Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy
As we approach the last few days of term before we break for the Christmas holidays, I look back on what has been a very busy and no doubt long autumn term.
We close the term with a number of traditional events at the college; our wonderful Christmas concert, certainly the best yet, our Christmas lunch as well as the splendid ‘carols in the barn’ this week.
Last weekend saw the official opening of our new fitness gym. This is an amazing facility, enabled through a partnership with SwitchGym, that will benefit countless Oathall students for years to come.
The current building work was temporarily suspended to avoid disturbing our year 11 students as they undertook their mock GCSE exams. Despite this, the various projects are progressing well and we look forward to seeing the first of the new windows being installed over the coming months.
The bulletin that follows once again gives an insight into the rich curriculum experienced by students here at Oathall. As always, I am impressed by the level of commitment and enthusiasm by which the young people engage with all that is on offer to them. I am, of course, indebted to the staff and volunteers at the school who give so much of their time to enable these activities to take place; thank you all.
At this time of year, we take stock of all that has taken place over the past year as well as look forward to all the exciting opportunities that the new year might bring. May I take this opportunity, on behalf of myself and all the governors of the college to thank you for your continued support and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Working across the school
Modern Foreign Languages week
Oathall celebrated the European Week of Languages which took place during the week starting Monday 4 November. All the students took part in a range of activities. Many students entered the European cake competition and there was an amazing array of creative examples of cake-making. No doubt the judges, the headteacher and Ms Gyngell, had a difficult decision choosing a winner. All entries were highly recommended.
On Tuesday, Year 8 students took part in a language competition where they were required to ask members of staff whether they could say ‘thank you’ in any language indicated on a card. Teachers enjoyed showing off their linguistic talent. The students, on the other hand, loved testing their teachers!
Year 7 students participated in a Eurovision song contest and represented the language they are learning. Some of the groups were outstanding in their performance. It was very pleasing to observe that students enjoy singing in a foreign language. We would like to thank parents who also got involved in practising at home. The winning group is Monsieur Henri’s 7cfr1 class.
Many students have participated in cross-curriculum activities. In History, they studied the impact of the Norman invasion on the English language. In English, students were encouraged to discuss quotes about the use of languages and the advantages of communicating in more than one language. Other groups focused on creative writing, they had to describe the atmosphere of a French market. In DT, students cooked some European dishes. In the library, students enjoyed completing quizzes about European facts and famous people.
MFL Enrichment Leader
Art & Design Technology Cross-Curricular Week
Recently, the whole school has taken part in our cross-curricular week on the theme of patterns and structures in design. All students took part in a tutor time quiz to identify the different markings on African animals’ skins (natural patterns in design).
In History, students looked at Medieval Castle design. Students were given a brief to design a castle for William I and his men in 1066. Here are some pictures of some of the work that was produced.
In Languages, the students were looking at phonics and patterns within them.
We all enjoyed the week very much.
Mrs S Kirkpatrick
Art & Design Technology leader
Thursday 28th of November Oathall was proud to host the first round of this year’s Youth Speaks competition in connection with the Rotary Club. This year brought about a new challenge as the structure of the competition had been ‘revamped’ under a new title of ‘Youth Debates’. However, Oathall rose to the challenge entering two teams in each division. It was a tense competition, especially for our Senior teams who were facing each other for a spot in the next round! All of the students involved, from those speaking, to the researchers and to the rest of the Critical Thinking Society who supported them, worked around the clock in the lead up to the competition. A special mention must also go to the three understudies who stepped up at the last-minute to ensure all teams could compete. All of our hard work paid off as Oathall won a barrage of awards, including Best Opposer, Best Proposer and Best Chair in both divisions as well as sending a team from each division into the next round. After a place at regional finals last year we have our sights set high as we move into the next phase of the competition. Well done to all involved, and to the parents who listened to the many endless rehearsals!
Click here for photos
Ms C Slade
Building skills for life
The students in the Maths faculty have been linking their Mathematical skills to Maths in real life. Our aim has been to teach finance; a crucial topic for all students.
Years 7 & 8 have looked at building financial independence and the next steps to take on their financial journey. Year 9 students have been studying about savings and Year 10 has focused on making the most of their money and borrowing.
Mathematics skills have been incorporated into history lessons where students have been replicating the Domesday book and working out the value of their bedrooms and possessions to calculate how much tax they would need to pay the King.
In Year 9 Product Design CAD/CAM the students have been discussing layplans and their importance financially and, for sustainability reasons, why a layplan that uses less wastage is beneficial to all.
We will continue looking into relevant and important elements of finance next term.
Mrs L Griffiths
Head of Faculty (Mathematics)
Construction skills in Geography
Year 8 has been very creative in Geography constructing earthquake-resistant buildings out of a variety of resources including straws, spaghetti, lolly sticks and marshmallows! The aim was to design and build a structure which could withstand an earth tremor and remain standing. Year 8 learned a lot about the characteristics of earthquake-resistant buildings and what shape and design would make the structure safer for its inhabitants.
Ms K Garrick
Teacher of Geography
Construction skills in Design & Technology
The DT faculty ran our annual model making competition and we received some great entries. Thank you to all those who participated. After a heated debate, we chose the following three worthy entries for first, second and third place. We were impressed by the ingenuity, model making skills and attention to detail in all of our entries. Congratulations to our winners. Click here to see the winning entries
The Year 10 BTEC Engineering group visited Flowserve in November as part of their course. We learnt about Assembly Lines, Health and Safety and the Flowserve Operation here in Haywards Heath. We had a great afternoon out and many thanks go to Flowserve for welcoming us.
Mrs E Clutton
Teacher of DT
Having a say
Libraries are places of information, whether that is found in traditional non-fiction books or the knowledge readers gain when reading stories. This month, the main event in the library has been our Mock General Election. Students were challenged to come up with their own political party and manifesto featuring the issues they are passionate about. It was mainly aimed at our older students who are not far off voting age in an effort to educate them how the UK’s voting system works however, I was delighted to see one party formed by three students from year 7 who spoke well. Students had to register to vote, hustings took place on Election Day followed by a secret ballot. The buzz this event created has been inspiring, young people are finding their voice and learning about making informed and educated choices.
Congratulations to the Big Dave Political Party who narrowly beat the Modern Reconciliation Party by two votes.
Students also voted for the main political parties which stood in Mid Sussex and the results were a win for the Liberal Democrats, followed closely by the Labour party who narrowly pipped the Conservative party and the Greens were last.
Coincidentally Politics for Beginners published by Usborne recently won the 2019 School Library Association’s Information Book of the Year.
Mrs D Perrin
Drop Everything and Write
Alongside our successful daily dose of Drop Everything and Read, once a fortnight Oathall students engage in Drop Everything and Write. Choosing from a range of topical prompts, students explore their ideas through poetry, transactional writing, and fiction. This past term has seen an ode to a mobile phone, a story about a Halloween that went awry, an opinion letter about the importance of celebrating difference, and the childhood favourite letter to Santa. The faculty have been overwhelmed by the students’ creativity and enthusiasm. We look forward to continuing DEAW next term and providing our budding writers with more inspiration to nourish their imagination.
Mrs L Fisher
Teacher of English
Another busy term in the Science faculty has flown by with students settling in well and working hard in the new school year.
Science club is running every Week A on a Wednesday lunchtime and new members are always welcome. Our able year 11 prefects have been on hand to help with fun practicals like making sparklers.
We are keen to share our facilities with local primary schools and this term Blackthorns visited with some year 6 students to do some enrichment science. They had a go at a chromatography experiment, making slides and using our new microscopes. Again our year 11 prefects were on hand helped teach each session.
All of year 7 and 8 took part in the National NHS Competition – we will be sending off a selection of the best pieces of work for the finals and helped raise awareness of the large and diverse range of careers that there are in the NHS. Fingers crossed from some prizes!
Ms E Costelloe
Head of Faculty (Science)
Learning from the past
The Humanities Faculty was delighted to receive over 100 entries for our recent Year 7 First World War Poetry Competition. The standard of entries was extremely high and students should all be congratulated on their sensitive and moving pieces of poetry.
After much deliberation, we chose three winners and five runners-up who have all received certificates and prizes, as well as winning house points for their House.
Winners and runners-up
Year 9 historians have been doing an in-depth focus study on WWI this term. To remember the fallen and put their learning into context the students have written their own poems or reflections on poppies. Year 9 students have shown great maturity when learning about this topic and many have extended their learning over the past few weeks by researching into their own family history.
Poems on poppies
Ms Z Holmes
THE BIG SING 2020
Musicians at Oathall had a very exciting day leading primary students from 5 local schools in our annual Big Sing. We performed and recorded arrangements of Giant and Hey Mr Miller conducted by Welsh tenor, Andrew Rees. Much fun was had by all and the singing was absolutely wonderful, a very talented group of students!
The Oathall musicians had a great time performing at the Winter Power of Music Festival 2019. A highlight was ‘Giant’ which had the audience dancing along.
Our year 11 band, Sinister Tea Party, now well-known in the town, also performed to a great reception by the audience.
Mrs C MacTaggart
Teamwork through sport
I am pleased to share with you that following 4 rounds of football trials two Oathall students have been selected for the Under 12 Mid Sussex Football squad. This is an outstanding achievement and we wish them every success in their representation of both Oathall and Mid Sussex in their up and coming fixtures. Congratulations!
A slightly different celebration of Oathall students today but definitely worth some praise. The Under 14 Girls Football team was defeated by Hazelwick recently 4-0. What was most noticeable and commendable was the fact that this was the score after 20 minutes, what followed was a further 40 minutes of grit, determination, teamwork and monumental effort which resulted in no further goals being conceded and us actually being the better team. It was as pleasing for me to be a part of as a win! Please congratulate the girls who all showed great character.
Please congratulate the boys’ Badminton team who came a very respectable 3rd in the Mid Sussex badminton tournament last evening. The top 3 teams were so close all came down to the last match in which we narrowly lost 15-13. A win in that game would have secured Gold. That said, a really high level of Badminton played with excellent sporting etiquette made for a really enjoyable evening.
Great wins for our two U13 Hockey Teams against St Paul’s. A 10-1 win and an 11-3 win with great team performances from all our players. They played some wonderful hockey and showed great support and fair play throughout. Well done to them all.
Mrs Z Froud
Year 9 Hockey
Superb numbers for this age group with well over 20 players representing the school in matches home and away against Sackville. The team played some really great hockey and their inclusive and supportive approach is really inspiring and wonderful to see.
The whole squad is looking forward to matches against Hazelwick, Tanbridge House and St Paul’s next term and the County Tournament which will be held at Hurstpierpoint College this year.
Year 10 Hockey
This is also a very strong year group with their first match a win against Sackville. Unfortunately, their second game was cancelled by our opposition but with matches against Ardingly College, Sackville, Claremont in Hastings and their county tournament day. The team looks set for a very good season.
Mr A Mills
Promoting enjoyment and confidence with reading
Have you ever wondered why schools invite authors in to speak to and work with students? In June of this year, the National Literacy Trust said this:
“To mark National Writing Day, we’ve published a new report today which shows that author visits to schools have a positive relationship with children and young people’s reading skills, and their enjoyment and confidence in reading and writing.
Our report found that pupils who had an author visit this academic year:
- Were twice as likely to read above the expected level for their age (31% vs 17%)
- Were more likely to enjoy reading (68% vs 47%) and writing (44% vs 32%)
- Were more likely to be highly confident in their reading (37% vs 25%) and writing (22% vs 17%)”
Students in Year 9were recently privileged to hear author Sue Cheung talk about her book ‘Chinglish’. The book reflects Sue’s upbringing as a first-generation Chinese immigrant to the UK in the 1980s in Coventry. She talked about the difficulties she faced with language barriers both at school and at home. Her mum spoke no English and although her Dad did, he was a distant parent. We later learned how he was actually much more than that too.
Sue Cheung with our student librarians
Our students were enthralled. Sue is a witty and engaging speaker and she explained that humour and her drawings had been her way of coping with fractured family life. We had also invited our students from other years for whom English is not their first language and they appreciated Sue’s story particularly from that perspective.
Towards the end of Sue’s time with us, she answered questions from the students ranging from ‘who was your favourite author as a child’? (The answer was Sue Townsend, author of The Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4s) to ‘what was it like growing up over a Chinese takeaway’ and ‘do you talk to your Dad now?’
We have two copies of her book in the library but in reality, they are never available because students are constantly borrowing them! What a delight.
In March 2020, we shall welcome former Haywards Heath resident Patrice Lawrence to Oathall to celebrate World Book Day and Sue’s visit has already got students fired up!
Mrs D Perrin