OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 59 - 1st February 2016

Issue 59 - 1st February 2016
Dear families and friends of OBA,

This edition contains lots of news about some fantastic events that our students have been involved in over the last week.  In the sporting domain, a group went to see the exciting international netball match between England and Australia at Liverpool's Echo Arena.  In addition, our girls’ football teams have been back in competitive action.
Liverpool Hope University's Theatre Company visited OBA to run a thrilling workshop for our budding actors.  Another group of students visited the Magistrates’ Court in Runcorn as part of their mock trial enrichment programme.
Our staff have also been part of some excellent ventures, with Mr Bowman presenting sessions at the annual BETT Show, a major educational technology event at London's Excel Arena.  Our talented Art teacher, Mr Smyth, has had the great accolade of being chosen as one of the featured artists of the 'Art in Liverpool' initiative.  It is always inspiring for our students to see their teachers excelling in their chosen subject.
Finally, we are challenging our Year 11 students to take their revision to the next level by running a weekly 'Extreme revision' competition.  The concept is simple: they submit a photo of themselves revising in unusual or unique situations and the best one wins a prize. The first winner was Bobby Muscart, who took a snap of himself revising some Geography terminology during half-time at Liverpool's match at Anfield last week!  Now that is real dedication!
Best wishes
Mr. M Wyss- Academy Principal

Celebrating Artistic Excellence

Congratulations go to OBA’S Art teacher, Mr Smyth, who has recently had his works of artistic excellence celebrated on the website of ArtLiverpool. 

It is a massive achievement to have your artistic talents acknowledged by ArtLiverpool and Mr Traves, OBA’s Librarian, kindly wrote the article to highlight Mr Smyth’s expertise . 
Follow this link to read all about Mr Smyth’s works of art and enjoy looking at a few samples of his work.


A Slice of Raspberry Pi

On Friday 22nd January, Mr Bowman travelled to the British Educational Training and Technology Show in London to present a workshop all about using Raspberry Pi computers in the classroom.

Teachers from across the country were interested to find out how OBA is using these computers to teach programming skills and they even had a go at the activities themselves.

A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like ‘Scratch’ and ‘Python’.

At OBA, students in Year 8 currently complete a unit of work in ICT where they are required to set up a Raspberry Pi computer and use the Python programming language to make changes (known as "hacks") to the game Minecraft. Elsewhere in ICT, students also learn how to program robots to drive as autonomous vehicles as well as how to write code to produce music.

There is an enrichment open to all pupils every Thursday from 3:00-4:00PM in the ICT area where pupils can use Raspberry Pis to program Minecraft, robots and other electronic devices. 

This is all part of a movement to improve young people's understanding of computer science, so that they can get to grips with how the technology they rely on really works. 

Commedia dell’arte with Liverpool Hope University

On Wednesday the 20th January the drama students at Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy were lucky enough to take part in an enrichment workshop led by Liverpool Hope University Theatre Company.

The workshop focused on 'Commedia dell’arte', a specific style of improvisational theatre that began in Italy in the 16th century. It was a popular form of street theatre based on improvised scenarios between stock characters based on universal themes such as hunger, love and money.  ‘Commedia dell’arte’ often involved cunning characters and the actors often wore masks.

Students from Years 8 to 13 learnt about this specific type of theatre and its influence on plays in many countries as it grew in popularity, particularly in Western Europe.  The students then went on to practise this style of theatrical drama and took on the roles of some of the stock characters. They learnt how to use masks with maximum impact and used physicalisation exercises to help them create their own scenes, applying the skills they had learnt.

Mrs Noon, teacher of Drama commented:
"The workshop was excellent and all the students demonstrated outstanding creativity in their performance work. It was also a lovely opportunity for our younger Key Stage 3 students to work with our Key Stage 4 and 5 cohorts. Our students were also given an insight into life at university, as they were able to talk to past drama students about career pathways in the theatre industry. Interestingly, two students who took part in this same workshop last year are now studying Drama and Performing Arts in Liverpool Hope University and it is fantastic that they are now achieving their potential and following their dreams. I look forward to seeing them delivering such sessions to our drama students in the future."

Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition

Fifteen Year 8 and 9 students from OBA who are currently involved in the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition recently visited Runcorn Magistrates’ Court to watch real crimes being heard in a real court room situation.

After passing security checks at the court entrance, the students met Magistrate, and highly experienced Barrister, Mr Alan Eyres, who explained how the legal system works. The students then took to the public gallery to witness live cases being heard as they observed legal professionals at work such as the Court Usher, legal advisers and solicitors.

At the end of each case the students watched the Magistrates decide whether each defendant was guilty or innocent and, if appropriate, they heard the legal punishments that were delivered. Some cases observed on the day included the following offences: drink driving, domestic violence, common assault, failing to pay debts and being drunk and disorderly. The students involved found the day exciting and interesting and also a useful boost to their legal knowledge ahead of the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition.

This competition, which has been running annually across the country since 1994, introduces the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way. Led by Mr Hussey and Mrs Jarvis, and supported by Mr A Bird and Mr McGlory, the student members of OBA’s team have all been working in weekly enrichment sessions to develop their knowledge and understanding of the legal system, their team work skills, not forgetting their public speaking and analytical talents.  They are now all currently working hard to prepare for their first heat in the competition which will be held in March at a Magistrates Court in Mold, North Wales.

You can follow the team’s progress on Twitter- @OBAmocktrial

The Netball Experience

On Wednesday the 20th January seventeen students and four members of staff (Miss Porschke, Miss Ingram, Miss Smith and Miss Belford) went to watch England’s netball team play Australia at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

As OBA’s two mini buses headed towards the venue, students and staff spent the journey discussing which players they thought would shine and predicting the scores.  Having secured fantastic seats on the corner of the pitch, the students and staff donned face paints ready to cheer England on, as they watched the teams warm up.

It was a very close match with the lead changing from team to team throughout the game. Some great work from Helen Housby at Goal Attack helped England take the lead in the third quarter. However, Australia's defence proved too strong for England with Sharni Layton putting in an outstanding performance as Goal Keeper to deny Rachel Dunn her chances.

Everyone cheered England on as loud as they could but sadly it wasn't England's day and they eventually lost 58-52. However, all the students really enjoyed the whole experience and it was great to see them cheering England on and watching some of their role models playing so brilliantly. 


Skiing Skills

OBA students have been learning to ski at Runcorn’s Snowsports Centre during weekly Ski Enrichment Sessions.

Students first of all had to learn the quite complicated process of putting on ski boots as well as how to carry skis safely. They then progressed to being able to stand on a pair of skis without falling over, whilst practising a range of balance exercises.

They all had great fun when they were learning the basic snowplough position before moving on to work on controlling speed and direction, as well as learning how to master the technique of getting on and off the ski lift.

Students are now skiing with confidence on the main slope and are having great fun as they learn new skills and skiing techniques.

Expert skier and qualified ski instructor, Mr Allan Bird, who organises this enrichment said:

“Our students really look forward to the weekly ski lesson and they are developing into wonderful, confident skiers. They only pay £10 for a 5 week session of lessons, so this is much more affordable than learning to ski anywhere else. If any other students wish to come along they would be more than welcome.”

Girls’ Football Update 

by Miss Belford

OBA’s Girls Football Team recently played their first football games of the year at home against The Grange and St. Chad’s. The girls applied the skills they had developed during training to enable them to pull out great performances and demonstrate their brilliant team work talents.

Captain, Taylor Braithwaite showed natural leadership skills, bringing her team together to achieve two great results. OBA beat St. Chad’s 2-0 in the first game and drew with The Grange in a fiercely fought 3-3 thriller.

Huge congratulations go to all the team and a particular mention must go to those singled out as being the best players of their matches, Taylor Braithwaite and Jessica Keggin.

The girls continue to train hard as they prepare for more challenging matches over the coming weeks.

Around the World

Saturday Academy

Primary school pupils and Lower School students again flocked to OBA last Saturday to take part in the ever-popular Around the World Project.

Turkey was the country of the day, so all involved through themselves into a cookery session where they made kofta (a type of meatball or meatloaf), chicken kebabs, stuffed mushrooms and cucumber dip.  They also got to taste stuffed vine leaves, hummus and pitta bread, which for the majority of students was a whole new experience. 

The students then moved on to practise different technology skills when they each made a fez, a traditional Turkish head dress made of felt, whilst they listened to some Turkish music. An eye-opening experience for all those involved, which they thoroughly enjoyed.


Tech Talk

Welcome to the second instalment of Tech Talk, the latest addition to OBA’s newsletter where we share useful apps, websites and devices with you all. 
This week’s focus is going to be our school website which has recently undergone a transformation following a lot of hard work from Mr Bowman. The new look website features a new layout and background as well as updated photo galleries and quick to find links.

The academy website provides a plethora of useful information and resources for students, parents, staff and the local community. Our website is now divided into 5 sections; academy information, curriculum information, a student section, a parent section and primaries. Our website also features useful information on our popular and successful Sixth Form.

Please contact Mr Bowman if you have any queries or suggestions regarding our website.

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:

Attendance Matters

As I am sure you are aware good attendance is crucial when it comes to a child’s achievement and academic progress. Therefore the government has raised the bar on this and any child who has attendance below 90% will be considered to be persistently absent. This is a 5% rise from previous years where persistent absence was considered to be below 85% by the Department of Education. The national target for all schools and every child in a school is that attendance should be above 95.5% if there is to be no detrimental impact on a child’s progress. 


  • 19 days absence means 90% attendance
  • 29 days absence means 85% attendance
  • 38 days absence means 80% attendance
  • 47 days absence means 75% attendance

RewardsTo show how much we value good attendance we have introduced a number of incentives for pupils. These include; rewarding the tutor group with the highest attendance and punctuality with a trophy each week, certificates for 100% attendance and 100% punctuality, enamel badges for excellent attendance, prize draws during celebration assemblies and reward breakfasts.  

SupportAt OBA we monitor the attendance of all our pupils closely and if a pupil’s attendance falls below 90% then we may take certain actions to support a child and their family to raise their school attendance. 
This may include: 
  • Inviting parents and their child in to speak to a member of the pastoral team to see if anything can be done to support better attendance or if any extra interventions can be put in place to support your child from falling behind. 
  • Referrals to outside agencies such as family support or NHS services. 
  • Issuing a penalty notice for 10 or more unauthorised absences.

Holidays Due to a change in legislation from September 2013 at OBA we are unable to grant authorisation for holidays or leave unless the circumstances are exceptional. The Principal has the authority, by law, to authorise absence so any requests for authorised absence needs to be via letter to the Principal, along with evidence of your exceptional circumstances. 

The importance of AttendanceIn total, there are 175 non-school days a year. This gives families the opportunity to:
  • Spend time together
  • Go on family visits
  • Go on holiday
  • Go shopping
  • Go on days out
  • Attend routine appointments

Term and Holiday Dates 2015-2016To enable parents and carers to plan holidays and child care cover for the academic year please find details of the school calendar below; 
 Term Opens for Students Closes for Students
Autumn 2015 Wednesday 2 September
for Years 7 and 12
Thursday 3 September
all Year Groups
Friday 23 October
Half Term 26 – 30 October 2015
Monday 2 November Friday 18 December
Christmas Holiday 21 December – 1 January 2016
Spring 2016 Monday 4 January Friday 12 February
Half Term 15 – 19 February 2016
Monday 22 February Thursday 24 March
Good Friday & Easter Monday 25 & 28 March 2016
Tuesday 29 March Friday 1 April
Spring Holiday 4 – 15 April 2016
Summer 2016 Monday 18 April Friday 29 April
Bank Holiday – 2 May 2016
Tuesday 3 May Friday 27 May
Half Term 30 May – 3 June 2016
Monday 6 June Friday 15 July

INSET Days(staff training days, students not in school):-
Tuesday 1 September 2015
Monday 18 – Thursday 21 July 2016

Your children get just one chance at school; one chance for a successful career and one chance for a better future!
Give attendance 100%!

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Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 6EP
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