OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 61 - 22nd February 2016

Issue 61 - 22nd February 2016
Dear families and friends of OBA,

Welcome back after the half-term break. I hope you all enjoyed some quality time together.
OBA was open throughout the holiday with a programme of revision sessions and workshops for Year 11 and Sixth Form students. These were well attended and indicative of our students’ commitment.  The big focus for Year 11 students this week is preparation for their Speaking & Listening component speeches.  These are worth 20% of the final GCSE English grade.  We encourage you to help them with practising these by listening to them, encouraging correct pronunciation and intonation, and finally by asking relevant questions about their chosen topic.  This week also sees the launch of our Period 6 for Year 11 students, to encourage them to complete revision and coursework in the after school enrichment sessions that our staff offer on a daily basis
The Year 8 Options process also begins in earnest over the next couple of weeks, with Year 8 Options evening taking place from 6 to 8pm on Tuesday 8th March.  All Year 8 students will also have a series of assemblies next week to help guide them through this important process.
So as you can see, we already have a lot going on this half-term.
Your continued support is always much appreciated.
Best wishes
Mr. M Wyss- Academy Principal

OBA Celebrates Chinese New Year

Monday the 8th February marked the start of the Chinese New Year- The year of the Monkey! So, over the past two weeks there have been many activities that OBA students have taken part in, in order to join in the celebrations.

First of all, special assemblies were held to inform students of New Year Chinese traditions. During these assemblies, three very talented Year 7 pupils, Elie Chadwick, Eleanor Kirwan and Jemma Thain performed a traditional ‘Jasmine flower dance’ that they had learnt during Chinese Enrichment after school.

In addition, throughout the week all students in Years 7 to 10 studied the Chinese culture and traditions and investigated the meaning of their zodiac sign. They then creatively explored the story of ‘The Monkey King’ by making their own Chinese Opera-style masks, comic strips and developing ideas for a monkey inspired computer game. Finally they researched the Golden Web Monkey, an animal that is sadly set to become extinct unless there are major changes put in place to save this beautiful animal.

On Thursday the 11th February Year 7 took part in a ‘Chinese New Year Project Day’ where workshop leaders from The University of Manchester’s Confucius Institute delivered special sessions on Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Chinese musical culture.

The University of Manchester is home to the second Confucius Institute in the UK and it was formally launched in 2006. It is a partnership between the University, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Beijing Normal University. There are almost 500 Confucius Institutes around the world, and each one serves its community in a different way. The one in Manchester has two main agendas: firstly, to support the teaching of the Chinese language and secondly, to encourage a broader and deeper understanding of Chinese culture and contemporary China.

During the ‘Chinese New Year Project Day’, OBA’s Chinese Language Assistant, Miss Zhao, led sessions on Chinese calligraphy where the students learnt how to write in a traditional style of writing using special Chinese ink on rice paper. Students also learnt the art of Chinese paper cutting, a popular art form in China; demonstrating creativity and skill, they made paper lanterns and created their own Chinese Opera character masks.

Mrs Noon who co-ordinated the Chinese New Year celebrations also went out to forge links with China on behalf of OBA two years ago. She said:

“At OBA we feel it is important for our students to learn about, and celebrate other countries, cultures and beliefs. This makes our students aware of the wider world and gives us them an understanding of their role as global citizens. We are very fortunate to have a Chinese Language Assistant working in OBA and we have many more exciting opportunities and joint ventures planned for our students.”

Achieving Economic Wellbeing

Learning how to manage your finances and having economic awareness is a hugely important life skill.  So, during the last half-term OBA students have been focusing every morning with their Form Tutors on the topic of ‘Achieving Economic Wellbeing’.

Years 7 and 8 engaged very enthusiastically in an enterprise project which involved them setting up their own business, which they then had to ‘pitch’ in assembly, in a similar way to those who take part in Dragons’ Den. They had to choose either a hoop, a rounder bats or a cardboard box and then use their imagination and creativity to create a product for the general public. They worked on the design, the marketing and the finances needed to support their ideas, and some even made their own adverts.  Many wonderful products were made; a rounders bat music speaker, a hoop photo memory frame and a laundry basketball system were just some examples of the fantastic entrepreneurial ideas from our Year 7 and 8.

Following these activities, the Year 8s took part in an ‘Achieving Economic Wellbeing Day’. They worked with the University of Liverpool during the day, exploring the advantages of going to university and all the different financial options that students have, depending on their individual backgrounds.

The focus for Years 9 and 10 in recent weeks was to work with their Form Tutors on possible future careers and also to discuss the different universities they could apply to and to look at course choices. Having picked a university to attend, they were then given a budget to live off for a week. They had to work out how they could afford to eat, travel, pay for their accommodation as well as socialise, which is something all university students need to budget for! The Year 9s and 10s were astonished by how much day to day things cost for a student at university and this then led to discussions about whether it would it be better to stay at home or live away when attending university.

Year 10 & 11 then took part in a Careers Fair with a difference. Students chose three of their favourite careers, from a range of pathways, and they then got to meet employees who had come to talk about a career in that company or sector.

In each session, representatives went through the day to day routines of their job, the skills and qualities that are needed, the training and pathways into the career, the salary and prospects for promotion and students were able to ask them any other relevant questions.
Twenty-eight different companies/sectors attended the Careers Fair.  Amongst these were representatives from Balfour Beatty, MBNA, Solicitors, Accountants, The Army, The Merchant Navy, The Police, Cheshire Fire Service, Veterinary Surgery, O2, Asda, The NHS, The Music Industry, Hair and Beauty, Halton Housing, The University and College of Football Business in Burnley, SGI and Widnes Vikings.

Miss McAuliffe who organised all these activities said: “I was really impressed with the way all of the students involved themselves in the different activities.  They came up with some brilliant ideas and questions which amazed me.  Well done to them all.”

Breakout Maths

‘Breakout’ is a live escape room game which is located in Liverpool. When you go to ‘Breakout’ you are locked in a room with friends for sixty minutes and have to solve a series of puzzles and mysteries to escape. You have to search high and low for clues and work together if you want to escape using only your brain power to find clues and solve problems.

OBA’s Maths Faculty took two groups to Breakout in Liverpool to take on the challenges of two programmes called  ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘Wanted’ which involved students using their maths knowledge and their super-fast thinking skills to escape .

Congratulations go to Laura Riley, Amber Mills-Turkington, Chelsea Cliffe and Georgina Jones for breaking out of their room; they used their mathematical expertise to great effect and surprised everyone, escaping with still seven minutes to spare!

Primary Star Dancers from Murdishaw West

Year 3 pupils from Murdishaw West visited OBA last half term on a Wednesday for dance sessions with Miss Roper. The pupils learnt a variety of dance skills and then put them all together in a superhero-themed choreography.

The Year 3 teachers at Murdishaw West were able to keep parents and OBA updated through both schools’ Twitter accounts, showcasing the progress of the pupils and giving some detail about what they had been working on.

Through social media, Murdishaw West have uploaded some of the pupils’ final performances which can be found on

Year 11 Reward Trip

Forty two Year 11 students were lucky enough to be rewarded just before half-term with a trip to see ‘Shrek - The Musical’ at the Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays. Head of Year, Miss Porschke and Assistant Head of Year, Mr Milne, who carefully monitor the progress of all Year 11 students, organised the trip for students who had 100% attendance, were on target in lessons and had attended a range enrichments after school and at weekends.


After an early lunch, the students set off by coach with Miss. Porschke, Mr. Milne, Mrs Wall and Principal, Mr. Wyss. Luckily the coach arrived in Salford early so a short tour of the local area was also possible; this meant that Mr. Milne was able to share his wealth of knowledge, as he identified the ITV studios at Media City and the Imperial War museum.


Mr Milne said: “The students were very well behaved and conducted themselves in an exemplary manner.  It was great to hear Lowry staff praise them for 'being so mature and polite'. A very lively debate has now sprung up on the @OBAyr11 twitter account about what the next rewards trip should be and we would like to encourage students to put forward any specific ideas they have. Congratulations to everyone who took part and we look forward to welcoming some new students on the next Year 11 reward trip.”

Table Tennis Success

The Inter-School Singles Table Tennis Championships took place on Tuesday 9th February. This event saw one hundred and sixty students from schools across Cheshire take part in competitions for a variety of age categories.  Thirteen of those players were from OBA and they proved tough to beat with nine of them making it through their group qualifying rounds into the knockout stages.

Congratulations go to Liam Grocott who fought his way from 10-5 down in the deciding set to go on and win his final group match to come top in the group.

Five OBA students also made it through to the finals. Congratulations go out to Matty Parkinson, a Year 8 student who has regularly impressed international professional, Andrew Rushton, with his quick top spin shots. Matty gave it his best but lost his quarter final match to the boy who went on to win the competition. Mark Nuckley took his quarter final match to a 5th deciding set but lost by a very narrow margin in a game that could have gone either way. Hard luck lads!

Emily shone, a Year 10 student who came second in last year's championships made it through to the semi-finals and played against the county champion for her age group. Although she won the first set, she lost the second and during the third and final set her opponent just managed to get the better of her, winning by just two points. Emily came third overall.

Training at OBA:  Emily Shone who came third in the inter-school singles championships

Mr Daniels who accompanied the students and co-ordinates all the table tennis events for OBA students said:

“Well done to all those who competed. They did themselves and OBA proud. After a good half-term break, they will come back ready to show off more top table tennis skills.”

Sixth Formers Apply Their Skills

Here are some of our Sixth Form Beauty Therapy students with their certificates after taking part in ‘An Evening Look of Make-up Application’ on 1st February.  After seeing demonstrations by a regional make-up artist on a range of different techniques that can be used to create a smoky eye effect, the students set to work to practise the skill for themselves.

Miss Farrelly said: “All of the students were totally engaged in the session and came out of it feeling motivated and excited.  They thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and are now using what they have learnt in their work.”

Tech Talk

Welcome to Tech Talk, the latest addition to OBA’s newsletter where we share useful apps, websites and devices with you all.

This week’s focus is going to be a new device that has recently been introduced to OBA and is now part of our Key Stage 3 ICT curriculum.  

You will have read a couple of weeks ago that Mr Bowman delivered a presentation at The BETT Show on this amazing piece of technology. The Raspberry Pi, which is not a dessert but rather a small computer, is about the size of a credit card and looks like a small circuit board.

It is a capable little device that costs around £30 and enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing a high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games. Year 8 students at OBA have been using the Raspberry Pi to learn the mechanics of a computer system and have also used the Raspberry Pi to explore and build their own games in Minecraft.  

Here's a video showing you how the Raspberry Pi works:

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:

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