Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - Christmas 2016

Dear Parent/Guardian

So, here we are again… the end of another year approaches…2017 is just around the corner…and all remains well here at OSCA! I hope you too 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 2017 in line with national changes to the qualifications landscape, 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 Wednesday 4th January, for the spring term 2017.

This term, we have continued to receive yet more awards for more areas of outstanding practice! These have included:

  • The Basic Skills Award, for our excellent work on improving standards of literacy and numeracy across the academy, which helps boost every student’s future success
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Accredited Centre Award, for our burgeoning and blossoming DofE programme
  • The OAT Gold award for attendance once again- highest across the whole OAT network nationally, the whole borough, and one of the highest across all schools nationally (always such an accolade of course given the proven link between outstanding attendance and outstanding achievement)

In other words, lots more ‘Oscars’ for ‘OSCA’! Do check out our ‘awards wall’ in reception to celebrate our successes on your next visit to the academy.

Word of our excellent practice in many areas has also led to us delivering training for colleagues across the OAT network this term. We have so far run three training events: one on raising standards through outstanding teaching and learning; one on maximising attendance to maximise achievement; and one on raising standards through improving students’ literacy skills. It is great to see the fantastic work of so many colleagues being recognised well beyond the academy and the borough, and to have had such encouraging feedback from those colleagues who attended. Well done to all colleagues involved.

As a reward for the further improved standards of uniform, behaviour and attendance across the Academy this term, on Friday 16th 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 16th 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 for years 7-10, and essential if students wish to be eligible for next term's reward trip. 

In response to concerns raised, and with effect from Wednesday 4th January, please note that both external school gates will be locked half an hour after the end of the school day. That means they will be locked at 3.30pm after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 4.20 on a Monday, and at 1.50 on a Friday.  This means that all students staying for after school clubs and activities will need to exit the building through reception (unless they are participating in a PE led activity when they can use the PE door). The change is being implemented for safeguarding reasons, and to ensure the site is secure after school. We appreciate it will mean a longer walk for some students who normally exit via the back gate after activities, but believe that keeping students safe in school and subject to the same level of supervision as during the school day is worth this inconvenience.

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.  Watch this space for further developments and innovations in the new year- no resting on our laurels at OSCA!

It is really encouraging that all of these improvements continue to have an extremely positive impact on OSCA's reputation and popularity. As you know, we are already full and over-subscribed with a waiting list in years 7, 8 and 9.  We now know from the local authority that we are likely to find this replicated for the new year 7 in 2017. Indeed, we already have almost 350 applications for the 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