Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

I write as we approach the end of another busy and successful term.  Just last evening we hosted our annual celebration evening in the college hall. It is so important that we are able to stand back and say well done to all our students who have worked so hard throughout the year, contributed so much, made excellent progress and achieved so highly. I was delighted that so many parents could join us for this evening of celebration.

The most exciting news to share of course is that the major re-development of our maths and science block is now complete with the building being handed back to school last week. The final pieces of new furniture and equipment are currently being installed and staff are busy ensuring all is ready for the students to return in September.

The new facilities really are exceptional with 8 brand new maths classrooms, 8 brand new science laboratories and a computing suite.

As you know, our extraordinary Parents’ Association managed to raise a staggering amount of money to provide additional equipment that will significantly enhance the learning of the students. I am truly humbled by and profoundly grateful for the generosity of so many people.

Whilst the block will be open for teaching from the first day of the autumn term we are currently organising an official opening event that will take place later in the term. I look forward to sharing more details of this in due course.

In meantime, do enjoy reading the articles in this latest teaching and learning bulletin and on behalf of the governors and staff at Oathall, may I wish you and you families a restful summer break.

I look forward to seeing everyone again when we return in September.

Mr E Rodriguez


Radio Two’s “500 Words” success

At 5am on 8th June, we jumped onto our bikes and cycled the 3 miles along the towpath to Hampton Court Palace to go and watch the final of Radio 2’s competition “500 words”.  I had submitted my story as my English holiday homework and couldn’t believe my eyes when an email came through inviting me to be part of the audience.
On arrival, we were greeted with a massive queue which we joined wondering whether we would ever make it in as it was moving so slowly.  Before we knew it we were weaving our way to our seats.

A jester warmed the audience up practising cheering and clapping for the show and then Chris Evans and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I got to see 3 live bands and watched famous people reading out the talented winners stories.  It was such an exciting morning and being so close to the live radio show action was a real experience.

The icing on the cake was being able to meet some of the famous people. My favourite story was The Poo Fairy read by David Williams. I also got the chance to have my photo taken with some of the famous people most excitingly with Malorie Blackman because we have just read her book Noughts and Crosses in our class. It was a morning that I won’t forget for a long time.

By Joby Barnaby

Showcasing Art in the wider community

At the National Students’ Art Exhibition 2018

We are delighted that Oathall’s Year 11 Art GCSE work was recently selected to be exhibited at the NSAE, Mall Galleries, London. The opening of the exhibition was the 18th of July and it celebrates the best of students’ artwork from across the country.
Mr C J Russell, Founder NSAE, “The standard of submissions has again been extraordinarily high. It is a marvellous accolade for the artists and schools selected”.
Congratulations to Honey Latter, Molly Watts, Maddie Wareham and Nina Kashdan who all had their work exhibited and well done to Mia Jones whose pieces were highly commended.

Ms J Smith-Hashim

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At the Haywards Heath Twinning Association Community Art Project

This year Haywards Heath celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Twinning with Traunstein and the 20th Anniversary with Bondues.

To mark this special occasion Haywards Heath Twinning Association created a Community Art Project on the theme of “Friendship”.

Lead by textile artist and teacher, Jan Hunt, three wall hangings were produced which express the theme of Friendship between Haywards Heath and the two twin towns. Oathall students and local Primary schools participated in workshops with Jan. Community groups also took part making the project uniquely intergenerational.

Year 9 student Izzy Hateley created original graffiti lettering designs and year 10 students Bradley Turner, Izzy Bain, Lily McDonald, Freya Smit, Lottie Brooks, Kerry McCarthy and Emily Brock created impressive textile art pieces.

At a formal ceremony on the 30th June, two of the wall hangings were presented by Mayor Jim Knight to Mayor Christian Kegel and Mayor Patrick Delebarre as symbols of their enduring relationship.   The third wall hanging will be displayed in the Town Hall.


Learning to care for the next generation

Year 10 girls recently completed their child first-aid course over two lessons in the Albe for part of their Child Development course. They all did really well and had lots of fun doing a practical element to the course. They learnt CPR, how to treat cuts and burns and dealing with choking both on a child and a baby.

Mrs S Kirkpatrick

Learning by experiencing 

At Hampton Court Palace

Over two days, 115 Year 8 students recently visited Hampton Court Palace on a History school trip.  We spent the day participating in a variety of educational activities, including team building skills, fact hunting and exploring the historical palace and grounds.  We enjoyed getting lost in the oldest standing maze in the country. We discovered a range of intriguing and interesting facts.  For example, did you know that back in the Tudor era, the residents and guests of the palace drank an astonishing 600,000 gallons of beer in only one year!
Ms Z Froud
 A Year 8 student said, ‘visiting Hampton Court Palace has made me more enthusiastic about History and has inspired me to take it for GCSE.’

In Ypres

On Friday 8th of June, a group of around 30 students and some teachers and teaching assistants went on a history trip to the battlegrounds of Ypres in Belgium. After a five-hour coach journey, our first stop was the Hooge Crater Museum. It was very interesting as we got to see a lot of the weapons used in the First World War, as well as things like medicine in those times, gas masks and the soldiers’ uniforms. We also stopped for a while to be shown where we were on a map and how the Battles of Ypres progressed around the Ypres Salient. We then went to Hooge Chateau, which was an old battleground, where we got to walk through some of the old trenches.

After that, we went to the Hooge Crater Cemetery, where 5,916 World War One soldiers are commemorated. We found the gravestone of H.S.Tindall, who was a British soldier in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. We found out he lived on Oathall Road, which we found was very interesting. We laid a cross on his grave to commemorate him. Then, at Essex Farm, we found a Muslim grave, which I found very interesting; to show respect, instead of putting flowers around it, people place stones on top. We also found the grave of a fifteen-year-old soldier, Valentine Strudwick, who died fighting.

Then we went to Tyne Cot Cemetery, where there are records of 11,956 people who gave their lives in WW1, 8,369 of which are unidentified. There were hundreds of white marble graves, but there was also a long wall around one edge of the cemetery, commemorated to those whose bodies were never found. It was very emotional to see all the thousands of people who died fighting for their country: for all of us.

Finally, we went to Ypres town for dinner and for the Menin Gate wreath ceremony, where Felix and I got to lay the school wreath in front of a crowd of people. It was a bit scary to do it but I was glad we got to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives for us. It was a very fun trip and I was glad I got the opportunity to go on it as it was very interesting and gave me a much better insight into what actually happened in the War, and it gave us a much better idea of the vast amounts of sacrifices made.

By Esme Brigden

In the west of France

Travelling along the motorway to the beautifully stunning La Rochelle provided our students with their first opportunity to practise their French as we stopped for a traditional French breakfast of pastries and coffee at the service station.  Although some were initially timid, all students spoke with their best French accent when purchasing their products.

After dinner at the hostel, Auberge de Junesse staff and students experienced the delights of La Rochelle harbour, beach and evening market.

When presented with a myriad of ice-cream(s) to devour on the golden sands of Les Minimes beach, students couldn’t wait to use their French to order the delights on offer.

Students found the seafront night market an exciting occasion to immerse themselves in traditional French culture, products and atmosphere.

Following an early morning start on Tuesday, students learnt about the historic three towers of La Rochelle while waiting for the boat to Ile d’Oleron.

The journey to Ile d’Oleron took us past the historic 17th Century Fort Boyard.

Ile d’Oleron gave students the chance to mix history and culture.  Visiting the traditional French indoor food market in the market town of St Pierre d’Oleron, walking through the cobbled streets surrounded by picturesque stone buildings was a real treat.  Here students explored the vast amount of products on offer and independently used their skills to buy gifts, order food and navigate their way around the area.

Puy du Fou Grand Parc was a truly exhilarating and memorable experience.   Experiencing five events in one day was a challenge planned with military precision by Monsieur Henri which resulted in all students and staff watching wonderful and amazing shows.  Each show was narrative as well as visually spectacular thus students had to use their knowledge of spoken language to understand the plot.

The aquarium in La Rochelle was beautiful and fascinating.  To learn about the creatures students were encouraged to read the information provided next to each marine feature.

Our final destination was Futuroscope – wow, a genuinely unique, stimulating and thrilling experience!  Entering a world of 3D, 4D and now 5D is an adventure not to be missed.  Within the theme park, students had to use all their speaking, listening and reading skills to either understand the stories/information being told on the rides, ordering food, understanding what an attraction offered or simply navigating where to go.

 At Cuckmere Haven

120 students from Year 7 went to Cuckmere Haven to study a variety of geography themes including river meanders and management, the impact of tourism on the area and the geology and erosion of the coastal cliffs.  Students also scaled the chalk cliffs / first peak of the Seven Sisters cliffs to experience the amazing view of the whole Cuckmere Valley.

Year 10 Work Related Learning Week

Oathall’s Year 10 students have recently enjoyed a week of work-related learning experiences.  The week allowed students a taste of college/university life as well as an insight into possible career paths.

Monday – The week began with college taster days at Crawley and Plumpton college and the University of Sussex.  The students participated in subject taster sessions of their choice at Crawley and Plumpton.  The Motor Vehicle session was reported as being fantastic!

A most enjoyable and informative day was had at the University of Sussex.

Tuesday – We were very pleased to welcome back some former Oathall students: Sarah Caddy (Post-doctoral Research Fellow @ Cambridge University), David Amor (Computer Games designer), Ben Higgins (Head of Human Resources at Societe Generale), Hilary Cornish (Research, Evidence and Learning Adviser at Christian Aid), Petr Esposito (Architect at MATT Architecture) and Rebecca Cooney (Attorney/Lawyer at Floran Glennon).  They came to talk to our students about their career paths and work experience and are all members of the Oathall Alumni Association, which allows us to keep in touch with our former students.

Wednesday – The students spent this half term preparing for ‘mock interviews’.  We had many business volunteers who acted as interviewers for our Year 10 students.  Our mock Interviewers were very impressed with them and commented that they were well presented, personable and polite, enthusiastic, very engaged and asked some good questions.  The employers enjoyed the experience and said it was a pleasure to meet such lovely young people and that the school should be very proud.

Apprenticeships – In the afternoon we were visited by an education expert who delivered a presentation on apprenticeships.  This gave our students an opportunity to understand how the national apprenticeship programme works.

Thursday – Our visit to the Big Bang fair was a great experience for many of our students as they were able to find out about various vocations in the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Friday – Work observation day – The students organised their own work observation days where they were able to observe a parent, friend or relation at work.  As part of this, the students completed a world of work survey.

Mrs K Ferros

Public Speaking competition results

Winners of the Year 7 public speaking competition. From the left: Tasha Lawrence (end), Paige Nesbitt (joint 3rd), Ben Tame (1st) and Matty Mackay (joint 3rd).

Year 7 winners


Winners of the Year 8 public speaking competition. From the left: Ella Tingley 93rd place), Molly Aplin (2nd place) and Dominika Knotkova-Hanley (1st place).


Year 8 winners

Well done to all the finalists who represented their classes. They did themselves proud.

Ms P Sullivan

Mid-Sussex sports

Mid Sussex Athletics competition

On Thursday 28th June Mr Mills along with 19 Sports Leaders from Year 8 organised a ran the Year 7 Mid-Sussex Athletics competition at Broadbridge Heath.
The leaders were absolutely superb and ran a seamless competition demonstrating great organisation, fantastic communication and a level of maturity beyond their years.
In addition to this, I am also extremely pleased to tell you that our Year 7 boys team came first in the event beating 11 schools from the Mid-Sussex area. A fantastic achievement. The girls’ team were stretched due to injury and illness of a number of the team so didn’t place on this occasion. They did, however, do Oathall proud and should be commended for their attitude and commitment.
Ms Z Froud

Festival of Sport

On Wednesday, 6 June. 50 students in Years 9 & 10 were given the opportunity to attend The Festival Of Sport at the University of Chichester. The Festival offered an arena for students to try out different sports, learn about the effects of exercise on the body and discover what facilities and courses were on offer.

 Students were able to learn from world-leading researchers and external experts from local and national organisations. Students participated in activities ranging from climbing, blind football, wheelchair hockey and rugby, alongside the biomechanical and physiological effects of physical activity. Activities were run as either drop-in sessions in which students could dip in and out of, and throughout the day and scheduled for 30-minute sessions.

 “Many Thanks for leading such a wonderful trip today. I and many others were able to enjoy the day and work independently on activities we wanted to whilst also having fun and enjoying ourselves. I for one found it very inspiring to see the different careers available in a sport as well as participating in the practical side of sport.” Year 9 student.

Ms C Avery

Junior Maths Challenge Success 2018

Pupils at Oathall achieved 8 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze certificates in this year’s UKMT Junior Maths Challenge. Over 260,000 pupils from across the UK sat the Junior Maths Challenge with roughly the top 6% receiving a gold certificate, the next 13% silver and the next 21% bronze.

Students with the highest results are invited to sit a follow-on competition: up to 1200 top JMC scorers are invited to take the Junior Mathematical Olympiad and the next approximately 7000 take the Junior Kangaroo. Congratulations to Daniel Reed (7VMT), Ella Tingley (8VRB), Afdhal Azard (8VRB), Molly Hord (8DSA), Nathanael Brown (8ESML) and Toby Colvin (8PCAS) as they qualified for these follow up rounds. A special mention should be made to Toby Colvin and Daniel Reed who achieved a merit from Junior Maths Kangaroo and Olympiad, respectively. Daniel is our youngest student ever to go on to qualify and succeed in the Olympiad round!

The Junior Maths Challenge is run by the UK Mathematics Trust and supported by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. It is aimed at those in Years 7 and 8 and is sat in schools The UKMT is a registered charity whose aim is to advance the education of children and young people in mathematics. It organises national mathematics competitions and other mathematical enrichment activities for UK secondary schools pupils. Further information about the Trust and its activities is available at

“The Maths Challenges provide material to provoke student’s mathematical thinking and test their problem-solving skills in an accessible and yet challenging way. Many congratulations to Oathall Community College on their success in the Junior Maths Challenge; it is great to see achievement in mathematics recognised.”

Rachel Greenhalgh, UKMT Executive Director

Sample question from this year’s Junior Maths Challenge (answer on UKMT’s website)

Gill scored a goal halfway through the second quarter of a ‘teachers versus pupils’ netball match. At that point, what fraction of the whole match remained to be played?

A  ¼ B ⅜ C ½ D ⅝ E ¾

If you could work out the answer to this problem and you will be a year 7 or 8 student next year, then you may have the desired skills to succeed in this competition. Oathall’s maths faculty also runs the Intermediate and Senior Maths Challenges for years 9, 10 and 11 with similar success.  Letters will be sent home soon with more details about these competitions. For more information, you can ask your teacher or speak to Miss Calleja

Ms M Calleja

Reading activities in the classroom and in the library

At Oathall we’re thrilled that our Year 7 and 8 students have engaged so well with the Accelerated Reader scheme. We’ve found that on the whole students have enjoyed silent reading time within their English lessons and a chance to explore new authors and the range of books that we stock in the library.

In the last two weeks, we have awarded certificates to students who have made progress in terms of the amount that they have read in their spare time and those who have read the most words in their year group.
According to our Renaissance software, Molly in Year 7 has managed to read 5,949,661 words this year (71 books). Well done Molly!

Ms A Chinn

For this final term in English, Year 9 students have been exploring Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s seminal story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and the issues around it, such as mental health and gender roles. Students were assigned an independent creative project that linked to the story. Miss Evans and Ms Fisher were treated to a wide range of interpretations including displays, film trailers, new excerpts, art, research, and speeches. Hopefully, this will inspire students to read more widely in preparation for the challenge of GCSE. Please visit the English corridor to marvel at our students’ excellent work.

Ms L Fisher

Summer reading suggestions

Keen to keep your child reading over the long summer break? Why not try reading as a family? Here are some suggestions of how you can make reading fun and spend quality time together. Summer can be a time to relax together as a family,

  • Start a family reading club. Each person chose a book, promote your book to each other and then everyone votes for their favourite book. Read it aloud to each other or silently to yourself, draw characters from the book, make up a different ending, draw an alternative cover – have fun with the book.
  • Get a book of science experiments and have a go – remember, everyone must help clean up afterwards!
  • Play an audiobook to everyone in the car on a long journey
  • Talk about what you are all reading around the dinner table, share what you are reading as well as finding out what your children are reading
  • Watch a film based on a book you’ve read and then compare which you prefer and why.
  • Use the public library, it’s free!
  • Enter the Jacqueline Wilson writing competition

Here are some useful links for book titles

Mrs D Perrin