Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - Summer 2018

Dear Parent/Guardian

As we approach the end of another busy term, I just wanted to give you a few updates, and confirm the end of term arrangements.  And, once again, what a term it has been!  Some highlights for me have included:

  • First and foremost, the fantastic news that our academy has once again been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised all the excellent work going on here at OSCA, and was especially proud that they actually recognised what a ‘special place’ the academy truly is. I can ask for no higher a validation than the quote of one student, who told the inspectors, we are truly “one big family”;
  • Our outstanding work as a National Support School has continued to grow. This means so much as it is effectively the Department for Education’s stamp of approval for our excellent practice here. As well as my role as a National Leader for Education, we now have designated 10 Specialist Leaders of Education across the academy- a fantastic accolade for the multi-talented Team OSCA!
  • We are the top performing school in the whole borough again this year for attendance, for the 5th consecutive year, and one of THE top performing nationally. This matters so much given the proven link between high attendance and high achievement in exams. Indeed, we have also had an impact in improvements borough wide and OAT wide this year, through training local schools in best practice, again as part of our National Support School work;
  • Our popularity continues to grow dramatically, and we are full and oversubscribed for the 5th consecutive year, with a long waiting list, and a huge number of appeals. We are delighted to be so successful now, but will ensure we keep to our ‘medium is marvellous’ mantra, and maintain the family feel so prevalent at our academy;
  • Our OSCA Awards Ceremony last week, attended by approximately 400 guests, including some very proud parents and guardians. We gave out 150 awards, all for outstanding effort and achievement.  It was particularly impressive to see our ‘Brilliant Club’ Graduates in full university gowns and mortar boards, already producing university level assignments, and with a record number of First Class Degrees;
  • The deal that we have secured for families to help you find affordable family holidays. Clearly, you will already have received our letter about this, but just a reminder of the exclusive savings on offer to our families at Thomas Cook Oldbury:

From now until 31 August 2018, you will be offered:

  • 5% off the overall cost of any Thomas Cook, Airtours, Manos or Club 18-30 package holidays. This can be applied to holidays booked by 31 August 2018, for travel within school holidays, until 31 October 2019. There is no minimum spend required.
  • Preferential exchange rates on all currency
  • A £15 gift voucher for www.feelunique.com when you spend over £350 in store

To benefit from these fantastic discounts, you will simply need a letter from the academy (from Kabir.ahmed@ormistonsandwell.org.uk) confirming that your child attends OSCA and that you are therefore eligible for the offers. This will then need to be taken into the branch when booking a holiday or exchanging currency. Bon voyage!

  • Alongside all of our hard work, we have managed to have a lot of fun too! Students have benefitted once again from a myriad of enrichment opportunities. Please do click on the link to check out our latest newsletter, for a flavour of some of these.

I know we are all looking forward to a much-earned rest in the coming weeks. However, I know many of you may also worry that the 6 weeks holiday for students might lead to some potential dips in progress, especially for older students coping with preparedness for examinations. Did you know many subjects set summer projects for students to help keep their brains engaged?

This is especially the case for year ten, but also for other year groups. It includes a 6 week maths revision package, a science summer challenge, a Python coding package in computer science, a summer grammar booklet in French, and an English work pack, to name but a few. All of the work is available on the student R drive, and they have all the relevant login information already. So, no need to get bored on those (inevitable!) rainy days.

Please do encourage your child, especially if they are going into year 11, to complete as much as they can, in between some rest and relaxation.

As many parents and guardians will be buying new uniform in preparation for September 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 summer 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 summer piercings/extreme hair colourings are removed by the start of term in September.  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 remaining selling dates at OSCA for your convenience are:

Thursday 2nd August - 2pm to 7pm

In terms of practical arrangements, the academy will finish for students at:

  • 12:00pm on Friday 21st July
  • OSCA re-opens for years 7 and 11 on Wednesday 5th September at 8.35am
  • OSCA re-opens for all other year groups on Thursday 6th September at 8.35am

For all other key dates next term, please see the newsletter and the draft calendar on the website.

As a reward for students for such a successful term, and our excellent Ofsted report, Friday 13th July was a non-uniform day for students. We raised over £700 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. And the free ice lollies for all went down a treat too!

Campaign to make Lower City Road safer: One of our local residents, and former parents, has begun a campaign to lobby the local council and MP to consider ways of making our main street safer. OSCA school council will be actively lobbying on our behalf too. Please see the attached leaflet, which gives information about the campaign. Clearly, the more people who lobby the authorities, the more likely they are to take notice. Please do add your voice to the campaign if you feel able to. The contact details we have are from the office of Adrian Bailey MP:

cromptonm@parliament.uk

On the subject of safety, please can I remind parents that we are sadly unable to accommodate parents dropping off or collecting students on our car park at the start and end of the day. Space is just too limited. An exception to this will, of course, be made in the case of registered disability. Please do talk to reception if this applies to you and a pass may be issued.

And finally, thank you once again for all of your support this academic year.  Our thoughts now lie with years 11 and 13, and we are hoping and praying that this summer will top last year’s fantastic results, and bring our best ever set of exam results, so watch this space!  I am so proud and pleased of everything we have achieved together this year, and look forward to celebrating even greater successes in the new academic year.

Best wishes for a happy (and sunny!) summer holiday,

Marie McMahon
Principal