Teaching & Learning Bulletin, Winter 2019

Respect Aspire Achieve Enjoy

It was such a pleasure to have been in the college hall earlier this term to witness the orchestra bringing together the musical talents of the young people from 5 local secondary schools. The quality of sound resulting from more than one hundred young musicians was something to behold. My thanks go to Mrs Mactaggart and all those involved in producing this wonderful event at Oathall.

This latest bulletin again highlights the breadth of experience at the school. This may well, of course, be through the usual curriculum subjects but significantly sees students engaging with opportunities beyond the classroom. The “Tenner Challenge” is particularly exciting and I am looking forward to hearing some of the students pitch their ideas after the break.

My congratulations to the junior team for winning the latest round of the Youth Speaks public speaking competition who now move on to the district finals. I wish the intermediate team every success at their competition next week. Sporting successes have also been notable over this term; well done to all involved.

Movement to Music

Mid Sussex Orchestra Day at Oathall Community College 

Mrs Mactaggart

Oathall musicians joined forces with musicians from Downlands, St. Paul’s, Warden Park Academy and Burgess Hill Academy to work on learning and performing five pieces of music in just one day!  We are very privileged to have several experienced instrumentalists and musical directors in our local schools who, between them organised the event and conducted the pieces as well as providing expert support for the strings, brass, woodwind and percussion sections in the orchestra.

The aim of the project was to enrich and broaden the musical experience of our orchestral players by providing them with an opportunity to play in a symphony orchestra under the direction of expert musicians in a positive, inclusive and social environment. This aim was well supported by West Sussex Music and musicians from Ensemble Reza, violinist Andrew Thurgood and cellist Sarah Du Bost-Carvalho.

The final performance at the end of the day was fabulous and was well supported by parents and friends. Students mentioned how exciting (and a bit scary) it was to see their head teachers in the audience as well and Mr Rodriguez remarked on how proud he was of Oathall’s musicians.

Feedback from all was very positive and plans are already underway for a repeat performance in 2020. Some comments received were:

“Congratulations to you all for a fantastic day indeed. I am very impressed with the quality of the concert the orchestra gave after only a half day rehearsing together”;

“I found the idea to join forces between all local secondary schools in a big orchestra a fantastic one and a great success (including the different conductors for each piece).”;

“It was brilliant and inspiring to work with you all…”;

“That was the most fun ever!”

“My students mentioned how much they enjoyed the experience of being conducted by different people! Each had different approaches and I think this has been hugely beneficial to them”.

“Many congratulations on achieving such a valuable and high-quality musical experience for your young musicians. It was a real treat to be at Oathall this afternoon to witness the fruits of your labour – it was a powerful image seeing 100+ musicians in performance. I’m sure it’s an experience that none of the pupils will forget”.

Youth Speaks

Ms C Slade

On Saturday 9th February our Junior Public Speaking team travelled to Cranleigh for the next round of the Rotary Club’s ‘Youth Speaks’ competition. The team, made up of Molly Hord, Matty Mackay and Tom Underhill had already secured a clear victory at local level and were now facing the District Semi-Finals. This was a larger heat with a total of 6 teams, all fighting for one pace in the District Final!
All three students brought their A game and proved from the outset they were serious contenders! The hours of rehearsal and the time and effort they had all put in paid was evident as they delivered a confident and faultless entry. Not only did Molly take the award for Best Speaker, and Matty for Best Chair Person but the team also took the overall prize, securing a palace in the District Finals in March.
Well done to all involved.

Movement in Science

 Emily Stockwell (8VDI):
‘This half term in science, we have been learning about forces and motion. Within this topic, we have learnt how forces affect our lives. An example of this application is crumple zones. We discovered how different sizes of crumple zones on cars affect the safety of the car and the damage during a collision. As a result of this, we designed and tested cars we had made with crumple zones and measured the impact.
We have also learnt about parachutes and how air resistance affects them. We made and tested our own mini parachutes that had different surface areas to time how long it would take them to fall.
I have really enjoyed this half term’s topic as it has been really interesting and fun to see the applications!’

Words in Motion

Shakespeare Whoosh! Words flying across the library.

Ms Rocke
Year 10 started a new unit today which is Shakespeare’s infamous ‘Macbeth’.  In order to get a basic understanding of the plot, we did what’s called a “Whoosh” which runs through the basic outline of the plot summary in modern-day English, with an added bit of humour to make it a fun introduction to the topic. Everyone got involved in the activity and Poppy (the troll fluffy duster) did a great job of “whooshing” everyone around in-between scenes.

Shakespeare Raps

Ms Fisher

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, Ms Fisher’s Year 9 students brought Shakespeare into the 21st century by creating pop sonnets. Students were challenged to choose a song and apply the rules of the sonnet including perfect iambic pentameter–just like the star-crossed lovers when they first meet. As always, students excelled by creating pithy sonnets that blended Shakespearean language with more modern vernacular. Particular standouts were Rita Mihalcut and Megan Banks’ version of “Another One Bites the Dust,” Billy Reid and Miles King’s “Rap God” as well as several modern interpretations of “God Save the Queen.” However, the class prize went to Freddie Ashman, Archie Raffan, and Paul Hipperson’s reimagining of Childish Gambino’s “This is America” as “This is England.”
Enjoy a sample from Rita Mihalcut and Megan Banks’ “Another One Bites the Dust”: 
Another one looked out for thy danger,
Another one fell ere he could ev’n think,
Let me go along! Me and a stranger,
No coward will run when their world will shrink.
Hey! Finally I’m gunna get the last,
Quickly now another one bites the dust!
In the Diverse Voices unit, Year 8 has explored a range of under-represented voices across a variety of text types. For Ms Fisher’s students, the unit culminated by considering the historic protest song through Bob Dylan’s iconic “Times They Are A-Changin'”. After examining how Dylan galvanised support for his call for change, students conveyed the voice of the younger generation by re-writing a stanza of his timeless classic. A range of issues was expressed with poignancy and purpose, from calling for gender equality to eliminating poverty to rethinking the education system. A class favourite was Oliver Streeter, Max Barnett, and Rudi Cooper’s rapped protest song about the “pessimism” in our world.
As always, our Oathall students expressed important issues with creativity, sensitivity, and flair.

Students will be bringing their entries in after half-term and displayed in the English corridor for all to admire.

Words are lifted off the page thanks to innovative ways of presenting poems.

Mrs Perrin
A selection of poetry entries and winners from National Poetry Day, 2018, on display in the library shows that poetry is more than just words. The poems are lifted off the paper as students demonstrate their artistic abilities to give greater meaning and emphasis to their poems.

Walking-Talking Mock session

Ms Evans

On Valentine’s day, Miss Evans shared her love for the novella “A Christmas Carol” with Year 11 during her walking-talking mock session. Students were treated to a lecture and note-taking session around the theme of poverty. They considered the ideas around physical poverty (lack of food, shelter, money and basic needs) plus the importance of emotional richness (friendships, positive relationships and enriching experiences). Miss Evans then linked these key ideas to three key moments in the text, exploring the actions of Scrooge at the start and at the end of this classic text. Walking Talking Mocks are a very useful tool to ensure students are used to exam hall conditions, can practise their skills in this environment and look at key questions together. “A Christmas Carol” is examined in the upcoming March mocks, so hopefully students will feel more confident in their revision of this key text. The English Faculty will be providing more Walking Talking mock opportunities in the weeks ahead.

Delving deeper into Mathematics

Mrs Griffiths

In Maths our Year 7 students are currently following a mastery curriculum. The mastery approach ensures that students acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. Students at Oathall are being challenged by a deeper analysis of the mathematical content and by applying the content in new and unfamiliar problem-solving situations. In our most recent unit of work, we are investigating fractions. Students are getting a deeper understanding of the topic through a variety of questioning and teaching techniques. Our students are also being supported in their understanding of fractions by using our new equipment bought with the money fundraised by the OPTA.

If your child would like to explore some more enrichment problems on this topic please direct them to https://nrich.maths.org/8707

Learning from the Workplace

Visiting Jeremy’s 

Mrs Slater

Recently, Year 10 Hospitality and Catering students visited Jeremy’s restaurant at Borde Hill, click here to find out more.

The Tenner Challenge, a national competition for young people aged 11 – 19.

Mrs Griffiths

The Maths Faculty is delighted to be taking part in this year’s Tenner Challenge, a national competition for young people aged from 11 – 19 years. 

Taking part in the Tenner Challenge will help our students to develop crucial employability skills and financial experience alongside an important insight into how core curriculum learning will serve them well in this fast-changing world of work. Students will work in small groups to come up with a product or service they believe will grow into a successful small business. Students will pitch their ideas and one group will be chosen from each class to be part of the challenge. Each student from the winning group will then be given £10 from the Tenner Bank and this will be used as start-up capital to get their enterprise off the ground. Students will be pitching their ideas after half term!

Visit from Alumni

Mrs Griffiths 

Our Year 11 girls had a recent workshop with some of our female alumni, Hannah, who is Director of Citizenship Strategy at Barclays, and Connie, who is currently studying Maths at Sussex University. We are very grateful that they kindly gave up their free time to talk to our students in relation to Maths.
Conversations about future careers, pathways and study were in full flow during the sessions and students were able to hear about real-life experiences from two role models who had used Maths to further their career.

Sporting Prowess

Ms Froud

It may be too frosty or wet to use the sports field for athletics, but that doesn’t stop our athletics students from competing. Recently, the Under 12s athletics team took part in the Mid-Sussex round of the County Athletics Championships and were thrilled when the Year 7 girls’ team won the event! The boys’ team came a credible 5th and we are proud of them both.

Both teams celebrating together

Year 8 boys on winning the 1st round of the indoor athletics competition at Sackville

Congratulations to the Under 12 football team on a 7-0 win over The Weald yesterday. This means they have finished the season unbeaten. Special mention to Mary McDonagh who scored 3 goals.

Linking Learning

Mrs Lindsley

Geography paper chains! Christmas may be a now distant memory, but in Geography we are still keeping the vibe alive! Year 11 students have been using creative methods to help them remember how coastal landforms are made. We have been creating paper chains to help memorise the sequence of events that occur in the formation of wave cut platforms, sand dunes and more!

Library Life

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.

Mrs Perrin

As we reported in the last bulletin, all Year 7 & 8 students, plus a few additional students in Years 9 & 10, are enrolled automatically on the scheme. So far this academic 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.

Every student has their own Accelerated Reader booklet where they record their STAR test results as well as each book they read. There is space for parents to sign each time students read at home so you can monitor how they are getting on. This is also where students write down their quiz results and where the librarians and teachers can watch their progress. The booklet has space for students to write their own wish-list of books they would like to read next, a great way to find out what they might want for their birthday! The booklet is also part of their equipment check, so we would encourage you to remind your child to bring it along each day.

Students on the Accelerated Reading scheme have read over 122 million words in almost 2,500 books since September, an amazing achievement.

Book Clubs

Mrs Perrin & Mrs Fogarasi

Two new book clubs have started recently in the library, aimed at taking a deeper look into specific titles to enhance and enrich students’ understanding and enjoyment of reading fiction.

The Amazing Book Awards club is for Year 9 students and follows the fastest growing book awards programme in the UK, click here for more details. The club meets monthly after school on Mondays until 3rd June, after which the group will go to the finals at Shoreham Academy. It has been a hugely successful club in the past and we are thrilled that three of our year 11 students have loved it so much that they are still attending and reading the books. We aim to build lifelong readers and these three prove that happens.

Following the delivery of our free books from BookTrust, we have set up a book club for Year 8 students. Following a similar pattern to the ABA club, it meets monthly and looks at five different titles. They are Boy 87 by Ele Fountain, A Good Day for Climbing Trees by Jaco Jacobs, Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson, The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. In June, we will collectively decide our favourites, probably by having a Balloon Debate, giving students the opportunity to use their powers of persuasion to keep their book in the air.

Lindfield Life

Mrs Perrin

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.