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.

Prep Cross Country

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On the 26th of February, Prep held their annual cross country race. Despite the wintry weather in the morning, the sun came out to greet the runners at the starting line.


All of prep did very well, showing grit and determination and true Oakhill spirit.

Those making it around in the fastest time were: Grace Garstang and Jake Chippendale.


Everyone cheered each other on and it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Well done Prep!





Oakhill film makers

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Year 7 pupils Isabelle and Ruby have been busy making their own stop motion video. It was a real joint effort as Ruby kept the camera still whilst Isabelle moved the objects. Each time Isabelle moved an object the girls took a snapshot and moved the object only slightly so that it looked effective. The girls got their idea from the Lego movie which helped them to perform the video.





Year 5 are hoping for a bumper crop!

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Year 5 have carefully chitted their potatoes as part of the Grow Your Own Potatoes competition. The annual event involves preparing, planting and harvesting two varieties of potato – this year Rocket and Athlete. The winning school will be the one that achieves the greatest yield of potato on a set date. After great deliberation the green fingered group decided that most of the crop should be used to make chips (well there’s a surprise!), some should be baked and some used to make William’s favourite mash!


Whole School Mass

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Mass was celebrated on the first day back to school this week to remind us that Lent has begun. Prior to the mass students wrote down up to 3 things they wanted God to help them with during Lent – these anonymous notes were then collected by the student chaplains from Years 6 and 9 and placed in baskets on the altar throughout mass. Our celebrant, Fr Peter Hopkinson, made special mention of these during the penitential rite.


Students from across the school as usual took an active participation in the mass, with our Head Boy, William Singleton introducing the Mass and welcoming Father Peter. Readers were from Years 5 and 7. Year 3 performed a drama called The Lost Sheep, which was a retelling of the bible story when the Shepherd went in search of a lost sheep; a parable for how Jesus seeks out the ‘lost’ and cares for them. A group from the Prep Choir sang the psalm and the offertory was brought by Year 2.  Mr Lacey, Mrs Sutterby and Year 9 pupil, Amy Wellock played a woodwind trio to abide with me during communion.


After communion, our student Chaplains from Years 5 – 11 were given their certificates from the Diocese of Salford and commissioned to be chaplains within the school.  Our celebration concluded with Mr Lacey and the Year 8 Samba Band leading us all in “Be Bold”.

Mrs Riley thanked all who had taken part – especially Mrs Keane and Mr Lacey for organising the music and Mr Kelly for planning the liturgy.


Our Nursery is Outstanding!

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The staff and pupils at Oakhill are celebrating after receiving their best ever Inspection Report. Teaching, governance and leadership were awarded excellent and Oakhill Nursery and Early Years were given outstanding.


Of Oakhill Nursery and Early Years the report says, “the early years provision is outstanding at meeting the needs of the range of children. All members of staff are highly committed to the children in their care. They know them and their families extremely well.”


The inspectors said, “well qualified, experienced and enthusiastic staff provide a range of experiences to enhance the youngest children’s progress, particularly in the prime areas of speech, physical and social development. For the older children, practitioners have high expectations. They provide a stimulating range of high quality activities, and employ varied teaching strategies, including well-targeted interventions for those with additional needs, to ensure that children develop their imagination and problem solving skills, become eager learners and progress well.”


The inspectors also said, “the ‘key person’ system and the warm relationships throughout EYFS enable all children to form secure emotional bonds enabling them to explore, learn and develop. They behave extremely well and learn to share. The children are extremely well looked after.”


Oakhill Principal, Mrs Riley, said, “We are absolutely thrilled that Oakhill’s strengths have been recognised. The school has improved from good to excellent or outstanding in four key areas – teaching, Early Years, governance and leadership. Oakhill has always had an excellent reputation for its caring, family environment and the improvement in academic attainment for all of the pupils in our care is a cause for celebration.”


“I am particularly pleased with the fact that the distinct nature of Oakhill was recognised by the Inspection Team. The report states that ‘Focusing upon the needs of pupils as individuals is a hallmark of its ethos.”




Oakhill Celebrates Report Success

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The staff and pupils at Oakhill are celebrating after receiving their best ever Inspection Report. The inspection team visited at the end of January and they came into lessons, spoke to staff and children, looked at books and at the pupil and parent questionnaire responses. They were in school from Tuesday to Friday to complete this work.


The published report shows that the school has improved in four main areas. Teaching, governance and leadership were awarded excellent and Oakhill Nursery and Early Years were given outstanding. Oakhill was already excellent in the previous report on the pupils’ personal development, pastoral care and welfare, health and safety and remained excellent in these areas.


The inspectors said “The pupils’ achievement and learning are good; standards of attainment have improved in recent years and they are outstanding in EYFS. Pupils are strongly supported by the excellent quality of teaching throughout the school. Links with the local community are strong and the pupils benefit from an enriching range of trips and visits.”


They also said “The quality of pupils’ personal, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent. The school fully meets its aim of developing spiritual awareness within a cohesive community, whilst instilling mutual respect and understanding. Service to others permeates the daily life of the school.”


Of Oakhill Nursery and Early Years the report says, “ the early years provision is outstanding at meeting the needs of the range of children. All members of staff are highly committed to the children in their care. They know them and their families extremely well.”


Oakhill Principal, Mrs Riley, said, “We are absolutely thrilled that Oakhill’s strengths have been recognised. The school has improved from good to excellent or outstanding in four key areas – teaching, Early Years, governance and leadership. Oakhill has always had an excellent reputation for its caring, family environment and the improvement in academic attainment for all of the pupils in our care is a cause for celebration.”


“I am particularly pleased with the fact that the distinct nature of Oakhill was recognised by the Inspection Team. The report states that ‘Focusing upon the needs of pupils as individuals is a hallmark of its ethos.”

Shake Shak

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A group of Year 9 pupils achieved marketing success at an enterprise event hosted by Young Enterprise at UCFB Burnley. The team of ten pupils invested in a mobile milkshake business based in London. Upon securing financial backing they decided to develop the business by capitalising on its mobile nature and touring the summer festivals. “Shake Shak” chose to launch at Glastonbury Festival with music themed specials such as “Uptown shake” and “All about the shake”. Creativity flowed through the design of the logo which featured across staff uniform, promotional materials, menus and on the “Shake Shak” van.


The Marketing award was given to the team that communicated most effectively with its customers.

Congratulations to Abbie, Adam, Amy, Charlotte, Emma, Hannah, Harriet, Imogen, Sam and Taylor.

Move it! Shake it! Enjoy it! at the Shake Shak.



Young Historians

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You don’t have to look too far to find evidence of the past. A walk down to Whalley Parish church with Year 5 and 6 showed just how true that is. As part of our local time line topic, the children set off to see what they could find in the church yard. Their first find was the ancient chancel door complete with sanctuary knocker. Thought to date from the 13th century, the door was a reminder of the days when the church offered protection to those in danger.


Next were the three Celtic crosses standing tall and proud amidst the many tomb stones. These were said to have dated from the time of Paulinus in the 7th century but more recently, historians have agreed that they are more likely to have been from the 10th century – still very old! A huge variety of windows gave us the opportunity to study Norman and medieval architectural details, while the tower proved a fine example of 15th century engineering. The children were intrigued by the grave stones and searched determinedly for the oldest and the most interesting.


Armed with iPads, the children took photos of the evidence they found; back in class they have been using their photos for further research work and as the starting point for some careful observation drawing. We didn’t have long in Whalley but we discovered a huge amount about the history of our beautiful village. Next stop – the Abbey!


Job Vacancy

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Oakhill are looking for an experienced Learning Support Assistant

If you are experienced at working with children who need individual support and would like to work in a close family environment then take a look at our vacancies page for details of a new post.

Pancake Fun

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All the children in holiday care had a great time on Shrove Tuesday.


They all enjoyed their pancakes and the children chose their own toppings from lemon, sugar, Nutella, syrup, raisins or jam.


Pancake day races were also held, with paper pancakes!




Disco Fever

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Oakhill Prep pupils celebrated the end of a long half term in style with their very own disco night.


With tunes a-rocking and the crisp packets and cans of drink a-popping the dance floor was a grooving, moving place.


Many thanks to Jedi discos and the Oakhill Association for providing yet another night of great fun!


Year 6 Maths Challenge

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Over the past few months Year 6 have been challenging themselves by competing in a times table challenge each week – 100 mixed tables questions in 5 minutes! Can it be done? Yes it can!


Everyone has improved their knowledge of tables facts and can recall them much more quickly! Several class members have achieved a perfect score of 100 and moved on to harder challenges! Excellent work Year 6.

Chaplaincy Day

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Twelve of our students from Years 5 to 10 went to SS Peter & Paul, Ribchester to complete their Salford Diocesan Chaplaincy Training led by Mr Kelly on Friday 13 February.  The day began in prayer before the students learnt about the history of Chaplaincy and then reflected on what it means to be a chaplain at Oakhill.  Students worked in groups reflecting on how they wanted Chaplaincy to be at Oakhill.  They studied Diocesan guidelines and created their own mission statement for Chaplaincy at Oakhill.  Later in the day they would use their mission statement to help to create an action plan.


Students learnt about the features of a Catholic Church as they explored SS Peter & Paul.  The church was originally built to look like a barn from the outside when it was illegal for Catholics to celebrate Mass in England during the reign of Henry VIII.  They also walked a short distance to visit Stydd Chapel, where they were able to compare and contrast the features of a Catholic and Protestant place of worship.


Students then created their own video of “We are the Chaplains” which is being worked on by the students during half term.


Lunch was very kindly hosted by Mrs Keane in her home and then students had an opportunity for some fresh air on Ribchester park.  We then returned to SS Peter & Paul’s to end our day how it had begun.  An enjoyable day was had by all and the Student Chaplain’s will receive their certificates from the Diocese at our next whole school mass on Tuesday 24 February.


Year 4 Inspect their Assembly

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Year 4 with iPads

Our assembly was based on our views on the school and how we would see the place if we were inspectors! We used the Oakhill prayer as a framework and talked about how Oakhill is a family in which we are all nurtured.

Group Assembly

We finished by showing a gallery of pictures that we have created using the app Paper53 and a movie trailer on iMovie which will give the pupils the ideas for their own movies to be created over half term.