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Suggested Reading Lists

Posted by admin on Friday 27th March 2020

There are LOTS of free books to download from Amazon, just type free ebooks in the search box on www.amazon.co.uk. We’ve provided a list of the classics below for years 9 and 10, many of these are free. For years 7 and 8 we’ve included some more popular, modern titles that can be found for very reasonable prices. Of course, nothing stopping younger students trying the classics, adult too. A good read is a good read. We’ll try and keep this list up-to-date and add more. Perhaps you have some recommendations? Email us on closure@oatforge.co.uk.

Reads for years 7 and 8

Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Anything by K Tsang
A boy has to prove to his nemesis that he isn’t afraid of ghosts after an unfortunate incident at the space museum leads to him wetting himself…

Harry Plotter and the Chamber of Serpents by M J Ware
Austen comes to England knowing as an American he’ll stick out at his new school. But when an errant owl lands him at Hogwarts he’s in for more than he expected. If it’s not hard enough being the only American at Hogwarts, Austen’s sorted into the most despised of all the houses. Then bumbling around the dungeon while trying to find his common room, he unwittingly helps the monster from the Chamber of Serpents. Will he discover the secret of the Chamber before he becomes another victim of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?

A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams
This French girl’s life is ugly. Maude has no friends. Her foster family’s mean. She knows nothing about her dead parents. Only one thing keeps her going: her unconditional love for music. Until one person changes her life. Thanks to a chance meeting with an American music producer, Maude flies off to New York to live with his family for six months while she composes her first album. There’s just one problem. She can only sing classical and she needs to make this pop album rock… big time. That’s why she’s stuck working with Matt. He’s cute, he’s famous, and he makes her mad every chance he gets.

Game on Boys – Playstation Play Offs by Kate Cullen
Game on Boys is a hilarious adventure story for boys and girls that will get you laughing hysterically until your guts explode. Just make sure your Mom doesn’t have to clean it up and keep the dog away. Rino James is addicted to Minecraft, PlayStation and anything that looks like a computer game. He goes to a cool school, has a cool teacher and a very uncool sister who does everything in her pink power to ruin his fun.

Witch Willow and the Wrong Spell by I D Blind
A short and cute fairytale for kids about a small Irish town, filled with magic and Robert Burns’ poetry. That spell was wrong! When three young witches, Electra, Cassandra, and Medea, decided to practice witchcraft, they had no idea what consequences the wrong spell could have. Ghosts that scare the townspeople and an old witch with an eerie wail are their minor problems.

Nightcat by Celesta Thiessen
In this first book of the Kitty Castle adventure series, the princes and princesses learn the secret of the night cats. With the help of their own night cat, the children must stop the dragons from ruining the kingdom.

Lost Inside a Video Game by Robert Leroy
This becomes clear to Patrick after a series of unexpected events pulls him inside of his favourite online video game. Now every choice he makes can make the difference between life or… game over. Survival in this virtual battle royale world isn’t what he expected. How did he get here? How does he get back home? How are you supposed to build a fort when you can’t even build a birdhouse in the real world! Will he survive? Where are the toilets in this place? It’s ALMOST enough to make him wish he was back in 6th-grade math class. Almost…

Dead Scary – The Ghost Who Refused to Leave by Sally Gould
Adam is an ordinary boy, except for one thing. He can see and talk with ghosts. When his family moves into what seems like the home of his dreams, Adam finds out it isn’t his dream home after all. Edward Lawrence, a bossy ghost who was Adam’s age when he died, regards the home as his own and he doesn’t want to share it with an annoying boy who can see him.

Dragon’s Fate by Kandi Wyatt
What would you give to soar with dragons?
Every child of Woolpren dreams of being a dragon rider, but few are chosen. Twins Ruskya & Duskya are selected as children to join this elite group, leaving their home and all that is familiar to train for their new lives. Fast forward fifteen years–dragons are becoming extinct and riders are rare. When Ruskya learns of a plot that could destroy the remaining dragon population, he and his friends must fight for their dragons’ future.

Time Travel Family Adventures by Robert Leroy
He thought he lived the typical life of a modern-day middle schooler. Battles with bullies, the perils of pop quizzes, and an endless need for more sleep consumes most of his time. This all changes after he discovers a journal in his attic, written over 100 years ago, describing his every move. Somebody is watching…or WAS watching. This sparks the discovery of a family secret passed down through the generations. Bradley is a time traveller.

Reads for years 9 and 10 (Classics)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Christmas classic in which an elderly miser is visited by three spirits who show him the error of his ways.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Dickens’ classic story about a young orphan who falls in with criminals on the streets of London.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice falls down a rabbit-hole to a land where the impossible is perfectly normal. She meets one strange character after another: the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Queen.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When Mary’s parents die she is sent to live with her uncle. Mary hates it there until she finds a secret garden.

The Jungle Book by Robert Louis Stevenson
The classic animal tale of a boy raised by animals set in India.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Follows the life and changing fortunes of the stallion, Black Beauty.

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery
The story of Anne, an orphan who finds a new life when she is adopted by Marilla, an old spinster.

Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
The classic story of a girl who is transported to a magical land after a tornado rips through her home in Kansas.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The classic story of a young governess, her love for her employer and the discovery of his terrible secret.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Follows the adventures of Jim Hawkins and a pirate crew as they search for lost treasure.

FREE Audio Books

For as long as schools are closed, Audible is open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening.
https://stories.audible.com/

Closure Update – Thursday 26th March 2020

Posted by admin on Thursday 26th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I wanted to start by thanking you today for giving us the time to get systems up and running. Your patience has been appreciated by staff and so have your messages of support. I’m delighted to say that we’ve had record numbers of students using Show My Homework (SMHW) and I think we’ve all started to find the best ways to learn in different ways. Our SMHW team have been busy ensuring everyone has access and if you need any advice or support please contact either laura.colwell@oatforge.co.uk or stephen.rhodes@oatforge.co.uk.

The update today will talk a little bit about building structure. We all know that routines are key for children. It doesn’t matter what the routine is, just that it is consistent. However, these are still new habits that need to be formed and we shouldn’t expect them to happen overnight. We are asking children to adapt very quickly. We should give them the opportunity to learn the new habits and routines in a new setting, School timetables are very different to home, we need to work together to help you find the balance but more importantly give the children time to adapt. This is a huge upheaval and we all need to take our time to adapt

We know that our families will be having a range of different approaches to home learning. We cannot control how you do this. However, we can support families by providing access to staff through email and Show My Homework to enable them to carry on learning. It’s also important to support the mental health and emotional state of the children during this transitional phase. We should not expect our children to be able to understand what is happening and the scale of the time we are talking about (because nobody does!) As with the routines, we need to take our time with this. Children WILL learn! We can model how to adapt to learning at home without panic. Reading, cooking, cleaning, gardening, helping with younger children, listening to others, being kind. All things that children learn daily and will do without too much intervention. Life is learning, change things slowly and the whole family will find it easier to adapt. And if you need some extra support or advice, our senior staff are on hand to speak to you and help out.

I have attached an excellent parent factsheet from The Key regarding home learning. Given all of this advice, information and the constant flow of work, my advice would be not to panic. Give yourself and your family time to adapt. We’re here right with you and our aim is to support the change gradually and not create more pressure at this time.

HOME LEARNING PDF – CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

On a different note, we need to ask casual visitors to stay away from the Academy. The country is on lockdown and travel into the Academy is for essential visits only, this includes picking food up or dropping children off and collecting them.

For food, we have created a contactless pick up system where we are strictly enforcing the two-metre rule and you only need to come to the main reception, not into the main part of the Academy.

To ensure that we are able to continue to provide our delivery system for Free School Meal (FSM) students, we are only currently providing for families in self-isolation due to a medical condition or families that are physically unable to get here. We are trying to ensure that this service continues to support those who are most in need. If you have any questions, please email us on closure@oatforge.co.uk or send us a Facebook message.

We’ve received some enquiries about trips that are happening later in the year or in 2021. All of our trips are currently under review and unless you have heard otherwise will continue to run as normal. We are in constant discussion with tour operators and following strict advice from Government departments. If you have concerns or questions about payments, please email rebecca.mcdonagh@oatforge.co.uk. We will be in touch nearer the date when a decision has to be made about the individual trips going ahead.

I’ll finish off by saying that we are constantly reviewing the learning links on the website, you can find them here: https://bit.ly/2Jd3ImZ. We’ll also be adding a reading list soon which will be age-appropriate. If you are looking for a family fitness regime we can recommend The Body Coach every morning live at 0900. There are nearly one million people from all over the world taking part every day and we’d encourage you to visit The Body Coach on Facebook to join in.

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on social distancing: https://bit.ly/2UxH51F.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Don’t forget:
Wash your hands
Cough/sneeze into your elbow
Don’t touch your face
Stay more than 6ft (2m) away from others
Stay home if you feel sick

Closure Update – Monday 23 March 2020

Posted by admin on Monday 23rd March 2020

A short update today as there are some brief areas that I need to communicate:

  • Our remote learning is now in operation and we will continue to improve offerings and contact as time moves on.
  • There is unprecedented demand on Show My Homework. Staff will also be emailing work out. If you are struggling to log in to SMHW, please be patient.
  • If you are self-isolating or showing symptoms of Covid-19 as outlined by the NHS, PLEASE do not leave your house, PLEASE do not visit the Academy and ensure everyone in your household isolates themselves for the advised 14-day period. If you need to pick anything up from the Academy, email closure@oatforge.co.uk and we will arrange a contactless delivery.
  • We’ve published some guidance on support services for young people who might be struggling to cope with the current developments. You can find that on our website: www.ormistonforgeacademy.co.uk/support-services
  • The Department for Education has alerted us to a scam email currently doing the rounds all over the country. The DfE has been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’. It has been confirmed that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.

Even more importantly, please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on social distancing: https://bit.ly/2UxH51F

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Don’t forget:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Cough/sneeze into your elbow
  3. Don’t touch your face
  4. Stay more than 6ft (2m) away from others
  5. Stay home if you feel sick

Support Services

Posted by admin on Monday 23rd March 2020

Dear Parents/carers 

The events of the last week have been challenging and, as an Academy, we have done our best to answer every question asked of us in an open and honest way. We’d like to deal with the mental health of our students in exactly the same way. We know that many of our young people will be struggling with the changes and the uncertainty over exams, although we have tried our best to address the latter here: https://ormistonforgeacademy.co.uk/gcse-btec-a-levels

There will also be heightened anxiety generally. We believe that we can start to manage this anxiety by limiting time on social media and ensuring that we get any information about Covid-19 from the NHS website and official sources. Following the guidance is key and starting to build daily routines and structures will help us all adjust. 

Of course, the safety and wellbeing of our students continues to be of paramount importance and there are lots of useful physical and mental advice support services for you to share with your children. We’ve listed some that we recommend below. 

ChatHealth (School Nurse Services): A confidential text messaging service that enables children and young people, 11 years and older, to contact their local, public health, school nursing team. This is available on 07480 635486.

Kooth: A free, safe and anonymous online support for young people (11-19 years plus) available at all times at www.kooth.com. It includes accessing online counselling support. Monday-Friday: noon-10pm. Saturday and Sunday: 6pm – 10pm.

Beam: A drop in-service for anyone under 19. All face-to-face services have been cancelled; updates will be placed on Twitter @beamsandwell

Health For Teens Website: For general health advice – www.healthforteens.co.uk

DECCA: Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Services are still available as and when needed. Please phone 0121 5692201 or email decca_team@sandwellchildrenstrust.org.uk  

Brook (Sexual Health Support: 11 years old plus): Brook are contacting young people directly to discuss the appropriate mode of support for their personal circumstances.

Childline: Website is operating www.childline.org.uk and the counselling service is still available; please call 0800 1111.

Papyrus (Youth Suicide Prevention charity): Please call 0800 0684141 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

The BBC also has an excellent resource on protecting your mental health: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799

Domestic abuse support in the West Midlands during COVID-19 – CLICK HERE to download.

It is also important to state that our staff are also picking up emails and contactable. In the first instance, it might be worth contacting me to discuss options but if a student has a concern and would like to speak to a particular member of staff, we’ll do all we can to arrange a telephone chat. To contact me or the safeguarding team at Forge, email genna.griffiths@oatforge.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Genna Griffiths
Senior Leader Safeguarding


GCSE, BTEC, A levels

Posted by admin on Saturday 21st March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Now that we have managed the school closure and done all we can to ensure a continuation of education via remote means, our attention turns to exams and qualifications for students in years 11 to 14. Over the last 24 hours, we have received a barrage of Government and exam board communication and instead of posting links we wanted to distil this information and break it down. We know that everyone is concerned but students across the United Kingdom are in the same position and we are committed to making sure that students aren’t disadvantaged in any way.

The Government has provided clarification on how qualifications and grades for students who are due to complete courses this year will be awarded. We have provided an official link to the statement below. It is self-explanatory but we felt that it might be useful to summarise the key points:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced

  • Teachers will be asked to make a judgement on the grade they feel students would have achieved if they’d sat all exams and completed courses as normal. This judgement will inform the grade they are awarded for their subjects. Importantly, teachers will be able to base their judgement on a wide range of evidence and not just on most recent mock exam results. This means that tests, essays, classwork and homework etc completed during studies can be taken into consideration by teachers. This also means that the predicted grade that teachers recorded on reports may potentially differ from the final grade they suggest should be awarded. Teachers will do everything they can to ensure students achieve the grades they were on track to achieve.
  • For sixth form students, the prior attainment (ie the grades achieved in GCSEs) will also be taken into consideration by exam boards alongside the grades suggested by teachers. This is nothing to worry about- the exam boards will be looking at what students with similar GCSE grades typically achieve in the subjects undertaken in the sixth form.
  • The plan is for the exam boards to inform students of the grades they’ve been awarded at the end of July, this is earlier than normal.
  • An appeal process will be put in place if students feel the grades they are awarded don’t sufficiently reflect what they feel they would have achieved had they sat all exams as normal. At the moment we don’t have any information about how this process will work.
  • Students will be awarded full A level, BTEC and GCSE qualifications and will eventually receive certificates as normal. The value of these A levels, BTECs and GCSE will be no different from those awarded to students in previous years.
  • Although full qualifications will be awarded, there will be the opportunity to sit exams in subjects early next academic year (ie at some point from September 2020 onwards) if students wish to do this. This may be something students will want to consider and we will speak to everybody a little later in the year when more detail is available.

There are a few more points I’d like to raise now that we have more clarification on how qualifications will be awarded:

  • Firstly, the completion of any coursework that teachers require students to complete at home is vital now that we know their judgement will be used to inform final grades. This is particularly important for subjects like art (May 20th deadline) and technology.
  • Secondly, for sixth form students, the advice from universities is don’t rush decisions. If students have heard back from all universities they’ve applied to before March 31st (which will apply to most students), they have until May 5th to make firm and insurance choices. Universities will be contacting applicants direct with regards to how they will be moving forward with applications and offers.
  • If students have applied to go to university, make sure student finance applications are completed. This is something done at home with parents or carers.
  • Finally, please refrain from contacting teachers about suggested awarded grades. Teachers are working with students and not against them. We always have the best interests of students at heart and teachers need time to reflect back on the wealth of assessment done with students over the period of study before making their final judgment.

It is vital that ‘careers and employment ’ advice/support is given to all Year 11 and Year 13 students likely to leave education this summer 2020. To this end, young people and their parents/carers can still contact Connexions Sandwell online, and staff are available by phone or email. They can be called on 0121 569 2955 or Freephone: 0800 358 4800. Alternatively, the email is sandwell_connexions@sandwell.gov.uk. Students can also contact our careers advisor at Forge by emailing Bev Evans on beverley.evans@oatforge.co.uk.

Finally, the Government has put together a document of frequently asked questions about exams and you can find that at this shortened link https://bit.ly/2xT80xj. There is very little we can add at this point but will do all our best to reassure students at this difficult time and ensure that we communicate information as and when we receive it.

The most important thing I can say now, given all this information, is to ask students NOT to give up on your studies. Complete coursework, study and continue to work hard. In turn, my priority is to ensure that none of our students face a barrier when it comes to moving onto the next stage of their lives – whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job. Staff are on hand to answer any subject-specific questions from parents, carers and students and the head of each year will continue support students with any concerns they might have or any emotional troubles or anxiety brought on by these events.

We will be in touch with further updates. In the meantime, stay safe and continue to follow guidance from Government departments and the NHS.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

DfE Info for Parents and Carers

Posted by admin on Saturday 21st March 2020

We’ve published this series of frequently asked questions provided by the Department for Education (DfE). Please visit the original link as the information might be updated over time. It is correct on the day of publication – 21st March 2020.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL LINK

Thank you. Dr Lisa Mason, Principal, Ormiston Forge Academy

1. Closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings

1.1 What age groups does this cover?

The changes cover children at registered childcare providers (including nurseries and childminders), primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. This is for both state-funded and independent schools.

1.2 Will it be mandatory for all schools, colleges and registered childcare providers to remain open in some form?

We are asking schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

We understand that some may be unable to do so especially if they are experiencing severe staff shortages. We will work with local areas to use neighbouring schools, colleges and childcare providers to continue to support vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

1.3 How long will schools and colleges be closed for?

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed to the majority of pupils until further notice.

1.4 Will this apply to independent schools and boarding schools?

Yes. We are asking independent schools and boarding schools to do the same as state schools and remain open for critical workers and vulnerable children.

1.5 Will registered childcare providers, schools and colleges be open over Easter holidays for holiday clubs and childcare?

Where possible, we would encourage childcare providers, schools and colleges to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

1.6 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – can you guarantee that my child will attend their usual school or childcare provider?

We are expecting the majority of settings to stay open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children so they can continue to attend their usual provider, but we acknowledge this will be impossible for some – such as small rural schools.

Where a setting is unable to stay open, we will work with the local educational authority, regional school commissioners and neighbouring providers to find an alternative setting for their pupils.

1.7 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – how will my child get to school if the only school open is not nearby?

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure that children can attend the best setting for them, and will provide transport arrangements to support them.

1.8 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child but my children’s school has closed. What should I do?

Arrangements are being made in your local area to ensure that your child can still attend school. If your school hasn’t already informed you about those arrangements, please contact your local authority. They will be working with regional school commissioners and neighbouring providers to make alternative arrangements. You can find out your local authority by entering your postcode.

1.9 What if I have to leave my children unattended?

Read the government advice on the law on leaving children unattended.

There is no law about when you can leave your child on their own but it is an offence to leave them alone if it places them at risk. As parents, you should use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them at home. It is important to be aware that you can be prosecuted if you leave a child alone ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’. If you are at all unsure, the NSPCC recommends that children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time, children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight and babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.

1.10 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child but I don’t want to send my child in to school or childcare, do I have to?

Many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

This is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.

For vulnerable children, your child’s social worker will work with you to assess the best option for your child.

1.11 Does this affect universities and other higher education institutions?

Universities and other higher education providers should make their own judgements based on latest Public Health England guidance. Vice chancellors are well placed to make decisions about their own institution, and many have already moved all their teaching online. The government is supporting them with these decisions.

Advice continues to be that all student accommodation should remain open unless advised otherwise by Public Health England. Many universities provide homes to international students, estranged students and care leavers who might not have anywhere else to go.

The Department is working with the Home Office to avoid individuals and institutions being penalised if online provision inadvertently leads to non-compliance with Tier 4 visa rules.

1.12 Does this apply to special schools?

We recognise that children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) and their parents and carers are facing numerous challenges as a result of coronavirus. We are encouraging local authorities to keep open both residential special schools and residential specialist colleges wherever possible. In addition, we want to keep the majority of day special schools and colleges open, including moving staff into these settings to avoid closure.

Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis assessments of the health and safeguarding considerations of pupils and students on an education, health and care (EHC) plan. For some, they will be safer in an education provision. For others, they will be safer at home. We trust leaders and parents to make these decisions and will support them as required.

The government acknowledges that in many cases, the insurance that early years providers have will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures.

That is one of the reasons why it announced on 17 March that government would not claw back early years entitlements funding from local authorities during closures, or where children are withdrawn because of COVID-19. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income.

In addition, the government has set out a range of support for businesses to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. This includes a business rate holiday for all private childcare providers for one year from 1 April. Local authorities will be fully compensated for the cost of this.

In light of these steps taken already, we are asking providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents. The government is urgently keeping what further support businesses may require under close review.

2. Exams

2.1 What will happen to exams?

Primary assessments, including SATs, and exams including GCSEs, AS levels and A levels will not go ahead this summer.

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer. Further information on the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020 is available.

3. Free school meals

3.1 Will children on free school meals still receive a meal or food voucher when schools close?

Yes. Headteachers can decide which of the available options will be best for families in their area. Schools can provide food on site, arrange deliveries or purchase a voucher to be given to the family.

Contact your school to find out which option they are providing. We understand that some of these approaches may create extra costs for schools – we will provide further guidance shortly on how we will compensate schools accordingly.

4. Vulnerable children

4.1 Is my child counted as vulnerable?

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. We will work with schools, early years, FE providers and local authorities to help identify the children who most need support at this time.

We know that schools will also want to look to support other children who are vulnerable where they are able to do so.

4.2 What will happen with free school meals for those not in school and colleges?

We know that free school meals are important for many families.

To make sure eligible children can continue to be supported, we will give schools and colleges the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. They will be reimbursed by the Department. As soon as possible, we will put in place a national voucher system.

More information on support for pupils eligible for school meals is available.

5. Critical workers

5.1 Will I be counted as a critical worker?

Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work.

In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort – such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers – will also continue to attend school, college or childcare provider.

A full list of critical workers and further information is available.

5.2 If only one parent or carer is a critical worker, can I send my children in to school?

Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can send their children to school if required.

6. Resources and support

What support will be available to parents to help them educate their children at home?

More information will follow about what DfE is doing to support parents. We are working with the BBC and others to provide resources for children to access while at home. For parents with children under five years old see hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk

6.1 There is too much pressure on broadband connections in my area – how can my child do online learning?

The government is having regular calls with the major fixed and mobile operators, and with Ofcom, to monitor the situation and ensure that any problems on the networks are rapidly addressed and rectified.

We fully understand the importance of having reliable internet connectivity at this time, so that people can work from home wherever possible and access critical public services online, including health information.

Academy Closure – Update

Posted by admin on Friday 20th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

As you know, we are all facing extraordinary challenges and the situation is placing pressure on all parts of society. Our staff have been doing all they can to keep our school open since this crisis began and I would like to pay tribute to their remarkable commitment. They have been extraordinary and we will continue to play our part over the coming weeks.

As you may be aware, the Government made several very important decisions this week. The first is that it has advised schools in England to close, except for certain groups of children, from Friday afternoon (20th March) onwards as a further measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No date has been set for when schools will re-open for all students.

From Monday, the school will continue to be open for the following groups of students:

  • Children whose parents are frontline which includes those who work in the following sectors and industries: health and social care, education and childcare, key public services, local and national government, food and other necessary goods, public safety and national security, transport, utilities, communication and financial services. For clarity please visit the official Government list by visiting this link: https://bit.ly/3deTRLh. Please email closure@oatforge.co.uk if you are a frontline worker and require our support with your childcare needs. If you think that you fall within the critical categories above you should confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
  • Those classed as what the Secretary of State described as “vulnerable children”. These could be those who have a social worker and those with EHCPs. We have details of these children and we will be in touch.

For students in these groups, we have also been asked to remain open through the Easter holidays and we will do our best to achieve this. From Monday 23rd March and through this period, our school will provide care for these children.

The students who are attending need to be in at normal school times and in uniform (trainers can be worn as they will be doing some physical activity). Lunch will be provided for them. Students should report to the canteen each day.

Children who do not fall into the groups listed above should remain at home with appropriate care. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Another priority over the last 24 hours has been ensuring the provision of food for supported children, children of key workers who will attend the Academy and children who receive free school meals.

After receiving guidance from the Department for Education today and in consultation with our catering company, Educaterers, we can do the following:

  • Children of keyworkers and supported children who are attending the Academy during the closure will be fed during their stay with us.
  • Grab bags for free school meal students will be available from the Academy from 1130 until 1330 every weekday.

Monday 23rd March will be the first day that we operate this model and we will make full provision for free school meal students. However, as time goes on, we will have to reduce the numbers if we find that the grab bags aren’t being collected.

If your child receives free school meals and the grab bag cannot be collected, please send us a private Facebook message or email closure@oatforge.co.uk and we will do all we can to support you.

Another key announcement is that tests and exams will not take place this summer. For children and young people, who have worked so hard to prepare for their SATs, GCSEs or A levels, this will be upsetting and we sympathise with them. At the same time, we understand the decision the Government has made and we are reassured that children’s grades in GCSEs and A levels will be awarded on the basis of moderated assessment, in conjunction with the exam boards and Ofqual. This means that the hard work students have done will be rewarded. It may not feel quite the same, and nor is it, but they will receive grades that will progress them to the next stage of their lives.

We will continue to provide home learning resources for your child. Show My Homework will be the main platform to set work for all year groups and staff will set work daily for the groups they have that day – this includes year 11 and year 13. Staff will provide work packs for those without internet access and will be available via school email during school hours for students and parents.

In the meantime, I would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you wholeheartedly for your understanding and ongoing support in helping us to manage this unprecedented situation. 

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

This is the official guidance from the Government regarding critical sectors:

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

Food During The Closure

Posted by admin on Thursday 19th March 2020

One of our priorities over the last 24 hours has been ensuring the provision of food for supported children, children of key workers who will attend the Academy and children who receive free school meals.

After receiving guidance from the Department for Education today and in consultation with our catering company, Educaterers, we are able to do the following:

  • children of keyworkers and supported children who are attending the Academy during the closure will be fed during their stay with us.
  • grab bags for free school meal students will be available from the Academy from 1130 until 1330 every weekday (including the Easter holidays).

Monday 23rd March will be the first day that we operate this model and we will make full provision for free school meal students. However, as time goes on, we will have to reduce the numbers if we find that the grab bags aren’t being collected.

If your child receives free school meals and the grab bag cannot be collected, please send us a private Facebook message or email closure@oatforge.co.uk and we will do all we can to support you.

Thank you.

Lisa Mason
Principal

Academy Closure

Posted by admin on Wednesday 18th March 2020

Further to the announcement by Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, we have been instructed to close the Academy from the end of the day on Friday. We have been busy, working in the background, in readiness for this eventuality and we will now be pushing the button on a number of contingency plans.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51643556

Please be patient with us. We will be communicating plans over the next 24 hours but we need a little time to gather our thoughts, talk to staff and make sure we update everyone in a calm and clear way. We will continue to operate our messaging service out-of-hours but we are unable to answer any questions about the closure or the repercussions until we have received further guidance from the Department for Education and our sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust.

We are awaiting guidance from the Department for Education on exams and are unable to speculate on plans, we will update you as soon as we know anything.

Further to this statement, we would like to ask that parents with the following professions make themselves aware to us by emailing closure@oatforge.co.uk. The professions are NHS staff, the police and delivery drivers. A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow and we’ll post updates accordingly. We already have details of children with education, health and care plans.

The health and wellbeing of students regardless of whether they are in our care or not is always paramount and will continue to be. I will write again shortly.

Thank you.

Lisa Mason
Principal

Learning Resources

Posted by admin on Monday 16th March 2020

In the current climate, we felt that sharing the following learning resources might be useful. Please scroll further down for a further set of learning resources added 27th March 2020.

General:
https://www.gcsepod.com/
https://www.senecalearning.com/
https://www.tes.com/
https://homelearninguk.weebly.com/
https://www.freeeducationalresources.com/

English:
https://literacytrust.org.uk/free-resources/
https://www.literacyshedplus.com/free-resources
https://www.teachitenglish.co.uk/
https://resources.poetrysociety.org.uk/
https://www.rsc.org.uk/education/teacher-resources/
https://www.shakespeareweek.org.uk/
https://www.roalddahl.com/create-and-learn

Maths:
https://www.mathsisfun.com/
https://www.coolmathgames.com/
https://www.prodigygame.com/
https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?Subject=16

Science:
https://www.science-sparks.com/
https://www.britishscienceweek.org/
https://www.crestawards.org/
https://www.rigb.org/education

History:
https://www.ichistory.com/
https://www.teachithistory.co.uk/
https://schoolhistory.co.uk/

Geography:
https://www.geography.org.uk/teaching-resources
https://www.3dgeography.co.uk/
https://www.geocaching.com/play
https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/

Art:
https://www.arthistorykids.com/
https://doodles-academy.org/
https://www.artforkidshub.com/

Computing:
https://mediasmart.uk.com/
https://scratch.mit.edu/
https://microbit.org/

Languages:
https://quizlet.com/en-gb
https://www.duolingo.com/

PE:
https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities
https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/how-to-help-your-children-develop-healthy-habits-166.html

UPDATE – ADDED 27th March 2020

General:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
https://www.twinkl.co.uk/home-learning-hub (offer code: UKTWINKLHELPS)
https://www.khanacademy.org/
https://www.topmarks.co.uk/

English:
https://www.literacyplanet.com/uk/
https://wildliteracy.com/
https://www.englishforeveryone.org/

Maths:
https://corbettmaths.com/
https://www.mathsgenie.co.uk/
https://ttrockstars.com/

Science:
https://mysteryscience.com/
https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/home
https://www.alchem.ie/

History:
https://www.historyresourcecupboard.co.uk/portfolio-category/free-lessons/
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/
https://www.bighistoryproject.com/chapters/1#intro

Geography:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/
https://www.virtualmicroscope.org/explore

RS:
https://www.reonline.org.uk/

Art:
https://artsandculture.google.com/
https://www.studentartguide.com/

Computing:
https://sites.google.com/view/computingtextbook/students
https://www.codecademy.com/

Languages:
https://lingvist.com/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/

PE:
https://www.peresourcesbank.co.uk/
https://www.nhs.uk/10-minute-shake-up/shake-ups
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ (Joe Wicks live at 9:00am)

Cooking:
https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/

Music:
https://solfeg.io/

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