Dear families and friends of OBA,
It was with great delight that I led our annual awards evening last week. It was a really enjoyable night and I got great pleasure out of seeing the hard work, determination and commitment of our students celebrated in that way. Thank you to all parents who came out on a really bad night weather-wise to support the event.
As you know, we have a great commitment to enrichment at the school. Last week, a group of Sixth Form students travelled to Munich to study engineering and factory processes as part of their Sixth Form Business Studies programme. Business Studies students were also out and about in Liverpool, working with our partners Hays Education.
Enrichment also involves events in school and last week was no exception. The Year 7 Toastmaster programme reached its culmination with some fantastic speeches from Year 7 students, some of which you can read in this edition.
Our enrichment programme extends into our community with Saturday Academy. I was present last Saturday to find over 100 students involved in our Year 6 programme Around the World, Year 11 students working hard in Spanish and Drama and some of our Sixth Formers doing some Saturday work keeping our building looking its best.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. You can also follow us on twitter @obacademy for more ‘real time’ news from the school. Have a great weekend,
Mr. E Wright
A Night of Celebration
OBA indulged in an evening of reflection this week as staff, parents and students came together to celebrate a year of success.
82 students were nominated by Pastoral Leaders and Heads of Faculty for recognition at the Academy’s annual prestigious event.
The Awards and Celebration event was opened on Thursday by Mr Wright who commented on how he has settled into his role as Principal and thanked everyone for making him feel so welcome. Mr Wright spoke about his personal connection to Runcorn after spending part of his childhood here with his grandparents and his love for OBA which he described as a ‘great school which has a heart and soul like no other’.
Mr Wright reiterated that the Academy's vision is to be one of the country’s best schools. He said that ‘the school is in great shape and these are exciting times for OBA.’ Mr Wright described the students receiving awards as ‘fine role models for their peers and a constant source of energy and inspiration’ for himself and Academy staff.
Next to take the stand was our fantastic Head Boy, George Iddon and Head Girl, Jodie Collins who had written their own words of welcome for the event before compering the evening and inviting all recipients up to the stage to receive their awards. Musical interludes were performed by talented OBA students and the song choices reflected the warm sense of pride that radiated from the Academy's packed out hall.
We were fortunate on Thursday to be joined by local children’s author, Sarah Oliver.
Sarah is from Halton, hailing from Widnes and is the author of over 20 books for children. Sarah is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has written biographies on the likes of One Direction, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Thank you to Sarah for agreeing to present the awards to our highly deserving students.
The night culminated with two special awards being given to two very surprised students!
The Principals Award is traditionally presented to a student who has excelled throughout their career at OBA. This year’s recipient was no exception. Jessica Fulton, Year 12 is known to her teachers as a pleasant, hard working girl who has overcome the usual difficulties that young people face but always with a smile. Jessica is considered to be a shining example to her peers of how to aim high and, through sheer hard work and determination, achieve more than you thought you ever could. Well done Jessica!
The Tony Lewis Award was donated by Tony’s widow Barbara in memory of Tony, a parent, Chair of Governors and a friend to OBA for many years. It is traditionally awarded to recognise a student’s commitment to supporting the local community.
This year the recipient was Ewan Jago in Year 10. Not only has Ewan proven himself to be a valued member of the OBA family and a fantastic role model for his peers but has clearly demonstrated that he is passionate about improving the lives of all young people in Halton.
Not one to simply talk about how things could be better, he successfully fought off competition from six other candidates to become the UK Youth Parliament Representative for Halton. From this platform he will continue to work on local issues particularly affecting young people. All of the OBA family are extremely proud of his achievements. Well done Ewan!
Congratulations to all our students who received well-deserved awards on the night. Keep up the great work!
Trip to Munich!
Sixth form students impressed Mr Wright so much that he gave them permission to plan a trip to Munich!
Year 13 students worked together for their ‘Developing Teams in Business’ unit to research destinations for a business trip suitable for their class.
The 9 male students chose Munich because of the countries strong football links and esteemed engine production and presented their final idea to Mr Wright in September. The Principal was really impressed with their professionalism and attention to detail and thus gave the go-ahead for a trip to be planed to the third largest city in Germany.
The young men, who are all studying Level 3 Business planned all aspects of the weekend trip including a full itinerary which allowed them to view the sights of Munich City as well as visiting the Allianz Stadium, BMW Museum, BMW Welt and the Olympic Park.
Previous units of the course focused on UK Car manufacturer Jaguar and the visit to BMW Welt allowed them to compare aspects of production and promotion within a different country. A wow factor was the level of interactivity in the BMW car showroom. Students were able to use gadgets and simulators to get an amazing experience of driving these prestigious cars.
Students embraced the cold weather and downpours of snow, navigated the city via tram and indulged the German culture by trying traditional delicacies such as bratwurst and curry-wurst sausage!
Mr Fenner, Head of Business Studies, said:
I was extremely impressed with how students led the trip with very little staff input. Students showed a high level of maturity, the planning was well thought out to cover a variety of personal interests and they all interacted really well as a team from start to finish. This trip has given students the independence and confidence to be able to plan their own trips and get out and see the world!
It was great to see the project we have worked on over the last few months come to life. We took on a big challenge but we feel like we handled it really well and everything we set out to do was accomplished. It was an unbelievable experience to be able to get real-life business insight whilst visiting places such as the Allianz and BMW Welt museum which we were all genuinely interested in.Jack Ward, Year 13
This trip was a chance for us to get out of the classroom and experience a whole new country together as a group. We had to use public transport such as the underground which we had never done before and overcome the language barrier to find out information. Each experience was a new challenge but we tackled each thing as a group and we feel it couldn’t have gone any better than it did! The trip will set us apart from other people in the country as we got to experience this business unit first hand which gave us unique examples to use in our coursework.Callum Ellis, Year 13
Back in college, the nine students will now analyse their teamwork abilities in planning and executing a Business trip from start to finish and use their experiences to add greater depth to their coursework.
Youth Leadership Programme
We are immensely proud of our fantastic Year 7 students who recently completed the Toastmasters internationally recognised Youth Leadership Program.
The 10-week course demanded a high level of commitment and eight of our youngest students stepped up to the mark, regularly attending a series of workshops designed to develop their speaking and listening skills.
Over the course of the programme, they have listened carefully to others’ ideas, learnt how to organise and present their thoughts logically and convincingly, offered advice to help others improve their speaking skills and overcome nervousness when speaking in front of an audience. They have also participated in and even led group discussions!
Each workshop took place on a Wednesday during enrichment time after school and what made this course unique was that students ran the meetings. Each student was allocated a role and Dr Anne Dooley, a specialist from Toastmasters International was on hand each week to provide expert training and guidance.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 352,000 memberships. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 16,400 clubs in 141 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations. The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.www.toastmasters.org
This invaluable opportunity culminated last week in a showcase event where all students involved hosted a ceremony for parents / carers and delivered the speeches they had prepared.
It’s a Man’s Problem Too
By Yasmin Hamling, Year 7
Ten million, four hundred thousand, six hundred and fifty. That number represents only one of the 130 million girls worldwide who have been denied access to school. That means that 130 million girls haven’t been educated today. If all of these girls made up a country they would be the equivalent of the UK and France put together. That would make the tenth largest country in the world!
Stereotypes suck! Girls wear pink, boys wear blue.
Boys play sport and girls don’t.
Boys are strong and girls aren’t.
It’s as if society is telling us what we can and can’t be. They have created this perfect image that we have to be, but what if we don’t want to follow gender stereotypes?
What if I want to join the football team or I want to play video games or I want to skateboard?
The world just doesn’t revolve around men, girls are here too! We should decide what we want to look like, what our body does and doesn’t do and we should get paid the same as men. There are so many sexist sayings in this world, for example; History – ‘His-story’, mankind, a man’s best friend and the one that annoys me the most, ‘not bad for a girl’.
That to a girl is basically a slap in the face! I believe that everyone should be given the same opportunities.
We need to stop this today because it is a man’s problem too!
I don’t think it is fair that there is still inequality between men and women and Toastmasters has helped me to speak out about things that are important to me and I feel passionate about. I now know how to prepare and put my point across properly. I really liked this enrichment and enjoyed meeting new people!
Sophie Watson, Year 7, played the part of a ‘Table Topic Speaker’ in the showcase and she commented:
I really think I have benefited from Toastmasters, it has helped me to become more confident.
Well done to Yasmin Hamling, Sophie Watson, Clarence Beaumont, Archie Robertson, Molly Beitler, Jessica Wales, Jamie Bloxam and Luca Jones for your commitment to the Toastmasters Programme.
Taking a Break
OBA English Teacher Launches Second Book
After launching her first book, Flow, in October, Mrs Littlemore from the OBA English Faculty gave assemblies to all students from Year 7-10, where she talked about the process of writing and publishing a book, as well as encouraging students to work hard to achieve their goals. Pupils from all year groups were intrigued by the possibilities, and went away with a lot to think about.
The OBA library stocks several copies of Mrs Littlemore’s book, which have been constantly booked out by students eager to read the novel after listening to the presentation in assembly. Since then, Mrs Littlemore has been stopped in the corridor numerous times by pupils who have read Flow and are curious to know more! OBA Librarian Miss Wheatcroft and her Library Group are also reading the novel together, and were excited to hear that Mrs Littlemore will be visiting them as they reach the novel’s gripping conclusion to answer any questions they may have.
Flow is only the first in the series, and the sequel, Break, is available from Saturday 20th January from Amazon.
Miss Littlemore said:
I got the idea for the Flow series from watching endless reports on the news about the flooding that seems to have become more common (or at least is more publicised) in recent years. I just imagined what might happen if the flooding never stopped, if the sea levels continued to rise, and human beings were left with only the very highest points on earth to live on. I wrote the books because I have always wanted to create a dystopian world of my own, and the flooded nightmares I kept seeing on the news seemed like the perfect place to start.
Miss Wheatcroft is again ordering several copies for the library so students can continue to enjoy the story. Mrs Littlemore will also be participating in the celebrations on World Book Day in March, where she will be able to give pupils a more detailed and personal insight into writing and publishing stories.
Break is available from Amazon as both an eBook for the Kindle and a paperback:
It’s been three months since Quin transferred to Patrol and discovered the terrifying truth about the community she lives in. Citizens of The Beck are disposable and those in charge are capable of terrible cruelty. Vowing to protect those around her, Quin has joined the Resistance. But she knows she is risking everything.
Rebellion of any kind must be secretive and clever. Gathering enough people to fight seems like an impossible task. When those closest to her are directly threatened, Quin knows she has to act. But time is running out. Governance will stop at nothing to protect the world it has worked to build. In the end, Quin must decide how far she is prepared to go to rescue the ones she loves.
Break is the second in the Flow series, which follows Quin as she struggles to carve out a future in the harsh regime she was born into.
Warning: contains violence and some upsetting scenes. Recommended for a 13+ audience.
OBA enjoyed another busy Saturday this weekend with over a 100 students participating in a morning of fun activities and targeted academic lessons.
Greece was the focus for the Around-the-World project this week and the 53 Year 6 children who took part delighted in cooking a delicious spicy chicken and feta wrap with Mrs Fisher, before embarking on a ‘Night at the Museum’ History adventure with Mr Murphy!
A mix of primary and OBA students undertook a series of challenging exercises in the OBA fitness suite before taking each other on in a friendly game of football.
PE staff Mr McIntyre and Mr Miller were having just as much fun as the students!
Dedicated Year 11 Spanish students were in school working alongside our skilled MFL teachers to prepare for their upcoming oral exam.
Year 12 construction students were putting their studies into practice painting the maths department – under the expert watchful eye of construction teacher, Mr Clerkin.
Year 13 drama students were rehearsing for A’Level piece ‘The Donahue Sisters’.
Carrie Clarke, Sarah Taylor and Ellie Mogg have been working hard on the three-women-play which combines a mix of naturalistic acting and physical theatre for a number of months ready for their exam in March.
There is always lots going on at OBA on a Saturday morning. For more information, please check the Academy website or follow @OBAcademy for all the latest updates.
Sixth Form Business Trip
As part of the school’s continuing commitment to raising achievement and the aspirations of our pupils, two of OBA’s Year 12 Business Studies classes were invited to go to the Liverpool office of Hays on Tuesday 16th January 2018.
Hays is a global recruitment company with offices in 33 countries and more than 100 in the UK. The Liverpool bureau is situated in St Pauls Square which is in the business section of the city centre and there are approximately 70 people based in this office.
During the course of the day, the pupils participated in a workshop which was designed to help them identify what skills they have that employers are looking for. Hays professionals worked with the group to help to show evidence of commitment, organisational skills, teamwork, the ability to communicate and ICT skills. The importance of having hobbies, interests, doing voluntary work, involvement in extra curriculum activities and school attendance was also discussed in detail and how pupils can demonstrate this on their CV. In such a competitive employment market the ability to make yourself stand out from the crowd is key.
Before undertaking mock interviews with Hays professionals, pre-interview preparation techniques and the actual interview itself was discussed in detail and the pupils were given a ‘Get that University place/ Job’ workshop booklet to complete with advice and tips.
The day ended with a tour of the Hays office, where pupils had the opportunity to experience a busy city office environment and meet various people in the office to find out about their job roles. Some students even expressed an interest in a career in the recruitment industry!
Mr Hussey, Teacher of ICT and Business Studies who organised the visit for the second year running said:
The visit to Hays recruitment was an excellent opportunity for our students to broaden their horizons by being able to get expert advice from professionals who work in recruitment. The workshop and activities delivered by Hays were excellent as was the students’ participation and engagement in the activities. My thanks go to Jenny Lampkin and Graeme Lovelady from Hays for their time and effort in supporting our students.
Bethany Ashton, Year 12 said:
I really enjoyed the trip to Hays as it helped me prepare myself for interviews in the future. We also learnt how to update our CV to help us stand out from the crowd. After the trip, we are going to write up about what we did and link it to our coursework.
Delamere Park Run
Saturday was a morning for records at the Delamere Park Run, despite the bitterly cold January weather! First home was Alice Willcott, Year 8 in a fantastic sub 30 time and new personal best of 29:14. Alice was closely followed by Tyler Priestly, Year 7 who was a mere 2 seconds behind, again with a top personal time! Sophie Lea successfully navigated her way around the 5k trail course in the longest run of her life whilst Jamie Bloxham, Nieve Fieldstead, Jasmine McCluskey and Beth Verry all put in extremely impressive fast runs. The runners were ably supported by Academy staff Miss Cleverly and Mr Bird.
Mr Bird said:
Our OBA runners are already looking forward to their next adventure.
What to do if your child sees something upsetting online
Along with the many positive things which young people may see or experience online, they may also encounter things which may worry or upset them. This could be anything from a scary picture or hateful comment, to something which is intended for an adult audience or potentially even illegal content. Below we are sharing some excellent and up to date guidance from the UK Safer Internet Centre on what to do if your child sees something upsetting online.
Here are our top tips for supporting your child:
1. Don’t get mad, get curious
Remaining calm and asking questions like ‘how did you get to that?’ or ‘what did you click on?’ will help you to understand how the content has appeared in the first place. Children will often remember the immediate response from an adult and remaining calm and open will show them that you are someone they can turn to for help.
2. Try not to place blame
It may be that your child has clicked on something by mistake or even gone looking for the content on purpose but it is still important to remain calm and be supportive. Children are curious and may hear about things from others that they later search for without realising what they will be exposed to.
3. Know where you and your child can go for more information and support: