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.


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.


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

Roadworks 7th Sept – 21st October 2017

September 5th, 2017

Roadworks ahead

GCSE Results 2017

August 24th, 2017

GCSE results at Oxford Spires Academy


84% of students achieved a 4+ (C equivalent) in English

62% of students achieved an 4+ (C equivalent) in mathematics


67% of students achieved a 5+ (C equivalent) in English

44% of students achieved an 5+ (C equivalent) in mathematics


We are delighted with the better than National average number of students achieving Grade 9 in English.

Provisional Progress 8 is 0.1


Especially strong results were achieved by a number of departments and special mention should go to: English/ English Literature 84% 4+, Maths 62% 4+, French 79% A*-C, Geography 80% A*-C and Drama 60% A*-C


There are some extraordinary personal successes:


Jasmine Burgess: Two grade 9s a grade 8, seven A*s and 1A grade plus an A* grade in A Level Creative Writing

Helen Woods: One 9, one grade 8 and one grade 7 and 9 A*s and an A* grade in A Level Creative Writing

Mukahang Limbu : one grade 9, two 8s and 3A*s and 5 As and an A* grade in A Level Creative Writing

Ishmail Hussain: two grade 9s, one grade 7, six A*s and one A grade


We are so proud of the students who made the most progress adding one or two grades on average across all their subjects above government expectations. Congratulations go to Khazina Abbas, Kirsten Richards, Azeem Abdul, Hurriyah Khatun and Saya Ali to mention the most impressive of so many students.


Congratulations go to the students and teachers for their hard work, and of course to parents too.


Mrs Croft said: “We are delighted with the successes achieved by students in this year group. The outstanding attainment will enable so many to have bright futures. Students and staff worked incredibly hard and have reaped the benefit. We are so proud of the students’ outstanding success.”


Tony Brett, Chair of Governors said, “The students have worked extremely hard and impressively productively with their teachers, who have often gone the extra mile to enable the students to achieve at the highest level, to be the best they can be. I am delighted to see such success. Not only are the students a credit to Oxford Spires and excelling in their extra-curricular activities, they are making exceptional progress and opening further opportunities for themselves. I am incredibly proud of all of them and they should be too!”

A Level Results 2017

August 24th, 2017


Thursday 17 August 2017


Oxford Spires Academy is delighted to announce an excellent set of A-level results.  The Principal has congratulated all students involved in these examinations and, of course, their parents and teachers. There were 86 candidates in the Upper Sixth this year and there have been excellent performances against the full range of ability. The overall pass rate is 94%. The percentage of grades at A*-C is 63% . There were particularly strong performances in Religious Studies, Chemistry, Spanish, Creative Writing, Sport and Business Studies.


All students have achieved success, many whilst overcoming considerable challenges, and particular mention should be made of the following students, who scored particularly strongly:


Vivien Urban A*,A,A,B going to St Andrew’s to study Comparative Literature and English. Vivien joined OSA part way through Year 7 with no English.

Mohammed Mujtaba A,A,A going to Edingburgh to study Chemical Engineering.

Ettore Loiselle A,B,B going to Edingburgh to study Chemistry.

Joel Larkin, who joined us from another school in the sixth form and achieved 5 A Level equivalent grades: Double Distinction* in Sport, Double distinction in Business and a D in Geography. He goes to Manchester to study Sports Management.


The following students achieved Triple Dis * in Sport:

Clifton Gaughan

Miraaj Hussain

Fatima Rehman

The following students achieved Double Dis* in Business:

Kevin Chavunduka

Grace Ehibhatiomhan

Jack  Hicks

Fabiha  Hoque

Noureldin  Osman


Principal, Sue Croft, said, “These results demonstrate the hard work of students and teachers and the improvements in attainment at Oxford Spires Academy. All students who have chosen to do so have won a place on a degree course and we are confident that all our students leaving school this summer can look forward to a very bright future. This year group is the last to have been in the predecessor school and achieved top 5% progress at GCSE; they have succeeded not only in their academic goals but have grown beautifully into caring, moral and hard working adults. We are delighted for each success and proud of each achievement and wish all well in the future.”


Tony Brett, the Chair of Governors, said, “This was indeed an impressive year group who took full advantage of their opportunities at OSA. Their successes reflect the outstanding teaching at Oxford Spires Academy and the drive for excellence by the Principal Sue Croft.”

What the new GCSEs mean

August 23rd, 2017

A guide for Parents and Carers

What The New GCSEs Mean Aug 2017

Message from Sue Croft

July 25th, 2017

Thank you to so many parents and friends of Oxford Spires for your kind words, good wishes and generosity on my retirement!

I had the most wonderful last day of term and will miss you all!


Sue Croft

July 2017 Newsletter

July 20th, 2017

The Oxford Spires Academy Newsletter for July 2017 is available now.

July 2017

Shortening of the School Day

July 13th, 2017

Dear Parents

The consultation for the change of the school day has closed.  We have had a total of 469 responses, 350 of which in favour of the change and 114 against.  Overall that is in favour of shortening the school day of 75% of the total responses, 67% of these were from parents, 73% from staff and 79% from students.  There was overwhelming support for Friday as the best day for the shortened day.  41 people preferred Monday, 64 preferred Wednesday and 296 preferring Friday. 


This positive response, (plus the positive response following the slight alteration to the internal workings of the day allowing for a 10 minute break between lessons 2 and 3), as well as a positive response from the trust and governors means that we will go ahead with a shorter school day on Friday ending at 2.30pm from September 2017. 


Just a reminder of the amendments to the original consultation; Fish and chip Friday moves to Thursday.  There will be a more limited menu on a Friday.



Period 1                   8.45-9.45

Period 2                   9.45-10.45


Comfort Break        10.45-10.55

Period 3                  10.55-11.55        


Period 4                  11.55-12.55

Lunch                      12.55-1.30


Pd 5                         1.30-2.30

End of day               2.30pm

Friday 21st July – End of Term

June 28th, 2017

School term finishes on Friday 21 July at 1.20pm.

School Trip to School of Rock – 8th June 2017

June 6th, 2017

To Parents of Year 7/8

Having consulted with the Chair of Governors and the local authority we are happy for this school trip to continue on 8 June 2017 to London’s New Theatre. Students will travel by coach which will drop students off at the door of the theatre and pick them up at the same place. 


A full risk assessment has been undertaken and staffing levels are less than 1:10.  Students will be fully briefed on what to do in an emergency.


No parent nor student should feel obliged to go on this trip.  Some may choose to take up this opportunity at this time.  If you wish to ask any further questions please contact Di Aspinall on or Sue Croft on

Yours truly

Sue Croft

OSA Newsletter May 2017

June 5th, 2017

The OSA Newsletter for May 2017 is now available.

May 2017

Additional INSET Day

May 5th, 2017

Please Note:
Friday 10th November 2017. This day will be an additional INSET day and students will not be in school.

OSA Newsletter April 2017

April 5th, 2017

The April edition of the OSA Newsletter is now available

April 2017

CfBT Schools Trust Announcement

March 22nd, 2017

Please see attached CfBT letter regarding the Appointment of a new Principal at Oxford Spires Academy

Appointment Of New Principal

New Principal Announced

March 20th, 2017

The Governors and CfBT Schools’ Trust are delighted to announce that the new Principal of Oxford Spires Academy with effect from September 2017 will be Marianne Blake. Marianne is currently Senior Vice Principal (Achievement and Standards) at North Oxfordshire Academy, where she has worked since 2012.

Oxfordshire Teaching Alliance

March 1st, 2017

“Oxford Spires Academy is a Strategic Partner / Partner school in the Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance (OTSA). Teaching schools are part of the government’s drive to give schools more freedom and to enable headteachers to take increasing responsibility for managing the education system. The Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance is a partnership of Oxford schools, Oxford County Council, The University of Oxford, The University of Reading, Oxford Brookes University and other significant educational organisations. Our vision is that by bringing together the strengths of all OTSA partners we have a unique opportunity to develop a sustainable culture of aspiration, collaboration and excellence leading to a world class education for all young people in Oxfordshire.

The Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance is working in the following key areas; Initial Teacher Training, Research and Development, School to School Support, CPD and Leadership Development, Succession Planning and Talent Management, Special Educational Needs and Disability, NQT Induction and Professional Learning Networks. Strategic Partner schools take responsibility for delivery of a specific area of work within at least one key area in which they have particular expertise, while Partner schools contribute to, or participate in, at least one of these areas.”

Oxford Writers’ House

February 23rd, 2017

Please be aware that there is a writing prize led by Dr April Pierce, founder of Oxford Writers’ House. The prize has attracted some funding and an internationally respected literary judge. There is a great venue for the ceremony with support from the city and mayor’s office. It is open to young creative writers aged 12-18, the prize entries are free for students in school. Please see details on the website It would be lovely for Oxford Spires students to show their writing skills in a local competition.

Parent Survey

February 22nd, 2017

This year’s Parent Survey is now online. We would really like to hear your views.
Parent Survey

OSA Newsletter February 2017

February 9th, 2017

The OSA Newsletter is now available

February 2017


Mrs Croft Announces Retirement

January 13th, 2017

After more than six happy and successful years leading Oxford Spires Academy, Mrs Croft will be leaving the school at the end of this academic year. She is retiring as Principal to take on another important job – that of grandmother to her new grandson – and to enjoy more time with her semi-retired husband.
The search for Mrs Croft’s successor is now underway. The school is in an excellent position to attract a strong field of potential new Principals who understand what makes Oxford Spires special and to support its culture whilst leading it towards further success.

December 2016 Newsletter

December 15th, 2016

Our December 2016 Newsletter is now ready to download

December 2016

October 2016 Newsletter

October 19th, 2016

The October 2016 newsletter is now available to download.

October 2016


Student Safety

September 29th, 2016

Dear all

Please be aware that a girl wearing a school uniform was grabbed by two men in a silver car on her way to school and was seriously sexually assaulted. This was near Marston Ferry and Banbury Road in Oxford.  We advise that all children walk in groups both to and from school.  Be vigilant and report anything suspicious.

Mrs Croft

GCSE results at Oxford Spires Academy Aug 2016

September 22nd, 2016

84% of students achieved an A* to C in English (84% with reduced cohort of 98)

65% of students achieved an A*-C in mathematics

 Provisional Progress 8 is 0.43, nearly half a grade more for all students across all subjects on average than elsewhere nationally
Last year Oxford Spires Academy secured an award for being in the top 5% of schools nationally for progress made by students in GCSE.   Our provisional Progress 8 score of 0.44 means that students at Oxford Spires achieve nearly half a grade higher on average for all students’ best 8 GCSE grades including the highly academic subjects and ensures that we will certainly feature in further awards.
Especially strong results were achieved by a number of departments and special mention should go to: English 84%, Spanish – 73% A*-C, Geography -73% A*-C , Business – 73% A*-C and Maths 65% A*-C
Students made progress in excess of expected levels and the national average, not only achieving above the national average at 3 levels of progress (expected progress) but also with significant numbers of students making 4 and 5 and even 6 levels of progress.


3+   4+     5+

English    87%    42%    12%

Maths      71%    34%    8%


We are delighted that our pupil premium students made better progress than all students in their Best 8 academic subjects (pupil progress 0.49).
There are some extraordinary personal successes:

Michael Reynolds: 10A*s and 1A grade

Holly Gardner: 5A*s 4As and 2 Bs

William Cheetham: 9 As and 2 A*s
Ivan Haji & Radwan Omar made 7 levels of progress in English!

Sudaysi Sharif made 6 levels of progress in maths!
Radwan Omar had a Progress 8 score of 4.2 achieving over 4 grades higher for each GCSE (on average) than expected attainment.

Sudaysi Sharif had a Progress 8 score of 3.4 achieving over 3 grades higher for each GCSE (on average) than expected attainment.

Arthur Basso had a Progress 8 score of 2.8 achieving over 2 and a half grades higher for each GCSE (on average) than expected attainment.

Sophiya Yakha Rai, Ivan Haji and Chadni Majumdar all had a Progress 8 score of over 2 achieving over 2 grades higher for each GCSE (on average) than expected attainment.
Congratulations go to the students for their hard work, and of course to parents too. Oxford Spires also congratulates and thanks all, teaching and support staff for their dedication that makes such success possible.
Mrs Croft said: “We are delighted with the successes achieved by students in this year group. Students and staff worked incredibly hard and have reaped the benefit. We are so proud of the students’ outstanding success.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Governors said, “The students have worked extremely hard and impressively productively with their teachers, who have often gone the extra mile to enable the students to achieve at the highest level, to be the best they can be. I am delighted to see such success.  Not only are the students a credit to Oxford Spires and excelling in their extra-curricular activities, they are making exceptional progress and opening further opportunities for themselves.  I am incredibly proud of all of them and they should be too!”

Lewis and Maah-Noor A Level Exam Success 2016

August 18th, 2016

Cambridge University success for Lewis Thorne! Oxford University success for Maah-Noor Ali!
A level exam results 2016 Lewis
Lewis Thorne achieved an impressive 590 UCAS points with A*s in Further Mathematics, Mathematics and Physics and an A in Chemistry to secure his place at Cambridge University to study Chemical Engineering. He is OSA’s first Oxbridge success paving the way for many Oxford Spires students to follow!
Lewis underwent a rigorous selection process in December, including entry examinations and interviews, to be offered a place subject to successful A Levels.
Lewis said, “I am very, very happy…and so proud.” He is looking forward to Fresher’s week, dressing up in wizard robes and the whole experience.
Dr Watson commented, “This is a great tribute to Lewis’s hard work and his intelligence. He is part of a high achieving group in Oxford Spires’ Year 13 and has made the most of all opportunities to extend his learning in Maths and Sciences. He’s also been a great role model for younger students and many others will follow him now to make the most of their academic potential.”
“Oxford Spires was proud to gain the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) Challenge Award in 2014 – given to schools working well with their able students. We are the first school in Oxford city to gain this award. Lewis and other students in our school have benefited from super-curricular activities such as Maths Olympiads, Chemistry Challenges, residentials at Oxbridge colleges, Extended Project research, local university lectures and Nuffield Science Placements to extend his learning more independently.”
“We are so proud of Lewis and all he has achieved; he has been such a wonderful student in all respects: hard working and committed to his house and leading others. From playing the panto dame and being the lead in the dance show, to being Chemistry captain and winning cross country successes, he has been an inspiration!” said Mrs Croft.
Maah-Noor Ali will be the first Oxford Spires student to go to Oxford University having been offered a Foundation year in English Literature at Lady Margaret Hall. One of the first students ever on this new programme, Maah-Noor was selected after a rigorous interview process last term and is very excited by her success.
“We are delighted for Maah-Noor and know that her talents and hard work will be rewarded once again. She has benefitted from our successes and experiences across the board with our excellence in English. We are so proud and excited for her,” said Mrs Croft.
Dr Watson said, “I am so pleased that Maah-Noor will now be able to pursue her passion for Literature in one of the world’s best English Faculties. She’s worked very hard for her A levels and really deserves this new opportunity to develop her talents.”
“Students like Maah-Noor have benefited from both the excellence of teaching in English at Oxford Spires and from the extra provision for Creative Writing in the school. As Kate Clanchy’s recent article for The Guardian newspaper
showed, our students can find an outlet for their creativity and develop literacy to a very high level through the school’s exciting programme of workshops. Maah-Noor, alongside several others in her year, had work published and grew in confidence as a result. I’m sure it all helped her cope with university interviews too!”

Plenty of A*s and 99% passes for OSA students!

August 18th, 2016


Thursday 18th August 2016

Oxford Spires Academy is delighted to announce its best ever set of A-level results. The Principal congratulates all students involved in these examinations and, of course, their parents and teachers. There were 68 candidates in the Upper Sixth this year and students have succeeded in meeting challenging grades to go on to top Universities and the next stage in their education and career. The overall pass rate is 99%. An impressive 46.4% of all students achieved 2 or more qualifications at grades A*-B. There were particularly strong performances in Further Mathematics, Computing, Philosophy and Ethics, Physics, Geography, Media Studies, Spanish, Sociology, Creative Writing, Sport Studies and Business Studies
Students who achieved particularly high results include:

Arturo Loiselle 4A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics: Arturo has a
place at Edinburgh to study Chemistry.
Lewis Thorne 3A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and an A in Chemistry: Lewis
has a place at Cambridge to study Chemical Engineering.
Andrea Pinedo 3 A*s in English Literature, Sociology, Spanish and a B in Drama:
Andrea is taking a gap year and will work at OSA.
Ben Thorne 2 A*s in Maths, Further Maths and As in Physics and Chemistry: Ben
has a place at Bristol to study Engineering.
Joseph Zhu 2 A*s in Maths and Further Maths, A in Physics and a B in
Chemistry: Joseph has a place at Warwick to study Mathematics.
Victoria Baden 3 Distinction *s in Sport: Victoria has a place at St John’s York to
study Sports Studies and rehabilitation.
Amber Bartlett 3 Distinction *s in Sport: Amber has a place at Gloucester to study
Physical Education and coaching.
Dr Watson, Head of Sixth Form commented, “It has been a pleasure to work with Oxford Spires’ Year 13 students as Head of Sixth Form, and to see individuals flourish. I am pleased that this year’s excellent results allow so many of them to progress to the university courses of their choice. Results reflect students’ hard work and maturity.”
Principal Sue Croft said, “Our sixth form students are exceptional young adults who have achieved great results through hard work and a love of learning. I am indebted to an excellent sixth form team, ably led by Dr Watson and a wonderful academic and driven team of staff. The students have been a joy to teach; we are excited for them and their aspirational futures. They will be missed though they have left a legacy of excellence in personal qualities and academic achievement. The vast majority of pupils have won a place on a degree course including Lewis Thorne who has achieved a place at Cambridge University.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Governors said, “This year’s sixth form have been an impressive cohort and they have excelled in making Oxford Spires all the great things it is as well as achieving great results in their academic studies. Their brilliant attainment, progress and leadership reflect the outstanding teaching at Oxford Spires Academy and the drive for excellence by the Principal, Sue Croft; and head of Sixth Form, Dr Watson.”

Year 13 Chemistry – Leaving with glory

June 2nd, 2016

It is extremely sad, but we are filled with pride, that we say goodbye to our Year 13 chemistry students. They have been an outstanding group of pupils, displaying consistently the values of the school and being role models academically and personally. Their study habits are generally excellent and they have developed quickly into independent learners who will no doubt succeed in their chosen undergraduate studies next year. The recently obtained Silver Certificates from the National Chemistry Olympiad is just one more token of the excellence in this class, as they have proven in many other events across several subjects.

The Chemistry department would like to particularly thank Arturo Louiselle , Ben and Lewis Thorne for their involvement and enthusiasm in the Chemistry Club over the past two years. The lower school has greatly benefited from their time and effort and we hope that future generations of chemistry students will continue to run the club. Thank you also to Nelvin Kiratu and the mentioned boys for endless Open Evening and Sixth Form evening events to which they provided feedback, support and more than one spark!

It has been lovely to teach them and we wish them luck for their exams and all the best for the future.

First Steps – a new course for new arrivals

May 4th, 2016

In Term 6 OSA will pilot First Steps, a new course for beginners in English age 15-18. The course will offer basic training in English language and Maths, as well as project-based learning in Science, Humanities and Arts topics. As the name suggests, our aim is to give students a ‘first step’ to progress in education, whether at OSA or at City of Oxford College.

First Steps is a response to growing need within the city. Oxford has always been a cosmopolitan city and is now a designated City of Refuge, but recent numbers mean that many new arrivals have been unable to find places in education. At OSA we know that with the right support our overseas students can achieve huge success, as our exam results over the past few years have shown. In fact, increasingly we are being asked by other schools around the country for the secret to our success!

If you would like to know more about First Steps, please contact our heads of EAL, Irena Gwiazda and Melanie Tuck.

The Wisdom and Eloquence of Youth

April 28th, 2016
It was a double Seacole victory in an erudite and astoundingly uplifting afternoon on Thursday 28 April at House Public Speaking in Oxford Spires Academy’s theatre.  The evening opened with an astonishing Bannister House junior speech looking at YouTube.  Seacole Junior House then amazed us by tackling the issue of food labelling in a highly entertaining and well researched speech.  This was an excellent team performance performed entirely without notes.  Earhart and Tolkien both amazed the audience with their eloquence and the quality of ideas and strength of argument.  The morality of their argument was impressive.
The senior team had a difficult task to follow such brilliance from junior students and rose to the challenge impressing with their oratory and intellect.
Students spoke of Scientific Literacy (Seacole), Political Reform (Earhart), Community (Bannister) and Nuclear Weapons (Tolkien).  The audience were moved to tears with Mukahang’s admiration of his mother and educated by Lewis and Ben Thornes’ final House Public Speaking speeches.
The final winners for both junior and senior teams were Seacole House.
Main Speaker   Linnet Drury ( Seacole) (Junior Team)  Mukahang Limbu (Bannister) (Senior Team)
Chair Person   Sami Asgher (Tolkien) (Junior Team) Nick Bevin (Earhart) (Senior Team)
Vote of Thanks   Teoni Siani-Dash (Tolkien) (Junior Team) Ettore Loiselle (Earhart) (Senior Team)

Year 10 Geography Field Trip: The Purbeck Coast!

April 26th, 2016

On Tuesday, April 26th, our Year 10 Geographers took the opportunity to experience our current topic first hand by visiting the Purbeck Coast in south Dorset.  This World Heritage Site is a perfect example of the amazing coastal landforms that we’ve been studying such as beaches, sand dunes, cliffs, caves, stacks and the most famous natural arch in the UK.

It was a clear but cold morning as we made our way to Studland Beach via the Sandbanks – Studland chain link ferry.  The beach was beautiful and we could see Old Harry Rocks in the distance as we toured the area observing the sustainable management which made up our recent case study.  After a nice beach walk and some answers in the field trip workbook, we got back on the coach to our second destination.

On the drive to the awe inspiring natural arch known as Durdle Door, we saw the ruins of Corfe Castle which was of interest to the historians on the trip.  After walking to the Durdle Door viewing area, the students were given the opportunity to descend the newly re-built steps (the original steps were eroded away in the storms of 2014) down to the beach in front of Durdle Door.  Usually only a few students are up for this very steep walk, but with our inspired group, everyone took the chance to get an up close view and take some fantastic pictures.  Unfortunately, time was short so we had to get back up the steep steps and on to our next world famous site, Lulworth Cove.

This is where the trip took an unexpected turn.  On our walk to Lulworth Cove, a freak blizzard hit us.  This is not supposed to happen in late April and though the BBC weather website did mention scattered showers, we were not ready for a blizzard.  The adverse weather forced us to abandon our plans to explore Lulworth Cove and take shelter in the coach.  So I guess if the Year 10 geographers want to see Lulworth Cove, they will need to take A Level geography as we do our 3 day residential there!

Oxford Spires Academy wins award for exceptional 2015 results

April 19th, 2016

Oxford Spires Academy has been nationally recognised for its exceptional 2015 performance by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT). Educational Outcomes data analysis from SSAT has shown that the school is in the top 10% nationally for progress made by pupils between their key stage 2 results at primary school and their key stage 4 results.

Indeed Oxford Spires was in the top 5% of schools for Best 8 progress and the top 1% of schools for progress in Modern Foreign Languages.

The school’s SSAT Educational Outcomes award will be presented at a regional celebration event held to draw attention to the work of high-achieving, improving and innovating schools and teachers.

Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said:  ‘It’s my great pleasure to commend Oxford Spires Academy on their excellent 2015 performance, and to have the opportunity to highlight and share their great work at the SSAT Educational Outcomes celebration evening. I have the privilege of visiting a lot of schools and I am always impressed by the creativity of teachers in engaging and inspiring their students. ‘I hope that SSAT’s Educational Outcomes award will highlight the professionalism, commitment and hard work of the leaders, teachers and students at Oxford Spires Academy. Recognising and sharing successes like this is at the heart of SSAT’s mission, so I’m delighted to congratulate Oxford Spires Academy on their achievement.’

Sue Croft, Principal said “We are delighted with this award which reflects the hard work, aspirations, great teaching and learning and strong relationships at Oxford Spires Academy. We are so proud to receive this recognition”.

Note to editors:

SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, is the name of the company founded from the former Specialist Schools and Academies Trust in May 2012.

High Level Forensics at The University of Oxford

April 13th, 2016

On April 13th, Year 12 chemists and a selected group of Year 11 future chemists approached a forensics challenge. Both year groups worked together in the chemistry laboratories of Oxford University to solve a challenge set in a forensics scenario.

For Year 12 this was a great opportunity to practise the experimental skills that they have been developing all year, as well as to familiarise with some of the spectroscopic techniques that are not available in school but are part of their exams next month!  They proved to be very competent and their previous workshops in Southampton University in January paid off when it came to using the more complex apparatus in the lab.

Year 11 were not daunted by the challenge or the difference in background, and approached the tasks with a positive attitude and deep thinking. They gained invaluable experience from the advice and guidance of our Year 12 pupils and the Oxford graduates who were aiding with the practical work. Using equipment such as a rotary evaporator or generating their own IR spectra and learning to interpret it were exciting moments, full of shiny eyes and a deep sense of achievement.

Their comments are a better summary of what happened that day and the impact of this trip in their aspirations and scientific understanding:
“It was very exciting going to see how things worked around Oxford university for the first time in my life. To see the equipment used and asking questions about how things work around the university was very interesting”.  – Arthur Basso
“The trip was very interesting, having shared it with Year 12s, we were able to see the more advanced level of chemistry that they are exposed to. I feel it will be beneficial going into sixth form as it will be experience that our peers will not have had”. – Nick Bevin
“This workshop was a good opportunity for me to learn about forensic science and I loved it”. – Amna Aamir
“It was an interesting experience which gave us a rich insight into a dimension of science many know very little about”.  – Radwan Omar
“It was an experience that not only allowed us to work together and get to know each other, but that we also learnt a lot from. It was great to explore deeper into chemistry”. – Islem Chemlal El Aboussi

All teams successfully solved their mystery product and even offered some help to students from another school who were sharing the lab with us. This was a really successful activity and as a result we intend to continue a scheme of co-work across the higher end of the year groups to support and stretch our potential chemists. If you are starting Year 11 and have chemistry in your mind for a future A-level subject, make sure that you let Dr Garcia know!

uoo3-2016 uoo1-2016

March 2016 Newsletter

March 31st, 2016

The March 2016 Newsletter is now available for download, below:

March 2016


March 10th, 2016

We are delighted to announce that Oxford Spires Academy has passed its safeguarding audit from the trust with flying colours. They found exceptional practice especially in the speed of communication and alertness of staff. I quote, “Oxford Spires has well organised, effective, robust protection procedures in place to safeguard the well-being, safety and emotional and physical health of their pupils.

All staff demonstrated a high level of commitment and vigilance to safeguarding, and approach this in a connected, systematic and caring manner.

Pupils presented as enthusiastic, grounded and well behaved individuals who seemed happy to engage with the many opportunities that Oxford Spires offers.”

Students and parents may well have noticed that we have secured new fencing courtesy of our trust (Education Development Trust previously known as CfBT Schools Trust) to ensure that adults using the new fitness gym during the school day are clearly guided along the outside of the school and then up to the main entrance of the gym. There is an area just prior to the entrance to the gym where students can access the netball courts to play football that is not fenced. There are two clear safeguarding strategies in place. Firstly there is very clear signage about where adults should go. Secondly we have trained all students and staff to be clear and check that there are no visitors on site without a school badge having signed in at Main Reception in the appropriate way. Students are alerted to let a member of staff know should they see anybody who has not signed in appropriately and staff response to this will be immediate. We test the system regularly by having a mystery shopper on the school site to check that they are suitably challenged and that the whole community is alert to any visitors on our site.

We are a community school and we do welcome members of the community on to our site. This is balanced with vigilance and strong safeguarding practices.

Any parent who has any concerns and would like to know more please make contact directly with Sue Croft.

Annual Parent and Carer Survey 2016

February 22nd, 2016

Please click here to complete the survey: Annual Parent and Carer Survey 2016

Notice for January 11-15 2016

January 11th, 2016

Notice for January 11-15 2016
Emergency gas works have resulted in partial closure of Glanville. Entry to the school via Glanville Road only and exit by Cumberland Road.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Many thanks,
Mrs Croft

December 2015 Newsletter

January 5th, 2016

Please click here to download our 2015 newsletter.

Geography Master Class

December 21st, 2015

On the 10th of November, a group of motivated year 4 primary students arrived at Oxford Spires Academy for a Humanities – Geography Master Class. Mr Haynes delivered an exciting and humorous master class focusing on the problem solving of a major world event – Hurricane Sandy. They looked into helping the state of New Jersey recover from this natural disaster. The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves, showing a great depth of understanding and discussion skills. Many thanks to Mr Haynes and our lovely student helpers, Rebecca Craft and Ishah Zainab.

Lord Chadlington inspires Sixth Formers

December 21st, 2015

Lord Chadlington visited OSA in the summer through the Speakers for Schools scheme which provides excellent speakers for secondary school students . Lord Chadlington then spoke to year 8 and 10 about his fascinating careers and told them about his ” ten steps to success . He was so inspiring that we asked if he may return and speak to those students making decisions about their future careers. Lord Chadlington kindly visited OSA again on November 27th and spoke to students about the true meaning of success and invited questions about the many different careers and business ventures he has been involved in. Lord Chadlington implored students to do what they enjoyed and to take measured risks to achieve success . He spoke of the importance of courtesy and manners and of being happy. The sixth formers asked insightful questions and the event culminated in a debate.




OSA through to the English Speaking Union Public Speaking final

December 21st, 2015

Year 10 students Jasmine Burgess, Helen Woods and Mukahang Limbu this week represented OSA at this prestigious competition and achieved a place at the regional final. Students must work with one other member of their school team and one student from another school to present a speech and answer questions on a previously determined topic. The OSA team spoke on the topic ” The Internet is a Drug and we are all Addicted.” Jasmine won the Best Speaker award for her eloquent speech and the entire team will now compete in the next round of the competition on January 12th.

Blenheim Palace Public Speaking Trip

December 21st, 2015

The English club enjoyed their annual public speaking trip to Blenheim Palace at the start of November. Students were treated to public speaking workshops and a tour of the Palace before being given more information about the Blenheim Palace Public Speaking competition.

Year 7 and 8 students will compete for the opportunity to represent OSA at this competition by entering an internal competition in December. This winning team will then represent OSA at the competition at the Palace in March 2016 . This team will be hoping to retain the trophy which Frances Thompson, Annie Davison and Ilona Sell won last year . OSA has also previously won this competition in 2011 and 2012.


Pantomime – TICKETS ON SALE!

December 14th, 2015

Wednesday 16th December at 5:30PM in the theatre at OSA.


Senior Maths Challenge Success!

November 27th, 2015

Joseph Zhu has qualified for the British Maths Olympiad putting him in the top 1000 in the country.   Felix Wu and Arturo Loiselle have both qualified for the senior Kangaroo putting them in the top 3000 students.  All three have received Gold certificates. Lewis Thorne, Thanadol Hedges and Michael Reynolds have received Silver certificates which means they were in the top 30% and Atul Anand, Ettore Loiselle, Mikolaj Tomczynski and Shayan Zaheer have Bronze certificates putting them in the top 60% of the brightest mathematicians in Years 11-13 that enter this prestigious competition.

House Drama – SOLD OUT!

November 19th, 2015

Please note that Tickets for House Drama on November 26th are now sold out!

October Newsletter

November 9th, 2015

The October newsletter is now available for download here:

October 2015

Update: Year 7, 9 and 12 reports

October 19th, 2015

Please note that Year 7 and Year 12 reports will be issued today. Please ask your son/daughter to give them to you. Year 9 reports will be distributed tomorrow, Tuesday 20th October.

Paris Trip – July 2015

September 18th, 2015

On Friday 17th July at silly o’clock in the morning over 40 students along with Mr and Mrs Finch, Miss Cross, Mr Bayliss and Mrs Spacksman set off on their adventure to Paris. After a long journey and failed attempts to spot fish out of the window as we went through the Channel Tunnel we arrived at the Chocolaterie where we witnessed cats being destroyed (chocolate ones honest!) and the brave tried 100% cocoa solids chocolate. On the Saturday we made our way into Paris following a special route past the Cloud Factory and the Bread Bank. OSA students then successfully got themselves 59 floors up the Tour Montparnasse and stole the Eiffel Tower. They then broke for lunch whilst cruising up the River Seine taking in the most famous sights of Paris. This trip concluded with a Tour of Notre Dame Cathedral and then an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Miss Cross and Mr finch in the water polo. After dinner songs and marshmallow toasting around the campfire deep in the woods rounded off the evening. Sunday morning offered shopping at the market in nearby town of Brie Comte Robert and opportunities for students to use their French. That afternoon saw the OSA students literally climbing the wall (a lot of them reached the top) and then abseiling back down action film style (well, in one or two cases!). We also have a few budding Katniss Everdeens on the archery field (girls more than boys I must say). That evening many of us had escargots for dinner (yes that does mean snails!!!) the teachers treated the students to their disco routines which they had been practising hard all term, sadly we were out danced by the students. All too quickly Monday morning came round and we had to pack up and start the long journey home. However, a trip to the hypermarket for more shopping helped.

Here are some comments from the students:

 “it was a lifetime experience which I shall cherish forever. The facilities were phenomenal, PGL staff were really helpful and friendly and the food was amazing.”

“J’adore the Trip. Paris EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING. C’était super cool!”

“je suis tombée amoureuse … with the city of love!”

I would like to thank the staff and students for being amazing and making the most of all the opportunities they had during this trip and look forward to the next one.

Mrs Finch



Best ever progress for Year 11 GCSE students!

August 20th, 2015

Date: Thursday 20 August 2015

GCSE results at Oxford Spires Academy


64% of students achieved 5 or more A*-C grades


55% of students achieved 5 or more A*-C grades including English and mathematics


Students made the best progress ever at Oxford Spires!


Last year Oxford Spires Academy secured an award for being in the top 20% of schools nationally for progress made by students in GCSE.   This was when we achieved a Progress 8 score of 0.24. This year the provisional Progress 8 score is a whopping 0.54. This means that students at Oxford Spires achieve half a grade higher on average for all students’ best 8 GCSE grades including the highly academic subjects.


Especially strong results were achieved by a number of departments and special mention should go to: English Language 70% A*-C, Mathematics 71% A*-C, Science 79% A*-C, Spanish 85% A*-C, Business 93% A*-C and English Literature 68%.


Students made progress in excess of expected levels and the national average, not only achieving above the national average at 3 levels of progress (expected progress) but also with significant numbers of students making 4 and 5 and even 6 levels of progress.


3+        4+       5+

English   78%     43%     12%

Maths     71%     34%   6%


We are delighted that our pupil premium students are making as good progress as all students in English and in mathematics.


There are some extraordinary personal successes with Alissa Reis making 6 levels of progress in English achieving 5A*s, 4 As and 4Bs. Cintia Pinto joining us in Year 11 with very little English and achieving 2A*s, B in maths and in science, C in English and further GCSEs in less than a year. Najma Omer made 6 levels of progress in English and 5 levels in mathematics achieving 1A, 3Bs and 2 C grades.


Congratulations go to the students for their hard work, and of course to parents too. Oxford Spires also congratulates and thanks all, teaching and support staff for their dedication that makes such success possible.


Mrs Croft said: “We have enjoyed this year working with students who were driven for success. As a year group they showed great resilience and character; many surprised themselves with how far they had travelled. We are so proud of the students’ outstanding success.”


Tony Brett, Chair of Governors said, “The students have worked extremely hard and impressively productively with their teachers, who have often gone the extra mile to enable the students to achieve at the highest level, to be the best they can be. I am delighted to see such success. Not only are the students a credit to Oxford Spires and excelling in their extra-curricular activities, they are making exceptional progress and opening further opportunities for themselves. I am incredibly proud of all of them and they should be too!”


A Level and BTEC Results 2015 – 68% A*-C

August 13th, 2015

Oxford Spires Academy is delighted to announce a successful set of A-level results. The Principal congratulates all students involved in these examinations and, of course, their parents and teachers. There were 79 candidates in the Upper Sixth this year and there have been excellent performances against the full range of ability and across all subjects. The overall pass rate is 95.8%. The percentage of grades at A*-B (or equivalent) is 44% and 68% for A*-C. There were particularly strong performances in Mathematics, Computing, Philosophy and Ethics, Urdu, Business Studies, Music and Sport Studies.


Students who achieved particularly high results include:

Laura Thomas gaining A* and 2 As in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry with an A grade in AS Further Mathematics and an A* in the Extended Project Qualification

Stephanie Ferreira gaining 3 Distinction *s in Sport, A in Portuguese, and B in AS Spanish

Grace Palmer gaining 2 As and 2Bs in Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry

Esme Partridge gaining 2As, a B and a C in English, Creative writing, Theatre Studies and History

Billy Wheeler gaining 2As, a B and a C in Mathematics, Computing, Physics and Chemistry

Riema Eldawi gaining 2 As and a B in Economics, Mathematics and Chemistry

Ben Doling gaining 2As and a B in Mathematics, Computing and Physics


Dr Watson, Head of Sixth Form commented, “It has been a pleasure to work with Oxford Spires’ Year 13 students in my first year as Head of Sixth Form, and to see individuals flourish.  I am equally pleased that this year’s excellent results allow so many of them to progress to the university courses of their choice.”


Principal Sue Croft said, “Our sixth form students are exceptional young adults who have achieved great results through hard work and a love of learning. The vast majority of pupils have won a place on a degree course and we are confident that all our pupils leaving school this summer can look forward to a very bright future indeed.”


Tony Brett, Chair of Governors said, “This was indeed an impressive year group who helped to shape the academy and achieved success in their academic study. Their successes reflect the outstanding teaching at Oxford Spires Academy and the drive for excellence by the Principal, Sue Croft, Dr Watson and the dedicated teachers.”

Jumpers During Warm Weather

June 30th, 2015

Please see the letter below regarding uniform during the remainder of the summer term.

Letter Regarding Jumpers 2015

Students learn about Artificial Intelligence

June 24th, 2015

Year 7 Show Their Colours at ‘Art in Science Day’

June 17th, 2015


On Tuesday 9th June, Oxford Spires Academy were very lucky to be able to host both Dr Lizzie Burn (a science-based artist) and Jennifer Whitfield a pathologist at the Churchill hospital for a day of art and science.

All of our year 7 students attended a 1-hour session throughout the day in which they learnt about cells, the discovery of the microscope and the way a pathologist works to identify disease-causing or abnormal cells in the human body. As part of this, each made a cork tile with an image of a cell – inspired by what they had learnt.

There was great excitement as students found inspiration from colourful microscope images, decided on their medium and designed, drew and painted their own creation. There was a real buzz of understanding as Dr. Burn linked these two favourite subjects so clearly! At the end of the session, there was an opportunity for students to ask Jennifer Whitfield about her career and latest work in understanding the human genome – there certainly seem to be some budding pathologists amongst our year group!

The final result was astounding as the tiles were linked together to create a 150-strong piece of artwork that showcased both their artistic skill and scientific accuracy! We look forward to seeing the result appearing on display around school very soon.

Chess Supremo!

June 2nd, 2015

Early in May Oscar Idle took part in the chess mega final at Oxford Spires Academy. He was playing against 30 students in his age group (under 13) who had all qualified to get to the chess mega final. Over 60,000 hopeful youngsters applied to take part in the UK De Lancy Chess Schools’ Championship and by the time any reach the Tera Final, the top 60 in the country under 18 will compete. Oscar said “I am pleased to be in a position to be able to get to the Tera Finals again this year, I love the complexity of chess”. Oscar is grateful to his generous sponsors:

Webb Paton Chartered Surveyors
Carter Jonas Estate Agents
Penny & Sinclair Estate Agents


OSA Students win Nuffield placements!

June 2nd, 2015

Arturo Loiselle and Melissa Sebata win Nuffield Research Placements in the Summer 2015.

This is a fantastic achievement, as only 22 students have been offered placements in Oxfordshire.  Students will be working alongside professional scientists/engineers/technicians/mathematicians and completing a real research project at a high level for 4 weeks.  The project will therefore be academically challenging.

“Art can change the world” poetry event

June 1st, 2015

On Tuesday May 19th, Oxford Spires Academy held its first international poetry afternoon, hosted by sixth form’s Michael Egbe. We were graced by two amazing professional poets all the way from America plus local drummer and author Natty Mark. The event was kicked off by Michael, who performed a moving piece about his homeland of Nigeria, with piano accompaniment. Then came Natty Mark who entertained the audience through spoken word poetry followed by a lively performance of cultural African drumming. We were also joined by two of the incredibly talented student poets from year 11- Abdullah Yusuf and Leah Smith. Abdullah presented a moving poem on racism, off by heart! While Leah performed her fascinating poem “Circles”.

Then the main event started when Aisha Oxley graced us with a few of her stunning poems ranging on topics about barbeques to her heroes. Her performance was so capturing that the whole audience was silent throughout. Next we heard from Marquese McFerguson whose poems mainly focused on the American Civil Rights Movement and the topic of racism. His performance was not only hugely entertaining (and in some parts comedic!) but sent an extremely strong message on the injustices that many Americans faced and still face today. After a final performance from Abdullah, the event ended with a lively and wide ranging discussion between the students and the poets. Overall it was an extremely interesting and entertaining afternoon which many of the Oxford Spires students and staff enjoyed thoroughly.

Holly Gardner



“I truly enjoyed my visit to Oxford Spires Academy. It is a truly amazing school with amazing students and teachers. The “Art Can Change The World” event was amazing. Visiting Oxford Spires was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to the U.K.”  – Dr. Marquese McFerguson, US poet and academic.

Sixth Form lawyers and future scientists…

May 21st, 2015

Work experience is important for a lot of students in the Sixth Form. This half-term, Miss Plant has helped Year 12 students to take part in two projects which will help them make successful university applications after the summer.
Nuffield Research Placements provide over 1,000 students nationally each year with the opportunity to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Last year’s successful applicants worked on their own research in computing and practical science areas, with the support of local scientists at Rutherford Appleton laboratories. This year’s successful applicants from Year 12 will begin their placements soon – and will report back in a future newsletter on their experiences.
As well as scientists, potential future lawyers make the chances of a successful university application more likely by undertaking work experience. Maah-Noor Ali, Shukryia Rezaei and Matin Shirani took part in the placements in April and feedback from the law firm was very positive indeed.

African school

May 21st, 2015

In February and March of this year, OSA made history by being the first state comprehensive in the county to offer an accredited course in African Studies. The course was completed by five students: Maah-Noor Ali, Nailah James, Haseefa Imran, Chupkatha Priovarshini and Rupkatha Priovarshini. Nailah James said of the course: “African School is a great opportunity to explore the rich and diverse history of pre-colonial Africa. Taking part in this course, allowed us to extend our knowledge and open our minds to another part the world through learning about many aspects of African history. For instance, we studied trade and how this influenced the integration of cultures and languages, such as Swahili. In addition, we looked at the different belief systems, architecture, music as well as art, in particular different fabrics and their various patterns and methods of creating them. To add to the brilliance of African School, the content is taught through interaction and discussion, creating classes which are very engaging, interesting and extremely enjoyable!”
In the autumn term, African school tutor Natty Mark will be back to run a new course, focusing specifically on the pre-colonial history of Somalia and East Africa.

New Head boy and Head girl and Deputy Head boy and Deputy Head girl announced on Friday 8 May 2015

May 21st, 2015

There was the most astounding leadership group who have been through the full process of speaking to all their peers, writing an application, being interviewed by the outgoing Head boy and Head girl and being interviewed by Dr Watson, Miss Plant and Mrs Croft. The quality was astounding! After much deliberation Oxford Spires is pleased to announce that

Head boy is Ben Thorne
Head girl is Zainab Azam
Deputy Head boy is Arturo Loiselle
Deputy head girl is Andrea Pinedo

They are supported by a very able and strong leadership group of Lewis Thorne, Melissa Sebata, Matin Shirani, Han-sun Nkumu, Amber Barlett, Hassan Latif and Tom Moorwood.
Oxford Spires is in very safe hands with such outstanding moral, academic and personal leadership.


Esme Awarded Prestigious Prize by Poet Laureate

May 21st, 2015

Esme (second from the left) pictured with other winners and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy (centre)

Esme Partridge and Michael Egbe were both shortlisted in the national Keats Shelley Young Romantics Competition for their poems on the theme of ‘Lost Angels’. The competition was judged by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
On the 21st of April Esme travelled to London to hear the Poet Laureate read in a ceremony in St Martins in the Fields, London. This was amazing enough: then Carol Ann Duffy announced that Esme had won second prize, and invited her up to read herself. The remarkable evening was topped of with an invitation to the Atheneum Club, where our heads were turned by the historic setting and fine dining.

Aspiring to university!

May 21st, 2015

Year 12 students will begin making their UCAS applications to go to university when they return from AS exams in June. Many have already taken opportunities to learn more before those applications begin…

Five students – Arturo Loiselle, Chup Priovashini, Rup Priodarshini, Ben Thorne and Lewis Thorne – took part in a preparation event for Oxbridge applications over the Easter holiday. They spent two days at Peterhouse College in Cambridge, attending lectures, gaining advice and experiencing life in an Oxbridge college.

Many students in the Sixth Form are currently applying for places on summer schools at a variety of universities including Oxford Brookes, the University of London and the University of Sussex. Places on some of these schemes are still available, and anyone who would like to go in the summer term or the holiday to learn more about subjects, institutions and applications should go online and apply now.

Year 9 and 10 Scholars Graduate!

May 21st, 2015

The Brilliant Club’s Scholars Programme ran for Year 9 and 10 students last half term. After a visit to Royal Holloway University, they had six small group tutorial sessions with a PhD student supervisor – with challenging university-style work. Students had to submit their final assignments over the Easter holiday, and the results are now in…
We congratulate the following on their successful completion of the programme, and their excellent results: Rubina Ali, Sumeet Daudhar, Holly Gardner and Michael Reynolds from Year 10, and Ismail Aktar, Jasmine Burgess, Renad Eldawi, Mukahang Limbu and Helen Woods from Year 9. Distinctions for the quality of work in sessions and in their outcomes go to Holly Gardner and Michael Reynolds.
Well done to all of them!

Seacole double victory in House Public Speaking

May 21st, 2015

seacolepublicspeakingEverybody was a winner in our junior and senior house public speaking competition on Wednesday 15 April. We had three eminent judges, John Harrop who run the Oxfordshire branch of the English Speaking Union, Zelda Eliott who teaches English language and PGCE at Oxford University and Sue Bagnall, Head teacher of St Ebbes Primary School. They were enormously complimentary to our confident and eloquent speakers.
Students at Oxford Spires are confident but have the complex understanding of complex ideas and a wonderful mastery of imagery with which to be able to share those with an audience. It was such an enjoyable evening of outstanding talent. The worthy winners of the junior competition were Chair, Ilona Sell of Bannister House, vote of thanks, Felix Henson of Seacole House, speaker Linnet Drury of Seacole House and overall Seacole junior team won.
Senior competition Chair Abdullah Yusuf of Bannister House, vote of thanks Lewis Thorne of Seacole House, main speaker Will Cheetham of Earhart House overall winners were Seacole house.
Every speaker is to be congratulated on superb oratory!

Year 10 Silver Arts Award

May 21st, 2015

artsaward14 Year 10 students have been working towards their Silver Arts Award since March. The level 2 qualification encourages young people to find their own research projects and develop individual leadership and arts skills through creating and managing an arts project. The OSA group have worked on inspiration from the History of Science Museum and have already created animations, learning the skills of the trade from a professional. They will now go on to complete their award through self chosen leadership projects which will give them the opportunity to create something truly original through the media of Art and Drama. They have been an inspiring group to work with and we look forward to seeing their finished pieces at the end of the Summer term.


May 21st, 2015

As always lots has been happening with Aim higher this term events such as the sixth form Higher Education conference at Oxford Brookes, Decision Challenge for year 8 option choices, the year 9 Careersfest at the Kassam stadium, Passport days for years 9 and 10, and the list goes on…
One very exciting event occurred just before Easter, Aim Higher worked with a group of year 10 students to support them in a ‘Team Up’ fundraising competition.
These year 10 students worked hard and fast to form a team, called themselves ‘Caring for YOUth’, set task to raise money for ‘Children in Need’ and deliver those task all within three weeks.
How did they do this in such a short space of time?
They appealed for endorsements, held a cake tuck shop sale and raffle in school and they used their initiative in the community and procured a stall donation from the Oxford Gloucester Green market, obtained donations of beautiful cupcakes from ‘The Cake Shop’ in the Oxford Covered Market As well as raising support and donations from stores in Oxford city centre. All this was actioned in a space of a week!
Finally before the Easter holiday, students submitted their competition entry a video presentation to the judges and to their delight and the school’s they were shortlisted from forty other schools to the final three. This now meant that they would have to present to a panel of judges to explain the What, Why, How and Outcomes of their venture

The Award final.
On a Saturday morning in April at the Pill Box venue in London the students were full of enthusiasm and extremely professional. Accompanied by Deliah Wilkinson, Aim Higher manager and Marcus Li the Team Up mentor, they delivered a polished and accomplished a panel of judges. The Judges Sharla Duncan (CEO and founder of Team Up), Mary Curnock-Cook OBE (CEO of UCAS), Dr Jamie Woodcock (Queen Mary University, School of Business) and Fran Campalani (Head of Emerging Talent, Lloyds Banking Group) were impressed by the teams initiative, confidence in communicating and negotiating within the school and the community as well as their strong determination to make the venture a success. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and plan to continue their work with an International food event in the coming months.

The final result…
The students were all winners! They won an ‘Insight training session’ with Lloyds bank and over £2000 for the school to further develop their skills and that of their fellow students.
Yet another accomplished achievement for our students.

Simon Bayliss from Oxford Spires Academy has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 Pearson Teaching Awards

May 21st, 2015

Simon Bayliss from Oxford Spires Academy has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 Pearson Teaching Awards

Spotlight shines on outstanding education professionals as the “Oscars for teachers” selects finalists for 2015!

Simon Bayliss from Oxford Spires Academy has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Pearson Teaching Awards.

Finalists were selected from thousands of nominations from across the UK and Simon joins a list of 67 exceptional teachers who are the Teaching Awards “stars” of the education profession for 2015.

Finalists will find out if they have received a Pearson Teaching Awards on Thank a Teacher Day, 12 June 2015. Winners will then be invited to the star-studded UK final to be held at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in October 2015 which is filmed and broadcast by the BBC.

The Pearson Teaching Awards were established by David (Lord) Puttnam in 1999, to celebrate and recognize outstanding educational professionals.

Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, president of the Teaching Awards said: ‘I am genuinely proud and honoured to be the president of the Teaching Awards. I owe so much of what I’ve done to my fantastic teachers at school and university and it is exciting to join in celebrating what is probably the most important profession of them all.’

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK said: ‘Supporting the Pearson Teaching Awards gives us a unique opportunity to champion exceptional teaching professionals across the UK. Pearson has long held lifelong learning to be at the heart of all its business. All young people deserve the very best chance to make progress in their lives through education. That is why we believe it’s vital to recognise inspirational teachers, for their commitment to teaching and learning and improving the life chances of the next generation.’

Simon joined Oxford Spires Academy in September 2014 and is an exceptional Newly Qualified teacher. He is an outstanding Biology teacher and Year 7 Seacole House tutor. Students and parents have written high praise for the ambitious and high achieving professional who is undertaking a Masters at the same time as achieving Qualified teacher status. He is an inspirational teacher and tutor who builds strong relationships with students, parents and his peers.

May 2015 Newsletter now out

May 20th, 2015

Please click the link below to download the newsletter.

May 2015

The winner of the 2015 General Election is…

May 14th, 2015

Well, the Respect Party, it seems – at least in OSA’s student mock election. Sixth Form Politics’ students represented the Conservatives, Labour, the Greens and the Socialists – as well as Respect – in a student election held to encourage debate of political issues and to encourage those Sixth Formers who are able to vote for the first time on 7th May.

Year 12’s Hassan Latif, who represented the Respect Party, came first in the vote which also taught students from Year 10 and above about the national ‘first-past-the-post’ system. Voters came from Year 10, Year 11 and the Sixth Form. Hassan, along with Greg Collier (Socialist), Asima Qayyum (Conservative), Klaudia Wlazlo (Green) and Shukria Rezaei (Labour), faced a gruelling series of assemblies to put over their key policies.

The Sixth Form Question Time, where students asked them to answer spontaneous questions from the audience, was a particular challenge! They were, for instance, asked about the privatisation of the NHS, the UK’s role in Europe, what the parties thought of raising the minimum wage and how far they held Labour and the Iraq War responsible for the rise of ISIS in the Middle East.

Other students in the group had been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council’s election team and were trained to set up the ballot – and to ensure fair play on the day, and in the count.

If this mock election is anything to go by, parliament should be filled with former Oxford Spires students! And we hope the turn-out on May 7th is as high as ours… Thanks to Mr Glazebrook and his students for working so hard to make this happen.


33 34

House Science 2015 – From Brains to Bath Bombs

May 14th, 2015

It was agreed by all who attended that House Science 2015 was the best ever. The evening started in science laboratories 3 and 4 where 12 teams from Bannister, Earhart, Seacole and Tolkien had set up and were demonstrating their experiments along with posters displaying the data they had collected.

Parents, teachers and other visitors asked many questions about the creative experimental designs, accuracy of results, applications to the real world and the conclusions that students had made. Bannister had their Ruben Tube moving to the music of Édith Piaf with “Non, je ne regrette rien” while Tolkien had to warn visitors to cover their ears as they combined and set alight to their explosive Oxygen and Hydrogen bubbles.

Our visiting judges, Dr Ian Thompson from SHARP laboratories and Mark Bosley STEM ambassador for Oxford, circulated and as well as testing out the bath bombs made by Bannister KS4 they heard from each group about the challenges they had overcome in order to design and complete their investigations. The groups that impressed them the most, and won trophies for their laboratory displays, were KS3 Bannister with their investigation into fruit batteries and Earhart KS4 with their investigation into ferrofluids.

Following the laboratory activities we moved into the theatre where each group gave a 3 minute presentation of their work. Seacole gave an extremely impressive live dissection of a sheep’s brain, however it was their KS3 presentation into their investigations into the artificial colourings used in sweets which won them a trophy. The applications of this investigation were what really impressed the judges because students had used chromatography to discover the combinations of artificial colourings used in a range of sweets. Tolkien’s investigation into green fuels also impressed the judges and their forensics investigation was the one that took the trophy for KS4, where they used a series of chemical tests used to detect the composition of different drugs.

The evening ended with the awarding of trophies, congratulations to the students taking part and huge thanks to the teachers and sixth formers who had helped them in designing their investigations. Everyone who attended not only agreed they had had an entertaining evening but that they had learnt something new along the way. Congratulations to everyone who took part.


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A Day of Perfume Chemistry

May 14th, 2015

On Friday 13th our Year 10 students had a visit from Professor Tim Harrison, from the University of Bristol.

Prof. Harrison is an expert in Chemistry Outreach and he had an exciting show of colour, bubbles and bangs to highlight the key areas of Chemistry that the students are currently studying. With every topic there was an “awe” from the audience as he surprised them with demonstrations and frequent jokes, and tested their understanding of the science behind each trick. Our students proved to be very much up to date and motivated, which was lovely to see!

The second part of the talk was on the Science of Perfumery, and we had the opportunity to smell some delicacies such as “cat anal gland extract” (Civet) and “whale vomit extract” (Ambergris) whilst learning their properties and market values. Curiously, none of the children wanted to keep their Civet samples!

After the show, thirty of these pupils were selected, based on their performance in Chemistry exams this year, to carry on a whole day workshop on the Chemistry of perfume. They made models of the molecules in essential oils, selected their ingredients, scaled up their quantities for perfume production and then made and packaged their very own perfume. It was a very busy day and the intensity of the scents in the laboratory was overwhelming, but they all left with a big smile and pride in their faces and a big thank you to our guest. A lovely day which has put science into context and hopefully inspired new views on careers and applications to our lessons.


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Uplifting House Music and Dance

May 14th, 2015

Well done to every musician and dancer who performed so well at the House Music and Dance Event 2015 on February 12th. A full hall was entertained through musical ensembles and wonderful dance routines.

The winners were:

Dance Ensemble – Earhart

Music Ensemble – Bannister

Best Instrumental – Seacole

Dance Solo – Tolkien – Han Sun Nkumu

Music Solo – Tolkien – Georgie Ivanov

Original Composition – Earhart

Tolkien were the very happy overall winners!


We are so fortunate to have so much talent and excellent leadership from sixth form House Captains.



Years 9 and 10 National Scholars’ Programme

May 14th, 2015

Oxford Spires has become the first school in Oxford to enrol a group of successful Year 9 and 10 students on the Scholars’ Programme, run by The Brilliant Club. The organisation employs PhD students from across the country, to design courses linked to their research and to teach small groups of school students from Year 7 upwards.

On Friday 27th February, our group of 12 Year 9 and 10s travelled to Royal Holloway University in Egham to meet their tutor, to learn about competitive university applications and to have a look around the campus of Royal Holloway – which is part of the University of London and one of the Russell Group (the UK’s top research universities).

Lessons with their tutor, in groups of 6, began after Year 10 returned from Work Experience. They are preparing an undergraduate-style piece of work, due to be finished over Easter and which will be marked on university grades; so they will gain a first, a 2.1, a 2.2 or a third for their efforts.

The final part of the scheme is a second trip, to another Russell Group university after Easter – for a graduation ceremony and to learn more about competitive university applications. Those students aiming for A and A* grades at GCSE clearly need to plan ahead to reach those desirable Higher Education goals.


OSA one of the best in the country for student progress at GCSE

May 14th, 2015

Oxford Spires Academy has received national recognition for the value it adds to students’ achievements at GCSE.

SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, recently undertook its annual in-depth analysis of official Department for Education data on all state-funded schools in England and identified Oxford Spires Academy’s success. The school has qualified for an SSAT Educational Outcomes’ Award by being in the top 20% of schools nationally for progress made by pupils between their Key Stage 2 results at primary school and their GCSE results at age 16. The Academy has been invited to receive their award at a regional celebration ceremony hosted by SSAT at Holland Park School in London on 12 May. Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: ‘Oxford Spires Academy should be congratulated for their exceptional achievement. They have proved themselves to be leading the field in improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is so much good practice that this school could share, and I hope they will join us at the celebration evening for the chance to network and share strategies with award-winning schools. These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Oxford Spires Academy, and show what can be achieved when skilled teachers have high expectations and ambition for every young person. I am proud that this school is a member of the SSAT network.’ Sue Croft, Principal of Oxford Spires Academy, said, “We are delighted that the hard work of the students, exceptional teaching and efforts of the staff have been recognised by this award. It is our aim to enable all students to have bright futures and we will continue with all our efforts to ensure every student achieves success.”



Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

May 14th, 2015

On the 28th January a group of 12 enthusiastic Y7 science students enjoyed a trip to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for the BIG BANG @ RAL event.

The purpose of the trip was to engage and inspire young people to pursue subjects and future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The day involved a range of activities, workshops and shows, including hearing about cutting edge science and meeting a variety of scientists. Our students particularly enjoyed meeting representatives of the Natural History Museum and showing their fearlessness when handling Giant Hissing Cockroaches. Students from OSA competed against a wide range of schools from Oxfordshire and made us proud by winning first prize in a science technology quiz ‘What’s my line?’ and second place in the engineering challenge ‘Balloon car racing’. Our students left feeling enthused about science and revelling in their accomplishments. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day.



Aim Higher – Year 8 Decision Challenge

May 14th, 2015

Oxford Brookes came into school to work with Aim Higher students to present a workshop to all Year 8 students to help them understand the process of selecting their GCSE Options. It was a fun event and at the same time delivered a message to the students. ‘To think about their talents, what they enjoy studying and ultimately help them to eventually to make the choices for themselves’

Year 12 Higher Education Conference – Brookes University

May 14th, 2015

A record number of our Year 12 students attended the Higher Education conference at the University in the new John Henry Brookes building. Throughout the day students participated in taster lectures and lessons on subjects of interest such as Midwifery, Psychology, Art, Business and more. The event was a great opportunity to have a small experience in topics of interests as well as attend workshops such as Personal Statements and Applying to University…all in preparation for the potential University applications in September 2015.

Year 10 Enterprise Day

May 14th, 2015

January 27th saw all Year 10 students take part in a whole day enterprise event designed to test and develop their creative, teamwork, presentation and entrepreneurial skills.   UK national entrepreneur winners Ross Kemp (ASAP Watercrafts) and Simon Lyons (Geco) joined us for the day introducing students to the challenging and topical task of developing a solution to the ever growing amount of plastic waste produced in the UK.

In teams of 5, students we asked to design a solution to the problem of plastic waste using their creative skills. Designs were then subject to assessment by the team’s finance, marketing and public relations directors and adapted accordingly. Students demonstrated impressive teamwork throughout bringing a variety of different skills to their groups resulting in some innovative yet workable designs. Final ideas included the twist-a-bottle: a self-collapsing bottle designed to compress into a small space making collection and recycling more efficient.

Towards the end of the day students competed in regional finals presenting their ideas to other groups in a persuasive manner making effective use of technical business language. Finally regional winners competed in the grand final.

The day was a complete success with students embracing the task and stepping up to the challenge. Well done year 10!


Cotswold Wildlife Trip

May 14th, 2015

Year 12 Level 3 Business students took a ‘walk on the wild side’ and got closer to business on their recent field trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and gardens as part of their core unit of study on ‘Introduction to Marketing’. Not only did the students get behind the scenes information on how the centre spend their marketing budget but they also learned the importance of carrying out a competitive analysis, called a SWOT analysis, as well as understanding the importance of primary and secondary research as well as the demographics of the area that surrounds you.

The business faculty look for as many practical opportunities for students to apply their learning to a business context. Over the two years of this double award this will cover twelve areas of business in detail. We look forward to seeing more Year 11s sign up to study business in September 2015 and enjoy getting closer to business!

Clone Art Room Visit – London

May 14th, 2015

Sumeet Daudhar and Hannah Bowler had the honour of attending the opening of the Clone Art Room at Barlby Primary School in London. They were invited because both have been through the Art Room scheme and are using the Art Room for work experience. Both met Grayson Perry and the Duchess of Cambridge. The OSA students had to sit at a round table and have a discussion about the Art Room. They were asked questions and Sumeet made the Duchess giggle. Sumeet said, ”We are very lucky to have been chosen for this and really enjoyed representing Oxford Spires Academy.




OSA Choir Perform At The Prestigious Lord Mayor’s Carol Concert

May 14th, 2015

On Sunday 21st December students from the OSA choir met at 11am at the town hall in Oxford to start rehearsals for a performance at 2.30pm. The choir was joined by another group, Oxford Young Singers and both groups were accompanied by the Oxford Youth Orchestra. Both groups sang the carols throughout the concert in order to support the audience participation but also performed specifically rehearsed pieces to the 400 strong audience. The day was a huge success, the choir performed amazingly, with many of its members coming from Year 7 and they enjoyed singing with a full orchestra.   Special thanks to Mr Best, Miss Aspinall, Miss Dix, Miss Morris and Undine Kudrovska for supporting the choir.



Mukahang Wins National Writing Competition

May 14th, 2015

Mukahang inYear 9 is the overall winner of the First Story National Writing Competition. This competition was open to all state school students in the UK and there were over 3000 entries, including 70 from Oxford Spires. Entries, on the theme of ‘Home’ were judged anonymously by a panel of distinguished writers including Laura Dockrill and William Fiennes.

The entries were whittled down in three age group categories, and a short story by Head Girl Esme Partridge was shortlisted in Key Stage 5- a fabulous achievement. Amazingly, so was Mukahang’s poem – it was only when names were checked that the judges realised his poem belonged in Key Stage 3. Mukahang was named winner of his Key Stage, and then of the whole competition. His poem will be published on the Sunday Times website, and he has won an exciting prize for the whole school: four places on an Arvon Writing course. Mukahang will go on this course in March, along with Esme and two others.

11 students from across the school went on a special trip to Holland Park School in London on the 12th of February to take part in workshops and to see Mukahang receive his prize from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who is Patron of First Story. Mukahang was thrilled and surprised at his win. He writes regularly in First Story workshops and for Creative writing classes, but this poem is a very personal one, which he wrote entirely independently.


Winter Market 2014

May 14th, 2015

OSA Winter Market 2014 “The best community event that I’ve ever attended”

On the 10th of December, Oxford Spires Academy held their annual Winter Market. Year 13 BTEC Level 3 Business’ students organised this event by working together as a team to provide the community with a wonderful festive inspired evening. The wonderful Aladdin Pantomime created an extra dimension to this already fun packed event which helped to liven things up and fun was had by all. The fundraising event successfully managed to raise funds for four different children’s charities which includes; Helen and Douglas House, Barnados Charity, SeeSaw and the Mulberry Bush Organisation. It was a hugely successful evening which could not have been achieved without everybody’s support. Thank you to Ford Kidlington and Sharp Laboratories for sponsoring the Winter Market. The Year 13 BTEC business students clearly won’t be short of business ideas and event management skills to make money and support their student loan income over the next few years. Class members Marrium Zeb and Kamyla Mendes have expressed a desire to go into event management for a career. This experience has made them even more determined. Well done Year 13 level 3 business. You certainly left everyone impressed….

6th Form Trip to Wadham College, Oxford

May 14th, 2015

A group of 15 6th formers were treated to a wonderful opportunity to spend a day working at Wadham College at the Oxford University as part of the Wilkins Aspiration Day celebrating the legacy of one of the founders of the Royal Society, John Wilkins (1614-1672).

Students worked on a range of activities hosted by the Chemistry, Physics, Biology Engineering and Computer Science departments of Oxford University before attending an evening event entitled “The Invention Of Modern Science” hosted by Sir Melvin Bragg with presentations from the president of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse, Oxford astrophysicist Professor Jo Dunkey and Mathematician Professor Marcus du Sautoy.

At the end of the evening students were given the opportunity to ask questions and both Ben Thorne and Arturo Loiselle distinguished themselves by asking about where science might take us next in astrophysics and mathematics.

Year 9 Trip to SHARP Laboratories

May 14th, 2015

A group of year 9 students enjoyed a trip to the Sharp laboratories in Oxford Science Park on the 11th December. The focus of the visit was on Sharp’s Solar Technology where Mathieu Bellanger, a senior researcher, explained to students how solar panels work and what Sharp are doing to make them more efficient.

Sebastian Wu impressed the researchers by asking if they could develop curved panels to concentrate the light, while Ishmail Hussain wanted to know if SLE’s “Eye-catching Display” could be used to make an invisible car by projecting the background of the car onto the car.

Students saw scientists in action working in various laboratories are gained a unique insight into what it means to work as a scientist. We hope that many of them will go onto study science and engineering at university and it is great to know that they can come back to their local area to work with so many science jobs in and around Oxford.

Spires at the London Chess Classic

May 14th, 2015

On Friday 12th December, a small group of keen players from Spires went to the London Chess Classic at Olympia – the biggest chess festival in the UK – run by pioneering charity ‘Chess in Schools and Communities’. In the first hour we received coaching from International Women’s Master, Sabrina Chevannes. We also got a chance to ask questions of the current British champion, Grandmaster David Howell. He stunned us by telling us he was an International Master by the age of 12, one of the youngest ever!

We then joined an audience of several hundred in the auditorium for a show led by two other top British players. As part of this, Jasmine Burgess (Y9) was invited onto the stage to play a child from another school (one of four pairs) with the moves beamed out electronically on giant screens above their tables. Jasmine immediately impressed the host by asking whether she was actually sitting in the seat that would be occupied later in the day by Fabiano Caruana, the world no. 2 – and followed up by thrashing her admittedly younger opponent in short order.

After lunch, all the 300 or so children attending took part in a six-round competition, with all our players in the 7+ age group. This resulted in a joint tie for first between Jasmine and Oscar Idle (Y8) (with several others), and Max Baldock (Y7) came second. Jasmine also won a second gold medal as ‘best girl’. As a newcomer to chess, unlike the rest of our team, Elliot Hitchcock (Y7) also did very well, scoring half points.

Whilst for most schools this was the end of the day, we so impressed Sabrina Chevannes that she took us into the VIP room, full of some of the top players in the world; they were participating in a grandmaster tournament alongside the schools event, and happily signed autographs for us. Sabrina then played all our group in a ‘simul’. At one point, she freely admitted that she thought she was losing on three out of the four boards; Jasmine had a knight jammed in the heart of Sabrina’s position on d6; Max had her in an unpleasant ‘pin’, and Oscar was involved in a heavyweight battle on the central files. Eventually she recovered to overcome our gladiators, with only Oscar holding out at the end; it’s not every day you get to play on equal terms against an International Master.   After all this excitement, we came back to Oxford on the bus, tired but exhilarated.

Thanks to all those who made this trip possible – especially staff member Adam Parker, who came with us and admitted his own chess level had also improved significantly during the day.

Let’s take some more children next year!

Malcolm X Nephew, Rodnell Collins visits OSA

May 14th, 2015

Following the recent visit to the Oxford Union, Oxford Spires was very lucky to have Rodnell Collins, an African American human rights activist and nephew of Malcolm X, visit the school on Thursday 4th December. He gave an informative and inspiring talk, on the subject of “Malcolm X: myth and reality” and the ongoing struggle for racial equality and human rights. Many interested OSA humanitarians took up this rare opportunity to hear him speak.

Rodnell’s visit to the Oxford Union was in commemoration of 50 years ago, when Malcolm X came to the same venue to give what would turn out to be one of the last speeches of his life. Less than three months later he was dead, shot 21 times whilst addressing a public meeting in New York. The speech Malcolm X gave at the Oxford Union was a seminal performance, and one of the best articulations of his evolving thought and beliefs that we have. At both events, OSA students showed themselves to be respectful, articulate and intelligent. The humanities faculty were proud to have them represent the school.


Senior Team Challenge

May 14th, 2015

On Monday 21st November a team of Laura Thomas, Arturo Loiselle, Joseph Zhu and Isabel Zhu travelled to St Edward’s School to take part in the Senior Team Maths Challenge. There were 33 schools taking part in the Oxford heat including many very good private schools. The four students had to work both as a group and in pairs to solve problems, testing all parts of their mathematical knowledge and reasoning, often in unfamiliar contexts and with the added pressure of a tight time limit. The team did incredibly well coping with these challenges, especially since the competition started at 4.30 and didn’t finish until 7.30pm so they had dealt with a full day of lessons beforehand. There was also a surprise power cut during one of the rounds, which then had to be completed by the light of the supervising teachers’ mobile phones. This didn’t seem to faze our team, who finished 9th overall and were the 3rd highest placed state school, just 1 point behind the 2nd highest. It remains our goal to one day beat Magdalen School at a maths competition. Next to try will be the Year 10 team in February.

Senior Maths Challenge

May 14th, 2015

On Thursday 6th November 20 students entered the UKMT Senior Maths Competition. The Senior Challenge is aimed at all 16-19 year olds studying and consists of 25 multiple choice questions designed to challenge and broaden students’ mathematical thinking. There are penalties awarded for incorrect answers so students need to think carefully rather than guessing randomly. Certificates are awarded to high performing students with the top 60% gaining Bronze, top 30% Silver and top 10% Gold. This year we had 3 Bronzes, 7 Silver and 2 Gold certificates awarded. Special mention to Mikolaj Tomczynski and Michael Reynolds who gained Silver certificates. This would be a fantastic achievement for any A level student, never mind two Year 10s. We look forward to seeing their successes in the Intermediate competition later in the year.

Arturo Loiselle and Joseph Zhu both gained Gold Certificates and Joseph also qualified on for one of the follow on rounds, the slightly oddly named Mathematical Kangaroo. This was a further hour long paper aimed at the top 4,000 students in the country and we are waiting to find out how he has done. Further success came for Laura Thomas and Isabel Zhu who were entered for the Mathematical Olympiad for Girls. This is an extremely challenging paper,(it actually comes with a warning to be careful about who is entered as it could put students off maths) which was marked out of 50, but with an average score of only 6! Isabel scored 14 marks and Laura 21 which put then comfortably in the top 25% of the entrants and they both received certificates of merit.


House Drama 2015

May 14th, 2015

A fantastic cultural evening was held on 19th November as Oxford Spires showed its commitment to quality arts in the most wonderful house drama performances created by students working with students. The house drama event has been a magnificent annual event and this year stepped up the experience even further.

Bannister House put on a clever dystopian view of the world where a dictator was felled by a group of rebels led by an astonishingly cleverly written and performed, Scottish leader. Earhart created a reliving of the segregation in 1950s America exposing the tension and injustice of this period of time with an engaging and empathetic story about those who stood up for what they believed in. Seacole House entertained, with the audience crying and laughing from one minute to the next, with a fantastic view of the approach by the entertainment industry to women back in the 1950s. The victims were not only those who failed to achieve stardom because they did not fit the norm but also (as exemplified by a stunning performance) of the depression of Marilyn Munro. Tolkien House lifted the spirits with a vibrant and convincing setting in a jazz club in 1930s America examining the determination and knock backs based on racial prejudice. It was evocative and confident with beautiful vocals.

The performers were perfection. Every single individual performance and play took the audience on a convincing journey and took control of the stage. There was some stunning performances most notably from some powerful parts by our younger students in Year 7 and 8. The script writing was superb, the theatricality was stunning and the story telling compelling.

Another precious moment in the evening’s event was the talk to the students by Esme Partridge, the Head Girl, on behalf of all the house captains reminding the students of what they had achieved and that they were all winners. The eventual winners were Earhart House. Massive congratulations from parents, judges, teachers and all involved on a superb evening’s entertainment.

A Showcase of OSA Talent

May 14th, 2015

We were delighted to welcome students from Year 7 and 8 to the Theatre on Wednesday 26th November for an evening showcasing the talents of students across the school. Giving a brief idea of the range of stunning work produced in and out of the classroom, students from Years 7 to 13 spoke confidently about what they had done this term so far.

Year 7 was represented by three students. Amber Frizzell and Anna Beekmayer showed the work they had been doing on angles and trajectories in maths, firing ‘mortars’ as part of their work connected with the War Horse World War 1 project. Their video, showing the findings of the class, was a thoughtful and intelligent one – matched in this by the YouTube video of Twelfth Night by Irie Lunch.

Finn Carter showed that Year 8 geographers can be just as independent in their research – explaining the purpose of their field trip earlier this term, and the investigative work coming out of it. Jasmine Burgess of Year 9 showed the kind of creative talents which have ensured that OSA has been very successful in writing and speaking competitions for some years now. Her speech from the Blenheim Public Speaking competition – defending the use of text language – was articulate and perceptive, and we all enjoyed the poem with which she reached the final three in this year’s Betjeman Poetry Competition. Maddie Woolf (Year 7) and Michael Reynolds (Year 10) showed off the piano skills of musically talented students at OSA.

Sixth Form students gave the Year 7s and 8s in the audience a sense of where they could head in later years. Ben Doling and Samneet Daudhar presented an account of their Nuffield research projects working with the computing department at Rutherford Appleton laboratories. ‘Stand-up Mathematicians’ Arturo Loiselle, Ben Thorne and Lewis Thorne entertained everyone greatly with their accounts of the joy of advanced maths (and their magic tricks!), as well as giving a comprehensive account of the science and maths activities in which they have been involved this term so far. Running a lower school Chemistry Club, visiting universities and hearing high-profile lecturers, as well as taking part in on-line extension courses, they are gearing up well for competitive applications to Higher Education next year.

The evening was hosted by Head Girl, Esme Partridge, who brought the programme to its finale with a reading of her superb poem, ‘Bonfire Night’, which she had read earlier this term at 10 Downing Street, at a government reception involving the charity, First Story, who – under the leadership of writer-in-residence, Kate Clanchy – do so much fine work at Oxford Spires.

The whole evening gave a sense of what is to be achieved at OSA if students work hard and take up the opportunities on offer. Dr Watson was pleased to announce the first speakers in the Academic Speaker Programme, which begins in January, and to discuss the continuing planned development of the school website – through which parents and their children can follow links to develop students’ subject knowledge and skills, as well as to find out the details of events in and out of school. Any questions about the Able, Gifted and Talented provision at OSA – or offers of help from parents willing to contribute to the speaker programme – please email



English Audit

May 14th, 2015

This term we took a close look at the English faculty to audit what they were doing really well and what they could do to improve. This involved reviewing exam results and how much progress students made in English across the school. We also looked at the quality of work in books and at the quality of the teachers’ feedback in books as well as formally observing every English teacher.

The English faculty is our best achieving faculty at GCSE. 75% of students achieved the higher grades last summer and this number has been growing year on year. All the lessons that were observed were at least good and half of them were outstanding. The quality of work and feedback in student books was of really high quality. The faculty has also made a strong contribution to the wider life of the school by running many after-school clubs and competitions. Their success with national poetry competitions has been outstanding. They have also provided many workshops for our local primary schools.

When students were asked what they thought about their English lessons they were very positive. “Miss is so kind when we make mistakes. She also gets the class to participate in reading and in general.” “My teacher gives me good advice.” “I like the marking because it is helping me make progress.”

The English team are very clear about what they would like to do to improve even further. The exam boards will continue to change what is required from students and so the team will need to attend training to keep up to date with all the latest developments. They will also be working on improving results in the Sixth Form so that they are as good as their GCSE results. Some of the students mentioned that they would like the teachers to “make lessons more fun” so they will be trying to do this without losing any of their sense of rigour. They would also, obviously, like to aim for all teachers being consistently outstanding, a challenging target indeed!

Thank you to all students who gave us their opinions in the survey and to all our students who work so hard in their English lessons. Well done Miss Beech and all the teachers and support staff in the English faculty.


Young Enterprise Team Meet the Inventor of Rolley Golf

May 14th, 2015

On Friday 14th November 2014 Interstella, met Arnold from Rolley Golf. Every year Oxford Spires run the Young Enterprise Company Programme. Last year’s team ‘I-Solars’ made it through to the county finals with their solar powered smartphone charger.

Arnold was so impressed with this year’s product that he bought shares in their company. He also gave them valuable advice on how to make a prototype, protect the intellectual property copyright and who would be best supplier to manufacture their innovation and how they should promote it and get it to market. These are some of the advantages of using a business dragon to invest in your start up business!

With over £500 in share capital and a prototype of their wearable technology in production they are well positioned to get this product to market but will they do it in time for Christmas 2014?



May 14th, 2015

Year 7 made a fantastic start to their learning at Oxford Spires. The first term saw students participate in the War Horse Project. In a range of subjects, including humanities, English, maths, design and technology, the arts and ICT, students explored the theme of World War One and developed a wide range of skills. This was complemented by outside speakers from both the British Red Cross and the Blue Cross. The end product was a huge display of all their learning in the Atrium. There were many highlights including, of course, the fantastic models of the trenches. We are extremely proud of all our students who put such a lot of time and effort into their work and showed such enthusiasm for their learning.


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Head Girl Graces Downing Street

May 14th, 2015

Esme Partridge graces Downing Street

On 13th November, First Story star and Head Girl, Esme Partridge, was honoured to speak at 10 Downing Street at a reception of creative writing ambassadors, including Mrs Frances Osborne. Esme has experienced much success with her creative writing during her time at Oxford Spires, including winning the Foyle Young Poet of the Year competition, and wishes to continue writing as she studies at university next year. First Story asked Esme to attend the reception at Downing Street, along with Mrs Croft and Miss Whittington, in order to speak about her experiences on the creative writing programme. Her speech was warm and Esme said of the event, “The experience was breath-taking. I was honoured to be asked to speak, and it was brilliant to be provided a chance to explain the importance of First Story. Spending time in such a national monument felt wonderfully surreal. It’s a memory I will treasure forever, as I’m sure it won’t happen again.”



BBC School Report

March 20th, 2015

Oxford Spires Academy 2016 BBC School Report:

Oxford Spires Academy 2015 BBC School Report: