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.

Rock Challenge 2018

On Tuesday 30th January, students from Oathall took part in the 2018 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 ‘Is it in my head’. This was a contemporary piece looking at aspects on mental health. The concept was based on the on the quote;

‘We are so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. That is ignorance, pure ignorance. That world has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health’.

The Rock Challenge was established in order to combine the benefits of taking part in a large scale dance production with involvement in a positive ‘drug free’ activity. I am proud that at Oathall the Rock Challenge brings students of all ages, backgrounds and gender together in order to work collaboratively on a brilliant production. The students take charge not only of choreography but costumes, sound, lighting, scenery and video direction.

The actual Rock Challenge day is a blur of pre performance nerves and energetic preparation. The students are able to watch other schools rehearse as well as take part in mass warm up, dance sessions and competitions. Each school gives a performance of 8 minutes which seems to go by in a flash following all the hard work and anticipation. Our students all performed magnificently, every single one giving 100% effort. It is always a joy to see how the all students work together as a team, and really reflects the ‘community’ aspect of Oathall.

I would like to thank every student who took part in and contributed to this year’s production, you were all pleasure to work with. With special thanks to Kaytlin Smith and Florence Gaskell in year 11, 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 Concept
• Award of Excellence in Entertainment

Finally thank you to all the parents who kindly support dance at Oathall and help to encourage our students to achieve amazing things.

Rock Challenge 2017

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On the 6th of February, 56 enthusiastic Oathall students took part in Rock Challenge at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley, where we competed against several other schools and colleges.

This year our dance was called ‘The Forest Is Our Home’ and was an environmental piece about deforestation. Our performance took the audience on a journey through the beautiful and captivating rainforest where indigenous people live in harmony with the forest until logging tradesmen threaten to destroy their homes for profit. The performance describes how the indigenous people fight against the logging industry to rebuild and regrow.

Our students have worked hard since last October to put together this 8-minute dance performance. The sound and light team supported the performers with the set, videoing the performance and creating effective and atmospheric lighting designs. They were able to learn from the professionals managing the desks. Throughout the day itself everyone had a fantastic experience and by the end of the evening, we had won awards for performance, entertainment and lighting.

Rebetiko Carnival

Earlier this year, the Rebetiko Carnival, one of the most exciting and biggest music festivals in Europe landed on the shores of the UK. The infectious, uplifting traditional music of Greece and Asia minor resounded through the streets of cities of the UK from Brighton, Shrewsbury, Bristol and Manchester, with the heart of the festival in London before arriving at Oathall this November. This culminated in a wonderful workshop and concert bringing together incredible musicians, young and old, Oathall students, amateurs and professionals.

What is Rebetiko?

Rebetiko is the music of an urban sub culture of musicians called “rebetes”. Although they openly emerged in Greece in the 1920’s, rebetiko music is a rich synthesis of music from all over Greece that expresses the pain and suffering of the people at the time. In a heartfelt way of reflecting life, these songs can be full of humour and profound beauty. The instruments used vary depending on the style of song. Most common are the bouzouki, baglama, guitar, oud, violin, kanonaki, santouri, hand held percussion. The voice, of course is a very important aspect of this music and one must not forget the dance. The songs are based on the many different types of rhythms found throughout this part of the world and it spirit of dance drives every song.

BBC Ten Pieces

Hannah Newson Xylophone Felix Carter Mrs Van Galen Rose Fredericks Trumpet

Rehearsing for the concert performance

Since last summer students at Oathall & pupils from 6 Mid-Sussex Primary schools have been feverishly practising and rehearsing in preparation to take part in the BBC Ten Pieces performance. Ten Pieces is an exciting initiative for schools, led by BBC Learning and the BBC Performing Groups that aims to open up the world of classical music to a generation of children and inspire them to develop their own creative responses to ten pieces of music. The project culminates today with a concert at the Kings Church in Burgess Hill.

Listen here to a BBC Sussex radio interview about the project.

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Oathall’s dancers have all the right moves

‘Hardship & Inequality’ was the theme for Oathall’s 2015 Rock Challenge performance and last night it proved to be a winner for the judges and audience alike. Oathall’s performance won six individual awards of excellence and we were placed third overall. This was a fantastic achievement for everyone involved.

Dancers in Year 11 getting into character before their performance

Dancers in Year 11 getting into character before their performance

For the last seven months, 80 performers and 12 make-up, lighting and stage assistants have planned, choreographed and practised for a one night only performance at The Hawth, in Crawley. For many of the students it was their first opportunity to perform in a professional theatre in front of a large audience and they did so with confidence and flair.

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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

Oathall performers rise to the challenge

A large contingent of Oathall students took part in the Rock Challenge dance competition in Crawley on Monday 24 March.Rock Challenge 2014

Following a full day of technical rehearsals the troupe took to the stage at The Hawth and dazzled the crowds with their original dance routine which drew inspiration from traditional fairy tales.

Cinderella made an appearance during the show – which was set against the backdrop of an enchanted forest – along with a coven of terrifying witches!

Over 90 dancers in total took part in the Oathall performance whilst several other students helped out behind the scenes with staging, lighting, hair and make-up.

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