Newsletter October 23 2020

Reminder: Half-term is one week and we return on Monday 2nd November 2020.

Dear parents and carers,

It’s safe to say that this last week has been challenging but we continue to maintain the rigorous arrangements that we have in place across the site to keep bubbles separate from each other, this is how we have been able to manage positive cases with very little disruption. Our cleaning regimes continue at pace and we will continue to ask students to wear masks and follow the guidance. Your support, as always, is appreciated with this.

I don’t normally write mid-term but the positive news is that we have lots to tell you. We work hard at communicating and keeping you up-to-date with things but sometimes it’s good to be able to collate lots of information together. Some of the content here is about expectations; understandably we’ve been able to relax things a little especially with regard to the supply of our uniform but I believe that this is now well in hand. After the half-term break, we will be raising our expectations again, we’re a good school and I’m incredibly proud of our Forge Family especially over the last six weeks. We must never be complacent and these expectations will ensure our high standards continue.

Finally, I wanted to express my gratitude on behalf of our entire Forge family for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve had since we returned. From the well-wishes to those suffering from Covid to supporting our open e-vents and ensuring that our staff have your support when we ask for it. A big thank you from me and the team, it makes a huge difference. And to those parents new to Forge in year 7, welcome, thank you for your patience and I very much look forward to when we can welcome you all back into Forge and meet face-to-face again. Stay safe over half term and have a restful break.

EXPECTATIONS
Despite everything else happening in the world today, it is important that we continue to do our job as educators as best as we can. Our commitment to our young people is to prepare them as best as we can for the world beyond Forge - higher education or work. Not all learning happens in the classroom and sharing the Forge site together means that we have to show respect for one another and the environment where we work and play. We believe that uniform, behaviour, expectations in the classroom/lesson/corridor are all important parts of growing up and ensuring that we have a safe, harmonious community who are ready to learn and will be fully prepared for their journey when they leave us. Not addressing these things is doing a disservice to our young people. This week I have spoken to all students about our expectations and we will continue to work with them and support them. I hope that you can reinforce some of these expectations at home.

  • You are expected to wear full uniform (including shoes) every day with the exception of PE days.
  • On PE days or if you are participating in an Enrichment Club, you are expected to wear your Forge PE kit. You can also wear plain black tracksuit bottoms and a plain black sweatshirt.
  • All visible facial piercings must be removed in the Academy.
  • You are expected to have all of your equipment at all times. This needs to be bought from Reconnect during registration in the morning.

In the classroom:

  • Sitting on your chair properly in your seating plan.
  • Wearing your uniform correctly.
  • Your equipment out on the desk ready to learn.
  • Your books/booklets in front of you ready to learn.
  • You reading a book/reading over the work completed last lesson.

During the lesson:

  • Good engagement and participation in the lesson.
  • Respectful behaviour towards everyone.
  • Work is completed to the best of your ability.
  • A calm working environment.
  • Hand sanitiser is used as directed by staff.
  • Masks being put on at the end of the lesson as directed by staff.

In the corridor:

  • Wearing a mask correctly unless you have a blue lanyard exemption pass.
  • Queuing sensibly to enter the block.
  • Walking sensibly keeping to the left of the corridor.
  • Entering the classroom in a calm orderly manner.

SHOES
A reminder for students that when they attend school in their uniform, they must wear plain black, polishable shoes in accordance with the uniform list. We completely appreciate that it has been easy to let standards slip given that on some days students come in with their PE kits on but it is important to state that trainers are OK with PE kit but not OK with school uniform. After half-term, we will be picking students up who are wearing trainers with their uniform and we need your support to ensure compliance.

MOBILE PHONES AND EQUIPMENT
Once students are in the building, phones must not be seen or heard. We encourage students to leave all expensive personal items at home. We cannot take responsibility for everyone’s phones, iPods, jewellery etc. All losses are at the owner’s own risk.
Equipment that will be needed: a pencil case with a pen, pencil, ruler, calculator, pink and green highlighter and a pack of colouring pencils.

REMEMBRANCE DAY
On Wednesday 4th November 2020 we'll be holding our service of remembrance at Forge. We hope to broadcast this live on our Facebook account. It will be a different type of ceremony ensuring guidance with Covid restrictions.

In order to make the service personal to our Forge family and our local community, we are asking you to send us the names of your relatives who have served in conflict. Please email [email protected] with the details of the person you would like us to remember with the following details:

Name
Rank (if known)
Military service (Army, Navy, RAF)
Serving years (if known)

This list of names will be read out during our service. Thank you.

TUTORING
You may have read in the news or on social media information regarding the government making funding available for schools to run tutoring sessions for students to revisit and strengthen their knowledge and skills due to the impact of time away from school. Forge staff in all subjects are currently identifying students who they believe would benefit from additional sessions outside of normal school hours. After half term, the first round of subject tuition will begin - this will be at no cost to you - and our expert staff will be working with small groups to master prior learning and improve upon areas for development. If your child is identified, our pastoral and subject staff will be in touch to explain the benefits of the session/s and the details of when they will be occurring. We would like you to join us in emphasising the importance and benefit of these sessions to the students. If you require any further information, please contact Mr Jenks (Assistant Principal) on [email protected]

ADVICE FOR HALLOWEEN
We received this update from the local authority and have been asked to pass it on.
You will probably be aware that the government has announced new coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, naming Sandwell and many other areas in our region as a
‘High Alert’ zone. Unfortunately, we are seeing a rapid rise in the numbers of people being taken to hospital and dying after becoming infected. With COVID-19 infection rates high across Sandwell, we therefore need to give some advice about Halloween.

At this time of year, many families will be preparing for Halloween at the end of October. There is no reason why this annual event cannot be celebrated in your own home or garden with the people you live with. However, in light of the government restrictions because of the high infection rates, we believe it is far better for your children not to call at other houses to trick or treat as this will increase the risk of infection, either to your children and family or to people answering the door.

While we know this may be disappointing for some children who enjoy trick or treating’, please stay safe, protect yourselves and others and look at alternative, safe
ways to celebrate Halloween this year. Remember, the more cases there are, the greater the risk of passing on the virus, especially to older and vulnerable people in your family or neighbourhood who are at a much higher risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Please also be aware that the current government restrictions for Sandwell prevent people from different households mixing inside each other’s homes. And people from different households are not allowed to meet outdoors in groups of more than six.

Visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/localrestrictions for more details about government restrictions.

HEGARTY MATHS
We are setting all of our maths homework this year through Hegarty Maths, there will be reminders on Satchel One.
Hegarty Maths can be accessed using any device. You can log in by entering your child's full name and their date of birth (they then create their own password).
Hegarty Maths provides over 1000 video tutorials and understanding is checked through quizzes. It is a brilliant way for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of maths as well as strengthening their ability to recall previously learned content.
www.hegartymaths.com

YEAR 7 SETTLING IN EVENING
Year 7 Settling In Evening is on Thursday 5th November. It is an opportunity for you to have either a telephone call or Google Meet to discuss your child's first half-term at Ormiston Forge Academy. Appointments are available for parents via the EduLink app using their parental log in details. If you have any questions on how to book, please feel free to contact Mr Daly: [email protected]

BIKES
We are concerned about Forge students riding their bikes dangerously without helmets on both roads and pavements; putting not only themselves at risk, but drivers and pedestrians too. Furthermore, there have been a number of incidents of bikes being damaged whilst on the Academy site.
The safety of our students is paramount, therefore the decision has been taken that if there are any further reports about students riding bikes dangerously, we will ban all bikes from the Academy.
I hope that you will encourage your child not only to wear a helmet when riding their bike but that they are riding in a safe and sensible manner.

ICELAND TRIP
The geography department is running a residential field trip to Iceland from 4th – 8th July 2021 and three spaces on the field trip have become available which we are offering to students. We will be monitoring the news carefully and following any guidance that the Government issues regarding overseas travel and school trips in light of COVID. In the event that the tour operator cancels the excursion, we will be able to claim a full refund however this may take longer than expected.

Iceland is a unique and thrilling destination for students to visit and study the impact of glaciation and vulcanicity on the physical and human landscape. In the 24-hour daylight, students will be able to witness everything from dramatic volcanic landscapes, spouting geysers and geothermal pools to glaciers, icefields and waterfalls, all of which will supplement their geography studies at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A level.

The total cost of the trip is £1050, which will include all transport from and to the Academy (including return flights to Iceland), travel insurance, full board hotel accommodation, all activities and hire of specialist equipment, a dedicated tour guide and a curriculum-linked programme of study. If you are interested in this trip, please email Mrs Davies - [email protected] - and she will send you a letter.

COVID-19
Thank you for your support this term in following the guidelines around Covid 19 safety measures.

We have received much positive feedback from parents, and this is also appreciated in what have been very unusual circumstances for our school community.

As a school, ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider school community has been our absolute priority. As a result, we have closely followed all Government guidance and have implemented all possible safety measures and protocols to ensure everyone’s safety and to limit the transmission of any virus.

Thankfully, positive cases of C19 are relatively rare in the school community. However, can I remind you that if your child tests positive for Covid 19, it is important that you let the school know immediately, so that we can support your child appropriately, as well as beginning our own ‘track and trace’, identifying pupils or staff who may need to isolate. Even if your child has been isolating before testing positive, or if they test positive over the half-term period, it is important that you contact the school to let us know.

I would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to ensure everyone’s safety and will be continuing to closely follow and implement advice from the experts to maintain this. The school remains open and providing your child remains well they should continue to attend school as normal after half term.

It is important that students, staff and the wider school community remain vigilant and continue to uphold the various safety protocols in place both within school but also when out in the wider community. Pupils will continue to be required to wear face coverings in communal areas, so please ensure your child has a clean face covering to wear each day.

What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for ten days from when the symptoms began, and you should arrange for them to get a test. All other household members should stay at home and not leave the house for fourteen days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home. Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

If you are able to, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.

You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:

  • Everyone you live with who has symptoms tests negative.
  • Everyone in your support bubble who has symptoms tests negative.
  • You were not told to self-isolate for 14 days by NHS Test and Trace
  • You feel well – if you feel unwell, stay at home until you’re feeling better.
  • If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours

If you are isolating because you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or because you are required to under public health measures, you must continue to isolate for 14 days even if you receive a negative test result.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are the recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. If your child or anyone in the household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ or by phoning 111.

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19.

Do:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

If there are any further updates we will inform you immediately, but if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact the academy and we will be able to support.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and understanding – it is greatly appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy