More Community Accolades For Forge

The hard work of students and staff at Ormiston Forge Academy continues to be recognised. Just this academic year the Cradley Heath academy has been awarded the Well-Being Charter Mark, the gold award for the Sandwell Early Help Partnership and become the lead Sandwell school for the Black Country Careers Hub.

Becoming the Sandwell lead for the Black Country Careers Hub involves sharing examples of best practice and case studies with the Enterprise Adviser and championing the programme with other schools, colleges and businesses. It also means sharing information, experience, materials and skills with partners in the hub. The group will learn from each other and develop effective working practises, work collaboratively to identify solutions, eliminate duplication of effort, mitigate risk and reduce cost.

The director of work related learning at Forge, Rachel McCarthy, said, “This places us firmly at the heart of the local careers hub and allows us to shape the future for students from across the Black Country.

We have much to offer, our careers programme is innovative and is completely centred around the student. When students leave Forge, they go into the world of work, apprenticeships or higher education. Our commitment is that nobody is left behind and we’d like to see that across the region.

Additionally, the Sandwell Well-Being Charter Mark project has been co-developed by Inclusion Support and Sandwell Council’s public health department in response to the recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

The project stems from an identified need to develop and focus thinking around whole school approaches to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

The project addresses the wellbeing and mental health of all those in the school community (parents, staff, and pupils) and works on the premise that everyone, at some point in their life, will have some difficulties around mental health and need support from others.

By engaging in this project, the school has shown a dedication to addressing needs in an exciting and creative way. The whole school approach contains multiple elements including:

  • An emotional health and well-being audit for schools linked to the Charter Mark
  • The development of an ‘action plan’ to address gaps in each school
  • Whole school survey to monitor pupil well-being

Geraldine Butler, the vice principal for inclusion at Forge, said: “We’re very proud of achieving this charter mark and our dedication to the wellbeing and mental health of our Forge family continues.

By embracing this work and making it central to all we do, we are hoping to remove any stigma about mental health. It is time that we treated mental illness in the same way we treat physical illness.

Finally, the Sandwell Early Help Partnership brings together schools, voluntary agencies, community organisations, faith groups, Sandwell Council, health providers, police and fire services and others, to work more closely supporting children and families in Sandwell. The Partnership believes that all children and young people growing up in Sandwell deserve the best possible start in life and should have access to a wide range of opportunities to grow and develop into healthy, happy individuals and active citizens within our community.

Gold level members, like Forge, make a range of commitments including working well with other local partners, maintaining best safeguarding practice throughout their organisation, developing their knowledge of other routes to support, and playing a lead role in helping students and parents address concerns and challenges when they arise.

Sarah Taylor, the associate senior leader for inclusion, said, “The Forge family extends into the heart of the community and our commitment is there for all to see. Our support doesn’t stop at the school gates and I’m as proud of the work we do in school as the work done outside.

Head of academy, Lisa Mason, said, “These achievements don’t happen overnight, they are the result of deeply committed staff and rigorous, lengthy processes. They are motivated not just by our students but by students right across Sandwell and you’ll note that all three reach out into the community and positively affect all children, not just Forge children.

I’m incredibly proud to lead a school that shines as brightly as ours does, isn’t afraid to dirty hands and tries to develop stronger, more sustainable networks that will create a better future for children.

Geraldine Butler. Lisa Mason, Rachel McCarthy and Sarah Taylor celebrate latest awards and initiatives.
(l-r) Geraldine Butler. Lisa Mason, Rachel McCarthy and Sarah Taylor
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