Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - Easter 2019

Dear Parent/Guardian

As we approach the end of another highly successful term here at OSCA, I am writing to share a few of the highlights of the term with you, and to confirm end of term arrangements.

Firstly, I have been so impressed with the incredible amount of hard work and effort that has gone into preparing our year 11 for their impending exams.  Staff and students’ determination to achieve record-breaking results this year (and beyond!) were encapsulated beautifully in a recent two-day external review commissioned by OAT.  Some of the feedback included:

  • Staff are resolute in their desire to improve the opportunities of their pupils – they give of their time unstintingly
  • The quality of teaching is good and continuously improving
  • Relationships between pupils and teachers are extremely positive
  • Over the course of the two days, pupils modelled courtesy, engagement and excellent manners. They respect their teachers and they felt this was mirrored by the staff
  • The pupils commented on consistent and fair application of the academy-wide expectations. They are confident to speak in class and share their ideas
  • High attendance was evident; punctuality was excellent
  • In lessons and in Pupil Voice the responses all said that they felt they were cared for by their teachers and staff and that they wanted the best for them
  • Students enjoy lessons and appreciate how hard their teachers work. KS4 students said they feel teachers do “all they can” to help them achieve
  • It was observed that teachers have created a welcoming, stimulating environment that enables the pupils to focus on learning
  • Leaders have developed an enthusiastic and welcoming ethos, so that staff and students feel comfortable to ask for support and guidance when necessary

A fantastic accolade for our amazing students and staff team, confirming once again that we are continuing on the right path on our journey to outstanding.

Secondly, the OSCA show was once again a total triumph this year. The students, led by Team PAPA, captivated audiences with their Mary Poppins production, taking us on a journey of flying umbrellas, magical bags, and more than one spoonful of sugar!  It is so impressive to think that the whole production was student run, including backstage, lighting and sound, as well as the magical performances.  It really was our brightest, biggest, best and most professional production ever.  I truly felt like I had spent the night at an actual West End Theatre show, and lots of parents and families I spoke to said the same.  It was simply stunning and there was not a dry eye in the house on the final night!

I am delighted to also share with you the fantastic news that we are full and over subscribed for the sixth consecutive year, and now in every single year group!  Do not forget, a few short years ago, only 140 pupils wanted to come to OSCA.  This year, over 350 applied and we will have 240 with another record number of first choices!  We also have a long waiting list of students who were not able to secure a place.  This is a reflection, of course, of all the superb work we have been doing on raising standards here over the past six years.  It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff and students - all with your superb support, of course.  As standards have risen, so too has our reputation justly improved.

Another highlight for me was the academy once again winning THE most prestigious award at the Annual OAT Awards Ceremony.  Yet another fantastic accolade for the team.  Only eight awards are given out in total nationally, with staff and students from nearly forty academies eligible, and team OSCA won…The Chairman’s Award!  This was awarded for our outstanding work on community cohesion, student voice, and social action.  Watch this space for lots more to come on these projects.

For more information on these, and many other highlights, do keep a regular check on our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed etc.

As we continue to march on towards becoming outstanding, we are keeping our eye on the day job too, and never forget the basics.  Standards continue to rise this year in every area of academy life - teaching and learning, behaviour and safety and progress and achievement in particular.  We continue to be the highest performing school in the whole borough for attendance, and indeed one of the highest in the whole of the country!  This matters so much of course, given the proven link between high attendance and high achievement and progress.

Alongside all our hard work, we have managed to have some fun too of course!  I really cannot thank staff enough for some of the incredible opportunities on offer to our students, and for the time and energy they devote to this, above and beyond the day job.  Please see the link below for our newsletter, which highlights just a few of the many enrichment activities students have taken part in.  Again, do check out our website for lots more information and photos of events we have participated in.  Take a moment, if you can, to catch up with our weekly Newscast too, where students film and produce their own weekly report on academy events - it's always very informative. 

As some parents and guardians might be buying new uniform in preparation for the new term, just a reminder that the uniform list is on the website on the parents' page.  We have had excellent support from the overwhelming majority of parents in meeting the enforcement of uniform and ethos rules this year.  One thorny issue in this can be the definition of formal shoes.  We have therefore on the uniform page of the website provided examples of what the Academy means by these, and to help parents avoid spending money on shoes which are not suitable. Many sports shops are branding items as shoes that aren’t actually shoes (and charging huge amounts in the process!), so please do check on the website.

We really do not want to start the new term on a negative note about inappropriate uniform, and I know how expensive items can be.  Please can I also reiterate that trousers must be formal too, no leggings/jeggings/very tight styles either please.  As I always say, uniform is the physical manifestation of a student's attitude to school, so thank you in advance for working with us to ensure they get it right. 

I understand that the Easter holidays is a time to relax and perhaps for parents to allow our young people to have a bit more freedom as teenagers.  Please can I ask however that any spring piercings/extreme hair colourings are removed by the start of next term.  Again, please visit our website if you have any queries about expectations, or contact your child's Head of House.

The website also has all the information you need about our uniform supplier, as well as a link to the finance department if you have any queries.

The academy will close for students at 12pm on Friday 12th April for the Easter break.  The new term will start again for students on Tuesday 30th April, 8.30am sharp!

So, thank you once again for the excellent support you provide us as parents and guardians, I know you know how important that partnership is for success.  I hope you all have a great Easter and a happy and relaxing few weeks.  I look forward to welcoming all the students back at the end of April, refreshed and ready for the rigours of next term and the final countdown to exam success!

Best wishes

Marie McMahon
Executive Principal