Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - Christmas 2017

Dear Parent/Guardian

So, here we are again… the end of another year approaches…2018 is just around the corner…and all remains well here at OSCA- notwithstanding the vagaries of the British weather of course! As we approach the end of another extremely busy and 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 had a busy few weeks of mock exams earlier this half term, 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 2018 in line with national changes to the qualifications landscape, so the pressure is on!  Many students celebrated some well-deserved, excellent mock results, whilst others realised there is still much to do! We will continue to pull out all the steps to maximise achievement for all in the new year.

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. This also includes key dates for your diary. The academy re-opens for students at 8.30 am on Monday 8th January, for the spring term 2018.

Please can I also ask you ensure your child uses our pre pay systems effectively from January. We have had an increasing amount of students trying to pay at the till, and this is seriously slowing down what is already a very busy service. No money at all will be accepted at the tills in January, so please encourage your children to be organised. The finance office can always help if there are any issues with this.

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

  • The OAT Gold award for outstanding Careers Education (and the only school in Sandwell to have 100% of students in Education, Employment or Training for the 2nd consecutive year);
  • The OAT Gold award for outstanding 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);
  • The OAT Gold award for our outstanding Duke of Edinburgh Programme;
  • The OAT Gold award for the most improved History outcomes across the whole academy chain

As you know, we are now a National Support School, and we have continued to share some of our excellent practice in many areas. We have delivered training and support for colleagues across the OAT network nationally, and Sandwell Local Authority this term. 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 22nd December we will be taking part in our second ‘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 Save The Children. The academy will finish on Friday 22nd 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 all year groups, and essential if students in years 7-10 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.  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, 9 and 10.  We now know from the local authority that we are likely to find this replicated for the new year 7 in 2018. 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