OBA Weekly Newsletter. Issue 97 - 3rd March 2017

Issue 97 - 3rd March 2017
Dear families and friends of OBA,

The Royal Marines were at OBA last week to set up a careers event for a selected cohort of twenty-four students who had registered an interest in a career in the armed forces.  The students were put through their paces by the Royal Marines and there were some very happy, but physically exhausted, boys and girls at the end of the fitness session.

We have applied for planning permission to build a single storey building with four classrooms that would be sited close to the Science laboratories near to student entrance. The new classrooms would help us to continue to provide outstanding learning for our students as our numbers increase over the next two years.  Although we know that the funding of all secondary schools in Halton will reduce over the next few years, I reported to Governors on Wednesday that OBA’s finances remain very strong.

Last Friday, a coach full of Dance and Drama students set out for a residential weekend in Wales to finish preparing for their upcoming examinations. I can report that the trip was very successful and the students enjoyed intensive tuition from a team of four teachers (Mrs Foulder, Mrs Barker, Ms McKevitt and Mrs Noon) as well as two of our highly talented Sixth Form students, Ebony Gumbs and Leah Bentley.

Mr. J Rigby
Executive Principal

Marines put OBA Students Through Their Paces

As part of OBA’s mission to raise the aspirations of our young people and offer them real-life, world of work experiences, thirty students from Years 9, 10 and 11 who had registered an interest in the armed forces, were recently selected to take part in a careers session led by The Royal Marines.

A team of three Royal Marine Commandos came into school and hosted fun, fast-paced activities focussing on the following areas;

  • A fifty minute formal outreach presentation focussing on a day in the life of a marine
  • Fitness training and circuits 
  • Practical Leadership Task
  • Small static displays (rucksack packing etc.) and field craft demonstrations (tent construction, ration sacks, military skills etc.)

As a graduate employer, it meant that the Marines could also discuss careers options with students and help them understand more about a life without limits in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. They also spoke to students considering a career within this sector on a more informal basis, and provided help with things like interview techniques for the civilian workplace.

The leader of the three Marines said: 

Thank you very much for your hospitality today, it was lovely to meet you and hopefully we can work together again soon.  Your pupils were clearly very enthusiastic and also a credit to the school with their fitness.

Intensive Dance and Drama Weekend Residential

The Dance and Drama departments attended The Conway Centre in North Wales last weekend, along with GCSE students and students from other year groups, to perfect their talents prior to their upcoming exams. 

The weekend residential gave the students the opportunity to dedicate quality rehearsal to their performance pieces, and in previous years it has been proven that this event has enabled students to achieve top marks in their exams.

Mrs Barker said:

I would like to give special thanks to Maycee Spearitt (Year 8), Ellie Rae (Year 9), Ebony Gumbs and Leah Bentley (Year 13) dancers, along with Miss Wells (PGDE trainee teacher in Dance) for helping me and supporting Year 11 in their work towards their final dance pieces.  Mrs Foulder also would like to thank all the Sixth Form Drama students who were there to mentor the GCSE students through their performances.

Impact Day

With support from key Year 9 students of Design and Technology and Art, the whole of Year 8 were recently involved in a ‘Design and Build Project’. 

Using a variety of skills, such as their scientific knowledge, their Design and Technology research skills and their understanding and expertise in creative design from Art, the Year 8s put their minds to building a house of the future.  They had to take into account the concept of affordable housing and the recycling of waste which is very high on everyone’s agenda these days.

Mr Reid who co-ordinated the event said:

The students really threw themselves into this project and they had fun and learnt a lot at the same time. Mrs Riley, Miss Neilson, Mr Smyth and Miss Skidmore planned a fabulous day of Applied Learning that inspired and engaged the students.  It also made them consider some global issues of great importance.

Jaguar Land Rover Trip

Year 12 and 13 Business Studies students recently visited Jaguar Land Rover operations at their Halewood plant in Liverpool. 

The purpose of this visit was to look at how a local and 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 expert members of staff who told, and showed, students first-hand how the plant works on a daily basis.  This included 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 owed and operation by Ford Motor Company. Halewood Operations Advanced Manufacturing Centre is world renowned for its manufacturing excellence.

Jaguar purchased the 300 acre Halewood site, which was built in 1963, from Ford Motor Company in 2000. Following a massive investment and ambitious culture change programme, the Jaguar X-Type was launched in 2001. In 2007 Halewood became a Jaguar Land Rover plant with the introduction of Land Rover Freelander 2. The Jaguar X-Type was discontinued in 2011 and the plant launched the much acclaimed Range Rover Evoque.

Teacher of ICT and Business Studies, Mr Hussey, whose dad works at Halewood commented that it was an excellent opportunity for students to see first-hand how much the company relies on human resources in such a large and successful business.

Mr Hussey said:

It was great for students to see that the topics that they are studying, and the skills they are developing, in ICT and 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, with a number of students expressing an interest in a career at Jaguar!

It is hoped that this will be the start of a partnership between Jaguar and OBA and we would like to thank Jaguar for their time and hospitality.

Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition 2017

Fifteen Year 8 and 9 students from OBA who are currently involved in the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition visited Warrington Magistrates’ Court to watch crimes being heard in a real court room. 

After passing security checks at the court entrance, the students met a real Magistrate, Jan Young, who explained how the legal system works. The students then took to the public gallery of the court and watched real cases being heard and observed legal professionals such as Court Ushers, Legal Advisers and Solicitors at work. At the end of each case the students watched the Magistrates decide whether each defendant was guilty or innocent and, where necessary, decide the legal punishment that person would face. Some cases observed on the day included offences in drink driving, common assault, sexual assault and drunk and disorderly. The students involved found the day exciting and interesting and also a useful boost for their legal knowledge ahead of the competition.

A national schools competition, The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition, which has been running annually in the UK since 1994, introduces the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way. In OBA this is co-ordinated by Miss Jarvis, Mr Hussey and supported by Mr Bird.

The staff have all been thrilled to see students develop their knowledge and understanding of the legal system, confidence, team work, public speaking and analytical skills since becoming involved in the weekly enrichments.  The team of students are currently working hard to prepare for their first heat in the competition which will be held on the 18th March at Crewe Magistrates Court. Wish us luck!!!

Hardship Hampers Project

The Student Parliament recently raised £65.70 from a cake sale in their first fundraising effort for their ‘Hardship Hampers Project’.

The project is aimed at helping local homeless people, and the money raised will go towards buying every day essential items for the packs. The students baked the cakes themselves during an after school Enrichment session and then sold them during break and lunch times to staff and students.

They are now looking forward to their next fund-raising events but, in the meantime, if anyone would like to make a donation to the hampers, please contact Mrs Snagg at or phone reception on 01928 711643.

Year 7 Football Update

The Year 7 football team gave another great, all-round performance recently when they beat Sandymoor School.

The full-time score was a truly outstanding 10-2!  Every single player gave 100% and the goals were impressive in different ways. Michael Mahan’s strike was sensational, and ‘The Man of the Match’ was awarded to Adam Moseley who noticed gaps in the defence early in the second half and dropped back to cover the positions.  However, he still managed to hold his own position as well and his work rate was amazing; it was as if there was an extra player on the pitch!

Although it was a 10-2 fantastic win for OBA, there were plenty of great saves from Goal Keeper, Denis Mead, in particular his double save when Sandymoor piled on some late pressure.

Team Coach, Mr Barrett, said:

Well done and many congratulations, boys, on the excellent play and results!  Keep this up and we can go far!


Tech Talk

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

This week Mr Hussey relaunched a very useful revision app to all Year 11 students called GCSE Pod. GCSE Pod is the only app to provide in-depth online subject knowledge for 20+ GCSE subjects, every exam board and 150 different specifications and a 25,000 strong question bank. Here is some more useful information on this award winning for students and parents. 

GCSE Pod can be used both in and out of school. It’s a bit like carrying a huge pile of textbooks with you everywhere!  With just a few taps of your device, you can have experts read and explain everything clearly including all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates and diagrams on screen.  You won’t need to use it for long to feel the impact.  Consistent use in brief 10 minute sessions is proven to support achievement right up to A*. 

GCSE Pod is downloadable on Android and Apple devices and allows you to:

  • Get organized with ready-made or bespoke playlists
  • Favourite any Pods on topics you find hard, then revisit them and fill your knowledge gaps
  • Complete tests to identify your weaker areas and then watch personalised playlists to help strengthen those areas
  • Watch exam specific playlists with everything you need to excel in an upcoming exam
  • Complete homework online and get instant feedback (no waiting for your teacher to do the marking!)
  • Listen to GCSE Pod privately on your mobile and share Pods via links to Twitter and Facebook and see what your friends are watching

Posters with more information about GCSE Pod can be found in all Year 11 Form rooms. All Year 11 students have been emailed a guide to using GCSE Pod. Please see Mr Hussey in F022 if you have any questions or difficulties using this excellent resource. 

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:

Puzzle Challenge

In the last newsletter we gave you a puzzle to solve. Did you crack it? Check your answer below:

Looking at lines of numbers from the top:
9×8 = 72
72×8 = 576
576×8 = 4608

So, ? = 0

Now have a go at this week’s Maths Puzzle Challenge.

You will find the answer in the next issue of OBA’s newsletter. 
Good luck from Miss Arends and the Maths Faculty.

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