Monthly Archives

March 2015

Holy Week board games

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Year 8 have been consolidating their learning about Holy Week by creating their own Holy Week board games, with guidance from Mr Kelly. There have been some interesting games created – eggs and crosses by Maisie, Lilly and Chloe which recalled the events of Holy Week and was played like snakes and ladders.


Wesley, Mollie and Harriet came up with the original name of Holy Week but their game was the most popular among their peers.


Chloe, Phoebe and Megan came up with the most detailed game called Sacrifice which recalled many of the events of the Easter Triduum.


Tom, Finn and Aadil developed a game based on question and answering about the events of Holy Week and Tyler, Leighton and Louie created another game that was played like snakes and ladders.


Students created all their own games, tested and developed them before allowing their peers to try them out and get feedback on how the games were for entertainment and knowledge about Holy Week. This was a fun way to build on what they had learned about Holy Week and check on their own learning and understanding.



Captain of Lancashire

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Year 10 pupil, Jacob McHugh has been appointed as captain on the Lancashire Under 15s B team. He first started playing rugby when his dad took him along to Blackburn Rugby Union Football Club, where he joined the under 7s team playing tag rugby.


This year he has gone through endless trials for the Under 15s squad and is one of the few that have been selected to play for Lancashire, his big ambition is to make it to the A team. We know he can do it!




Technology Day

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Year 9 pupils attended the Rotary club technology challenge day at Hollins technology college in Accrington.


Competing against schools from Blackburn and Accrington they had to design a cable car device to carry an imaginary relief package across a shark infested gorge after being given only a limited amount of materials.


Although they did not win, they enjoyed the challenge and gained skills in teamwork and designing and making.


Easter egg bingo

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We’ve been bingo-ing mad at Oakhill. Around 130 pupils, parents, relatives and friends of the school gathered to enjoy a night of bingo games. With a superb number and range of donated eggs, including the oh-so-cute creme egg easter bunny knitted covers by Hazel, (nana of Matthew Brett in Year 4), the evening was bound to be a success.


With special bingo dabbers to buy from the student council stall, a great range of raffle prizes, spot prizes and snacks and drinks generously donated by Louise Birchall (chair of the Oakhill Association) I think everyone had a ‘cracking’ time and an ‘egg-cellent’ evening.


The event raised an amazing £571 which will be used to directly benefit the pupils at the college.



Easter in Spain

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Year 8 have been learning about Semana Santa in Spain. Here they are with their version of Los Nazarenos, the penitents who take part in the religious processions during Holy Week.


Spring has sprung!

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Nursery have been busy looking for signs of spring, they found lots of crocus’ flowers and some daffodils which they then returned to nursery and painted their own daffodils.



Spooky goings on in Prep

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Years 5 and 6 had a visit from Stephen Delaney (son of Joseph Delaney who writes the popular Spooks series of books!) He came dressed as a ‘spook’ and took the children through a series of writing workshops during the day.


First, they learnt how to add tension to their story writing by acting out a scene from one of the books and then, using some ‘top author tips’, they wrote their own versions.


Next, they had to make ‘Blood-cakes’ from a variety of ‘ingredients’. This caused quite a stir – especially when our ‘spook’ actually ate some of their concoctions! The children learnt recipe writing using creative language.


The afternoon was filled with drama from the trial of the Pendle Witches. We have some budding actors as well as writers in our midst! Mr. Delaney was very impressed with the way the children participated in the activities and the quality of their responses and written work. A very worthy experience, enjoyed by all.





Cracking the code

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Eighteen Oakhill code breakers travelled to Bletchley Park to find out more about the work and people at the centre of Military Intelligence during World War Two. Students, parents and teachers woke inhumanly early on Saturday to catch the train from Preston and spent the day exploring the mansion, newly refurbished huts and Blocks C and B.


The whole park is designed to capture the famous atmosphere of secrecy, intensity and socialising through the use of sound effects and reconstructions. There were also plenty of interactive displays and logical puzzles to keep everyone busy. We enjoyed seeing the set from The Imitation Game and the costumes worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in his role as Alan Turing. Students also stood at the bar and pretended to play the piano in a scene from the film!


We enjoyed an excellent tour from Bob who explained the contribution of other famous code breakers including Gordon Welchman and Hugh Foss. It was a great museum shared by all in good company. Thanks to everyone for coming and well done all students!



Watch out Mrs Smith – there are some new PE teachers in town!

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This half term Year 9 have been studying sports leadership. They began by deciding on what makes a good leader and the qualities that all leaders should exhibit. Patience, empathy, experience and good communication skills were some of the criteria that Year 9 decided all good leaders should have. The pupils then held a hot debate on great leaders from sport and throughout history.


The class split into groups and were set a challenge to plan a session to teach to Years 5 and 6. Each group chose a different sport/activity to teach including basketball, hockey, netball, dodgeball and gymnastics. Each group had to structure the 30 minute session including a thorough warm up and stretch, a skills and drills section and finally ending in either a conditioned game or performance.


Before Year 9 were let loose on our juniors they fine tuned their sessions by practicing on their peers. This was an interesting experience and the whole group learned about the importance of confidence, voice projection and how to simplify drills and use differentiation to push our more talented individuals.


The sessions went extremely well and Year 9 gave each and every one of our Year 5 and 6’s a good learning experience. Many comments were made by our juniors and all requested another session. The year 9’s evaluated there individual and group performances and set targets for future sports leadership opportunities.


Our Sports Leaders will be busy throughout the summer term and will be assisting the Ribble Valley and Hyndburn School sports games organiser with a key stage one animal Olympics, a dodgeball festival and an inclusive disability sports event all of which will be held and hosted by Oakhill.

Church Visit for Year 2

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The children of Year 2 were very excited to go and visit St. Mary’s Church in Langho. They were keen to have a good look round and find out what is inside a church.





Cajón Drumming

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For three weeks in March, the Enquiring Minds group took part in a cajón drumming workshop led by the Revd Andy Gray. The drums are shaped like wooden boxes with a hole at the back to let the sound resonate.


After practising clapping rhythms and learning how to read a simple drum tab, they progressed to accompanying Andy’s guitar rendition of the Jessie J song, Price Tag.

To hear the Enquiring Minds group’s rendition of Jessie J’s, Price Tag click here http://youtu.be/kfRN66oddd4



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There was great excitement this morning as staff and pupils witnessed the solar eclipse.


An iPad (turned off) allowed us to see the eclipse safely.


Some pupils were able to see the eclipse in reflections from the windows.


The last time there was a solar eclipse was August 1999 and the next one will be in 2090!




Animal Olympiad

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To celebrate Oakhill receiving their best ever Inspection report Mrs Riley decided to reward the children for all their hard work by holding an Animal Olympiad.


Children from reception through to Year 11 were divided into six teams and the mascots were the Horses, Tom and Jerry, Lions, Leopards, Gorillas and Monkeys. The afternoon consisted of five events: an Obstacle Course, Ping Pong Helmets, Fancy Dress Relay, Balloon Relay and a Scuba Relay.


After the final event there were two teams neck and neck in first place – the Monkeys and the Gorillas. This meant it was sumo time! Members from both teams fought it out to be crowned the winner of the first Oakhill Animal Olympiad. The victorious team were the Monkeys who all received an Easter Egg with the runners up a bag of mini eggs and everybody else a Creme egg.


Everybody agreed, staff and pupils alike, that the whole afternoon had been great fun and was an excellent reward for being awarded our best ever Inspection Report.



Mother’s Day cards all sewn up!

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The boys and girls in Year 2 have been very busy over the last few weeks making very special Mother’s Day cards.


They have learned how to use cross stitch, back stitch and how to thread a needle.


Mrs Wilson and Alison, who comes in to help, had to learn patience! The children really enjoyed their sewing and are keen to do some more so watch this space!


Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh Award’s Adventures

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Eleven pupils from Year Ten enjoyed their first unaccompanied adventure on Thursday 12th March as part of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Pupils have now completed their training which included map and navigation skills as well as dealing with emergency situations.

Now armed with the skills to survive the outdoors, pupils travelled to Stainforth in the Yorkshire Dales to take on some more challenging terrain. Split into two groups, pupils had to work as a team to navigate a set route of around 10km using a map, compass and route card. The routes included some challenges and difficult navigational decisions. The biggest challenge of all, as ever, was not getting lost!  Both our groups performed well and navigated skilfully. The boys group even had chance to do some underground exploration at their lunch spot at Jubilee Cave!


Pupils can now look forward to their next challenge which will be a mini-expedition in the Ribble Valley in April. This will involve an overnight camp in which they will be self sufficient – carrying everything they need for their two day walk.


Leaping Leprechauns

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Year 1 had fun making leprechaun hats to celebrate St Patricks Day. They heard the story of St Patrick and learnt that he died on the 17th March. Look at the leaping leprechauns in their fantastic hats, all they are missing is a beard!



Pendle Witch Puppets

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As part of their work on the Pendle Witches, Year 5 have been making puppets of the characters they have been finding out about. Demonstrating expert papier mâché and sewing skills, the children have worked really hard to produce some wonderfully lifelike and characterful creations. They have also painted an impressive backdrop of Pendle Hill in readiness for their theatrical productions. Now the puppets are finished, the children will be working on play scripts. Watch out for their animated plays coming soon!


Student Council Photography Competition

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The level of entries for the student photography competition this year was exceptional and this made it very difficult for the panel of judges to come to a decision.



Mrs Riley, Ms Pendlebury, Mrs Hellewell and guest student judge, Dom Smith (winner of last year’s competition), had their work cut out trying to decide who would be chosen for next year’s school calendar.


Mrs Riley announced the winners in a special joint assembly and we are sure that you will agree about the professional quality of the pupils’ entries. Congratulations to all participants and a special congratulations to the top six entries.


Travelling in Style

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Bowker BMW helped to make a recent Marine Biology Field Trip to Millport happen after donating their new 2 Series. It was a smooth ride to Scotland and the car certainly received some admiring glances!


10km challenge – Running club steps it up!

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Our weekly running club has grown this year with more and more pupils joining each Tuesday lunchtime to run routes around Whalley, Wiswell and Barrow.


Pupils from Years Ten and Eleven have taken their training a few steps further by undertaking a weekly 10km run with Mr. Peel during their games lesson. The first challenge was a relatively flat outing up to Pendleton returning via Barrow.  Last week the challenge was to include a hill, and what better than our biggest local mini mountain – Whalley Nab.  The route went straight up the steep end from the centre of Whalley which really put them through their paces.


Well done to Daniel Riding, Jacob McHugh, Jacob Woods, William Singleton and Leo Wilson on their initiation into the 10k club.  More challenges lie ahead and some pupils will be entering the Ron Hill Accrington 10k which takes place at the end of this month.  Best of luck!


Witch Trail Around the Ribble Valley

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Year’s 5 and 6 have been on a Witch Trail around the Ribble Valley. They began their adventure in Newchurch looking at the ancient graveyard and the church with the ‘Eye of God’. The class were following a trail of clues which helped them to explore the area and see things which they might not have noticed otherwise.


The next leg of the journey was on to Barley, where the rain began but it did not deter the intrepid children who solved some of the tricky clues by working together very well.


After a walk around Barley (we even saw a witch resting on a bench!) we enjoyed hot chocolate and Mrs Keane’s homemade witch biscuits!


The afternoon ended in Downham where we searched for our final clues. Everybody agreed that the afternoon had been great fun and extremely interesting.


Reception and Year 1 Assembly

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Reception and Year 1 enjoyed celebrating their Mothers in an assembly on Thursday 12th March. The children thought carefully about what makes their Mummy’s special, wrote poetry about them, made cards and gave them flowers. There were a lot of tears of joy and happiness with all the wonderful things the children said about their Mummies. Happy Mothers Day to all the amazing Mums!


Year 4 Movie Directors

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At the end of Year 4’s class assembly Mrs Hellewell showed everybody an iMovie which she had made with her class. Mrs Hellewell directed the iMovie with Year 4 and used it to demonstrate how they should present their movies which they made over half term.


Year 4 have spent the half term holidays filming all the great and interesting things they have been up to and we look forward to them sharing their iMovies with us very soon.

To watch Year 4’s iMovie click here http://youtu.be/Bfv8LHS-OKA

Couch to 5k

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For the past 9 weeks Mrs Sutterby and Mrs Spencer have taken part in the Couch to 5k at Witton Park, Blackburn. On Saturday 7th March the plan ended with around 250 people running a 5k course around the park. Also running was James Sutterby who showed both Mrs Spencer and Mrs Sutterby a clean pair of heels!


There’s no stopping the two of them now as they are part of a dozen members of staff from Oakhill who will be taking part in the Great Manchester 10k Run on May 10th. We wish them all the very best.


Shore Thing

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It was a fantastic day for the ferry crossing to Millport and “guddling” about in rock pools. We arrived at the Field Studies Council in Millport to find out about the Shore Thing Survey. This is an extensive national survey of our shorelines to detect any changes that may have been caused by natural or human influences. On arrival at the Field Station we were briefed on the aims of the Survey and how important the survey technique is to collecting reliable data. After lunch we headed down to the rocky shore and after mastering compass bearings and the technique levelling of the shore to create 3 zones -upper, middle and lower shore – it was time for the real hands on stuff that we had been looking forward to. The rock pools were alive with starfish, hermit crabs, limpets, barnacles and lots of different varieties of crabs.


After sampling the data and recording specific measurements we collected a range of creatures to take back to the laboratory for further discussions later in the evening. The laboratory is equipped with sea water tanks and a running sea water supply to ensure that any organisms brought back for observation will remain in similar water conditions. The course leaders shared their vast knowledge on all the specimens that we collected before returning them late that night to their original habitat. We had a long and very informative day and we certainly gained a lot of new knowledge to share with the rest of the school.


After an early breakfast we found out about how the Shore Thing project fits into the curriculum.  It directly fits into the Year 11 biology topic which covers the sampling of data and the topic on how humans affect the environment. However, it develops pupils awareness of the environment and let’s face it who doesn’t enjoy poking about in rock pools – it takes you back to childhood holidays. Unfortunately the Clyde was too choppy for us to go on the Research Vessel but the boat had been out collecting samples for a university group due to visit the Field Station later that day. The haul was huge and the number of different species was breath taking. From cuttlefish fish to crabs and sea urchins to squat lobsters the tanks were marine menageries. The rest of the course focused on confident marine identification which we certainly were by the time were left Millport. It was an excellent trip and Milly and Katie really got to know what is involved with some of the ecological work of marine biologists.


French Spelling Bee

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Year 7 have taken part in the Foreign Language Spelling Bee this year for which they had to learn the French alphabet. Since September they have learned the meanings and the spellings of 100 new words. The class competition ended with James and Isabelle taking the lead. In one minute, Isabelle spelled five words correctly in French. Félicitations!




Driving success

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Speaking at the official handover of a new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, donated by Blackburn-based Bowker BMW, Oakhill Principal, Mrs. Riley said, “Like any school, transport can make extra curricular activities a logistical challenge. Staff and parents are always resourceful and will often find a solution but, having a new car from Bowker BMW will make a huge impact on our community involvement and ability to compete in regional sporting and academic events.

“We are always keen for students to represent the school wherever they can. When we have an opportunity to support the community we also like to be involved. The new car will make it easier for us to make and meet more commitments such as entertaining local parishioners with afternoon tea and entering small groups into local and national competitions.”

Last year Oakhill College participated in a range of sports from orienteering to handball, competing with local schools. One of our pupils won the design Your Own Robot competition at national Level and shortly a small team of pupils will be going to the national finals of the BP STEM Challenge. As well as this our pupils have helped out in the community by providing food for THOMAS and the Accrington Food Bank, representing the school at Armistice services in Whalley and Wiswell, and taking part in local gardening initiatives.

For Bowker BMW, Dave Turner said, “Oakhill College is one of a number of excellent schools in Lancashire. We have been proud to support them in the past. We know they have excellent sporting tradition and they are ambitious for more competitive success. We hope the car helps and wish them all the very best for 2015.”

Year 10’s Trip to Barley

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Year 10 Geographers undertook a river study for their lesson on Monday.


They braved the snow and cold water to apply their theoretical understanding to the real world using practical field skills.


They were methodical and accurate in their recording, despite the cold, and were rewarded with a warm hot chocolate at the end. Well done, Year 10.


Paddington pays Prep a Visit

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Years 1 & 2 had a lovely day full of sandwiches, red hats and duffle coats when they celebrated all things Paddington Bear for World Book Day.


They shared the story of Paddington, wrote specific instructions on how to make a sandwich, made bar charts for Prep’s favourite kind of sandwich and designed their own sandwich with some weird and wonderful concoctions!



Music to your ears

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There was something of a hullabaloo in Prep before half term as children from all year groups came to take part in our instrumental taster sessions. Guided by Mrs Kelly (wife of our RE teacher Mr Kelly,  mum of Ruby and Tom…..and multi talented musician), the children tried out trumpets, clarinets, flutes, saxophones and recorders with a view to finding the instrument  which suited them best.


Enthusiastic as always, the children surprised themselves by how easily they were able to make a note and by how much fun the process was! Even our Reception children were able to play a tune on the saxophone! As a result of the sessions, many children have signed up for instrumental workshops with Mrs Kelly. Over the next few weeks they will get to grips with the basics on their chosen instrument and begin to enjoy their first taste of ensemble playing. We are all so excited and also very grateful for the help Mrs Kelly is giving us.


Can you help?

We have a handful of instruments in school that we are able to loan the children – but not enough! Do you have a musical instrument lurking in a dark cupboard that we might be able to put to good use? We would be very grateful for any brass or woodwind instruments and know that the children would make them feel loved and wanted!   Thank you in anticipation.