Getting Back To BASICS (letter)

At Forge, we’ve always taken great pride in preparing our young people for the world beyond the Academy, BASICS will continue to do this.

Dear parents and carers,

In our Christmas newsletter we talked about getting the BASICS right for our students, you’ll be hearing lots about this and I want to write today to explain how we are going to go about it. I’m really looking forward to reinforcing the firm foundations upon which this school has been built and ensuring that our children are ready to learn and preparing them for the future.

Early indications suggest that our year 7 will be full again next year and we will remain oversubscribed. Whilst I am delighted to be able to serve our local area, I want to ensure that, as a school community, we don’t get complacent. The success of our mobile phone policy has shown that with consistency and continuity, we can make a difference and our students respond in a positive way. I have noticed that some standards have started to slip and I need to ask for your support to ensure this does not continue.

Lockdowns and covid restrictions were hard on us all but our job now is to support our young people and provide them with a framework in which they can learn, we are calling this BASICS and we want our students to simply get the basics right.

At Forge, we’ve always taken great pride in preparing our young people for the world beyond the Academy - into work, apprenticeships or further education. The majority of our students already know BASICS and will adapt with ease. It’s important that our students are aware that in the world beyond Forge they cannot turn up late, wear what they want or be unprepared for work/study. We don’t want anyone to fail so we’ll be providing guidance, advice and support to ensure all of our students get these BASICS right and we continue to prepare them for life and remove any barriers to them becoming their brilliant best. 

Be on time
Attend every day
Smartly dressed
Instructions followed
Come equipped
Show respect

What does each one mean:

Be on time

  • All students expected on site at 8.35am and in form by 8.40am. Both side gates will close at 8.35am.
  • Any student arriving from 8.41am will be sent to the canteen - they will serve 20 minute after-school detention. If this happens 3 times in one week, a 60 minute detention will be set on the third occasion.
  • Any student arriving after 8.55am will be issued a red slip and serve a 60 minute detention.

Attend every day

  • All students are expected to have at least 97% attendance.
  • Attendance to be discussed in form every Monday.
  • Parents can track attendance using EduLink.

Smartly dressed

  • Full uniform is expected for every student and the form tutor will check every morning. Any student not in the correct uniform will be sent to the canteen during form. We will contact home if a student does not have the correct uniform. As always, we will support families who are struggling to provide the correct uniform.
  • Hoodies and nose piercings are to be confiscated and brought to the main office.
  • We will be using the same system of confiscation as mobile phones for piercings/hoodies, we will be asking students to hand these over and we will return them at the end of the Academy day.

Instructions followed (from a practical point, students will follow this guidance for every lesson)

  • Line up quietly outside the classroom where possible.
  • Enter the classroom in a calm orderly manner.
  • Stand behind chairs with coats off and equipment on the desk in silence.
  • Sit down when instructed by staff.
  • Complete the Do Now task.

During the lessons students will be expected to::

  • Engage fully with learning
  • Listen in silence to staff instructions
  • Complete all tasks set

At the end of the lesson, students will:

  • Pack away in a calm, orderly manner.
  • Stand behind chairs with coats on.
  • Wait in silence for staff to dismiss.

Out of lesson, students will:

  • Move sensibly along the corridor.
  • Follow one way systems where appropriate.
  • Go straight to the next lesson.

Students will be given every opportunity to get this right without consequence but there will be a ladder of escalation:

  • Students will be provided with a reminder of expectations.
  • Students will be issued with a warning if an instruction is still not followed.
  • Students will be given a ‘time out’ - this can be a move within the classroom or a few minutes outside to have a conversation.
  • Removal and talk about the behaviour later, this will result in a 20 minute after-school detention. If this happens more than once in a day, the detention will be increased to 60 minutes

It is important to state that a detention is a last resort for us, we don't want to issue any but there needs to be a consequence of actions. To counterbalance this, we will be ensuring that students are rewarded when they get things right. In the past, we have lost focus on this and we have spoken to all staff this week about issuing achievement points across all key stages. Achievement points will be issued for out-of-lesson behaviour too. Parents will be notified by EduLink when a student gets an achievement point and we look forward to issuing lots!

Come equipped

  • Tutors will check their form’s equipment every morning. We expect all students to carry a school bag and pencil case to hold at least one pen, pencil, ruler and rubber as basic equipment. It is essential that students come organised and ready to study.
  • Tutors will provide any missing equipment, students will be issued an RO for missing equipment. If there are 3 incidents in a week, the tutor will call home and a 20 minute detention will be set.

Show respect

  • Respect for yourselves
  • Respect for each other
  • Respect for your learning
  • Respect for our environment 

There will be a number of form activities and PSHE sessions surrounding the theme of respect; students and staff will work closely together on this. 

DETENTIONS

Same day detentions ensure that students can start the following day with a clean slate. We want to give students every chance to succeed and it’s important that issues don’t hang over them. Parents will be informed about detentions via EduLink, if a detention is not convenient we are happy to have the conversation about moving but we need your support with this.

Our detentions will be staffed by our senior leadership team and volunteer staff, it will be based in the canteen and we will encourage staff to come to the canteen for restorative conversations with students. 

IMPORTANCE OF EDULINK

More and more of our communication with parents is happening now on EduLink, it is imperative that you use it to track the progress of your child and have alerts turned on. If you cannot access EduLink or need a reminder for your username and password, please email [email protected] and we will support you. 

On Friday we’ll be having a (virtual) whole school assembly and on Monday, form tutors will be working with students on getting the BASICS right and answering questions. It’s important to say that without strong structures and clear boundaries, our young people will struggle to make the most of their learning opportunities. With so much uncertainty over the last two years, it’s important that we continue to work together and provide our students with a stable framework that they can use to their own advantage and succeed with. 

Thank you in anticipation of your support. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy