Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy
Greetings from Edward Rodriguez, Headteacher.
This latest Teaching and Learning Bulletin provides testament to a very busy and productive term at Oathall. Our cross-curricular themed weeks have provided the stimulus for some truly imaginative learning experiences that have really challenged our students. Moreover, you will read examples of a plethora of enriching opportunities that students from Year 7 to 11 have enjoyed.
Whilst the weather did its best to interrupt proceedings earlier in the term, I am pleased to report that the substantial renovation of our science and maths block is still on schedule for its July completion. A number of visits have taken place this term with students, staff, and parents. The project is really progressing very well indeed and with plaster on the walls, second fix electricals being completed and flooring being fitted, there is a real sense of being on the ‘home-straight’ for this major development.
I have to commend the Oathall science staff in particular for the manner in which they have secured excellent learning experiences this year for the students; despite the additional challenges they have faced teaching in somewhat unconventional settings. I know they are very much looking forward to moving into their splendid new accommodation.
I am also grateful for the hard work and commitment of our Parent Teacher Association who are striving to secure additional funds to augment the facilities in our new maths and science block. Following recent mailings, they are currently leading a number of student assemblies and I would like to thank you all in advance for your support of their fund-raising efforts.
We now focus our attention on our year 11 students as they approach their final few weeks with us at Oathall. I am sure that you would want to join me in wishing them every success in their forthcoming examinations.
May I wish you a restful Easter break and I look forward to what promises to be a very exciting summer term at Oathall.
Teaching & learning outside the box
Oathall has embraced cross-curricular themes since the New Year. They give us an ideal opportunity for our students to appreciate that their learning takes place through several disciplines and viewpoints. We want to challenge them to take something they have learned in one subject and apply it in another.
The whole school has participated in various cross-curricular week themed learning in the Spring Term. We have had lots of exciting activities going on which encouraged our students to think around their subjects in a new way.
The English faculty did some fantastic written work around art designers, as can be seen below. A display of the work has been put up along the English corridor.
The Geography faculty capitalized on the students’ love of English, using Harry Potter to teach contour mapping in an innovative way whereas the library chose to take traditional maps and challenge students to think about the information on them
Here are the maps produced by the library staff
Different world maps challenging our students to look at the world in a different way
A map of the London Underground showing the average salary at each station
The Maths faculty joined forces with DT, as they like presenting maths in a real life context and to open our students’ eyes to a current world where maths is used in numerous disciplines. For example looking at how maths can help support different jobs such as the construction industry.
In English students were writing mathematical poems taking inspiration by using its digits as a template for the number of letters in the words that made our poems. Some of the best poems written by our students went on display in the library
In Humanities students were given the opportunity to learn more about map skills and combined maths knowledge to support them. They used scales and six-figure grid references to find places of interest in the local area and bearings to describe directions. Our students feel confident with these very important life skills!
In Art and DT students investigated maths elements of tessellation and in particular the work of Escher, where they designed their own display poster of tessellations in an artwork.
Teamwork was the focus of the Performance Faculty, and during this week students took part in a number of challenges during lessons, working together to solve more complex problems and mathematical challenges. Teachers ran mathematical relays and activities where teamwork and communication skills were essential.
Students have enjoyed being given the opportunity explore different aspects of Maths in the context of other subjects, and we are very much looking forward to taking part in the upcoming cross-curricular weeks.
A DATE WITH SUCCESS
By Ms Bird
On Friday 12th January, Year 9 students attended the annual Careers Speed Dating event where they had the opportunity to speak to business representatives from across the county and beyond. It is organised to inspire our future workforce about real jobs; practise those all-important communication skills, and hopefully dispel some myths and challenge gender stereotypes. This event complements the Year 9 options process and students’ feedback is always very positive.
In fast-paced 5-minute slots, students asked a barrage of questions of the 32 different volunteers representing a wide range of employment sectors including banking, engineering, medicine, hospitality, hairdressing, publishing, veterinary medicine, uniformed services, scientific research, sport, childcare, geological surveying, nursing, retail, architecture, physiotherapy and many more!
Feedback from the employers has been extremely positive. Year 9 students did themselves proud.
Reflecting on his first experience of Oathall’s Careers Speed Dating, Jon Parry – Geologist commented: ‘I was genuinely impressed by the level of engagement and enthusiasm of the students. Thank you for inviting me to take part in the experience, which was both enjoyable and rewarding.’
Sarah Breeze – an Architect, said: ‘The students had some great questions. Many were interested in creative subjects, especially art and design technology, and we discussed various careers that are linked to these. They were also interested in university life and also travelling as part of a job.’
Claire Batchelor – Primary School Teacher (and a former head girl at Oathall) commented: ‘The students were a credit to the school and showed interest and respect the entire time. It made me feel proud to be a teacher and after selling the profession to the students, I came away remembering why I do the job.’
Thank you to all the business volunteers for giving up their time so generously to support our students. It was especially pleasing that some of the participants were former Oathall students and members of the school’s Alumni Association.
STEM TRIP for girls
By Ms Calleja
Fifteen Year 8 girls students attended the Girls do STEM conference at the AMEX stadium in Brighton at the end of January. This event was run by Albion in the Community, the official charity of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. The aim of the conference was to get more girls inspired to choose STEM-based subjects such as computing, ICT or media when considering their GCSE options, and to “open their eyes” to what they could achieve in the place of work and how studying a STEM-based subject could support and enhance their own future career. Also, very importantly, that these subjects and exciting job roles are not just for men!
These fifteen lucky students met several female role models in meetings that took a form similar to a speed dating event. Our girls felt really fired up and inspired after meeting some very successful women in different STEM careers.
STEM trip for girls
Making words come alive
In Zine Club…
by Ms Sullivan
Zine club runs every Friday. Last term, the students compiled a Year 7 zine as part of House Challenge Week. This term the group are producing some pages for their own zine.
…and through reading
By Ms Chinn
All Year 7 and 8 students have been taking part in the Accelerated Reader reading scheme we launched in October of last year. They are reading books within one set lesson which is timetabled on a fortnightly basis. After finishing a book within their level, they take quizzes on the library computers to prove their understanding of what they have read. As they accumulate quiz results the computer is able to recommend a new level based on their results and the system figures out how many words they have read so far in total.
Well done to 7AB3 and 8CD2 who have done particularly well this term!
We are pleased to announce at this stage that we have a number of ‘Word Millionaires amongst us!
Word Millionaires in Year 7
Tasha Lawrence, George Hughes, Niamh Chapman and Jacob Grey
Word Millionaires in Year 8
Molly Gaydon, Theo Billson and Alex King
According to recent data we are also proud to announce that the whole cohort has read over 42 million words!
Some team competitions are sports based but this term as well as celebrating lots of sporting achievements we also share news from the Maths faculty on their team success and the Science Faculty as they entered “Race for the Line”.
By Ms Froud
Congratulations to the Under 13 Girls Cricket team who have progressed through to the County finals of the Lady Taverners Indoor Competition. They convincingly beat Sackville, Millais and Birchwood Grave schools.
Under 13 Girls Cricket team
The Under 15 Girls Cricket team competed in the Sussex Schools Indoor cricket championships this week. They won convincingly against Millais School and Ardingly but narrowly lost to Warden Park by 7 runs. A great team effort and yet again the most wonderful displays of sportsmanship from all involved.
Under 15 Girls Cricket Team
The Under 12 Girls Football team showed grit and determination to beat The Weald School 1-0 in the West Sussex League.
Players of the match – Eva Marley, Alice Burwell and Millie Somerville.
Under 12s Girls Football Team
The Year 7 boys represented Mid Sussex in the County finals of the Indoor Athletics Competition at the Triangle last week. There were over 100 competitors from all over success and the team managed to secure a Bronze medal. What a fantastic achievement.
J Sullivan, L Keane, E Roslin, A Hale, J Wood, Bronze medal winning team representing Mid Sussex
By Ms Calleja
Not all maths competitions take the form of a paper. Every year students take part in team maths competitions which combine mathematical, communication and teamwork skills. The competitions consist of different rounds where students can demonstrate these skills when solving problems and cross-numbers in their team together with relay and shuttle rounds.
Two teams entered the regional competition of the Year 10 Maths Feast Team competition run by the Further Maths Support Programme. Our teams achieved third and sixth place. A further team formed of two Year 8s and two Year 9s took part in the regional round of the team maths challenge run by the UKMT. The challenge took place at Lancing College and our students competed with many other schools in the area, achieving 8th place. Well done to all students involved
During the spring term, our students have entered individual and team maths challenges and competitions achieving multiple successes. 60 Oathall students entered the individual maths challenges. These challenges are run by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust as a way to stimulate interest in maths and give students the opportunity to solve interesting mathematical problems in multiple choice question papers.
57 students from Years 9-11 entered the Intermediate Maths Challenge achieving the best results in recent years. Over half of the students that entered this competition received an award: 2 students received a gold award, 17 obtained a silver award and 14 obtained a bronze award. Moreover, 8 Year 11 students took part in the Senior Maths Challenge, designed for students of up to year 13, with half of them obtaining a bronze award.
A special mention should be made for Leon Lochan who obtained gold and bronze awards in these challenges respectively. Leon was best in school for both papers and he has qualified for the next round of the Intermediate Challenge. Hence, he will be sitting the Pink Kangaroo challenge in March. We wish Leon good luck and further success in this competition!
Year 7 – Race for the Line
“During our science week we made Rocket Cars to race as part of a national competition. We carved, decorated and had lots of fun in our teams and, when the racing day came, blocks of foam were completed masterpieces. The military rocketeers came to the school to launch our cars across the finish line. When they were set off they made a huge bang and went so fast that some of them lost their wheels and snapped in half. We really enjoyed our science week project”.
By Bethan Steel and Rosie Walker (7TS)