OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 108 - 30th September 2017

Issue 108 - 30th September 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly newsletter. The term has got off to a really good start and I am really pleased with how our students have settled into work.

A reminder about mobile phones – they are not allowed to be out in the academy at any point during the day.  This also applies to earphones and the listening of music. Failure to follow this will mean the mobile phone and earphones will be confiscated and available for collection at 3.15pm. Sixth Formers may use their mobile in the Common Room, Café and Dining Room, however, they should not use them on the corridors. 
This newsletter is packed with stories about the extensive enrichment programme on offer at OBA, with a special feature on our annual trip to Kenya, as well as a feature of how our staff truly do go the extra mile! We also start a new weekly feature in this edition – an e-safety update for parents and students.  Each week we will feature an element of information for the ever-changing world of the internet!
Thanks to all parents and carers for your support with uniform; our students are looking great each day. Where we are picking up issues, we truly appreciate all the support we are getting from home to rectify them as quickly as possible. 

Mr. E Wright


The Experience of a Lifetime

During the summer, over twenty students from OBA, accompanied by Miss Hunt, Miss Connelly and Miss McMullen took part in a life-changing trip to Kenya, along with students and staff from OCA in Widnes.

Despite the long flight, the students set off full of excitement and eager anticipation; they had been saving and organising a range of fund-raising events for over a year, so they couldn’t wait to touch down in Kenya for their amazing adventure.

Everyone stayed in ‘bandas’ which had no electricity and no hot water but whilst they were there they threw themselves whole-heartedly into project work in three different schools.  This involved them painting the inside and outside of classrooms and dormitories, making and hanging curtains, varnishing desks, laying bricks and moving playground equipment, amongst other things.

The intrepid group also climbed to Mount Longonot volcano, which has an elevation of 2776m and they walked around the crater, which has a circumference of 7.2km.  Although this was really tough, they all loved it and it was really worth it as the views were unbelievable.

A trip to Kenya wouldn’t have been complete without going on a safari and when they did they saw rhinos, giraffes, zebras, lions, antelopes, flamingos, jackals, baboons, monkeys, water buffalo and warthogs, to name but a few.  When they ventured to Lake Bogoria home to hundreds of thousands of flamingos, the experience was breath-taking and on a boat tour of Lake Nakuru, they saw hippos and African fish eagles – an absolute first experience for them all.

Cycling through Hell’s Gate National Park was another brilliant memory as they were literally surrounded by zebras, giraffes, water buffalo and warthogs along the roadside.

Miss Hunt, Maths teacher, said:

The amazing adventure to Kenya far out-weighed the expectations of both students and staff and everyone left full of memories that they will never forget.  We all now want to return again sometime soon as there is so much more to do out there to help others.  We will never forget this experience.

One student, former Head Girl Emily Wilcott, summed up her best memories by saying:

Everything about the trip was fantastic but my favourite memories will always be seeing the happiness on the faces of all the children we were helping. We were really making a difference and so it really was worthwhile.


Mr Smyth Exhibits Art Work at The Catalyst

Many congratulations to Mr Smyth, local artist and teacher of Art at OBA, who is exhibiting some of his work at The Catalyst Scientist Discovery Centre in Widnes.

The opening of a new art exhibition entitled ‘Crossings’ sees Mr Smyth exhibiting seven oil paintings and three sketches that chart the building of the new Mersey Gateway crossing.

Marketing Manager at The Catalyst, Meryl Jameson said:

We are really pleased to be hosting this exhibition for Shaun. He is an incredibly talented artist and his paintings are attracting a lot of local attention both from Catalyst visitors and visitors to the Mersey Gateway Visitor Centre.

Mr Smyth chose to complete the works of Art because the River Mersey has played a significant role for him throughout his life.  Living in St Helen’s, the proximity of his hometown to the River Mersey means that it has been a source of inspiration for his work.  Shaun has a particular interest in the changing geographical landscape of Halton and this is reflected in a lot of his paintings and drawings. He also feels that they serve as a historical document of the continually changing landscape, in particular, the construction and development of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

The exhibition will be on show at Catalyst until 31st December 2017.

Year 10 Outdoor Education Experience

Year 10 students are enjoying an amazing outdoor education programme this term at Liverpool Watersports Centre.  The fun theme for this term is kayaking, a sport that the majority of students have not experienced before – and they are, quite simply, loving it!

The centre’s fully trained staff provide OBA’s students with an excellent training course and in no time at all the Year 10s managed to paddle from the Water Sports Centre to the Albert Dock area, passing some of Liverpool's iconic attractions on their way. 

Mr King, PE teacher, who takes a different group of Year 10 students to LWC each week said:

Our Year 10s are all loving kayaking and never want the sessions to end!  So far, they have all picked up the required skills very quickly and have really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the time challenge on the assault course at the centre.  Our students are always very competitive and I have seen them complete this assault course in some fantastic times.  Many of them are now talking about continuing with this sport in their spare time, as they have enjoyed it so much.

Going The Extra Mile!

Maths teacher, Mr. Gillard, recently took part in the King John's Castle fell/mountain race in Wales.

During the event, Mr Gillard was able to enjoy some glorious weather and scenery and was delighted to finish in 18th position overall and win a prize for coming second in his age category.  Well done, Sir!

Another very active and keen runner is Maths Teaching Assistant, Mr A Bird.  Mr Bird is looking to run the Helsby four villages half marathon together with some other staff in the very near future.

Entries for this open early in October, so if anyone in the OBA community is interested in taking part they should contact Mr Bird on as soon as possible.

Getting Ready For Court!

OBA staff, Mrs Jarvis, Mr Hussey and Mr Bird have already started start to recruit a team of students from Years 8 and 9, to prepare for the annual Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition, which will take place at Warrington Law Courts next March.

What is MCMT?

Over 95 per cent of criminal cases (more than a million every year) are dealt with by magistrates, yet many people know very little about what they do. 

The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition, which has been running annually since 1994, introduces the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way. 

In the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff, students prosecute and defend specially written criminal cases. Teams compete against each other in real Magistrates' courts in front of genuine magistrates.

What does it deliver?

This year, when asked how the students benefit from taking part, 95% of teachers said it improved their

  • knowledge and understanding of the legal system
  • confidence
  • teamwork
  • public speaking
  • ability to develop an argument
  • analytical skills. 

How does it work?

Students compete in teams of 12/13 and must be in Years 8 and/or 9. They are all are supplied with comprehensive preparation materials, such as a competition guide, lesson plans and a specially written criminal case.

School teams then play off against each other in local heats. The winners compete in a regional final and, in turn, those winners meet in a national final. The winner of the national final walks away with a shield, prizes for the team (which in the past have included book tokens for the students and resources for the school) and a deserving sense of pride.

Mrs Jarvis said;

This is a superb way to raise students understanding and knowledge of the law in action. It has raised confidence and achievement in our school and we look forward to working with a new team of enthusiastic students this term.

Well Done, Taylor!

Congratulations to Year 7 student, Taylor Ratcliffe, who has recently taken part in trials for the Under 13s Cheshire Netball team and has also just found out that she has made it into the Merseyside Under 13s Netball squad.

This amazing achievement for Taylor who will be one of the youngest competitors in the teams and we wish her every success.

Congratulations to our Young Sports Leaders

The PE Faculty is delighted to announce that an amazing 128 students from Year 10 have successfully passed their Level 1 Sports Leaders Award.

The students, who prepared for and were entered for this award at the end of the summer term when they were in Year 9, learned about the skills and qualities of ‘What makes a good sports leader’ in lessons; they then had to organise and deliver sporting activities to their peers and younger children from local primary schools. 

Special Sports Awards also went to Maddison O’Rourke, India Scott, Milly Ward and Daniel Kavanagh for their outstanding leadership skills.

Mrs Hasty who co-ordinated this award said:

We are extremely proud of all our Sports Leaders. They have shone in their leadership roles and been fantastic throughout the whole programme.  The skills they have learned are transferable and so they will also help them to develop their confidence in the other subjects they are studying.  Well done to them all!

Football News

The Year 7 Boys’ Football Team got the year off to a good start last week when they played their first away game together.

There was a great performance from the team, who played great football against St Chad’s. OBA dominated for most of the game and they were almost victorious, but the game ended 3-3, with St Chad’s scoring in last minute.

The excellent pitch performance included stunning goals from Jimmy O’Rourke, Harry Wilson and Alex Konstantinidis and a very composed string of saves from the goalkeeper, Ethan Murphy.  

Mr Barrett, Team Manager, would like to congratulate all of the players for their determination and brilliant teamwork throughout the match.   

Safe Gaming

As parents and carers are you aware of the type of content found in videogames?
In Europe, including the UK, PEGI provides advice regarding the age suitability of a game. 
To help you to understand the PEGI rating system a guide to the content at each age rating is provided below.

Every child is different and ultimately as parents/carers, you should decide what your children are capable of viewing or experiencing.
Here are a few tips:

  • Always look for the age classification on the game package or via the search engine on this website.
  • Try to look for a summary or review of the game content or ideally play the game yourself first. 
  • Play video games with your children, watch over them when they play and talk with them about the games they play. Explain why certain games are not suitable.
  • Be aware that online games sometimes enable the download of extra software that can alter the game content and eventually the age classification of the game.
  • Online games are usually played in virtual communities requiring players to interact with unknown fellow players. Tell your children not to give out personal details and report inappropriate behaviour.
  • Set the limits by using the parental control tools of the game console or via an app.

Tech Talk

Staying safe on Snapchat

Snapchat has recently updated its app with a feature called Snap Map, however many users are unaware of how this works, so this week’s Tech Talk is going to enlighten you about this new feature of the popular app. 

Snap Map is a new ‘location sharing’ layer to the photo messaging app, where you can see where all of your Snapchat friends are in real time and what stories they are posting.

Location sharing is not necessarily a new idea, however, the new update means you are constantly sharing your location with your Snapchat friends, as long as you have the app open or are actively using it.

This has been a hot topic with Snapchat users since it was updated, with a lot of people including parents, teachers and students concerned about privacy and location tracking.  If you choose to keep your location private from your friends you will have to turn on ‘Ghost Mode’.  To do so, you will need to go to the Snap Map homepage and in the top right-hand corner, you will see a cog or the usual setting symbol, to change your location sharing setting you can click on this and then switch on Ghost Mode.  In the interests of safety and privacy, we would strongly recommend that all students who have a Snapchat account activate ‘Ghost Mode’ to ensure that their location is not visible to others. 

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

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