OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 63 - 8th March 2016

Issue 63 - 8th March 2016
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Last week saw parents of Year 6 pupils across Halton receive news of which secondary school place their child has been offered for September.  We are delighted to be welcoming our full allocation of 180 pupils and look forward to seeing all our new OBA family members at our official transition days in the summer term.

We also celebrated World Book Day in fine style once again at OBA! Every year this fantastic event grows and grows.  This year our students were involved in workshops with guest writers and some led sessions for primary school children.  In addition, the majority of our staff dressed as characters from various genres of fiction, including horror, science fiction and even Shakespeare.  In this newsletter you will read much more about this wonderful day.

This week our Year 10 students undertake their mock examinations and I wish them all the very best of luck with these.  This time next year they will be entering the home straight of their GCSEs.  This is exactly where our Year 11 currently are and I am very proud of how hard they and the staff are working.  GCSE Dance and Drama students spent last weekend on a residential workshop preparing for their practical performance pieces and the majority of students are attending sessions at Saturday Academy.  Keep going Year 11, it will all be worth it when you collect your GCSE results on August 25th.

Finally, Year 8 students and their parents will be attending Options Evening on Tuesday ahead of selecting their GCSE choices by March 14th.

As you can see, OBA is a very busy, but extremely rewarding, place to be.

Thank you for supporting us every step along the way.

Best wishes
Mr. M Wyss- Academy Principal

World Book Day Fun at OBA

World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March was a fun-filled day at OBA. A truly wonderful day was had with a variety of exciting activities taking place throughout the day for OBA’s students as well as pupils from local primary schools.

OBA’s staff re-discovered their inner child and dressed up as their favourite book characters, much to the amusement of the students and visitors to the academy. Characters ranged from Peter Pan, accompanied by Tinkerbell and Captain Hook, to Where’s Wally, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, The Ice Queen and many, many others.  We even had Miss Bedford, who teaches Animal Care at OBA dress her dog, Monty, up as one of the 101 Dalmatians, just to show that World Book Day can be fun for all types of creatures.

This year OBA was also fortunate enough to welcome two authors who impressed everyone with their talents. Malcolm Rose, an author of crime and mystery fiction delivered a number of workshops with Years 8, 9, 10 and 11, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Andy Briggs, a published author and screenwriter, also came in to work with Film and Media Studies classes, advising them on how to create a screenplay and the techniques and skills needed to do so. All those present were able to gain some really valuable knowledge and first-hand experience to inspire and motivate them further with their studies.

In the run up to the big day, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 had created story books suitable for young children. So on the morning of World Book Day, pupils from local primary schools came in to hear eighteen Lead Learners read their books to the children.

Executive Principal Mr Rigby, who came in as Just William and had to make a quick change back into his suit in to conduct staff interviews said:

“The day created a real buzz of excitement around the academy and so many staff got into the spirit of World Book Day.  Emphasising the importance of reading to young people can never be under-estimated.  Improved reading skills can have a huge effect on how well students perform in examinations. The world of imagination and creativity that students can enter into also offers a great source of relaxation and fun.”   

World Book Day Special Effects

Lauren O’Neill and Milly Ward in Year 8 celebrated World Book Day by using their Special Effects Make-Up Skills on some of the staff.

Mr Barry and Mr Coring dressed up as OBA Teacher Zombies and asked if any of our talented drama students could give them a zombie style makeover. Lauren O’Neill, a self-taught Special Effects Artist, is superbly good at creating a range of professional theatrical make-up effects so she volunteered herself, as did Milly Ward.

Both students arrived at school an hour early at 7:30am to transform the Maths teachers into zombies, just in time for the arrival of the other students. Lauren and Milly have demonstrated outstanding commitment to school and to developing their own talents, so watch this space for more work from our team of OBA Student Special Effects Artists.

Special Effects Make-up Skills

I first started special effects make-up when I was nine years old. I remember watching a video on YouTube on how to do a basic burn and I felt so inspired by it; I had to try it myself.

I used basic paints and tissue paper and when I had finished I was amazed by the results, I wanted to do more!

I started to collect more and more professional products and I experimented with them on myself, family and friends. I've learnt many different techniques by watching tutorials online and started to feel my confidence grow along with my creative skills.

Now I've had the chance to work with industry professional Andy Savage who taught me how to make prosthetics. I also demonstrated my talents at Year 7 Open Evening and did make-up on teachers for World Book Day, which were all great opportunities for me to further develop my Special Effects skills and I've loved every minute of it!

Career in the Spotlight

As a make-up artist you would create specific looks, both make-up and hair, for a range of different clients. You could work in TV, film, theatre, concerts, fashion shows or doing photo shoots for magazines and newspapers.

Working Activities

The looks you create as a make-up artist will differ from one client to the next and could vary from natural looks for TV work to using wigs and hair pieces for period dramas. Also, you might have to create special effects and use prosthetics or moulds.

Some tasks in your daily job might include:

  • Researching and designing hair and make-up looks that are specific to the client
  • Following the production designers’ notes and interpreting their vision
  • Styling and maintaining hair
  • Transforming a person’s appearance using special effects work
  • Being on stand-by for TV and Film work
  • Photographing your work
  • Maintaining work areas and looking after equipment
  • Meeting with potential clients to discuss their requirements and talk through your portfolio of work


Usually make-up artists work on a freelance basis and are paid for each job or contract that they are employed for. For example, a make-up artist working a 10 hour day on a TV drama could earn around £210.

Qualifications, training and experience

You would start your career by gaining a Level 2 in Media Make-Up or GCSE/BTEC Drama which enables you to develop skills within this area. You would then go on to study a Level 3 course. For example;

  • Level 3 BTEC Production Arts
  • AS Level Drama and Theatre Studies
  • Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects Hair and Media Make-Up
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Media Make-Up

You could then go on to study a relevant degree or foundation degree in this subject. You can search for courses on the UCAS website.

As well as gaining qualifications you should also try to gain as much practical experience as you can and start to gather photographs of your work and develop a network of people who you have worked with. For example you could gain experience by doing the following:

  • Working on school productions doing hair and make-up
  • Set-up a class/enrichment teaching others basic special effects make-up skills
  • Charity events or fashions shows
  • Enter your work into competitions
  • Volunteer with professional make-up artists

Some broadcasting companies offer trainee schemes and other ways of gaining experience in the industry but they only recruit at certain times of the year and it can be very competitive and getting on to them.

If a career in this field is of interest to you, the BBC offers a range of trainee schemes. So, visit the BBC’s website for further details and reach for the stars!

The Hallé Spectacular

Over eighty students from OBA recently attended the ‘Hallé for Youth 2016 Concerts for Schools’ event at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.  This was a truly spectacular event with over 1500 students attending from all over the north of England.

Each year a series of concerts is devised for schools by Hallé Education which provide an introduction to live classical music for thousands of school children throughout Greater Manchester and the North West.  This year’s theme was ‘Science, Revolution and Music’ and the aim was to introduce young people to both the orchestra and the role of modern technology in Music.  

Many famous and well-known arrangements were played throughout the performances.  They varied from a traditional arrangement of the Gospel song ‘This Little Light of Mine’, to Elgar’s Enigma Variations, probably best known for ‘Nimrod’ which is played annually at Remembrance Services across the country.  Students were also entertained with scores for numerous box office hits such as ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well the music from the two classic video games, Angry Birds and Final Fantasy.

Mr Reid, who organised the trip said:

”All the students, no matter what year they came from, loved the concert.  We can’t wait for the next Hallé spectacular as they are always such an inspirational and up-lifting experience for both students and staff alike. It is amazing how music plays such a huge part in so many aspects of everyone’s life - and long may that be!”  

Healthy Eating Rewards

Following the article in last week’s newsletter by Miss McAuliffe about Healthy Eating, we can now announce that the rewards for winners will be as follows:

  • 1st place - a six week free pass for Brookvale Recreation Centre’s gym and swimming pool PLUS a voucher for Cineworld.
  • Runners up will get 1 free pass for a gym and swimming session PLUS a voucher for Cineworld.

Please contact Miss McAuliffe if you require more information.

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