Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - Christmas 2018

December 2018

Dear Parent/Guardian

So, here we are again… the end of another year approaches…2019 is just around the corner…where do the years go?!  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 may know, OSCA is predicting its best GCSE results ever in the summer, and we have raised the bar even higher for 2019 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 stops 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 8.30am on Tuesday 8th January, for the spring term 2019.

As you know, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to continue to raise standards at OSCA, and to strengthen our partnership with you as an essential part of this process.  Just before October half term, OSCA launched the new Parent App.  The App is a new convenient new way to share information with you about your child's school life.  You can access the system from a smartphone, tablet or PC anytime, anywhere.

What will you find in the SIMS Parent App:

  • Important information such as attendance, behaviour, achievement and homework
  • School term, inset dates and contact details available at the click of a button
  • Access your child's school report
  • Receive notifications to remind you about important information such as key dates for your diary 
  • Access to update your contact details, so we always have the most up-to-date information in case of emergency 
  • If you have more than one child at OSCA, you will have access to information for all your children, from the same app

The information that you receive through the app will help you to stay up-to-date with your child's school life as well as support your child's development and progress.  If you need any more information or help with the Parent App please contact our IT Support Helpdesk at it.support@ormistonsandwell.org.uk

One planned heightened focus for us next term is improving students’ equipment and preparedness for lessons.  We have found that a small but significant minority are not bringing the minimum expected everyday of a bag, a pencil case, and enough basic equipment to enable the lesson to go smoothly.  To minimise all disruption to learning, we are launching a ‘zero tolerance’ on this from January.  Please do check you have received our letter about this, it has all the information needed, and is on our website too.

Please can I also check that you have seen my letter last week concerning some changes for the new term? We will implement a change of procedure to improve health and safety at the very busy dismissal period. Starting in January, and in line with many schools, the gates will be locked to all vehicles between the following periods:

Monday:                                                              3.40pm until 4.00pm
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday:                         2.50pm until 3.10pm
Friday:                                                                1.10pm until 1.30pm

Please plan ahead, as there will be no facility to enter or exit at these times.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience, but must prioritise the health and safety of our students, as I am sure you will understand.

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

  • The OAT Gold award for outstanding attendance once again - highest across the whole OAT network nationally for the fourth consecutive year, 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);
  • Our re-assessment for the Investors In People Award. The feedback from this was outstanding.  We await the outcome with excitement, and will let you know as soon as we do!

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.

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. 

It is really encouraging that all of our improvements continue to have an extremely positive impact on OSCA's reputation and popularity.  As you may know, we are now full and over-subscribed in every year group, with our catchment area shrinking every year.  Indeed, we already had almost 350 applications for the 210 places available, so competition for places is likely to be fierce once again in 2019!  A great accolade for all the fantastic work we are doing here in our determination to make OSCA a beacon of excellence in our immediate community, across Sandwell and beyond.

And finally, thank you once again for your support and partnership this term.  Watch this space for further developments and innovations in the new year- no resting on our laurels at OSCA!

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
Executive Principal