OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 140 - 11th May 2019

Issue 140 - 11th May 2019
Dear families and friends of OBA,

I am really pleased to bring you our latest newsletter.

I have said on many occasions that school is so much more than exam results and grades. Whilst they are important, what is of real value is the education given to students that develops their social, moral and ethical self, as well as providing skills for life that no examination certificate can capture. Upon reading this edition, you will see for yourself how OBA really does deliver on that ethos through the provision of extra-curricular activities like Debate Mate, our Dance Show and Epic Steps and curriculum-based activities in Business Studies and PE. This is a vital aspect of our work as we seek to ensure that our provision allows students to go to university or get a good job to live a life of choice and opportunity.

Year 11 and 13 are working very hard in the run-up to their examinations and I am sure parents and students will join me in thanking all staff for the way they are making provision for a very detailed revision package for students. Year 11 parents can see all that is planned for the examination programme, Saturday School and May half term revision classes via our website.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s newsletter, have a great week,

Mr. E Wright

Debate Mate Cup

Our students recently took on the challenge of competing in the nationally recognised Debate Mate Cup which was held at Liverpool University.

The academy team was primarily made up of Year 7 and 8 students and many have only started to compete this year. The team drew the short straw as they were placed in a group containing seasoned Year 10 campaigners from the St. Francis of Assisi - an experienced Debate Mate squad!

However, not to be deterred, our enthusiastic young team secured a victory over Ormiston Chadwick Academy and demonstrated excellent public speaking skills. All of our students were able to speak for a full five minutes and were able to rebut points presented by the opposition before stating their case. Mr Bird commented that this is a fantastic achievement from their first debate in September when they found it difficult to expand beyond a single sentence.

The group deliberated on whether there should be a carbon tax on businesses to help fight climate change. They discussed whether the introduction of a three day weekend was a good idea to help with the work-life balance of modern day family life, and finally, whether prison should be restricted to violent offenders only.

The team were able to observe both the final and a show debate involving adult mentors and teachers. They will be able to use some of the skills they observed once battle recommences in September!

Mr Bird said:

The students found it to be a great experience and were very proud of how far they have come in a short period of time. They feel they are a lot more confident now speaking in public.

Isover UK and OBA Working in Partnership

Principal, Emlyn Wright, and Assistant Principal and Careers Leader, Sheena Oulton would like to thank Estelle Timmermans and Louise Norman from Isover in Runcorn and Olga Watterich from Business in the Community for a really productive careers partnership planning meeting this week.

Isover is part of the Saint-Gobain group and is a leading manufacturer and supplier of mineral wool insulation products and systems. They manufacture and supply an extensive range of high performing sustainable, thermal, acoustic and fire safety performance products. 

OBA and Isover are in the second year of their partnership; this helps students to engage with a major local employer to develop employability skills, increase their awareness of career pathways and roles within business and to raise aspirations and develop confidence.

Mrs Oulton, Careers Leader, said:

Isover is a really important and responsible business within our community. We have worked with them on a number of different projects over the last year which have been of great benefit to our students. Today enabled us to plan even more wonderful opportunities as Isover offers a huge range of careers for our local community, as well as careers nationally and internationally.  Even in parts of our new build, and probably in many of the houses in which our students live, Isover’s insulation products are widely used. We look forward to working with them on an even wider range of projects over the coming year.

Adventurous Sport at OBA

This term's adventurous sport for outdoor education is indoor rock climbing and students kicked off the programme last week with a challenging 90-minute session at the climbing hangar in Liverpool.

Students had the opportunity to experience a form of rock climbing called ‘bouldering’ which involves climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses to help build confidence and teamwork. 

Mr King, PE teacher said:

Students loved the session and several members of the group have since returned outside of school hours to do more sessions at the hangar! 

OBA Revision Nightclub

Struggling to find somewhere to revise at home?  Brothers and sisters winding you up?  Not got the materials you need?


We are opening the 6th Form study space to Year 11s who need a space to work and would benefit from a friendly, calm, supportive environment to revise before exams.

Open every night after school from 3-5pm, stocked with all the revision essentials you need, it’s the perfect spot for you to catch up on homework or revise your classes from that day.

Business Studies Brings Learning to Life

A number of trips have taken place recently for Business Studies students across Key Stages 4 and 5. These visits have been part of the department’s commitment to bringing learning to life for all students and have included visits to Alton Towers, Manchester Airport, Jaguar Land Rover and Everton Football Club. 

Thursday 27th March 2019 saw 55 students from Years 9 and 10 enjoy a World of Work Day with Everton Football Club at Goodison Park. This fantastic opportunity was made possible by a newly formed partnership between OBA and Everton in the Community. The purpose of this World of Work Day was to give students an insight into how the sporting industry links with various careers such as media relations, coaching, hospitality and customer service. For example, students had to role-play situations to provide good customer service. These situations were directed by a senior steward with many years’ experience at the club. In the media workshop, students got to be part of a mock press conference in the EFC media suite undertaking different roles including journalists, coaches, managers and football players. For the hospitality workshop, students worked in teams with laying a table, as per silver service requirements, as well as preparing a menu whilst sticking to a tight budget. Students also participated in a number of team building and leadership development activities which involved fun and interactive games which brought about important workplace skills such as communication, perseverance and teamwork. 

On Monday 1st April 2019, 57 Year 10 students visited Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire as a reward for their hard work towards their upcoming finance exam. This visit involved an insight into how a large organisation like Alton Towers manages money, plus of course some free time for students to enjoy the rides!

On Thursday 11th April 2019, 27 Year 12 students from OBA visited Jaguar Land Rover operations at their Halewood plant in Liverpool. The purpose of this visit was to look at Human Resources and Operations Management at the prominent organisation which employs over 4,500 people and sees a new vehicle leave the production line at Halewood every 82 seconds. Students were guided around the plant by an expert members of staff, who told and showed students first-hand how the plant works on a daily basis, including the press shop where steel is pressed into moulds, the assembly of cars, how cars are painted and how the finishing touches are put on the luxury vehicles before they are sent to customers.  After arriving at the Halewood plant, students were given a short lecture on the past and future of Jaguar at Halewood which once used to be owned and operated by Ford Motor Company. Halewood Operations Advanced Manufacturing Centre is world renowned for lean manufacturing excellence.

On Tuesday 30th April 2019, 49 Year 9 students from OBA visited Manchester Airport. The purpose of this visit was to look at how a local leading organisation, which employs over 20,000 people, deals with over 20 million passengers each year. Students were guided around the airport by expert members of staff who told and showed students first-hand how the airport works on a daily basis, including security, baggage handling, the check-in process, reservations, air traffic control, keeping passengers safe and even car parking.  After the tour around the airport terminal, students were able to go air-side and undertake a short lecture on the past and future of the Manchester Airport Group. The fact that this took place in a decommissioned passenger plane definitely helped to add to the intrigue! Students were then able to watch planes land and take off very closely at the airport's viewing fields, including the A380 ‘Dreamliner’ super aircraft. Before departing, students were able to get close to a defunct Concorde plane.

Curriculum Leader for Business Studies, Mr Hussey, arranged all of these visits and commented:

It was great for students to see that the topics that they are studying and the skills they are developing in their Business Studies lessons have a place in real life businesses. As ever, students were a credit to the academy and themselves, showing a great deal of interest, asking many questions and displaying exemplary behaviour. I envisage the partnerships and links we have established with external organisations continuing and blossoming over time I am also really pleased to have seen these visits prove so popular with students with a number of the visits being completely full. Students returned from these visits with new knowledge and real-life practices that they can link their studies to. A number of students also expressed an interest in careers in the different sectors visited based on what they saw and found out. My thanks go to the colleagues at school who supported all of these visits – without these staff, they simply would not have been possible.

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Year 11 Get Active with Shakespeare

On Friday 3rd May, Year 11 were given the opportunity to undertake some exciting and active revision sessions for their GCSE English Literature exam at Manley Mere. Students were given a choice of tackling the Adventure Trail or conquering the Aqua Park whilst boosting their knowledge on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. 

On the Adventure Trail, students hunted high and low for QR codes related to key quotations from the play. All students tackled various muddy obstacles and even waded through an extremely large puddle, just to be in with a chance of winning the prize!

Once they had scanned the codes, they considered the connotations of key words and phrases within the quotes – an important skill needed for GCSE English Literature. The English teachers were incredibly impressed with the students’ ability to answer each question in quick succession. Well done, Year 11!

Whilst students were attempting to avoid falling into mud and streams, the other half of the year group competed in teams to locate their team’s cards on the Aqua Park. Students had to jump over different obstacles as fast as they could and work their way around the Aqua Park course before handing their cards to Miss Styles. These cards equated to the number of quotes they would receive to analyse in the competition, again for a fantastic prize. The students then analysed the quotes, again considering the connotations. 

The English Department are incredibly proud of all the students who attended the trip. 

English teacher, Miss Roberts said:

Every one of you demonstrated some fantastic knowledge of The Merchant of Venice and it is clear that some excellent revision is happening in preparation for the upcoming exams. Well done to all involved, your English teachers are very proud of you! Keep up your revision and we are sending you all the luck in the world for your exams!

Hot Chocolate Friday 

Congratulations to our top scoring students from Year 7 and 8 last week! We hope you all enjoyed your hot chocolate reward with Mr Wright. A special mention must also go to our Year 8 student who attended for the 3rd time and received one of our brand new chocolate medallion treats! 

Epic Steps Conference

Student Parliament representatives from OBA recently worked with Year 5 children from Kingsley County Primary School as part of this year’s Epic Step’s Conference.

Our students took on the role of ‘secret agents’ and led on tasks designed to aid the youngsters understanding of key employability skills.

The group looked at how and why people are suited to particular jobs based on their interests and personality traits and all enjoyed using remote voting to compare initial thoughts and ideas.

They looked at illusions to challenge concepts and opinions and view how people look at things from different perspectives. The images helped our young people to look deeper and see what is happening beyond the superficial surface.

A driving aspect of the day was around innovation and about how anything is possible in the exciting times in which we are currently living. 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 500 ways that don’t work.” (Thomas, Alan Edison)

Mrs Snagg said:

The event was hugely positive in building confidence and inspiring the children involved never to give up. It was a great opportunity for OBA students to act as mentors and although this meant stepping outside their comfort zones in order to work with people they had not met before, they all got thoroughly involved and were a credit to themselves and the academy!


Our Year 9 cohort recently took part in a Relationships and Sexual health ECM day led by the Halton Health Improvement team. Students rotated around 5 different stations including LGBT+, healthy relationships, contraception, STI's and positive body image. Students got the opportunity to work closely with health care professionals from the NHS, ask questions and engage interactively.

The leaders were very impressed with the maturity shown by our students commenting:

The students' responses were fantastic, I was able to sit back at one point as they led the discussion, debating in such a mature manner that is exceptional for their age group. Questions were well thought through and shared supportively.

Mrs Noon, ECM Coordinator, said:

We are very lucky to have the opportunity to get this free provision offered to us. It is always so advantageous for students to work with professionals. I hope they will use their knowledge to make safe and sensible decisions to safeguard themselves as they approach adult life.

OBA Dance Show 2019

OBA Dance show 2019 took place on Tuesday 31st March and Wednesday 1st April showcasing a variety of dance styles from students across all year groups. The performances included solos, duets and group dances which got the packed out audiences clapping and cheering along. 

The shows featured work from our sixth form assessment pieces which form part of their BTEC Level 3 units. 

Head of Dance, Mrs Barker, said: 

They did a fantastic job and I'm excited to see one of our Year 13 students, Lauren Shannon, continue her dance education in Manchester after she was successful in passing her audition last week.

I was incredibly impressed with the professionalism, dedication and talent from our students this year. Some of which had choreographed dances on their own and attended enrichment each week to be a part of the show.

Online Radicalisation – Protecting Young People from Grooming

Tackling terrorism remains to be one of the government’s main priorities. 

What is online radicalisation? 

Increasingly, the Internet is being used by people who wish to share views and opinions. When this is done by an extremist - someone who holds extreme political and/or religious views and who may promote illegal or violent action – in a way designed to cause those views to be adopted by others, this is defined as online radicalisation. It is a form of grooming – enticing someone to act in a certain way or manner for malicious reasons.

How are young people radicalised online? 

Extremists meet young people where they are at – in online games, on social networks and on apps. Because of the physical divide, children may not perceive online strangers as potentially unsafe in the way that they would do in the real world, and therefore they may engage with them on more personal levels. Their usual barriers may be down, causing them to be more vulnerable. In addition to this, as young people grow and develop in their understanding of who they are and where they belong in the world, they may search for others’ views and opinions and seek guidance from their online acquaintances; their youth leading to greater susceptibility. 

Some extremist organisations make training resources and videos using themes of popular violent games, such as Call of Duty, as they know that these will be particularly appealing to young people. In some cases, extremists have directly used the social nature of online games to groom children – meeting them where they are at and playing on their emotions. Extremists may also publish content on YouTube or use other popular apps, such as Instagram and Snapchat, to spread their messages.

Extremist groomers play on a young person’s feelings and will make their ideals appealing. 

Who is at greater risk? 

Anyone, at any point, could potentially be groomed by an extremist online, but young people who fall into one of the below categories are particularly vulnerable: 

Those who are searching for answers to life online; 

  • Those who are associated with a gang, or involved in criminal activity; 
  • Those who are suffering with behavioural problems or issues at home; 
  • Those who lack self-esteem, confidence or a sense of identity.

Preventing online radicalisation 

To help young people stay safe from this form of grooming, it’s essential that they are taught to: 

  • Understand that some strangers online pose risks, have corrupt intentions and may not be who they say they are; 
  • Understand that people can publish anything online, even things that are false, untrustworthy and untrue; 
  • Speak to an adult about anyone who is making them feel uncomfortable or trying to make them believe in certain views/opinions; 
  • Report content or messages that promote violence.

Adults can also get involved by: 

  • Talking to young people openly about terrorism and extremism – what it is and the effect it has; 
  • Helping young people grow in their sense of self-confidence and self-worth; 
  • Being aware of what young people are doing online and who they’re talking to; 
  • Making sure that age-appropriate controls are in place; 
  • Checking that young people know who to report inappropriate/violent content to; 
  • Being aware of the signs that a young person may be being groomed: they may start to talk about new beliefs and cultures, they may become emotionally volatile or secretive and they may start to mistrust the mainstream media and look for conspiracy theories.

Remember that any concerns regarding extremism can be reported to staff at school or to Cheshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. 

Careers Corner

Careers Education Information and Guidance at OBA (CEIAG)

Linking Curriculum Learning to Careers

How do subjects at school link to careers in the future?​

Sports Related Careers


Sport is a growing sector. Since the London 2012 Olympics, the UK’s interest in sport has been revived. There are huge amounts of money in sport. The sporting world now employs over 450,000 jobs and this will continue to grow. A hugely diverse range of careers in sport and recreation is available to you. A genuine interest in sport is absolutely essential for you to gain access to this industry.

Every sport depends on elite athletes who compete.  However, there is a lot of support behind these athletes to make it possible for them to be able to do so successfully

Every event or training session needs a venue, and these venues need staff. From local rugby tournaments to major international events, other professionals that are essential to their success could include: Ground Staff, Referees/ Linesmen, Stewards, Marketing Managers, Events Co-ordinators, Chefs and Ticket Vendors.  These are only a few of the jobs which are needed to make sure everything runs smoothly!

The sports industry is also all about the fans and spectators, it is a big form of entertainment. Like any other form of entertainment, the fans need a way to watch and interact with the sports they love. This is where you could consider a career as a Sports Broadcaster or Sports Journalist.

Sport and recreation is a major part of cultural identity and development. Sport is integral to a child’s education and can also be used as an important way to develop community involvement and regeneration; because of this, careers within Sports Development and Teaching can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

A knowledge of PE/Sport could help you work within the Sports and Leisure Industry; you could consider Sports Coaching or as a Personal Trainer and your knowledge of anatomy and physiology would be useful if you were a Nutritional Adviser or other Healthcare roles. If you completed a degree at university related to sport there are specialist courses in Sports Coaching, Football Business Management, Sport and Leisure Management. You can study a Sports Science degree which leads to roles such as a Sports and Exercise Physiologist, a Sports Development Officer, a PE Teacher, Sports Marketing and Media Manager, Sports Psychologist, Physiotherapist, and the list goes on…..

For more information see:

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