OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 98 - 8th March 2017

Issue 98 - 8th March 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

On Thursday we celebrated World Book Day with many teachers dressing up as fictional characters, with my personal favourite being Mr Reid's dinosaur costume!  We welcomed the children's author, Steve Tasane, to OBA and he led several workshops with our Year 7 and Year 8 students.

On Friday, I went to the OAT (Ormiston Academies Trust) Principals' forum in London where we discussed the successes of the OAT academies as well as the looming cuts in education funding which will take place over the next few years. As I have mentioned before, OBA is still growing in numbers and we are in a strong financial position.

OAT has been an academy sponsor since 2008 and now supports over 25,000 students across 31 academies in England, from Runcorn to the Isle of Wight. 

Notable successes include:

  • Best ever GCSE results in 2016
  • Increase in the number of students progressing to university
  • Percentage of students achieving A* and A grades at A Level is at a record high
  • Outcomes in OAT are higher than other sponsored academies nationally

Our internet was upgraded by Virgin Media in association with Halton Borough Council in January 2017 from 30Mb/s to 100Mb/s. We have seen significant improvements in internet connectivity speed, as a result of this upgrade.

Mr. J Rigby
Executive Principal

World Book Day 2017

World Book Day is celebrated in style in OBA each year, creating a fun atmosphere but a serious message across the school.  World Book Day 2017 saw teachers across the Academy don a vast range of amazing costumes to emphasise the importance of reading books and the educational value that reading offers to people of all ages. 


Staff from the Science Faculty all came as different characters from Alice in Wonderland whilst the admin team who all dressed up as the cast of Toy Story, and the English staff not only dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz, but they also decorated the doors of their classrooms as book covers, an activity which was as fun to create as it was to look at. 


Author and poet, Steve Tasane, came in and worked with two Year 8 classes, a Year 10 class and he also did a workshop for the whole of Year 9. 

Miss Ingram said:

Steve does performance poetry and rap as well as being a young adult fiction author, so he was able to engage the students from the offset and even had students involved with his raps. All the students threw themselves into all of the activities and Steve was really impressed with how well they responded and got involved.  I would like to thank all the staff for wearing such fabulous costumes to help raise the profile and the importance of reading a good book, for so many reasons.

As a special reward, some Year 7 and 8 students were also invited to a special ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ for their consistently hard work in English over the past year. They thoroughly enjoyed the food, the games and talking about the book that so many of them had read, ‘Alice In Wonderland’. 

Sixth Formers Visit University College London

On Tuesday 28th February, Miss O'Keeffe and Ms Richards accompanied twelve Sixth Form students to the very prestigious University College London to attend a series of lectures on English Language and Linguistics.

The lectures were delivered by University Professors and covered a wide range of topics such as child language acquisition, forensic linguistics and multi-cultural urban English. The lectures were fascinating and gave students an insight into the real world applications of the study of language. 

The highlight of the day was definitely hearing from Professor David Crystal, who is a world-renowned expert on the English Language. He presented a fascinating lecture on the history of punctuation which had all present enthralled and on the edge of their seats. 

Students also took part in a live research project when Dr Tim Grant carried out an investigation into idiolect.  He asked the entire audience to tweet on the same topic, nevertheless, no two comments proved to be the same. This served to demonstrate the diversity in style amongst English Language native speakers.

Head of English, Miss O’Keefe said:

Overall, it was a great trip that gave our Sixth Form students a taste of life in a very prestigious university.  The day not only broadened their knowledge of linguistics but introduced them to some of the great, and very inspirational, masters of the English Language.

The Harry Potter Event

Key Stage 3 students recently enjoyed the magic and wonder of OBA’s very own Harry Potter Event, co-ordinated by Miss Howard.

The students were given the opportunity to participate in a wide range of magical English- related activities. These included: writing a newspaper report about breaking out of Azkaban; designing and describing their own mythical creature; writing magic spell poetry and they were sorted into their own House in Hogwarts!

Miss Howard said:

I would like to thank our Librarian, Miss Wheatcroft, and her Year 9 assistants for their help running each activity. Everyone involved had an absolutely ‘wizard’ time and there were so many fun activities for them to take part in that they didn’t know ‘witch’ to choose!

Following the spectacular spell binding event, Miss Howard and Miss Wheatcroft also ran a Harry Potter general knowledge quiz which had eight teams participating. The ‘Wonderful Wizards’ were the champions, and their prize was a range of Harry Potter merchandise. 

The Halle Orchestra Experience

Over seventy of OBA’s Music students went to watch the Halle Orchestra perform at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Wednesday 1st March.

With forty-two schools being invited each year, the performance is a massive event that OBA now attends annually to allow students to enjoy the spectacle of musical expertise of the highest order.  It gives students the opportunity to see an amazing orchestra at work, rather than just study about this in the classroom. They see first-hand how the different musical families work together and complement each other to make up a musical ensemble.  Amongst the famous pieces performed by the Halle Orchestra was music from Karl Jenkins, Benjamin Britten and Handel.

Mr Reid, Head of Music, said:

All of the students loved the event as well as the venue. They are now looking forward to seeing the orchestra again and returning to Bridgewater Hall, as it impressed them so much. Drummer and Music prefect, Ben Kavanagh, was gripped by the event and came back to school asking for a set of timpani drums.  Great idea, but these are just a bit too big to fit into a classroom!

Table Tennis Successes

OBA’s table tennis players were very successful at the recent Cheshire Schools’ Table Tennis Championships. The successes were as follows.

Ryan Makin came 2nd  in the under 16 boys’ category:

Ryan battled through his semi-final against one of his Halton County team mates, coming back from two sets down to win the match 3 sets to 2 (11/9 in the final set). 

The final was just as exciting as, again, Ryan’s opponent gained a two set lead.  However, Ryan managed to close the gap, yet again, and brought it back to 2 sets all - but this time he wasn’t able to secure the win, losing 11/7 in the fifth and final set.


Emily Shone came 3rd in the under 16 girls’ category

She now has another certificate to add to vast number that she has gained over the years.


Aaron Flynn came 4th in the under 19 boys’ category

He was very close to achieving a third place position.


Nathan Hughes made his way to the quarter final in the under 16 boys’ category

Nathan won all 3 of his matches in his group stage and took his opponent in the quarter final to a final set before being knocked out of the competition.

Karting at Deeside

Eleven drivers took to the Deeside Karting Track recently, all very keen to make an impression. There were some great debut drives from Ethan Jones and Robbie Thomas, however, yet again, sixth former Chloe Holt kept the pressure on to Mr Clerkin, by setting yet again another blistering pace.

Chloe astounded all present as she lapped the circuit with an incredible 32.007 to finish the day on the second step of the podium and go home with the honours of fastest OBA student for the second year running. - Well done, Chloe!

Puzzle Challenge

In the last newsletter we gave you a puzzle to solve. Did you crack it? Check your answer below:

? = 17 

The number on each spike is the sum of the two numbers in the quadrant opposite (9 +8 =17)

Now have a go at this week’s Maths Puzzle Challenge.

You will find the answer in the next issue of OBA’s newsletter. 
Good luck from Miss Arends and the Maths Faculty.

Tech Talk

Welcome to Tech Talk @ OBA, the part of the weekly newsletter where we share useful apps, websites and devices. 

This week Head of Maths, Mr Collinson, would like to make you all aware of a new and improved Maths learning website called MathsWatch. 

There are several reasons the MathsWatch resource works as the best Maths revision aid on the internet today:

  • It revises every single topic just like a teacher would, at the board.
  • The three producers of the disc are all highly experienced practising teachers.
  • Every clip has real exam questions for students to do - because we all know that to be good at Maths, a student has to do it, not just watch it.

MathsWatch covers a range of levels and provides a short clip that goes through each concept in a similar manner to that done in school, as well as having a worksheet to download that can be used to rehearse the skill. This should prove valuable for any student who may have missed a lesson or who is revising and comes across a topic that they have forgotten. 

To make use of this website simply go to 

Your username is surname@ormbol – for example hughes@ormbol

Your password is your date of birth in the DD/MM/YYYY format – for example 01/05/2001

Should you have any difficulties using MathsWatch please see your Maths teacher or Mr Collinson.

Do you have a piece of technology that you would like to share or that you may have heard of and would like to see explained in Tech Talk? If so, contact Mr Hussey via email:

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