Please find attached a copy of the letter and guidance for the Climate Change strike on Friday 20th September 2019.
Climate Change Strike Sept 2019
Climate Change Strike Sept 2019September 16th, 2019
Please find attached a copy of the letter and guidance for the Climate Change strike on Friday 20th September 2019.
Internet Safety DaySeptember 10th, 2019
Please see the following letter regarding our upcoming Internet Safety day – Monday 16th September 2019Internet Safety Day Sept 2019
GCSE Results August 2019August 22nd, 2019
Thursday 22nd August 2019
GCSE results at Oxford Spires Academy
Oxford Spires is delighted to congratulate its students on achieving a fantastic set of results this year.
Oxford Spires’ most able students have achieved outstanding outcomes with a high number of students achieving grade 8/9s. Only the top 3% of students in England achieved a grade 9. At Oxford Spires 15% of our students have achieved Grade 9s this year. The numbers of students achieving grade 9s in English, Maths, Science, Geography and Art & Design is above the national average. We would like to recognise the following students.
- Linnet who has achieved a grade 9 in all 11 of her GCSEs
- Sara who has achieved 8 grade 9s in her GCSEs
- Joseph has achieved 7 grade 9s in his GCSEs
- Anna has achieved 5 grade 9s and 11 GCSEs at grade 7 or above
English/English Literature 77% of students achieved passes at grade 4-9, and 61% achieving a grade 5 or higher and a quarter of students grade 7 or higher. 7 students achieved the very highest grade 9. A special mention goes to Eleanor who achieved a grade 9 in her English Language and an 8 in her Literature and Mia who has achieved grade 9 in English Literature and an 8 in English Language.
Maths has also performed well and 67% of students have gained passes at grade 4-9, with 45% gaining a grade 5 or higher. The numbers of students achieving the top grades in maths has increased this year with 6 students achieving the highest grade 9.
Overall 72% of the cohort have achieved a grade 4-9 for two EBACC sciences at GCSE. Achievement in the sciences is exceptional with 40% of the Biology cohort achieving grade 8 or higher and 6 students achieving grade 9. In Chemistry 35% of the cohort achieved grade 8 or higher with 7 students achieving the highest possible grade 9. In Physics a third of students achieved a grade 8 and 7 students achieved a grade 9. Special mentions in science go to Earl who has achieved a grade 8 in Chemistry and Physics and a grade 9 in Biology and Oscar who has achieved a grade 8 in all 3 sciences.
We are proud to see the Arts flourishing as well as our EBACC subjects, a quarter of students have achieved a grade 8 or 9 in Art and Design, 84% have achieved a grade 4-9. A special mention to Izzy, Linnet, Rosie and Sofia for achieving their grade 9.
Commenting on this success, Principal Marianne Blake said:
“I would like to join our parents in congratulating our students for the results they have achieved through hard work and determination. I would also like to thank all our teachers for their expertise and for giving their time so willingly to support students. We wish all our students well in the next stage in their academic career and are looking forward to welcoming students back to the Sixth Form at the start of term.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Local Governors, said:
“This is an extremely pleasing set of results, once again showing what a high level of dedication we see in our students and staff. It is particularly encouraging to see so many grade 9s but also such high percentages achieving good passes in the core subjects of maths and English, as well as in sciences, languages, humanities and arts. I am grateful to all who have achieved so well under the headship of Miss Blake and wish them well as they move forward in their education well prepared to flourish through sixth form or college either into University or into other fantastic pathways.”
A Level Results 2019August 15th, 2019
Sixth Form Press Release
A-LEVEL RESULTS AT OXFORD SPIRES ACADEMY
Thursday 15th August 2019
Oxford Spires Academy is delighted to announce a good set of A Level results again from Year 13. Our top-performing students have done particularly well.
Head boy Mukahang Limbu has met his offer to read English and German at The Queen’s College, Oxford, with his A* in English Literature and As in German and History, joining the A* he already has in Creative Writing.
Helen Woods will also be reading English, at Wadham College, Oxford, with her A* in Creative Writing and As in English Literature, French, and Philosophy and Ethics.
Jasmine Burgess has gained A*s in Maths and Creative Writing, and As in Further Maths and Physics, and will read Maths at the University of Durham.
We are, as ever, proud of the full range of our students, and would particularly like to recognise the achievements of the following:
- Merzia Qahramany, a student who came to Oxford Spires from Afghanistan part way into her GCSE course, who has gained Cs and Ds at A level, with A* in Persian, and will read Fashion Design at university.
- Sisters Ines and Luisa Crespi de Valldaura who joined the school’s Sixth Form from Spain and have made the most of their linguistic abilities with As in Spanish and Bs in French, alongside their other A levels. Both will now progress to university.
- Amna Aamir, who gained Chemistry, Maths and Physics A levels at OSA last year, and took a year in the school to refocus her studies and gained B grade in Art in one year – allowing her to apply for Architecture at Oxford Brookes.
There were a number of subjects whose performances were particularly strong, especially Languages where all students gained B grade and above. Other subjects of note were Maths, English Literature and Chemistry.
Commenting on this success, Principal Marianne Blake said:
“It is a privilege to lead a school such as Oxford Spires, where students from such a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds succeed and progress to the full range of universities. Our Sixth Form will continue to be central to our school, as it grows in number, and we look forward to continuing progress in the even wider programme of A levels we will offer from next year.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Local Governors, said:
“I am extremely proud to see our students moving into the next stage of their lives so well equipped by their time at Oxford Spires Academy with many doors open to them. A fantastic reward for their diligent and thorough studies at Oxford Spires. Such good news is a huge tribute to the dedication and professionalism of all our staff, both teaching and support, and to the Head of Sixth Form, Dr Watson, all working under the headship of Ms Blake. Congratulations to all and huge thanks to everyone who made these results possible.
July 2019 NewsletterJuly 26th, 2019
OSA Blackwell’s ShowcaseJuly 19th, 2019
We were delighted to see our students showing their speaking skills in the Norrington Room at Blackwell’s on Thursday 18 July.
Public speaking teams from the Academy Trust competition last week, Shakespeare speakers from the competition earlier this year, and some of our top poets performed for the public in the famous Oxford bookshop to great acclaim.
Mukahang, outgoing Head Boy and prize-winning poet, brought the event to a close reading his poetry, published in England: Poems from a School and his own anthology published this year by Outspoken Press, called Nascent. He commented that all the way through the school he had taken part in the activities showcased that evening, and recognised how they had led him to where he is today. As he leaves, we hope, to take up a place at Queen’s College, Oxford, next year, he wished the younger students well.
He joined Year 12 student, Aisha, to show the sophisticated and engaging poetry OSA students are now, rightly, famous for. Both showed how poetry is more than just the page – and how entertaining and moving performance poetry can be.
Apart from poetry, public speakers from Year 7 and 8 (Zoha, Stella and Zoe) spoke on the impact screen time had on young people’s health. Older students from Year 10 (Daisy, Sami and Toby) addressed the issue of our relationship with waste and its impact on the environment.
Finally, our younger students also showed their acting skills and memory in performing sections of Shakespeare plays. Lizzie and Skyla played Juliet’s scene with her mother from Romeo and Juliet, and Sam played Cesario to Eva’s Olivia in a section from Twelfth Night.
Thanks to all staff and parents who came along to support. We look forward to returning to Blackwell’s again soon to show more of our talented students’ work to the book-buying public of Oxford!
Year 12 develop their research skills at St Anne’s CollegeJuly 19th, 2019
We are very grateful to St Anne’s College, Oxford, for supporting our A level students.
As Year 12s begin Extended Project research, and others undertake History A level coursework projects, they benefited hugely from the guidance of the Librarians at St Anne’s. After a session on search terms, using bibliographies and referencing, they had access to the holdings of the college library and online resources and a session to begin finding books and articles to help them in their own work.
Further research sessions are planned with Merton College library and the Bodleian in September.
OSA on Radio OxfordJuly 19th, 2019
The school has featured quite heavily on local BBC radio over the last few weeks.
Following an interview with Oxford City Poet 2019, Timi Amusan in Year 13, earlier this term, presenter Kat Orman’s interviewed another of our talented poets, Head Boy Mukahang Limbu. In a long discussion about heritage, school and poetry, Mukahang talked about his Nepalese background and how his poetry connects with his feelings about family and landscape. Listen to the interview here Kat Orman Interview
A shorter version of this interview was combined with a broadcast of the Steps students’ recent podcasts on the East Oxford Takeover on Thursday 18 July. The podcasts made at the Ashmolean museum, and on their website, explore different objects in the museum’s collection and link them back to the students’ experiences in their countries of origin. Listen to the programme here East Oxford Takeover
Mukahang also featured in a discussion programme on Radio 6 this term, with presenter Cerys Matthews and poet Raymond Antrobus. Listen here Cerys Matthews
Art ExhibitionJuly 18th, 2019
Students, parents, staff and friends of OSA were invited for the private view of the GCSE and A level exhibition at the end of term. It was a great opportunity for students to showcase their ideas and talent. The work in the gallery is a range of impressive final outcomes for coursework and exam themes. Visitors commented on the quality and variety of work on display and the great potential of our young artists. The exhibition was a great way to celebrate all the hard work our students have put in during their courses and they should be very proud. The work remains exhibited throughout next term, inspiring our current art students of all ages.
A-level Physics trip to the CERN facilityJuly 18th, 2019
OSA had an extremely enjoyable and successful A-level Physics trip to the CERN facility and Geneva, organised by Ms Hamnett and ably accompanied by Mr Birch – a group of 6 Year 12 and 13 students attended and were fantastic – positive, reliable, funny and especially punctual, it made the whole trip very relaxed. We visited CERN itself with a guided tour and its visitors centres, and also explored the beautiful city of Geneva.
Here is what the students had to say about the trip
“Being at CERN gave me a new perspective of how science can unite people all over the world. If you are ever given the chance to go, take it!”
“Geneva itself a great place for a holiday! If you would like to see an aerial view of a city or go swimming in a lake, be sure to take this trip!
“It was exciting to explore Geneva, taking a cable car up the mountains to see stunning scenery and getting soaked by the famous Jet d’Eau. And I took my first ever plane journey on this trip- it was great!”
“The trip gave me a deeper perspective in particle physics and sparked further interest on studying and researching in physics.
Other than physics, the trip also offers travelling around Geneva and earning free time with trust to explore around. I would definitely recommend this once in a life time opportunity”.
“I gained a better understanding of what they at doing (at CERN) and what happened in the earlier stages of the universe”
“Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
CERN is great
Science is too
You try to pizza
But not the fondue
CERN is not just the LHC
Scientist is what I want to be
Hostels are actually fun
But hope for not a boar that snores
Because then you will want no more
But just make memories at the shore
And the mountain floor
Because roses are red
And Geneva is much more”
We look forward to next year’s Physics trip to CERN!
Paris Trip 2019July 17th, 2019
6am Friday morning 47 students and 5 teachers left school for a weekend packed with activities in Paris. It started with waving goodbye to the White Cliffs of Dover from the ferry. Then a visit to a chocolate factory before settling in to our accommodation at the Chateau. 2 birthdays celebrated with lots of singing in French and English, cakes and candles! Then going 63 floors up to the top of the Tour Montparnasse and trying to steal the Eiffel Tower, lunch under the Eiffel Tower, a boat trip down the River Seine seeing even more of the sites (including the sad sight of Notre Dame after the fire), seeing behind the scenes at Europe’s largest cinema and becoming extras in our own movie, driving up the Champs Élysées and then round the crazy 8 lane (or more) roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe where no one will insure you!!!! Swimming, silly songs and stories and toasting marshmallows around the bonfire, shopping at the local market, wall climbing, abseiling, archery, buggy building, more swimming, eating snails, strutting our stuff at the disco and then a visit to the hypermarket before finally settling down to watch Mr bean’s holiday en route home.
Thank you to all the students who came, Mr Finch, Mrs Minton, Miss Stober and Mr Khan for making it a really special trip.
Anyone For Tennis?July 12th, 2019
On Thursday 11th July 14 students and 4 staff had the exciting opportunity to attend Wimbledon. With tickets for Court One and Centre Court, an amazing day was in store. The weather did us proud and the sun shone throughout the day. Some fantastic tennis was witnessed, and with the addition of the exciting past time of celebrity spotting, an amazing day was experienced. David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, Venus Williams and Greg Rusedski were all on the list of celebrities spotted. Particular highlights of the day were witnessing Serena Williams in stunning form and some very exciting mixed doubles matches. Huge thanks to Miss Baker, Miss Shuttleworth and Miss Hawtin for helping with the smooth running of the trip and to Mr Fanchi for securing the tickets. Hopefully we can return again in 2020.
Cowley Road Carnival – Space is the PlaceJuly 12th, 2019
A large group of our Year 9 GCSE students have been involved in Cowley Road Carnival this year. The theme for the carnival procession this year was ‘Space is the Place’; so we ran a cross-curricular project between Art and Physics. Students initially took part in a Science workshop at school led by Physicists from Oxford University. They learnt about different wavelengths and got to view the universe through VR headsets in Gamma rays, microwaves and visible light. At the end of the workshop students used this knowledge to come up with ideas for structures that they would go on to make with visiting artist Caitlin Howells and show at the carnival.
The students came up with some fantastic ideas which Caitlin took away and used to plan the final designs. The making workshops took place over 3 very busy days and the results were amazing! We had 3 large structures that we showed at the Cowley Road Carnival procession. The carnival was very busy (and hot), so many people got to enjoy seeing what they had made.
The students were imaginative, dedicated and worked solidly each day. They have learnt a lot about working collaboratively, 3D construction, working to a project brief and working with professional artists and scientists, as well as finally presenting their work to an audience at a community event.
It has been great to link the two subjects and students can see how ideas and knowledge can be realised through their artwork to give them a greater understanding. Their work got a great reception and the students really enjoyed being part of the project.
King Charles’ Cup – Rugby UpdateJuly 12th, 2019
On 27th June we took a mixed Year 8 and 9 Girls Rugby League team to Oxford Cavaliers to compete in the King Charles’ Cup. On a very warm day the competition was fierce. First up was a big challenge against host team Batholomew School. In an extremely competitive match which swung both ways a 32-30 victory was secured. Next up was a meeting with Cooper School, with the chance to secure the trophy. An amazing performance followed and 42-10 victory was sealed, and so to was the King Charles’ Cup.
This was a fantastic achievement for a team in their infancy including many players participating in their first Rugby tournament. The girls are really looking forward to developing further next season.
City as Studio: Moving Image Project with Modern Art OxfordJuly 12th, 2019
A group of our Year 10 and 12 Art students have, over the last 6 months, been taking part in a film project with Modern Art Oxford and artist Kate Mahony. They gained technical and creative experience through several film workshops with Kate, where they responded to creative briefs and then planned, shot and edited their own original short films about experiences of daily life in Oxford. Their films were initially inspired by previous Modern Art Oxford exhibitions; Penny Woolcock: Fantastic Cities and Akram Zaatari: The Script.
Students were joined by audiences at special screening events at Modern Art Oxford and the Ultimate Picture Palace, where they presented their films and took part in Q&A sessions.
Not only have students gained so many new skills and built their confidence as artists, but the project allows them to gain their Silver Arts Award. Their work was highly impressive and the culmination of a lot of hard work. They should all be very proud.
Year 7 CampJuly 12th, 2019
There was a real buzz of excitement as Year 7 prepared to leave OSA to head out for the annual Year 7 camping trip. On arrival the Year 7s discovered their tents for the night, unpacked their many belongings (and sweets) and got ready to start a day full of activities. They got the chance to practice for the Camp’s Got Talent show with Miss McGrath and Mr Spacksman leading the way. They also ended up doing activities such as Archery, Bush Craft, Team Building and Soap Box (building and racing)!
The day ended with a delicious BBQ meal and the much anticipated Camp’s Got Talent show. The students really showed off their many different talents to the audience, which ranged from a rap to a dance to a comedy sketch. All students then enjoyed getting involved with the not very secret teacher performance.
Day 2 started with an 6am wake-up call after a chorus of “We’ll never be up by then” (Most were up at 4am…) After a quick bite to eat the Year 7s then carried on with more activities, finishing off whatever they didn’t on day 1. They also took part in a treasure hunt/nature walk, ably led by Mr Brown and Miss Smith. The archery was a real hit.
After another picnic lunch and a quick tidy and packing up of our tents, we got back on the buses ready for a prompt arrival back at OSA. Everyone was ready for a long weekend after a fun filled 2 days enjoyed by everyone.
Thank you to everyone who supported, the kids really got a lot out of the trip.
German Exchange VisitorsJuly 12th, 2019
Once again we welcomed our exchange partners from Aschaffenburg in Germany for a long weekend of fun activities. It was lovely to watch the students form a very tight knit friendship group and the German students were very grateful for our hospitality. A big shout out to Mr Fanchi for picking up the students from Heathrow in the mini bus – Thank you!
Year 11 PromJuly 12th, 2019
The class of 2019 enjoyed their prom at the Oxford Belfry once again this year. After a long year battling with their GCSE exams, the students were able to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate!
It was great to see so many in attendance as the students came dressed to impress in their prom attire. We were all given a big treat as we were greeted by the arrival of Mrs Dunphy on a Harley Davidson motorcycle!
The students enjoyed their 3 course meal and the awards that followed which included the crowning of our new Prom King and Queen. Congratulations to Aabid Ali and Aaliyah Safdar!
The remainder of the evening was spent on the dance floor with the DJ taking control. Cha-Cha slide proved a big hit with the Heads of House.
We wish the Year 11s well for their long summer break and look forward to welcoming them back in 6th form.
Do you have OSA uniform you don’t need any more?July 10th, 2019
Is your child heading off to sixth form, college or elsewhere next year and no longer needs their uniform?
FOSA are collecting unneeded school jumpers, ties and PE kit to sell at reduced rates to new pupils and growing current pupils. So far we have raised over £100 towards extras for the school (table tennis tables, teachers’ toaster, etc) and have made a lot of parents happy that they don’t have to shell out quite so much for the new school year.
If so, then bring anything that has life left in it to Reception!
KS3 Physics ChallengeJuly 9th, 2019
On Monday 1st July a group of 10 students from Years 8 and 9 went to Headington School for a Key Stage 3 Physics Challenge organised by the Ogden Trust and coordinated by Claire Hamnett. They were accompanied by Dr Nick Rogers. On the day they took part in a number of magnetism related challenges, including investigating ferrous fluids and building their own loudspeaker. Both teams were a real credit to the school and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Our Year 9 group won overall, beating several private schools.
Outspoken talent!July 8th, 2019
We are delighted to announce that Mukahang Limbu, last year’s Head Boy, has just had his poetry published in an anthology, Nascent, with Outspoken Press. The book was launched on 24 June – and outcome of Mukahang’s victory in the Outspoken London poetry prize earlier this year. Now a media favourite as well as a school role model, Mukahang is appearing (for a second time) on Cerys Matthews’ Radio 6 programme on Sunday 7 July, and will be reading at the Ledbury Festival on Friday 12 July. He has just been interviewed by Kat Orman for her Radio Oxford afternoon show.
The Taming of the ShrewJuly 8th, 2019
Shakespeare Club students enjoyed a trip to the RSC to see a production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. After taking part in a fascinating workshop and discussion about the staging of the play, in which they took on the role of director, the students saw a gender-swapped version on stage. It was a memorable experience and they can’t wait to go back!
EMC ‘Just Write’ Day 2019July 4th, 2019
Y7 and Y8 students took part in the English and Media Centre’s ‘Just Write’ project on National Writing Day 2019. Christina and Taaha Year 8 were thrilled that their creative writing was chosen to appear on the video produced by the EMC, which can be seen on their website. EMagazine editor Barbara Bleiman had one word when she read their work: “Wow!”
Watch the sample video here!
A State of the Universe Report by Chris LintottJuly 4th, 2019
Oxford Spires were lucky enough to host a talk by Prof Chris Lintott of “The Sky at Night” fame who is an excellent speaker and passionate about the public understanding of science. We had a large number attending the talk – teachers, parents and students, about 180 in total and it was thoroughly entertaining, informative and enjoyable. Chris talked about what is in the astronomical news at the moment, the next NASA mission to Titan which was announced that very evening, exploring asteroids, the weather on different planets in our solar system, discovering exoplanets, the importance of curiosity and much much more, a truly inspirational talk. We also had a fantastic range of questions from students, including about intelligent life elsewhere, how the Mars Rovers landed, and what we might find on the dark side of the moon. There were lots of comments afterwards about how inspiring it was and requests for more such talks – perhaps this might be the first in a series
Chris Lintott is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and also a research fellow at New College. As Principal Investigator of the Zooniverse, he leads a team who run the world’s most successful citizen science projects, allowing more than a million people to discover planets, transcribe ancient papyri or explore the Serengeti. He is best known as co-presenter of the BBC’s long running Sky at Night programme. His first solo book is out in October.
Thanks to Chris, to Sandra Poyser for logistics and to everyone who attended.
Oxford Science Learning Partnership
German CookeryJuly 4th, 2019
This term Year 8 classes have been working on a ‘Come Dine With Me’ project. Students were given a menu of tasks and worked either independently or in small groups to complete their tasks. Students produced German menus, dinner party invitations, cartoon strips, scripts and homemade videos on how to cook traditional German dishes. We also tasted some typical German foods and some students even tried out some German recipes and brought them into lesson for the class to sample! Thank you Year 8s for the incredible effort you put into this.
In conjunction with the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project, some students in class 8X took part in a German cookery class. Prior to the lesson they discussed types of German ‘Schnitzel’ and translated a German recipe. Then in the following lesson students were able to prepare, cook (and eat!) the Schnitzel recipe. Well done to all students involved for your hard work.
Duke of Edinburgh Bronze AwardJuly 4th, 2019
On a lovely sunny Summer Solstice weekend, six groups of Y9 students took part in their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Expedition. They spent two days and one night demonstrating that they could be self-sufficient – this involved walking with all their kit, navigating, cooking, and erecting tents. In the evening, students enjoyed a campfire at our campsite near the Uffington White Horse, and an impromptu game of rounders!
All groups showed great teamwork and support for each other and were able to put into practice the skills they had learned at school.
German Olympiad CompetitionJuly 2nd, 2019
We are very proud to once again have winning entries in this competition run by Oxford University and the Oxford German Network.
This is the third time we have flourished in this competition, however this year we didn’t just win one but two prizes: Erica, Millie, Tallula, Fatma, Jemima, Molly, Sofia and Tanisha came first in the Open Competition for groups where they made a film in German called ‘The Monster’. Gianluca and Ayana came first for their short video in the Discover German category which was designed for students who don’t learn German in class but wanted to give it a go. The students were very proud of their achievement when picking up their prizes in the Bodleian Library with all parents looking on and congratulating them. This year 70 schools from across the country took part in this exciting competition. Keep your eyes peeled for next year when we will enter the next batch of student to win more prizes.
Rising Year 12 start their Sixth Form JourneyJune 28th, 2019
It was great to see so many students at OSA for Sixth Form Induction on 18 and 19 June. We’re looking forward to our biggest Year 12 cohort so far from September, and almost all those applying from our Year 11, and many from other schools, came along to take taster A level or Level 3 BTEC lessons during Induction. This will, of course, make them more able to make sensible course choices after GCSE results on 22 August.
Teachers were really impressed by their questions and active learning in the taster lessons, and Sixth Form staff were delighted to see so many sign up at the ‘Freshers’ Fair’ for the events and activities planned for the next academic year. Whether you are interested in our planned African Expedition or want to visit Cerne – or join our Young Interpreters programme, or take LAMDA Drama courses – or help with primary school events, or join in debating – or… The list was very long!
The Sixth Form is a growing and successful part of Spires, and students began to plan at Induction, with Mr Bingham, our careers advisor, how they might work towards university and apprenticeship applications. These decisions come along very quickly once students start in Sixth Form!
Next year we will offer new subjects at A level – Photography, Design Technology, Music/Music Technology, Classical Civilisation and Computing – as there will be a larger number of students. From September we have, to focus our funding most effectively, now ceased to offer Level 2 courses – but on Results Day in August we will guide any students who need this level of course.
Students pick up their results on 22 August at 10am, and from 11am Sixth Form staff will start to interview those staying into Year 12 (students have a time slot in their Induction Handbook). Parents are very welcome to come in with students for this interview.
If there are any questions about entry to Sixth Form next year, please email Dr Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the Sixth Form Office on 01865 595443.
Oxford City Poet – 2019-20June 28th, 2019
We are delighted to announce that Timi Amusan, who has just completed Year 13, has been named Oxford City Poet for the next year, as we approach this year’s National Poetry Day in the autumn.
He has just written and recited his poetry online in the Hashtag Poems series as ‘What I Say to Mama’, and he will be composing verse specially for National Poetry Day, to be filmed and broadcast on Channel 4.
Timi has just performed his poetry to music at the Tandem Festival (see article) and was recently interviewed by Radio Oxford Breakfast Show about his journey from Nigeria to Oxford, what he thinks of the British way of life and how his poetry-writing career began.
As Timi waits for his A level results, he hopes to go to Portsmouth University and to go into a career in Civil Engineering. His aspiration is to return to Nigeria in years to come, and to help improve his home country’s infrastructure. He’s been a great Sixth Form student and we wish him every success!
The Fabulous Four play their last gig!June 28th, 2019
No – not the Beatles – but our amazing poets (Timi, Merzia, Halema and Ftoun) returned to the stage at the Tandem Festival, near Witney, on Sunday to read their work against the backing music of the Cotswold Ensemble, conducted by Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey.
The four are consummate professionals by now as they have already performed three times this year (at the King’s Place arts centre in London, Dorchester Abbey and Somerville College, Oxford), reading to the music of local composer, Toby Young, and previously with the full Orchestra of St John. So this week’s performance was a breeze – outside in a barn, with audience sitting on hay bales!
The four began with a planning meeting over lunch on the Friday, followed by some TV interviews for publicity, and finally rehearsals with the musicians in a local church on the Saturday morning.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves…June 28th, 2019
Year 12 took part in a Keep the Cash game on Tuesday 25 June, to help them manage their own money as leaving school and independent life are on the horizon.
The year group worked in teams to learn about salaries, credit, loans, mortgages and outgoings, writing CVs and being interviewed for jobs as their group needed more cash, and going to the bank to explain what they wanted. Not all managed to convince employers or bank managers, but they learnt a lot about what lies ahead.
Well done to the winning team, captained by Waqas Mehmood, who rather worryingly named themselves ‘The Fraudsters’…
Primary Shakespeare Speakers at OSAJune 28th, 2019
We were delighted to welcome students from six local primary schools to our second annual OSA Primary Shakespeare Speaking Competition.
Students from Wood Farm, St Joseph’s, St Francis, Eynsham, Tyndale and John Henry Newman took part first in a workshop led by Miss Morris and our Year 7, 8 and 9 students to make sure they spoke clearly, confidently and loud enough for our Theatre. They thoroughly enjoyed the mornings games and working together.
Then competitors read their prepared monologues and duologues – from a range of Shakespeare’s plays from popular plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Othello to less well-known ones, such as Two Gentlemen of Verona.
All students performed really well and we were delighted in the level of competition. The winner in the monologue category was from John Henry Newman, with runners-up from St Joseph’s and Tyndale; the duologue winners were from Wood Farm, with runners-up from Eynsham. The overall winners – taking home the bust of Shakespeare! – were John Henry Newman.
We look forward to working with lots of local primaries next summer – and, in advance, plan to take our students into schools who haven’t worked with us before, to deliver workshops and help prepare teams. Anyone from a local primary school who is interested in finding out more, please email Miss Morris email@example.com
Year 10 HealthReachJune 28th, 2019
Is there a doctor in the house?
Or a nurse, or an anaesthetist, or a paramedic, or an occupational therapist, or a physiotherapist, or…
34 students from Year 10 spent a very enjoyable day at the University of Reading on 26 June, learning about careers in the health service – and how very much in demand they are. Activities were ‘hands-on’ and students loved testing each other’s blood pressure and lung capacity, seeing how their hearts worked through an ECG, and putting on slings for broken arms. Students dressed in a suit, and wore special glasses, to show them how difficult it was to move as a much older person with mobility problems or cataracts.
The new HealthReach facility at Reading enables students to try out giving CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre (for those with a blocked airway), and using a defibrillator. Then they tested their learning in a simulation of a real-life accident.
The day aims to allow students to know the full range of jobs available in our health system, and to learn more about university study, as well as the kind of qualifications you’d need to apply successfully. Thanks to Study Higher for sponsoring this event, and to Alison Hall and her team at the University of Reading for their enthusiasm and expertise!
The Lord Mayor’s Visit to Barracks Lane Community GardenJune 26th, 2019
It wasn’t exactly the best weather to be showing guests around the Community Garden but students were sure nobody would be keen to hang around for too long. To be fair, the damp weather could so easily have dampened spirits, but the OSA First and Second Steps Students arrived early to Barracks Lane to put the finishing touches to cake decorations – iced fairy cakes with flower heads from plants they had grown and collected hastily between showers; a bit of furniture shifting here and there, and 11am the appointed time came around pretty quickly.
Miss Blake and Miss Dalley arrived first along with several enthusiastic 6th Form students. If the Steps students appeared reticent, it didn’t last long as our guests were keen to have the tour they had been promised. ‘I’ve come to see everything!’ Miss Blake announced and the students took it from there.
The Mayor arrived next and by then all traces of shyness had been shed, and people just chatted. From pond life to pizza ovens, soil analysis to sowing seeds, vegetable growing to memory gardens, the students were able to share what they have been doing once a week for the past couple of years. The final thing to be shared over sandwiches and cakes in the Garden Room (only when the rain became torrential!) were the lovely scrap books that students have steadily worked away at. They are a real record of their hard work and transformation of the garden.
It’s not always the most favoured activity; particularly during the winter months and the difficult days of Spring, dodging the showers, but the garden has provided them with peace and tranquillity, away from the classroom; a place to appreciate nature and work with it for the benefit of the community. We’ve been lucky too to have the voluntary and expert help of Kate and Ruth, whose enthusiasm for all things green has really rubbed off on us.
All in all a lovely event; an informal hour just spent enjoying a garden in all its beauty – students, OSA staff, Barracks Lane volunteers, on a typical British summer’s day…
Planned Student Strike – Friday 21st JuneJune 20th, 2019
As you are aware there is a school student strike planned for Friday 21st June in Oxford. This is timed to happen between 11am and 2pm. As a school we have fully supported the student strikes. Students have taken part in 4 strikes and 3 of these strikes have taken place during term time.
I would like us to look at further ways in which we as a school can support our students to impact directly on the changes needed to tackle climate change both within school and within the extended community. As a result we would like to ask for you to support us with the following approaches.
I would like to ask for representatives from Year 7-9 to take part in the KS3 Climate Change Summit being held at St Gregory the Great school on Monday July 1st at 4.30 pm. Craig Simmons will attend this summit to address the students and he is the Lord Mayor but also the Oxford counsellor for the Green Party and specialist on climate change. If your child would like to attend this please do forward the names to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Head Boy for next year, a local organiser against climate change, has also established an Eco group which meets weekly in BI3. Students who feel strongly enough to attend the strike should come along and support this, and they will then be supporting the school to look at how we can reduce our own carbon footprint. This group will be helping to formulate and deliver our Eco agenda in school. We have recruited a governor to support this group and planning ways to extend our impact on our school footprint and how we can improve the situation in the local community.
We are currently reviewing the curriculum content with students to identify any further changes or additions that could be implemented to support and raise awareness of climate change and action that can be taken against it.
We are now concerned at the academic impact of absences, especially as the strikes happen on the same day which can result in students missing a lot of the same subject each time. We would like to work with the student body and families to use this positive energy to make a tangible change in our community in the ways I mention above.
If, however, you would still like your child to attend please email me your permission email at email@example.com. As per previous strikes, students will attend normal lessons in period 1 & 2 and will be released at 10.45am, from this point you will be responsible for your child. Due to the last minute notification, we ask that you email by 7am tomorrow morning – and please advise me of their participation in the Climate Change Summit or the schools Eco group.
Exam ResultsJune 5th, 2019
OSA Students Leading March against Climate ChangeMay 24th, 2019
Oxford Spires students once again took part in the Youth Climate Strike in the centre of Oxford on May 24.
One of the organisers of the march, Year 12 Oscar Idle, was central to the planning and success of the march, which, once again, saw hundreds of students marching with their home-made banners to show their views about the likely impact of Climate Change on their futures, and on future generations. They showed wit and passion in the creation of these.
Oxford Spires students also joined in the music making at the end of the march in Broad Street, and brought the group together as they protested peacefully and raised awareness of their cause.
As on previous occasions, only students with parental permission and who had convinced Miss Blake through their applications, were allowed out of school early to join the protest. They are real role models and their school is proud of the mature way they have demonstrated their conviction.
Legal Eagles compete in Reading!May 24th, 2019
Last term, OSA’s team won through to the Regional Final of the 2018-19 Mock Magistrates Competition – and on Saturday 18 May, they were at Reading Crown Court for the next round.
The team of 14 students from Years 7-9 proved themselves articulate and persuasive in their roles as prosecutors, defence lawyers, magistrates and so on – and those playing the witnesses, the victim and the accused were portrayed beautifully! They all deserve congratulations and the feedback from Berkshire Magistrates who ran and judged the competition was very flattering.
The competition allows students to learn from the inside how the justice system works. They have access to court rooms usually denied them, and work with legal professionals to improve their verbal and team skills. It’s a time-consuming and involved process both to take part and to train teams for this competition, and we thank Miss Morris and Mr Birch for their time and commitment.
Despite the OSA team’s talents, in the end this year didn’t prove their year for victory – and we wish teams from Ranelagh and The Holt Schools every success in the National Final.
Preparation for next year’s competition begins in October – and any interested Year 7 or 8 students, perhaps considering applying for Law at university, should talk to Miss Morris.
Calendar UpdateMay 17th, 2019
The school calendar has been updated with the following information:
Year 7-10 End of Year Assessments Monday 3rd -Friday 14th June 2019
Year 10 Mock Exams Monday 10th – Friday 17th June 2019
Summer Uniform UpdateMay 14th, 2019
OSA Speaks Out!May 13th, 2019
The annual Spires House Public Speaking competition is a great event in the school calendar. 24 students from Years 7-10 represented their Houses to compete in the Junior and Senior competitions in the Theatre on Thursday 9 May – with an audience of other students, staff and parents.
The competition is, of course, part of the wider public speaking and debating life of the school. From Blenheim Palace’s public speaking, debating at New College to the Shakespeare Speaking in High Wycombe; from English Speaking Union competitions to the Mock Magistrates – many students have already taken part this year and have had training to develop their skills.
The next – and one of the most important – annual events is our Academy Trust’s Speak Out! Competition, this year on 10 July at Somerville College in Oxford. OSA’s House Public Speaking competition is a key part of selecting the school team for this event.
With topics ranging from whether the police should be armed, to the future for feminism, to climate change, as always students addressed some very important topics in their speeches. They spoke persuasively and showed a lot of research – often helped by House research and speech writing teams behind the scenes.
In the Junior Competition, the winning House was Seacole, with prizes going to their Chair (Eva Morris) and their Vote of Thanks (Skyla Woodhill). The winner of the best Speaker at this level was Zoha Asgher from Tolkien House.
In the Senior Competition, the main difference is that a speaker is hosted by another House and is questioned on their speech afterwards by the hosting Questioner and by the audience. The winning House this time was Earhart, with a prize going to their Chair (Summer Wells), who stepped into the position after a fellow student was ill on the day. She did brilliantly! The best Speaker at this level was Sami Asgher from Tolkien House and the best Questioner was Alex Dunn from Bannister.
The panel of judges, Dr Brian McMahon, Dr Jen Sugden and Dr James Marsden, all from Oxford University, were extremely impressed by the quality of the performances.
Congratulations to all of the students taking part. It’s not as easy thing to stand up and present so articulately and confidently to a large audience, and the standard was high this year. Miss Morris, Mr Archibald and Dr Watson will deliberate now on the team to represent Spires in July!
Humanities ProjectsMay 1st, 2019
Students in Year 7 have been presenting their humanities projects this week. They have explored a range of issues including the terrifying aspects of the Bubonic Plague and the reasons for the Peasants’ Revolt. Humanities classes were treated to a range of presentations on students’ chosen questions including video documentaries and puppet shows. The highest standards were set and we look forward to the next round of projects.
End of term 4 NewsletterApril 5th, 2019
The end of term 5 newsletter is now available.
Newsletter April 2019
OSA’s Legal EaglesApril 1st, 2019
We took two teams to compete in one of the Oxford heats of the Mock Magistrate competition. In total 26 students from Years 7-10 took part. They put in huge amounts of work rehearsing twice a week from December to March and then giving up a Saturday morning to compete at the Oxford Magistrates Court.
We were delighted that Max was awarded the prize for best Legal Advisor and that Ruby and Imaan were jointly awarded the prize for best witness. In addition the Oak Team were announced as the overall winners and will now compete in the Regional Final at Reading Crown Court in May.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part, especially to Katie who kindly stepped in at the last minute and also to Mr Birch who provided huge support at all the rehearsals.
Year 9 Science ChallengeApril 1st, 2019
Year 9 are a competitive group of students! Two Science groups had the chance to show this on Wednesday 27 March when Reading University came in to meet them…
Students at the University had designed a University Challenge format quiz – complete with buzzers, starter questions and picture rounds – to test Year 9 on their Science knowledge. It turned out that was rather good.
From identifying elements on the periodic table, to anatomy and physiology, to physical Geography – they weren’t thrown by much.
The two teams who came first and second on the afternoon are now invited to go along and compete on Finals Day at the University of Reading in May.
Women’s Education In AfghanistanMarch 21st, 2019
Last Thursday, Merzia took part in a panel discussion at Somerville College, Oxford, on women’s education in Afghanistan – alongside leaders of Zorah, the Afghan Women’s Orchestra which has played to sell-out concerts in the UK this last week. Congratulations to Merzia – and to the young Afghan musicians whose playing was such a pleasure! We all enjoyed their concert at the packed Sheldonian Theatre on Saturday – and the poets presented their conductor with gifts, including a copy of England: Poems from a School to take back to Kabul!
OSA Poets Interviewed Online!March 21st, 2019
Four Spires poets – Merzia, Timi, Halema and Ftoun – took part in the recent Orchestra of St John project and performed their work to specially composed music in Oxford, Dorchester Abbey and King’s Place, London. They were interviewed when they did the final concert by a group from SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies), part of the University of London, and this is now available for everyone to see on https://curativitylndn.wixsite.com/curativitylndn
Are You Ready For Parents’ Evening/Morning?March 12th, 2019
Year 7, 8 and 9 Students Learn To Argue!March 12th, 2019
I suspect many parents may feel that they can argue very well already, but our articulate and thoughtful debaters astonished their workshop leader from the English Speaking Union on Wednesday 6 March!
24 students from the younger years at Oxford Spires spent the whole day doing something usually done by Sixth Formers – and doing it brilliantly. They learned to form a cogent argument, to use body language effectively, to make incisive and confident Points of Information, to pick holes in other arguments, to provide evidence and examples – by the end they were unbeatable!
The afternoon debates ran smoothly and impressively with Katie, their workshop leader, commenting, ‘It was a great session! The students were fabulous and I really enjoyed my day at Spires.’ Our thanks to her for her lively and intelligent teaching.
Now we have to find more competitions for them to enter…
I pity the parents after this – arguments over the dinner table are going to be even tougher…
Student Strike – 15th March 2019March 11th, 2019
Please see the attached letter in regards to the planned student strike on Friday 15th March. I would like to support this issue but also need to balance the impact on the learning and education of all of our students. Please take time to read the letter and conditions of permission carefully.
Student Strike March 2019
Year 11 Step Up To University ChoicesMarch 6th, 2019
36 students from Year 11 visited New College, Oxford, on Tuesday 5 March as part of their ongoing Step Up programme.
Invited to join a programme to prepare them to support high level university applications, students found out about different Oxford courses from current undergraduates and tutors, about entry requirements, gap years, and building personal statements.
During the day they also visited St Catherine’s College and Jesus College, for a better idea of how colleges vary.
They also discussed choosing A levels to help prepare for specific university courses – particularly relevant at the moment as, after their Spring mocks, students go on to Sixth Form interviews.
The programme continues into Year 12, as students have workshops and guidance on building independent reading, writing personal statements and so on.
Oxford Spires thanks staff and students at New College for their ongoing support of our able students!
House Dance – Tickets on sale now!March 5th, 2019
Tickets are £3.00 and are available via Parentpay. Purchased tickets can be collected from Mrs Crook in the Red Zone
Year 10 Learn About Oxford UniversityMarch 4th, 2019
Ten Oxford Spires Year 10 students took part in a University of Oxford Pathways day, at Christ Church and Corpus Christi Colleges, on Friday 1 March.
Together with the group who went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, last half-term, these able young people have been learning about competitive university applications, student life, finance and all the extra-curricular activities you can take art in while studying for a degree.
Part of the school’s careers programme, helping students begin to think about their future choices, these visits sit alongside careers interviews, the Step Up programme starting in Year 11, INTO University workshops, visits to local colleges and employers and work with Study Higher. As an example of the sessions for particular year groups, Year 12 have a session after their mock exams on local apprenticeship schemes.
If a parent would like to speak to our careers advisors, they will be available on parents’ evening/morning each term, and you can book appointments as you can with teachers once the booking system goes live on Friday 15th March.
World Book Day – 7th March 2019March 4th, 2019
We have an author (Inbali Iserles http://inbali-iserles.com/ ) attending who will be doing a talk to Year 7 and to Year 8.
She will also be in the library at lunchtime doing book signings and selling copies of her books, the price of these books are £5.99 each.
ARTiculation Regional FinalsFebruary 25th, 2019
ARTiculation regional finals were held in the Headley Lecture Theatre at the Ashmolean on Thursday 7th February. For this national public speaking competition students were required to speak for 10 minutes on an artist or artwork of their choice. Janier was up against students from very highly respected private boarding schools and held her own. Speaking eloquently about Paul Gauguin’s art work ‘Vision after the Sermon’, she had researched thoroughly and posed insightful questions to her audience.
We’re so proud of her hard work.
Latest NewsletterFebruary 15th, 2019
Our latest newsletter is now available.
Please download here: Newsletter February 2019
Planned Student StrikeFebruary 12th, 2019
Please see the important letter below regarding the planned student strike Friday 15th February 2019.
Student Strike Letter For Parents
London Dungeon TripFebruary 11th, 2019
On a grey day in London town, the intrepid Year 9 historians were poised ready for their taste of experiential history.
The London Dungeon did not disappoint, as the students took in the sights and sounds of London through the ages. The performers feeding their minds with knowledge and a hint of fear. Through the periods of London’s past they explored methods of control such as torture and execution alongside popular historical events such as the plague, the Fire and the Ripper. After a few hours the students made it out safely, their understanding of crime and punishment increased and their experiences deepened. An enjoyable experience of learning for all.
Performance Tables for Sixth Form 2019February 5th, 2019
Some of you will have noticed that last week that the 2019 Performance Tables were released. After our Sixth Form Open Evening on 24 January, I just wanted to comment on what they show about OSA.
The measures show OSA Sixth Form to be a good place to take A levels! They also show the school in relation to other local Sixth Forms – and show that we are a better choice than many.
These tables are based on individual progress – something our school values hugely. Our position in the middle of the table shows our Sixth Form students gaining what they call ‘average’ results nationally. This means that each student here (as at Cherwell and Wheatley Park, for instance, that fall into the same category) gains on average A level results that their GCSE results suggest they should do.
The decision to measure schools by Progress, rather than by the numbers of As, Bs, Cs etc. that a Sixth Form achieves, allows OSA to be successful and still an inclusive institution responsive to the needs of its community.
We are not a highly selective Sixth Form. We personalise learning for individuals and their ambitions, and wish to allow access to students who work hard but do not necessarily have a string of Grade 7s and above at GCSE. Some students at OSA, for example, might only have entered the UK quite recently – and their GCSE profile would be affected by that – but they still deserve the chance to pursue their ambitions.
As I said to parents at our packed Sixth Form Open Evening on 24 January, I have been Head of Sixth Form here now for 5 years, and the Sixth Form in that time has improved every year.
We have always had able students at the top who gained A/A* grades at A level, and this year all 3 of our Oxbridge applicants have offers. We do a huge amount of work with more able students as they reach GCSE and Sixth Form to make sure they have supercurricular profiles that impress and that they can move into competitive institutions and courses. One example is our medical support programme, which is properly up and running now that we have a number of Year 12 and 13 making such applications.
Our Sixth Form next year has increased the number of A levels it offers as the numbers entering from next year will be larger. Improvements in staffing and provision over the last 5 years are continuing and are moving things forward again. We are not satisfied with being ‘average’, and the young people from the larger year groups coming up will allow us to offer more, and to develop still further, to their advantage.
OSA Sixth Form teaching and learning allows all our students to thrive, supporting students who are disadvantaged yet hard working as well as those with high GCSE profiles – and I’m proud of that.
Thanks to all Year 11 who have already submitted their application forms for the deadline on 31 January* and who plan to be part of that success next year.
Dr J Watson
Head of Sixth Form
* Later applications will, of course, be considered, but we will prioritise for interviews in March those who applied by the deadline.
You can view the full chart here
Nuffield ResearchFebruary 5th, 2019
Year 12 science students had a visit from Julie Cattermole from the Nuffield Foundation on Monday, OSA students apply for, and undertake, Nuffield Research placements in the summer, after AS exams, usually involving lab work in professional research laboratories. It is really helpful to them to see how the theory they learn in class is applied in the real world of science – and an exciting opportunity.
The students find these placements hugely useful in university applications in Year 13.
Blenheim Champions start their 2019 CompetitionFebruary 5th, 2019
After OSA’s victory in the 2018 Churchill Public Speaking Competition, this year’s team and their accompanying researchers visited Blenheim Palace on Monday before this year’s.
Last year’s researchers, Flo and Max, and last year’s Chair, Ruby, all in Year 8, are joined now by three Year 7 students, Stella, Aqsa and Laura. They were taken on a tour of the Palace by education officer, Catherine Talbot, to learn more about the life of Winston Churchill and the history of the Palace.
The morning finished with a public speaking workshop – where they focused on making their speeches – on gender equality – more effective for those judging the competition in March.
House Dance – PostponedFebruary 5th, 2019
As you know we have lost valuable rehearsal time for House Dance. Due to various exchange trips, it is proving difficult to reschedule rehearsal time for the students. To this end I have spoken with a number of Year 10 and Year 11 students who are involved in House Dance. They have requested for the date to be moved. We are therefore moving the evening to Wednesday 13th March 2019, it cannot be sooner due to Yr 10 Work Experience and Year 11 Mock exams. Students, on the whole seem to be happy with this.
I know changing the date is not desirable but it is important not to cause or create undue stress.
We experienced problems with ticket sales yesterday on ParentPay and some parents were only able to purchase one ticket. This has now been rectified. Tickets are restricted to two per family.
House Dance Rehearsals planned for Saturday 9th February have also been cancelled. The new dates for House Dance rehearsals are 9th & 10th March 10am-4pm
Thank you in advance for your support.
House Dance Rehearsal – Sat 2nd February CancelledFebruary 1st, 2019
Rehearsal for House Dance planned for tomorrow – Saturday 2nd February is cancelled.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
Year 10 Netball Tournament- CancelledFebruary 1st, 2019
The Year 10 netball tournament scheduled for tomorrow at Marston is cancelled.
SCHOOL CLOSED TODAY 1st February-UpdateFebruary 1st, 2019
For those that have not seen the message on the school’s website or earlier ParentMail, please take a moment to read the information below;
Snow Closure Day Friday 1 February 2019
The school will be closed to students today due to the condition of the roads and safety within and around our school site.
The safety of students and staff is our priority in circumstances like this and we have therefore taken the decision to close today. Thank you to you all for your support and your understanding.
Snow WarningJanuary 31st, 2019
You will be aware that the Met Office has issued a regional yellow warning for snow and ice potentially bringing disruption overnight and into Friday. This may affect the school tomorrow.
We will review the state of the roads and school site in the morning before taking the decision to keep the school open, or to close. We only close if it is unsafe to open the school or if roads to the school are impassible. I will post a notice on the school website to update you and my aim is to have that in place around 7.00am and send you a ParentMail to inform you if we have a school closure.
I am writing to you this afternoon so that you can take this opportunity to make provisional arrangements for tomorrow, in case of heavy snow.
Miss Marianne Blake-Principal
The MFL Open DayJanuary 31st, 2019
We had the pleasure of taking 6 OSA students from Year 9 to The MFL Open Day at Queens College at Oxford University to find out more why you should student Modern Foreign Languages. The students did us proud by answering and asking questions in front of an auditorium full of other Year 9 students from across Oxfordshire.
This is what the students had to say afterwards:
Gianluca: “I really enjoyed the languages day, because it was interesting to see where taking a course in a language can take you, I liked the short film and it was a fun challenge to subtitle it.”
India: “It was good because it really interested me how you can study how languages work in the brain. I also really enjoyed learning Portuguese.”
Phoenix: “It was educational and interesting to listen to the people talking about different language courses. I am now considering taking a language at university.”
Samra: “It was very educational and I really enjoyed the group work during the second workshop.”
Lila: “It was fun to learn Italian and making subtitles for the film helped me extend my vocabulary.”
We are looking forward to going again next year.
Year 10 Cambridge AspirationJanuary 30th, 2019
A group of 12 Year 10 students went to Cambridge on 29 January as part of Peterhouse’s schools programme.
Looking at university degree courses, meeting students, looking around the college and hearing taster lectures from college lecturers, the students found out about what Cambridge, and other universities, offer and what student life is like.
As students move towards choosing A level subjects, it is important that they begin to consider their futures.
A second group will visit colleges in Oxford as part of a similar scheme in March, and a larger group in Year 11 are due to spend a day at New College in March too – the second stage of the Step Up programme OSA joined this year.
Support for university applicants wherever they wish to go is an important part of Sixth Form work at Spires and days like these help some students think about some of the most competitive courses and institutions.
Displaced Voices: Students poets in Oxford and LondonJanuary 28th, 2019
On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 January, OSA poets Ftoun, Merzia, Halema and Timi took part in performances as part of the Orchestra of St John’s ‘Displaced Voices’ project. It was inspired by reading the Picador volume of students’ poetry, edited by Kate Clanchy, ‘England: Poems from a School’.
Following workshops with composer, Toby Young, and OSJ conductor, Cayenna Ponchione, to set their poetry to music, the four stars read their poetry in front of packed audiences at Somerville College and at King’s Place arts centre in central London.
They gained rapturous applause for their poems that looked at their homelands in Syria and Afghanistan, and, in the case of Timi, a student from Nigeria, gave a wry assessment of the English.
Three of OSA’s poets – Shukria, Mukahang and Ftoun, also had their poems set as songs for mezzo-soprano, Charlotte Tetley, and they were delighted to meet the composers who had set their work (respectively, Sadie Harrison, Shirley J Thompson and Toby Young).
Before the Oxford concert, there was a panel discussion on the voices of refugees at Somerville College, and Mukahang took part in a poetry reading at the Open House venue on Little Clarendon Street. While on the Saturday, the four poets performing in the concert were interviewed by undergraduates from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
All in all, our poets – once again – did the school proud. It was an amazing experience, and they rose to the challenge!
Sixth Form Open Evening and MorningJanuary 28th, 2019
Thanks to all who attended the packed Sixth Form Open Evening on Thursday 24 January, and the Open Morning on the Friday. It was wonderful to see so many engaged and ambitious young people, keen to work out future pathways and to make the most of all Oxford Spires has to offer its older students.
A presentation from Dr Watson, Head of Sixth Form, and students currently in Year 12 and 13 (Jasmin and Mukahang – Head Girl and Boy – and Year 12s, Oscar, Abbie and Tahira) was followed by visits to teachers and students of the subjects on offer after GCSE.
The school is offering 25 subjects at A level this year – more than ever before – as well as 2 Level 3 BTECs and a Level 2 course. For more information on those, please see the Sixth Form prospectus on the website.
If you would like more information about Sixth Form at OSA, or would like to look around the school, please contact the Head of Sixth Form, Dr Watson, on firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are due in by the end of January, and there is an online application form on the school website under the ‘Sixth Form’ tab.
Safeguarding Bulletin January 2019January 25th, 2019
Please find our latest safeguarding bulletin here Advice On County Lines
ARTiculation FinalistsJanuary 25th, 2019
We’re so proud of the hard work these students have put into their speeches for the Art Public speaking competition. They’re required to speak confidently about an artist or artwork for 10 minutes. Our winner, Janier, will be speaking at the Regional finals at the Ashmolean Museum on Thursday 7th February.
1st place Janier
2nd place Amna
3rd place Jahdai
House Dance – Change To Advertised DateJanuary 16th, 2019
Please note House Dance has been rescheduled from Thursday 7th February 2019 – Wednesday 13th February 2019
Celebrating OSA SuccessJanuary 11th, 2019
Presentation Evening, held this year on 9 January, is one of the highlights of the school year. As last year’s GCSE and A level students were presented with their certificates, and subject prizes given out for the last academic year, it was wonderful to see how great the progress and achievement of so many young people!
This year’s event saw prizes given out by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, a former Leader of the House of Lords, cabinet minister and Privy Councillor, and now Principal of Somerville College, Oxford. Her very well received and inspiring speech reminded students of their potential to make the world a better and fairer place in the years to come, and reassured them that – however much they might face challenges – they were able to overcome them.
Congratulations to all those with prizes and certificates, and special mention to Houseefa Zaffar (now in Year 12), winner of the prize for the best GCSE score, and to Eleanor Floyd (now studying History at Exeter University), for the best A Levels.