Monthly Archives

November 2016

The Chief Scout’s Bronze Award

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James Hennighan and Zakary Crook, in Year 3, were presented with a special award at Beavers last week: The Chief Scout’s Bronze Award.  The boys attend St Wulstan’s Beavers where they were able to gain all six Challenge badges in order to receive the award.  They are very much looking forward to starting Cubs in the near future. Well done boys!

Prize Giving 2016

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Pupils, parents and staff celebrated Oakhill’s Annual Prize Giving last week in the Sports Hall at Oakhill. Mr Bill Honeywell, presented the prizes to returning and current pupils, in front of invited guests including the Deputy Mayor of the Ribble Valley, governors and members of the Baron family.

Head Boy, Alfie Marriott, welcomed the guests with an entertaining speech based on his time at Oakhill, and the journey he experienced during his time here, including some of the performances, such as Yanamano, which he was involved in.

The Chair of Governors, Mr Tony Baron, spoke about how it was a privilege to be at Oakhill and to experience the school’s family tradition, small class sizes and Catholic ethos. Mr Baron congratulated the Year 11’s on their outstanding GCSE grades and the dedicated and caring teaching staff.

Our Principal, Mrs Crouch, spoke about how change is inevitable, life goes on and brings new benefits. Mrs Crouch went on to describe last year as, ‘a vintage premier cru’. There were competitions, educational visits, a visit from the Bishop and pupil instigated events. The highlight of Mrs Crouch’s year was having the honour of handing out the GCSE results.

Mr Honeywell then gave out the prizes, and followed this with a motivational speech reminding us to look forward and not to dwell too much on the past.

Head Girl, Harriet Ashworth, thanked Mr Honeywell and spoke about the highlights of her time at Oakhill, including various trips she had taken and the many sporting opportunities which Harriet had taken advantage of.

Between the speeches and Prize Giving we were entertained by Year 8 pupil Holly with a solo on the violin and a solo on the baritone by Year 10 pupil Giles Bridge. Following the proceedings there was an extensive buffet which provided an excellent opportunity for parents, staff and pupils to meet once more.

November in Pre School

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November has been a very busy month in Pre-school. At the beginning of the month we learnt how to keep ourselves safe during bonfire night and had lots of fun making firework pictures by splash painting.

We learnt about Armistice and we all painted some beautiful poppies.

We have been looking at The Tiger Who Came For Tea’, and made some beautiful tiger shapes and stripes.

We also had a visit from Harold the Giraffe in the Life Education bus who showed us all how to keep our bodies healthy.

Year 6 Enjoy The Life Education Centre

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Year 6 enjoyed their session in the Life Education Centre. They learnt all about the body and how it works and through drama and role play sessions, they explored peer pressure and how to make sensible choices by being assertive not aggressive.

Due to popular demand, the well-loved Harold also made an appearance!

Alzheimer’s Assembly

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Tuesday’s assembly was led confidently by Year 10 pupil Giles who started by asking us to recollect what we did for our 8th birthday, most of the staff struggled but luckily a number of the pupils could remember. The reason for the question was to make us think about the importance of memories and how Alzheimer’s can affect this fundamental ability.

He told us the poignant story of his grandfather, a PhD physicist and brilliant musician who, as a consequence of this disease had to rely upon writing tasks down in a diary and how later, even words became unrecognisable to him.

So, the following day, senior staff and pupils were asked by the Student Council to wear an item of clothing that related to a memory of the past and to pay a £2 fine to be donated to The Alzheimer’s Society. This raised £176 which will be sent off to The Alzheimer’s Society.   This is a charity who support people with dementia in their own home, carry out research and campaign for awareness of this disease.

Trip To Rouen

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Over half term Year 10 pupils, Phoebe and Giles spent several days in Rouen, read their reports below:

Over half term I enjoyed an interesting trip to Rouen. I stayed with a French exchange student, Sophie, and her family. They lived in the centre of Rouen so it was easy to get out and about and see different places. I visited the gothic Rouen Cathedral and the Grande Horlage, a splendid clock located near the Cathedral. One of my favourite visits was to the Jean of Arc museum which was beautifully presented with projections onto walls and screens. We also managed a trip to a local funfair and beach. It was one of the biggest funfairs I have ever been to.

Towards the end of my trip I spent two days in John Paul II, Sophie’s school. It had a very different atmosphere to Oakhill and I especially liked the fact you could wear your own clothes. I went to classes in the attached primary school and joined our year group in French lessons. I really enjoyed my time in Rouen. It was a good experience and I now know some new words in French.

Over half term Phoebe and I stayed with our French exchange families. I stayed with Maëlig and her family. We looked around Rouen and walked along the river on some days. It was really fun and interesting learning about the French culture and how you could drive at a younger age but you only had one chance for getting something wrong. The school we went to was massive! It was interesting to see how the students worked and how the teachers taught the class. The food was different to what we normally have in England, but it was interesting to see what they ate at lunch.

Café Autisan

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Café Autisan, located within the grounds of Whalley Abbey, is where Mary has been doing a few weeks of work experience.

Mary has become quite the master of cappuccino making, but is also getting involved in all aspects including serving, clearing tables and helping in the kitchen.  

The staff have been incredibly welcoming and both Mary and Mrs Sutterby would recommend paying the café a visit for lunch or treating yourself to one of their delicious afternoon teas. 

Bethany Visit

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On Tuesday, we were privileged to receive the company of the wonderful choir from Bethany, an orphanage in Tanzania. Children and teachers from Nursery, Prep and Seniors were fortunate to hear the children and teachers singing songs in the native language from Mwanza in Tanzania and in English.

They spoke to us about their life before joining the orphanage, how they work and learn together in the Bethany family and their hopes for the future. Oakhill has been supporting the charity for a number of years and students from Bethany have taken GCSE examinations at Oakhill. Representatives from the Student Council and Chaplaincy Group were happy to present donations from recent fundraising activities.

We were then even more fortunate when the choir was willing to sing at Grandparents’ tea as a special treat. Thank you to all the organisers, teachers and children for joining us at Oakhill and we wish you all a safe journey back to Tanzania at the end of the month.

Barcelona Photography Competition

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Following Year 11’s recent visit to Barcelona, several pupils submitted their photos in to a competition. The winning photo of the columns in Park Guell was taken by Ethan with Harriet and Taylor’s photos coming a close second and third.

Year 4 Egyptians

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Year 4 were given a homework task over the holidays to design and create an Egyptian game linking to what they had previously learnt in their topic lessons.

What an amazing job they did!

The final products were good enough to sell!

They should be extremely proud of themselves for the time and the effort that they have put into this task.


Student Council Raise Money At Bonfire

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At Bonfire Night, the Senior Student Council raised funds for school and charitable projects on their stall. Representatives from the Council took turns to man the stall and sold Chocolate Apples (made by the Students), cakes (thanks to Ellis’ Gran and Mrs Sutterby) and Hot Vimto! Also customers could try our apple dunking challenge with many taking the plunge and winning an apple and good bag. Well done everyone!

Year 8 and 9 Head To Stratford-upon-Avon Day 2

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A beautiful morning greeted us on day two and we made our way to Holy Trinity Church in Stratford to see where Shakespeare was laid to rest. We then returned to the RSC to meet Chris Hill, Sales and Marketing Director of the RSC, and Sarah, from Intel, who is one of the producers on the new production of the Tempest. Despite being very busy with production rehearsals, Chris and Sarah kindly made time to talk to us about the production and about the RSC’s work in the world.

Students had really enjoyed the new production the previous evening, which is the first in the world to use digital technology to create a on stage avatar using the live movements of an actor. The whole show was a visual feast and yet showed tremendous integrity to the original text and students had lots of questions about the complexities of producing the play. Our thanks to Chris and Bayley at the RSC and Sarah for talking to us.

Students then enjoyed a fascinating trip to Coughton Court, again being well looked after by a superb team of volunteers. The 15th Century House is home to the Throckmorton family and despite being closed to the public, we were fortunate to be given a guided tour round the house and two churches on the estate.

Students saw the amazing priest hole built by Nicholas Owen and only discovered in the 20th Century. They then saw the room where the family of the gunpowder plotters awaited news from London in November 1605. The afternoon ended with a treasure hunt around the garden. Our thanks too to the staff who organised and led our visit.

We then drove home in our own tempest on the M6, certainly tired but enriched by a wonderful two days. Thanks too to all trip leaders and the students were all superb – well done!

Year 8 and 9 Head To Stratford-upon-Avon

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Last week, many members of Year 8 and 9 enjoyed an overnight trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.  Upon our arrival, we enjoyed an interesting presentation about  the characters and themes of ‘The Tempest’, with several scenes being impressively brought to life by a group of actors from the RSC.

Next, we visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace, where the playwright was born and lived.  The guides explained what would have happened in each room and we got a sense of what everyday life would have been like for the young William and his family.

From there, we walked to the Guild Hall.  We learnt about the importance of the building as the centre of the community in Shakespeare’s time.   Upstairs, we found ourselves in a Latin lesson; Mrs Crouch was impressive, and the rest of us did our best!   We sat in the very classroom frequented by Shakespeare and his classmates, and learnt how lessons and the curriculum were quite different then.  We had the opportunity to write using quills, and some dressed up as Elizabethan scholars.

After dinner at Pizza Express, we were ready for the ‘main event’… experiencing a brand-new production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ by the RSC at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Starring Russell Simon Beale as Prospero, we were delighted to find that this spectacular adaptation was a visual delight, being packed full of new technology and fantastic music.   We all thoroughly enjoyed the performance and gave it a firm ‘thumbs up’.


Year 5 Explorers

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Year 5 have been developing their map-reading skills this term.

They have used ordnance survey maps to identify places of interest in the local area and also discovered how to use coordinates to locate specific areas.

In addition, they have learnt how to use a compass and plotted their own route around the school grounds.

Fabulous Bonfire Night

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Friday 11th November saw Oakhill celebrate the seasonal custom of Bonfire Night, on their return from Half Term, with another successful gathering. The huge bonfire roared and the 15 minute firework display enchanted. Oakhill are well known for their legendary meat and potato pie and warm hospitality. The PTA did wonders catering for visitors every need with illuminations for the children, sweets, cakes and coffees and of course the opportunity to join friends afterwards in the Atrium Bar.

Pupils of the Enterprise Group sold out of their fabulous ‘wax ‘n’ glow’ candles, a product which uses granulated, crystalised wax which needs no melting and can be topped up. The Group has entered the enterprise competition ‘Tycoon in Schools’ – run by the Peter Jones Foundation. See them next at the Oakhill Christmas Market.

Well done to everyone for supporting the event in their hundreds and all the PTA and school staff for all their hard work.

GB Success

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Following on from a highly successful 2014/15 season as Captain of the U15 Bradford Bulldogs Ice Hockey Club, Jacob Lutwyche, Year 11 pupil at Oakhill School, Whalley was awarded the prestigious All-Stars shirt whist helping to secure victory for the Northern England U15 team at the UK’s premier junior ice hockey Conference tournament in May of this year.

In July, Jacob from Ribchester represented both the U16 and U18 Great Britain teams in the biennial Ball Hockey World Championships and played against strong competition from countries including USA, Canada and Switzerland.

Not content with a full schedule in the Summer, Jacob undertook a gruelling series of trials in October, and has since been selected to represent the Great Britain U16 Ice Hockey team in Dumfries, Scotland between Christmas and the New Year. The tournament will see our country’s elite U16s playing against Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium.

With a busy schedule studying for his final year of GCSEs at Oakhill School, Whalley, Jacob hopes to secure a place at one of the top colleges in Canada to continue his education and his ice hockey success.

Running The Lights At Blackpool

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Once again a group of Oakhill runners headed to Blackpool last Thursday evening to enjoy a 9km run up the coast taking in the illuminations on the way.

Our group of 11 beat the crowds as they watched the lights being switched on at 5pm at the starting line.

They then ran past familiar sights such as the pleasure beach, tower and piers, enjoying the light show on the way.

Finishing in Bispham in just under an hour the group were rewarded with a well-earned fish and chip supper!

Well done everyone and special thanks to Mrs. Everitt for driving the bus for us.


Whole School Walk

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We were blessed with fine weather for the annual whole school walk which took place on the last Friday of Autumn half term. 

The walk is a popular event in the school calendar and is always well supported by pupils. This year, all proceeds from the walk will be donated to The Bethany Project, a local charity that supports vulnerable young people in Tanzania.

Reception to Year 6 ventured up to Spring Wood for a circuit to the top, taking in the beautiful view of Whalley village and glimpses of school in the distance.

All the pupils then enjoyed a tasty packed lunch before heading out around the wood for a further afternoon of adventure.

The senior pupils headed over to the Nick ‘O Pendle and despite encountering some boggy patches on the way, all managed to reach the goal in good spirits.  

A highlight of the day was the annual inter house conkers competition,

the tension was palpable as the completion got into full swing…

results will be released in due course, but no guesses as to which house master was the champion.

Harvest Festival

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This year’s Harvest assembly was a wonderful event in which the children’s re-enactment of the Harvest lifted everyone’s spirits, especially the Harvest Samba Song.

The group from THOMAS, including Father John, were overwhelmed by the children’s efforts; their performance; the food collected and the paintings, which will be used to decorate the drop in centre. The speakers shared their stories with the children about how they found hope in going to THOMAS and eventually finding a place to work and help others.

We are looking into ways in which we can hold a regular collection for THOMAS throughout the year rather than just at Harvest.


Western Front Competition Winner

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Further to the summer cycling tour of the World War One Battlefields of Flanders, Year 9 student, Isabelle, entered the Western Front Association North Lancashire Branch’s annual competition for all schools in Lancashire. Students can enter a piece of writing, artwork or video about the Western Front and entries are subject to judging through a rigorous set of criteria including content and presentation.

Isabelle produced a poster map detailing the route taken around Ypres and information about each of the sites visited as well as her own reflections on what she had seen. She was delighted to find out that she was given first place and Terry Dean from the Western Front Association came to school to give Isabelle her trophy, book on World War One and £100 prize.

Isabelle has decided to donate part of her prize money to Talbot House, where the students stayed in Popringhe, Belgium. On receiving her prize Isabelle said, “I am delighted to have received this award and thank the Western Front Association North Lancashire for organising the competition. The tour was a very moving experience; we cycled in all weathers and I really thought about the poor soldiers during the war.”