OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 66 - 31st March 2016
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Issue 66 - 31st March 2016
Dear families and friends of OBA,

I hope you had a peaceful Easter weekend.  We break up for our full Easter holiday on Friday and there are lots of revision workshops for our Year 11 and 13 students taking place over these two weeks.

This final newsletter of the spring term features lots of enrichment highlights from over the last week.  A large group of students undertook their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award practice expedition, Year 7 pupils enjoyed an indoor rowing activity and Saturday Academy’s Around the World Year 6 transition project visited Norton Priory.   The Dance department achieved success once more, this time with a performance at St. John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool.

You will also read important information about Kooth, the free online NHS service that offers emotional and mental health support for children and young people.  In addition, in Tech Talk there is some vital advice on how to secure your privacy on Facebook.

Thank you for all your support this term. I wish you a relaxing and peaceful Easter holiday.

Mr. M Wyss- Academy Principal

Bronze DofE Practice Expedition

Fifty Year 9 students from OBA recently navigated their way around Clitheroe and The Forest of Bowland when they took part in their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition.

Staying at Waddow Hall Girl Guiding Campsite, the students braced themselves for the cold weather and were delighted that not a spot of rain was seen over the whole two days! 

During the weekend the students successfully set up camp, cooked for themselves and were able to work together in their teams, getting to their final checkpoint before retuning back to the Academy. 

Mr Fenner said:

“All of the students did really well and they are now very excited at the prospect of their final expedition on 22nd April. Let’s hope that we can summon up another dry weekend, with a bit of spring sunshine thrown in this time!”

A Trip Through Time for Year 6s

OBA’s ‘Around The World’ Saturday Academy Project which is run each week for Year 6s has been as busy as ever and lots of exciting activities have again been taking place.

A recent trip to Norton Priory Museum saw the group take part in a ‘Trip Through Time’, looking at how daily life in England has changed throughout the years. Looking specifically at these changes through the history of Runcorn, the group travelled through Anglo Saxon and Norman history as well as through Medieval and Tudor times.

The history of Halton Castle was also on the agenda, of course, as was a mock sword fight. The group then went on to find out about the importance of Norton Priory in the local community as well as trying their hand at a medieval medicine activity. The visit ended with a Tudor writing session and a study of replica objects and costumes.

Mrs Rachel Campbell who co-ordinates the ‘Around The World’ project said:

“The children were so excited and the range of activities on offer was amazing.  They really enjoyed every part of the trip and learnt so much about their local history. It was great to hear them asking such good questions and seeing their faces light up when they dressed up in the costumes.”

Science Fair

Students from Years 10 to 13 recently enjoyed taking part in OBA’s Science Fair.

With representatives from the police, midwifery, biomedical science, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and the University of Chester, they were able to find out lots of information about potential careers in Science, as well as the vast range of science courses on offer to them in Higher Education.

Year 10 student, Steph Cullen, said:

“I found the biomedical scientist so interesting and I learnt a lot about a career I hadn’t even considered before.  I also liked the presentation as I was able to see what a real-life laboratory looked like!”

Chloe Owen, also in Year 10, said:

“I enjoyed talking to the police officer about the best routes to follow to study Forensic Science.  Having found out more, I feel it’s a career I could do really well in!”

Miss Hanson who co-ordinated the event added:

“All of the students who took part in the event did so with great enthusiasm.  There are so many different, well-paid, career paths to follow in Science that there is usually something for everyone. Lots of the students are now even more determined to do well in their Science exams so that they can achieve their goal.”

Parent Governor Vacancy

The Governing Body currently has a vacancy for a Parent Governor. Being a governor can be very rewarding and offers you the opportunity to make a real contribution to the life and work of our Academy. For more information, please contact Ann Collier at the Academy at or visit our website at


Trinity Kings Cross

Finance Assistant, Tracy Allen, recently presented a cheque for £294.00 to Trinity Kings Cross.  The funds were raised from the sale of an OBA staff calendar and will be used to provide counselling & mediation sessions for young people and also provide Christmas hampers/toys to families across Halton later in the year.

Trinity Kings Cross is a local based charity which was set up in October 2013 to help families across Halton. Following the closure of The Kings Cross Project in 2012, it soon became evident that there was a huge gap in the support available in areas such as money management, counselling and mediation, as well as the need to provide emergency food supplies that many families needed.

The first project taken on by Trinity Kings Cross was supplying Christmas hampers to those families in Halton who would otherwise have struggled to provide food and presents for their children at Christmas. Last year they supplied 103 hampers to those families in crisis in the Halton area.

Trinity Kings Cross have recently started counselling and mediation sessions for children and families referred to them by social services or other agencies. They would like to extend this type of support as there is still a great need in the Halton area and they are currently applying for funding.

If you would like to make a contribution to Trinity Kings Cross, then please contact Tracy Allen or Yvonne Hedgecock at OBA on 01928 711643.

Science Trip

On the 22nd March, Miss Dalton took her Year 13 Applied Science class on a daytrip to the University of Manchester. She had secured this trip by contacting Sanjai Patel of the University of Manchester’s world-renowned Drosophila Research Department, informing him of the assignment that the Year 13s were working on, which was based around monohybrid and dihybrid inheritance.

During the day, the students were given an in-depth tour of the Drosophila Research Department; they saw the store room where millions of fruit-flies are kept and the ‘dark chamber’ where research into the effect of an environment without light upon fruit flies is conducted.

The students also gained an insight into why fruit flies are such important research subjects, due to the many similarities they have with human beings. The students were particularly interested in how fruit flies share the same symptoms of conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s with humans.

The highlight of the trip came when the students completed the practical aspect of their unit, by examining live fruit flies from different generations and classifying them by their phenotypes. The data collected during this practical will be essential in order for the students to access the distinction level qualification of their Genetic Inheritance assignment.

Mountain Bike Challenge in Delamere

As part of the OBA's Outdoor Adventure Programme, Year 9 have had the chance to participate in mountain biking training in Delamere Forest.

The students spent two hours riding through the rough and bumpy terrain of the forest, on some very narrow and tricky trails, with total concentration and focus required for all to stay on their bikes.

Despite it being exceptionally muddy, all of the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and left with a great sense of achievement, having taken on the tough challenge. 

Congratulations, Bethany!

Bethany Smith in Year 8 has recently taken her Royal School of Music Grade 2 flute exam and passed with a Merit.

Miss Price, music teacher said:

“This is a fantastic result and Bethany should be very proud of herself as she scored highly in all areas of the exam. Well done, Bethany!”

Year 7 Indoor Rowing Prowess

Over the past seven weeks, sixty Year seven students have experienced indoor rowing taster sessions. During the sessions the students learnt how to use the machines effectively, how to coach others, and how to use their muscles to maximum strength.

Having competed in mini 500m challenges as well as a team challenge in the taster sessions, thirty-five of the students then went on to battle it out in a highly-competitive, yet very enjoyable, inter-form indoor rowing competition.

Points were awarded for times in both the individual and team competitions and it was 7SMY that took the crown, closely followed by 7RSH, with 7JIM taking third place.

A special mention must go to Holly Mogg who completed a 500m row in an impressive time of 2 minutes and 11 seconds, narrowly beating Scott McGrath by a slender one second.

Kooth is a free online counselling service for young people in Halton aged 11-19 (25 in some cases). Kooth offers safe and confidential, emotional and mental health support for children and young people who may be experiencing a variety of difficulties.

Therapists and counsellors are available until 10pm, 365 days a year, offering different levels of support, depending on need.  This could be as a one off 'drop in' session, weekly chats or a pre-booked 1-1 session. They can help talk through lots of issues such as loneliness, bullying, eating disorders, family problems, anxiety and depression.  

You can also have the option of talking to other young people in the forums, who may be experiencing similar problems, as well as having access to a variety of self-help features and an online magazine. 

To sign up, just go to and enter a user name and password, you will then be asked to enter some basic details (age, sex etc.). None of the other Kooth users will have access to this information, so your identity will be anonymous.


If you wish to discuss Kooth further, please contact Mrs Sothern at OBA.

Tech Talk

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

This week’s Tech Talk is going to focus on ensuring your Facebook account is as safe as possible. Facebook is extremely popular, with over 1.5 billion people using Facebook throughout the world. It’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends, family colleagues and sharing some of life’s biggest moments. However, there have been many cases where people have had problems because of something they have shared on social network.

The simple rule for sharing things on Facebook is that if you would be embarrassed to show a picture or a comment to your family, then this is really something you shouldn’t be putting on the internet. We would urge all students to ensure that your Facebook is made private to avoid any such issues. Below are some screen shots that will guide you to making your Facebook visible to friends only. You need to log in to your account using a computer (not using a mobile phone or iPad).

Privacy shortcuts can be found at the top of the Facebook homepage.

We recommend that you set your posts to friends only and only allow friends of friends to send you requests.

The timeline review feature allows you to block any embarrassing pictures or posts from appearing on your Facebook page.

Finally you should only allow friends to see the posts tagged on your timeline.

Remember that if you are concerned about something you have seen online you should report it to your parents/carers, any member of OBA staff or PC Williams. Speak to Mr Hussey if you need any help with making your Facebook account private.

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:

Spring Holiday Revision Timetable

This spring holiday will be a busy time for our Year 11 students. There is a busy schedule planned to help them achieve and shine. If you are a parent of a Year 11 pupils, please check the timetable below to ensure that you are aware when they should be attending. 

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Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy
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