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Greetings from Edward Rodriguez, Headteacher.
We are now approaching the final few days of what has been another busy and successful term at Oathall. Whilst our students and staff are looking forward to a well-earned winter break it is important to reflect on all that has been achieved over the past few months.
As always, the students have shown excellent commitment to their studies and have enthusiastically engaged with all that is on offer at the school. This has been the first full term in which we have operated in somewhat constrained circumstances due to the extensive building work that is being undertaken to our science and mathematics block. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the students and of course, their teachers for how well they have adapted to the changes in the school.
I am pleased to report that the building work is on schedule and we are very much looking forward to enjoying these excellent new facilities from September next year. It is very satisfying to see that the new roof and the fenestration are all but complete, along with the new exterior finishes. We hope to see the scaffolding being removed early in the new year with the focus very much moving to the internal build. This is also progressing rapidly and, with all internal walls constructed, mechanical and electrical installations are now well underway. I have been really pleased to take a number of students on tours of the site. Observing a building in this state of construction has been of particular interest to our GCSE engineering students, of course.
Our Year 11 students are now approaching the end of their mock examination period. They have worked hard and will no doubt use their experiences to focus their efforts as they look forward to their final weeks of study next year.
I write following another outstanding Christmas concert, in which the depth of talent at Oathall was so richly displayed. We look forward to our college Christmas lunch this week and of course our celebrated ‘Carols in the Barn’ on Monday evening. Our final traditional Christmas assemblies on the 19th December signal the close of a long autumn term.
On behalf of the governors and staff at Oathall, may I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
By Jo Godbolt
This year, staff and students in Voyager House have come up with a special way of marking the Remembrance period and supporting The Royal British Legion, their chosen House Charity at the same time.
Inspired by the 2014 ‘Blood Swept Lands’ art installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, Voyager House decided to install a Field of Remembrance – a small patch of ground where pupils and staff could plant small wooden crosses dedicated to individuals who died as a result of armed conflict. This installation dedicated to the fallen will help focus minds during this period of remembrance.
Field of Remembrance
The whole school is involved as the Field of Remembrance sits in the middle of the school grounds and everyone will pass by it several times a day. Staff and students have been asked to dedicate a cross to family members or people of personal significance. Students in Voyager House will be assisting Mr Parry, Head of Voyager House in placing out the crosses and maintaining the installation over the time it is in place.
Field of crosses
Mr Parry said,
“I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this idea with their kind words and donations; in just one week we have raised over £100 for the Royal British Legion which is outstanding. ”
The crosses will be left in place until next week after which they can be taken away by the individuals who dedicated them. Any remaining will be moved to the Haywards Heath War memorial.
Students in the field of remembrance
Creativity at Oathall
Year 8 Geographers have been making volcano models.
By Kim Garrick
We’ve had a huge variety of models ranging from those made of wood, clay and papier mache to those made out of cake! Students made a huge effort to ensure their models represented real life volcanoes and some of them even erupted.
Year 10, Symbolism and Christingles
By Mike Parry
Year 10 GCSE Religious Studies class learning about symbolism in Christian celebrations of Christmas by making Christingles.The students enjoyed reliving their primary school days making Christingles and exploring different interpretations of the nativity story.
Christmas has turned scientific in S1 with our beautiful (non-acidic!) Chrismas Chemis-tree!
By Debbie Isley
O Chemis-tree, O Chemis-tree,
How acidic are thy branches….
Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas from the Science Faculty
Oathall in the community
By Penny Sullivan
On 27th November, three teams of Oathall students represented the school at our annual Youth Speaks event run by the Haywards Heath Rotary Club. Our topics were: ‘An Experience in Voice Acting’, ‘Why the Voting Age should be lowered to 16’ and ‘Inspirational Women’. The students all fulfilled their roles of Chair Person, Main Speaker and Vote Of Thanks giver admirably and did the school proud.
Well done to Molly Hord, Abigail Cooper, Kitty Underhill, Henry Forest, Tom Underhill, Ben McDowell, Bea Carter, Felix Carter and Tasha Lawrence.
Youth Speaks participants
Year 11s on the A Christmas Carol trip.
By Emily Evans
On Wednesday the 14th of December, Year 11 English students and Year 10 Drama students were treated to an interactive performance of A Christmas Carol in Brighton. Performed at The Spire (a converted church) students were left musing at the sense of hope and message of redemption suggested in the play which is apt at all times in the year. Students danced along with the cast and enjoyed the experience immensely.
Marden Sayers, a Year 10 drama student, reflected “It was very good. The lighting was superb especially when the ghost of Christmas Future was towering over Scrooge.”
Oathall students showed brilliant behaviour and were a credit to the school.
The girls’ cricket team competed in the first Under 18 Sussex Cricket event of the year at Bede’s school, Upper Dicker. This was a friendly event with Oathall playing teams from Millais, Brighton and Hove High School and Bedes. It was an opportunity for them to practice and develop their skills and they also had an opportunity to meet the England Ladies Wicket Keeper and Batter Sarah Taylor, pictured above with the Oathall team.
By Mike Parry
Mr Parry’s Year 9 RE/PSHE class has been fully engaged in learning about the arguments that surround the legalisation of drugs. They particularly enjoyed putting forward different points of view and so they decided to hold a debate.
Oathall makes music
By Carol MacTaggart
Oathall musicians have been working very hard arranging and rehearsing their music for the Christmas Concert, and Carols in the Barn Service, with over 120 students taking part. Mrs Mac Taggart, Mr Van Galen and our guests who attended the performances enjoyed them immensely. A highlight was the showcasing of the music videos presented by Year 9 students.
Staff, students and ex-students taking a well earned dinner break having set up the sound and lighting for the concert in record time.
Staff and students in Performance are very much looking forward to beginning work on the school play, Macbeth in January 2018!
Celebrating Outsanding work with Mr Rodriguez
By Faye Hatchard
This term Year 8 geographers have been busy learning all about tectonic plates. The following students were selected to show their amazing earthquake homework to the Headteacher; Eleanor Barnes, Hannah Taylor, Simonne Gautron, Isla Mustin and Erica Marriott-Tremlett. Isla explains in more detail below:
“This term, for our geography homework we were asked to design and research an earthquake-proof building or home. We could complete this project however we wanted; some people made posters, models, booklets or sketches. I chose to create a large poster, with a drawing of my earthquake-proof offices, lots of information about the importance of earthquake-proof buildings and the effects of an earthquake. From this project, I have gained the knowledge and understanding of how these structures are formed, as well as developing my architectural skills. I was very pleased and excited when I was chosen to see Mr Rodriguez, to show him my homework, because it is very satisfying to know that all of my hard work had been recognised and rewarded. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this homework, as I was able to showcase my skills, as well as receive acknowledgement from senior members of staff.”
By Isla Mustin, Year 8 Student.
Adapting to our surroundings
Science – Year 7 has been learning all about British mammals.
By Debbie Isley
Students have reseached about their favourite British mammal and presented their information for others to learn from. What they eat, what eats them, where they live and adaptations to living in their environment were all studied.
Fabulous work was completed by everyone but a special mention must be to Ellie Bennett who did her work on Deer, Olivia Fox who studied the Red Fox and Sam Kelly’s excellent work on Grey squirrels. Well done everyone.
The Science Faculty is adapting to its temporary accommodation.
By Emma Costello
As you can see, we have been keen to still do as much practical science as possible despite being in temporary accommodation this year. Here is one of our portable Bunsen burners in action!
Oathall library news
By Debra Perrin
The library continues to be a centre for all our students, be they reading, doing homework, revising for tests and exams or just finding a space to hang out at break and lunchtimes or to catch up with friends.
We are seeing an impressive increase in borrowing of books thanks to the Accelerated Reader programme that has been rolled out for Years 7 & 8. The reading programme has made it much easier for students to find books which are the right level for them and, as one student who usually struggles to find a book told me recently, “this book is just right for me. I can read it. I can’t wait to turn over the page and find out what happens next” The smile on her face and the joy in her eyes was a privilege to experience.
Bookshops are full of attractive displays, especially at this time of year, promoting books but if you would like some suggestions, here are some lists which might help.
For reluctant readers, try any on this list from BookRIot
The Guardian best books of 2017 are here
The UK’s top book award winners for 2017 are here
Young Adult books that are being made into films next year include
- Eleanor And Park by Rainbow Rowell
- A Tale Dark And Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
- Fallen by Lauren Kate
- Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
- The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
- Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
Thanks to everyone who supported the Scholastic Half Price Book Fair last week. We sold over £550 worth of books, posters and stationery. The library gets 10% of that figure to spend on books and we chose these fantastic titles which will be ready for students to borrow after the holidays.
Extracurricular at Oathall
Year 7 Science Club
By Emma Costello
The new Year 7s have proved themselves to be enthusiastic scientists with a record number of attendees at this terms Science Club. The highlight of the term must have been making slime with over 40 keen students giving up their lunch break to discover the magical ingredients that are used in the making of slime. Another session found the students making and lighting their own sparklers in preparation for November 5th. Other popular activities have included making glass, salt flames, bath bombs and rainbow fizz.
The club runs every Weds A from 1.20 to 1.45 in S4 and is open to all of year 7. Please see Mrs Pringle if you are interested in joining.
By Zoe Froud
The girls’ cricket team competed in the first Under 18 Sussex cricket event of the year at Bede’s school, Upper Dicker. This was a friendly event with Oathall playing teams from Millais, Brighton and Hove High School and Bedes. It was an opportunity for them to practice and develop their skills and they also had an opportunity to meet the England Ladies Wicket Keeper and Batter Sarah Taylor, pictured above with the Oathall team.
On the 13th December, a small group of sports leaders were chosen to become Sports Ambassadors and to attend a Sports Leaders’ training day at the Sussex cricket ground run by Mid Sussex Active. They were picked because they had shown excellent skills in coaching and leadership over the past 18 months within their primary schools.
Schools from the whole of Mid-Sussex attended the day, including Sackville, Burgess Hill Academy, Warden Park and Downlands.
The pupils had a fantastic day at the ground where they learnt the importance of being a leader, and how they could be the best leader possible. They all got given a free sports leaders hoodie and received training by the Sussex cricket coaches on how they should teach cricket in primary schools.
They had a fantastic day and are now looking forward to planning events.
Staff raised £50 for the NSPCC after paying to wear a Christmas jumper on the last Friday of school.