Philip Wetton Telescope Trip

February 20th, 2018

Year 12 and 13 Physics students had the opportunity to visit the Philip Wetton telescope at the Oxford University Department of Physics. They learnt about how we use diffraction to analyse light from distant stars and galaxies to work out what they are made of and how fast they are moving and had a go at calculating the age of the universe using Hubble’s constant, as well seeing how the telescope works and having a chance to view some celestial objects.

 

The students were really enthusiastic and asked loads of excellent questions – they were a credit to the school as always.

 

Telescope 2 web telescope 3 web

Isaac Physics Wokshop

February 20th, 2018

On Monday 5th February Jenny Barnes from Oxford Physics came in to do an Isaac Physics problem solving workshop with Y12 and Y13 Physicists after school. The students were shown how to approach problem solving and how it is relevant in research and further study, plus given lots of practical tips in how to apply this to improve exam scores.

 

The students said: “It was an excellent workshop and really useful”.

 

Isaac Workshop

 

Netball Success

February 20th, 2018

U15 Girls Netball

Under 15s

 

The U15 girls’ netball team have had a very successful season in the schools city netball league. They achieved two convincing wins against Cheney School and Oxford Academy. However, narrowly lost against the cities top two teams. The girls have continued to improve on their tactical play and have been training with a high intensity which has resulted in some great results this season. The team have also been preparing for their upcoming netball tour to Spain which will take place in the summer term. Mrs Minton would like to thank all the girls for their hard work and commitment over the past season. Well done girls!

 

 

Team: Hensly-Ann, Isobel, Maddie, Nadiira, Olivia, Nailah, Megan, Posey, Teoni, Bayan, Lena and Sofia.

 

Results list:

6.11.18 OSA vs Lord Williams (lost 9-8)

9.11.18 OSA vs Cheney (won 25-0)

20.11.18 OSA vs Oxford Academy (won 9-3)

9.01.18 OSA vs Cherwell (lost 20-3)

 

Under 14s

 

UNDER 14 GIRLS NETBALLThe U14 girls’ netball team have had a very positive season in the schools city netball league. They achieved victory over Cheney and narrowly lost to Cherwell in a closely fought game where Cherwell only just managed to score in the final minute. The girls will take everything they have learnt from this season continuing to improve on their defensive and attacking play into next year. Mrs Minton would like to thank all the girls for their hard work and commitment over the past season. Well done girls!

 

Team: Zoe, Miray, Izzy, Natalie, Simran, Abby, Ana, Klara.

 

Results list:

9.11.17 OSA vs Cheney (won 25-0)

14.01.18 OSA vs Cherwell (lost 15-13)

19.02.18 OSA vs Lord Williams (lost 12-25)

Maths Fest

February 9th, 2018

On 6th February, 6th further mathematicians in Year 12 & 13 attended a day of engaging and exciting maths talks at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.  Featuring several of our favourite internet mathematicians we learnt about the maths underpinning things ranging from laser light shows and card tricks to codebreaking and crowd management at Glastonbury. 

 

We were also shown why sometimes it is good to do maths just because it is beautiful and fun rather than because it solves a particular problem.  The Baby Nerds Team had sent a pile of calculators which their mathematical idol Matt Parker very kindly signed. One of the organisers recognised us as being from Oxford Spires and said they were really pleased to see us there as they knew we were the school that had the “small excited people” who clearly loved maths.

English Speaking Union

February 9th, 2018

Linnet, Felix and Rafi Joyce have won a place at the regional final of the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition, where they will be representing the whole of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, for the second year in a row. Linnet spoke on the topic “Why are we so interested in the idea of discovering extra-terrestrial beings?” and won the prize for best speaker. Rafi was awarded the prize for best questioner and Felix was highly commended as chair. They beat off stiff competition from several private schools and are looking forward to the next round where Linnet has chosen the topic “Social proof and confirmation bias are more persuasive than rational evidence”.

Winter Update 2018

February 9th, 2018

Dear Parents/Carers

 

It has been a really fantastic start to our new year here at Oxford Spires Academy. We now continue to build on our fantastic Ofsted visit and outcomes from December with yet more successes from our wonderful students.

 

Our own prize winning Year 9 poet helps people to understand migration

Only 18 months after arriving in the UK as a refugee from Syria, and starting to learn English, Amineh has won a national poetry competition, been chosen to be part of a published anthology and – on Thursday 1 February – read her poetry to those assembled at a symposium on refugees and education at Somerville College. This has been a really busy year for Amineh.

 

House Dance 2018

Over 100 students have participated in this year’s esteemed House Dance Competition. Dedicated students have been practicing tirelessly over the last few months to choreograph their individual team routines and presentations. What an amazing evening with all students showing what a credit they are to the academy and to their individual Houses. What a wonderful demonstration of their talents and creativity.

 

Our Sixth Former wins prestigious place at the National Film and Television School

In years to come, you might see Angel Gitau’s name on your TV screen, and remember you heard about her here first!

Angel, a Year 12 student at Oxford Spires Academy, is one of just over 60 young people aged 16-19 nationally to be awarded a place on the National Film and Television School craft residential – the launchpad for many brilliant careers in the media industry. This is highly competitive, the National Film and Television School offers participants training in different media crafts. Angel will be focusing on sound as her specialism, and is one of only 11 students who will work with a professional crew to produce a short film.

 

English Speaking Union

3 of our students have won a place at the regional final of the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition, where they will be representing the whole of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, for the second year in a row. Our students won the prizes for the best speaker and best questioner. They beat off stiff competition from several private schools and are looking forward to the next round.

 

Sports Residential in Yorkshire

In December, the PE department undertook our first GCSE PE Residential to High Adventure Outdoor Education Centre, near Skipton in Yorkshire.  We were delighted to take 21 students from Year 11 who received expert tuition and GCSE assessment in indoor climbing and road cycling. The climbing involved over 15 hours learning how to tie safety knots on the ropes, how to set up and belay safely, basic and advanced climbing skills, and bouldering techniques and abseiling.  Many of our students had never been on a climbing wall before but they all rose to the challenge.

 

Extreme Reading for Year 8 students in German

In our year 8 German class we have been studying the topic of media including types of TV shows, films and books. Students were challenged to take a photo of themselves ‘Extremlesen’ (extreme reading) and these were used in our work in class to discuss where and how often they read. Students learnt new German vocabulary in really interesting contexts including up a ladder, on a roof and on a trampoline.

 

These are just a few of the wonderful opportunities and successes from this term. Please take a closer look at these stories and more on our school website. Have a lovely half term break.

 

Best Wishes

Marianne Blake

Extreme Reading

February 8th, 2018

In our Year 8 German class we have been studying the topic of media including types of TV shows, films and books. Students were challenged to take a photo of themselves ‘Extremlesen’ (extreme reading) and these were used in our work in class to discuss where and how often they read. Not only did they learn some new German vocabulary (up a ladder, on a roof, on a trampoline!) but our winner won a £5 book voucher to buy a book of their choice.

 

extreme reading 
  

Well Done to the winning entry – Hattie!

Fun Run

February 8th, 2018

fun-runThe end of January saw our students undertake the annual inter house cross country event again, with

students from every year group taking on the undulating and very muddy course around our beautiful school grounds.

 

This year, with the added “fun run” element, 45 students turned out in fancy dress and running clothes to take on the course simply for the love of running!  This has led the PE department to plan for a brand new running club for our students starting in the spring term.

 

The competitive cross country was the show pieced event of the term.  Students had been training and preparing in their PE lessons ready to tackle the course against their peers.  The competition was very tight, with 160 students competing for points across the year groups.

 

We are delighted to reveal the final results:

In 4th place – Earhart

In joint 2nd place – Bannister and Tolkien

In 1st place, Seacole House.

 

Congratulations to everyone who took part in both the fun runs and the competitive races.

GCSE PE Residential

February 8th, 2018

pe residential 4

 

 

The PE department undertook our first GCSE PE Residential to High Adventure Outdoor Education Centre, near Skipton in Yorkshire.  We were delighted to take 21 students from Year 11 who received expert tuition and GCSE assessment in indoor climbing and road cycling.

 

The climbing involved over 15 hours of tuition learning how to tie safety knots on the ropes, how to set up and belay safely, basic and advanced climbing skills, bouldering techniques and abseiling.  Many of our students had never been on a climbing wall before but rose to the challenges with some very good practical scores achieved. 

 

Midway through day two, the tuition and assessment moved to road cycling.  Again, following a very intensive training course, students learnt bike maintenance and safety, how to corner at speed, techniques for hill climbing and descending at speed and optimal use of gear changing.  We then visited the race track whereby students learned the science of race craft before putting all that they had practiced in to a 10 mile race.  We were impressed that every student completed the race within the given time with many employing very detailed race craft to finish strong.

 

Special mention must go to Arnold Marton who, having never raced a bike or climbed before, achieved top GCSE marks in both sports.

 pe residential 3 pe residential 2 pe residential 1 pe residential 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

National Film and Television School

February 8th, 2018

Oxford Spires Sixth Former wins prestigious place at National Film and Television School

 

Angel-Gitau---filming-in-Oxford

Angel, a Year 12 student at Oxford Spires Academy, is one of just over 60 young people aged 16-19 nationally to be awarded a place on the National Film and Television School craft residential – the launchpad for many brilliant careers in the media industry.

 

Highly competitive, the National Film and Television School offers participants training in different media crafts. Angel will be focusing on sound as her specialism, and will work with a small group of other students, and a fully professional crew, to develop skills and to produce a short film.

 

Lasting 11 days over the Easter holiday, Angel will attend masterclasses throughout, where professionals in different aspects of film-making will share their knowledge. The films students produce will be shown at the BFI South Bank at the end of the residential.

 

Angel studies Media Studies A level at Oxford Spires, and was accepted in October (along with other OSA students) on to an annual Film Oxford course. Clearly determined to succeed in an industry that is notoriously difficult to break into, Angel’s film making experience began when she joined the National Citizenship Service project after GCSEs.  She built on her home experience and worked with others to make a film about Young Carers.

 

At school, she has gone from strength to strength. In the classroom, her radio recordings and music videos show a talent just beginning to emerge.  Outside, she sings and records music, producing her own YouTube videos.

 

Dr Jackie Watson, Head of Sixth Form at Oxford Spires Academy, is incredibly proud of Angel’s achievement. ‘I am delighted to see a student of 17 making the most of all the opportunities available to them to succeed after they leave school.  Angel is a hugely positive personality, and works hard inside and outside the classroom, and she’s a great addition to our Sixth Form.  One of the key things a school has to do is support students in these chances to develop their skills and build their academic confidence’.

 

‘The residential placement often leads to job offers and internships,’ she continued, ‘and we hope that this could be the beginning of a great career for Angel in a field she loves’.

 

Amina-filming-in-Oxford Angel-Gitau---filming

Prize-Winning Schoolgirl Poet Helps People Understand Migration

February 6th, 2018

Amineh and the Panel 2

 

Amineh,  a Year 9 student at Oxford Spires Academy, has had a busy year.

 

Only 18 months after arriving in the UK as a refugee from Syria, and starting to learn English, Amineh has won a national poetry competition, been chosen to be part of a published anthology and – on Thursday 1 February – read her poetry to those assembled at a symposium on refugees and education at Somerville College.

 

Amina’s poem, ‘Lament for Syria’, looks at the heartbreak of being forced to leave your homeland, and how you remember a culture left behind. It won the John Betjeman prize in 2017. https://www.betjemanpoetryprize.co.uk/2017-finalists

 

The event, organised by the Principal of Somerville College, Janet Royall, brought together local groups and charities such as Safe Passage, with individual refugees who told their stories. The main speaker of the event was Alf Dubs, former MP and member of the House of Lords, whose work in Parliament has done so much to help child refugees.

 

A child refugee himself, Baron Dubs came to the UK on a kindertransport train from Prague in 1939 – one of the 669 children helped to escape Nazi persecution by the famous Nicholas Winton. He was keen to tell the audience at Somerville to keep fighting to protect the right of children in peril to come to the UK.

 

‘Do three things’, he instructed the audience. ‘Write to your MP and ask them to support the continuance of Section 67’, referring to the amendment he proposed in April 2016 where the UK promised to take children in danger.  Secondly he wanted MPs to be support the taking of the full quota agreed by that amendment.  And finally, he asked people to argue that a treaty – the Dublin Convention – that allows unaccompanied child refugees to move within the EU to join family members – should be continued even if the UK did leave the EU.

 

Amineh’s poem joined with the political work of Baron Dubs, the practical help of charities such as Safe Passage, and the personal testimony of young men such as Ishmail (from Syria), who is just about to begin a degree at Birkbeck College, London, and Taj (from Afghanistan), taking part in Lady Margaret Hall’s Foundation Year programme.

 

From politics to poetry, from music to the often unhelpful media coverage, the evening gave a rounded view of the issues refugees face and how they might be helped. As Janet Royall, chairing the discussion, put it, ‘Welcoming refugees is a mark of a civilised country’.

 

Schools in Oxford, such as Oxford Spires Academy, are proud to work with students like Amineh whose talent and imagination add so much richness to the culture all students are exposed to, and to play their part in making the UK more civilised.

Southampton University Trip

February 6th, 2018

Year 12 Chemistry trip to Southampton University

 

Southampton University 2 southampton university

On January 22nd we took the Year 12 Chemistry pupils on a “real Chemistry” experience at Southampton University.

 
The students carried out some laboratory techniques extracting trimyristin from nutmeg, a multi-step chemical protocol which gave the students the opportunity to use a range of organic practical and analytical techniques, most of which are studied for the A-level curriculum but rarely demonstrated or performed in a school laboratory.
Working in pairs, they crushed, dissolved in various organic solvents, used vacuum filtration and rotary evaporators, and purified their samples to submit them to several identification tests including melting point, infrared spectroscopy and TLC.

 

The event was supported by lecturers, University undergraduate and PhD students who were extremely friendly and gave our pupils advice and an insight of life in an undergraduate chemistry lab, as well as a great overview of the different fields that chemistry covers. Our students impressed them with the high purity of their final product and their ability to work independently. We took back some beautiful spectra to use in our lessons.

 

It was a late evening and we did not make it back until nearly 9pm, however all of them were smiling, hard-working, supportive and a real credit to the school and to us all. They said that they enjoyed the experience and this will hopefully add a spark to the curriculum and help them remember and relate our lessons to what is happening in the world as cutting-edge research.

 

“The chemistry trip to Birmingham was an exciting experience for us where we had the chance to understand chemical processes by gaining an insight that stretched from the experiments that we do in the school laboratories. We heard some of the best scientists and authors of books that have inspired chemists. The speakers were very engaging and passionate about their fields and research in chemistry; students were left mesmerised after a lecture on the atomic orbitals by Dr. Wothers, and Professor Andrea’s experiences with mercury had the entire room filled with laughter.” – Shayan (Yr 12)

House Dance – Tickets on sale NOW!

February 1st, 2018

House dance tickets ON SALE NOW

Indoor District Athletics Competition

January 26th, 2018
Well Done! Harry, Sylvan, Max, Jacob, Atif, Delilah, Ruby, Lola, Nabihah and Maria,

Well Done!
Harry, Sylvan, Max, Jacob, Atif, Delilah,
Ruby, Lola, Nabihah and Maria,

 

We are delighted to share the results (below) from the recent Indoor District Athletics Competition. 

The results are as follows;

 

Girls

1 – The Cherwell School

2 – Oxford Spires Academy

3 – St Gregory the Great

4 – The Oxford Academy

 

Boys

1 – The Cherwell School

2 – Oxford Spires Academy

3 – St Gregory the Great

4 – The Oxford Academy

 

This was our first year of entry for this competition.  All of the students were a credit to the school.  Well Done to everyone who participated! 

Mayoral Celebration of OSA Success

January 12th, 2018

Thursday 4 January saw the annual celebration of GCSE and A level successes at Oxford Spires Academy.

 

 

presentation evening 2

This year, the East Oxford school welcomed Cllr. Jean Fooks, Lord Mayor of Oxford, to speak to students, parents and teachers, and to present prizes and certificates.

 

Encouraging students at or near the end of their school years to makes the most of all the opportunities offered in life, Cllr. Fooks talked about the importance of confidence, and aiming for what mattered to them.

 

Listening carefully to her advice were a group of younger students, from Year 8 upwards, who were nominated for House awards – high achievers who helped lead others in drama, music, sport and other extra-curricular opportunities at OSA.

 

The school took the opportunity to congratulate all students who met personal goals in the summer exams, but at the same time awarded prizes to those who scored best in subjects at GCSE and A level.

 

High achievers at both levels won awards, with many overcoming personal challenges to do so.

 

Of particular note were top students Vivien Urban and Helen Woods. Helen, who gained 9 GCSE grades at A*, alongside grades 7, 8 and 9, beat others very close to her to snatch the prize at that level.

 

Former Head Girl, Vivien Urban, arrived at OSA in Year 10 from Hungary, and learnt English as a beginner. She secured the A level prize with A*AAB grades and is now studying English Literature at St Andrew’s University.

 

The evening was brought to a conclusion by the current Head Girl, Jolaade Agunbiade Oke, who thanked Cllr. Fooks, and summed up the students’ pride in their achievements and their school.

 

OSA’s Principal, Marianne Blake, who took over the Academy in September 2017, was delighted to see the celebration of students’ success last summer. ‘Oxford Spires is a very special place’, she comments. ‘It’s a family environment, supporting young people through what is a very stressful exam time.

 

‘We’re so pleased to see them achieve their best – and to progress to university or employment. A night like tonight is when we see some of them back from their first months away from school and it’s wonderful to see them as mature, responsible and enthusiastic participants in a wider community now.’

Christmas Card Competition

January 3rd, 2018

Andy Yarrow from CfBT asked all schools across the Academy Trust to design a Christmas card for CfBT.   Hundreds of OSA students entered the competition and there were so many skilful and exciting designs. 

 

The competition was fierce!

 

 

The following students designs were selected for the shortlist and were therefore Highly Commended:

 

Molly Terry 10B2

Libby Hadfield 10S1

Olivia Hartley 10S1

Delilah Lunch 7B1

Cian Anderson 9T1

Harry Stillborn 7S1

 

The overall winner was, our very own Rosie Young 10E1 who beat the competition from all the other schools and her design was sent out to hundreds of people from our Academy Trust.

 

Congratulations to all that entered.

University of Bristol Visit

December 15th, 2017

On the 15th November the Year 12 chemistry students went on a practical laboratory experience to the University of Bristol.

The aim was to extract caffeine from tea leaves and to use laboratory equipment and techniques which are not available in school labs. The work was supported by undergraduate and postgraduate students, allowing our pupils to ask questions about university life as well as about studying chemistry at a higher level.

 

The day finished with two talks on postgraduate research which kept students updated on what is happening at the cutting-edge of chemistry, followed by an engaging lecture demonstration with lots of whizzes and bangs.

 

Our students were a credit to us once again and the experience was extremely valuable.

 

Below are some of the comments that they made on their return:

 

“I found it very interesting as I learnt about different paths of chemistry that I did not think that I could go into before, such as making new catalysts from transition metals which was fascinating. The experiment in the labs was fun and relevant, I saw a spectrometer for IR for the first time and learnt how it works. Overall: a good experience. I felt very nervous handling equipment which is very specialist and delicate but now my confidence has increased by seeing that I was able to obtain a very pure compound and also not break anything!”

 

“The Bristol chemistry trip was a great one for me, because it really helped me see what university-level chemistry is like. We attempted to extract pure caffiene from teabags, and had to test our product to see if it was what we wanted by checking the melting point and its infrared spectrum. It made me realise that chemists don’t really know what they’ve made until they’ve run tests on it- there’s a lot of room for mistakes, but they will help you get to where you need to be! We also had some lectures from chemistry students who are studying at Bristol about what they do there. It was overall a very eye opening experience for me that helped me realise just how close further education is, what it’s like and what I would like to do at university. I definitley plan on going into a chemistry-related field in university and this trip just solidified that dream.”

 

“The trip was a real eye-opener to the world of chemistry and how it applies to the real world. It sparked my interest in chemistry at university. The experiment we carried out of extracting caffeine from tea leaves was very interesting especially about how the yield from 10 teabags was so minuscule. If given the opportunity, I would definitely go again.”

German Christmas Biscuit Bake-Off

December 15th, 2017

german biscuitOn Tuesday 5th December 5 Year 7 students went to a Christmas biscuit competition run by the Oxford German Network.

 

Each student had put in a great deal of effort at home to bake and decorate their traditional German biscuits (using recipes in German) and the finished results not only looked amazing but tasted delicious too!

 

When they arrived at the Taylor Institute the students crafted some home-made decorations and later on they took part in a quiz on Christmas in Germany, where they put their knowledge from their German lessons to the test. Out of 5 other schools Ashley, Carys, Simeon, Heather and George won best tasting biscuits, which was truly deserved against some stiff competition.

 

Thank you to all students involved and to Mrs Konstantine for organising.

Christmas Concert

December 15th, 2017

The first ever OSA Christmas Concert took place on the 8th December.

 

Students from all years took to the stage, performing Samba, Rock, Christmas songs, piano , singing and flute solos. It was the first opportunity for the new school orchestra and choir to perform the  choir also showcased what they have been working on this term.

 

The student leadership was outstanding and the collaboration across the year groups and between music groups was amazing. A massive thank you to Sally Ahmed for compering and Mr Dixon for technical support.

 

A special mention has to go to Josie Whitehouse, Delta McNicholas, Erica Masters and Irene Halle for leading the music groups so brilliantly!

 

We look forward to the spring concert in March!

 

Miss Stoneham and Mr Devey

End of Term Arrangements

December 15th, 2017

The timings for the end of Term 2 – Tuesday 19th December are as follows:

Year 10, Year 11 and Sixth Form depart 12.15pm
Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 depart 1.15pm

Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you all back for the start of Term 3 Thursday 4th January 2018

Non Uniform Day 15th December

December 13th, 2017

We have decided to host a non-uniform day to raise money to support the charities chosen by each House.

The expectations for non-uniform day are as follows:

  • Students are invited to attend school in their own clothes and/or festive jumpers, provided they are appropriately dressed.
  • Students should be mindful that basic uniform expectations still apply i.e. no hats in buildings and no electronic equipment should be seen

For this privilege students must pay £1 at the school gate. However, if students arrive at school wearing non- uniform without the correct money they will be sent home to change into the correct uniform or bring in their money.

Please help us to support Student Voice as OSA and help us support and our chosen charities, which are:
 

  • Water Aid
  • Cancer Research
  • OAB-Oxfordshire Association for the Blind
  • Restore Garden Café-Oxford

 

Yours sincerely

Jo Dunphy

Vice-Principal

Thank you for your support during the hazardous weather

December 12th, 2017

Thank you all very much for your continued support during the hazardous weather over the last few days.  Our Site Team has worked extremely hard to ensure the entire site is safe.  The students have behaved exceptionally well today and we are very proud of them.  It is likely to still be extremely cold and slippy early in the morning so please wrap up warm, wear suitable footwear and take care on your journey to and from school.

Oxford Spires Academy will be open regular hours from tomorrow (Wednesday 13th December)

 

Normal Finish Time Today

December 12th, 2017

Oxford Spires Academy will close at the normal time of 3.10pm today.  There will be no evening events.

UPDATE: School is open from 9.45am

December 12th, 2017

Oxford Spires Academy is open for all students from 9.45am today (Tuesday 12th December)

A quick reminder – Students need to wear suitable footwear and warm outer clothing. Please take care on your journey to school and use the extra time to get here safely.

 

Update: Opening Tuesday 12th December 2017

December 11th, 2017
Dear Parent/Carer 
We plan to open tomorrow, Tuesday 12th December at 9.45am the slightly later start will give students and staff more time in the morning to travel safely to school. All students should wear full school uniform but wear suitable footwear and outer clothing that is appropriate for the weather. Can I dissuade students from cycling to school where possible as the roads may be slippery. 
 
The final decision to open or to close the school will need to be taken in the morning. The information will be emailed to parents via ParentMail and placed here onto the school website by 7.30am. We will also use the local radio stations and the Oxfordshire County Council website to inform you if we need to close to students for a second day. 
 
Kind regards 
Marianne Blake, Principal. 

Update: Bannister Christmas Lunch

December 10th, 2017

Unfortunately due to deliveries being unable to access the school site, we have no further option than to reschedule the Bannister Christmas Lunch that was calendared for Tuesday 12th December.

 

Bannister Christmas Lunch will now take place Monday 18th December.

Please remember to bring a usual packed lunch / payment for meal for Tuesday 12th December

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

 

Update: School Closure Monday 11th December 2017

December 10th, 2017

Dear Parent/Carer 

I can confirm that Oxford Spires Academy will in fact be closed on Monday 11th December for all staff and students
 
The adverse weather conditions will impact significantly on our staffing for tomorrow. We have also audited the school environment and I am concerned about the safety of our students on site.
 
It is for these two reasons that I have decided to close the academy. 
 
My apologies for an inconvenience that this may cause families. 
 
Best wishes 
Marianne Blake – Principal

Snow & Hazardous Weather Conditions

December 10th, 2017

Due to the current hazardous weather conditions for staff and students, we will be making a decision on the closure of the school, once the site has been inspected later this afternoon.

 

As several teachers and staff live outside of the Cowley/Oxford area, we need to ensure staffing numbers are adequate for teaching/supporting the students and also the site is safe.

Please check back here at 7.00pm this evening for an updateosasnow.

Enjoy the snow!

 

 

 

Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company

November 29th, 2017

On the 29th November, Year 10 and Year 13 English and Drama students were given the opportunity to participate in a workshop by the theatre company, Cheek by Jowl.  The students engaged with two professional actors from the company who introduced them to new ways to interpret Shakespeare for the stage as well as giving them the chance to work together using warm up activities that the company themselves use.  The students were lively and enthusiastic, contributing ideas and energy to a successful workshop.  Thanks to Cheek by Jowl for the opportunity.

Shakespeare for Schools Festival

November 28th, 2017

On 10th November, 15 students in Years 9 – 12 took part in the Shakespeare for Schools Festival.  This was the first time that Oxford Spires has participated in this event and the students produced an incredible 30 minute version of the Shakespeare play ‘As You Like It.’ 

Beginning as an idea in the summer holidays, students had worked independently to create a 1930s version of the play, with music from the time as the backing to dances as well as singing live on stage.  Telling the story of Rosalind’s exile from court and her love for Orlando, the play is a comedy highlighted by disguise and confusion as she and her cousin Celia, find their way in a very different world.  The students led much of the project, rehearsals and staging ideas themselves and all credit is due to them for an excellent performance.

Thanks also to Kate Morris and Peter Sheward-Himpson for their support throughout and on the day.

SHAKESPEAR FOR SCHOOL 1 SHAKESPEAR FOR SCHOOL 2

AIM HIGHER: Overcoming Obstacles

November 22nd, 2017

Growth Mindset workshop at Oxford Brookes University

 

Aim Higher Overcoming Obstacles

 

Thirty of our Year 7 students attended a fun workshop at Oxford Brookes. The students were engaged and considered their ‘personal development’ and thought about ways to create a more positive growth mindset for themselves in relation to their thinking and their actions.

 

The morning ended with a competitive tour of the university.

A fun day for our young year 7s.

Articulation Project

November 22nd, 2017

All A level students are taking part in the Articulation Project which is designed to develop and support students’ understanding and engagement with art. This is a great opportunity and will be considered as part of their arts projects as well as helping students develop their research, critic and presentation skills.

 
Students took part in an all day workshop at the Ashmolean Museum where they worked in groups to explore art works through personal observation, discussion and primary research. They were encouraged to think independently, analyse information, and ask informed questions. Through the project they will also learn how to conquer nerves, physically prepare and become successful presenters as well as meet with and interview art world professionals.

 
The skills they develop through this project will directly inform their Personal Study element of their coursework unit as well as provide transferrable skills they can use in other areas of their lives.

6th Form Artists

November 22nd, 2017

Year 12 and 13 A level Art students are currently taking part in collaborative projects with both Modern Art Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum.

 

Modern Art Oxford Photography Project

Students spent the day at Modern Art Oxford to receive the creative brief for a photography project around the theme of Journeys that they will be working on between now and the summer term alongside students from Cheney school and City of Oxford College. In the coming months students will be guided by both their teachers, lead photographer Laura Montag and the Modern Art Oxford Curatorial team to create a series of photographs that they will present and critique.

 

They will take part in project seminars, photography workshops, open studio sessions with Laura Montag and independent development time. Their individual work will form part of a collaborative book showing a selection of photos from each student.  They will also exhibit their work to the public through the gallery.

Lantern Parade

November 22nd, 2017

Oxford Christmas Light Festival – Lantern Parade

 

Year 9 GCSE Art students took part in the Oxford Christmas Light Festival again this year, which involved creating lanterns that they then paraded through Oxford city centre on the evening of Friday 17th November.

 

The festival theme for this year was ‘The World in Oxford’ and the large lanterns as part of the parade depicted elements from stories about travelling the world.  Our lantern was a large bicycle from The Boy Who Biked The World by Alastair Humphreys.

 

Students took part in a two-day workshop with artist Paul Batten to create a 3 metre by 2 metre bicycle lantern with spinning globes for wheels. The students also made smaller lanterns in the shape of books to accompany it.  

 

It was a great opportunity for our younger GCSE students to work with a visiting artist, learn more about 3D sculpture, work collaboratively and take part in a community event where they can display their hard work. The Lantern parade itself was also a wonderful evening to be part of and a great kick-off to the festive season.

 

 

 

UK Parliament Week – Sixth Form debaters in the Bodleian

November 21st, 2017

On Thursday 16 November, three students from Oxford Spires Sixth Form took on a challenge.  They debated whether people should have the right to be forgotten online, as part of the University of Oxford’s 2017 Parliament Week.

 

bodleian pic 1

 

Alongside Lord Tom McNally, and local MP Annaliese Dodds, our three students (Eleanor, Ishmail and Sana) proposed the right to have irrelevant or incorrect things online deleted. 

 

They were opposed by a team of student debaters from Cheney School, accompanied by MP Damian Collins.  The whole debate was chaired by the Principal of Somerville College, Oxford, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon.

 

 

The debate took place in the medieval Convocation House, where the English parliament had met during the Civil War.  In the audience were over 100 local Sixth Form Politics students, undergraduates and university staff. 

 

Bodleian 2

 

The students had prepared with a workshop at the Politics Faculty, and A level Politics teacher, Dan Glazebrook, accompanied them on a trip to Parliament, where they had interviewed MPs, Lords and the Speaker, John Bercow.

 

Head of Sixth Form, Jackie Watson, was proud of the students.  ‘They were all so confident and articulate!  It’s not easy to speak in front of 100 of your peers, never mind doing it alongside Members of Parliament and University lecturers.  They all did a brilliant job!’

 

The Proposition won the debate by 43 votes to 38.  A good job done!

Aim Higher -The Fix Up Team

November 13th, 2017

The Fix Up Team returned to work with our students motivating and inspiring them to achieve success. They worked with our Year 11 students with a great motivational assembly focusing on developing a growth mindset and positive active attitude when focussing on their education and personal lives. This was followed by workshops on revision skills for exam success and another on confidence and resilience.

 

One of their quotes of the day “Potential means nothing without action”

 

In addition all of the Year 10 and Year 9 groups received a motivational assembly on independent choices, resilience and focus. All students were encouraged to develop a ‘VIP Mindset’ – Vision. Identity and Power.

 

Fixupteam

Aim Higher Passport Day

November 13th, 2017

Year 10 Passport Day at Oxford Brookes University

 
Forty Year 10 students visited Oxford Brookes University for a Passport day. The day was all about giving students more information about university increasing their knowledge on how their journey of study can lead to university. The Ambassadors (university undergraduates) worked with students explaining just some of the 37,000 different courses on offer in the UK.

 

The day gave students the opportunity to discuss what subjects they are currently enjoying, what their personal interest are and to consider their future career ambitions.

A great day with an insight into university life… The more information and experience our young people have the more of an informed choice they are able to make in their future!

German Student Exchange

November 13th, 2017

Once again for the third year running Mrs Constantine and Mr Fanchi took 9 students from Year 9 to Year 13 to stay with German families in Aschaffenburg in Germany. It was a very valuable experience as students were there not only to improve their German language, but also immerse themselves into the family lives of their exchange partners. As a result the students grew in their confidence and I congratulate them on taking on such a challenge!

 

Germantrip2

The group visited the towns Aschaffenburg and Miltenberg. Each family arranged individual activities with their exchange partners so that every one of them has a different story to tell. Students also visited the school and took part in the lessons.

 

German trip 3

A particular focus of this year’s trip was the Jewish history of the town Aschaffenburg including its dark period under the Nazi regime. The Jewish museum was very kind in giving us a guided tour visiting the places, where Jews used to lived, before they were deported to the concentration camps. We paid our respect by cleaning some the Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) which have been placed into the ground in front of their houses. It was very moving and the students impressed with their compassion and respect for these lost lives.

 

German trip 1

 

Yr 7 Humanities Exhibition

November 13th, 2017

IMG_0430

Year 7s celebrated the completion of their first Humanities homework project with a celebratory display of their best work in the Atrium. Students had included insights from the visit from Wilderness Pioneers so their work was as historically accurate as possible. We are very proud of what they have achieved this term.

IMG_0426

Parental Communication

November 13th, 2017

Dear Parent

Improving School Communication with ParentMail

 

Communicating with parents is an important part of what we do. Making sure you get the correct information about activities, events and things that really matter is something we care about.

 

Traditionally we have used printed letters but delivery of these can be unreliable; they are also expensive, to produce and are not environmentally friendly.

ParentMail is a service used by over 6,000 schools, nurseries and children’s clubs to communicate to parents. ParentMail will be beneficial to you because:

 

  • Messages will get to you reliably and on time
  • We can send messages directly to mums, dads and others carers at the same time
  • Emergency Information can be sent by text message

 

If you haven’t yet connected to ParentMail all you need to do is verify your account. Over the next few days you will be sent either an email from ParentMail, when you receive this please just follow the instructions below:

 

Email Registration:

Please click on the link in the email and follow the registration process. You will be asked to enter some details; answer a security question to verify who you are and to then set a password for your account.

 

Please be assured that ParentMail is registered with the Information Commissioner and guarantees that all information you provide will be kept private and will not be passed on to any other organisation.

 

Yours sincerely

Marianne Blake – Principal

 

 

 

registration advert

 

 

Tickets on sale now!

November 8th, 2017

 

House Drama  – Thursday 23rd November 6.00pm

 

Panto – Thursday 13th December 6.00pm

 

Tickets can be purchased from Mrs Crook in the Red Zone Office.

£4 Adults, £2 Students / Under 18yrs 

 

Year 8 Geography Field Trip

November 3rd, 2017

On the last day of term, 12 hard working and dedicated Year 8 geographers got the opportunity to visit some of the areas top rural tourist attractions. The weather was unusually nice for late October, though a bit windy it made things interesting on top of the Wittenham Clumps and White Horse Hill.  The students got into groups of 4 and investigated their chosen tourist attraction to see how people felt about the place.

 

They will now need to take what they learnt about each attraction and try to come up with ways to improve it to attract more tourists but without destroying the attraction.  Their final decisions will be presented to all Year 8 geography classes in lessons in the spring term.  Well done to all Year 8s who worked so hard on the trip.

Geog Field Trip Oct 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year 11 Parent Update & Information

November 2nd, 2017

Please visit the ‘Recent Letters’ section of our website to read ‘Year 11 Parent Update and Information’ and to see a great revision guide that will be extremely useful for all Year 11 students with mock exams fast approaching.

http://www.oxfordspiresacademy.org/parent/recent-letters/

 

Autumn Update Oct 2017

October 23rd, 2017

Dear Parent/Carer
It has been a really fantastic start to our new academic year here at Oxford Spires Academy. We are really proud of our students as they have really excelled themselves.

 

House Competitions

Over 480 of our students have taken part and supported our house sports competitions last week. At least 220 girls played in their house Football teams, 150 boys played rugby and 110 boys & girls played house DodgeBall.
 

Performances

Our first Piano recital using our new baby grand piano was an overwhelming success, so much so that we are now organising a second musical evening before Christmas. Students have also taken part in the Shakespeare in schools work shop and I very much look forward to the final performances of this next term.
 

Projects

Students in Year 7 have completed their first homework project in Humanities. Our Year 7 have produced some truly amazing models of Palaeolithic camps, they are rightly proud of them and they will be on display in our meet the tutor and settling in meeting for Year 7 this week.
Our Students in Year 8 have produced Volcano models and these again are marvellous, we have exploding volcanos models, fact files and posters and edible cake volcanos, some truly amazing outcomes.
 

News Flash

Our Oxford Spires News team have officially launched our student website ‘The Spires Scoop’.
This is now live and can be found using Google, please make sure to have a look, it really is amazing and full of information that you just can’t miss.

 

Open Evening

Over 400 students helped out on Open evening, it was a lovely atmosphere and I really enjoyed meeting both parents and our potential new students for September. If you were unable to visit our wonderful school and would like to come and see us, please do not hesitate to contact us at and academy and we will arrange a tour for you.
 

Poetry Successes on an international stage

We have an amazing 7 winners in the Foyle Poetry Competition. One of our young ladies has achieved a place within the top 15. There is a special recognition from the Poetry Society for OSA as we are once again the most successful school in the world in this international competition. (15,000 entries annually are judged anonymously)
We have so many things to celebrate within the academy and I would like to thank our committed and dedicated teachers for making all of these opportunities possible.
Have a wonderful half term break.

 

Best wishes
Marianne Blake

House Competitions

October 23rd, 2017

220 girls took part in House Football, 150 boys in House Rugby and 110 boys in House DodgeBall. In total 480 students took part, that’s nearly half the school. Well done to everyone who joined in.

Cake Sale

October 23rd, 2017

A cake sale was held in the staffroom at the end of September to raise money for Macmillan cancer. Thank you to all staff who supported the sale and managed to raise a fabulous £131.

OSA Student From Syria Wins National Poetry Award

October 11th, 2017

Winner of The John Betjeman Prize 2017

This is a huge reason for us to celebrate at OSA, two of our young ladies have achieved great things within this year’s John Betjeman Poetry Competition.

Amineh Abou Kerech is the overall winner of the whole competition with her poem called ‘Lament for Syria’.  Jemima Webster has also accomplished amazing success and achieved the first runner up slot.

 

These two young ladies competed against more than 2000 entries.

I would like to congratulate both of the girls and their teacher Kate Clanchy and I am sure that their families are as proud as we all are at academy.

 

Front Sat 7 Oct oxford mail

 

 

Read the full article from the Oxford Mail here

Higher Level Learning Day-29th September 2017

October 9th, 2017

Year 12 Higher Level Learning Day – 29 September 2017

It is vital that Year 12 students, beginning A levels, get off to a flying start! As most people realise, A level study requires a lot of determination and organisation.  On Friday 29 September, OSA’s Year 12 students took part in a day dedicated to the skills they will need for success.

Setting goals and overcoming barriers was the subject of their first session – led by Ms Ali. They were asked to make plans – think ahead – and envision the success they wanted.

Further sessions focused on how to make professional presentations – a skill key to the workplace as well as to school and university courses. Every member of the year group spoke and they learned how to adapt presentation slides to meet the needs of their audiences.

As well as presentations, students learned about Sixth Form research and referencing – looking at how to find information, and how to record their findings. And they had a very relaxing session learning how to manage the stress which is a necessary part of this level of learning…  (Thanks, Mr Fanchi!)

The afternoon saw the whole year looking outwards – at the many opportunities they have to work with both universities in Oxford, and to broaden their learning as well as planning their future. Becky Bartle, from Oxford Brookes, gave a presentation on Brookes Engage (a popular 18-month scheme to help students prepare for university, and offering them access to Brookes’ library and sports facilities).  From debating, to university lectures, to study days at the Ashmolean, university departments and the Bodleian Library – we hope that all our Year 12s enjoy this exciting phase in their education!

Piano Recital – 28th September 2017

October 9th, 2017

In order to celebrate the purchase of our brand new Feurich Grand Piano, 28 OSA students took to the stage in their smartest outfits to share pieces that they have been working on. The quality of the performances was exceptional, each student demonstrating a clear ability to master and get the best from the piano. The evening finished with a very special performance of Take Five from the wonderful Sally Ahmed, a peripatetic piano teacher who has supported most of the students who played that evening. We hope this will be the first of many events of this nature.”

 

Piano Recital