazing £137.50 for Alzheimer’s Association.


It’s always great to hear about our supporters but when young people are involved in putting in their time and energy into helping our cause I find it especially touching. Thank you once again for your generosity.Jamie Tulloch, Customer Care Advisor

LGBT Event

The Museum of Liverpool is passionate about telling real people’s stories and using them to champion social justice.  As part of the current exhibition ‘Tales of the City’, Liverpool Museum teamed up with Diversity Role Models to offer a great opportunity for young people aged 12-16 to learn about Liverpool’s LGBT+ communities, their stories and their histories. Diversity Role Models is a charity that aims to prevent homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying within UK schools.  They believe that no student should ever be bullied for being themselves and by embracing and celebrating our differences we can create understanding.


OBA were very lucky to be selected as one of only two schools to take part in the event at the, which was as form tutor and trip leader Miss Connolly described, ‘an eye-opening experience’. 

8ACY took part in the trip on Monday 26th February and had the powerful opportunity to meet local people, one of whom was from Runcorn, who shared their experience of making change for the LGBT community as well as their own personal stories. The floor at the University of Liverpool was then opened to our pupils who asked some excellent questions to the role models. 

It was really nice to hear from real people and to be able to ask questions that you might be nervous to ask. I learned a lot about the struggles LGBT people have faced overtime and am glad to be part of a more forward-thinking generation.Caitlin McKenna, 8ACY

I thought the day was really good and was glad to have gone along. Before this, I didn’t think I had a role to play in fighting for LGBT rights but I have realised today that we are all one community and should be standing together for equality. My form is going to work on starting an LGBT alliance in our school!Louie Marron, 8ACY

Year 8 Mental Health Awareness Assembly

Last year, OBA students completed a survey called ‘Make Your Mark’ along with hundreds of other young people in high schools across the borough. This ballot identified approximately 400 teens had highlighted mental health as their most important issue and therefore in direct response to this, Halton Borough Council’s Youth Cabinet successfully secured funding from a national charity to train twelve mental health champions. 

Matthew Walker, Young Addaction, Halton, commented

We have been funded to train up 12 young people to become Mental Health First Aiders, these young people will then be able to go back into their respective schools and further raise the profile of mental health in young people, whilst also being able to recognise the signs of basic mental health conditions and signpost young people to the correct local service.


The programme will start in March 2018 and will see the champions undertake accredited Mental Health First Aid training as well as getting the opportunity to meet and influence senior decision makers from mental health support organisations across the borough and beyond. Training for the programme takes place over four days and the Young Champions will then be supported to make a real difference to the mental health of students in their schools’ over the coming

Matthew visited OBA last week and promoted this unique opportunity to our year 9 students during their weekly assembly.

Mrs Noon, ECM Coordinator, commented:

Myself, Miss Dutton (Head of Year 9) and Miss McKevitt (Assistant Head of Year 9) were overwhelmed by the uptake of this advert. With fifteen Year 9 students wanting to sign up for this training! As a result, Matthew has offered us a third place with the possibility of us being offered a fourth depending on other schools in Halton. This is a fantastic opportunity as mental health is such an important issue to focus on nationally as well as in our school. We are excited to have our students trained up and they will be delivering one to one support and launching an OBA Mental Health Champions programme in the summer term.

Mr Gillard Takes on Pipe Dream Fell

Maths teacher, Mr Gillard, took to the hills again recently; running in the Pipe Dream Fell Race. The race starts in the village of Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley and climbs steeply before meandering along the lower slopes of the Carneddau range, then descending to Coedty and back down the technical descent alongside Afon Porthlwyd.

Despite this year’s race having the extra challenge of sub-zero temperatures, Mr Gillard was able to enjoy fantastic snowy views and he even commented that the freezing conditions made his post-race soup even more enjoyable!

Well done Mr Gillard!

Artist of the week

The art department would like to nominate Year 8 student Millie-Lou Smith as our artist of the week. Over the course of the year Millie-Lou has gone above and beyond in her art studies attending numerous enrichments and supporting other pupils with their work. She is an extremely gifted artist and works hard both in art lessons and at home to refine her pieces to an extremely high standard. We were particularly impressed with her latest homework; a tonal eye drawing, which demonstrates skills beyond those we would expect from a Year 8 pupil. We are very much looking forward to following Millie-Lou’s progress for the rest of this year and as she starts her GCSE art course in September.

Millie Lou Smith (Year 8)

E-Safety Update

Staying Safe on Instagram

Many students, staff and parents use Instagram for sharing photos and videos. However do you know how to use Instagram safely? Do you know if your account is private or public? Do you know how to share with a select group of your followers? Do you know who your followers are? Do you know how to block someone? Do you know how to report a post? Do you know how to delete comments? Do you know how to delete your account?

To support you in using Instagram safely we now have a checklist available to help keep you safe. Below are some top tips!

Free copies of the Instagram checklist are available in the foyer area at OBA or can be requested by contacting Mr Hussey at the academy. Please call or email directly using 

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