OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 94 - 31st January 2017

Issue 94 - 31st January 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Last week saw an internal promotion for Mrs Foulder to the prestigious position of Assistant Leader of Teaching and Learning at OBA. Three teachers were shortlisted for interview and their presentations and answers were of an outstanding quality. Congratulations to Mrs Foulder!

On Friday, I had great pleasure in attending the first part of a residential weekend for our new teachers and trainees. Twelve new teachers attended the event which was very well organised by Mrs Richards, our Leader of Teacher Development. Excellent presentations were led by a number of our more experienced staff, namely Mr Reid, Ms Hunt, Ms Finnigan, Ms Watkins and Mrs Oulton.

Mrs Snagg successfully led a bid from the Student Parliament for a £1,000 grant from OAT which will be used for a project to provide food and clothing for homeless people.

Mr. J Rigby
Executive Principal

Running to Success

OBA’s Running Group attended its first ’Park Run’ last weekend. Ten students joined a record number of runners, 485 in total, on the third anniversary of the Warrington Park Run.

The conditions on the day were quite testing, as it was freezing and misty, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of the students who started with a warm up session with Mr Bird and Mrs Crane, before embarking on the flat 5k run.

Two of the students had previously taken part in a similar park run but, on this occasion, both of the Year 7s, Shea Bennett and Alice Wilcott, achieved personal best times; Shea ran the course in an impressive 25 minutes and 31 seconds, whilst Alice covered it in thirteen seconds behind in an equally impressive 25 minutes and 44 seconds.  All of the other eight students successfully negotiated the course, which is a mixture of running on tarmac and some trail running. 

Mr A Bird, who is the Running Group’s Co-ordinator said:

The Director of the Warrington Park Run commented on the huge enthusiasm and exemplary behaviour of our students who were an absolute credit to the School.  They were all absolutely buzzing on the minibus back to school and are looking forward to the next run. This is a fantastic achievement for each and every runner and they should be very proud of themselves. The times have now been set for others to beat, and we will be soon taking part in other park runs in Delamere, Warrington, as well as Runcorn's very own park run at Phoenix Park.

After the race the athletes were able to enjoy treats of cakes and biscuits before doing a series of cooling down stretching exercises and having fun in the park’s play area!

Ski Trip, here we come!

In preparation for the annual ski trip, which is a joint venture between OBA and OCA, thirty-two students recently headed off to The Chill Factore in Manchester to practise their skiing skills. 

Whether they were complete beginners, intermediate or expert skiers, all of the students gave it their best and had great fun whizzing down the slopes or simply mastering the technique of staying upright!

Mr Fenner, who organises the ski trip each year, said

The students were all congratulated by the ski instructors on the efforts they displayed throughout the session and their excellent manners.  They are now really looking forward to the actual trip which will be taking place next week in the French Alps. They can’t wait now to put everything they have learned into action on the real ski slopes.  Many students have taken part in the trip before and are accomplished skiers, so I am hoping to see some brilliant technical skills on show.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Last Friday, 27th January, was Holocaust Memorial Day so Year 10 History students took part in a very emotional and moving live webcast organised by The Holocaust Education Trust.

The webcast gave our students the unique opportunity to listen to Mala Tribich, a survivor of the Holocaust, give a live rendition of her experiences during this very tragic and traumatic time in her life.

Both staff and students felt privileged to hear Mala's brave testimony; she related her experiences in the ghetto, her time in hiding and then went on to recount her time in both Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camps. 

During the webcast, the Year 10 students were ably supported by two Sixth Form Historians, Emma Bygrave and Jess Davies who had recently taken part in the Holocaust Education Trust's ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ course. Emma and Jess talked with the students about their experiences on the course and the links they could make between Mala's testimony and what they had learnt.

Head of History, Mrs Handley, said:

All of the students were inspired by Mala's presentation and also her comments at the end of her presentation when she referred to how important it is for young people to fight prejudice and discrimination nowadays.  This led to discussions about how there are some similarities between Mala's life and that of the refugees who are seeking asylum and safety today.  We discussed this year's Holocaust theme (How can life go on?) and our responsibility to help those seeking refuge to believe in the future by showing them acts of kindness and compassion in any way we can.

Mrs Handley added:

I have heard many Holocaust survivors speak over the years but Mala’s testimony was one of the most emotional I have ever heard. Despite the impact that this webcast had, it barely touched on her experiences and the horror of what happened to her and so many others during the Holocaust.

OBA’s students and OAT support the Homeless

Last Tuesday, eleven members of the Student Parliament visited Halton Lodge, Creative Support (formerly known as the YMCA) which is a hostel close to OBA.

The students spoke to staff members and also to one of the residents to find out more about homelessness and what OBA’s students could do to help. They learned that homelessness and ‘hidden homelessness’ is a big issue in this area, with the centre supporting between four and five hundred people each year!

Many of the tenants arrive at the hostel with no belongings and this confirmed to students that their idea of ‘Hardship Hampers’ would be a big help to those in need. They spoke to one of the residents about what they thought would be useful in the packs and it was decided that items such as toiletries, toilet roll and sanitary items, long-life foods (like beans, noodles, tomatoes), UHT milk, scarves, gloves and blankets would be very welcome.  The resident described these items as being ’like gold’ to the people in the hostel. 

After talking to the staff and residents the Student Parliament representatives discovered that loneliness is very common amongst the tenants and activities that can help bring people together are really important; so the students decided that activity packs would be a great addition to the hampers. It was agreed that things like ingredients for cooking classes, art supplies and modelling kits would be very valuable additions to the packs.

Mrs Snagg who meets with OBA’s Student Parliament representatives on a regular basis said:

The students have used their research to apply to Ormiston Academies Trust’s ‘Make a Difference Fund’ to support their project.  They were successful in their bid and have been awarded £1,000, which is a fantastic achievement. They will use the money awarded to them to raise awareness of homelessness in and around Runcorn to try to educate others about organisations such as Halton Lodge, in an attempt to remove the stigma often associated with homelessness. The students also plan to run a series of fund raising activities to raise money in order to purchase the goods for the hampers, which they would like to deliver to Halton Lodge on a termly basis.

Working with Shropshire Cat Rescue

Twelve Year 7 and 8 students have been taking part in a Social Communication Enrichment Programme with Mr Houslay, designed to support their social and emotional well-being and to appreciate how working as a community can benefit an individual.

The students have formed a partnership with an animal shelter, Shropshire Cat Rescue, which they visit every six weeks and in between visits they work on a project to support the shelter.

Mr Houslay said:

Last term, the students designed and created toys for the animals at Shropshire Cat Rescue and presented them to the shelter just before Christmas; the animals had great fun playing with them When the students visit the shelter they also have the opportunity to work in the shop, assist with vital checks on the young animals and take part in the literacy programme that the shelter runs.  They absolutely love this programme and participate in it with such enthusiasm. I am very proud of how committed they are and how well they are doing.

Drama News

Year 7 Drama Club takes place every Tuesday in the Drama Theatre from 3-4pm. Come along to play Drama games, explore the texts of a range of plays, experiment with characters, have fun and make new friends!

Year 10 Drama Enrichment also takes place on a Tuesday from 3-4pm. Students are encouraged to use the session to have one to one time with their teachers and use the Drama facilities to rehearse for the performance assessment for their exams. 

Year 11 Drama Enrichment is every Wednesday and Thursday from 4-5pm. This is a compulsory enrichment twice a week for students to work on their performances for their exams. This enrichment will run until the Easter holidays.

Upcoming Theatre Trips to The Lowry Theatre, Manchester

Thursday 2nd February:

Wednesday 12th April:


Congratulations to Mrs Foulder on her promotion to the position of Assistant Leader of Teaching and Learning.

Mrs Foulder has some fantastic ideas to build on the excellent work already done in this area and we wish every success in her new post.

Tech Talk

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

This week we would like to warn parents about a social networking app called, which, it is feared, could be used by adults to groom children. There have been reports made to the police and other agencies that the app has been misused by adults “attempting to make inappropriate contact with children.”

The free-to-purchase app - which has 60m users has been No.1 on the iTunes store worldwide and it allows people to create and share 15 second clips and communicate with followers. However, throughout the UK, parents are concerned children have been asked to send naked pictures of themselves to anonymous users within the app.

Close to home, Merseyside Police have launched separate investigations into messages on the app. One has closed the case as the app is based in the US, while the other is ongoing. 

We would urge parents to ask if your child is using the app and if so please speak with them about the dangers of being online. The app is clearly rated age 12+ in the iTunes App Store and users should change their settings to private and approve 'followers'.

Remember that if you are concerned about something you have seen online students should report it to parents/carers, any member of OBA staff or PC Williams. Local police can be contacted on 101, if necessary. 

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:

Puzzle Challenge

Last week we gave you a puzzle to solve. Did you crack it? Check your answer below:

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.

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