Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principals Letter to Parents - Christmas 2015

December 2015

Dear Parent/Guardian

I hope you are all well, and are enjoying any preparations for the holidays ahead! As we approach the end of another busy, highly successful term, I just wanted to keep you up to date on recent events, and to confirm arrangements for the end of term and the start of the New Year.

Clearly, maximising achievements in exams remains our number 1 priority. Year 11 have had a busy few weeks of mock exams, helping them to prepare for 'the real thing' and we have been delighted with their maturity and motivation to do well. As you know, OSCA achieved its best GCSE results ever in the summer, and we have raised the bar even higher for 2016, so the pressure is on! We look forward to celebrating some excellent mock results with year 11 over the coming weeks.

Alongside our work on preparing students to get the best possible exam results, you know that I am equally passionate that learning should also be fun. We certainly have had some fantastic enrichment activities over the last half term to complement all the work we are doing improving teaching and learning and raising standards. Full details of these are available on the website, and in particular in our end of term newsletter, which you can download here. This also includes key dates for your diary. The academy re-opens for students at 8.30 am on Tuesday 5th January, for the spring term 2016.

One of the highlights of the term for me has been the number of awards we have won as an academy! These have included:

  •       The Investors in People Silver Award, at the very first accreditation. 
  •       The OAT Gold Award for outstanding achievement in Science
  •       The OAT Gold Award for outstanding achievement in Attendance. (We are once again the highest performing school in the borough in this field this term, and one of the top performers in the whole country). This is so important, given the proven link between high attendance and outstanding results.
  •       The Music Mark, for outstanding and innovative practice in music education
  •       The Holocaust Beacon Schools Status. This has only been awarded to NINE schools in the whole country
  •      The CEIAG (Career Information Advice and Guidance) Quality Mark, for outstanding and innovative practice in careers education
  •       The Developing Democracy Award. This award is given by the British Youth Council to schools who have been encouraging students to have their say in society - both within the school or through social action projects in the local community. OSCA is one of only 19 Schools nationally to hold this award.

In other words, lots of ‘Oscars’ for ‘OSCA’! And all this in just one term! In fact, we have won so many awards, we are now going to create an ‘awards wall’ in reception to celebrate our successes. Look out for this on your next visit to the academy.

As a reward for the further improved standards of uniform, behaviour and attendance across the Academy this term, on Friday 18th December we will be taking part in ‘Wear a Christmas Jumper Day’. This is optional and open to all staff and students at a charge of £1. This is for a great cause where money raised goes to three charities - Macmillan Cancer Support, Make A Wish, & Save The Children. The academy will finish on Friday 18th December at 12pm for all students.

Please note that lessons will continue as normal this week, so it is really important all students have 100% attendance even in the run up to Christmas, so they do not miss out on any learning. Please note that attendance on Friday too is compulsory, and essential if students wish to be eligible for next term's reward trip. 

And finally, thank you once again for your support and partnership this term.  Attendance remains at a record high, behaviour referrals are down again, ethos and the standard of uniform are excellent, and the quality of teaching and learning is rising all the time. And, of course, this was all validated by our Ofsted ‘good’ judgment earlier in the year.  

It is really encouraging that all of these improvements continue to have an extremely positive impact on OSCA's reputation and popularity.  Indeed, we have recently welcomed many of our partner primary heads and deputies to OSCA to tour the academy during the school day, and to see our students and staff in action. This has included the heads from Oakham Primary, Tividale Community, Tividale Hall, and Rounds Green. They have all been really impressed with our standards here, and comments have included:

  •       ‘OSCA has a real family feel to it. I am really taken with your ethos and standards’
  •       ‘Behaviour is impeccable’
  •       ‘It is so reassuring to see you are continuing to stretch the students academically, but still look after them, a bit like we do at primary school’
  •       ‘What a transformation! I love what you are doing here!’

Do chat to the heads themselves if you have children at these primary schools, and they can tell you all about it! As you know, we are already full and over-subscribed with a waiting list in years 7 & 8. We now know from the local authority that we are likely to find this replicated in the new year 7 in 2016.  Of course, we only have 180 places available, so competition for places is likely to be fierce once again! A great accolade for all the fantastic work we are doing here in our determination to make OSCA a beacon of excellence in Sandwell and beyond.

I am so proud of everything staff and students have achieved this year, and of how they have responded to a continual raising of the bar as we move towards outstanding. Of course, none of this could happen without your support as parents and guardians, and I look forward to sharing even more successes with you in the new year.

With best wishes for a peaceful and enjoyable holiday, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year,

Yours faithfully

Marie McMahon