Monthly Archives

February 2016

Silver D of E Adventures

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Our Year 11 Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group enjoyed more adventures this Saturday as they headed out in the Dales for their first independent challenge.  Heading to Wharfedale, the group were provided with maps and compasses and a route card detailing their instructions for the day.  They started with a 450m climb from Buckden up a steep valley to the summit of Buckden Pike.  At the summit they were met by staff for lunch and enjoyed some incredible views across the Dales.  The temperature at the summit remained below zero which allowed for a quick bit of ice-skating!

The group then headed off again to descend into Starbotton, navigating Moorland paths and putting their skills into practice.  The final leg of their journey took them along Wharfedale to finish in Kettlewell.  The group succeeded in their challenge and performed brilliantly – working together very well to finish well ahead of schedule, walking 15km and climbing over 500m.

They can now look forward to their next challenge which will be a 60km 3 day expedition taking place further north in the remote reaches of Swaledale at Easter.  Well done team!

You’re Hired!

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Year 11 pupils were interviewed this week to prepare them for the process of College and Apprenticeship applications.  Each pupil had prepared a personal statement outlining their course and career choices plus their achievements to date in and out of school.

They were asked a series of probing questions by our very own ‘Jeremy Paxman’ and ‘Lord Sugar’, which contrary to their television egos were very complimentary about Year 11.

Each pupil received constructive feedback to refine their interview technique and polish their personal statements which will help them secure the offer of a place at college or on an apprenticeship programme.

Thank you to Joe Morris and Jim Pugh for their assistance and support.

Industrial Revolution

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Year 8 History have been studying the Industrial Revolution and thinking about how it has been interpreted over time. They have produced their own Art Gallery ideas imagining they are the curator and deciding what images should be put into their exhibition. Harry and Isabelle focused on people whereas Ruby, Amy and Phoebe built an overview of the social, political and economic changes and looked at the positive and negative aspects. Arthur looked at the power behind the revolution and James and Freddie looked at trains as the embodiment of the Industrial Revolution. Excellent work Year 8 – well done.

Annual Senior Cross Country Run

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Wednesday 10th February was a lovely bright day which was perfect conditions for our annual senior cross country run. All pupils in year 7 to 11 took part and completed the course, which was the muddiest it had ever been!

The first race was the elite run which requires pupils to complete two and a half laps of our course. This race has been running at Oakhill since 2012 and was set up to test some of our stronger runners. This year saw our largest number of entries with 10 runners putting themselves forward. A fantastic race took place with Daniel Riding dominating from the start. After the first lap he had pulled ahead by a good 100 metres. Jack Hodder, Tyler Phillips, Arthur Shaw, Giles Bridge, James Sutterby, Jacob Woods and Alex Lutwyche all found their pace and maintained it throughout the race.

Daniel was determined to beat his own record that he had set in 2015 and after the second lap was almost 300m in the lead, even after this he seemed to sprint the final half lap and took the title of the elite boys race winner smashing his PB time by 26 seconds, this was a tremendous achievement in such wet and boggy conditions. In second place was Jack Hodder who ran a fantastic race showing great fitness and determination after recovering from his horrendous injury last year. In third position was Tyler Phillips who was a late entry to the elite race and should be really proud of himself.

Lucy Fielden was the only girl to compete in the elite race and was set to beat the record that had been standing since the inaugural girls elite race in 2013. Lucy has been training with Mrs O’Kane since Christmas and had knocked two minutes off the record in her lunchtime sessions.

However, Lucy had to pull up after the first lap due to an injury she had sustained in the county cross country event that she competed in at the weekend. Well done to all of the elite runners who put themselves forward for the more enduring and gruelling race!

The second race of the day was the girls race, which consists of one and a half laps of the track this was a great race from the start with 3 distinct groups within the race with large gaps between each group. The top 5 or 6 girls were grouped together and this quickened the pace. There were some fantastic performances and some great individual battles with the girls showing great focus and determination.

This year we had our youngest ever winner of the girls cross country race with Isabelle Pugh from year 8 sprinting down the BMX track to tack first place, this was a fantastic well earned win and we are all very proud of Isabelle’s achievement. Isabelle was followed closely by an even younger competitor Juliet Griffiths in second. In third place was Harriet Ashworth a veteran of the course.

The final race of the day was the boys 2 lap race and there was all to run for as there was a strong field and the title could have been any bodies.  The boys always start off very fast to establish their position within the group and after the first lap there was a group of 5 boys who had pulled away from the rest.

There was a secret dark horse within the race – new boy Herbie Davies who had hidden his talent throughout his first half term and not mentioned that he was such a good runner! Herbie pulled away from the crowd to finish the race with a good 50 metre lead, which for him means an automatic place in the elite run next year and being a member of the schools running squad! Second place was Jacob Lutwyche and third was Jacob  McHugh.

All of the pupils involved made a great effort and finished with smiles on their faces. This was a really good event and thanks must go to Mr Peel and Mrs O’Kane for coaching the pupils during Monday lunchtime running club and for all of the effort and determination from the pupils throughout the term in PE lessons.

Well done everyone!



Basketball Academy

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Oakhill’s year 10 and 11 basketball squad were invited to basketball coach Steven Gayle’s basketball academy to train and play against his academy team. This was a great opportunity for our players to play on a full size court, and with an official referee.

The session started with shooting and movement drills to warm up and then a brief tactics session. Our players then took part in 5 mini ten minute games. To begin with our teams were nervous and this showed in our rushed play and hasty decisions however, this improved once we gained our composure.

Between each 10 minute game a debrief was given by Mrs Smith and Steven. In the consequent games a much more relaxed style was adopted and with this came improved decision making and application of skills. By the last session our team was moving the ball much more fluidly and using zonal defence to block out the dominant attackers from the academy.

Lots was learnt from the session and areas were identified to be addressed after the half term. It was a great opportunity for all the pupils involved and we thank Accrington Academy for inviting us to the session and we look forward to returning again before Easter.



Holy Door

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On Thursday 11 February we welcomed the Holy Year Door, which is touring all the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Salford.  On 8 December 2015 Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy throughout the Catholic Church.

Holy Years were introduced by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300 to allow people to receive a special indulgence for the forgiveness of their sins.  They now occur approximately every 25 years.  To gain the indulgence it used to be necessary to pass through the Holy Year doors of the four Papal basilicas in Rome.  In 2000, Pope John Paul II reduced this to passing through just one holy door.

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, has sent this door around all the schools to remind children of the Mercy and forgiveness of God.  Our Prep students had an assembly this morning and were able to pass through the Holy Door to symbolise leaving bad things behind them and looking forward to a brighter future.

The children had written prayer intentions that they posted through the heart shaped letterbox in the door and these were later burnt to symbolise offering our prayers up to God.

Chinese New Year

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Pre school have had a great time celebrating Chinese New Year through various activities.

They have had a very busy week , starting by painting their own Chinese dragons with chop sticks, made red dragon islands with the Playdough and designed their own Chinese lanterns for display around the classroom.

They had a Chinese restaurant in their role play area, which proved very popular!

Their Chinese dragon paraded around school. They made lots of noise and showed off the fantastic dragon that they had made

Some of the girls brought in their own Chinese outfits from home to show the class. They looked fantastic!

Scarlett and friends tried to pick up noodles with chopsticks, very tricky!

The children tried to eat their delicious dinner of sweet and sour chicken with rice with chopsticks.

Finally, as the lucky colour in China is red and with Valentine’s Day coming up they have all had a very red snack! The children have tried red peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, grapes and red jelly.

Well done pre school, what a busy week you have all had!



Mock Trial Trip

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The teams from Martyrs and Scholars houses visited Preston Magistrates’ Court today to see the real working environment of a court room. They were met by barrister James Hawks and Magistrate David Spencer who took them into Court Room Number 3. Mr Spencer explained to students the role of a Magistrate and talked them through the court room layout and personnel. Then those over 14 went to observe proceedings in Court Number 2 whilst younger members thought through scenarios and gave their sentences from the Magistrates’ chairs. All students listened well and asked and answered questions. Our thanks to Mr Hawks and Mr Spencer for giving up their time and for making the morning so informative and worthwhile.

Students now have to continue to prepare for the final trial competition which will take place on Monday 7th March and will be overseen by District Judge. Watch this space…..



Bringing Circulation To Life

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Year 10 GCSE PE class have been designing innovative ways to learn and remember the circulation of the blood around the body. The lessons started with the pupils running the course that blood takes around the double pump of the body.

Collecting oxygen in the lungs then travelling back to the heart and then being pumped (punched) around the body, they then had to complete burpees until they lost all of their oxygen to the working muscles.

The deoxygenated blood then travels to the heart to be pumped again to the lungs to collect more oxygen. This brought the transport system of the body to life.

Mrs Smith then challenged the class to design a heart including the 4 chambers, valves, septum and all of the arteries and veins.

The class came up with some excellent resources made from pieces of PE equipment and they were all able to label and recite the path of blood through the heart.

Under 13s Basketball Team

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Our under 13 basketball team had their inaugural match against Norden this week. We took our whole squad and 8 boys played these included Giles Bridge, James Sutterby, Freddie Corless, Arthur Shaw, Ellis Lund, Harry Pike, Alex Lutwyche and Sam Chatburn.

Our boys were slightly nervous at our first game but from the outset were focused and determined to succeed. We started well with Freddie showing his dominance from the outset and after the first 5 minutes were 4-0 up.

The game was very evenly matched and the ball travelled end to end. Giles excelled in speed dribbling quickly losing his opponent on numerous occasions. Freddie showed his skill and prowess using tricks and flair to beat the opposition but the ball just didn’t want to go in the basket for him! James’ tall stature helped with this and we won a lot of the rebounds.

We rolled our subs frequently to give our players a break from the fast paced game. At half time it was neck and neck 12 all at three quarter time it was neck and neck at 22 all. The boys had to dig deep and work hard during the final quarter.

The boys showed great mental strength and worked well as a team. When the final whistle went the score was 30-24, our boys had managed to pull away a 6 point lead. A fantastic achievement for their first match. Mrs Smith was really proud of the achievement of the team, well done lads! We aim to play some more fixtures up until Easter.


Boat Building Challenge

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The annual Year 7 boat building challenge was undertaken with great enthusiasm today. It was a close call but the joint winners were Alexander and the dynamic duo of Sam and Josh. With similar designs they both managed to hold an impressive 1100g – not bad for one piece of paper!


Lenten Promises

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Year 9 have been fulfilling their Lenten promises by helping Mish, our caretaker out in Mick’s absence.

The whole class chose to spend their form time picking up litter and many of the boys gave up their lunchtime to wash and clean out the school mini buses.



Isabelle Receives Dean’s Award

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Isabelle Pugh, in Year 8, has been a committed member of the Blackburn Cathedral Girls’ Choir for some time, taking part in regular Sunday services as well as special festival occasions. As part of her training, she has been following a course run by the RSCM (Royal Society of Church Music) which leads to a Diocesan Choral Award.  On Sunday, she was presented with a Dean’s Award by the Dean of Blackburn, the Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong in a service of Evensong at the Cathedral. Congratulations, Isabelle!


Year 10 Talk Pollution

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Year 10 were treated to a talk from local geotechnical expert Michael Buckley owner of bEk Enviro. The relevance of the pollution topic of the current GCSE curriculum was clear as Mr Buckley discussed local case studies that he has been involved in and helped the pupils understand what is required for site investigations.

It was a really good experience for the pupils to find out about another career path and how the impact of our society has lasting effects on our environment. From Japanese knotweed to the prevailing asbestos problems the environmental detective explained the hazards and what measures can be taken to control them. A very valuable talk and many thanks to Mr Buckley for visiting again this year.

Year 3 Suffer For Their Art

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Sometimes a teacher feels inspired and challenged to create learning opportunities that help the pupils to empathise with a certain person or situation. So, with Year Three studying European artists this term one such opportunity presented itself.

The class have been studying the artist Michelangelo and in particular his painting of the Sistine Chapel in Rome where he spent four years lying on his back painting the ceiling of the chapel.

In order to get just a tiny idea of what it might have felt like Year Three have spent the last two Friday afternoons on their backs painting pictures fixed to the underside of their desks.

Words they used to describe the experience were…painful, exhausting, exciting, challenging, dizzy and tiring.

They all now have a much greater understanding of how Michelangelo literally suffered for his art and not surprisingly they have no real desire to repeat the lesson…I wonder why?!



Silver Duke of Edinburgh

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This weekend saw the start of adventures for the Silver D of E group as they headed out into the wild to fine tune their expedition skills.

They ventured to our local moors above Sabden and Wiswell where the group began working together to practise navigation skills, revisiting the techniques learnt during their Bronze expeditions last year.

They also learnt more advance skills to use in low visibility.  The weather provided a further challenge with wild winds and regular hail showers keeping the group on their toes.

The team showed great determination but were glad to return to warmer surroundings!  They are looking forward to further training next month when they will venture out into the Yorkshire Dales for their first independent adventure.

Playground Leaders

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Last week all of our Year 5 and 6 pupils were trained by Gareth Martindale, our school games organiser to become playground leaders. The pupils completed a theory session discussing leadership qualities and people who exhibit these. The pupils also spoke about role models and who they aspire to be like. These ranged from Christiano Ronaldo, Mary Berry, Mrs. Smith and also siblings. It was a lovely session where the pupils highlighted the importance of hard work, co-operation, empathy and determination all of the qualities that encompass our ethos at Oakhill.

Our pupils then participated in a practical session trying out new games and fun challenges. They learned how to differentiate tasks to make them easier or harder so that anyone could get involved and achieve success. This was our focus to make all of the tasks inclusive to engage all ages and levels of ability. All of the pupils passed the course with flying colours and Maeve Bentley was selected by Gareth as our playground leader of the day. This was due to her positive contribution to the class discussion and good ideas of fun activities, well done Maeve!

This week Mrs Smith followed up the session by grouping the pupils into teams to lead sessions every lunchtime for Years 4 to Reception. Pupils all signed up for a day when they were free of extra curricular commitments. Here are our teams:

Monday – Monty (team leader), Archie, Aaron, Matthew, Max and James

Tuesday – Maeve (team leader) Florence, Ben, Oscar, Oliver and Abigail

Wednesday – Leigha (team leader) Betsy, Lily, Felicity, Gabriel, Josh and Olivia

Thursday – Ruby (team leader), William, Finn and Louis

Friday – Olivia (team leader) Sorcha, Christopher, William and Ollie.

The teams were then set the challenge of designing a fun game or activity that would be suitable for any child in Prep. They had to include a scoring system and rules. There were some fantastic ideas using a wide range of equipment. Some of the activities were elephant football, defend the den, an assault course, relay races and a variety of skill challenges.

The pupils then presented their games to the class. This was a fantastic session where all pupils showed a maturity beyond their years and presented confidently to the class, Mrs Smith was very impressed. The playground leaders sessions will start on Monday 1st February and a leader of the week will be selected to gain merit points for their house. No doubt there are lots of fun and games in store for all of our younger Prep pupils.



Cosmic Classroom

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At the beginning of this term schools were invited to send a question by video to British ESA astronaut Tim Peake. We are pleased to announce that Year 10 pupil Imogen Campbell, 14, has been chosen as one of the videos to be shown to astronaut Tim Peake as part of the Cosmic Classroom event!

More than 7000 videos have been submitted and only 20 questions have been chosen to be put to Tim. Imogen’s winning question to Tim is, “Has being in space changed your outlook on life?”

The live link-up with the International Space Station will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd February at 2pm and will last an hour.

Click here to see Imogen’s video