OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 121 - 19th February 2018

Issue 121 - 19th February 2018
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Welcome to another edition of the academy newsletter. This edition gives a really broad view of everything that happens at OBA, day in, day out and how staff work really hard to enrich the curriculum and school experience for the benefit of all students. 
Thank you to all staff who take part in organising these events, but particular thanks in this edition to Mr Fenner for all of his work in organising the ski trip, and for Mr Nichols for his support of the trip. It was a great experience for all students and I know they are ready to launch the 2019 ski trip this term!
Wish you all the very best for the new term,
Mr. E Wright

Sister Schools Celebrate a 4th Year of Joint Skiing Success

In the early hours of Saturday 27th January, 37 excited students and 4 even more excited members of staff set off to Manchester Airport. The team flew into Geneva and then made their way by coach up the winding mountain to the snow-covered, picturesque resort of Alpe D’Huez.

Once again OBA joined forces with OCA to make this year’s ski trip an adventure to remember! 

The OBA/OCA group ability was varied with some students taking to the slopes for the very first time while others were able to challenge themselves on the resorts more advanced red, blue and black runs.

All students enjoyed tackling the mountains sunny south-facing slopes and delighted in the spectacular views across the French Alps.  4 hours of skiing each day was followed by a range of après activities including, ice skating, bum-boarding, swimming, quiz, movie/pizza night, the In-vertigo (indoor climbing) challenge and a competitive games night.

Mr Fenner, who organised and led the trip from OBA said:

Another hugely successful ski trip with no injuries and plenty of amazing skiing! Students were a credit to the academy and were always wanting to push themselves to try new techniques and improve their skiing.  I am looking forward to next year’s trip already!

Splendid Theatre Company Wows OBA

On Monday 22nd January Splendid Theatre Company came in to perform their adaptation of the novel Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. They performed to the ks4 and 5 Drama cohort. Splendid Theatre then delivered a follow-up workshop on the methodologies of the theatre practitioner Brecht. Students study this practitioner at great length at GCSE and A Level, therefore it was invaluable for students to both see a play performed in his style and also workshop some of his ideas in practice. Students will now apply this knowledge when creating their own Devised examination performances. 

Mrs Noon commented:

I have worked with this theatre company for 10 years now and every time they perform a new piece and deliver a workshop I am still amazed by their creativity, professionalism and ability to deliver very tough plays, themes and messages to a young audience in a way that is accessible and thought-provoking to teenagers. I look forward to seeing the work that follows from our students which has been inspired by this visit.

Technical Workshop with Alex Ralls

On Monday 5th February a group of technical Drama students from Year 10 and 11 were invited to take part in a workshop focusing on all aspects of sound and lighting with Alex Ralls, a professional stage and production manager. 

Alex has over 20 years’ experience in the industry and a hands-on approach has seen him production manage or show-call high a series of high profile events including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s (William and Kate) first royal engagement in Kensington Palace Gardens, Elton John’s Annual White Tie and Tiara Balls, Petra Ecclestone’s wedding as well as productions viewed by audiences of 10,000+ in Trafalgar Square.

The eleven lucky students involved had the chance to experiment with a range of lighting equipment throughout the morning and then in the afternoon, they were able to demonstrate their knowledge about sound using a range of software provided.

Drama teacher, Miss McKevitt said:

The knowledge and experienced the students gained from the workshop is invaluable to their learning and essential for their up and coming exams.

Debate Mate

On Tuesday 6th February Mr Bird took 17 students to Alsop High School for the first ‘Debate Mate’ match of the Urban Debate League. Our students are entered in the novice league of this prestigious competition which will host its finals in London later on in the year. 

The teams discussed whether direct advertising to under 16’s should be banned by law and both of our teams proposed this motion. Although the teams didn’t secure a win on this debate, our eager students sought advice from the judges during the refreshment break and prepared confidently for round two.

The second debate was whether the Police should by law, be able to view individual emails and social media accounts. After a debate in which the major arguments were between preserving civil liberties verses preventing crime, the OBA ‘A’ team came out trumps! 

Mr Bird commented proudly:

Both of our teams performed brilliantly in the second debate with the OBA ‘A’ team winning their match and the ‘B’ team being very close to victory!

Our pupils are very much looking forward to building on their success during the second set of matches in the week commencing the 12th March 2018.

We wish them luck!

Year 7 and 8 Excel at Enterprise

This half term year 7-11 have been focusing on 'Achieving Economic Wellbeing' in ECM time. As part of this, Year 7 and 8 students have been busy creating their own business ideas, turning everyday items such as a chair, box and a jumper into a profitable business venture. Students were asked to work in sub-teams within their forms to pitch ideas, develop a design and product, work out the financial implications for their business and also come up with a marketing campaign for their unique products. Our business partnership Isover St Gobain came into assemblies on Thursday and Friday and judged the best business pitch, which was whittled down from 8 forms to 4 by Mrs Oulton. Students had to pitch live to the representatives from Isover and were given feedback based on creativity, pitch, product design and their marketing campaign. 

Mrs Oulton commented on how fantastic the two days of pitches went:

Isover were so impressed by the professionalism and creativity shown by our students, who were a real credit to the school. It was fantastic for our students to hear how their ideas would be developed in a real company and get feedback from professionals in the field of design and product development. Congratulations to our winners 8SSS and 7RRS!

Both form groups will have a free breakfast next week and receive a certificate as a reward for all their hard work. 

Mrs Noon who leads the ECM Programme at OBA said:

Well done to all forms who took part. Every group worked hard, demonstrating leadership, communication and teamwork skill, to develop their business ideas. We have some very skilled entrepreneurs who have very bright futures ahead of them!

Mrs Roberts (7RRS) said:

It is fantastic news that we have won! Students worked really hard in coming up with the brilliant 'VR Areno'. They all worked really well as a team and thoroughly enjoyed devising this product from a cereal box. Every member of the form made significant contributions to the product. Mr Miller and I are very proud of their achievements. Well done 7RRS!

Mrs Styles (8SSS) said: 

I am so proud of my form working hard to produce not one but two versions of our winning product. They spent a long time considering slogans, product name and costing and their hard work paid off. Congratulations 8SSS!


Girl’s Football at OBA

The girl’s football teams played The Heath School in a league match recently. It was a home game and both teams were excited about their first game back after the break.  The senior team kicked off first and the game was end to end until the final whistle. Goals from Ellie Dyson and Madison O’Rourke sealed the win 4-3. 

Proud PE Teacher Miss McAuliffe said:

Man of the match went to Ellie Dyson with her excellent movement and goal scoring standing out. Well done Ellie!

The junior team were next and wanted to live up to the senior teams win. The game had no scores at halftime with some amazing defence from Erin Roberts, Kiera Bradley and Wendy Kelly. In the second half, Erin Roberts went up and scored an amazing goal to seal the win 1-0!

A big thank you to our sixth formers Chelsea Gillies and Demi-Lee Rogers who refereed the games. 

Silver Surfers

Do you have any over-60 family members who still survive without using ICT? Do they use royal mail but not email? Do they confuse a hard drive for a patio drive?

The Business and ICT faculty at the academy would like to offer the opportunity for 'recycled teenagers' aged 60+ within the OBA community to visit us and improve their understanding of modern technology. The sessions will be free of charge with tea and coffee provided. 

We would like to offer 6 one-hour sessions weekly from 2:15pm to 3:15pm starting Wednesday 21st February until 28th March 2018.
The sessions will cover topics such as:

  • Basic internet skills
  • E-safety
  • Social networking
  • Email 
  • General ICT skills

To contact us for further information or to secure a place on the course, please provide us with the participant's full name, age and contact details before Friday 9th February using the contact information below:

In person: School reception, Barnfield Avenue, Murdishaw, Runcorn, WA7 6EP
Telephone: 01928 711643

Harry Potter 


On Thursday 1st February students from across years 7 and 8 came together to celebrate Harry Potter Day. A group of 30 students were selected for their hard work and effort in English to take part in our celebrations. The library was transformed into the restricted section of Hogwarts Library and students were invited to take part in a variety of magical activities to further develop their literacy skills. Students wrote articles for The Daily Prophet; created their own mystic creatures and even attempted some Latin spell translations. All students were then invited to take a ‘mugshot’ for Azkaban prison and even the staff got involved in this one! The day ended with a Harry Potter quiz in which Team Gryffindor were victorious! 

English Teacher, Miss Smith who led on the celebrations said: 

Overall the day was fantastic and the students had great fun taking part in a range of tasks linking to the Harry Potter series.

500 Words Challenge

A group of fantastic young writers in Year 7 have had the opportunity to take part in the live lesson launch of BBC Radio 2's 500 Words Competition. Pupils took part in the webcast, generating exciting storylines of their own as the lesson was delivered nationwide by Blue Peter presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood. Guest authors Charlie Higson and OBA's very own house hero, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, gave advice on what makes a good story.  The ambitious young writers went on to craft their stories with the help of English teacher, Mrs Richardson. The group will meet to talk, share and develop their 500 word stories in Enrichment time before the deadline on February 22nd. 

Mrs Richardson said:

The entries submitted will be judged alongside stories from all over the UK. We think our OBA writers are serious contenders so watch this space!

Head of Geography Publishes BBC Revision Guide

Mr Chiles, Head of Geography at OBA, has just published his fourth book! His latest print is an AQA GCSE Geography revision guide written for the BBC Bitesize series. 

What makes this book brilliant is that it has direct links to the BBC Bitesize website where students can boost their knowledge using the extended tests and videos provided. It also has worked examples which is a real benefit because it allows students to see what is expected for different types of examination questions. The questions relate directly to the topic being revised so students can become familiar with how questions may be phrased in exam conditions and also understand the depth of knowledge required for different grade levels. 

Mr Chiles, Head of Geography said:

It was always a passion of mine to write a book and have it published, and from an early age my granddad always encouraged me to believe in myself and strive to achieve my ambitions. This is now my fourth published book; I hope that it provides all students around the UK with a revision tool, which will help them achieve their own ambitions in GCSE Geography.

Whilst OBA students don't study the AQA course (our Geography GCSE programme is Edexcel) there are many crossovers where this book will be helpful to OBA students. There are copies in the school library for our students to borrow.

Congratulations Mr Chiles!


As part of the Academy’s Impact Day initiative, Years 8, 9 and 10 were involved in a range of activities designed to impact their learning and support the school’s drive to engage students in their future career choices. The events which involved four whole year groups, allowed students to explore different areas of the curriculum within a fun packed activity day aimed directly at their years.

The Holiday Event – Year 8

Under the supervision and expert direction of Miss Connolly, Mr Spencer and Mr Wynne, our Year 8  students stayed within their form groups to study different cultures from around the globe. Each form was given a country to research and explore with the aim of creating a stall to showcase why their country was the best! Prizes and certificates were aplenty for the winning forms and the outcomes from the students were amazing!

Jack the Ripper/CSI – Year 9

Working with our talented History and Science departments, students in year 9 had a full day of crime investigation, trying to solve a 150-year-old mystery! 

Ms Bowles-Palmer, Ms McMullen, Mr Murphy and Mr Hough all joined forces to deliver sessions on DNA testing, research and conclusion and photo fit imagery.  Real life skill and 21st century application brought information out of the Victorian setting. This was a day of murder mystery that Year 9 will not forget in a hurry!

Year 10 were fortunate to get involved in TWO major IMPACT events! To develop aspirations of further education, all Year 10 students were given the chance to visit and explore the University of Liverpool as part of the ‘Shaping Future’ projects. For the first time ever, parents were also invited to come along on this trip to enjoy the experience with their children!  Places were limited over the two days but we will continue to invite parents on future IMPACT initiatives so that they too can see the benefit and support offered to their child after finishing the OBA sixth form.  

Year 10 also participated in an amazing two-day art project here at school. Mr Smyth and Miss Cleverly, our two artists in residence, put on an amazing two-day workshop to produce some fabulous large-scale works to be displayed around the school. Students were commissioned with the task of composing cellular inspired imagery to help reinvigorate the corridors in the science department!  Though not all students have taken Art in year 10, the option for all students to develop their emotional well-being and potentially discover an interest in something they maybe had not considered before, ensured everyone was given the chance to explore large-scale composition. 

Mr Reid who organised this whole week of activities said:

I am very proud to be part of the OBA family, and the support and altruistic approach staff have taken to engage in these event has been exceptional. When considering the students' determination and drive to succeed, it was a very proud moment to see so many students out of their ‘comfort zones’ engaged in being the best they can be. It’s days like today you realise why you teach.

Also under the umbrella of the Impact Day initiative Mr Hussey, our E-learning coordinator, produced a full activity for a section of 40 students spanning all year group in an internet awareness event linked to the worldwide Internet Safety Day. This we hope will be one of many to come and educating students on being safe online is one of our key pledges, so watch this space for many more of these bespoke activity events!

ECM Update 

The Every Child Matters (ECM) programme is always a high priority for staff at OBA. Each child has three dedicated ECM sessions during morning form time where they cover a range of topics linked to the following strands of the ECM Agenda; Make a Positive Contribution, Stay Safe, Achieve Economic Wellbeing, Be Healthy, Community Cohesion and Enjoy & Achieve.

Every half term we have a full day dedicated to the ECM agenda. On this day students have the chance to come off their normal timetables and take part in a variety of activities related to the specific strands in focus. Last term, the day for children in Years 7 and 8 focused on British Values whereas for students in Year 9 the day was about sexual health.

The whole of Year 8 also took part in a First Aid workshop with representatives from The British Red Cross. Students learnt basic first aid tips, what to do if someone is unconscious, how to check their airway, resuscitate and how to safely put them in the recovery position whilst they wait for help off the emergency services.

Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy supports Safer Internet Day 2018


On Tuesday 6th February 2018 students and staff at Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy joined the global Safer Internet Day campaign to promote the safe and responsible use of technology. 

Celebrated in over 100 countries, Safer Internet Day saw Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy join hundreds of organisations right across the UK and globally to play their part in helping to create a better internet under the theme ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you’.

Led by OBA E-Safety Co-ordinator Mr Hussey, Safer Internet Day 2018 at OBA was celebrated more than ever before. This year 40 students came off their normal timetable to participate in an ‘Impact Day’ which involved reviewing a range of online situations and developing a deeper understanding of the dangers and moral issues posed when we use the internet.

Students also had a talk about online strangers and sexting from PC Williams from Cheshire Police. Students then worked in teams to create a campaign for combatting an e-safety issue of their choice. These campaigns covered issues such as cyberbullying, radicalisation, privacy and sexting and saw students work in teams to create a poster, movie using iPads and a promotional T-Shirt to spread their messages. 

An interactive display of pledges for creating a better internet was made by students and staff. This will remain on display for the next few weeks. E-Safety Co-ordinator Mr Hussey also delivered assemblies about online safety to all year groups for the week beginning Monday 5th February to coincide with Safer Internet Day. Further, students across key stages 3 and 4 investigated e-safety in their form groups as part of tutor time activities and across the curriculum teachers linked lessons to internet safety. Maths lessons looked at percentages and rations of the ‘Internet of Things’, drama lessons had a link to cyberbullying and in Spanish students practised their speaking skills to discuss positives and negatives of social networks and addiction to smartphones.

Photos and updates from the day are available on the OBA e-safety Twitter feed @EsafetyOBA. 

Liam Hussey, E-Safety Co-ordinator at OBA said:

Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy has long encouraged online safety, however, this year our contribution to Safer Internet Day has been bigger than ever before. The work of students and staff to mark Safer Internet Day has been fantastic and the display in learning street looks brilliant too! E-Safety at OBA is always a high priority and our work for Safer Internet Day further gets across the message that the internet is an amazing resource but we all need to use it wisely and report any concerns to parents/carers or school staff

Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, said:

Safer Internet Day is an opportunity for everyone across the UK and globally to unite for a better internet. Whether you are a young person, parent, carer, school or organisation, we can all take positive actions to make the internet a better place. Hundreds of schools and organisations have pledged their support for Safer Internet Day and it is this collaboration that helps ensure Safer Internet Day has such a positive impact, reaching 42% of UK children in 2017 and growing year on year.

Find out more and get involved at

Around-the-World at Saturday Academy

Belgium proved to be a popular focus at ATW this week as 56 ATW children came in for a morning of chocolate!

Students learned about how the country invented the praline in 1912 and soon became known for making the best chocolates in the world. The smell of warm, melted cocoa was then soon wafting down the Academy’s corridors as students took to the kitchen to bake delicious chocolate truffle brownies!

The year six’s also designed confectionary packaging in the Textiles classroom and indulged in a chocolate quiz, which of course largely involved taste-testing a variety of sweet treats.

Some students commented that this was their favourite week at ATW yet!

Supporting Halton Haven

The OBA family were extremely proud to donate over £700 to Halton Haven Hospice this week as a result of fundraising carried out over the festive period!

Back in December, Staff and students took part in the National Christmas Jumper Day and contributions to wear their favourite festive knit raised an impressive £624.56!

Also in December, our talented Drama team sold raffle tickets on the nights of the three sell-out performances of ‘Annie’ here at school and raised a further £148.10 for Halton Haven.

The hospice, which is located right next door to OBA provides palliative care to support patients with life-limiting illnesses and those important to them. 

Mrs Snagg, Director of Community at the Academy said:

Due to its close proximity to school, Halton Haven is a cause close to the hearts of many of our staff, students and families and therefore we are thrilled to have raised such an impressive amount to donate to the hospice.

Chris Andrews, Fundraising Manager at Halton Haven Hospice:

We are very grateful for the fundraising efforts of everyone at OBA. To have raised over £750 from their Christmas fundraising is absolutely fantastic and the money will go a long way. It was wonderful to hear that it was the students themselves who chose the Haven as their charity of choice too. We are very lucky to have such dedicated supporters on our doorstep!


On Wednesday 24th January Miss Watkins and Miss McEvoy took 21 of our sixth form students to see the filming of ‘Countdown’ at Media Studios in Manchester.

The students were fortunate enough to watch three shows being recorded before meeting Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev (Strictly Come Dancing), who was the guest in dictionary corner that day, for a couple of photos!

Miss Watkins said:

The students had a great time trying to solve the problems before the contestants could! The trip was planned as a well-deserved reward for all the hard work they have put into their Maths or English A-level studies so far this year.

Ellie Mogg, Year 13 student said: 

I really enjoyed going to see the recording of Countdown. It was very interesting to see what happens behind the scenes during recording and my highlight was definitely getting a picture with Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev!

Artist of the Week

Since starting A’level photography in September Lauren Shannon has made excellent progress and demonstrated a real enthusiasm and flair for the subject. Before starting the course, Lauren had not taken an art based qualification at GCSE level and therefore has had to work extremely hard to get to grips with analysing images, editing techniques and creating compositions of interest and balance. Her current theme ‘Close up natural forms’ has yielded some particularly impressive results (see attached). 

Lauren’s art teacher, Miss Cleverly said: 

It has been great to see Lauren’s work go from strength to strength over the last couple of months and the department looks forward to seeing her photography skills develop even further as she continues the course.

Fake News

E-Safety Update

Not everything we see online is truthful, but it can be hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. To help, the UK Safer Internet Centre has put together a few quick tips for young people to help them distinguish between the two when reading articles online.

If you are ever unsure about an article you see online check:

Who posted it?

Who is the author? It should be easy to find who/what organisation is behind an article – is it a reliable organisation? Can you trust them? Have you heard of them before? What else have they published? Check out the ‘About Us’ section on their website, if they haven’t got one you may question why. Can you find them on other sites? You can also check if other mainstream news outlets or websites are reporting the same story – if they aren’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not true, but it may mean that you should look into it further. Generally, the more news websites that publish a story, the more likely it is to be true.

When was it posted?

Sometimes old news stories are shared on social media, either accidentally or to make it seem that something has happened recently. It’s always worth checking the date the article was published. If there is no date then you could try checking other news websites to see if the same story has been shared. You can also search for the image caption or headline with Google to check if it has appeared before.

Why was it created?

Think about why the article has been created and how the creators might want you to think or behave. There are a number of reasons why a fake article might be published. Sometimes it could be to change your beliefs about something or to prompt an extreme reaction. Sometimes the aim might be to make money through getting lots of people to click on the link – these types of articles are often referred to as click bait.  Other times it could be because the people who publish an article, bloggers, journalists etc. haven’t checked the facts as thoroughly as they should.

This useful CBBC article about spotting fake news explains further about how to identify the different types of articles that may not be true.

What is it saying?

It is easy to create a story that looks realistic but isn’t actually true. Check what the article is saying – has this been reported elsewhere? Are the facts accurate? Are the images used actually from that story? Could the images have been edited or cropped to change what you can see?

Want to find out more? Check out this CBBC Quiz: Real or fake news?  Take this quiz and see how good you are at spotting the difference.

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