Monthly Archives

December 2015

Feeling The Chill

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As term finished, 22 pupils enjoyed their first taste of snow as they headed to Chill Factore to hit the slopes. The group were a mixture of talented skiers and snowboarders, and all enjoyed 2 hours on the slope perfecting their turns, traverses and tricks.


Many of the group are now very excited at the prospect of a week on real snow as they look forward to our annual Ski Trip which departs on 26th December to the French resort of Alpe D’huez. A total of 30 pupils, staff and parents will be heading to the Alps for the week – watch this space to hear about their adventures!


Creative Christmas Tree Decorations

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The Prep Student Councils Christmas Tree decoration competition has been very successful. The tree looked stunning with all the interesting and creative ideas that the children have come up with and it was a tough decision to choose any winners!


In first place we have a snowman with rainbow coloured hair made by Mairead , in second place a rainbow Christmas tree made by Charlotte and in third place a multi coloured beaded star made by Arran. Well done to the winners and all who took part. Unfortunately Charlotte wasn’t able to make the winners photo, so big sister Olivia very kindly stepped in!




Watch Out Mary Berry!

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On Friday the Student Council organised a Bake-off Competition for Senior Students. Contestants were asked to bake Christmas themed cakes or biscuits and the entries were judged in a serious tasting panel by the Student Council.


Cakes were judged on technical difficulty, appearance, texture and taste. The standard was very high and there was much debate over who should win first, second and third prize.


Once the tasting was over the cakes were then sold to all students at an afternoon cake sale for THOMAS, the local charity in Blackburn and over £50 was made. Well done students and thank you to everyone who entered and bought cakes.


Christmas Poetry

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Children from Prep showcased some Christmas poetry that they have been learning with speech and drama teacher, Claire Haymes.


The children all spoke very well and expressively, there are certainly going to be some super actors and actresses!



Mr Chuckle

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The Preparatory Student Council had lots of fun at the Oakhill Christmas Market with a ‘Guess the Name’ stall. The winning name of the lovely knitted clown is Chuckle and was guessed by Olivia in Year 5. We hope there’s room for him around the table this Christmas! A big thank you to Hazel Porter for donating the impressive Mr Chuckle.


Looking After Our Feathered Friends

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As part of their topic ‘Living Things’ this term, Years 1 & 2 have made some very colourful and eye catching feeders for the birds during the cold winter season. They are now going to keep a close eye on them from the classrooms and identify any birds having a hearty feast of sunflower seeds, oats and maize.


Chariot Construction

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Friday afternoons have been busy, busy, busy in Year three this half term. The pupils have been doing a DT topic on moving vehicles. They had to research, design, construct and test out a moving vehicle.


Many had a go at a chariot, linking it to our history topic on The Romans. The top corridor has been a bit of a danger zone as the pupils have been testing out their vehicles with various degrees of success and the odd crash along the way!


Oakhill Christmas Market success!

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The Oakhill Christmas Market 2015 was a truly enjoyable occasion for visitors with over 50 fabulous foodie and gift stalls, inflatable castle and slide, sand and clay art, glitter make-up, candy floss and of course the main man – Father Christmas.


Thank you everyone who supported the event by dropping by, despite the floods in Whalley that day – we had an incredible turnout with two further parking areas having to be opened and people parking all down Wiswell Lane.


Thank you to the PTA who worked tirelessly to make 45 Christmas wreathes, cakes and gifts ahead of the day and then manned the stalls and bouncy castles. The PTA raised the fabulous sum of approx. £2,000 to go directly back to the pupils over the coming year in extraordinary items. Well done also to the Student Council and pupils who made cards for sale and created games on the day.

Thank you to Annette and her team for an excellent carvery lunch, the bar staff in the Atrium Cafe Bar and management and staff who worked so hard setting up and dismantling the event. See the day in glorious colour:-





Santa Fun Run

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Year 3 & 4 were invited to take part in the inaugural Santa Fun Run at Accrington Academy and there was lots of excitement when the children found out that it was a fancy dress event! We had an assortment of fancy dress from a Christmas tree, reindeers, Santa’s and a Christmas tutu fairy along with plenty of festive hats and jumpers and even a pair of ski goggles!


It was a cold afternoon at the Academy but we were met by festive music that got us in the mood. The course was very muddy and many had come well prepared in wellington boots! It was a 1km race which consisted of two laps. The girls were up first and all showed tremendous effort and their hard work in athletics throughout the term paid off. Due to it being a fun run there were no positions but all of our girls finished strongly and the majority being in the first 10. Nellie Wilson was nominated as the girls star runner as she listened and took on board all of the coaching points she had been given, she kept a steady pace throughout the entire run and did not walk once. She put her head down and got the job done finishing at exactly the same pace that she started. A great achievement from a very consistent and determined little girl, well done Nellie!


Next it was the turn of the boys who had an even muddier course to battle with after the girls race! The boys loved this, particularly all of the slipping and sliding! After a false start that not all of the boys heard the whistle which meant Isaac Dunn ran a lap before the race began! Although he still had the energy to run another two in the real race and come in the top 5! A fantastic effort from Isaac showing great fitness, grit and determination!


Our boys did a fantastic job and all completed the race covered in mud with smiles on their faces to receive a candy cane at the finish line. Mrs O’Kane nominated Noah Howson as our star boy runner after he lost his shoe at the very start of the race! After worrying that he was left behind Noah ran a fantastic race catching up all of the others and not stopping once, he paced himself and even managed a sprint finish! Well done Noah, proof that hard work and determination pays off!


A special thank you goes to Reindeer O’Kane our mascot who ran both races with our children, collecting antlers, hats and festive glasses throughout the course! Not to mention the number of shoes she had to dig out of muddy bogs and then help all pupils from all schools get their shoes back on and get running! Mrs Wilson and myself were in fine voice cheering on and motivating the pupils even getting in the festive dress up spirit ourselves!


The rest of the afternoon was spent making Christmas cards and eating festive cakes and biscuits, much fun was had by all involved! A presentation was made for the boy and girl star runners from each school and also a prize was given for best dressed runner. Lilly-Ella Smith won this award who was a Mrs.Claus/fairy/jester hybrid!! Well done Lilly-Ella on your creative efforts after raiding the dressing up box!!


Such a great event, we really look forward to next years and after many other pupils commenting that they would like to do a fun run, we may look at doing our very own Oakhill version! Mrs Smith is thinking of a parents and pupils relay!





Oakhill Pupils Play To A Sell Out Audience

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On Saturday 5th December Longridge band held its Christmas concert at the Longridge Civic Hall. Outside the weather was frightful but inside was a sold out appreciative audience! The bands programme featured festive favourites including Ernest Tomlinson’s arrangement of ‘Sleigh Ride’ and stunning solos by Georgia Fielding ‘A Winters Tale’ and Jake Gordon ‘Merry Christmas Darling’.


The Junior band – featuring Ruby (Year 5) and Thomas Kelly (Year 4) performed to conclude the first half. It was only their second performance since forming earlier in the year. They have clearly progressed since their first performance in summer under the direction of Matthew Balson. The mayor of Longridge, Sarah Rainford praised the band and reminded everyone that they are one of her chosen charities this year.

If any of our other budding musicians would be interested in playing in the Longridge Junior band (which rehearses on a Friday evening in Longridge 7.00 – 7.45pm) then please speak with Mrs Kelly.

Christmas Cake Baking

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Year 1 have had lots of fun making their very own Christmas cakes with specialist help from Suzanne Mitchell. The children did everything, cracking eggs, weighing and mixing ingredients (not forgetting their Christmas wish) rolling the icing, carefully decorating them and finishing them off with a sprinkling of glitter.


The cakes look amazing and will hopefully taste delicious too! A big thank you to Suzanne for organising the ingredients, equipment and children.


Darwen Tower Mountain Biking

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On a wet and windy Sunday morning in November, Oakhill bikers; Louis, Tyler, James, Mr Peel and Mr Sutterby  set out from school on a mountain biking trip to Darwen moor. As we arrived at the starting point at Tockholes, we were met by Mr and Mrs Pooley, Mr Jepson and Mr Kirham. The clouds cleared briefly and we set out with the hope that the rain would stay away.  The route was a stony rocky path which climbed steadily up across the moors to Jubilee Tower which is located at the top of Darwen Hill and is over 25m high. On the way up the winds were mighty, so strong that it seemed difficult at times to keep on track, not helped by the driving rain. It was great to finally to reach the tower where Louis, Tyler and James climbed the spiral staircase to take cover at the top. After a short break we departed onwards, especially enjoying the downhill sections that took us back to the minibus where we all tucked into our packed lunches or hot bacon butties at the local cafe… a great end to a fun, albeit very, very wet mountain biking trip!

Ribble Valley Basketball Tournament

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Oakhill hosted the year 5 & 6 Ribble Valley basketball tournament. It was a fast paced and high energy event. Our year 11s took on the roles of sports leaders who taught and demonstrated skills to all of the teams involved and also umpired the games in the tournament.


Each team played 4 matches and we had some great performances from our year 5 & 6 boys. Oakhill blue team struggled at times in the tournament but fought hard and never gave in giving 100% effort right up until the final whistle. These boys were all in year 5 so were playing mostly against year 6s, with a little more practice they will be back to compete next year.


Oakhill green team was made up of both year 5 & 6 boys made a great start to the tournament winning their first two matches against Whalley, 10 -3 and their peers in Oakhill’s blue team 13 – 0. Then came the tough game against Grindleton, this was a strenuous game where the boys worked hard. The ball travelled end to end through the court and there was some fantastic defence and offence for both teams. The final whistle went and it was a 4 all draw, a great result for our team in their first competitive tournament. Our final game was against Sabden we played well but unfortunately had given everything we had in the previous game so we lost our first game of the tournament, 5 – 8.


Once the results were in and our leaders had been congratulated on their performance the results were read out! Oakhill blue team came out in 5th place and Oakhill’s green team came away with the bronze medal!


A great achievement for all involved after only two weeks of training. We aim to spend more time on basketball in the New Year and Steven Gayle from the Lancashire Spinners is now coaching Prep pupils on a Tuesday lunch time so watch this space!



Christmas Flash Bang Show

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Year 7 were treated to a morning of bright lights and bangs at the Christmas Flash Bang Show hosted by Manchester University at Bolton School.


The demonstrations included touching clouds of carbon dioxide, making hydrogen and oxygen rockets, and lighting alcohol vapour to create jets.


The pupils saw temperatures of 3000 degrees Celcius dropping all the way down to -196 degrees with liquid nitrogen around their feet.


Their favourites by far were the bags of Monster Munch crisps soaked in liquid oxygen then burnt to produce a gigantic orange flame.


As well as the balloon filled with hydrogen and oxygen which when ignited produced a bang that made your organs vibrate.




Christmas Lunch

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Christmas is coming and the Millennium Hall was full of happy children eager for their Christmas lunch.


Nursery to Year 11 enjoyed the spread, which certainly brought a smile to everyone’s face.


What a great lunch we had of turkey with all the trimmings, cooked by our fabulous kitchen team.


The children certainly had fun pulling the crackers,


telling the jokes and wearing the hats.


A big Christmas thank you to the kitchen staff for providing such a lovely lunch.




Prep Pantomime Trip

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On December 2nd the boys and girls in Prep went to watch a pantomime. They went to see Jack and the beanstalk at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn and apart from about 15 other people they had the theatre to themselves!


It was a great performance with lots of singing , shouting and booing. The baddy Fleshcreep, who was played by CJ from Eggheads, took a dislike to some of our boys but Dame Tilly Trot made up for it as she took a BIG liking to the ‘well worn man’ AKA Mr Lowry!! we’ve never seen Mr Lowry run as fast as when she began to chase him around the theatre! He nearly ended up backstage as he was so desperate to get away!


The children as always were a credit to us and a thoroughly enjoyable morning was had by all.




Sleeps ‘Till Santa

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Year 6 were feeling very festive last week when Gemma Baron from 2BR and Olly Houldsworth from The Bee radio stations paid them a visit. The pupils had been chosen to be part of the ‘Sleeps ‘Till Santa’ jingle on both stations.

After a couple of practises the group were good to go and recorded their jingle in just one take! You can hear the children on the radio on 11th December throughout the day starting around 8.30am, so don’t forget to tune in…although if you’d like to hear them before, click on the link below!



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Last year we introduced Kristkindl for Advent and we will be doing it again this year. It is an Austrian tradition and has nothing to do with oranges and candles which is Christingle.


The idea behind it is as a community we each try and remember one person in our community in a special way leading up to Christmas. We do this by secretly praying for them, being kinder to them and at the end of term presenting them with a Christmas card, where we can identify ourselves. This year following feedback we are including staff.


Prep and Seniors will have a separate Kristkindl.  Names were drawn on Thursday morning and students will make a Christmas card for their Kristkindl. These will be collected by the student Chaplains and distributed by them in the last week of term (this allows us to ensure that nobody gets missed out).


Prep last year made cards that could be hung on a Christmas tree with a personal message to their Kristkindl which were laminated and very effective.



School Games Silver For Oakhill

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This week Oakhill have received the Sainsburys School Games Silver award for their commitment, engagement and delivery of competitive school sport in 2014/15. After completing the questionnaire for this award, the results were astounding. Weekly we offer over 40 extra curricular opportunities with 25 of those being sports and physical activity clubs. We found that 100% of our pupils engaged in at least 1 extra curricular provision each week and that every child in the school has a minimum of 2 hour of physical activity weekly! All staff also contribute to the extra curricular provision, making this very much a whole school award.


We have weekly fixtures organised in a variety of activities and last year we had almost 100 fixtures throughout the school age range. Years 5 & 6 pupils are trained as playground leaders to initiate fun sporting opportunities in the Prep school at lunch and break times. In addition to this, all of our Year Nines complete a sports leadership course and teach younger pupils within school. All of our GCSE pupils in year 10 & 11 also officiate and host a range of sporting events for the Ribble Valley and Hyndburn association including high 5, dodgeball and the inclusive sports event. We were also given recognition for appointing Sports Captains in both the Senior and Prep departments.


At Oakhill we have many active sports links with local clubs including Ribble Valley Netball Club, Oakhill Academy Football Club, Northern Dance, Lancashire Spinners Basketball, Ribble Valley Acrobatics Academy and the BEST gymnastics centre. Oakhill have specialist coaches from these establishments to run extra curricular clubs to complement and develop their progress from curriculum time. We fully support our most successful athletes with flexibility within their timetable to accommodate training and travel to represent within their sporting field and have a number of pupils representing at town, county and national level.

We are very proud of our pupils at Oakhill and our hard work and enthusiasm is paying off as we are getting some fantastic results. A huge round of applause for all involved and long may it continue!



Prize Giving

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Pupils, parents and staff celebrated Oakhill’s Annual Prize Giving on Thursday 26th November in the Sports Hall at Oakhill. Miss Mary Bailey, a former English Teacher at Oakhill, presented the prizes to returning and current pupils, in front of invited guests including the Mayoress of the Ribble Valley, Father Price, governors and members of the Baron family.


The Head Girl, Jessica Chatburn, welcomed the guests with an entertaining speech based on Disney Films, song lyrics and literature trying to convey what an Oakhill education meant to her.


The Chair of Governors, Mr Tony Baron, spoke about the magnificent achievement of the LeJog group who cycled from Land’s End to John O Groats, exceeding their £3,000 target to achieve over £5,000.


The Principal, Mrs Crouch, spoke about the successes of the last year including the excellent inspection report and the individual successes of the returning Year 11 pupils in their GCSEs. Mrs Crouch also paid tribute to Mr Gray, who retired from Oakhill in the summer having spent 36 years working as the Science teacher.Mrs Crouch described Mr Gray asincredibly loyal and faithful. “Of all the members of staff that Oakhill has had he will always be the most respected and revered. When I ask former pupils, young and old,   who was their favourite teacher the most common response is Mr Gray.”


Miss Bailey then gave out the prizes, taking time to talk to the pupils and followed this with her remarks about how Oakhill has developed in terms of the facilities but how the high standards had remained and the importance of pupils having good manners, understanding, respect and tolerance in a time when they were very much needed.


The Head Boy, Daniel Riding, then thanked Miss Bailey and members of staff as he spoke about what was important to him as a pupil of Oakhill. In his speech Daniel commented, “I used to think school was all about getting good exam results, but being here has shown me how important the rest of it is: teaching us values like participation, comradery and good humour reinforced by the wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities available.


And last but by no means least, thank you, our parents, for investing in our education, for opening the door to a place where every single, individual is valued and included and for supporting us throughout.”


Between the speeches and Prize Giving we were entertained by a solo on the harp, a singing duet and performances by the orchestra and school band. Following the proceedings there was an extensive buffet which provided an excellent opportunity for parents, staff and pupils to meet once more.

Postcards To France

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Our children in Years 4 to 6 are looking to establish new friendships with children in our partner school in Rouen, France. They have been busy putting together postcards which they have now sent to the children across the Channel.


They chose postcards which represented many of the beautiful areas in the Ribble Valley, as well as more general ones which gave a flavour of our English lifestyle. Initially, they have written in French about their hobbies and pets.


They are very excited to receive their replies and would love to meet their new friends face-to-face one day in the future!