— OxfordSpiresAcademy (@OxfordSpiresAc) January 12, 2021
Last year as a school we participated in the YASS – the Young Artists Summer Show, at the Royal Academy of Art. 2 successful OSA students had their work exhibited in the RA exhibition!
The Young Artists’ Summer Show is an opportunity for young artists aged 5 – 19 years to exhibit their work online and on-site at the Royal Academy. Prizes are awarded each year for two inspiring artworks from each key stage, as chosen by the President of the Royal Academy, and you can also vote for your favourite artwork in our annual People’s Choice Award. Take a look at the 2020 prize winning artworks A panel of passionate and award-winning artists and arts professionals work together each year to select artworks to exhibit online and on-site at the Royal Academy. Read about the judges of the 2020 exhibitions.
Full details on how to enter have been emailed to OSA students.
Keep up to date with the latest on YASS, on social media using #RAYoungArtists
For more information, please see the gallery FAQs here: https://youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk/faqs
Please send all submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to receiving your entries.
There will be a FOSA meeting on Zoom this evening at 7.00 pm (Wednesday 13th January). If you’d like to join the meeting, please email FOSA for the link. All welcome!
A little festive cheer from our music students. Enjoy!
Jingle Bell Rock
The music students really got involved with recording music and video remotely. Well done to all involved.
https://t.co/obHraQkfDA Oxford Spires #InspiringStudents, creating amazing poetry with @KateClanchy1, then working with @CRPonchione, @theothertoby and @osjevents to create and perform amazing music. The resulting Displaced Voices project was award winning!
— OxfordSpiresAcademy (@OxfordSpiresAc) November 22, 2020
The new booking system for online parent evening appointments is now open.
Please visit SchoolCloud to book your appointments. Appointments will go very fast.
Year 7 & 8 Thursday 3rd December 4.00-7.30pm
Years 9 & 10 Tuesday 8th December 4.00-7.30pm
Years 11, 12 and 13 Wednesday 16th December 4.00-7.30pm
If you need any further assistance with booking Parent Evening appointments please contact Ms Poyser
Please see that attached document for the latest guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings at Oxford Spires Academy.
Face Coverings At Oxford Spires Academy
The Year 7 Spires Baccalaureate Newsletter is ready to download here:
Year 7 Baccalaureate Newsletter
It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces returning to school this week. We hope that students enjoyed being back at school and feel at ease with the safety procedures we have implemented. Can I please take this opportunity to remind parents of the school timings commencing 7th September 2020.
|Year group||Monday- Thursday||Friday Timings|
|12 & 13||As per students individual timetables|
Could we please ask for your support to put in place a one way system to pick up and drop of your child. Please come up Glanville Road and drop of your child and turn left across Barracks Lane and down Cumberland Road.
There is very limited parking outside of the school. The road to the right of the school entrance leading to Marsh Park has cycle lanes on both sides of the road and have parking permit allowances for our local residents, please be respectful of this and do not park or stop in this area.
Can we again encourage children wherever possible to walk or cycle to school. Not only is this good for their wellbeing but also helps them to be active and stay healthy.
The catering team are working hard to ensure a wide variety of healthy meal choices are available to students. Updated menus will be available on the school website early next week
GCSE Year 11 Press Release
We are immensely proud of our Year 11 cohort who have worked extremely hard and in these uncertain times have shown tremendous resilience and patience. These results mean that our students are well prepared for the future and we are very much looking forward to celebrating many of our students progressing into our sixth form next year.
Our high achieving students have performed exceptionally well again this year. There are many individual successes of note and these include:
Alex Dunn who has achieved top grade 9s across 11 GCSEs and this is in addition to the grade 9 which he had previously achieved in maths at the end of year 10. Brothers, Dory Reynolds and Gaby Reynolds both have 9 GCSEs at grade 9 in addition to their grade 9 which they both achieved in maths last year.
Evie Manton has attained 12 GCSEs overall and her impressive results include eight grade 9s and four grade 8s and Esther Abe has accomplished an exceptional set of results achieving 11 GCSEs at grade 7-9 with four GCSEs at a grade 9.
Dufuwaa Smith has achieved outstanding results with her 10 GCSEs at grade 7-9, including two fabulous grade 9s in Spanish and Chemistry. Noor Khan has attained fantastic outcomes with all 11 GCSEs at grade 7-9. She has achieved a grade 9 for Design Technology, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Daisy Stilborn has been four remarkable grade 9s in Geography, History, Physics and RE and all 11 of her GCSEs at grade 7-9.
Many of our incredible students have shown tremendous drive and determination and have made strong progress again this year. We would like to recognise and congratulate Maria Miguel who has made nearly four grades of progress across her subjects and achieved the strongest progress overall this year. Miray Bilgin, Ronan Bennett, Dahnish Ali, Alisha Dogar and Nosheen Mullick have all achieved at least three grades of progress across their subjects and this is really extraordinary.
As always, we have a huge amount to celebrate. Congratulations go to the students and a huge thank you to teachers for their hard work, and importantly, of course, to parents too. We are delighted that so many students have thrived during their time at the academy, students have shone for many reasons inside and beyond the classroom and we look forward to sharing their future successes as students move into their next phase of their journey.
Commenting on this success, Principal Marianne Blake said:
“I am really delighted with the successes achieved by our students this year. Despite the turbulent and challenging national picture our students have risen to the challenge. They have achieved the grades they deserved and this will enable them to progress successfully on to their chosen A Level courses, training or employment routes. Across the board, it is fantastic to see students achieving their personal best, whatever their chosen pathway.”
Chair of Governors Chris Scrivener said on behalf of the LGB:
“These results mean that students can genuinely celebrate their achievements secure in the knowledge that their results are based on their individual effort and hard work as evidenced through school assessed and work and internal exams, which have been carefully scrutinised by teachers and moderated by senior leaders. Our congratulations to all students, staff and families/carers for these results at the end of a turbulent and unimaginable year.”
Sixth Form Press Release
A-LEVEL RESULTS AT OXFORD SPIRES ACADEMY
Thursday 13th August 2020
Despite a year of challenges and uncertainties for Sixth Form students nationally, Oxford Spires Academy has seen further improvements in its A level results this summer and we are delighted to report that almost all of this year’s Year 13 students have secured their first choice of university place. Some of our students have also secured high value apprenticeships and traineeships. The grades received may improve even further following the appeals process, widely covered in the national press.
Our top-performing students have done particularly well, even in these adverse circumstances. Head boy Patryk Tomczynski has been awarded A grades in Physics and Further Maths and a B in Maths; Matty Clark has been awarded an A* in Physics, A grades in Maths and Chemistry and a A in Computing AS level; and Houzeefa Zaffar has been awarded grade A in Economics, with Bs in Maths and Physics.
We would also like to congratulate Briah Bilverstone (A in Sociology, Cs in Philosophy and Ethics, and Politics); Miranda Lipscombe (A in Media, B in History, C in Philosophy and Ethics, and A in her Extended Project); Nadia Shah (B in Geography; B in Spanish as well as BTEC Sport); Sanaa Ahmed (B in Economics alongside Distinction and Merit in Double Business BTEC); and Libby Harris (C in Psychology, as well as double Distinction in Business BTEC and B in her Extended Project).
Commenting on this year’s results, Principal Marianne Blake said:
‘I am really proud of the accomplishments of all our students this year. We have a rising academic profile and remain committed to providing an inclusive Sixth Form for our local community. Over two thirds of our students will progress into university this year and many have been successful in securing their first choice.
I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank our staff for working hard to support and encourage our students particularly given the extreme challenges of this year. The government suggested this week that mock grades might be used as a basis for challenge. Our most recent mock grades indicate that 40% of results could be higher than those allocated to students. I would like to support students in making appeals so that their hard work and the progress we have made is fully realised.’
Chris Scrivener, Chair of Governors, states:
‘On behalf of the Local Governing Body, can I congratulate all students on their achievements as they transition from school to higher education or employment. It is pleasing to know that most of our Sixth Form students have secured their first choice university places and it was good to see so many happy faces today.
This is a testament to the hard work of our teaching staff and colleagues within Oxford Spires in these exceptional and challenging times’
3 July and 10 July 2020
All applicants for Year 12 next year have an email giving them information how to book on to taster sessions. Any questions, please email Dr Watson on email@example.com
We are looking forward to welcoming back Year 10 and 12. The staff at OSA have been busy preparing the site to minimise risk. We have created a video for you to see some of the measures that we have put in place, including social distancing queues and an example of a classroom. Looking forward to seeing you very soon.
Latest parent update available now
Dear Parents & Students,
I hope that you are all well and that you have enjoyed the hot and sunny half term. As I am sure many of you are aware the government has released the guidance for secondary schools this week.
They have confirmed, that we will be able to offer some face to face sessions for our Year 10 and Year 12 students from Monday 15 June. As I am sure you will understand this will be a small amount initially however, we will try to ensure that all Year 10 and 12 have the opportunity for some face to face time with each of their subjects before the start of summer.
I will be releasing more information in my update on Tuesday 02 June, but I wanted to make sure that you were clear that the school will not be opening to additional students next week. I hope that you enjoy your weekend and I very much look forward to seeing you all soon.
Best of wishes
A message from Thames Valley Police – PC Bury Click here
Thank-you all for being patient with us as we continue to apply for your child’s entitlement to free school meal Vouchers. I am pleased to let you all know that as an Academy we are set up on the Government system and are now awaiting for the vouchers to be processed. This has taken longer than we had expected, and we are checking several times on a daily occurrence to ensure that your vouchers reach you as quickly as possible.
We have sent lots of information recently. You can find copies of recent letters and updates on our website under the Parent Tab – Parental Communication. – Recent Letters
Can parents/carers that receive free school meals please check your ParentMail account. Please click on the FORM tab to see our latest information. Please can we have your replies by 10th April 2020.
Sandra Poyser – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be aware that staff may be making contact with you and your children over the next few weeks. The calls may come through as ‘No caller ID’ – we ask that you answer these calls to allow us to communicate with you.
Shelley Baker – Designated Safeguarding Lead
We have been informed that a number of parents across the country have received an email regarding Free School Meals.
The scam email is asking for parents to supply bank details if their child is you entitled to Free School Meals in order for parents to be supported.
We can confirm this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.
The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
If your child is unwell or showing any symptoms PLEASE do not send them into school as we do not want to risk the health and wellbeing of the teacher or students of any other Key Workers in the school.
Your child does not have to attend school every day but they will need to attend for full days 8.45-2.00pm.They will need to register in each lesson. Students will need to enter via main reception area in the morning. Can we please encourage students to try to arrive on time?
School will open 8.45-2.00pm Students in school from Year 7-10 will study a national curriculum timetable. Students do not need to wear school uniform and they will be provided with a timetable when they arrive on Monday or the first day they come into school.
Year 11 and 6th Form students of Key Workers are able to self-study in the 6th Form common room.
There will be a limited choice and service available from the catering team. The conference centre dining area will be closed but all food will be served through the Willow Café. We will pay for and provide lunch for students who are in receipt of free school meals as well as students from our key worker families.
Thank you for completing the Key Worker Parental Survey. A number of you have already confirmed that as Key Workers you do NOT need extra support from the school. For the academy to offer a skeleton timetable and remain open we need to have accurate numbers of students that still need to come to school. This will enable us to keep accurate registers to safeguard our students.
The school will open at 8.45am – 2.00pm from Monday 23rd March until further notice. There will be a limited choice and service of our school catering facilities.
As a Key Worker if you wish for your child to still attend school on reduced timetable and hours please email email@example.com Please state your child’s name and tutor group.
We hope you are all well and keeping safe. In light of the government advice this evening. I can confirm that we will be closing at the end of the school day on Friday 20th March for all year groups.
So far, we have received 438 responses from our survey. 179 of you have identified that you are a key worker. If you are yet to respond to this, please do so by the end of tomorrow afternoon. This will be extremely helpful in us helping to support our vulnerable and key worker families.
To support our students while we are closed teachers have set work and made available resources for students to continue studying. I would like to remind you of the remote learning plans and support we have shared with you just recently, please visit our school website.
At this point there are suggestions in regards to many aspects including the summer exams provision as soon as I have any further information I will update you with all of the additional detail. I am sorry for the uncertainty that this presents to you and our young people at this time. It is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone and I appreciate your continuing support.
Please see the latest information for Year 8 Students and Parents regarding Year 8 Choices.Letter Home - Choices Year 8
I am writing to let you know that we have organised remote learning packs from all subject areas for our students. During this time of uncertainty we wanted to ensure that all students have access to relevant learning.
Plans and guidance for all subjects and year groups can be found on our website under the ‘Student’ tab or by following this link and choosing the relevant year group. https://www.oxfordspiresacademy.org/student/remote-learning/
Students can access ‘remote learning folders’ through the Student Portal. Access to the portal is https://oxfordspiresacademy.sharepoint.com/sites/OSAStudentPortal
Students can also access work that teachers set through Show My Homework.
BBC Bitesize provides free and well-structured learning resources for both KS3 and KS4 students: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
For those students in GCSE wanting further revision GCSE Pod is also free for them to log in and use.
Students in our Sixth Form will receive work set by their teachers by email and through Show My Homework as and when needed.
For our most vulnerable families who may need to contact us during long periods of self-isolation, we are always contactable, please follow this link for additional support. https://www.oxfordspiresacademy.org/contact/staff-emails
How to guides: https://www.oxfordspiresacademy.org/student/remote-learning/
• How to access the student portal:
• How to log onto show my homework:
• Quick Start Guide GCSE POD:
Very Best wishes,
Sara Fletcher – Vice Principal
We hope you are all well and keeping safe. Currently there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our staff or student body. As a school, we are following the daily Government Guidance regarding COVID-19 and acting both proportionally and rationally with our response.
We are currently experiencing staff shortages, due to the need to protect our most vulnerable students and staff via self-isolation. We have therefore made the decision for a partial closure of the school until we advise otherwise.
The school will be closed for Years 9, 10 and 12 from Wednesday 18th March onwards.
Students will be expected to stay at home and complete work set by class teachers. A separate letter will be sent home regarding access and setting of work to enable our students to learn remotely from home.
All students who are at home who have been advised to self-isolate will be given a Y attendance code to indicate non-attendance due to unavoidable circumstances. During the closure students in Year 9,10 & 12 will be marked with an authorised code.
As this is an increasing picture please keep an eye on the website for potential closures to further year groups in KS3 from 19 March 2020. We are trying to maintain lessons for our Year 11 and Year 13 students for as long as possible. Can I please ask our Sixth Form students to read the email from Dr Watson with further details?
Seven lucky Year 10 students had the chance to work along side our very own site team during work experience week.
All seven took part in COSHH , Health & Safety and Risk Assessment training before seeing the working side of site team most people never see, from gardening work to unblocking drains, changing lock barrels to setting up assemblies, but more importantly understanding the need to work as a team and look out for another.
On Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, twelve of our Year 9 students had the unique opportunity to watch a drama performance entirely delivered in German. ‘Das Schlimmste Hotel’ (the worst hotel) was performed by the Onatti theatre group at Magdalen College School, whose work is specifically designed for learners of German at Key Stage 3 and 4. Our students were thrilled by the experience and astonished about how much of the play they were already able to understand. The experience has given them a great boost of confidence in their language skills and underlined how well they already comprehend the German language after 2 years of studying. They commented: “I really enjoyed watching the play. It was good for my listening and comprehension skills and I understood more than I thought I would” (Wiktoria).“It was very easy to understand and very enjoyable. The play was very visual and it helped me to understand the story. I was surprised about the amount of German I already knew. Overall, the play was fantastic and very educational” (Martin).
The most recent A Level Geography field trip took place in the second week in February. We stayed in the magnificent Grade 1 listed Nettlecombe Court in Somerset, which is a field study centre operated by the FSC. It is an historic building held before the Norman Conquest by the son of King Harold. William the Conqueror assumed possession of Nettlecombe after defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. It is surrounded by 223 acres of parkland on the edge of the Exmoor National Park. Nettlecombe makes a great location for telling ghost stories!
Study sites included Minehead town and Porlock Bay; both located on the South-West Coast Path. Minehead is well known for its Butlins holiday camp which opened in the 1960s. Our students investigated the impact of coastal defences to find out whether Butlins and the sea front at Minehead will be adequately protected from the risk of coastal flooding in the future. The Porlock Bay day had the best weather with bright sunshine where we measured beach profiles and looked at the effects of a ‘Do Nothing’ approach; which is the governments’ shoreline management plan for the next 90 years.
Year 12 students will use their fieldwork to prepare for their AS Level exams and A level students built on their experience last year in order to complete coursework ready for submission just after Easter.
Student comments: “I didn’t realise that we would hear erosion taking place with the sound of the pebbles rolling in the waves on the beach – that’s pretty cool and a bit like relaxation music.”. “Staying at Nettlecombe Court was great, they have all the equipment we needed and new things to try like data loggers and apps. It’s also helped my understanding of fieldwork and changed how I look at Oxford. I’m constantly asking questions about why and how.”. “I didn’t think I’d like the food but it was actually really good and although the building we stayed in is old, all the bedrooms and classrooms are modern, warm and we had our own bathrooms too.”
Trip leader Ms Wilkinson, Senior Leader for KS3 and Head of Geography, said, “We all had a wonderful time immersed in all things geographical for three days. The students worked really hard and some stayed in the classroom until after 10pm to complete the investigations they had started; however, they did all enjoy some free time too. The coastline we studied has incredible features and controversial flood risk management. It’s a great place for an A Level field trip.”
A written exchange programme has been set up with a Spanish city called Albacete. The idea is that students will be able to communicate with people of their own age in the foreign language, and ask and learn about their culture first-hand.
The boys were put into 2 groups and the task was to run the whole 2 rugby pitches TOGETHER. Some students struggled but they joined forces to motivate everyone to get to the finish line – TOGETHER. Students started making plans, positioning and pacing. Callum’s (8S1) team went first with the time 3:18 and Eshan’s (8S1) finished 3:10. Samuel (8T1) approached me saying that he lost his inhaler, but he wasn’t exactly sure whereabouts he dropped it. The whole group went out to find it, without me having to ask them. Robert (8T1) found it and gave it back to Samuel. We don’t only teach students the value of teamwork and overcoming pain to win, but also the values of humanity.
12 students from Year 9 took part in a Greek translation workshop run by Queens College Oxford University. They learnt about the Greek alphabet and how many English words have roots in the Greek language. Following this the students went to see the Oxford Playhouse production ‘Shadows of Troy’.
As always the students were a great credit to Oxford Spires Academy.
The following events will take place next week as it is National Careers Week and we’re joining in here at Spires!
Year 10 will have Work Experience all week.
Some Year 12 students will go to Cambridge to find out about admissions.
All Year 12 will have an afternoon learning about Apprenticeships.
Some Year 11 students will visit BMW to discuss applications for apprenticeships.
Speakers on IT/Technology careers, on Creative Media and on International Business are available for students from any year. For these, students need to look at the link they have via school email.
Dr Watson will give a talk for any interested parents and students in Year 7-10 on Thursday 5 March (see parentmail invitation already issued).
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers workshops have been offered to selected parents and students in Year 7 and 8 from under-represented backgrounds (see parentmail invitation already issued).
Year 11 students will continue with their individual interviews with the careers advisors.
Careers events happen for different students in most weeks – and careers week is not the only chance students have to find out about the workplace, about different routes into careers and about university and apprenticeship admissions. If you have any suggestions for additions to the annual careers programme, or any questions, please contact Dr Watson on firstname.lastname@example.org
The booking system for Parents’ Evening/Morning (13th and 14th February Years 7,8,9 and 12) will go live Friday 31st January. Please book your appointments via the ParentMail app or desktop site.
For assistance with ParentMail please contact Sandra Poyser on email@example.com
Our latest newsletter is now available to download.
Newsletter January 2020
Y12 biologists visited The Oxford Museum of Natural History to take part in Cells Day – a series of lectures from scientists from the University on the subject of cells.
We were able to get access to the Museum before the other schools and studied the “First Animals” exhibition, covering the first evolution of multi-cellular life around 600 million years ago. This led into the talk by Peter Holland (head of the Zoology Dept) on “Why did cells stick together”. Before that was a talk introducing cells, in particular the cytoskeleton which moves structures around cells on “rail tracks”. There were also two talks on plant cells, one which challenged the pupils’ perception of plant cell structure.
In the afternoon the talks were on using bacterial cells to solve the problem of the over-use of plant fertilisers, and two on diseases. The last one, by Robert MacLaren, was about using viruses (injected by a robot) to add DNA to heal defective eye cells – the students found this particularly fascinating.
Every so often I’ll forward to you the Amazing Apprenticeships parents’ pack so you can see what kind of opportunities may be available for your child in this career pathway. OSA have sessions on Apprenticeship applications for students in Year 10-13, and we encourage students to think about different routes that might lead them to the career destination they are interested in.
Please download the pack here: Parents Pack
If you have any questions on any aspect of OSA’s careers work, please don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr J Watson
Vice-Principal (Sixth Form, Careers and Enrichment)
The OSA Medical Society has worked hard this term, sorting out work experience placements, booking a First Aid training day and meeting with Dr Jacobs, their mentor, to plan their reading and research. Many students who are interested in a medical career in Year 12, 11 and 10 have also booked on to a January conference at Oxford Brookes. They have also produced the second issue of their magazine, The Scientific – available here.
The Scientific - 11
If any further students are interested in registering for the Medical Conference at Oxford Brookes on 18 and 19 January, please email email@example.com.
Following the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition, entered by Year 9 and 10 students at OSA, the next step is the MACE, the national debating competition, largely entered by Sixth Form students. We hosted the first round at OSA last year.
This year our team – Linnet Drury, Felix Henson and Huma Khan – travelled to Abingdon School and joined in an evening of lively debate. Opposing the motion ‘This House believes that people in the UK should be limited to one flight each a year’, the team argued ably against the team from the host school. Though Linnet and Felix reached the national final of the ESU Public Speaking in Year 10, and Linnet was invited to join the UK team, they are building up their debate skills still and on this occasion didn’t get through to the area finals.
We look forward to further Sixth Form debating in the Oxford Schools Competition in January.
Dr Watson, Miss Morris and Mr Hart took a group of students from Year 7 and 8 to compete in the New College Debating Competition against Cheney and New College School. This is the second year the competition has been held and we went into it with the added pressure of having won last year. One of last year’s competitors – Olivia Ward Jacobs – led the training for the Year 7 students with great skill and commitment.
They had to prepare on debate in advance on the topic of “This House believes the cost of space exploration far outweighs its benefits”. After dinner in New College Hall there was a second debate on the topic “This House believes that young people have never had it so easy”. This time students had less than half hour to prepare their speeches. All our students gave excellent performances.
Erik Moseley was awarded the prize for best speaker in the Oxford Spires team and Olivia was awarded both the prize for the best Oxford Spires summariser and the best overall summariser. In addition we were very excited to win the overall trophy meaning we maintained our 100% record in this competition.
On 26th November Miss Morris and Mr Sheppard took two teams of year 7 and 8 students to compete in the Oxfordshire Heat of the Kids’ Lit Quiz. This is an international quiz on children’s literature that is held all around the world with the Internation Final taking place in New Zealand this year. Our two teams had to answer 10 rounds of questions on over 100 years worth of children’s books, requiring knowledge of plots, authors, characters and illustrations. The questions were incredibly challenging and some were University Challenge and Mastermind level. After each round there was a prize for the highest scoring team on that round. If there was a tie then it went to a sudden death tie breaker.
Our B team won the prize after the round on Dreams and our A team won a tie breaker to get the prize for the Legends round. There were also prizes for the audience member that was the fastest to answer a question after each round and Miss Morris and Mr Sheppard were both very pleased to win one of these each.
In the end our B team came 7th out of 22 and our A team came 5th, beating a lot of teams from prestigious private schools. The A team was just 1.5 marks behind 3rd place and worked out that had they played their joker and doubled their score on a different round then they would have come 2nd.
Both teams had a great time and were a real credit to the school – and this competition will now become an annual event!
End of term for the students is 18 December 2019. As usual we will celebrate this occasion with our End of Term Awards Assemblies. Year 7 students will also have the opportunity to watch the Annual OSA Panto.
Students will finish school at the following times:
Year 11, 12 and 13 – will be dismissed at 12.10
Year 7-10 will be dismissed at 14.10
Now in it’s fourth year, our German Student Exchange has had yet another successful trip to Aschaffenburg and Berlin with financial support from the British Council, which we are very grateful for. The students immersed themselves in German culture and really stepped outside their comfort zone by staying with families they had never met before. We are very proud of our students’ willingness to try out new things and experience first hand how speaking another language can open doors to new possibilities you would never experience without giving it a go. Many thanks also to all the staff who supported this trip especially Mr Fanchi and Miss Stober without whom this would not have been possible. We are excited and looking forward to hosting our German friends in July.
On Friday 22nd November, the English department took over 30 Year 7s to the Oxford Playhouse to hear from worldwide best-selling author Jeff Kinney. Some parents may be familiar with his series of books ‘the Diary of the Wimpy Kid’. The children absolutely loved seeing one of their favourite books brought to life with a range of engaging activities and lots of audience participation. The audience, which was filled with local secondary and primary schools in Oxford, were tasked with the challenge of asking Jeff a question he had never heard before during the Q and A. One of our students creatively asked “How many crocodiles have you seen in your life?”. This garnered a laugh from Jeff (who had indeed never been asked that before)and the rest of the OSA students showing their full appreciation of this through cheering an applause!
Thursday 7th November 2019 saw House Drama students ‘Dicing with the Decades as they created performances about key points in our history.
Our Student Captains worked tirelessly to research historical events and create a script which was interesting and presented some of the issues that we have faced or could face in the future.
The houses worked every week to develop their performances and built relationships across the year groups in the process. Each house took a different idea from the topic of dicing with the decades and found inspiration in their research.
Seacole explored the idea of a meteor crashing into the earth and ending the world
Earhart looked at the great depression and the impact it had on the theatrical world
Bannister showed the effect of communist’s vs the rich upper-class and their battle for equality
Tolkien delved into the stonewall riots and the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community
With each house making their plot decisions based on their interests and strengths it made for a difficult decision for the judges on which house they thought deserved the win. As always the House Drama competition showcased the talent of our students here at OSA as well as the developing leadership skills, creativity and perseverance of our captains. The winners on the night were:
All the houses should be proud of the hard work, determination and perseverance that they put into their performances and this year Tolkien walked away the overall winners which was well-deserved.
It’s not easy to be accepted on to a university medical degree, but some of our Sixth Form students are working really hard to make sure their applications next year are successful. They’ve set up a Medical Society and are meeting weekly, booking speaker meetings and working with one of our generous parent-mentors (who works in a local hospital) to arrange work experience and prepare for entrance tests.
One of the first things they’ve set up is a MedSoc newspaper, to showcase their research into medical issues. The latest issue is available here – The Scientific - 8
Year 11 students are welcome to join MedSoc and should let Dr Watson know if they are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org
They, and any interested Year 10 students, are also invited to apply for a medical conference being held at Oxford Brookes university in January. Dr Watson has emailed details to them.
On Thursday 24th October a group of Year 12 A Level Theatre and LAMDA students had a fun filled theatre day in wet and rainy London! We met at 8.45am at Oxford Station, to catch the 9.01am to Paddington – where we then travelled by tube to Temple and the National Theatre Archive. Everything was going brilliantly until we got delayed on the journey in and discovered the National Theatre Archive – isn’t actually at the National Theatre ‘Ooooops’.
After an hour delay on the train and some dodgey navigation we arrived at the Theatre Archive – where we had the opportunity to watch an amazing recording of Christopher Eccleston and Jodie Whittaker (2 Doctor Who’s) performing Antigone. We also got to look at original scripts, costumes and stage designs – with notes from the director!
We then hopped back on the tube and went to Stratford (sadly no time for shopping at Westfields) to see the matinee of ‘Our Lady Of Kibeho’. It was absolutely amazing – it told the true story of a teenage girl who was studying at a RC School in Rwanda who communicates with the Virgin Mary. She has beautiful visions, always accompanied by the smell of jasmine – inexplicably two more girls start to have visions of the Virgin Mary. An envoy from the Vatican comes – to disprove their story but by the end of his meetings and tests he is convinced they are telling the truth. The girls go on National Television as a celebration of an official miracle and share with Rwanda not the beautiful vision of ‘the garden of God’ but of a country bathed in blood, death and destruction! A vision of the atrocities to come, thirteen years later in 1994 over one million Tutsi’s were brutally tortured and murdered during the countries genocide.
It was then back on the Tube to Covent Garden for Street Theatre and food and then to the Peacock Theatre in Holborn, for the second show of the day! ‘Some Like it Hip Hop’ was a complete shift in mood and emotion but equally as fantastic as the first show. Set in a world where woman are valueless, allowed only to do the most menial of tasks. Where men have all the power and privilege – in a world where books are banned and reading is outlawed. Two women set out to prove that the female of the species is just as able as the male. Disguised in suits and fake facial hair they infiltrate the world of the all-male office! The whole story is told through, narration, song, music, hip hop and street dance. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ the comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross dressing and revelation was a great way to end a FANTASTIC day!
For National Poetry Day, the wonderful Timi Amusan (in Year 13 last year and now studying at Portsmouth University) is Oxford City Poet. He was interviewed last term on Radio Oxford, but they have also made a film of his National Poetry Day poem for the city – . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ou9wXomWsg
First we heard that two of our students had beaten 16,000 entrants from across the world and were announced as finalists in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year. Congratulations to Annie Davison (Year 12) and Helen Woods (who left last summer and is now reading English at Wadham College, Oxford). Their poems are on the Foyle website at
https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/foyle-young-poets-of-the-year-award/ and they were interviewed by Lily Mitchell at Radio Oxford earlier this month
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07ndt0s Listen from about 1:36:00
On Tuesday 8th October a small select group of GCSE Drama students went to The North Wall Theatre to see the award winning ‘Square Go’, it was hilarious, poignant and very, very colourful!
We meet Max and his mate Stevie, two thirteen year old boys hiding in the school ‘bogs’ just before the bell for the end of the day – when Max has got to step up for his ‘Square Go’ (a fight, scrap, ruck) at the school gates with the never actually seen, Danny Guthrie!! However, before he can wrestle the school bully, he must first wrestle his own demons. With the help of his weird wee pal Stevie he goes on a journey of self-discovery before learning there are some fears you just have to face and growing up is one of them!
Look out for up and coming trips and events; House Drama – 7th November. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (West End Theatre Trip – KS4) 4th December. Plus a KS3 Theatre Trip TBC
OSA held one of its most successful primary events on Wednesday 2 October when 15 teams of Year 5 and 6 pupils from 9 local primary schools came to compete in the annual team competition.
Although it was after school, all the students showed great energy and commitment to solving their maths problems! Many thanks to all the OSA students who helped Miss Morris and Mr Sheppard run such a successful evening.
Winners this year came from St Andrew’s Primary, followed by a team from Tyndale. Congratulations to them, and to all who took part!
Classical Civilisation is a new A level for OSA this year and 14 students are in the first group. They have to study literature texts from Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as places and artefacts important in classical culture.
On 1 October, they took part in a study day run by the Ashmolean and the Classics Faculty, and attended lectures and workshops on a range of topics from Greek theatre audiences, to coins, to pottery. They also had the chance to see the current exhibition at the Ashmolean – Last Supper in Pompeii.
On Thursday 3rd of October a group of 48 Drama and Music students travelled to the sparking emerald city of Oz, via London’s Victoria Apollo Theatre.
The story begins with Galinda the good witch telling the citizens of Oz that Dorothy, with her faithful dog Toto, has killed the wicked witch of the West – to great celebrations and joy!
The story then leaps back in time and we discover the real story of the Wizard, Tin Man, Straw Man and Cowardly Lion – it tells the tale of two unlikely friends, Elphaba and Galinda, who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, multiple frilly dresses and reactions to the Wizard of Oz’s corrupt government, and ultimately Elphaba’s public fall from grace and tragic demise!
It was a FANTASTIC evening with a gorgeous group of students whose behaviour and conduct were a credit to themselves and the school!
Look out for up and coming trips and events; House Drama – 7th November. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (West End Theatre Trip – KS4) 4th December. Plus a KS3 Theatre Trip TBC
As the end of GCSE work looms in the distance for Year 11 students, they are beginning to consider their future paths. Later in the term, on Thursday 17 October, they will have an options afternoon, looking at OSA Sixth Form courses and applications, at applying to the City of Oxford College and at finding out about apprenticeships. Almost 40 students have also registered their interest in taking part in New College’s Step Up group, and workshops for that begin in October too.
All students in Year 11 are also seeing our careers advisor, Mr Bingham, individually before Christmas. Students are advised to keep an eye on their school email for appointment times. Parents will be able to see the Action Plan Mr Bingham prepares for them as soon as their interview is completed.
Any questions about progression after GCSEs, please talk to your son/daughter’s Head of House, or contact Dr Watson, who is in charge of the Sixth Form at OSA and also oversees careers work.
Sixth Form students taking Extended Project Qualifications this year had a research skills session on 12 September at Merton College Library. The college, part of the university’s library network, gave our students access to academic resources and students planned their reading for the term ahead on the independent projects they are planning. These are, for most students, 5000 word essays on a topic of their own choice, usually connected with the subject they plan to study at university.
The Merton librarians were most helpful, and thanks to them for their time. Following this session students took part in a research day at the Bodleian on 24 September.
Local group, INTO University, works with many of our students at primary school and as they progress into secondary school. Mentors run workshops for all year groups in the school, and they have begun in September by meeting our Year 12 students. The beginning of the Sixth Form is a really important time for students to develop independent learning skills, so this was the subject of their first workshop.
As the year goes along, mentors will work with other year groups on topics important to them.
House Drama – Thursday 7th November!
Rehearsals are already underway for this year’s House Drama Competition. Whilst there is a strong competitive current to the event and Banister, Earhart, Seacole and Tolkien are desperate for their house to be victorious it is also about, sharing, supporting, resilience and determination with a big blob of creativity and imagination! If you are new to Oxford Spires and want to know what House Drama is all about come along on the evening of Thursday 7th November and support your child or their House! Tickets will go on sale the week beginning 14th October – it’s a great night out!
The most recent GCSE Geography field trip took place on Wednesday 11th September. Study sites included Ballard Down towards Old Harry and the beach in Swanage Bay; all located at the easternmost edge of the Jurassic Coast. Students were collecting field data in preparation for their Paper 3 exam ‘Applied Fieldwork Enquiry’. The investigation questions were ‘To what extent is the coastal management sustainable?’ and ‘How far is tourism economically and environmentally sustainable?’
One student said, “There was a bit of walking but the activities were fun and the coastline and beach were amazing. I didn’t know we had coastal features like this in the UK.”
Trip leader Ms Wilkinson, Senior Leader for KS3 and Head of Geography, said, “We’re pleased to take our students to a natural World Heritage Site. The students worked hard in less than ideal conditions and enjoyed some free time too. The coastline we studied has incredible features and contrasting coastal management styles. It really is a great place for a GCSE field trip.”
Drama kicked off the Year with a trip to the North Wall Theatre to see ‘The Border’ a funny, sweet and humorous production that had a clear political message relating to Refugees and Migrants, Closed Borders and Brexit. As always the students were an absolute delight and despite it being an 80 minute, one act show – remained focused and engaged throughout. Hopefully they gained lots of creative ideas to help shape their Component 1 and Compionent 2 performance work!
On Friday 13th of September Year 7 raised the roof as they sang their socks off during the OSCA (Oxford Spires Creative Arts) BIG SING! The theatre was filled with the amazing talent of Year 7, celebrating the instrument we all have – The Voice. The House event set Seacole, Earhart, Bannister and Tolkien against each other for fame, fortune and House Points!! Whilst Year 7 started a little bit uncertainly, with a slightly wobbly warm up, Mr Devey and Mr Spacksman soon had the students on their feet, clapping and smiling as they sang the ‘Cup Song’ from Pitch Perfect. We then moved onto a magnificent rendition of ‘Shot Gun’ by George Ezra –
Whilst all the Houses did brilliantly and everyone involved felt truly uplifted, there has to be a winner and a runner up and on this occasion Seacole were triumphant with Tolkien coming a very close second!
Please find attached a copy of the letter and guidance for the Climate Change strike on Friday 20th September 2019.
Climate Change Strike Sept 2019
Please see the following letter regarding our upcoming Internet Safety day – Monday 16th September 2019Internet Safety Day Sept 2019
Oxford Spires is delighted to congratulate its students on achieving a fantastic set of results this year.
Oxford Spires’ most able students have achieved outstanding outcomes with a high number of students achieving grade 8/9s. Only the top 3% of students in England achieved a grade 9. At Oxford Spires 15% of our students have achieved Grade 9s this year. The numbers of students achieving grade 9s in English, Maths, Science, Geography and Art & Design is above the national average. We would like to recognise the following students.
English/English Literature 77% of students achieved passes at grade 4-9, and 61% achieving a grade 5 or higher and a quarter of students grade 7 or higher. 7 students achieved the very highest grade 9. A special mention goes to Eleanor who achieved a grade 9 in her English Language and an 8 in her Literature and Mia who has achieved grade 9 in English Literature and an 8 in English Language.
Maths has also performed well and 67% of students have gained passes at grade 4-9, with 45% gaining a grade 5 or higher. The numbers of students achieving the top grades in maths has increased this year with 6 students achieving the highest grade 9.
Overall 72% of the cohort have achieved a grade 4-9 for two EBACC sciences at GCSE. Achievement in the sciences is exceptional with 40% of the Biology cohort achieving grade 8 or higher and 6 students achieving grade 9. In Chemistry 35% of the cohort achieved grade 8 or higher with 7 students achieving the highest possible grade 9. In Physics a third of students achieved a grade 8 and 7 students achieved a grade 9. Special mentions in science go to Earl who has achieved a grade 8 in Chemistry and Physics and a grade 9 in Biology and Oscar who has achieved a grade 8 in all 3 sciences.
We are proud to see the Arts flourishing as well as our EBACC subjects, a quarter of students have achieved a grade 8 or 9 in Art and Design, 84% have achieved a grade 4-9. A special mention to Izzy, Linnet, Rosie and Sofia for achieving their grade 9.
Commenting on this success, Principal Marianne Blake said:
“I would like to join our parents in congratulating our students for the results they have achieved through hard work and determination. I would also like to thank all our teachers for their expertise and for giving their time so willingly to support students. We wish all our students well in the next stage in their academic career and are looking forward to welcoming students back to the Sixth Form at the start of term.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Local Governors, said:
“This is an extremely pleasing set of results, once again showing what a high level of dedication we see in our students and staff. It is particularly encouraging to see so many grade 9s but also such high percentages achieving good passes in the core subjects of maths and English, as well as in sciences, languages, humanities and arts. I am grateful to all who have achieved so well under the headship of Miss Blake and wish them well as they move forward in their education well prepared to flourish through sixth form or college either into University or into other fantastic pathways.”
Sixth Form Press Release
A-LEVEL RESULTS AT OXFORD SPIRES ACADEMY
Thursday 15th August 2019
Oxford Spires Academy is delighted to announce a good set of A Level results again from Year 13. Our top-performing students have done particularly well.
Head boy Mukahang Limbu has met his offer to read English and German at The Queen’s College, Oxford, with his A* in English Literature and As in German and History, joining the A* he already has in Creative Writing.
Helen Woods will also be reading English, at Wadham College, Oxford, with her A* in Creative Writing and As in English Literature, French, and Philosophy and Ethics.
Jasmine Burgess has gained A*s in Maths and Creative Writing, and As in Further Maths and Physics, and will read Maths at the University of Durham.
We are, as ever, proud of the full range of our students, and would particularly like to recognise the achievements of the following:
There were a number of subjects whose performances were particularly strong, especially Languages where all students gained B grade and above. Other subjects of note were Maths, English Literature and Chemistry.
Commenting on this success, Principal Marianne Blake said:
“It is a privilege to lead a school such as Oxford Spires, where students from such a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds succeed and progress to the full range of universities. Our Sixth Form will continue to be central to our school, as it grows in number, and we look forward to continuing progress in the even wider programme of A levels we will offer from next year.”
Tony Brett, Chair of Local Governors, said:
“I am extremely proud to see our students moving into the next stage of their lives so well equipped by their time at Oxford Spires Academy with many doors open to them. A fantastic reward for their diligent and thorough studies at Oxford Spires. Such good news is a huge tribute to the dedication and professionalism of all our staff, both teaching and support, and to the Head of Sixth Form, Dr Watson, all working under the headship of Ms Blake. Congratulations to all and huge thanks to everyone who made these results possible.
We were delighted to see our students showing their speaking skills in the Norrington Room at Blackwell’s on Thursday 18 July.
Public speaking teams from the Academy Trust competition last week, Shakespeare speakers from the competition earlier this year, and some of our top poets performed for the public in the famous Oxford bookshop to great acclaim.
Mukahang, outgoing Head Boy and prize-winning poet, brought the event to a close reading his poetry, published in England: Poems from a School and his own anthology published this year by Outspoken Press, called Nascent. He commented that all the way through the school he had taken part in the activities showcased that evening, and recognised how they had led him to where he is today. As he leaves, we hope, to take up a place at Queen’s College, Oxford, next year, he wished the younger students well.
He joined Year 12 student, Aisha, to show the sophisticated and engaging poetry OSA students are now, rightly, famous for. Both showed how poetry is more than just the page – and how entertaining and moving performance poetry can be.
Apart from poetry, public speakers from Year 7 and 8 (Zoha, Stella and Zoe) spoke on the impact screen time had on young people’s health. Older students from Year 10 (Daisy, Sami and Toby) addressed the issue of our relationship with waste and its impact on the environment.
Finally, our younger students also showed their acting skills and memory in performing sections of Shakespeare plays. Lizzie and Skyla played Juliet’s scene with her mother from Romeo and Juliet, and Sam played Cesario to Eva’s Olivia in a section from Twelfth Night.
Thanks to all staff and parents who came along to support. We look forward to returning to Blackwell’s again soon to show more of our talented students’ work to the book-buying public of Oxford!
We are very grateful to St Anne’s College, Oxford, for supporting our A level students.
As Year 12s begin Extended Project research, and others undertake History A level coursework projects, they benefited hugely from the guidance of the Librarians at St Anne’s. After a session on search terms, using bibliographies and referencing, they had access to the holdings of the college library and online resources and a session to begin finding books and articles to help them in their own work.
Further research sessions are planned with Merton College library and the Bodleian in September.
The school has featured quite heavily on local BBC radio over the last few weeks.
Following an interview with Oxford City Poet 2019, Timi Amusan in Year 13, earlier this term, presenter Kat Orman’s interviewed another of our talented poets, Head Boy Mukahang Limbu. In a long discussion about heritage, school and poetry, Mukahang talked about his Nepalese background and how his poetry connects with his feelings about family and landscape. Listen to the interview here Kat Orman Interview
A shorter version of this interview was combined with a broadcast of the Steps students’ recent podcasts on the East Oxford Takeover on Thursday 18 July. The podcasts made at the Ashmolean museum, and on their website, explore different objects in the museum’s collection and link them back to the students’ experiences in their countries of origin. Listen to the programme here East Oxford Takeover
Mukahang also featured in a discussion programme on Radio 6 this term, with presenter Cerys Matthews and poet Raymond Antrobus. Listen here Cerys Matthews
Students, parents, staff and friends of OSA were invited for the private view of the GCSE and A level exhibition at the end of term. It was a great opportunity for students to showcase their ideas and talent. The work in the gallery is a range of impressive final outcomes for coursework and exam themes. Visitors commented on the quality and variety of work on display and the great potential of our young artists. The exhibition was a great way to celebrate all the hard work our students have put in during their courses and they should be very proud. The work remains exhibited throughout next term, inspiring our current art students of all ages.
OSA had an extremely enjoyable and successful A-level Physics trip to the CERN facility and Geneva, organised by Ms Hamnett and ably accompanied by Mr Birch – a group of 6 Year 12 and 13 students attended and were fantastic – positive, reliable, funny and especially punctual, it made the whole trip very relaxed. We visited CERN itself with a guided tour and its visitors centres, and also explored the beautiful city of Geneva.
Here is what the students had to say about the trip
“Being at CERN gave me a new perspective of how science can unite people all over the world. If you are ever given the chance to go, take it!”
“Geneva itself a great place for a holiday! If you would like to see an aerial view of a city or go swimming in a lake, be sure to take this trip!
“It was exciting to explore Geneva, taking a cable car up the mountains to see stunning scenery and getting soaked by the famous Jet d’Eau. And I took my first ever plane journey on this trip- it was great!”
“The trip gave me a deeper perspective in particle physics and sparked further interest on studying and researching in physics.
Other than physics, the trip also offers travelling around Geneva and earning free time with trust to explore around. I would definitely recommend this once in a life time opportunity”.
“I gained a better understanding of what they at doing (at CERN) and what happened in the earlier stages of the universe”
“Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
CERN is great
Science is too
You try to pizza
But not the fondue
CERN is not just the LHC
Scientist is what I want to be
Hostels are actually fun
But hope for not a boar that snores
Because then you will want no more
But just make memories at the shore
And the mountain floor
Because roses are red
And Geneva is much more”
We look forward to next year’s Physics trip to CERN!
6am Friday morning 47 students and 5 teachers left school for a weekend packed with activities in Paris. It started with waving goodbye to the White Cliffs of Dover from the ferry. Then a visit to a chocolate factory before settling in to our accommodation at the Chateau. 2 birthdays celebrated with lots of singing in French and English, cakes and candles! Then going 63 floors up to the top of the Tour Montparnasse and trying to steal the Eiffel Tower, lunch under the Eiffel Tower, a boat trip down the River Seine seeing even more of the sites (including the sad sight of Notre Dame after the fire), seeing behind the scenes at Europe’s largest cinema and becoming extras in our own movie, driving up the Champs Élysées and then round the crazy 8 lane (or more) roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe where no one will insure you!!!! Swimming, silly songs and stories and toasting marshmallows around the bonfire, shopping at the local market, wall climbing, abseiling, archery, buggy building, more swimming, eating snails, strutting our stuff at the disco and then a visit to the hypermarket before finally settling down to watch Mr bean’s holiday en route home.
Thank you to all the students who came, Mr Finch, Mrs Minton, Miss Stober and Mr Khan for making it a really special trip.
On Thursday 11th July 14 students and 4 staff had the exciting opportunity to attend Wimbledon. With tickets for Court One and Centre Court, an amazing day was in store. The weather did us proud and the sun shone throughout the day. Some fantastic tennis was witnessed, and with the addition of the exciting past time of celebrity spotting, an amazing day was experienced. David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, Venus Williams and Greg Rusedski were all on the list of celebrities spotted. Particular highlights of the day were witnessing Serena Williams in stunning form and some very exciting mixed doubles matches. Huge thanks to Miss Baker, Miss Shuttleworth and Miss Hawtin for helping with the smooth running of the trip and to Mr Fanchi for securing the tickets. Hopefully we can return again in 2020.
A large group of our Year 9 GCSE students have been involved in Cowley Road Carnival this year. The theme for the carnival procession this year was ‘Space is the Place’; so we ran a cross-curricular project between Art and Physics. Students initially took part in a Science workshop at school led by Physicists from Oxford University. They learnt about different wavelengths and got to view the universe through VR headsets in Gamma rays, microwaves and visible light. At the end of the workshop students used this knowledge to come up with ideas for structures that they would go on to make with visiting artist Caitlin Howells and show at the carnival.
The students came up with some fantastic ideas which Caitlin took away and used to plan the final designs. The making workshops took place over 3 very busy days and the results were amazing! We had 3 large structures that we showed at the Cowley Road Carnival procession. The carnival was very busy (and hot), so many people got to enjoy seeing what they had made.
The students were imaginative, dedicated and worked solidly each day. They have learnt a lot about working collaboratively, 3D construction, working to a project brief and working with professional artists and scientists, as well as finally presenting their work to an audience at a community event.
It has been great to link the two subjects and students can see how ideas and knowledge can be realised through their artwork to give them a greater understanding. Their work got a great reception and the students really enjoyed being part of the project.
On 27th June we took a mixed Year 8 and 9 Girls Rugby League team to Oxford Cavaliers to compete in the King Charles’ Cup. On a very warm day the competition was fierce. First up was a big challenge against host team Batholomew School. In an extremely competitive match which swung both ways a 32-30 victory was secured. Next up was a meeting with Cooper School, with the chance to secure the trophy. An amazing performance followed and 42-10 victory was sealed, and so to was the King Charles’ Cup.
This was a fantastic achievement for a team in their infancy including many players participating in their first Rugby tournament. The girls are really looking forward to developing further next season.
A group of our Year 10 and 12 Art students have, over the last 6 months, been taking part in a film project with Modern Art Oxford and artist Kate Mahony. They gained technical and creative experience through several film workshops with Kate, where they responded to creative briefs and then planned, shot and edited their own original short films about experiences of daily life in Oxford. Their films were initially inspired by previous Modern Art Oxford exhibitions; Penny Woolcock: Fantastic Cities and Akram Zaatari: The Script.
Students were joined by audiences at special screening events at Modern Art Oxford and the Ultimate Picture Palace, where they presented their films and took part in Q&A sessions.
Not only have students gained so many new skills and built their confidence as artists, but the project allows them to gain their Silver Arts Award. Their work was highly impressive and the culmination of a lot of hard work. They should all be very proud.
There was a real buzz of excitement as Year 7 prepared to leave OSA to head out for the annual Year 7 camping trip. On arrival the Year 7s discovered their tents for the night, unpacked their many belongings (and sweets) and got ready to start a day full of activities. They got the chance to practice for the Camp’s Got Talent show with Miss McGrath and Mr Spacksman leading the way. They also ended up doing activities such as Archery, Bush Craft, Team Building and Soap Box (building and racing)!
The day ended with a delicious BBQ meal and the much anticipated Camp’s Got Talent show. The students really showed off their many different talents to the audience, which ranged from a rap to a dance to a comedy sketch. All students then enjoyed getting involved with the not very secret teacher performance.
Day 2 started with an 6am wake-up call after a chorus of “We’ll never be up by then” (Most were up at 4am…) After a quick bite to eat the Year 7s then carried on with more activities, finishing off whatever they didn’t on day 1. They also took part in a treasure hunt/nature walk, ably led by Mr Brown and Miss Smith. The archery was a real hit.
After another picnic lunch and a quick tidy and packing up of our tents, we got back on the buses ready for a prompt arrival back at OSA. Everyone was ready for a long weekend after a fun filled 2 days enjoyed by everyone.
Thank you to everyone who supported, the kids really got a lot out of the trip.
Once again we welcomed our exchange partners from Aschaffenburg in Germany for a long weekend of fun activities. It was lovely to watch the students form a very tight knit friendship group and the German students were very grateful for our hospitality. A big shout out to Mr Fanchi for picking up the students from Heathrow in the mini bus – Thank you!
The class of 2019 enjoyed their prom at the Oxford Belfry once again this year. After a long year battling with their GCSE exams, the students were able to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate!
It was great to see so many in attendance as the students came dressed to impress in their prom attire. We were all given a big treat as we were greeted by the arrival of Mrs Dunphy on a Harley Davidson motorcycle!
The students enjoyed their 3 course meal and the awards that followed which included the crowning of our new Prom King and Queen. Congratulations to Aabid Ali and Aaliyah Safdar!
The remainder of the evening was spent on the dance floor with the DJ taking control. Cha-Cha slide proved a big hit with the Heads of House.
We wish the Year 11s well for their long summer break and look forward to welcoming them back in 6th form.
Is your child heading off to sixth form, college or elsewhere next year and no longer needs their uniform?
FOSA are collecting unneeded school jumpers, ties and PE kit to sell at reduced rates to new pupils and growing current pupils. So far we have raised over £100 towards extras for the school (table tennis tables, teachers’ toaster, etc) and have made a lot of parents happy that they don’t have to shell out quite so much for the new school year.
If so, then bring anything that has life left in it to Reception!
On Monday 1st July a group of 10 students from Years 8 and 9 went to Headington School for a Key Stage 3 Physics Challenge organised by the Ogden Trust and coordinated by Claire Hamnett. They were accompanied by Dr Nick Rogers. On the day they took part in a number of magnetism related challenges, including investigating ferrous fluids and building their own loudspeaker. Both teams were a real credit to the school and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Our Year 9 group won overall, beating several private schools.
We are delighted to announce that Mukahang Limbu, last year’s Head Boy, has just had his poetry published in an anthology, Nascent, with Outspoken Press. The book was launched on 24 June – and outcome of Mukahang’s victory in the Outspoken London poetry prize earlier this year. Now a media favourite as well as a school role model, Mukahang is appearing (for a second time) on Cerys Matthews’ Radio 6 programme on Sunday 7 July, and will be reading at the Ledbury Festival on Friday 12 July. He has just been interviewed by Kat Orman for her Radio Oxford afternoon show.
Shakespeare Club students enjoyed a trip to the RSC to see a production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. After taking part in a fascinating workshop and discussion about the staging of the play, in which they took on the role of director, the students saw a gender-swapped version on stage. It was a memorable experience and they can’t wait to go back!
Y7 and Y8 students took part in the English and Media Centre’s ‘Just Write’ project on National Writing Day 2019. Christina and Taaha Year 8 were thrilled that their creative writing was chosen to appear on the video produced by the EMC, which can be seen on their website. EMagazine editor Barbara Bleiman had one word when she read their work: “Wow!”
Watch the sample video here!
Oxford Spires were lucky enough to host a talk by Prof Chris Lintott of “The Sky at Night” fame who is an excellent speaker and passionate about the public understanding of science. We had a large number attending the talk – teachers, parents and students, about 180 in total and it was thoroughly entertaining, informative and enjoyable. Chris talked about what is in the astronomical news at the moment, the next NASA mission to Titan which was announced that very evening, exploring asteroids, the weather on different planets in our solar system, discovering exoplanets, the importance of curiosity and much much more, a truly inspirational talk. We also had a fantastic range of questions from students, including about intelligent life elsewhere, how the Mars Rovers landed, and what we might find on the dark side of the moon. There were lots of comments afterwards about how inspiring it was and requests for more such talks – perhaps this might be the first in a series
Chris Lintott is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and also a research fellow at New College. As Principal Investigator of the Zooniverse, he leads a team who run the world’s most successful citizen science projects, allowing more than a million people to discover planets, transcribe ancient papyri or explore the Serengeti. He is best known as co-presenter of the BBC’s long running Sky at Night programme. His first solo book is out in October.
Thanks to Chris, to Sandra Poyser for logistics and to everyone who attended.
Oxford Science Learning Partnership
This term Year 8 classes have been working on a ‘Come Dine With Me’ project. Students were given a menu of tasks and worked either independently or in small groups to complete their tasks. Students produced German menus, dinner party invitations, cartoon strips, scripts and homemade videos on how to cook traditional German dishes. We also tasted some typical German foods and some students even tried out some German recipes and brought them into lesson for the class to sample! Thank you Year 8s for the incredible effort you put into this.
In conjunction with the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project, some students in class 8X took part in a German cookery class. Prior to the lesson they discussed types of German ‘Schnitzel’ and translated a German recipe. Then in the following lesson students were able to prepare, cook (and eat!) the Schnitzel recipe. Well done to all students involved for your hard work.
On a lovely sunny Summer Solstice weekend, six groups of Y9 students took part in their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Expedition. They spent two days and one night demonstrating that they could be self-sufficient – this involved walking with all their kit, navigating, cooking, and erecting tents. In the evening, students enjoyed a campfire at our campsite near the Uffington White Horse, and an impromptu game of rounders!
All groups showed great teamwork and support for each other and were able to put into practice the skills they had learned at school.
We are very proud to once again have winning entries in this competition run by Oxford University and the Oxford German Network.
This is the third time we have flourished in this competition, however this year we didn’t just win one but two prizes: Erica, Millie, Tallula, Fatma, Jemima, Molly, Sofia and Tanisha came first in the Open Competition for groups where they made a film in German called ‘The Monster’. Gianluca and Ayana came first for their short video in the Discover German category which was designed for students who don’t learn German in class but wanted to give it a go. The students were very proud of their achievement when picking up their prizes in the Bodleian Library with all parents looking on and congratulating them. This year 70 schools from across the country took part in this exciting competition. Keep your eyes peeled for next year when we will enter the next batch of student to win more prizes.
It was great to see so many students at OSA for Sixth Form Induction on 18 and 19 June. We’re looking forward to our biggest Year 12 cohort so far from September, and almost all those applying from our Year 11, and many from other schools, came along to take taster A level or Level 3 BTEC lessons during Induction. This will, of course, make them more able to make sensible course choices after GCSE results on 22 August.
Teachers were really impressed by their questions and active learning in the taster lessons, and Sixth Form staff were delighted to see so many sign up at the ‘Freshers’ Fair’ for the events and activities planned for the next academic year. Whether you are interested in our planned African Expedition or want to visit Cerne – or join our Young Interpreters programme, or take LAMDA Drama courses – or help with primary school events, or join in debating – or… The list was very long!
The Sixth Form is a growing and successful part of Spires, and students began to plan at Induction, with Mr Bingham, our careers advisor, how they might work towards university and apprenticeship applications. These decisions come along very quickly once students start in Sixth Form!
Next year we will offer new subjects at A level – Photography, Design Technology, Music/Music Technology, Classical Civilisation and Computing – as there will be a larger number of students. From September we have, to focus our funding most effectively, now ceased to offer Level 2 courses – but on Results Day in August we will guide any students who need this level of course.
Students pick up their results on 22 August at 10am, and from 11am Sixth Form staff will start to interview those staying into Year 12 (students have a time slot in their Induction Handbook). Parents are very welcome to come in with students for this interview.
If there are any questions about entry to Sixth Form next year, please email Dr Watson at email@example.com or ring the Sixth Form Office on 01865 595443.
We are delighted to announce that Timi Amusan, who has just completed Year 13, has been named Oxford City Poet for the next year, as we approach this year’s National Poetry Day in the autumn.
He has just written and recited his poetry online in the Hashtag Poems series as ‘What I Say to Mama’, and he will be composing verse specially for National Poetry Day, to be filmed and broadcast on Channel 4.
Timi has just performed his poetry to music at the Tandem Festival (see article) and was recently interviewed by Radio Oxford Breakfast Show about his journey from Nigeria to Oxford, what he thinks of the British way of life and how his poetry-writing career began.
As Timi waits for his A level results, he hopes to go to Portsmouth University and to go into a career in Civil Engineering. His aspiration is to return to Nigeria in years to come, and to help improve his home country’s infrastructure. He’s been a great Sixth Form student and we wish him every success!
No – not the Beatles – but our amazing poets (Timi, Merzia, Halema and Ftoun) returned to the stage at the Tandem Festival, near Witney, on Sunday to read their work against the backing music of the Cotswold Ensemble, conducted by Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey.
The four are consummate professionals by now as they have already performed three times this year (at the King’s Place arts centre in London, Dorchester Abbey and Somerville College, Oxford), reading to the music of local composer, Toby Young, and previously with the full Orchestra of St John. So this week’s performance was a breeze – outside in a barn, with audience sitting on hay bales!
The four began with a planning meeting over lunch on the Friday, followed by some TV interviews for publicity, and finally rehearsals with the musicians in a local church on the Saturday morning.
Year 12 took part in a Keep the Cash game on Tuesday 25 June, to help them manage their own money as leaving school and independent life are on the horizon.
The year group worked in teams to learn about salaries, credit, loans, mortgages and outgoings, writing CVs and being interviewed for jobs as their group needed more cash, and going to the bank to explain what they wanted. Not all managed to convince employers or bank managers, but they learnt a lot about what lies ahead.
Well done to the winning team, captained by Waqas Mehmood, who rather worryingly named themselves ‘The Fraudsters’…
We were delighted to welcome students from six local primary schools to our second annual OSA Primary Shakespeare Speaking Competition.
Students from Wood Farm, St Joseph’s, St Francis, Eynsham, Tyndale and John Henry Newman took part first in a workshop led by Miss Morris and our Year 7, 8 and 9 students to make sure they spoke clearly, confidently and loud enough for our Theatre. They thoroughly enjoyed the mornings games and working together.
Then competitors read their prepared monologues and duologues – from a range of Shakespeare’s plays from popular plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Othello to less well-known ones, such as Two Gentlemen of Verona.
All students performed really well and we were delighted in the level of competition. The winner in the monologue category was from John Henry Newman, with runners-up from St Joseph’s and Tyndale; the duologue winners were from Wood Farm, with runners-up from Eynsham. The overall winners – taking home the bust of Shakespeare! – were John Henry Newman.
We look forward to working with lots of local primaries next summer – and, in advance, plan to take our students into schools who haven’t worked with us before, to deliver workshops and help prepare teams. Anyone from a local primary school who is interested in finding out more, please email Miss Morris firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a doctor in the house?
Or a nurse, or an anaesthetist, or a paramedic, or an occupational therapist, or a physiotherapist, or…
34 students from Year 10 spent a very enjoyable day at the University of Reading on 26 June, learning about careers in the health service – and how very much in demand they are. Activities were ‘hands-on’ and students loved testing each other’s blood pressure and lung capacity, seeing how their hearts worked through an ECG, and putting on slings for broken arms. Students dressed in a suit, and wore special glasses, to show them how difficult it was to move as a much older person with mobility problems or cataracts.
The new HealthReach facility at Reading enables students to try out giving CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre (for those with a blocked airway), and using a defibrillator. Then they tested their learning in a simulation of a real-life accident.
The day aims to allow students to know the full range of jobs available in our health system, and to learn more about university study, as well as the kind of qualifications you’d need to apply successfully. Thanks to Study Higher for sponsoring this event, and to Alison Hall and her team at the University of Reading for their enthusiasm and expertise!
It wasn’t exactly the best weather to be showing guests around the Community Garden but students were sure nobody would be keen to hang around for too long. To be fair, the damp weather could so easily have dampened spirits, but the OSA First and Second Steps Students arrived early to Barracks Lane to put the finishing touches to cake decorations – iced fairy cakes with flower heads from plants they had grown and collected hastily between showers; a bit of furniture shifting here and there, and 11am the appointed time came around pretty quickly.
Miss Blake and Miss Dalley arrived first along with several enthusiastic 6th Form students. If the Steps students appeared reticent, it didn’t last long as our guests were keen to have the tour they had been promised. ‘I’ve come to see everything!’ Miss Blake announced and the students took it from there.
The Mayor arrived next and by then all traces of shyness had been shed, and people just chatted. From pond life to pizza ovens, soil analysis to sowing seeds, vegetable growing to memory gardens, the students were able to share what they have been doing once a week for the past couple of years. The final thing to be shared over sandwiches and cakes in the Garden Room (only when the rain became torrential!) were the lovely scrap books that students have steadily worked away at. They are a real record of their hard work and transformation of the garden.
It’s not always the most favoured activity; particularly during the winter months and the difficult days of Spring, dodging the showers, but the garden has provided them with peace and tranquillity, away from the classroom; a place to appreciate nature and work with it for the benefit of the community. We’ve been lucky too to have the voluntary and expert help of Kate and Ruth, whose enthusiasm for all things green has really rubbed off on us.
All in all a lovely event; an informal hour just spent enjoying a garden in all its beauty – students, OSA staff, Barracks Lane volunteers, on a typical British summer’s day…