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!