OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 69 - 5th May 2016

Issue 69 - 5th May 2016
Dear families and friends of OBA,

I hope you enjoyed the May Bank Holiday weekend and managed to spend some quality family time together.  This last week has seen several wonderful news stories from the football community feature in the national media.  Firstly, the families of the Hillsborough victims finally received the well overdue verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ that exonerated the 96 casualties of any blame.  We have our own Hillsborough memorial stone in front of the main reception area of the Academy to commemorate Tommy Howard, Adam Spearritt and Kevin Tyrell, students of the former Brookvale and Norton Priory schools, who lost their lives at Hillsborough on that fateful day in April 1989.  OBA remembers them and we plan to arrange a memorial event to take place later in the year.

Secondly, Leicester City FC won the Premier League title, which should be a real inspiration to our Year 11 students.  It shows what can be achieved with hard work, determination and togetherness.  Good luck to all of them this week, for the action begins in earnest with this week’s iGCSE English examination.

Finally, I had the pleasure of watching one of our former students, Evan Gumbs, playing for Salford City FC on Saturday as he helped them to secure promotion to the National Football League.  Evan is on loan at Salford City from Tranmere Rovers and continues to be a role model for our students here at OBA, as well as for others in the local community.

Best wishes and ‘come on OBA!’
Mr. M Wyss- Academy Principal

OBA’s Dance Extravaganzas

Not one, but two different dance spectaculars took place at OBA last week over three consecutive evenings. Each night saw a packed house enjoying a vast array of dazzling dance styles being performed by all ages from primary pupils through to Sixth Form students and even teaching staff.

The first dance show was presented by Dynamix Dance School, which is led by Dance teacher Miss Marshall. Dynamix Dance School meets every Saturday in OBA and its members include students from OBA and the local community.  Each week there is a great turn-out and its very talented and enthusiastic members put on a fantastic performance, dazzling the audience with different dance styles which included ballet, tap, street, contemporary, modern and acro.

The second dance show, which took place on the following two nights, was the annual ‘OBA Dance Show’ which featured students from Year 7 through to Year 13. The performances showcased students’ dance skills that that they had worked on in lessons and during enrichment sessions after school and a variety of dance styles and dance groups were featured. With fun pieces which challenged the students’ physical and expressive skills, Indian and African dance styles, contemporary dance, and even jazz inspired pieces, there was something to appeal to everyone during the spectacular event.

Miss Roper, Head of Dance said:

Every night the students were outstanding, in their performances and backstage, and we have seen some amazing talent performed here at OBA over these three nights.  I am incredibly proud of all the students who have shown commitment and total dedication both in their Dance lessons and in these shows. Each year seems to get better, even though you think it’s not possible, so many congratulations to them all.

How nice was Nice?

Three A Level French students, Holly Godden, Zoe Longworth and Alex Dewdney, accompanied by French Assistant Alexia Gonzales, recently went to Nice, in the South of France, for a week of intensive French studies.

The programme included accommodation in host French families, activities to make the most of the Mediterranean culture and a specially designed A Level French course at the Alpha B Language School.  The experience was planned to totally immerse the students in French life and the French language and prepare them fully for their A2 exams.  Once in Nice, they had to manage their own budget, free time and social activities and travel independently using their French skills and expertise.

Every day, they attended French lessons with other European students and their language skills were really put to the test as they were only allowed to communicate in French. They learnt lots of new vocabulary and exchanged ideas in French on topics like the environment, social integration and the world of work.  

Alex Dewdney said:

“The course was great and we were only allowed to speak French with the teachers and other students as it was the common language between all of us. The teachers were really approachable and helpful and the school was great as various trips and activities were organised which helped you get to know Nice really quickly.”

Zoe agreed, saying:

“The course was really interesting and it helped me to brush up a lot on my French grammar, but it also gave me plenty of opportunity to practise my spoken French. The lessons were flexible so you were able to focus on the aspects of French you needed the most help with, and the teachers made the lessons very enjoyable. The atmosphere was one of fun and everyone was very welcoming, which made six hours of French a day a lot more bearable!”

In between grammar and topic revision lessons, the three adventurers took time out to stroll along the promenade and cycle around Nice discovering its little quaint streets and its colourful squares. They also visited the zoo, sampled many French culinary delights and went to the cinema to watch a French film.  

Holly summed up the students’ feelings, saying:

“I found the school course quite challenging, but I learnt a lot from it to help me with my A2 exams. Nice is a beautiful city with lots to do and see and it is an experience we will never forget."

Going for Bronze

Thirty-nine Year 9 students recently put on their walking boots and rucksacks and headed to Lancashire to complete their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh final assessment.

Leaving OBA at 3pm, they travelled up to the campsite at Cobble Hey in Garstang where they stayed on a fully working farm.  They quickly erected their tents and set up camp before cooking their evening meal on their camp stoves. After tea and team games on the farm field, they met in the classroom on the farm site to make their final plans for the routes they would take the following day.

Some students were particularly early risers the next morning and got up at 5am, keen to get started on cooking a hearty breakfast before packing their tent away and setting off on foot.  By 9am each group was well under way on their individual route and the teachers checked up on them at agreed check points throughout the day.

Miss Rugen, who accompanied the trip with Miss Porschke, Miss Belford, Miss McKevitt, Mr Fenner, Mr Hussey and Mr Mercer said:

“All the groups navigated their way around the countryside really well throughout the day and displayed great team work skills. They showed real determination and completed their routes in good spirits and in good time.  They should be very proud of themselves.”

Key Stage 3 Skiing Enrichment

Keen Key Stage 3 students who have been ‘finding their snow legs’ on the slope at Runcorn Snowsports Centre have been awarded a Level One and Level Two Snowlife Certificate. This is an internationally recognised qualification awarded by The British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

The students have be taught the following skills by Mr Bird, Maths Graduate Teaching Assistant, who is also a highly-qualified and extremely competent ski instructor:


Level One

• Sidestep up a small slope to gain height

• Plough glide and plough stops on a shallow slope

• Put skis on and off independently


Level Two

• Ski green runs or equivalent on a dry slope

• Plough turn in a controlled fashion for ten turns through cones or markers

• Take lifts safely

Mr Bird would like to congratulate all those students who have taken part in the weekly Skiing Enrichment as they have learnt so much in a short space of time.

Technology for Technology

Mrs Riley, Head of Technology, has started an Instagram page for Design and Technology students.

Follow @OBA_DT to see updates of Year 11 Product Design coursework and also view Year 7’s Technology projects.

Drama Student of the Week

Year 7 student, Luke Taylor, wowed his fellow drama students recently with his script writing skills.

Luke has been exploring a scheme of work in Drama called 'Lost Valley' which sees Year 7 students becoming MI5 super agents who are sent on a secret mission to the Amazon Rainforest. The agents encounter a 'code red' on board the plane and crash land in the remotest part of the jungle.

Luke's script writing skills captured the moments of panic on board the plane but he also contrasted this with witty language to keep the piece light hearted.


Miss Carden, Head of Drama, commented:

I am really impressed with Luke's commitment outside of the classroom as he has put a lot of time into creating a brilliant script that impressed all the other Year 7s. It is fantastic to see such a young and talented student and I am excited to see how Luke can develop his script writing skills even further. Well done Luke.

Tech Talk

Welcome to Tech Talk @ OBA, the part of the weekly newsletter where we share useful apps, websites and devices.

This week’s Tech Talk is going to focus on a very useful app to have on your smartphone called ‘Convert Units Free’. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a physics student, a cyclist or a plumber, you have conversions to make. You could use a pen and paper or dig out a calculator but why would you? It’s not necessary now that you have Convert Units for Free.  Why tax your brain when you can get conversions in mere seconds, right on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Need to convert an area or an angle? Want to figure out speed, force or volume? No problem. Convert Units can handle whatever you throw at it!

This free application lets you convert area, angles, currency, data, density, energy, force, length, mass, mileage, power, pressure, speed, temperature, time, volume, volume flow and much more.

Convert Units comes with a host of handy features including:

  • User-friendly, extremely intuitive interface
  • 17 ready to go categories with hundreds of unit conversions
  • Real time currency conversions updated live
  • Slidable keypad for larger scroll wheel display
  • Unit categories can be sorted and turned on/off
  • Allows you to easily create your own custom conversions
  • Copy and paste functionality

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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