Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy

Principal's Letter to Parents - April 2017

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, the absolute stand-out news this year for me has been OSCA being designated as a National Support School. We are now one of only two secondary schools in the borough to have received this award. In short, it means that the standard of education we now offer at OSCA is so good, that the Department for Education want us to share this excellent practice to support other schools. It makes me beam with pride to think how far we have come in four years (when you may recall the academy was considered a failing school by Ofsted, I was the 4th Principal in 9 months, and only 140 pupils had chosen to join the academy in year 7, for instance) to now being so close to the cusp of outstanding that we are able to support other schools. What an accolade for Team OSCA, our students and our community! I know we will learn lots from the support work too, and bring the best of what we see back to strengthen practice further here at OSCA.

Secondly, you may be aware that local year 6 pupils have now had their secondary school places confirmed. I am delighted to share with you the fantastic news that we are full and over subscribed for the fourth consecutive year! Don't forget, four years ago only 140 pupils wanted to come to OSCA in year 7, this year we will have 210! We also have a 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 four 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 our reputation has justly improved, and our aspirations continue to rise too.

Another highlight for me has been becoming the first school in the whole country to win the Gold Award for CEIAG, for the brilliant work we do with students on careers education. Yet another fantastic accolade for the team. This work was also recognised by Ormiston Academies Trust, where Mrs Laird was the national staff award winner for her work in this area at the Annual OAT Awards Ceremony. That night was another where I was bursting with pride, as one of our OSCA 6th students, Holly Silwood, won the National Creativity Award too!

The OSCA show was once again a triumph this year, as we were transported to the exotic, eastern land of Agrabah on Aladdin's magic carpet. Team PAPA and the students have outdone themselves once again, with an amazing array of characters, talents and effects, and a fantastic few Arabian Nights were had by all!

Another really exciting event this year has been our £2.5 million refurb of C block. It is starting to really take shape now, and is on track for an August completion. Watch this space for information on the launch in September.

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

As we continue to march on, on our journey to 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 in the whole of the country! This matters so much of course, given the proven link between high attendance and high achievement and progress. It is no coincidence that, as attendance improves every year, so do our results.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: You will no doubt see in the press that the Supreme Court today have ruled that parents still may NOT take their children out of school in term time. We know there has been some confusion over this recently, so I thought I would just draw it to your attention to confirm the law stands.

As ever though, the spring term is when we have that last concerted push with our exam cohorts. Year 11 have just undergone yet another round of mock exams, and I am delighted with how hard so many of them have worked. We are quietly very confident that this is going to be our best set of results yet, and will leave no stone unturned in our quest to achieve this.

Alongside all our hard work, we’ve managed to have some fun too of course! I really can't 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. This term alone we have experienced:

• A maths and history trip to Belgium
• A science trip to Cern, Switzerland
• The final of the Gifted and Talented STEM competition
• Edgmond Hall
• Ingestre Hall for an Arts residential
• Performances in local schools and community spaces
• Birmingham University (A Russell Group University)for the final of a physics quiz
• King’s College London (Also a Russell Group University), for the Brilliant Club launch
• University of Birmingham for the Salters’ Chemistry Festival
• The University of Wolverhampton
• Loughborough University
• Cineworld to view a local school’s film premier
• The Black Country Schools’ Games Final
• London Inspire
• West Bromwich Albion football ground
• Horse therapy at a centre near Tamworth
• The Big Bang Fair at the NEC
• The Manchester United football ground for an international England match
• ThinkTank
• Women into engineering at Jaguar Landrover
• Flip Out Trampoline Park
• And last, but by no means least, the Iceland trip departs today!

Please follow the link to our newsletter, which highlights just a few of the many enrichment activities students have taken part in too, and, again, check out our website for lots more information and photos of events we have participated in. Do take a moment 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.

The academy will close for students at 12pm on Friday 7th April 2017 for the Easter break. The new term will start again for students on Tuesday 25th April, 8.30am sharp! Please see lots of other key dates for next term and beyond listed in the newsletter.

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!

Best wishes

Marie McMahon
Executive Principal