OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 105 - 20th June 2017

Issue 105 - 20th June 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

On the Friday before half term John Bishop visited OBA for the unveiling of his blue heritage plaque that had been produced by the Runcorn and District Historical Society. The plaque commemorates John’s career to date and his magnificent charity fund-raising. John then spent a few hours talking to staff and students, working alongside some of them.

I would like to thank all the staff who have worked with both GCSE and A Level exam students over holidays and on Saturdays, and those who continue to do so, to make sure that OBA’s students are as well prepared as possible for these very important milestones in their lives. 

On Friday 2nd June we were also very fortunate to host the ‘Any Questions’ radio show chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, especially as this was the final show before the general election.

The BBC producer commented on how smart and well-organised OBA was as a venue. The show was very lively and can be heard again on the BBC radio 4 website; we had many parents, staff and students present in the audience. I first attended the ‘Any Questions’ show in 1990 when I was a teacher in Knowsley and so I was pleased that OBA was able to host this very informative radio broadcast in the final year before my retirement. I would like to thank Mr Bird for liaising with the BBC to ensure the live radio show was a success.

Mr. J Rigby
Executive Principal

OBA welcomes back John Bishop

Comedy legend, John Bishop, recently visited OBA again, but this time, it wasn’t only to meet and work with OBA’s students; he also received a special award. 

OBA was John’s former school when it was Brookvale Comprehensive.  After leaving, he went on to do a variety of jobs before going to university and then securing a position as a sales director in the pharmaceutical industry.  After a number of years, John then left this job to pursue a full time career as a comedian and in this role he has achieved many amazing things, both in the comedy world and for many local and national charities.

John’s award, which can be seen on the front of OBA, on the brick to the right of the Reception, was unveiled by the Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Alan Lowe and Cllr Joan Lowe.  Stuart Allen, blue plaque co-ordinator for the Runcorn and District Historical Society, who organised the event with OBA, acknowledged how John was a very worthy recipient of the blue plaque.

Stuart said:

As well as wanting to celebrate the fact that John is now a star, I wanted to emphasise both his local connections and the incredible amount of charity work that he has carried out.

John has raised £4.2 million for Sport Relief, by completing a 290 mile triathlon from Paris to London and he has also supported Halton Haven Hospice, the Runcorn Locks Restoration Society as well as Norton Priory, to name but a few of his contributions for a range of different charities that are close to his heart.

Executive Principal, Mr John Rigby said:

It is always an enormous pleasure to have John come to OBA.  He is a very talented and inspirational man who always shows a genuine interest in supporting our students.  He always seems to get the balance of the funny and the serious just right in any activities that he engages in with them.

On this particular visit, not only did John enjoy time with students when his plaque was being unveiled, but he also set to work with a Sixth Form Media Class, before conducting a Year 10 Inspirational Assembly.  He then took part in a Year 9 Business Studies Assembly and a Year 10 Business Workshop before sitting down to lunch with members of the Student Parliament.

BBC’s ‘Any Questions’ at OBA

Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy was honoured to be invited by the BBC to host the famous radio programme ‘Any Questions’ on the evening of Friday June 2nd.

This broadcast, which is BBC Radio 4’s equivalent of the well-known, and long-running television programme ‘Question Time’ is a topical debate, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, in which guests from the world of politics, business, science, the arts and the media answer questions from members of the public on topical issues.

When The Prime Minister, Theresa May, unexpectedly announced that a General Election will be held, there was a sudden realisation that the Any Questions program to be hosted by OBA will be one of the last opportunities to interview some of the major politicians before the public vote was cast. 

The show went out live at 8pm on BBC Radio 4 and worldwide via digital broadcasts. A recorded version was also broadcast the following day at 1pm, followed by its sister programme ‘Any Answers’.

The panel was represented by Damian Green, the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Sir Keir Starmer, shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Paul Nuttall, the then leader of UKIP, and Jo Swinson, a former Junior Equalities Minister of State.

As the excitement mounted prior to the event, a BBC engineer conducted a site visit with Allan Bird, Maths Teaching Assistant, who co-ordinated the event and he was very pleased with the venue and facilities that OBA is able to offer. A good deal of preparation then took place to comply with Radio 4’s requirements and to arrange for the distribution of all the available 210 tickets.

Allan Bird, Teaching Assistant at OBA, who co-ordinated the event with BBC Radio 4’s Production Team said:

It was a huge honour for Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy to host a live broadcast of ‘Any Questions’ which, co-incidentally, was confirmed just prior to the announcement of the General Election.  With this therefore being the last broadcast before June 8th, it made it all the more special and poignant as there were so many important Manifesto issues to discuss.  It was wonderful to see so many people of all age ranges attend and lots of great questions were submitted.  The BBC commented on how well-organised the event was but I have to admit that organising a live broadcast was a bit scary!  It was really exciting to meet all the politicians and, of course Jonathan Dimbleby and his team, and see how a show like this operates.  It was a thrill for students such as Sixth Form students, Deputy Head Girl Megan Parr, Deputy Head Boy Tom Collins and Year 9 student Ewan Jago, who is Halton’s Youth Parliament Representative, to have the opportunity to speak with the leading politicians after the broadcast.  It is something that I think they will remember for a long time to come.

Mock Election for OBA’s Students

As all adults across the country were heading to the polling booths to cast their vote on Thursday 8th June, OBA’s students were excited to take part in a Mock General Election.

After all the votes were carefully counted, Labour won with an overwhelming majority.

In addition, the constituency the school is situated in, Weaver Vale, has now become a Labour seat, having previously been Conservative. Our local MP will now be Mike Fuller.

The Happiness Project

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 recently took part in an ECM day entitled ‘The OBA Happiness Project’ organised by Mrs Noon.  The objective of the day was to inject more happiness into the Academy by encouraging students and staff to reflect on what makes them a good person and what makes them happy. Throughout the morning students completed hand stencils detailing all their good qualities, they were shown inspirational stories from across the world and they listened to music that made them happy. Students wrote thank you letters to staff and members of their families who had inspired them in their lives, and created their own ‘Ten Steps to Happiness’ posters. 

Students were encouraged to reflect on the meaning of the word ‘happiness’ and the importance of love and kindness. The morning was a great success and there was a real buzz around the sessions.

Mrs Noon commented that:

This event was ever more poignant due to the sad events in Manchester and London which have so greatly affected our community, the wider communities and people up and down the country and across the world. It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces in the Academy, to see students reflecting on what makes them, as individuals, happy and good people. I specifically loved reading all the heartfelt letters of gratitude that students had written to their loved ones.

  • Happiness protects your heart 
  • Happiness protects your immune system 
  • Happiness combats stress 
  • People have fewer aches and pains 
  • Happiness combats disease and disability 
  • Happiness lengthens our lives 

Wired Aerial Dance

Year 13 Dance students, Ebony Gumbs, Leah Bentley and Isabelle Knisz experienced dancing at new heights when they participated in an aerial theatre workshop at 'The Higher Place' in Liverpool. 

Professional dancer, Jess, from Wired Aerial Theatre Company supported the workshop which allowed students to learn how to use silk and hoop apparatus to dance, whilst being suspended from the ceiling.  

Head of Dance, Mrs Barker said:

This exciting opportunity challenged our students in many ways.  It was great to see how much they achieved and progressed within the two hours and, of course, how much fun they had at the same time.

Mercer’s Bingo

Thank you to all parents and staff who attended the Bingo evening recently which was raised £300 for the Kenya Appeal.

The students who will be going to Kenya, along with Miss Hunt, Miss McMullen and Miss Connelly, all worked really hard to make the night a huge success.  They supported the bold and brilliant bingo boy, Mr Mercer by laughing at his calls, with their favourite one being 84, Dumbledore.  With a mixture of the traditional calls and a little bit of made-up Mercer magic, everyone was entertained throughout the night and won some great prizes. 

Singing Success

Last week OBA’s School Choir group named ‘Sing’ took part in ‘Runcorn Schools’ Gotta Sing’ at The Brindley. The show involved other schools across Runcorn, including our friends at OCA and Theatre Works.

Music Teacher, Miss Cathcart, said:

The show was a resounding success and the students performed to an excellent standard. They behaved professionally throughout the whole event and were very supportive of the other schools’ performances. We are very proud of this small group of students for their hard work and dedication!

Free Tickets for the Ladies

Three students were delighted to receive free tickets to see Manchester City’s Women’s Football Club play Arsenal Ladies recently.  Accompanied by Mrs Bennett, they all had an exciting time and lots of fun but, unfortunately, they witnessed MCWFC suffer a 0-1 home defeat.

Tech Talk

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

The app in the spotlight this week is ‘Map My Fitness’, a free app which is used to keep track of exercises. With ‘Map My Fitness’ you can plan, track, analyse and share your workouts. The feature that makes ‘Map My Fitness’ superior to others on the market is the range of exercises and activities that can be logged. Map My Fitness allows you to log pretty much any training activity, including a run around the park, a martial arts class, a spin on the bike, gym workouts and dancing, to name but a few.

To get involved you need to download the ‘Map My Fitness’ app on your smartphone and then:

  • Create you user name- add OBA after your surname to make it easier to track.
  • Add Mr Bird as a training partner
  • Mr Bird will then invite you to the OBA 1500 challenge.
  • Start exercising!! Remember 1500 minutes (25 hours) is your goal.
  • Spread the word and get others involved.

Map My Fitness is available free of charge on the Apple App Store and Android App Store.

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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