News


Easter Revision Schedule

Posted by admin on Tuesday 9th April 2019

You can download a PDF of our Easter Revision Schedule here:

More Community Accolades For Forge

Posted by admin on Sunday 31st March 2019

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

New Football Scholarship Programme

Posted by admin on Friday 29th March 2019

After some months of planning, Ormiston Forge Academy are delighted to be able to announce the launch of a new football scholarship programme in association with Gornal Athletic FC.

The programme is designed for students from the local area aged 16 to 18 to combine high calibre football education with A level / BTEC education courses, whilst also undertaking FA accredited qualifications in various areas of the game.

The programme will be led and directed by former professional footballer Richard Forsyth, who has 15 years playing experience, 15 years teaching experience and is a UEFA B licensed coach.

Ormiston Forge Academy scholarships have previously helped many students attain A levels, places with universities, degree apprenticeships, places of work with football clubs and football scholarships in the USA and Canada.

A presentation evening will be held for interested parties on Wednesday 10th April at Ormiston Forge Academy, B64 6QU at 17.30 -18.30 where Richard Forsyth, Andrew Burns (Executive Principal), a representative from Gornal Athletic and current scholars will be on hand to discuss the new programme in more detail.

There will also be a football trials day on Wednesday 17th April 11am -2pm at Forge where students will be put through their paces.

Jason Tonks, head of football at Gornal Athletic Football Club said: “This is another very important move for the restructure of the football club, and is a partnership we are very excited about.”

The minimum entry criteria for students is current year 11, turning 16 before September 1st. Anyone interested should make contact using the details on the scholarship flyer or via the clubs website and social media (Twitter, Facebook).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1029712513896863/

Forge Football Scholarship logo

Message on behalf of Sandwell Education Directorate

Posted by admin on Wednesday 13th March 2019

We have been asked to post this on behalf on the Sandwell Education Directorate. This is not an Ofsted inspection at Forge. Thank you.

From 18 March 2019 to 21 March 2019, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will carry out jointly a re-visit of your local area following the previous inspection that took place between 16 January 2017 and 20 January 2017.

The re-visit will evaluate how effectively leaders have addressed the areas of serious weaknesses detailed in the written statement of action (WSOA).

During the re-visit, Ofsted and CQC inspectors will be keen to speak to as many children and young people and their parents and carers as possible, specifically about the weaknesses identified in the WSOA.

How can parents and carers contribute their views during this local area re-visit?

The inspectors will gather the contributions of parents and families through an online survey and a face-to-face open meeting. The focus of the online survey and open meeting will be set by the inspectors and will be based on the WSOA.

Parents and carers who would like to take part in this survey can follow this internet link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SandwelLASENDRevisit/. The survey will open at 12 noon on Monday 11 March 2019 and close at 12 noon on Friday 15 March 2019.

Parents and carers can submit their contributions via the online survey using the link provided above.

An open meeting, which will focus on areas identified in the WSOA, will take place on 18 March 2019. Parents and carers can contact their local Parent Carer Forum / SENDIASS (0121 500 4010) to request details of how to be part of the discussions between parents and carers and the Ofsted/CQC re-visit team.

TikTok – a guide for parents

Posted by admin on Tuesday 5th March 2019

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to express themselves through singing, dancing, lip-synching and comedy videos that can be shared with others in the TikTok community.

WHAT IS IT?
This social network app is from the creators of Musical.ly. As Musical.ly officially went offline in 2018, TikTok (known as Douyin in China) has taken its place offering the user the ability to watch musical clips, create short clips up to 60 seconds and add special effects to them. All the content that was hosted on Musical.ly is now on TikTok. So if your child had a Musical.ly account they will now be able to access this content on TikTok. Currently, the app is available in 34 languages with 150 million active users. Like Musical.ly before it, it is most popular with under 16s.

HOW TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT?
Users, or formerly known as ‘musers’, can either sign up using their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email account.

WHY DO TEENS LIKE IT?
Tik Tok is a fun app that allows teens to create and share videos with their friends. Since the early days of social media (in particular on YouTube,) lip-syncing videos have proved a popular form of user-generated content among teens. The popularity of TV shows such as Lip Sync Battle has also helped drive interest in this type of platform. Teens also enjoy competing in the different challenges which can be entered via the trending hashtags on the app. The app has a very dedicated, young community of users. For many of these users, gaining likes, followers and getting their videos featured on the app are important priorities. Creating and sharing their own content is now a big part of how teens spend their time online. Teens are moving away from being spectators online to becoming content creators. This app can be a really creative way, fun way for teens to express themselves and create their own social content.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Like most other apps and social networks, users can follow other users, like and comment on other users’ videos. Teens can send emojis to their favourite singer on TikTok.

Users can select the song they wish to use in their video first, then record themselves miming along to the music. Alternatively, users can record their video first and then select a song. The app has lots of ways to add more fun to user’s videos, for example, there are options to shoot in slow-mo, time lapse, fast forward, filters, effects or even play the song backward etc. Once users are happy with their video, they can post it to their followers and share it on other social networks for example; Messenger, Vine, WhatsApp etc. There is also a duet feature which allows you to connect with another user and lipsync together. The search tool allows users to view other videos. Users can also view content under the trending hashtags and submit videos using these hashtags (similar to how Instagram works). The hashtags are also used to submit videos for challenges – for example; #Lipsncychallenge, #Comedychallenge, etc.

WHY SHOULD PARENTS CARE?

  • TikTok is rapidly becoming the most downloaded app.
  • According to ProductHunt.com, the TikTok app has more downloads than Snapchat, Spotify, and Gmail combined on the App Store (as of August 2018).
  • The TikTok app mixes self-deprecating humour with the latest pop music, making it popular with students.
  • There are only two privacy settings on the app: Private: only the creator can watch their videos and Public: anyone on the app can see their videos.
  • By default, all accounts are public unless the privacy settings are changed.
  • Apps like TikTok can allow strangers to direct message your children.
  • Musical.ly app users have been automatically transferred to the TikTok app.

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS BE CONCERNED ABOUT?

  • When you download the app users can see all the content without creating an account although they are not able to post, like or share anything until they’ve set up an account on the app.
  • You can set up your account by using your existing Google, Facebook, Instagram account, via email or phone.
  • By default all accounts are public so anyone on the app can see what your child shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages.
  • Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other. There is the risk that strangers will be able to directly contact children on the app.
  • Children may be tempted to take risks to get more of a following or likes on a video so it’s important to talk about what they share and with who.
  • To delete an account you have to request a code from the app using a phone number.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

  • Learn how to keep your kids safe on the TikTok app.
  • Monitor and have a dialog about the apps your children are using.
  • Always be on the apps your students use. No monitoring app is better than having a regular digital safety conversation with your children.
  • Consider creating a Family Cell Phone Contract before giving your students access to a mobile device.
  • If your child already has a phone, ensure that they ask for permission before downloading and using any new apps.
  • Have your child teach you about any new apps they want to download. Then do some research on your own to determine if the app is safe for your family to use.
  • Remind your children that their online activity (even under a fake username) can impact their reputation.

The O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline can help you to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings or get advice on social networks. You can call them free on 0808 800 5002. For face to face advice and support, you can also book a free in-store appointment with an O2 Guru (even if you’re not with O2).

SETTINGS, RISKS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE.
By default all accounts are public. Consider setting the account to private/friends only. Go to the profile using the head icon in the lower left corner and tap the gear icon in the upper right corner. Select “Privacy and Settings” and click on “Privacy and Safety”. Here you can secure the account by making your account private. With a private account only approved users can see the videos, however, the profile remains public.

To block a user, go to their profile, press on the “…” in the upper right corner, and select “block this user.” You can unblock a user on the same menu.

Users can report comments, videos, chats, or other accounts.

Users can also Flag inappropriate content. To report a TikTok press on the button with three dots and then click “report abuse.”

Users may be exposed to bad language and content of a sexual nature. Users can comment on other videos, this leaves the potential for online bullying or negative comments. The app does appear to promote positive comments and encourages users to ‘say something nice’, however, if you come across an inappropriate comment there is an option to report abuse. With anything shared online, we recommend getting to know how the app works, check your privacy settings and always use the Granny Rule!

TikTok does have a Digital Wellbeing centre where you can monitor screentime. Like all apps and social networks, TikTok does have community guidelines. If your child is using the app, we recommend familiarising yourself with their guidelines here: http://support.tiktok.com/?ht_kb=community-policy

The following pages have been invaluable in putting this guide together:

https://smartsocial.com/tik-tok-app-guide-parents/

https://www.webwise.ie/parents/explained-tiktok/

https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/esafety-news/tik-tok-app-safety-what-parents-need-to-know/

Staying Safe Online

Posted by admin on Tuesday 5th March 2019

We want all young people to stay safe online and you will have noticed that we’ve been releasing parent guides for things like Instagram, Roblox and Snapchat over the last few months.

We are committed to the basics of staying safe online and applying those basics to all forms of activity. Childline offers some great information:
www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/online-mobile-safety/staying-safe-online/

Parents can play their part too by working with children and being aware of what is being accessed and how.

We believe that all forms of social media and online activity can present a risk if they aren’t used properly, not just the ones that the media picks up on for a while. It’s through sustained education, care and awareness that we will be able to make a difference and keep our children safe.

We are on hand to support students and parents if they have any concerns or worries about #cybersafety; please message us directly and we’ll do all we can to provide the right resources and answer any questions. In the meantime, the attached guides are good places to start.

We aren’t going to spread any panic but we do want you to help us, get involved and supervise what children are watching, whatever it may be.

Thank you.

Snap Maps – a guide for parents

Posted by admin on Wednesday 20th February 2019

SNAP MAPS isn’t a new feature on Snapchat – but is it one you know about? The location targeting is accurate enough to see exactly where users are in real time.

WHAT IS IT?

This location-based map allows users to see where in the country their Snapchat contacts are, as well as seeing location-based photos and videos. The Snap Map shows a user’s Bitmoji, their cartoon avatar within Snapchat, pinpointed on a world map. Users can then zoom into the map to see the exact location of their friends.

HOW TO ACCESS SNAP MAPS

To access the Snap Map in the latest update of the Snapchat app, users need to go to their camera screen within Snapchat and zoom out using two fingers. This will then launch the Snap Maps screen and will allow a user to see their friend’s locations.

CHOOSE WHO CAN SEE YOUR LOCATION

It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.

Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat – giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person.

There are three settings for sharing your location on the map, these are; Ghost mode, My Friends, and Select Friends. But what do these settings mean?

Ghost Mode
Ghost Mode means that you are the only person who can see your location on the map.
Within Ghost Mode you can still see the locations of your friends but they will be unable to see you. This setting will ensure that you have complete control over who knows your location.

My Friends
My Friends means that all of your contacts on Snapchat can see your location. If turning on this setting then it would be important for users to review their Snapchat contacts and also make sure that they never add someone they don’t know in person onto Snapchat.

Select Friends
This setting allows users to look through their friend list and then decide which of their friends they want to be able to view their location. This setting gives users the opportunity to control who can view their location.

CHANGING SETTINGS

When first opening the Snap Map users get to make a decision of who they want to be able to view their location. Once these settings are in place they can always be changed in Snapchat’s settings. This can be done in two ways:

  1. In the Snapchat settings
    In the Snapchat screen click on the Settings (cog) icon> click on ‘see my location’ > Choose the setting which suits you
  2. On the Snap Map
    Click on the setting button in the top right of the map > choose the setting which suits you

OUR TOP TIPS

Sharing location can be a risky thing to do. Our tips for location sharing are:

  • Only share your location with people you know in person. Never share your location with strangers.
  • Don’t add contacts to Snapchat if you don’t know them in person.
  • Regularly review your settings and take an active decision about whether you want people to know your location. Remember you can switch this off at any time.
  • Think about where you’re sharing your location. Location services such as Snap Maps can lead people to your house. Think about what times you’re on the app and whether these are locations you want to share – if not, then turn this off within your settings.

For more information about Snap Maps visit: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/article/about-snap-map2


The following site has been invaluable in putting this guide together: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/blog/introducing-%E2%80%98snap-maps%E2%80%99-new-location-sharing-feature-snapchat

End of Half Term Newsletter

Posted by admin on Friday 15th February 2019


Thank you for your continued support, especially with our drive to raise standards and expectations.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Monday 25th February – Students return
Monday 25th February to Friday 8th March – Year 11 mock exams (timetable shared with students)
Monday 11th March – Year 8 options consultation, 2pm – 6.30 pm
Wednesday 20th March – Sixth Form parents’ evening (letters will be distributed after the half term holiday)
Tuesday 2nd April to Wednesday 3rd April -Year 11 GCSE art examinations
Monday 8th April to Friday 12th April – Year 10 work experience week (WEX)
Friday 12th April -End of term

ACADEMY NEWS

Sandwell Well-being Charter Mark
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Sandwell Well-being Charter Mark. This has been awarded based on feedback from students, parents and staff about how the Academy promotes and supports the well-being and mental health of all stakeholders.

Music and Performing Arts
Auditions for the school musical are happening but there is still time for students to join. Rehearsals take place in 5CR, every Friday, after school. Fame Jr will be performed at Netherton Arts Centre on July 11th at 7pm.

BTEC music students will be showcasing the work they have been doing throughout the year in their lessons on 4th April 2019.

Students who receive music lessons at Forge will be showcasing their talents and hard work in a concert on the 13th June 2019.

Congratulations to Amy Hall who achieved a distinction for singing in her grade 8 Musical Theatre exam.

PE and Sport
Wednesday 6th March – Year 7 to year 9 trip to the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at the Arena in Birmingham
Monday 18th March – Year 7 to year 10 netball trip to Loughborough University
Monday 15th-19th April – Sports tour 2019
Monday 17th June until Friday 21st June – Year 10 GCSE PE rock climbing trip
Monday 18th March – Year 7 to year 10 netball trip to Loughborough University

Friends of Forge (PTA)
The first meeting of the PTA took place on the 6th February. We are in the process of looking at fundraising activities and working with local businesses to help support our students. If you are interested in being involved in this, please contact Dr Mason at lisa.mason@oatforge.co.uk

Standards and Expectations
It is really pleasing to see most students fully equipped and in full uniform, ready to learn every day. Please work with us to maintain these high standards; students are expected in full uniform with a pencil case, pen, pencil and ruler as a minimum.

A reminder that both fizzy drinks and energy drinks are not allowed in the Academy. Furthermore, mobile phones should not be seen or heard in lessons.

Equipment Update
In order to support students in developing reading skills which underpin all areas of the curriculum, students in years 7 and 8 participate in ERIC (Everyone Reads In Class) every day. After the Easter holidays, all students in years 7 and 8 will be expected to have a reading book as part of their equipment.

House Events
As I am sure you are all aware, we have a very active house system at Forge and it’s a feature of the Academy that we are very proud of. There are many activities that students are encouraged to take part in.

Current results

  Snowdon Malvern Clent Bredon
Year 7 Benchball 1 2 3 4
Cooking in years 8, 9 & 10 1 3 2 4
Term 1 Attendance 1 2 4 3
Term 1 Resilience 3 4 2 1
Term 1 Respect 2 4 3 1
Term 1 Aspiration 4 1 3 2
Spelling Bee 2 3 4 1
  Snowdon Malvern Clent Bredon
Total 14 19 21 16


On Friday 15th March 2019 there will be a non-uniform day for Comic Relief that will also include the annual ‘Forge Has Got Talent’ show hosted by former student and current Miss Black Country, Alexandra Darby. The show will also feature local tribute acts and former students of the Academy who have entered the music industry.

SAFEGUARDING

Childline – https://www.childline.org.uk/ – 0800 1111
NSPCC – https://www.nspcc.org.uk/ – 0800 1111
CEOP – https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/ – CEOP helps keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online.
Kooth – https://www.kooth.com – an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people.

If you are worried that you, your child, or a child, is in immediate danger please call the police on 999 straight away.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Dr L Mason
Head of Academy

School safety: lockdown

Posted by admin on Wednesday 13th February 2019

As an Academy with responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of young people in our care, we constantly need to renew our policies, test our procedures and communicate plans to our Forge family.

You will be familiar with lockdown procedures in primary schools and in the workplace, we are no different and we have an obligation to test our plan in a similar way to the way we test our fire alarms.

Lockdown will help us to deal with issues such as:

• A reported incident or civil disturbance in the local community which potentially poses a risk to the Academy community.
• A dangerous individual in the locality.
• An intruder on the Academy site with the potential to pose a risk to students, staff and visitors.
• A warning being received regarding a local risk of air pollution (for example smoke plume, gas cloud).
• A major fire in the vicinity of the Academy.
• Serious accident on-site requiring good access for emergency services.

What is lockdown? It is similar to fire alarm/drill. However, students stay INSIDE THE BUILDING.

When would it be used? When the Academy is alerted to an EXTERNAL incident which means we have to stay inside.

How will students know lockdown has started? A horn will sound.

What should students do? Staff will provide guidance:

  • Stop working immediately.
  • Calmly sit beneath desks/on the floor/out of sight.
  • Stay silent and still.
  • Switch phones off.
  • Stay like this until staff give you further instruction.

How will students know lockdown is over? A horn will sound.

Please do not be alarmed. These things do not normally happen but we do need to be prepared for such eventualities. We will be discussing this with students and we will be practicing locking down our site.

February 2019 Revision Sessions (Half Term)

Posted by admin on Wednesday 13th February 2019

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