Teaching & Learning bulletin – Christmas 2019

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.

E. Rodriguez


Working across the school

Cross-Curricular activities

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.

M. F.Henri

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

Youth Speaks

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

Financial skills

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.

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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 

Engineering Skills 

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

Scientific Exploration

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



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
Teacher of Music

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
Teacher of PE

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


Teaching & Learning bulletin – Back to School 2019

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

We approach the end of a very busy and long first half of the autumn term.  The bulletin that follows highlights just how varied the programme of learning has been and once again, just how involved the Oathall students are to all that is on offer to them.  Our new ‘Super Curriculum’ is challenging our students to extend their learning beyond the classroom and it has been such a pleasure for me to have so many examples of outstanding work shown to me and to be able to recognise so many students for their efforts. 

We, of course, welcomed a new year group to the Oathall community as the term started in September and it has been a delight for us all to see how quickly they have settled into the school; it is right that this particular bulletin has a particular focus on them also. 

I wish everyone a restful half-term break 

E Rodriguez 


Rugby World Cup Maths

The Maths faculty has been celebrating the Rugby World Cup in recent weeks. Students have been taking part in lessons that link Maths to the great game of rugby. 

We have learnt about how we collect data and then how we can represent that data in many different ways. KS 4 students have been able to link this work to cumulative frequency diagrams and Trigonometry. Students have really enjoyed linking Maths to this real-life environment.

Mrs L Griffiths

Oathall Reading Challenge

Students of all year groups were invited to take part in the Oathall Reading Challenge in July in an effort to get some competition going between our bookworms. The challenge involved reading 20 books in 20 categories between June and September. The 14 students below managed to complete this mammoth task and have been awarded book vouchers to spend at the Scholastic Book Fair happening 18-21st November.

Emma Hord, Niamh Chapman, Poppy Southerton, Tasha Lawrence, Isla Mustin, Jemima Brigden, Mia Wendt, Molly Hord, Esme Brigden, Ebba Wilson, Isobel Dupee, Sarah Bewick, Anna Bedingham, Bea Carter.

Ms A Chinn

Poetry Open Mic

On 4th October students and staff celebrated National Poetry Day in the style we are accustomed to: with one of our termly Open Mic Sessions.

We had almost 50 students from across the year groups take part. Some read a poem that they had written themselves and others that have been published. There was a fantastic array of poets and excellent readings, with a couple of brave souls reciting their chosen poem from memory and one being read in Spanish. Sadly we had more students than we had time to hear, so some read their poems in class instead. We made sure they still gained their house points and credits!

Well done to everyone who took part and thank-you to Jason and Josh for setting up the sound system for us.

Ms P Sullivan

Focus on Year 7s

Year 7 Club Fair

Students in years 8-11 organised and led our annual Club Fair for year 7 students in order to promote the vast array of extra-curricular clubs we have on offer at Oathall, from Warhammer to Robotics. Consequently, we have more students in year 7 attending clubs and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them.

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Thank you to the students that led stalls on the day, you did a fantastic job!
Ms L. Gyngell

Year 7 Drama at Oathall 

Year 7 students have been working on creating characters for the circus and developing performance skills such as mime, use of facial expressions and body language. Working in groups they’ve explored how slapstick comedy can be linked into a mimed circus performance and developed their characters to show the emotions they could be feeling in different situations. Students have created some wonderful freeze-frames showing different emotions and their assessment pieces are taking shape nicely!

Year 7 Book Club

The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards (the Lollies) celebrates the best and funniest children’s books in the UK and Ireland, voted for by children. The Awards have been running since 2016 and this is Oathall’s second year participating. Students had the opportunity to sign up at the Year 7 Club Fair (which was run by our Year 9/10 student librarians). The twelve students are reading the four short-listed titles and then discussing them before voting for our favourite title: the UK winner will be announced in January 2020.

Mrs D Perrin

Year 7s ‘Get into Music’ Assembly

Music assembly

Our term got off to a great start with teachers from West Sussex Music and Love Music Schools, along with two of our senior students Joe and Matthew, coming in to perform to our year 7 classes in the Get Into Music Assemblies. Students had the opportunity to meet the teachers and hear them sing and play their instruments with many Year 7s opting to begin learning an instrument. 

Year 7 Science

Science club is now running for Year 7 in a Week A lunchtime and they are ably assisted by our Science prefects. So far the year 7s have enjoyed making slime, designing their own sparklers and lighting methane bubbles in their hands (should not be tried at home!). 

Next term we will also be launching a Year 7 and 8 Homework Club on Tuesday lunchtimes where students can come and ask our older students for some help if they are stuck or need a hand with a piece of work. GCSE Clinics continue to be available after school for our GCSE students. Please don’t forget the revision guide order deadline is the 9th November.

Library Skills

Year 7s have been finding their way around the library by means of a Scavenger Hunt. Based on what they’d learned in their library induction lessons, students had to find the answers to a series of questions by walking through and around every corner of the library. Questions ranged from “Is the Book Returns Box blue – Yes or No?” to “how are the books in the Fiction section organised”. Only by going to every part of the library were they able to complete their task. Each class did really well and should now be confident about what we have in the library and how to find what they need.

Mrs D Perrin

Inspirational Geography homework

The geography team has seen some fantastic homework produced this half term.  

In Year 8, making a volcano model is one of the most popular tasks and the variety of models produced is a testament to the creativity of the young learners at Oathall. 

Isobel Dupée explains, My mum and I worked for ages, doing the paper mache, painting and glossing it and lastly finding the perfect formula for the bicarbonate of soda recipe.

I completed a lot of research to help me label my model fully, my knowledge of the key terms for this topic has improved no end. “

In Year 9, students have been learning about Tourism and how it can provide jobs and improve the wealth of an area. However, when large numbers of visitors go to one place this can have both positive and negative impacts on the area. Students were asked to design their own tourist destinations in any medium they wish, some choose cake! 

Tourism island

Mrs F. Hatchard

Science news

Students have made a great start to the school year and we have been impressed to see them engaging enthusiastically in their learning in Science.

House Challenge week will see our Key Stage 3 students taking part in an NHS national competition to raise awareness of the range of careers open to people. We are looking forward to seeing and submitting their entries!

Mrs Pringle is planning a full year of enrichment opportunities for our students and we look forward to keeping you posted over the coming months of what we are up to.

Mrs J Pringle

Learning from the Professionals

Students had a great day out at the fabulous performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto at Glyndebourne. We had lunch in the beautiful gardens before the performance and met up with Eric Gautron, Technical Director and one of our Oathall parents! Another family connection with the cast was noted and students were also lucky to meet Madeleine Shaw who played Madalena after the performance! Madeleine was able to advise our young singers on breath control so Mrs Mac Taggart is looking forward to hearing this in action at the Big Sing before the end of half-term.

Mrs C Mac Taggart

Macbeth trip

On the 16th October, a group of year 10 and 11 students went to see a performance of Macbeth at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The production starred John Simm as Macbeth and Dervla Kirwan as Lady Macbeth.

They were lucky enough to attend a workshop before the performance where they got to meet the actresses who played the three witches. They spoke to the students about what it’s like to perform in a play and how they felt about the witches. They invited students to come up onto the glass stage and to perform a ‘Whoosh’ where they re-enacted parts of the plot.
The performance itself was incredibly atmospheric and everyone was transfixed, not just with the action on stage, but also with the set design and lighting which made the audience really feel that they were in a medieval Scottish castle.
The English faculty encourages as many students as possible to watch the plays that they study as it’s a useful way to revise and to see the plot unfold in the way that the playwrights wanted. Parents may be interested to know that the Globe Theatre is showing Macbeth in February in case anyone wants to add this to a family trip to London.

Ms A Chinn

Focus on Animals

Oathall Farm Animal Care

Students from the new Year 10 animal Care group have been working offsite with sheep.

Spring may be a distant memory but our farm pigs are welcoming new piglets this autumn, We have Roberta, a Saddleback sow who has had her first litter and she is proving an excellent calm mum, ideal for a school farm. Hannah Chatfield, a year 10 farm Team Leader has been getting to know the new saddleback piglets.

Sports Ambassador trip to Blacklands Farm

On Wednesday 9th October Mid Sussex Active organised a trip to Blacklands farm for all the sports leaders that have been selected to be Sports Ambassadors from Warden Park, Sackville, Imberhorn, The Burgess Hill Academy, Oathall, St Paul’s and Downlands. They were chosen to be a sports Ambassador as they have shown excellent leadership qualities through the last year and excellent role models.

At Blacklands farm, the pupils had the opportunity to take part in a variety of team building activities such as climbing, problem-solving, archery and abseiling. The pupils had a fantastic day and have learnt a variety of skills that they will now use to help deliver festivals for the rest of the academic year.

Textile Club ‘Endangered’ competition entries

The competition is run by the David Shepherd Wild Life Foundations. It’s open to anyone under the age of 16. To enter you have to create an exciting mini-exhibition/display made from anything, but recycled materials if possible. It should reflect the theme ‘endangered’. Students in the textile club are working in 2 groups; the younger students are making an underwater scene and the older ones are making a jungle scene. We will then join the two to make one big piece.

Mrs V Slater

Focus on Mentoring

Visit to Blackthorns Primary

Our Year 11 German linguists did us proud last Thursday at Blackthorns Primary School in Lindfield.

It was the first time that any of them were on the other side of the classroom being the teacher rather than the pupil.  They approached it with enthusiasm, maturity and warmth that inspired all the children to actively participate in the lessons that they had prepared. These included how to introduce yourself and sing Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes or “Kopf Schulter Knie und Fuß”.

But their skills didn’t stop there as not only were they able to teach German but also act as ambassadors of Oathall.  They confidently fielded questions about life here and I dare say that we will be seeing many of them in the years to come!

Language Mentors

Our Language Mentor scheme is up and running again this term. Our wonderful year 11 linguists work once a week during tutor time with our talented Year 8 language students. The aim is to develop Year 8 students’ confidence and mastery of the language whilst also developing Year 11 student’s leadership skills. Our Year 11s plan and organise activities which complement the teaching and learning in the classroom

Mrs L Sandford

Focus on the Outdoors

Mud Run

Last week a group of year 7-9 pupils went to Bedes Secondary school to take part in a mud run.  There were lots of obstacles on the way round that were really hard work and tested our stamina! We had loads of fun and especially enjoyed the slip and slide.  

Please congratulate the Under 12 girls football team who played their first home fixture of the season recently and beat Oriel High School 7-4.

Player of the match voted for by the opposition was Ella Crudington who scored 4 goals!

Next game, St Pauls!

Under 12 Football team

I had the pleasure of taking the Under 13 girls football team to an indoor Futsal tournament recently. There were 10 schools competing in total and I am delighted to say that we made the semi-finals. The semi-final was a tense affair with us holding Millais to a 0-0 draw before finally being beaten in a nail-biting penalty shoot out!

Under 13 girls football team

Please congratulate the Under 14 girls football team on a fantastic 3-2 win at Sackville yesterday. Despite being behind twice and playing in torrential rain the girls showed grit and determination to pull it back.
Player of the match voted for by the team was Yasmin Williams.
Mrs Z Froud
Our boys Under 14s rugby team recently attended a Rugby Day at Hurstpierpoint College improving their skills and teamwork.

Boys Under 14s rugby team

Our boys Under 15s rugby team recently had a great win in the District Cup!

boys Under 15 rugby team

Focus on Clubs

Photography Club begins

Year 9 Photography Club started this week (16/10/19). Students took photoshoots and experimented with photoshop techniques responding to the themes ‘Levitation’, ‘Cloning’ and ‘Framing’. Many had not used DSLRs or Photoshop before but were able to produce some fantastic results. 

Music Clubs and Performances

Oathall musicians have been having fun and developing their skills in the lunchtime and after school clubs as can be seen in the photos. We have been rehearsing for a number of performances, the first of which will be our Big Sing event where our choir, bands and orchestra will be performing with 5 local primary schools under the direction of Welsh tenor and director of Coro Nuovo, Andrew Rees, who will be leading the event with Mrs Mac Taggart and Mr Van Galen. 

Pianoman Scholarship Masterclass

We would like to congratulate pianists, Ben, Isla, Min and Agalia for their brilliant performances in the Pianoman Scholarship master class. The class was led by concert pianist Richard Meyrick who was able to offer valuable insight into the approaches to performance and improving technique for the young musicians. We are looking forward to hearing much more from them in the concerts over the coming months.

Summer reflections

Our Year 9 and 10 students had a great opportunity to visit Spain last summer and experience the language and culture in the Catalan seaside-resort of Callela.

After getting off the coach in the rain, we all quickly settled in rooms and we were welcomed by our PGL leaders who briefed us about all water-sport activities.

Our excursions included a visit to the magnificent city of Barcelona.

Our first stop was the world heritage site, Park Güell, a public park composed of gardens and architectonic elements. The park was designed by Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect, whose style was inspired by organic shapes and analysis of geometry.

Then we made our way to Las Ramblas, a renowned pedestrian street. Kiosks selling flowers, newspapers and souvenirs lined the street, along with performers, and pavement cafes.

Finally, all students had an opportunity to go shopping and had to use their best orienteering skills to get to la Sagrada Família, the infamous and still incomplete church designed by Antoni Gaudí.

All students also enjoyed a very relaxing day at the Waterworld theme-park where they experienced the most thrilling rides! We then headed for the picturesque town of Tossa de Mar where we all bought our souvenirs and gifts for families and friends.

We are very proud of our students who really tried hard to speak Spanish throughout the trip, to try the local food and enjoy the cultural sites.

‘Our hotel boasted a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet accompanied with a range of traditional Spanish foods, such as croquettes, Spanish omelette and paella.  The Spanish lessons we had while on the trip were very engaging, such as matching the description to the teacher and trying our best to translate reggaeton song lyrics to English. These language skills we learnt were put to good use when we went shopping for souvenirs for our families (and when buying all the ice cream!). Between the visit to the picturesque seaside town of Tossa de Mar and the beautiful excursion to Barcelona, we all had a fantastic time.’ David Wheatley 11VCDS

M F Henri

Teaching & Learning Bulletin, Summer 2019

 Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

It has been an extremely full and busy year at Oathall and, as we reach the end of the summer term, the time seems to have flown by. 

We started the year with the opening of our splendid new maths and science block and we concluded just yesterday with our excellent annual Games Day. In between, there has been an extraordinary array of activities and opportunities to which the students have shown their usual exemplary commitment.

The posts that follow give an indication of the breadth of activities undertaken over recent months at the college. I am so grateful to all staff involved in securing the very best of experiences for our students throughout the year. 

We now approach the end of term and the entire school community is looking forward to a well-deserved break. Thank you for your continued support. 

On behalf of the governors and staff of the college, I wish you and your families a wonderful summer. 

Mr E Rodriguez

Designing for the Future

Race to the line is a fun nationwide indeed international scheme where Year 7 students design a rocket-powered car and race against other schools. All year 7 students were involved racing their rocket cars across the tennis courts.

The winning group of Philip Williamson, Demi Boswell, Tobias Hockaday and Lucy Reeves were invited to design and race their cars against other local schools. 

Mr D Anderson

Junior Maths Challenge Success 2019

Pupils at Oathall achieved 6 gold, 20 silver and 17 bronze certificates in this year’s UKMT Junior Maths Challenge  improving our results from last year. Over 260,000 pupils from across the UK sat the Junior Maths Challenge with roughly the top 6% receiving a gold certificate, the next 13% silver and the next 21% bronze.

Students with the highest results are invited to sit a follow-on competition: up to 1200 top JMC scorers are invited to take the Junior Mathematical Olympiad and the next approximately 7000 take the Junior Kangaroo. Daniel Reed (8VMT), Oliver Faulkner and Niamh Chapman qualified to the next rounds where Daniel and Oliver achieved a merit from the Junior Maths Kangaroo. Congratulations to all three students!

Further information about the Trust and its activities is available at www.ukmt.org.uk

“The Maths Challenges provide material to provoke student’s mathematical thinking and test their problem-solving skills in an accessible and yet challenging way. Many congratulations to Oathall Community College on their success in the Junior Maths Challenge; it is great to see achievement in mathematics recognised.”

Rachel Greenhalgh, UKMT Executive Director

Sample question from this year’s Junior Maths Challenge (answer on UKMT’s website)

Gill scored a goal halfway through the second quarter of a ‘teachers versus pupils’ netball match. At that point, what fraction of the whole match remained to be played?

A  ¼ B ⅜ C ½ D ⅝ E ¾

If you could work out the answer to this problem and you will be a year 7 or 8 student next year, then you may have the desired skills to succeed in this competition. Oathall’s maths faculty also runs the Intermediate and Senior Maths Challenges for years 9, 10 and 11 with similar success.  Letters will be sent home soon with more details about these competitions. For more information, you can ask your teacher or speak to Mr Leonard. 

Miss M Calleja

Physics outreach at the University of Sussex

In June, twelve Year 10 triple science students attended a schools lab at Sussex University.  This really is like a personalised open day – they carried out experiments beyond the scope of the equipment at Oathall, visited a research lab and had a talk from a PhD scientist, took part in a careers’ challenge and had time to explore the university campus.  It really was a fun and inspiring day. 12 more students will make the trip in July.


Mr D Anderson

Crawley Taster Day 2019

21 year 10 students recently attended an excellent Taster Day at Crawley College and all found the day very useful and informative.  They enjoyed trying two different subjects in one day as well as having a tour around the college.  

The taster sessions chosen were:- Plumbing, Early Years & Childcare, IT, Health & Social Care, Creative Media, Beauty, Art & Design, Engineering, Electrical Installation, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, Business & Engineering.

Our students particularly enjoyed getting involved in the practical activities, so much so they would have liked the sessions to have been longer!

Mrs K Ferros

Considering our Environment

Year 10 Geography students recently travelled to Brighton to investigate how the quality of life and environment varies between two areas. Students tested environmental issues such as air and noise pollution, litter, traffic and overcrowding as well as looking at the quality of housing and availability of green spaces.    The work carried out on this field trip will be crucial for completing paper 3 in the GCSE exams next year.

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Mrs K Garrick

Amazing Book Awards

The Sussex Coast Amazing Book Awards, or ABA for short, is the fastest growing Young Adult book award in the UK. It is completely led by Student Voice: only students chose which five books make up the shortlist and only students vote for the winners. This is the third year that Oathall has been part of this truly amazing book award and we can definitely say it won’t be the last. 

We had a record number of 25 students attending the monthly after-school book-club meetings where we discussed the books. Some questions we pondered were

  • What do we think of capital punishment after having read Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
  • How is Maslow’s pyramid of need relevant to the heroine in The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • Does humanity have the right to cause the extinction of another species to secure its own survival as described in The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
  • Does the goal justify the means – a question posed in Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Despite the heavy sounding subject matter, we had an absolutely brilliant time at the book club meetings and were very excited to send off our votes: will they correspond to those of the 50 other participating schools?! We were all very much looking forward to attending the ABA Presentation Evening where most of the authors would be present and the Bronze, Silver and Gold winners would be revealed. 

The presentation evening was held at Worthing High School and we were very proud of our students’ beautiful behaviour on the train journey there and back. Thank you to Mr Mills and Mrs Sullivan for coming with us and a special shout-out to Mr Mills, who read all five shortlisted books! We were very pleased to find that the Gold Award Winner was S.T.A.G.S., who was our runaway favourite too! After the presentation, we had a chance to meet and greet the authors and get our books signed (every participant in the book club was gifted one of the shortlisted books by Oathall library). 

At our very last meeting, the students were asked to fill out a feedback form: all said that they would want to ‘do’ the ABA again and they all gave it a 4 or 5 out of a possible five. The next ABA book club will start in early 2020 and all year 9s will be invited – make sure you don’t miss out!

Ms K Fogarasi

Map Making with an eye on History

In Humanities, students were invited to enter a Historical Map Competition.  They were challenged to produce a map of a historical journey such as those undertaken by Shackleton, Lindbergh, Cook and Scott.

Our impressive winner, who received a prize, house points and a certificate, was Jacob Grey in year 8.  Worthy runners up, who also received house points and certificates, were Emma Stephenson, Emma Smith, Arianne Stevens, Emily Jones, Peter Silk and Alex Main – all in year 7.

They are pictured with Mr Moore, Head of Humanities who awarded the prizes.  Congratulations to them all! 

Budding cartographers









Mr D Moore

Modern Foreign Languages

Students have had a very busy term in languages. We have been looking closely at different ways to practise and learn vocabulary and www.quizlet.com has certainly proved to be popular with lots of students.  If you are looking for some language practice in the holidays, we would definitely recommend vocab retrieval tasks (via quizlet). Perhaps you could watch a film or a programme in French, German or Spanish (Netflix is great for this) or try a language learning app such as memrise or duolingo.

Students in Year 7 and 8 have had lots of speaking and translation practice also this term. Here are some Year 8 students playing Snakes and Ladders with a focus on developing students’ ability to both recognise and be able to actively produce the future tense.

Year 9 and 10 students are really looking forward to their school trip to Spain and our exchange to Traunstein in Germany. We’ll have much more to report about these visits in the Autumn. We wish all of our Year 11 students good luck with their results and we’re very excited to see that some of our students are continuing to study languages at A-Level!

Mrs L Sandford

Public Speaking

The English Faculty celebrated the end of term with their annual year 7 & 8 public speaking competitions. The year 8s spoke on “Let Me Persuade You” and year 7s spoke on “Let Me Tell You About”. The students spoke confidently and knowledgeably on their chosen subjects and we were grateful for the Haywards Heath Rotary Club providing us with a guest judge on both occasions.

Year 8 winners were as follows:

1st place Mollie MacConnell: Fairtrade is not fair.

2nd place Niamh Chapman: The dark side to social media

3rd place Jacob Grey: Stop climate change

Other finalists were: Anna Beddingham, Tom Underhill, Rebecca Wallbank, Victoria Schou, Tom Grey, Matty Mackay and Beth Cromie

Year 7 winners were:

1st place Eirlys Jones: Transgender

2nd place Georgia Bartlett: Gender Pay Gap

3rd place Vincent Mitchell: Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

Other finalists were: Josie Cox, Jana Hall, Violet Hawkey, Jess Tingley, Taylor Tomlin, Ava Burnage, Mia Osbourne and Jess Thomas

Well done to all the students who took part in lessons and in the final. They did themselves and their teachers proud.

Ms P Sullivan

Creativity through Photography

GCSE Art & Photography Exhibition 2019

Earlier this term we celebrated the achievements of our Year 11 Art and Photography students by creating an exhibition of their exam projects and final pieces. The work showed off a breadth of study in terms of starting points, ideas and use of media. We continue to have exceptional talent at Oathall and it was lovely to have the private view attended by so many visitors. Many thanks to all of our exhibitors, hospitality and catering students for making canapes and to everyone who attended.

Mrs M Toal

Creativity through Enterprise

Virgin’s Make £5 Grow

Our Year 7 students are currently taking part in this exciting opportunity which helps them to build their enterprise, mathematics, team building and financial skills.

Students have recently been planning their products/services and pitching to staff. Teams that are selected will be given £5 per student and begin to market and sell their product or service.

Students will be selling to the whole student body during the penultimate week of term. We are excited to see their businesses grow!

Mrs L Griffiths

Creativity through Food

Oathall Bake-Off

Each year, the Rotary Club sponsors the Oathall Bake-Off competition. This year’s competition theme was the Rugby World Cup – Japan 2019.

17 students entered by baking a cake at home and sending in a picture for consideration. These entries were then judged on creativity and skills with 8 being selected to enter the final competition.

The competition took place on Tuesday 4 June with competitors being given 4 hours to bake & decorate their cake from scratch. The cake ingredients were provided by the Rotary Club & the decorations were provided by the students.

Students that made the final: 

Poppy Southerton, Lola Armstrong, Nicole Crockford, Esme Brigden, Jessica Tingley, Abigail Kirbell and Freya Josephs. 

At the end of the competition the cakes were judged by a panel made up from WI members, Kate Kent and Julia Vokes, Mike Hoare and Nigel Vokes from the Rotary Club, Emily Hughes and Emma Brown from Oathall’s catering team, as well as Emily Brock, three times previous Oathall Bake-Off winner.

Cakes were judged on appearance, skill level, taste & texture as well as on creativity and originality. The winning cake came top in all of the criteria. The judges were particularly impressed by the original use of Yuzu a Japanese flavouring in the filling as well as the creativity and professional finish.

Winner, Georgina Hull











Every person who entered received a whisk and wooden spoon with the final entrants receiving an apron and recipe book. The top three entries also received gift vouchers as their prize. 

A display and information about the event will also go up in the WI tent at the South of England Show. For more photographs, see the front page of the school’s website.

Mrs V Slater

Creativity through the Written Word

What the Dickens?

Year 7 began their new Dickens unit in a way that would make the infamous author proud: with creativity. Each group had a choice to show off their knowledge of Mr Dickens: design a T-shirt for Dickens fans, create a colourful and informative poster, write a dramatic scene, or create an information sheet about Dickens. As always, the students tackled the task with innovation and enthusiasm. Their work explored Mr Dickens’ infamous works as well as his remarkable life and showed insight into this seminal period in history.

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Ms L Fisher

Creativity through Music

This has been a busy term for the Music Department as our GCSE students prepared for their final performance exams, made finishing touches to their compositions and prepared for their listening exam. We will miss their musical presence in the music department and at our performances, and in the words of ABBA Thank you for the music!





As part of the “Tenner Challenge” Molly Hord, very ably supported by friends and parents organised a “Classics and Cake” afternoon concert in April. This featured AMAZING performances by students and was followed by a simply scrumptious afternoon tea. Thanks to Molly’s leadership and the support of all who played, baked, served, transported instruments in and out of the hall, organised the sound, compered the event, and arranged for charity money-doubling. We raised close to £1000 of the £5000 needed towards the purchase of a new baby grand piano for the hall.

Next up for our Oathall Musicians was the Power of Music Festival which took place on Saturday 22nd June at the Orchards in Haywards Heath. Our Choir, Bands and Orchestra joined forces with a number of local Primary schools to form a mass choir, accompanied by in house arrangements by Mrs Mac Taggart and Mr van Galen of Proud by Heather Small, A Million Dreams by Pasek and Paul and Secret Garden’s You Raise Me Up. It was a truly joyful experience to be a part of a performance by over a hundred young musicians ranging in age from 7 to 15. The Oathall ensembles presented a number of independent performances which were very much enjoyed by the audience, we are very proud of the students’ musical approach and by their support of each other on stage and behind the scenes – true Oathall spirit in action!

We were also thrilled to see Oathall students playing in the amazing Hangleton Brass Band performance and with the superb Ensemble Reza Orchestra performance which followed our gig.

We are now very busy preparing for the Summer Concert, following a record 38 auditions of numbers for the performance which will be held on the 10th July at 7pm and look forward to seeing many of you there.

Mrs C MacTaggart

Creativity through Art

GCSE Art club

This has continued to be well attended by our ambitious Year 10 students this half term to support them in developing their ideas and final pieces for their coursework project ‘Animals and People’. They have been inspired by seeing a variety of excellent final pieces produced by year 11 students for their final exam. 

Year 9 Art club

Congratulations to Milena and Amber who started up a Year 9 Art club in May which they run on Tuesdays after school.

Lino Printing Club

Year 7 and 8 students are working on a reduction method lino cut and print. This involves breaking an image down into component parts and cutting away the lino and printing colours at each stage to build up a whole image. This is a challenging and complex process and the students involved have shown great enthusiasm and achieved fantastic results.

Mrs J Smith-Hashim

Aiming High

Shadowing the Carnegie Awards

The Carnegie Award is given to the best novel written in English published the previous year. At Oathall, we want our students to know they are capable of reading at the highest level and reading the best books out there. We want our students to read books that challenge them, that excites them and that enriches them which is why we decided to start a new book group

Mrs D Perrin

Oathall started a new tradition alongside the established CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards: A group of Year 10 students were selected to create our first Shadowing Group. Once the shortlist was announced, the group worked their way through the novels and met regularly to discuss them. The students grappled with the themes explored in the books, the relevancy of the topics, and the ultimate question: Which book deserved to win? During the last meeting, it was a toss-up between Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X and Sophie Anderson’s The House with Chicken Legs. Both books were examples of the group’s most important criteria: stunning writing. The award could only go to one book, unfortunately, and the group enjoyed watching Elizabeth Acevedo’s acceptance speech celebrating the first win by a writer of colour.
For more information about the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards and to view the shortlist, please go to https://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/

Some of the Carnegie Shadowing group with Ms Fisher









Ms L Fisher

Accelerated Reader

Well done to the top readers of year eight who have scooped the Word Millionaire certificates in their end of year assembly. It good to see that students are more accustomed to reading in their spare time and on the whole always have a book to hand throughout the school day.

Year 8 Accelerated Reader awards


Similar congratulations to the top readers of year seven who have scooped theor Word Millionaire certificates, presented after the yer seven Public Speaking competition.

Year 7 Word Millionaires

Combined, both years groups have read 194,117,372 words in 3,817 books. These figures are tracked when students successfully pass an Accelerated Reader quiz. Well done to them all.

Not sure what to read over the Summer? Why not take part in the Oathall Reading Challenge which started on 24th June and runs through the summer un Friday 27th September. Click here for the sheet.

Ms A Chinn

Gifted & Talented Art Masterclass

Year 7 and 8 students were invited to attend a gifted and talented Art Masterclass recently. Forty students came along so the room was buzzing! In just over an hour students created A3 colourful studies of animals, focusing on mark-making and layering effects through printing. Well done to everyone who attended.

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Advance Maths Support Programme Competitions

In July, Oathall will welcome representatives from the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme that came to run the Summer Snacks Maths Competition. The exciting team competition will run for 16 teams of four Year 9 students and will be used to select the team of students that will enter the Regional Maths Feast competition next year. The Year 10 Maths Feast is an enjoyable and challenging team competition testing mathematical, team-working and communication skills. The format of the competition changes slightly so that the rounds remain interesting and exciting.  Every year, Oathall enters one or two teams to the Year 10 Maths Feast Competition with great success.

The competition usually follows the form of a banquet with at least four different rounds or courses, including an amuse bouche, entree, main and dessert rounds. Each round was different with activities that challenged our Year 9s’ maths comprehension and problem-solving skills, together with more practical rounds where they had to build shapes and interpret diagrams. 

The Advanced Mathematics Support Programme will also run the Dragon Quiz problem-solving competition for our Year 8s. This team competition follows the form of a relay where students in year 8 attempt to solve 20 problems. Students will take a card at a time with a problem on one side and a part of a dragon body on the back. If they get their question right they can take their card to form a dragon. The longest dragon wins!

Good luck to all students entering this competition!

Mrs L Griffiths

Building Skills through Physical Activity


Congratulations to the Under 13 Girls Cricket team who played in the Sussex Chance to Shine tournament yesterday at Poynings. I am delighted to say that they beat Ratton, Chichester free school, Patcham, Millais, Sackville and Downlands on their way to being crowned champions.

Under 13 Girls Cricket team


Under 13 Sussex Stoolball Tournament

27 students from Year 7 & 8 competed in the Sussex Schools Stoolball Tournament at Plumpton Green. We had a fantastic day with all of the girls making their own contributions either batting, bowling or fielding. We played teams from Ringmer, Downlands, Uckfield, Beacon, St Pauls, and Sackville.

A special mention must go to the Year 7 team who made it through to the semi-finals narrowly being beaten by Downlands. Well done to Charlotte White and Amber French for fulfilling their roles as captains excellently. 


Congratulations to the U12 Rounders Team who have started the season off on a high! They beat St Pauls 22 rounders to 31/2 and 111/2 to 6. Well done everyone! 

Year 9 & 10 Trip to The Festival of Sport

Over 50 prospective or current GCSE PE students attended a trip to Chichester University to take part in the Festival of Sport. The day gave students the opportunity to try over 40 different activities including wheelchair basketball, golf, trampolining and blind football. They also had the opportunity to attend seminars on sports science and sports psychology. 

BTEC Dance workshop

The Year 10 BTEC Dance students continue to work extremely hard being put through their paces by an external Dance specialist to learn the set work for one of their modules. They have had an incredibly positive start to their course and we look forward to seeing them perform at the Oathall Performance Festival in July. 






GCSE PE Athletics Assessment

The Year 10 GCSE group visited K2 to take part in their GCSE Athletics Practical exam in June. There were some outstanding performances from all students across all track events.

Special mention to Josh Ballinger who performed outstandingly in the 3000m and Lewis Monks who looked incredibly powerful over 200m. Well done to all of you who attended. 

Take your marks…!







Ms Z Froud

First Aid

Year 10 child development group completed their first aid course recently and did really well. It was a 2-hour session over two lessons. They thoroughly enjoyed it and fully participated in all the practical elements. They covered burns, breaks, bandaging, choking, asthma, CPR and mouth to mouth plus using the defibrillator machine.

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Mrs S Kirkpatrick


Primary School Leadership

Primary School Leadership









Ms Z Froud

Primary links- Art RSPB Project. 

One of the ways we can ensure students are ready for learning at Oathall is by having strong links with local primary schools and to share how learning differs once they reach key stage three. Here’s how Ms Sweeting, one of our Art & Design teachers brought art into one such local school.
On Friday 14th June. I spent the afternoon at Lindfield Primary Academy with a group of 25 Year 2-5 pupils. They were a mix of eco-warriors and other pupils working on a project to do with birds and their conservation.
Mrs Smith, Lindfield’s Deputy Head, played RSPB bird songs as I introduced the pupils to making birds from colourful paper strips. They folded, rolled, twisted, wrapped and made tears to the paper. They then worked in pairs to create woollen wrapped 3D birds with pipe cleaners, googly eyes and feathers.
We all had great fun and the pupils rose to the challenge with great enthusiasm and success.
Mrs C Sweeting

Teaching & Learning Bulletin: Spring 2019

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

We are now approaching the end of the spring term at Oathall.  This, our latest Teaching & Learning bulletin again provides an insight into the breadth of activities and achievements over the past weeks.

It was a privilege, once again to see our very talented dancers perform at the annual Rock Challenge held at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley; a beautifully choreographed and executed piece.

Our public speaking teams have continued to make progress in the national Youth Speaks competition with both intermediate and senior teams performing brilliantly at the district finals.  I am delighted to see that the intermediate team will continue to the regional finals to be held in Marlow. Congratulations to all involved.

This spring term has been a particularly busy one: STEM students building a drone for the Mid-Sussex engineering challenge, the ski trip, author visits, maths challenges and competitions, the race-for-the-line challenge in Science week are notable.  We have seen sporting successes too winning the county indoor athletics as well as our U12 hockey team becoming winners at district level.

May I wish all the Oathall Community and enjoyable and restful Easter break.

E Rodriguez


Dedication recognised

Ms L. Gyngell

Congratulations to Charly Dickson and Amy Stowe who have received the Rotary Club Community Award for the fantastic work they have been doing to improve Mental Health at Oathall. The girls have worked tirelessly this year leading assemblies, creating posters for tutor rooms, liaising with local charities and organisations and supporting peers suffering from mental health issues.


Oathall and other schools

In Music

Mrs C Mactaggart

Twenty-seven members of the Oathall School Choir joined other singers from a range of primary, secondary and independent schools across the county at Chichester Cathedral for ‘Voices for Peace’ performance on Monday 18th March.
The event, a collaboration between Chichester Cathedral, West Sussex Music and the local schools gave students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in the cathedral, alongside the beautiful voices of the Chichester Cathedral Choristers, singing a range of songs including ‘A Voice for Peace’ which was written by West Sussex Music Project Partner, Emily Barden specially for the event.
Mrs Mactaggart and Miss Ledwidge said how proud they were of the conduct of our students and particularly in the way that our musical leaders Carla Mukasa, Jennifer Wood, Molly Hord, Bea Carter, Dan Read and Oscar Tarbox led the vocal parts during Dona Nobis Pacem, supported by the rest of the choir. Short videos of some of the songs were uploaded to the Oathall Performance Twitter page.

In Maths

Mr J Leonard

Y10 Maths Feast Competition

Two teams of four Year 10 students took part in the Maths Feast Competition at Dorothy Stringer School on 5th March. They competed against 13 other teams from schools across the Sussex area. The students had to use their mathematical problem solving, logic and team working skills to try and solve a range of different questions across 4 rounds. All students competing performed excellently with one team winning one round and placing 3rd overall and the other team placing 7th.

Y8/9 UKMT Team Maths Challenge

One team comprised of two Year 8 students and two Year 9 students took part in the regional finals of the UKMT Team Maths Challenge which was held at Holy Trinity School on the 6th March. They competed against 21 other teams from across Sussex using their mathematical problem solving and team working abilities to answer a range of questions 4 rounds, including a relay race. The students had a fantastic day and placed 9th overall.


Image result for maths challenge

On Stage

Mrs C Avery

Rock Challenge 2019

On Monday 25th March, students from Oathall took part in the 2019 Rock Challenge Competition. Although we weren’t placed this year, the achievement from each and every student was outstanding. This was the culmination of 7 months hard work and dedication from the performers, stage crew and lighting team.

Our performance this year was titled ‘Black Swan’. This was a contemporary, street dance fusion piece that explored the physiological and psychological struggles of a mentally delicate dancer and her strive for perfection, only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity as she descends into madness from the pressure of perfection.

Our students all performed magnificently, every single one giving 100% effort.

With special thanks to Holly Hicks, Isabelle Hateley, Lilly Moffett and Kate Woodhams. Their hard work and commitment did not go unnoticed. Thank you also to all the staff who gave their help to the running of the event.


Although Oathall did not win, yet again we swept the board gaining awards in the following;

Award of Excellence in Lighting
Award of Excellence for Entertainment
Award of Excellence for Visual Enhancement
Award of Excellence for Stage Use
Award of Excellence for Costuming and Character
Award of Excellence for Soundtrack
Award of Excellence for Soundtrack

Behind the scenes at Rock Challenge

Mrs C Mactaggart

Milena Karwat designed and drew the beautiful ballerina, (Odette or Odile?) who appears to be dancing through a shattered mirror.

The Sound and Light Tech crew worked very hard with Mr Van Galen to design effective lighting and to build and strike the set on the night. We were very pleased to have been awarded a certificate of excellence recognising the behind-the-scenes team for visual enhancement, musical soundtrack, crew and lighting to compliment those won by the dancers.

On the Sports Field

Miss Z Froud

I had the absolute pleasure of taking the Year 7 Girls and Year 8 Boys Indoor Athletics teams to Tanbridge House School to represent Mid Sussex in the Sussex Schools Games Finals on the 25th February.
Each district of Sussex was represented by their respective area winners so the competition was very tough with the winners being declared the top indoor athletics team in the County.. Both teams represented both Oathall and Mid-Sussex impeccably and  I am delighted to say that the Year 8 Boys team won Gold and the Year 7 Girls team won Bronze.

Visitors to Oathall

Inspirational Speaker, Baz Grey, 

We were delighted to welcome Baz Grey, former British Royal Marines Commando into Oathall this term to share his inspirational story with our Year 11 students.
In his time as a Royal Marine, he fought in countries all over the world, clocking up 26 Years’ Service and reaching the illustrious rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.  Baz is an extreme cold and mountainous survival expert and has been responsible for training and teaching thousands of people in the harshest of conditions for nearly 20 years. Baz has climbed mountains on every continent.   
Baz shared his stories from two incredible missions;  Shackleton Epic expedition, where he was part of a team that recreated the 800 mile ocean crossing of Ernest Shackleton from Elephant Island to South Georgia and scaling the mountains to reach the safety of Stromness Harbour, in addition to ‘phase 1’ of ‘Challenge Antarctica’, where he skied, solo, unsupported and unassisted from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, a journey which covered 715 miles in 39 days.
Oathall will certainly be watching closely as ‘phase 2’ unfolds in November, and wish him the very best with his mission to cross the entire Antarctic continent starting from the north side of Berkner Island on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole and then continuing to the Ross Ice Shelf via the Shackleton Glacier and onto the edge of the ice. This will be done solo and without any support including the use of kites and resupply and covers 1600 miles over 90 days. 
Image result for Barry Grey explorer

Author, Jenny McLachlan

Mrs D Perrin
We were delighted to welcome author Jenny McLachlan to Oathall on Word Book Day, 7th March. She led three workshops with Year 7 classes aimed at hooking the reader where students use props that Jenny brought in to devise their own mystery story which hooks the reader from the start.
She also spoke to Year 7s and then Year 8s in the hall about herself and how she chose what to write about.
Jenny also found time to share her lunch with students from our Battle of the Books club (who have been reading one of Jenny’s books, Stargazing for beginners) plus our Creative Writing club members. She also signed copies of her books that students had purchased, writing a personal message to make their book really special.
Jenny’s passion and enthusiasm were contagious: two weeks after her visit, students and staff alike are still filled with energy about reading and creating stories.

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The Tenner Challenge

Mrs L Griffiths

A big thank you to those of you who came and supported our Tenner Challenge students at lunchtime recently. So many stalls sold out really quickly and have already got pre-orders in for the next sale.



British Science Week

Mrs J Pringle

This year Oathall celebrated British Science Week in style. The theme for the week was Journeys so we were able to include loads of cross-curricular aspects from Geography to English lessons.

Year 7 spent the week designing and making Rocket Cars as part of the Race for the Line venture. We were able to take part due to the kind sponsorship from the Civil Aviation Authority – International Group so a big thank you to them.

The students were asked to focus on making the cars as light and streamlined as possible as the winning entry will be invited to take part in a regional final. I know that Year 7 then enjoyed racing them across the playground. I am delighted to announce that Windston group from 7c2 designed and made the winning car.

In our classes we got into groups of four and we were given a foam block. With that foam block we had to create a car but the were certain areas that we couldn’t cut. We had to make sure the car was streamline so it wouldn’t drag. But if the car was too thin then it wasn’t allowed to race.

Over the course of a couple of days we cut down the foam blocks to the right shape we wanted. Once we had finished that, we were allowed to paint a design on them and put the wheels on.

On Tuesday 26th of March we raced our cars. Our cars were attached to a wire, which helped them to go straight. We then put a micro bit in. A micro bit counts how long it takes for the car to get to the other side in milliseconds. After that a rocket was put into the back of the car. The rocket was then lit which caused the car to race to the other side. Racing the cars was really fun and exciting, especially when the rocket went off. Thank you to Mr Streamer and Miss Pettingel for being our expert rocketeers.

Jessica Rimmer

As well as forming part of British Science Week this activity fitted in really well with the Forces unit that Year 7 has been studying this term.

Year 8 and 9 spent Science Week studying the journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton. They looked at how he made his way through the Antarctic and carried out experiments to find out ways to purify the water that they would have had access to ensure fresh drinking water for the team.

The students were also encouraged to enter the Key Stage 3 Science House competition – researching their science icon. The winners will be announced shortly after we have been able to read through the large number of entries.

Year 7 and 8 Crest Awards

Mrs J Pringle

This term a group of Key Stage 3 scientists have been studying for their Bronze Crest Awards. These are National Awards and involve choosing, planning and carrying out an investigation into an area of science that interests them.

The investigations have ranged from the ideal recipe for Bath Bombs to the ideal surface to show fingerprints to conditions needed for ultimate seed growth.

This club is open to any interested Year 7 or 8 students.

During the week a number of our Year 9 students were selected to take part in Biology Challenge. This is a national competition organised by the Royal Society of Biology testing students knowledge and understanding of biology in and beyond the curriculum.

I am delighted to announce that the following students were all in the top 5 scoring Oathall students.

  • Sarah Bewick
  • Ella Tingley
  • Bethany Thomas
  • Theo Billson
  • Michelle Lin.

We now have to wait until mid-April to find out if they have achieved National Bronze, Silver or Gold certificates.

Learning solidified using video and drama

Ms S Madeddu

Homework comes in all shapes and sizes and we are especially pleased when students think outside the box and create something special for their homework.

Enjoy Sue’s video guide to Barcelona.

Explore With Sue!

Ms Z Holmes

Students from 7B2 – Mrs Edwards’ and Mrs Holmes’ Year 7 History class – take part in a role play to learn about the importance of the murder of Thomas Becket. This is part of their studies on challenges to the power of the king in the Middle Ages. The students were very enthusiastic and this activity resulted in a deeper understanding of this significant event.


Teaching & Learning Bulletin, Winter 2019

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

It was such a pleasure to have been in the college hall earlier this term to witness the orchestra bringing together the musical talents of the young people from 5 local secondary schools. The quality of sound resulting from more than one hundred young musicians was something to behold. My thanks go to Mrs Mactaggart and all those involved in producing this wonderful event at Oathall.

This latest bulletin again highlights the breadth of experience at the school. This may well, of course, be through the usual curriculum subjects but significantly sees students engaging with opportunities beyond the classroom. The “Tenner Challenge” is particularly exciting and I am looking forward to hearing some of the students pitch their ideas after the break.

My congratulations to the junior team for winning the latest round of the Youth Speaks public speaking competition who now move on to the district finals. I wish the intermediate team every success at their competition next week. Sporting successes have also been notable over this term; well done to all involved.

Movement to Music

Mid Sussex Orchestra Day at Oathall Community College 

Mrs Mactaggart

Oathall musicians joined forces with musicians from Downlands, St. Paul’s, Warden Park Academy and Burgess Hill Academy to work on learning and performing five pieces of music in just one day!  We are very privileged to have several experienced instrumentalists and musical directors in our local schools who, between them organised the event and conducted the pieces as well as providing expert support for the strings, brass, woodwind and percussion sections in the orchestra.

The aim of the project was to enrich and broaden the musical experience of our orchestral players by providing them with an opportunity to play in a symphony orchestra under the direction of expert musicians in a positive, inclusive and social environment. This aim was well supported by West Sussex Music and musicians from Ensemble Reza, violinist Andrew Thurgood and cellist Sarah Du Bost-Carvalho.

The final performance at the end of the day was fabulous and was well supported by parents and friends. Students mentioned how exciting (and a bit scary) it was to see their head teachers in the audience as well and Mr Rodriguez remarked on how proud he was of Oathall’s musicians.

Feedback from all was very positive and plans are already underway for a repeat performance in 2020. Some comments received were:

“Congratulations to you all for a fantastic day indeed. I am very impressed with the quality of the concert the orchestra gave after only a half day rehearsing together”;

“I found the idea to join forces between all local secondary schools in a big orchestra a fantastic one and a great success (including the different conductors for each piece).”;

“It was brilliant and inspiring to work with you all…”;

“That was the most fun ever!”

“My students mentioned how much they enjoyed the experience of being conducted by different people! Each had different approaches and I think this has been hugely beneficial to them”.

“Many congratulations on achieving such a valuable and high-quality musical experience for your young musicians. It was a real treat to be at Oathall this afternoon to witness the fruits of your labour – it was a powerful image seeing 100+ musicians in performance. I’m sure it’s an experience that none of the pupils will forget”.

Youth Speaks

Ms C Slade

On Saturday 9th February our Junior Public Speaking team travelled to Cranleigh for the next round of the Rotary Club’s ‘Youth Speaks’ competition. The team, made up of Molly Hord, Matty Mackay and Tom Underhill had already secured a clear victory at local level and were now facing the District Semi-Finals. This was a larger heat with a total of 6 teams, all fighting for one pace in the District Final!
All three students brought their A game and proved from the outset they were serious contenders! The hours of rehearsal and the time and effort they had all put in paid was evident as they delivered a confident and faultless entry. Not only did Molly take the award for Best Speaker, and Matty for Best Chair Person but the team also took the overall prize, securing a palace in the District Finals in March.
Well done to all involved.

Movement in Science

 Emily Stockwell (8VDI):
‘This half term in science, we have been learning about forces and motion. Within this topic, we have learnt how forces affect our lives. An example of this application is crumple zones. We discovered how different sizes of crumple zones on cars affect the safety of the car and the damage during a collision. As a result of this, we designed and tested cars we had made with crumple zones and measured the impact.
We have also learnt about parachutes and how air resistance affects them. We made and tested our own mini parachutes that had different surface areas to time how long it would take them to fall.
I have really enjoyed this half term’s topic as it has been really interesting and fun to see the applications!’

Words in Motion

Shakespeare Whoosh! Words flying across the library.

Ms Rocke
Year 10 started a new unit today which is Shakespeare’s infamous ‘Macbeth’.  In order to get a basic understanding of the plot, we did what’s called a “Whoosh” which runs through the basic outline of the plot summary in modern-day English, with an added bit of humour to make it a fun introduction to the topic. Everyone got involved in the activity and Poppy (the troll fluffy duster) did a great job of “whooshing” everyone around in-between scenes.

Shakespeare Raps

Ms Fisher

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, Ms Fisher’s Year 9 students brought Shakespeare into the 21st century by creating pop sonnets. Students were challenged to choose a song and apply the rules of the sonnet including perfect iambic pentameter–just like the star-crossed lovers when they first meet. As always, students excelled by creating pithy sonnets that blended Shakespearean language with more modern vernacular. Particular standouts were Rita Mihalcut and Megan Banks’ version of “Another One Bites the Dust,” Billy Reid and Miles King’s “Rap God” as well as several modern interpretations of “God Save the Queen.” However, the class prize went to Freddie Ashman, Archie Raffan, and Paul Hipperson’s reimagining of Childish Gambino’s “This is America” as “This is England.”
Enjoy a sample from Rita Mihalcut and Megan Banks’ “Another One Bites the Dust”: 
Another one looked out for thy danger,
Another one fell ere he could ev’n think,
Let me go along! Me and a stranger,
No coward will run when their world will shrink.
Hey! Finally I’m gunna get the last,
Quickly now another one bites the dust!
In the Diverse Voices unit, Year 8 has explored a range of under-represented voices across a variety of text types. For Ms Fisher’s students, the unit culminated by considering the historic protest song through Bob Dylan’s iconic “Times They Are A-Changin'”. After examining how Dylan galvanised support for his call for change, students conveyed the voice of the younger generation by re-writing a stanza of his timeless classic. A range of issues was expressed with poignancy and purpose, from calling for gender equality to eliminating poverty to rethinking the education system. A class favourite was Oliver Streeter, Max Barnett, and Rudi Cooper’s rapped protest song about the “pessimism” in our world.
As always, our Oathall students expressed important issues with creativity, sensitivity, and flair.

Students will be bringing their entries in after half-term and displayed in the English corridor for all to admire.

Words are lifted off the page thanks to innovative ways of presenting poems.

Mrs Perrin
A selection of poetry entries and winners from National Poetry Day, 2018, on display in the library shows that poetry is more than just words. The poems are lifted off the paper as students demonstrate their artistic abilities to give greater meaning and emphasis to their poems.

Walking-Talking Mock session

Ms Evans

On Valentine’s day, Miss Evans shared her love for the novella “A Christmas Carol” with Year 11 during her walking-talking mock session. Students were treated to a lecture and note-taking session around the theme of poverty. They considered the ideas around physical poverty (lack of food, shelter, money and basic needs) plus the importance of emotional richness (friendships, positive relationships and enriching experiences). Miss Evans then linked these key ideas to three key moments in the text, exploring the actions of Scrooge at the start and at the end of this classic text. Walking Talking Mocks are a very useful tool to ensure students are used to exam hall conditions, can practise their skills in this environment and look at key questions together. “A Christmas Carol” is examined in the upcoming March mocks, so hopefully students will feel more confident in their revision of this key text. The English Faculty will be providing more Walking Talking mock opportunities in the weeks ahead.

Delving deeper into Mathematics

Mrs Griffiths

In Maths our Year 7 students are currently following a mastery curriculum. The mastery approach ensures that students acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. Students at Oathall are being challenged by a deeper analysis of the mathematical content and by applying the content in new and unfamiliar problem-solving situations. In our most recent unit of work, we are investigating fractions. Students are getting a deeper understanding of the topic through a variety of questioning and teaching techniques. Our students are also being supported in their understanding of fractions by using our new equipment bought with the money fundraised by the OPTA.

If your child would like to explore some more enrichment problems on this topic please direct them to https://nrich.maths.org/8707

Learning from the Workplace

Visiting Jeremy’s 

Mrs Slater

Recently, Year 10 Hospitality and Catering students visited Jeremy’s restaurant at Borde Hill, click here to find out more.

The Tenner Challenge, a national competition for young people aged 11 – 19.

Mrs Griffiths

The Maths Faculty is delighted to be taking part in this year’s Tenner Challenge, a national competition for young people aged from 11 – 19 years. 

Taking part in the Tenner Challenge will help our students to develop crucial employability skills and financial experience alongside an important insight into how core curriculum learning will serve them well in this fast-changing world of work. Students will work in small groups to come up with a product or service they believe will grow into a successful small business. Students will pitch their ideas and one group will be chosen from each class to be part of the challenge. Each student from the winning group will then be given £10 from the Tenner Bank and this will be used as start-up capital to get their enterprise off the ground. Students will be pitching their ideas after half term!

Visit from Alumni

Mrs Griffiths 

Our Year 11 girls had a recent workshop with some of our female alumni, Hannah, who is Director of Citizenship Strategy at Barclays, and Connie, who is currently studying Maths at Sussex University. We are very grateful that they kindly gave up their free time to talk to our students in relation to Maths.
Conversations about future careers, pathways and study were in full flow during the sessions and students were able to hear about real-life experiences from two role models who had used Maths to further their career.

Sporting Prowess

Ms Froud

It may be too frosty or wet to use the sports field for athletics, but that doesn’t stop our athletics students from competing. Recently, the Under 12s athletics team took part in the Mid-Sussex round of the County Athletics Championships and were thrilled when the Year 7 girls’ team won the event! The boys’ team came a credible 5th and we are proud of them both.

Both teams celebrating together

Year 8 boys on winning the 1st round of the indoor athletics competition at Sackville

Congratulations to the Under 12 football team on a 7-0 win over The Weald yesterday. This means they have finished the season unbeaten. Special mention to Mary McDonagh who scored 3 goals.

Linking Learning

Mrs Lindsley

Geography paper chains! Christmas may be a now distant memory, but in Geography we are still keeping the vibe alive! Year 11 students have been using creative methods to help them remember how coastal landforms are made. We have been creating paper chains to help memorise the sequence of events that occur in the formation of wave cut platforms, sand dunes and more!

Library Life

Accelerated Reader

This is our second year using the Accelerated Reader programme. Over the next few issues of the bulletin, we would like to take the opportunity to explain in more detail what this means for your child.

Mrs Perrin

As we reported in the last bulletin, all Year 7 & 8 students, plus a few additional students in Years 9 & 10, are enrolled automatically on the scheme. So far this academic year, students have completed two STAR tests (multiple choice quiz style test) and they now have their reading ranges from which to chose a reading book. We have purchased books to support readers at all levels and we encourage students to challenge themselves to read a variety of genres.

Every student has their own Accelerated Reader booklet where they record their STAR test results as well as each book they read. There is space for parents to sign each time students read at home so you can monitor how they are getting on. This is also where students write down their quiz results and where the librarians and teachers can watch their progress. The booklet has space for students to write their own wish-list of books they would like to read next, a great way to find out what they might want for their birthday! The booklet is also part of their equipment check, so we would encourage you to remind your child to bring it along each day.

Students on the Accelerated Reading scheme have read over 122 million words in almost 2,500 books since September, an amazing achievement.

Book Clubs

Mrs Perrin & Mrs Fogarasi

Two new book clubs have started recently in the library, aimed at taking a deeper look into specific titles to enhance and enrich students’ understanding and enjoyment of reading fiction.

The Amazing Book Awards club is for Year 9 students and follows the fastest growing book awards programme in the UK, click here for more details. The club meets monthly after school on Mondays until 3rd June, after which the group will go to the finals at Shoreham Academy. It has been a hugely successful club in the past and we are thrilled that three of our year 11 students have loved it so much that they are still attending and reading the books. We aim to build lifelong readers and these three prove that happens.

Following the delivery of our free books from BookTrust, we have set up a book club for Year 8 students. Following a similar pattern to the ABA club, it meets monthly and looks at five different titles. They are Boy 87 by Ele Fountain, A Good Day for Climbing Trees by Jaco Jacobs, Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson, The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. In June, we will collectively decide our favourites, probably by having a Balloon Debate, giving students the opportunity to use their powers of persuasion to keep their book in the air.

Lindfield Life

Mrs Perrin

We are also lucky to have the opportunity to submit book reviews for the Lindfield Life magazine. If your child wants to see their name in print, all they need to do is to write not more than 250 words about a book they have recently read and email it to the librarians at lrc@oathall.org and we will do the rest. When it is published, they can come and collect a copy of the magazine.

2018 end of year Teaching and Learning Bulletin

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

We are now approaching the end of what no doubt seems to many as being a very long term.  Of course, it has been a very full and exciting one too.  The paragraphs that follow in this latest learning bulletin will serve in giving you a sense of just how active and involved Oathall students have been over the past few weeks.

I was delighted to able to attend the Youth Speaks public speaking competition held here at Oathall recently.  The standards were extremely high and the performances of all our teams were outstanding.  I look forward to seeing how they progress in the future rounds of the competition next year.

There is a theme threading throughout this bulletin revealing how our students actively engage in activities that support others. A variety of learning mentor programmes see benefits for all involved and I am really pleased to see that the ‘Them and Us’ project is developing so well.

The last few days of term always feels particularly busy. Just two nights ago we held a splendid winter concert.  I received many exclamations of the breadth and indeed depth of the talent amongst Oathall students across all year groups.  It really was a wonderful evening and my thanks go to all those involved.  The Christmas lunch and our traditional ‘Carols in the Barn’ will seal the end of another successful term at Oathall.

On behalf of the governors and staff, may I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy 2019

Mr Edward Rodriguez – Headteacher

Learning in a variety of ways

Geography Homework interpreted differently – Alice Burwell explains the homework
This term in geography, we were given a sheet with a range of projects to choose from and given roughly two weeks to complete a series of tasks. The activities were categorized into three different levels, there was a starter, main and dessert. It was compulsory to complete a task from the main course. The tasks ranged in ability, we were encouraged to try the hardest ones. I chose to create a 3D model of a volcano and the other task I did was research a volcano and write a fact file on it. The volcano I chose for the fact file was Mt Vesuvius in Italy. I was among a number of students who were chosen to show their homework to Mr Rodriguez.  I know we all felt very proud of having achieved this honour.  

Carla Muskasa and Jennifer Woods made a video of ‘Tectonic Poetry’ to demonstrate their understanding of the topic and Niamh, Bella and Alice wrote a poem.

Art students have embraced a Masterclass to stretch their knowledge
A group of seven brilliant Art students have been coming to a lino printing masterclass after school, namely Isla McPherson in Year 7, Paige Nesbitt, Mollie Hooper, Annabel Gale, Sarah Galt, Finley Jenner and Charlie Rouse in Year 8. They are working through the process of designing and creating lino prints of animals. They start by transferring their drawings onto lino and then cut the design away using lino cutting tools. They have then used printing ink to print them and some have created colourful backgrounds too. I think you’ll agree that they are beautiful!

Peer Mentoring helps our younger students learn from our older students
Language Mentors
The Language Mentor scheme runs every Friday during afternoon registration. Keen and able students in Years 8 and 11 were nominated at the start of the year by their language teachers to take part in the scheme. Every Friday we meet in the library and Year 11 students lead language learning tasks with our Year 8 linguists. There is always a fantastic atmosphere and Year 11 students have shown creativity and flair in their leadership of the activities.

Maths Mentors
Our mentors have been doing a fantastic job for the last two years in supporting students in achieving their full potential, and in sharing and developing in others their love for learning maths. With the arrival of the December mocks, their work has come to an end and we are looking forward to selecting students in Year 10 that would like to continue their efforts.

The maths mentoring scheme is a very successful one where students in Years 10 and 11 support some very able mathematicians from year 7 students in theirs. Their work ranges from extending Year 7 work by working on higher topics, revision sessions and preparation for the junior maths challenges. If you would like to get involved speak to Miss Calleja or your maths teacher.

Reading Mentors
This year sees the third anniversary of the library reading mentor scheme. It takes place during Tuesday and Wednesday tutor times and is designed to encourage reluctant and struggling year 7 readers.

Mentees are identified through their Accelerated Reader scores and paired up with year 9 and 10 mentors. The mentors have volunteered for this role and received training to equip them. During the 20 minutes available to them, year 7s read to their mentors, who will listen, clarify, help, ask questions and encourage. It is an informal time, but students are still expected to read and they do engage very well with the format.

Our mentors are highly motivated as there was oversubscription for the role and some of them were mentees themselves three years ago and have now come back to the scheme to encourage and support the new year 7s with their reading. As the year progresses, we will start reading in larger groups; we will read plays and poetry, flash fiction and, of course, books on the Accelerated Reader programme. There are currently over 30 year 7s on the programme, all of whom really seem to enjoy the experience and the relationships they are building.  

Rewarding and helping

Maths goes to the movies – Ms L Griffiths
On Tuesday the 27th of November the Maths department held a film night for our Year 10 girls. We watched the incredibly inspiring film Hidden Figures. The film tells the story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the mathematical brains behind the USA’s launch into orbit  They had to overcome many barriers due to their race and gender.

Maths students enjoying the film, The Christmas Chronicles.

In a largely male-dominated field, we want to encourage our girls, to demonstrate that there are no obstacles standing in their way that they cannot overcome. If they want to have a career in the sciences it is so important they know they can achieve this. And of course, it wouldn’t have been a successful night without bags of popcorn!

On Tuesday the 4th of December the Maths department held a Key Stage 3 reward evening. Each teacher selected a handful of students who had consistently shown outstanding effort in Maths this term. 45 students from Year 7, 8 and 9 came along to an evening of popcorn, sweets and the new Netflix film The Christmas Chronicles. It was a really enjoyable experience to acknowledge all their hard work!

Them and Us, the ripple effect

Tutor group 7ELMS wrote a thank you postcard to a member of staff who has helped them settle into Oathall or who has inspired them in lessons.
Ms Sandford received a beautiful card from a Year 8 student to say thank you for helping her. Ms Sandford said, ” I was delighted as it was so unexpected!”
A lovely gift from a student in 7VAS which is going into one of our Christmas boxes for the YMCA DownsLink Group. The student has donated 5 books and has written this note in each one.

Rewarding Readers – Mrs D Perrin
Students who have read over a million words on the Accelerated reader scheme were rewarded with certificates in their House assemblies. Congratulations to the following students, you are all amazing! To find out more about Accelerated Reader, please read the library news further on in the bulletin.

Two of our Year 8 students have achieved outstanding word counts on Accelerated Reader. To date, Niamh Chapman has read 8,277,770 words and Tasha Lawrence has read 7,956,724. Well done girls, I suspect these numbers will have increased before long!

Tasha & Niamh, word multi-millionaires

Word Millionaires in Year 7
Archie Ramsden, Bobbie Clark, Dan Polhill, Ebba Wilson, Emily Jones, Freya Josephs, Harry Musson, Isobel Dupee, Megan Williams and Olivia Beck.

Word Millionaires in Year 8
Anna Bedingham, Harry Banks, Jake MacMahon, Marissa Joseph, Niamh Chapman, Tasha Lawrence and Bea Carter.

Word Millionaires in Year 9
Amie Moxon, Bobbie Steel, Deacon Stephens and Henry Tucker.

Challenging other schools

Taking part in ‘Youth Speaks’ – Ms C Slade
On Monday 26th of November, Oathall hosted the annual Youth Speaks competition with the Rotary Club. Youth Speaks objectives are to:

  • Challenge your public speaking abilities and perform, persuade and entertain the audience with your display of wit and knowledge of a topic.
  • In teams of three participants present arguments and points of discussion, before taking questions from the judging panel who are, themselves, skilled orators.
  • Participants can select a topic which is important to them, giving them an opportunity to delve deep into research, formulate ideas and build confidence.
We had four teams in this heat and they were obviously keen to go through to the next round, especially competing on home turf! The teams had been working really hard after school and in their lunchtimes in order to be ready – the juniors, in particular, were against some pretty tough competition.
Senior team 2 – Ben McDowell, Henry Forrest and Felix Carter are through to the District round, winning the overall competition in their age group. Ben McDowell also received Best Speaker, Kitty Underhill got Best Chairperson and Felix Carter got Best Vote of Thanks.
In the Junior competition – Oathall 1 – Molly Jordan, Matty Mackay and Tom Underhill beat Great Walsted A and B teams to go through to the District round! Matty Mackay took Best Chairperson, Bea Carter took Best Speaker and Great Walsted took Best Vote of Thanks.  Mollie McConnell also deserves recognition, after her teammates dropped out in the early stages of preparation, she could not compete but she chose to turn up to every practice to coach and work with the others. She also attended the evening to support all the teams. Well done Mollie!

Entering the ‘Senior Maths Challenge’ – Miss M Calleja
Following the success from last year, fifteen Year 11 students took part in the Senior Maths Challenge with over half of them obtaining a bronze award or better.  The Senior Maths Challenge is run by the UK Mathematics Trust and is supported by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. It is aimed at those in Years 13 and below and mostly taken by students in Further Education so we are very pleased with the success of our students. Our pupils achieved 2 silver and 8 bronze certificates in this competition taken by over 80,000 students from across the UK. A special mention should be made for Toby Watkinson and Jack Townsend who obtained silver awards. We wish our students good luck and further success in these competitions!

Matt Curtis, Jon Harper, Eliana Harrison, Harrison Kane, Alex Korniotis, Teddy Kell, Ted Maslin, Ed Mason, Rachel Neller, Alex Rhys-Williams, Mehul Rodney, Lauren Schou, Georgie Tingley, Jack Townsend, Toby Watkinson, Aoife Wright.

Demonstrating sporting prowess against Millais School – Ms Z Froud
I would like to congratulate the Under 12 Girls football team for holding Millais to a 1-1 draw in the County League recently. Both teams were unbeaten going into this match and it was a nail-biter! Player of the match nominated by the Millais team was Goalkeeper Millie Hopkins who made some exceptional saves. She was thrilled as I am sure you can imagine.

Under 12s Girls’ Football Team

Oathall Big Sing 2018 – Mrs C Mactaggart
We were very privileged to welcome international tenor Andrew Rees to lead our Oathall Big Sing 2018. What a brilliant morning of beautiful choral and contemporary singing by our primary feeder schools, led by the Oathall School Choir and accompanied by the very talented musicians from the College Jazz Band, Orchestra and Rock Band.

Miss Holmes from West Sussex Music who also attended the morning was very impressed by the standard of musicianship on display. She was able to promote vocal and instrumental lessons which are offered by West Sussex Music in schools across the County or at the Saturday morning school at Oathall, to inspire our next generation of musicians.
Mrs Mactaggart, Head of Music at Oathall commented on how much she is looking forward welcoming the Big Sing 2018 attendees to our choir and ensembles when they join the College next year and encouraged the wonderful young singers to consider joining the local Cora Nuova Youth Choir which is directed to Andrew Rees to further their skills.

Big Sing 2018

Oathall Marks the Centenary of World War One
The centenary of the end of World War One was marked by staff and students in a number of ways this year.  Mr Parry organised our ‘Field of Remembrance’ which gave students and staff the opportunity to honour and remember individuals from a number of past conflicts by donating to the Royal British Legion and dedicating a wooden cross to a particular soldier. The subsequent field of crosses in our piazza area provided a focal point for our remembrance and it was here we held a short ceremony on Friday 9th November, led by Mr Rodriguez.  Against the poignant backdrop of our ‘Field of Remembrance,’ we held a one minute’s silence and Felix Carter (Year 10) played a rendition of The Last Post and the Reveille in this incredibly well-attended ceremony.

Year 9 also gathered in the hall on 9th November to watch an advance screening of ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, an Imperial War Museum film commissioned to mark the centenary of World War One where original footage from the trenches was brought to life with the use of colour and sound technology.

Other activities included a poetry competition open to all year groups, tutor time activities and House assemblies led by Mr Hastings. Our students have, as always, impressed us with their response to the various remembrance events and we were honoured to have played our part in commemorating this important anniversary.

Winners and runners-up of the poetry competition received prizes, certificates and House points from Head Teacher, Mr Rodriguez.

Cuckfield Remembers concert
Students from Oathall Community College and Warden Park Academy joined forces to perform Holt’s Mars and Elgar’s Nimrod at the Cuckfield remembers Community Concert under the batons of Carol Mac Taggart and Martijn Van Galen. The pieces were well received and students were complimented on the high standard of the music as well as the respectful and friendly conduct of our students. We are all now very much looking forward to the launch of the WISDOM orchestral day to be held at Oathall on the 11th January 2019 where all the local Mid Sussex schools will be performing together like a symphony orchestra in a project led by local Heads of Music and the West Sussex Music Hub

Library news
The library has been as busy as ever, supporting our students with their reading and research during lesson times and encouraging them to engage in a variety of activities at break and lunchtimes. There is a lovely atmosphere in the library, it’s a busy place with lots going on.

Accelerated Reader
This is our second year using the Accelerated Reader programme. Over the next few issues of the bulletin, we would like to take the opportunity to explain in more detail what this means for your child. All year 7 & 8 students, plus a few additional students in years 9 & 10, are enrolled automatically on the scheme. So far this year, students have completed two STAR tests (multiple choice quiz style test) and they now have their reading ranges from which to chose a reading book. We have purchased books to support readers at all levels and we encourage students to challenge themselves to read a variety of genres.

Students on the Accelerated Reading scheme have read over 84 million words in 1,669 books since September, an amazing achievement.

Here are some reading suggestions for over the holiday period you might like to share with your children.

Puffin Books reading suggestions  

Winter reading challenge here  

Geography faculty suggested reading


TV programmes based on books being shown over the Christmas period have been shared by a librarian colleague and can be found  here

Battle of the Books
We have also started up a new book club this term called Battle of the Books. Based on an American competition that has been running since the 1930s, it is a reading incentive programme where students read chosen books, organise themselves into teams and then ‘battle’ against each other to see who knows the most. Each question starts ‘in which book’ which eliminates potential confusion and there is a bonus if teams can remember the author of the book. Students from Year 7 and 8 have been reading since October and we now have five teams ready to start ‘battling’ in the new year. Our highlight will be when we ‘battle’ a teacher team during World Book Week in March. The students have been a delight, they are keen and organised – a librarians’ dream.

Scholastic Book Fair
We also had an incredibly successful Scholastic Half Price Book Fair where we sold over £815 worth of books. Not only do your children benefit by getting everything at a 50% discount, but the library can then chose books to the value of £81, all at half price. We are thrilled with our selection and they are now available for your children to borrow.

Lindfield Life
We are also lucky to have the opportunity to submit book reviews for the Lindfield Life magazine. If your child wants to see their name in print, all they need to do is to write not more than 250 words about a book they have recently read and email it to the librarians at lrc@oathall.org and we will do the rest. When it is published, they can come and collect a copy of the magazine.

Fun in the library
The idea that a library is a place of silence, that librarians go around saying ‘shush’ all the time is well and truly gone. Libraries are a hive of activity, the only rule being that your noise doesn’t impact on someone else’s activity. During break and lunchtimes, our library is transformed into a bustling place, full of students swapping their books, checking their homework, printing out whatever they need for their studies, reading our magazines and chatting to friends. They also play chess and yu-gi-oh plus there is a drop-in, student-led origami club on Fridays.

Happy Christmas from all the staff at Oathall

Winners of the best jumper award went to the Maths faculty.

Teaching and Learning Bulletin – Back to School 2018

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

We have had a busy start to the autumn term and our latest teaching and learning bulletin provides an insight to much that is new in the school.

Significantly, I was so pleased that our new Maths and Science block opened on time for the start of the new academic year. This major project has seen these critical facilities in the school completely transformed. The recent formal opening of the block was an excellent event and I am so delighted that Sir Paul Nurse FRS was able to attend as our guest of honour. Discussing science and sharing practical experiences with a Nobel laureate are not everyday experiences and will certainly become a cherished memory for all involved, both staff and students. The evening welcomed many visitors to the school including a number of parents and donors who had supported the school so generously through our recent PTA organised crowdfunding event.

Our whole-school ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) programme is really turning Oathall into a ‘Reading School’. Pioneered by Ms Chinn in the English faculty, an almost eerie silence descends on the school during those allotted periods when students and staff take out a book from their bags and read. Developing a reading culture is critical in so many aspects of learning and I am delighted to see how quickly this practice has become embedded in the school.

In many ways, DEAR is part of a strategy to enhance our school culture. Very much on that theme is the ‘Them and Us’ project launched by Mr Parry earlier in the term. I am really excited by the potential of this work and look forward to seeing this develop over the coming weeks at Oathall.

A celebration of Whole School Activities

Drop Everything And Read, otherwise known as DEAR time, happening around the school.

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“Them and Us” Launch

Mr M Parry

This week, we have launched the “Them and Us” programme at Oathall. It is an exciting project being run in hundreds of schools across the country with the intention of helping young people understand those who are different to them. It focuses on 3 areas – Kindness, Respect and Living Without Harm. We will be focusing on Kindness and Respect with sessions being run in tutor groups to explore the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. Projects will be running throughout the school year such as “Random Acts of Kindness Week” when students will be encouraged to carry out small acts of kindness to anyone and everyone. Staff and students are excited about what this will do to our school atmosphere and community as a whole. It has already begun with students helping staff pick up litter without being asked, teachers, receiving gifts from students and a little hum of excitement which feels like it could develop into a roar any day!

Thanks go to this group of students who picked up litter without being asked.

Using the new Science & Maths Building (SAM)

Ms E Costelloe

We have had a great start to the year back in the SAM building. The facilities are fantastic and we are loving teaching and learning in our brand new rooms. Year 7 and 8 have been busily getting their bunsen burner licenses and our fortnightly Science club is oversubscribed with budding young scientists. So far they have made bath bombs, slime and set alight to gas bubbles! We are extremely grateful for the fundraising by OPTA and the new equipment is starting to arrive. Mrs Isley and Mrs Pringle particularly enjoyed showing our visitors our new thermal imaging camera on Open Day!


Full circle farms project

Ms A Murray

We started our ‘Full circle farms project’ two weeks ago.  Tom Morphew, who is a former Oathall student, asked us to get involved.  He runs his own sustainable food company that uses waste from top London restaurants to make compost.  He then grows amazing vegetables, spices and herbs with this compost to sell back to the restaurants to use as ingredients in their tasty meals.  In our first week, we planted over 4000 seeds!  It has been great to start to see the seeds growing and we are looking forward to tasting the finished product.  Tom has recently appeared on Saturday Kitchen on BBC One to talk about his company.

National Poetry Day

Ms P Sullivan

On 4th October our students celebrated National Poetry Day in the style we are accustomed to: with one of our termly Open Mic Sessions! 

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Students from across the years came to read out poetry – some that they had written themselves and others that have been published. There was a fantastic array of poetry and excellent readings, with a couple of brave souls reciting their chosen poem from memory.

Well done to everyone who took part and thanks to David and Josh in Year 10 for setting up the sound system for us.

Freshers Fair

Ms L Gyngell
Year 7s were given the opportunity to attend our first ever ‘Freshers Fair’ this half term.
Clubs were represented by Oathall students and staff, giving Year 7 the perfect opportunity to find out more about the vast array of clubs on offer at the college from War Hammer to Maths Digit Doctors!
For more information regarding the clubs on offer please visit our website and click on the link ‘School Life‘.

Investigative, creative and physical learning throughout our faculties.

In Music 

Mrs C Mactaggart

Oathall musicians in all years are very busy rehearsing for the performances this term. We are looking forward to performing at The Big Sing with our local primary schools on the 30th October, Cuckfield Remembers concert on the 10th November and of course our own Christmas Concert and Carols In The Barn in December.

In Science 

Ms K Pettingel
This half term as part of their energy topic, year 8 have been investigating the best materials to insulate a house. Through a series of lessons, students have tested different materials and looked at heat loss in buildings using our new thermal imaging camera’s. Students then designed and built their houses and tested how well the house contained the heat through quantitative tests and observations with the thermal camera. In our final lesson, they presented their ideas to each other and showed off their fabulous work. Fantastic investigation skills year 8!

Ms Z Froud

Year 8 gymnasts explored different forms of sports acrobatics and partner and group balances this half term to produce an outstanding final piece for their assessment. They showed maturity, teamwork, focus and resilience to perform some stunning balances.

The Under 12s played their first game of the seasons (and for some their first ever game of Football) at Burgess Hill Academy last night and secured an emphatic victory 7-1. All players were marvellous, Player of the match was Ella Chatfield who scored 5 goals!

Under 12s football team

The Under 14 Football team gave a fantastic display of resilience, determination and dedication during their 3-3 draw against Sackville in their first game of the season. This was the first time the girls had played collectively as a team and some Year 8 students even played up a year group. They went behind 3 times in the game but would not be beaten!
Player of the match was Molly Aplin selected by the Sackville players.

Under 14s football team


The PE department’s extra-curricular programme has had a fantastic start with great numbers of students from all year groups attending a range of clubs from Dance to Football and Fitness to Frisbee. Here are the Football girls after a training session in the sunshine. Keep it up, girls!

Football girls

Year 7s making a start…

In English

Ms L Fisher

Continuing with their creative journals that they began over the summer, many Year 7 students created their own Coat of Arms in English lessons. The students drew inspiration from famous Coats of Arms, such as Queen Elizabeth’s and Meghan Markle’s. Ultimately, each student’s Coat of Arms exemplified their unique origins through symbols, colours, and mottoes. The students explained each part of their Coat of Arms in writing and then displayed their finished work using a gallery experience during the lesson.



In Music

Year 7s have gotten off to a cracking start in the Music Department at Oathall and we have been delighted to welcome them as new members of the school orchestra, various choirs and our Jazz Band. They were treated to a wonderful performance by one of our school bands as well as watching a presentation from West Sussex Music teachers designed to introduce the instrumental and vocal lessons on offer to them at the College.

In the library

Mrs D Perrin
Our Year 7s have now had their induction into the Oathall library. Over four lessons they have learned how the library is organised and how to chose a book that is right for them; they have taken the STAR test which has given them all their individual reading level for the Accelerated Reader scheme; they have learned about the library software system, done two library quizzes and finally, put it all into practice by taking part in a Roald Dahl Treasure Hunt around the library. Lots of fun and lots of learning took place and we are delighted that they are discovering the books we have on our shelves and are excited about borrowing them.

2018: The Year Of Engineering – Women In Engineering Conference – Mathematics

Mrs P Gaston

On Thursday 20th September 2018, a group of our talented Year 10 female mathematicians headed off to the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham, Kent for a one day “Women in Engineering Conference”. The Year of Engineering aims to encourage young people to realise the potential of a career in engineering. 
Our wonderful group of students stood out for their excellent prior knowledge, their teamwork and their great respect for the highly acclaimed lecturers, speakers and organisers. 

Students had the opportunity to meet leading Female Engineers from Universities, from Industry and from the Engineering division of the Army. They had a chance to develop and use Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics during a series of practical workshops. There was also time to visit the Royal Engineers Museum during the day

. The practical activities were interspersed with inspirational talks from female engineers who all had links with the Trust, the Museum, STEM Ambassador Hub South East England, and the University of Greenwich at Medway
The event was organised by our Mathematics Enrichment Leader Ms Calleja as part of the National Year of Engineering.
The students were accompanied by Mrs Gaston & Mrs Ransom who were thrilled to report that Oathall students were “totally engaged in the subject and interesting & polite company for the day”. A number of the organisers made a point of complimenting our students on their behaviour and positive attitude. A truly great experience!