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: 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.

This social network app is from the creators of As 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 is now on TikTok. So if your child had a 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 before it, it is most popular with under 16s.

Users, or formerly known as ‘musers’, can either sign up using their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email account.

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.

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.


  • TikTok is rapidly becoming the most downloaded app.
  • According to, 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.
  • app users have been automatically transferred to the TikTok app.


  • 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.


  • 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).

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:

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

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:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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:

The following site has been invaluable in putting this guide together:

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.


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


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

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.


Childline – – 0800 1111
NSPCC – – 0800 1111
CEOP – – CEOP helps keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online.
Kooth – – 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

Instagram – a guide for parents

Posted by admin on Monday 4th February 2019

What is Instagram?

Whether you’re a parent, guardian, or teacher, or you just spend time around young people, it’s almost certain that you’ve heard of Instagram (or Insta, or IG). Released back in 2010, the photo-sharing application has grown in popularity ever since, with over 1 billion users to date.

In fact, Instagram users are the most engaged out of all social media platforms. Every day on average, 70 million photos are uploaded and there are 25 billion likes on content. The site allows users to interact with people from around the world and share photos and comments.

Age requirement
Anyone 13 and older can create an Instagram account by registering an email address and selecting a username.

Instagram have community guidelines that outline what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour on the site.

Their five short rules are:

  1. Post your own photos and videos
  2. Keep your clothes on
  3. Be respectful
  4. Don’t spam
  5. HAVE FUN!

Some tips for parents and teens

Tools for helping to control how much time you or your teen spends on Instagram

  • Instagram (and Facebook) have launched tools to help users better understand and manage how much time they’re spending on the services.
  • Access these controls on Instagram by tapping Your Activity in the settings menu.
  • At the top, you’ll see a dashboard showing your average time on that device. Tap any bar to see your total time for that day.
  • Below the dashboard, you can set a daily reminder to give yourself an alert when you’ve reached the amount of time you want to spend on the app for that day.
  • You can change or cancel the reminder at any time. You can also tap on Notification Settings to quickly access the new Mute Push Notifications setting. This will limit your Instagram notifications for a period of time.

You’re all caught up
Instagram has also added a “You’re all caught up” message to let people know they’re all caught up to date on everything their friends and communities are up to. This can relieve the pressure that some teens feel to be constantly checking Instagram to make sure they’re not missing anything.

Knowing who you’re following
Instagram has added an “About This Account” tool that provides details about accounts that reach ‘a large audience’ including when the account started, the country in which it’s located, other accounts with shared followers and any username changes in the last year and any ads the account is currently running. It won’t help your teen when it comes to most individual Instagram users, but it will give them information about accounts from celebrities, companies and others with large followings.

To learn more about an account, go to their Profile, tap the … menu and then select About This Account.

Instagram has also instituted a verification badge, similar to Facebook’s, that celebrities, journalists, politicians, companies and other prominent account holders use to prove that they are who they say they are. This information could help your teen avoid following fake accounts impersonating as public figures and celebrities.

Why some teens have more than one account
There are two words your kids probably know – “Rinsta” and “Finsta.” Rinsta stands for ‘real Instagram account’. The f inFinsta” stands for fake.
For teens who have both types of accounts, their ‘real’ Instagram (“Rinsta”) is probably tightly curated for a wider audience and their fake Instagram (“Finsta”) is used for a close circle of friends. There’s nothing sinister about a teen having more than one Instagram account – it’s how they project their different sides to different audiences. The Rinsta for their polished, idealised selves, and the Finsta for their casual, authentic side, where they can let their guard down a bit, act silly and not edit out every blemish.

Top Tip:
“Instagram has developed a filter that will block certain offensive comments on posts and in live video. All other comments will appear as they normally do and you can still report comments, delete comments or turn them off. Also, you can always turn this filter off. To access it, click the ‘…’ settings menu from the profile and scroll to tap ‘Comments’.”

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).

What to do if you’re being harassed
Block someone if necessary. If someone’s harassing you, such as repeatedly tagging you in photos you don’t like or sending you a lot of direct messages or trying to engage you in a creepy conversation, you can block them so they can’t tag you, contact you directly or mention you in comments. They also won’t be able to see your profile or search for your account. To block a user, go to his or her profile, tap the three dots at the top right, and select Block. When you block an account, that person isn’t notified and you can unblock an account at any time.

Report problematic posts. You can report other people’s inappropriate photos, videos, stories, or comments – or users who violate Instagram’s community guidelines. Just click on the three dots next to the username, then Report.

You can untag yourself. Only the person who posts can tag people in the post, but – if that person’s profile is public – anyone tagged by the poster can untag themselves. You can untag yourself by tapping on your username in a post, but only if the post is public or if you follow the person who tagged you.

Ignore messages labelled “Request”. If you don’t want to receive a message from someone you don’t know, ignore any messages in your inbox marked Request. If you want to see images only from people you know, limit who you follow.

To report a photo or video: Tap the three dots next to the photo you’d like to report and then Report.

To report a comment: Tap the message bubble below the comment. Swipe left over the comment (iPhone) or tap and hold the comment (Android) you’d like to report. Tap the ! button and choose Spam or Scam or Abusive Content.

For more detailed instructions and guidance on how to use the safety features of Instagram visit the Instagram website:

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

Prize Giving 2018

Posted by admin on Friday 7th December 2018

NOTHING is stopping students at Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath from achieving success in both the academic and extracurricular fields.

The achievements of the Academy’s top students were recognised during a prize-giving ceremony at Champions Church in Netherton last week.

The annual event celebrates the achievement of students over the academic year and regularly attracts a capacity audience of over 800 people. More than 200 students from Forge were recognised for outstanding achievements in a wide range of academic, extracurricular and social aspects of school life. As part of the school’s drive to improve literacy skills every prize winner received a national book token.

The themes of the evening were the core values of the school which are respect, aspiration and resilience. Many of the speakers took the opportunity to talk about personal experiences relating to the values.

After delivering an inspiring speech aimed directly at the students, Dr Emmanouil Nikolousis presented students with the community awards. Dr Nikolousis is the clinical director of haematology and stem cell transplantation for the Heart of England NHS Trust.

Dr Nikolousis said, “I was honoured to be invited along to this incredible evening where I met some of the future leaders of the West Midlands and the UK. Well done to all students, staff and the governors for their endless efforts to achieve excellence and success.”

Other awards were presented by the chair of governors at Forge, Siddique Hussain, the head of academy at Forge’s sister school Tenbury High Ormiston Academy, Vicki Dean, executive principal over both Tenbury High and Forge, Andrew Burns, and head of academy at Forge, Lisa Mason.

Champions Church was packed to the rafters and throughout the evening, performing arts students kept the audience entertained with readings and musical numbers including a show stopper from Legally Blonde The Musical.

The ceremony was graced by The Worshipful the Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Joy Edis who joined Head Boy and Head Girl for photos at the start of the evening.

In their speeches both Head Boy, Vikramjeet Singh, and Head Girl, Lauren Southall, told very personal stories and spoke eloquently about overcoming odds and being the best you can be. The positions of Head Girl and Head Boy provide a key leadership and a supportive role for students across the Academy. The roles are selected annually and are open to all students in year 12 ahead of their move to year 13. The roles of Head Boy and Head Girl are instrumental in supporting all students as they arrive and progress throughout the Academy.

Head of school, Dr Lisa Mason, congratulated parents on their efforts to raise good children as well as thanking the teachers for nurturing students.

Also present at the ceremony from Forge’s sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust, was the director of education, Rob Pritchard.

There was also a presentation of a special award to Louise Morris who is the CME (Children Missing Education) & Alternative Provision Officer for Sandwell. The tireless and determined work that Louise does means that young people across Sandwell, including Forge students, are looked after and have their safeguarding needs met. The award, seven industrial chain links forged and donated by local chain maker, William Hackett Chain Products Ltd, will be displayed in reception at the Academy. Each link represents a year for the Academy and is presented annually to someone who has made a positive impact on the local community. The links represent the proud history of the area, also symbolised in the Academy logo.


Sixth Form Open Event 2018

Posted by admin on Friday 16th November 2018

Ormiston Forge Academy Sixth Form in Cradley Heath is throwing open its doors in December to prospective post sixteen students at its annual open event on Wednesday 5th December.

Students who are due to start post 16 studies in September 2019 are invited to visit Forge to gain a taster of life at the academy sixth form. The academy achieved record-breaking A level results this summer as well as an outstanding record of 100% of leavers going to university, work or apprenticeships.

The doors will be open from 5.00pm–7.00pm on Wednesday 5th December.

Visitors will be able to see the enormous variety and quality of courses Forge has to offer students for life after year 11. Also in attendance will be a number of universities, The Access Project who help students improve their grades even more and support their applications to top universities and our groundbreaking football scholarship programme where students play, train and study with us.

Darren Grimes, Assistant Principal for KS5, said: “We didn’t think that we could top 2017 but 2018 has been a fantastic year for Forge Sixth Form. We were delighted with the results over the summer and our football scholarship programme is going from strength-to-strength. Our new pathways have been a great success and we are really looking forward to showing our outcomes to prospective parents and students.

The overriding success of Forge Sixth Form is down to the individual attention we are able to invest in every student. Post 16 study requires a great deal of transition and our results can be seen each year in the growing number of students that we send to universities across the country.

The event, on Wednesday 5th December, is open to current students at Forge as well as external candidates. Please contact Mrs Yvonne Siviter on 01384 566 598 or email if you have any questions.

You can find our sixth form admissions page here:


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Ormiston Forge Academy, Wrights Lane, Cradley Heath, West Midlands, B64 6QU. Tel: 01384 566 598.