OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 100 - 23rd March 2017

Issue 100 - 23rd March 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

We are celebrating the 100th edition of our weekly newsletter and I would like to congratulate Mrs Oulton for her hard work and editorial expertise in communicating life at OBA to our wider audience. On Friday, three OBA teachers attended their Masters in Education graduation ceremony at the University of Chester, Ms Boardman, Mrs Fakir and Ms Rugen. They have each contributed hugely to the success of our Academy and we celebrate this landmark in their professional development.

On Saturday, our students competed in the annual Mock Trial Magistrates’ Competition, which this year took place at Crewe Magistrates’ Court.  The students performed very well in their court roles and enjoyed being presented with their medals. I would like to thank Mr Bird, Ms Jarvis and Mr Hussey for their dedication in preparing the students for the presentation of their cases.

On Thursday we have the Year 8 Parents’ Evening which we hope will be as well attended as the recent Options Evening. 

We are planning to directly employ the catering staff at OBA instead of buying in the service from Halton. I will be meeting with staff and their Trades Union representatives this week to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities. Our award-winning catering staff fully support the changes; they will give them even more freedom to provide the best possible menus for our students and staff.


Mr. J Rigby
Executive Principal

Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition

Those who are regular readers of the OBA newsletter will have recently read about a team of Year 8 and 9 students who have been working very hard to prepare for The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition. The team has been attending weekly enrichments and Saturday sessions to prepare for the Local Heats which took place on Saturday 18th March 2017. 

After meeting at OBA bright and early at 8am, the team of twelve students and school staff travelled by minibus to The Law Courts in Crewe. It was soon time to get down to business and OBA went head to head with St Nicholas’ Catholic High School in court room two. After a short break for refreshments, the team headed to court room one where they were up against Thomas Adams’ High School. In both sessions the students played court room roles and were judged on their presentation skills, questioning and answering, as well as their knowledge of the law.

After the court hearings were over, the students enjoyed a tour of the holding cells below the courts, with some of the braver students allowing the guards to handcuff them and lock them in the cells!

All involved then enjoyed lunch before nerves kicked in, as the five schools represented were asked to make their way to the foyer area for the announcement of the winners. Unfortunately, OBA lost by the narrowest of margins but, despite the students’ obvious disappointment, both they and the staff were very proud of the team’s efforts and wonderful performances.

All of the students received a certificate from a very senior judge and some of the team, as a result of their involvement in this competition, are now considering a career in the legal profession.

The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition is a national schools’ competition, which has been running annually in the UK since 1994. It introduces the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way. Led by Mr Hussey and Mrs Jarvis and supported by Mr Bird (Maths) the competition has recently returned to OBA.  All staff involved have all been thrilled to see how much the students have developed their knowledge and understanding of the legal system, increased their confidence and improved their teamwork, public speaking and analytical skills, since becoming involved in the weekly enrichments in preparation for the big event.  

Well done and thank you to all the students and staff involved for your hard work and dedication.

Aiming Even Higher

Many congratulations go to three members of staff who were awarded their Masters of Arts qualification by The University of Chester on Friday 17th March.  Mrs Fakir, Miss Rugen and Miss Boardman all enjoyed a proud day after their years of hard work attending seminars and completing assignments.

On the same day at the start of their ceremony, Gyles Brandreth (ex MP, John Major’s whip, presenter on ‘One Show’ and a regular on Countdown’s dictionary corner!) was granted the position of Chancellor of the University.

Well done to all three teachers, from the staff and students of OBA.

The Great OBA Bake Off

Last week saw OBA’s students taking part in ‘The Great OBA Bake Off and it was a huge success.

Organised by Mrs Wallace, Miss Ray and the pastoral staff as a House competition, two students from each house, one from Key Stage 3 and one from Key Stage 4, got ready to bake, armed with exactly the same ingredients, ensuring the competition would be a fair test of technical ability and creative design. 

The task was to create an Easter cake and this saw them using a variety of decorations including butter cream icing, edible flowers, Easter chicks, chocolate eggs, marshmallow bunnies, sugar sprinkles and even glitter.

Mrs Wallace said:

The students threw themselves into this Bake Off with great enthusiasm and a fabulous range of cakes was produced. It made the judging, which was done by Executive Principal, Mr Rigby, along with a selection of other staff, really difficult but after much deliberation the winners were declared. I would like to congratulate everyone that took part as they all did really well.  Thanks also go to Miss Ray for her time and the encouragement she gave the students throughout event.

Move it, Groove it, Prove it!

Eight Dance students from OBA recently headed to London for a jam-packed Dance weekend.  Accompanied by Mrs Barker, Head of Dance and Miss Wells, PGDE trainee, the group attended ‘The MOVE IT Dance and Performing Arts Show’, the UK’s biggest dance event, in Excel, London.

The weekend consisted of different dance classes and workshops led by industry professionals over three days. Within the arena there was also a variety of exhibitions from UK dance colleges and universities, information stalls, dance shops, fitness and wellbeing instructors, mini performance stages, competitions and much more. It was a real fun-filled affair!

Mrs Barker said:

The students participated in two different dance classes. One group did the Contemporary and Contemporary/Jazz class, whilst the other group took part in Commercial and Hip-Hop Choreography classes.  The students also watched live performances on the main stage and were in awe of the talent that ‘Move It’ displayed. The place was buzzing with trainee and professional dancers and the atmosphere was electric. Over 25,000 people attended the event and Leah Bentley was thrilled when she met her favourite dancers ‘Chris and Wes’ from the Sky Ones series ‘Got to Dance’ and she had great fun getting a group selfie with them!

The students visited Covent Garden and took photos outside the famous Pineapple Dance Studios and also attended the ‘Prince Edward Theatre’ in the Westend to watch Disney’s ‘Aladdin.’ The show was action packed with singing and dancing and the students were spell- bound by the whole performance. They thoroughly enjoyed the show and were really impressed by the set, lighting and costumes of the wonderful spectacle.

On the Saturday morning, the students returned to ‘Move It’ to participate in a further four dance classes: Hip-hop, Lindy Hop, Bollywood and Commercial Jazz. Pushing their already aching bodies to the extreme, they challenged themselves in some very advanced classes. They then treated themselves to a closer look around the exhibition stands before watching more inspiring dance performances on the main stage. 

Year 9 students, Molly Roberts and Ellie Rae were thrilled when they met Jonny Labey - the winner from the current ITV series ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’, whilst Year 12 students  Megan Hawkins, Lauren Mather and Kennedy Doyle were equally as thrilled to meet ‘Twist and Pulse’ - runners up from Britain’s Got Talent in 2010.

The students and staff headed home extremely exhausted, but very fulfilled by what had been an inspiring, motivational and fun-filled dance weekend. 

Mrs Barker went on to say:

On the train home, it was lovely to hear the students talking about how enthused they had been by the talented dancers from across the UK and how they intended to use what they had learnt to improve their own skills.

The students are now looking forward to including some of these skills into their individual and group performances in OBA’s Dance Show which will take place on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th April at 7pm.  

If you would like any more details about this show, please contact Mrs Barker on or contact the Reception at OBA on 01928 711643.

For or Against Animal Testing?

Students from Miss Reardon’s and Miss Neilson’s Year 7 Science class took part in a debate during Science Week on whether animal testing should be abolished. 

‘The Big Animal Research Debate’ took place in schools across the country and their votes were then sent off to be added to the statistics on the website. 

The students worked exceptionally hard on their speeches and stayed after school to research more on animal testing.  Their debate on this very controversial topic was then presented to other students from Years 7, 8 and the Sixth Form. 

Congratulations to the following who spoke up in favour of animal testing in their presentation:

  • Louie Marron 
  • Elly Unsworth 
  • Leah Doolan 
  • Frankie Caddick 

Those who presented their speeches ‘against animal testing’ included:

  • Lillie Mai Scott
  • Adon-Lee Shaw
  • Paris Foran 
  • Callum Turrell

Well done to them all for their significant contributions.

Pi Day

On Tuesday 14th March, ‘Pi Day‘ was celebrated across the academy.

Pi Day is a huge occasion in the calendar for those who are fascinated by mathematics and science everywhere.  Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  Pi Day is celebrated on 14th March each year, as it is 3/14 (if you write dates like an American) and 3.14 are the first three significant digits of Pi.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorise, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

To mark the event, all the maths staff wore Pi themed t-shirts and the students took part in activities to do with circles throughout the day in both maths and other subjects including Geography, ICT, Food Technology and many others.

INTERESTING FACT:  Although the two events are actually unrelated, Pi Day, is also, coincidentally, Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Music Awards

OBA’s Music students have been awarded Level of Attainment certificates from the Halton and Warrington Music Support Service, as a result of their hard work and achievement in their instrumental lessons.

These certificates relate to the HWMSS ‘Levels of Attainment’ for students who have successfully completed all the sections within a particular level in their assessment in February 2017.  These ‘Levels of Attainment’ Certificates represent the completion of a comprehensive study for all young musicians covering both technique and style.  

Mrs Cathcart, Music teacher in OBA, said:

All the pupils should be delighted with their achievements which are the result of their hard work, dedication and commitment to playing their instrument to the best of their ability.  We are very proud of them all and hope that they continue to achieve great things in Music.

Football Update

The Year 7 football team played two different teams against OCA in Widnes, last Tuesday. 

In the first game, OBA’s Year 7s beat OCA with a stonking 12-3 score line; Zac Comer captained the team to the victory and demonstrated great leadership skills by scoring a hat trick.

Year 9 also achieved great success, beating OCA 11-0 in what seemed like a total wipe-out.

Nathan Hughes scored his first ever school goal and was really proud of himself for taking part.

Although Year 8 suffered a defeat to St Chad’s, a player really worthy of a mention was Adam Moseley, Year 7, who put in a heroic performance.

Year 11 also had a magnificent victory when they played St Chad’s and won with an amazing 8-1 victory.  This match saw Liam Harrison maintaining his goals to games ratio of 100%. Well done, Liam!

Many congratulations to all our students who practise hard and represent OBA so well.  Keep up the hard work, guys! 

Year 7 Netball

Congratulations to the Year 7 Netball Squad for their first excellent season as team OBA. The season was topped off with them finishing 3rd in the ‘Year 7 Halton Netball Tournament’.  Particular congratulations to OBA's players of the tournament Lile Mae Scott and Lia Finnigan. We now look forward to another excellent season next year.

Puzzle Challenge

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

Answer = 11 Lines

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.

Girls’ Rugby

On Friday Miss Belford took a team of Year 9 girls to participate in the North West Schools’ Rugby Championships. OBA’s team consisted of many experienced players with some new starters this year.

Miss Belford said:

They faced tough competition throughout the day and showed fantastic grit and determination against some well-drilled teams. Charlotte Verry scored some exceptional tries, demonstrating strength, speed and fancy footwork to outwit the other team. Taylor Braithwaite was a key player in defence, making many crucial tackles. Overall the girls came 7th in the North West and they should be very proud of their achievement.

Tech Talk

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

This week we are sharing with you all an app that is free to download and is a must have for all budding scientists. Video Science is a collection of short videos of science demonstrations designed to serve as your digital colleague and science teaching companion. With over eighty videos currently, and more added every month, Video Science helps you find inexpensive lab tools and lots of experiments that are easy, effective, and hopefully fun to offer students and those generally interested in Science.

Video Science features experiments, book reviews and a “virtual toolkit” of equipment. The videos are also available as a free app on the iPhone and iPad.

VideoScience is hosted by Dan Menelly, Education Advisor to the Science House Foundation. Dan Menelly is a science teacher at the United Nations International School in New York City and a 2010 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, working with the National Science Foundation in the Office of Cyberinfrastructure.

Video Science is for science teachers and science enthusiasts alike. Video Science offers concept notes, links to purchase the materials needed for experiments, and a blog where users can share their experiences and ask questions.

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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