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Below are the school articles for the National BBC schools report:

My Swimming Obsession

By Nicole 

Hello my name is Nicole. I am 12 years old and I am obsessed with reading and history but if I was to pick one hobby to tell you about it would be swimming.

I started swimming when I was 4 months old, my aunt started taking me. She would swim around with me and I would just lay there allowing my aunt to pull me around the pool. So I was a water baby from birth!

Because I showed such early potential, my mum decided to book me into private lessons where I was to learn how to swim on my own. My aunt took me swimming to strengthen my heart as I was born with a breathing difficulty due to being premature and having a lack of oxygen. This really did work as now I am a fit and healthy young person. I adore swimming because it is so good for you. You learn lots of new things; I have completed all of my life safety so I am able to save someone from drowning!  It also strengthens your muscles and heart and is such fun.

Due to being able to swim so well, I have been in 2 galas representing my local swimming centre (coming 2nd in the relay and 4th in freestyle), I have represented my primary school in a gala doing backstroke and I have recently represented my school (the Ongar Academy) in a friendly gala against Davenant foundation school.

I am still swimming but I am considering cutting down due to my school work commitments. I would recommend swimming to everyone as it is an amazing experience especially when you are put in a swimming gala. I love the sound of the screaming crowds and the moment you find out you have won a medal.   I love it and I will miss it when I do decide to hang up my goggles.



The Ongar Academy Goes to Visit The Making of Harry Potter Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tours

By Kyle, Phoebe and Nicole


On Wednesday 8th March The Ongar Academy went to The Making Of Harry Potter. Everyone that went all loved the day. It is most definitely worth the money, especially the butterbeer.

When we arrived, we were amazed by the size of the studios! The colossal great hall was one of the first things we saw. It left us in awe.

As we were allowed to take our phones and cameras, nearly everyone took pictures. Here are some examples:

We interviewed some of the students and teachers from the school saying how much they enjoyed the tour:

“I liked the fact that they let us see the costumes and the sets, I would recommend that you go there yourself!” -Megan

“I loved the trip! I didn’t think the studio would be that big! It was amazing seeing all the behind the scenes props and how they make the animations with green screens, such as the moving photos and how they film the quidditch matches (broom flying).” Mrs Wilshire

We saw many famous props and characters on our trip, all made with great detail and everyone was excited to see most of the props from the franchise. Overall the day was amazing. The first whole school trip with both the new Year 7’s and the Year 8’s was an amazing day and we hope we will be doing many more trips like this.



Ongar’s Got Talent

By Leyla and Phoebe

Here at Ongar, we have many talented pupils. Ranging from horse riding to singing. Everybody has something that they’re good at, we are lucky enough to speak to four of the most talented.

Ella is an experienced dancer in ballet, tap, modern and hip hop. She has won many competitions with her team and is one of the most flexible and talented students at school.

NEWS TEAM: Why do you dance?

ELLA: Because dance is my passion, I think that dancing is fun and I really enjoy it.

NT: What about dancing do you like the most?

E: The way that dancing can allow you to express and showcase the way that you’re feeling.

NT:How long have you been dancing for and what are your favourite styles?

E: I have been dancing since I was 2 years old (about 10 years). My favourite dance styles are tap, ballet and hip hop

NT: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a dancer?

E: Probably to just be resilient, never give up

NT: What are your proudest achievements in dance?

E: Passing my grade 3 and being able to win a dance competition with my team.


Phoebe is a swimmer. She has been swimming since she was 4. She is one of the best swimmers at school and has finished her swimming levels.

NT: What is your favourite stroke?

P: My favourite stroke is breaststroke this is because I am working on faster breaststroke so I can start competing.

NT: Where do you prefer swimming, in a pool, or in the sea?

P: In the sea, because you don’t have to worry about crashing into other people.

NT: What influenced you to become a swimmer?

P: I don’t really know, but I guess it was my passion for swimming, which has led me to now!

NT: Are there any other water sports you enjoy?

P: I don’t know any other, but I would like to start water polo.

NT: Who taught you how to swim?

P: One swimming instructor, from 4, then I changed into different levels, so now I have had a range of instructors.

NT: What swimming level are you on?

P: I have completed all the levels. I am now just swimming for my fitness.

NT: Why do you like swimming more than other sports?

P: Because you can go at your own pace, unless you are told to do so, but I enjoy it because you can do anything, especially when you’re not in a class!

NT: What’s your fastest time in your favourite stroke and length?

P: I enjoy breaststroke but I am very slow in it my time is: 35 seconds in 1 length, but my fastest length is backstroke, and my time is: 22 seconds in 1 length.

NT: When do you practice and how long for?

P: I practice on a Tuesday at 18:30 – 19:30

NT: What is your advice on putting on a rubber hat?

P: I tie my hair up, and then put some water on my hair, so that I can slip it on. Make the hat big so that you can put it on your head, once, the side of your hands touch your earthen take your hands out of your hat to the outside then pull it down to your ears, then arrange to your liking!

NT: What advice would you give to someone that wants, to start swimming?

P: If you ever feel like you’re drowning or sinking, EITHER go to the pool side that is closer to you, OR you SHOULD be doggy paddling to get to a pool edge.

NT: Are there any other hobbies you enjoy doing?

P: Yes there is, I used to do dressage and almost got to jumping, but my horse got scared of a tractor and chucked me off. I was super girl for a moment!


Another talented student is Jamie. He is one of the best horse riders in the area. He has won many competitions on his horse in dressage and jumping.

News Team: Why do you like Horse Riding?

Jamie: I believe horse riding helps me with my school work, it brings and creates memories. Also I love working with animals.

NT: What is your favourite part about riding?

J: To spend time with the horses and jumping.

NT: Where do you ride your horse?

J: I ride in Margaret Roding.

NT: Do have any other pets?

J: Two dogs one called Joey and the other called Sam.

NT: What is your horse called?

J: My horse is called Lady.

NT: What part of horse riding do you do (something like dressage)?

J: I take part in Show Jumping and sometimes I do cross country.


Last but definitely not least is Megan. She is known in our school as being an incredible singer. Singing Hallelujah in our Christmas concert, making the audience, students and teachers shed a tear and singing at the end of term assembly. Megan is a singing sensation!

Megan has been singing all her life but she started properly when she was in year 5 (9-10 years old). She likes singing and feels she is able to express herself through a song and being able to say who she really she is. Megan has performed in a West End show called the Lazy Ace and has also been in Fame the Musical. Furthermore, she was Mrs Darling in Peter Pan which she said it “was an amazing experience”. She has performed in the West End in Her Majesty’s Theatre and in the Harlow Playhouse.

Megan is currently in the semi-finals of a performing arts competition and on Saturday she will be competing to get into the quarter finals. Singing is her passion and she says she will never stop singing! Megan said that the hardest part of being involved in performing arts is that “you have to be committed; you can’t let your personal life get in the way.” These are wise words indeed and show her commitment and desire to succeed.

The practices and warm-ups that are involved before performing are “breathing skills and vocal warm ups which help me focus and you also have to have the confidence and don’t worry about what other people think and take opportunities when they come.”

We asked Megan what advice she would give to a fellow singer. Megan said before performing the best thing to work on is “your vocal warm ups. Also having confidence is good and remember, don’t worry about what other people think! If you get an opportunity to be in a play, take it. It may be your only chance to get a lead role.” She also said, “You can’t miss one rehearsal or performance as it may decrease the chance of you getting main parts in plays in the future. I would love to have a job involving performing arts when I leave school! It is my dream and I believe that dreams sometimes come true. I hope mine does!”

Good Luck Megan for the semi-finals on Saturday! We wish you all the luck in the world! We know you will smash it! Thank you for letting us interview you and for your honesty and enthusiasm however these are just some of the talented students from The Ongar Academy and we encourage you to pursue your dream just as Megan, Jamie, Ella and Phoebe did!


Ongar takes over Sestriere ~ Ski trip 2017

By Chloe, Fraser, Izzy, Leyla and Molly

On February the 11th the Ongar Academy took off on an 18 hour coach journey to Sestriere, Italy to go skiing. We travelled to Dover where we got a ferry to Calais and then travelled to Sestriere through the night. When we got there, there was a white out, but we still went to the ski hire shop and had a spectacular snowball fight. The next day (Monday) there was still a white out but skiing continued regardless. Most of us being beginners, tentatively skied down the mountain (well some not so careful as others!). Conditions were really hard to ski in because you couldn’t see much further than your hand.

Sestriere is a small, picturesque town in northern Italy which combines alpine living influenced by Italian and French culture. The wonderful view of mountains looks like it has been taken out of a fantasy world or picture postcard. Breathtaking!

Sestriere is situated in the centre of the Milky Way which provides almost 400 kilometres of piste. There are a considerable range of runs for different abilities. Sestriere offers fresh, crisp air which feels like ice when you take a breath.

We stayed in a tranquil hotel called The Hotel Torre. It was a terracotta colour which complimented the snow. The hotel rooms were quaint and simplistic, which gave a satisfying yet comfortable living which we lack in our everyday lives.

On the second day the conditions did not drastically change (still a white out). That evening we went on a small outing and went tubing, sledding and bottom board riding. The next day we finally got sunshine and blue sky meaning that we could finally see the peaks of the stunning mountains. Fortunately, for the rest of the week the weather remained absolutely beautiful so we felt very lucky indeed.

However, despite the fact that the weather improved, the Ongar Ski Team sustained an injury whilst on the slopes. The unfortunate student (Izzy) was escorted off in a snowmobile to then be transported in the back of an ambulance to the medical centre. After two hours at the hospital the results came back and it was found that she had sprained her ankle and as a result of that had inflamed her achilles. No more skiing for Izzy that week sadly! But she did drink hot chocolate and watched all the fun from the sidelines!

But the higher groups had an exhilarating day as they went up the gondola lift, chair lifts and skied down high red pistes and cut through black runs, this was astonishing for only the third day. Also by the third day all beginner groups had advanced onto at least the blue pistes on the mountain. All students had an absolutely amazing time and forged memories which they will hold in their hearts forever. All of the students just want to know; when can we go again?


Building Houses, Destroying Ongars Youth

By Harriette and Libby

The Ongar Leisure Centre could be facing closure within the space of 5 years. Epping Forest District Council has stated that the leisure centre will either be demolished or relocated to North Weald. Either way, they wish to build 24 homes on the sight by 2033.  Many people have mixed feelings about this. Some believe that the houses are deeply needed; while others think that the 24 homes could be built elsewhere.

Including a gym, sports hall, swimming pool and fields as well as being used for parties and day-camps, the centre provides a family-friendly, multi-use centre . It is a crucial place for the youth, as it provides many facilities to help tackle the issue of child obesity, and as Ongar is a small town, it is a popular, local way for us to go out without travelling to Brentwood or Chelmsford. Also, the Ongar Academy use the facilities, and hope to do so in the foreseeable future. These facilities help us as it helps improve our swimming and our physical education; without the leisure centre we will have nowhere to improve these skills.

Regarding the Ongar Academy, quite a few people see The Ongar Leisure Centre as a reason to send their child to the school. Russell Scott, a 43-year-old Engineer of Longfields stated that “ The leisure centre is a big reason I was going to send my son to this school next year. Without the centre, youngsters will have absolutely nothing to do; it is the hub of the community.” He is correct in saying that it is the hub of the community, as it is the only community centre in Ongar. It could be said that the centre is the heart and soul of the town. The fact that the centre is well used, leaves people even more perplexed as to why it is being knocked down.

Coming together as a community, a facebook page called “Save The Ongar Leisure Centre,” has over 630 likes. On the page, there are campaigners who are attempting to persuade people to let their voices be heard and they also help the locals stay updated with the situation. Repeatedly, people are stating that surely there is room for the houses somewhere else in Epping? They say that 24 houses is too little for the beloved leisure centre to be demolished. But this page could potentially save the Leisure Centre.

Moreover, the Epping Forest District Council hope to build 600 new homes in total but people believe that more houses will make the already atrocious traffic become unbearable; this will cause the roads to be constantly gridlocked. So overall, we believe that the centre should not be knocked down and hope it will still be standing and thriving long into the future.


Our New School

By Molly,Izzy,Chloe,Fraser

The new building for The Ongar Academy is being built as we speak. The students are in temporary class rooms at the moment; there are currently only two years in the school, year 7 and year 8. The Ongar Academy will be one of the first eco friendly secondary schools in the area that will include an original zen garden designed by the students.

Some of the students at The Ongar Academy interviewed their Headteacher, Mr David Grant, so they could get a clear idea of the future of their school and what might be in store for them. So who better to talk to than the man who was inspired to build the new school. Without him we wouldn’t be sitting here today, typing on our chromebooks and telling you the story of The Ongar Academy, our story.

Mr Grant Interview:

News Team: What are you most excited about in the new building?

Mr Grant: I am excited about seeing the students using the new equipment and the buildings.

NT: Are we on track?

MG: Yes we are about three weeks ahead.

NT: How big is it going to be (roughly)?

MG: Big enough for 800 students.

NT: What is your favourite feature on the building?

MG: The courtyard because that is the feature I most wanted.

NT: What will you be ordering for the Science and Design and Technology labs as furniture?

MG: Pillar drills, etching tank, freight saw, metal lathe, circular saw, band saw, welding bench, metal guillotine, laser cutter, ovens, bunsen burners, chemicals, etc.

NT: Will you miss our temporary school?

MG: Some of it but I have liked the close group of cohesive people, instead of large school not so close together.

NT: Will any of  the new furniture from the temporary building be going into the new school?
MG: Yes

NT: Will you be putting spinny chairs into the Computing room?

MG: Yes I will be putting them in the Computing room.

NT: What plans do you have for enrichment in the new building.

MG: I am not the right person to be asking but I would like to see more sport and a variety of clubs.

NT: Do you intend to employ teachers for the new building, if so, what faculties?

MG: Yes Modern Foreign Languages, English, Science, Music and Design and Technology.

NT: Will you put a vending machine in the school?

MG: There might be, but it depends on the caterers that we get and whether they will supply it.

We have also interviewed the project manager behind all of the action on site. If David Walker was not here, the school would not be here either. The reason we interviewed him was because he knows exactly what’s going on and he has more answers than anyone else at this moment in time! We asked him some important questions about our new school, to which he gave us some honest answers. This is good for us as a community because we desire to know what’s going to happen for our school in the future.

David Walker Interview:

NT: Did you choose to work on the Ongar project?

DW: Yes

NT: Why did you choose to become a project manager?

DW: Construction; everyday is different

NT: What is your favourite part of your job?

DW: The people

NT: What qualifications do you need for your job?

DW: A degree in engineering and a masters in construction. If you don’t want to go down the education route you can work your way up.

NT: Why did you decide to work for Kier?

DW:It’s a large company and is run on a region basis meaning I doesn’t have to travel far from home.

NT: Have there been any challenges for the Ongar Build?

DW:  Yes, the weather makes building the school so far quite difficult.

NT: What’s different about our school to others you have managed?

DW:The school is different because it’s new and normally I work on existing buildings. Working on this school means that you, as students and teachers, can have more choice, it is bespoke.

NT: What are the main groups of people involved with the build?

DW: The are designers, managers and specialist trade contractors.

NT: Does the building have eco friendly features?

DW: It does, the main ones is that the school is insulated and ventilation. Every class has a fan which monitors the temperature of the building to then make the fan blow in or out. This is a better use of energy. The insulation is on the roof and in all of the walls.

A student’s Perspective:

Kyle has said ‘I would like them to hurry up because I would like hot food. I am looking forward to have a proper school to learn further and with more resources.’

Libby has said ‘I think that it could do great things and will do great things. I am looking forward to the new school being complete.’




Laura Vaux Interview

By Fraser and Molly

On the 16th of March Molly and Fraser got to interview an  experienced reporter for The Ongar News, Laura Vaux. It was an honour to get to interview a real life journalist whose articles get read by hundreds of people and gets to report on the things that matter to her. The Ongar News is a voluntary paper which is run by the people, for the people.The writers don’t get paid so they have to rely on the adverts in the paper for it to be published. Molly  and Fraser asked her a variety of questions for her to answer. We were quite surprised by some of the answers that Laura gave us but we were very happy that she was honest with us which is the best way to do a great interview. Here is the questions we asked her:

News Team: What is your role in the Ongar News?

Laura Vaux: I am the Ongar news reporter. I report anything that goes on in the town of Ongar.

NT: How did you get into journalism?

LV: I have lived here in Ongar for only a few years, and I got into journalism through applying for community work.

NT: What qualifications do you need to be a journalist?

LV: I do not have any for journalism but I do have them for being a nurse.

NT: What is your favourite thing to report on?

LV: I like reporting on schools because the children are always up for doing anything.

NT: Do you have a least favourite part to your job?

LV: Writing it all down after finding I have found all the information out.

NT: Have you ever reported live?

LV: No I have never reported live.

NT: What is the most bizarre thing you have reported about?

LV: I have never really found any that are bizarre because people are all very normal in Ongar.

NT: Do have any tips for us as journalists?

LV: Be yourself when people are talking to you. Let the people talk and you sit and listen. The more you are friendly the more you will get out of people. Get people to trust you.

At the end of this interview we have learnt that to be a good journalist we need to have people skills and as long as we are doing it for the right reasons it should not be that hard. There will always be things you want to report about and some that you do not really want to. Above all we realise we want to continue on our journalism adventure.



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