Dear families and friends of OBA,
This week’s newsletter focusses on two areas of how the Academy enriches the curriculum outside of subjects, leadership and extracurricular enrichment.
I was really pleased to be present at the Halton Council Chamber at Runcorn Town Hall to hear the culmination of our Young Leaders’ Award. 20 students made a group presentation to the local council in relation to litter and the prevention of litter in our community. Read more below.
The newsletter is full of examples of our extracurricular enrichment programme. Dance, English, Sport and History all feature the way in which they bring the curriculum to life through trips, visits and visitors to the Academy. I am really grateful to all staff who take the time to organise these activities for the good of all of our students.
I would also draw everyone’s attention to our weekly feature on e-safety provided by our e-safety coordinator, Mr Hussey. For up to date information from the school, you can follow the school on twitter @obacademy and Instagram @obacademy.
Mr. E Wright
Sixth Form Visit Rome
Sixth Form students at OBA had the fantastic opportunity to visit Rome last week as part of their History, Philosophy and English A ‘Level studies. The city, which is steeped in a rich history and culture, allowed the students to experience, first-hand, ancient sites that you can only see in Rome such as the Colosseum, the 4 main Basilicas, Vatican City, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.
Students were particularly awestruck by St. Peter’s which boasts an amazing view from the summit once the group had braved the 509 steps to the top to experience it! The nine students from Years 12 and 13 gained a new and deeper appreciation of the significance of Catholicism and its impact not just on Italy but on the world today and in the historical context of 17th century Britain, the fear of Catholicism and a counter-reformation.
The group were able to sample authentic Italian food, develop their communication skills by trying out simple Italian phrases everywhere they visited and experience the Metro system and navigating around the city in general.
Miss Bhebe, History Teacher said:
Over the 4 days we were there, we averaged an impressive 20,000 steps a day while site-seeing and overall. This trip is definitely one I am sure all the students will remember for a long time.
Mr McGlory, Head of History, who organised and led the trip, commented:
The Philosophy and History trip to Rome was incredibly successful. The students were brilliant and were a credit to OBA. Rome was an amazing city, and despite the rain, everybody enjoyed themselves and the students were incredibly respectful of all the historical and religious sites. Many are already looking forward to going back next year.
Cake for Syria
Staff and students at OBA have helped to raise the incredible sum of £379.00 to support a refugee family who have had to flee the war-torn country of Syria. Mrs Maria Sothern, SEN Manager at OBA baked a mouth-watering chocolate piñata cake, bursting with a wide array of sweets and chocolates and students from years 7 and 8 sold raffle tickets across the school to raise the funds.
Mrs Sothern said she was happy to spend a whole weekend baking and decorating the cake because she wanted to help a family in need, just as she would hope others would help her family if they were in the same situation.
Mrs Hasty and Miss Porschke (Heads of year 7 and 8) commented that they are very proud of the students in their year groups who spent time selling the raffle tickets in such a professional way.
Mrs Walker, who led this initiative, said:
I would like to thanks the OBA family for their generous response to the appeal. Congratulations to Mrs Dutton (Head of Year 9 and ICT Teacher) who won the cake and Mrs Platt (Head of English) and Joe McNamee (Year 10) who won the runner-up prizes.
A big thank you also to Mrs Walker who led on this appeal – a job very well done!
Young Leaders Award Success
On Wednesday 28th February 21 Year 8 students attended a Halton Council meeting prepared to give a rousing speech to governors, council members and some staff of OBA.
As part of the Young Leaders Award, students have had to consider issues within the community that they want to change for the better and Wednesday was their chance to put forward their proposals and get council approval. Students proposed a variety of schemes and ideas to improve the issue of litter around Halton, including the proposal to visit a variety of primary schools which was very well received.
The students all worked tirelessly to create a professional and informative presentation, alongside a well-rehearsed script in preparation. After two hours prep (and a pizza break) the students were driven to Halton Town Hall to deliver their speech. They were all incredibly excited to be in the council chambers and get a sneaky photo on the incredibly regal seats!
All the students were impeccably behaved and wowed their audience with their passion, drive and thorough research. The Director of Environmental Services was so impressed with the students’ plans that he asked to work alongside them to roll out a ‘pioneering new system’ to encourage people to take pride in their community.
I joined young leaders so that I can work on achieving an extra qualification which will help to make me stand out when I apply for University. I also really want to help my local community and believe that improving the litter aspect is one of the main ways to do this.George Taylor, Year 8
I think the litter project is a good idea because this means the local environment will be safer and cleaner. If we can make a difference with this then we have achieved our goal to help the environment and other people.Chloe Brown, Year 8
Mrs Styles, who oversees the YLG, said:
The Young Leaders Award cohort really did me proud and I had to hide a tear from my eye as I watched my students confidently speak with such passion. It has been an amazing achievement for them, and a joy for me to see their confidence grow so quickly.
Saturday Match Day
Last week’s winter weather did little to deter hardened football fans Mr Milne and Mr Bird as they took a group of sixth form students to watch Carlisle United take on struggling Grimsby Town.
Our students got in for half price as the Carlisle United London Branch supporters club funded their tickets with a generous donation.
This is now the 3rd time most of the Year 13 students have made this trip and they fell lucky as the match was one of only two league two games to go ahead due to frozen pitches and poor weather conditions. This was only made possible by the fifty Carlisle United volunteers who turned up on the morning of the match to clear the ground and ensure the game could proceed!
Mr Milne, Mr Bird and the 11 sixth form students met their guide on arrival and enjoyed a tour of the director’s lounge, directors seating, player’s tunnel and the team dugouts. They were welcomed by the Carlisle United Official Supporters Club (CUOSC) who along with two club directors, retired director and a club historian, held an informative Q&A session with the group.
Students also met midfielder player, "Nicky” Adams and visited the club shop where they excitedly bought shirts and scarves before a freezing cold kick off at 2.30pm. Fortunately, Carlisle won 2 – 0!
OBA got a mention and our students' photographs were in the matchday programme and the local paper.
Mr Milne, ICT Teacher and Assistant Head of Year 8, led the trip and said:
The students as ever were exceptionally well behaved and enjoyed their day out. The students thanked all who had supported their visit.
Phil King, Club Director said
Everyone involved from OBA were extremely polite and respectful to all they met on the day. It's lovely to see so many young people taking a passionate interest in lower league football
Year 9 Dance
Year 9 GCSE dance students attended a live performance at Theatr Clwyd this week to watch Rambert dance Company perform 'A Linha Curva', which is one of their GCSE professional dance works which they must study.
A Linha Curva is a hip-swinging, drum-beating, Olivier Award-winning party piece. It’s the spirit of Brazilian carnival recreated by choreographer Itzik Galili, with 28 dancers, four samba percussionists and a dazzling light show contributing to its infectious energy. Also on the programme from Britain’s national dance company was The days run away like wild horses, created by Aletta Collins. Taking its title from a poem by Charles Bukowski, this is a witty and vivid depiction of the moments that make up a life, set to Arturo Márquez’s Danzones.
As part of the matinee performance, the class were fortunate to have the chance to watch four dancers from the company run through their ballet and contemporary warm-up routines on stage with two of the company's artistic directors. This gave students a real insight into the company's technique and physical demand. There was also a talk given from one of the percussionists who performs live with the company. He discussed and demonstrated the various percussion in instruments used ion 'A Linha Curva' which Head of Dance, Mrs Barker, commented "is really useful knowledge for the students' GCSE dance written exam."
Young Shakespeare Company – Macbeth
On Friday 2nd March Year 11 had the wonderful opportunity to watch the Young Shakespeare Company perform a live version of Macbeth in preparation for their GCSE English Literature exam.
The students were treated to a half an hour workshop exploring the emotional motives behind Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s key scenes and soliloquies, followed by a short ‘stage fighting’ workshop where they watched the actors recreate fight scenes and learn how to make the fight look realistic.
Students then heard how a play is put together, and how key artistic decisions were made, such as the decision to create the witches as childlike characters in this performance.
Students had the chance to witness the gruesome drama of Macbeth’s greed and desire ruin both him and his wife with awe. Two special guests; Lewis Davies and Josh Tarr (both in Year 11) starred in the banquet scene with Banquo’s ghost after being selected by the cast to add to the tension.
Miss Styles had her moment in the spotlight as Fleance, Banquo’s son, having to (unsuccessfully) remember a line and wear a rather fetching costume!
Miss Styles, who organised the performance said:
This was a brilliant learning experience for the students as it gave them a much deeper insight into the play and the cast also shared top tips about how to revise key quotes.
After the performance, students were able to ask questions to the actors and lots of excellent theories about the play were further explored. The cast commented on how exceptionally well behaved the year 11 students were and how impressed they were with the school. Well done year 11!
As part of our fantastic Outdoor Education Programme students have had the chance this term to experience biking across challenging woodland terrain. Over the last couple of weeks, 20 Key Stage 3 students have stepped out of their comfort zone to brave the elements and embark on a 2-hour mountain bike ride session through Delamere Forest. Led by a professional instructor, the group covered over 7 snowy miles last week and enjoyed some great scenery along the way!
Mr King, PE teacher who oversees the Outdoor Education Programme, commented:
Students have loved the biking so far and have been a credit to the school.
The mountain bike trip takes place every Wednesday afternoon (up until half term) and there are ten places available each week. For more information or to reserve a place, please speak to Mr King in PE.
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 you 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 screenshots 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 sent 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.