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

https://www.readbrightly.com/why-reading-aloud-with-older-kids-is-best/

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.

The Fifteenth National Students’ Art Exhibition 2017

Congratulations‎ to our year 11 artists Holly Jones, Naomi Johnson, Jessica Laimons and photographer Katie Hastings whose work was selected to be exhibited in the NSAE held in the prestigious Mall Galleries under the patronage of The Royal Society of British Artists. We are delighted that eight pieces of work were exhibited from our students demonstrating the exceptional talent and commitment to excellence at Oathall. Art pieces submitted by Tristan Redgrove and Millie Brown were also highly commended.

Chris Russell, CEO, “It is encouraging to find that in times of serious funding problems, schools still want to celebrate their art at national level. Anyone seeing the impact of selection on the artists, teachers and parents will be uplifted, as they will by the enormous effort and commitment that goes into such an exhibition.”

Art and Photography Teacher (full-time)
Mainscale

We are seeking to appoint a full-time teacher of art and GCSE photography with effect from 1st September 2017.   Applications are welcome from experienced teachers, NQTs, and former teachers returning to teaching.

Oathall is an ambitious and forward-thinking 11-16 community college with 1000 students.  We are strategic partners in a local Teaching School Alliance.   The school is characterised by our high expectations and an absolute commitment to raising standards and achievement for all. We are committed to Continuing Professional Development through a strong training programme.

The Art department offers popular and successful GCSE courses in Art and Photography. We aim to inspire and challenge our students to develop into highly effective, independent learners and seek an enthusiastic teacher to join us.

Completed application forms should be returned as soon as possible together with a letter of application, no more than 2 sides of A4, but no later than 9.00 a.m. Friday 5th May.  Applications will be considered as they are received.

Headteacher’s letter

Job Specification Art

The National Students’ Art Exhibition 2016

Congratulations to GCSE Art student and Oathall Head Boy, John Moore whose artwork was selected to be exhibited at The Mall Galleries, London. John’s piece was a portrait of fellow student Jack Davidian-Judd.The likeness was created by the meticulous weaving of threads back and forth across a grid of nails to reproduce the image.

This is the fourteenth year of the National Students’ Art Exhibition held under the patronage of the Royal Society of British Artists. The exhibition is truly inspirational featuring the best young artists in the country alongside work from some of the finest professional artists.

James Horton MA RBA (President)said,

“The work chosen is carefully selected to represent the very best of what is being produced in schools across the nation. With one aim in mind which is to send the strongest message possible, to all our young artists that our society needs creative people, who will enrich the fabric of our culture and who will be taken seriously by professional bodies such as ours, and who will also become the next generation of respected professionals.”

The 13th National Students’ Art Exhibition

Congratulations to year 11 Art GCSE students Ellie Angus and Jess Brown whose portrait paintings were both selected to be exhibited at The Mall Galleries earlier this month.

JB-Portrait-web EA-with-portrait-webThis is the 13th year of the National Students’ Art Exhibition held under the patronage of the Royal Society of British Artists. It features the best young artists in the country, a truly inspirational exhibition celebrating gifted and talented students in Schools, Colleges and Academies.

James Horton MA RBA (President): ” It is vital and perhaps more so than ever before, that as a society we should strive to maintain a serious approach to developing new talent and ensuring that skills in all media are properly taught and the results recognised and applauded in order to preserve our cultural heritage.”

Oathall nationally recognised for arts and cultural education

Back row left to right: Mr Martijn Van Galen, Mr Edward Rodriguez, Mrs Amy Kingsford, Mrs Carol Mac Taggart, John Moore (art and music), Kelly Tingley (dance), Joe Willis (drama), Rhiannon Jones, (dance), Sophie Farrell (drama), Mina Mae Alexander (music), Nathanael Thomas-Atkins (music). Front row left to right: Mrs Carla Avery, Charlotte Weller (music and drama)

Artsmark Gold has been awarded to Oathall College for its commitment to, and excellence in, arts and cultural education.  Headteacher, Mr Edward Rodriguez presented the award to a group of students representing all of the arts disciplines at the last night of the college’s performance of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Continue reading

The 12th National Students Art Exhibition

Katy Gardner beside her portrait at the Mall Galleries

Congratulations to Katy Gardner, whose GCSE artwork was selected by the Royal Society of British Artists judging panel to be exhibited at this year’s National Students Art Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.  This is an incredible achievement, particularly as both large scale pieces made the final selection.

Congratulations also to Zakiyra Begum, Kieran Ross, Hassana Akther-Tuhra, Freya Way and Marjana Akther-Bushra whose submitted artwork was highly commended.

A talent for printmaking

Oathall has once again played host to some fantastically gifted and talented artists from some of our local Primary schools. Pupils in Year 4 and 5 have attended 5 workshops at Oathall this year and have worked with Oathall’s art department developing their skills in drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed media and printing.

Primary Art

Primary pupils attend Oathall’s gifted and talented art master class.

The primary school pupils attended their final art workshop this month. Using a range of printmaking techniques inspired by the illustrator Carol Barker, students created artworks on the theme of owls and peacocks,

Art teacher Mrs Jo Smith-Hashim said:

“I’m really impressed with the standard of work that the students have produced, they have been really enthusiastic throughout the course and have produced some excellent and creative pieces of art.”

Gifted and Talented winners

Students from Oathall recently took part in the annual Central Mid-Sussex Schools Gifted & Talented festival. The event is in its third year and each year goes from strength to strength.

G&T students with their work in the headteachers office

Gifted and Talented students with examples of their work being exhibited int he Headteacher’s office.

Workshops and activities were offered in a range of subjects such as maths, creative writing, poetry, science, ICT and philosophy as well as creative arts including pottery, sewing and textiles.

Oathall students were winners in Art and Poetry categories with a number of other students being runners up or being highly commended by the judges. A list of winners can be found on the Central Mid Sussex Schools website.

The response from the children who took part in the festival has been extremely positive, with almost 90% rating the activities in which they took part as either good or brilliant.  Many children were particularly enthusiastic about having had the opportunity to learn news skills whilst working with, and making friends with, children from other schools.

You can see photos of some of our successful students on our Flickr pages.