Principal's Blog

Results Days – August 2020

Posted on Thursday 9th July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing today to update you on the collection of exam results in August. We know that things can change very quickly in the current climate but these are important days and I wanted to communicate plans with you as soon as possible. I am sure that you will have lots of questions about the process; we’ve put together a frequently asked questions document that we hope will provide some answers and reassure you that we are doing everything we can to work with students and their families.

Due to the Government’s directive to ensure 2-metre social distancing which will ensure the safety of students and staff, the following arrangements will be operational for the collection of year 11 and year 13 results:

Year 13 – Thursday 13th August 2020
Students should aim to arrive from 0800 and split dependent on whether they are UCAS or non-UCAS applicants into the sports hall and the canteen. The early start is to ensure students who need to go through clearing have time to do this.
Non-UCAS applicants > 0800 – enter via side gate and queue outside (keeping 2 metres apart) to go into the sports hall
UCAS applicants > 0800 – enter via main gate queuing outside reception (keeping 2 metres apart) to go into the canteen

Year 11 (also including year 12 and year 13 GCSE resit students) – Thursday 20th August 2020
Students should aim to arrive within the following designated times, queuing outside reception (keeping 2 metres apart).
Surname A-I > 0930 – 1015
Surname  J-Q > 1015 – 1100
Surname R-Z > 1100 – 1145

Students will enter the collection point one at a time to collect their results from the results desk. On receipt of their results, they will exit and then leave the building unless they require staff support and at that point, a safe and secure area will be available.

To restrict the numbers entering the site, we ask that if you attend with only one family member or friend. That means for each person collecting results there will be an absolute maximum of two people.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no opportunities for any group photographs and we will not be doing any media coverage. Students will be encouraged, for the safety of all, not to group on-site or outside the Academy gates once they have collected their results. If students have any queries or concerns regarding their results they should speak to a member of staff.

All schools have entered Centre Assessment Grades (CAG). To make the process fair for everyone, exam boards are now standardising the centre assessment grades across all schools and colleges. The exam boards will use evidence such as prior attainment (at school or college level, not individual student level) and national level grade distributions so that final grades are aligned across all schools and colleges and of equal value to previous years. This will make sure that students aren’t disadvantaged if some schools are more generous than others when making their judgements. Based on this, individual grades may be adjusted upwards or downwards. This means that the final grade awarded to a student could be different from the one their school or college has sent.

Students will also have the option to re-sit their exams in the autumn, or next summer (2021) if they wish to. If students do choose to sit exams, both grades (the calculated grade awarded in August 2020 and a later exam result) will stand. Students should be reassured that certificates will look the same as in any other year.

There has also been additional guidance and clarify for BTEC students which can be found here: https://bit.ly/3ee4tcq

If, after reading the FAQ, you still have concerns and need to speak to me or a member of my leadership team, please send an email to closure@oatforge.co.uk or by telephone 01384 566598, we will do our best to answer any questions.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here is some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

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Download the Centre Assessed Grades PDF HERE

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FAQ Document – Purpose
The purpose of this document is to provide pupils and parents answers to questions regarding exam grades.

  1. Ofqual GCSE and A-level consultation outcomes and autumn exam series proposals
    www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-gcse-and-a-level-consultation-outcomes-and-autumn-exam-series-proposals
  2. Infographic: Process for awarding GCSEs, AS and A-levels summer 2020
    www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-gcse-and-a-level-consultation-outcomes-and-autumn-exam-series-proposals#infographic-of-the-awarding-process
  3. What is Ofqual? (worth reading this as we refer to them quite a lot in this FAQ)
    The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.
    Ofqual was set up in April 2010 under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and is also covered by the Education Act 2011. Ofqual is a non-ministerial government department with jurisdiction in England. They have 200 permanent employees as of January 2019 and are based in central Coventry. They maintain standards and confidence in qualifications in England: GCSEs, A-levels, AS levels, vocational and technical qualifications. They are independent of government and report directly to Parliament.
  4. Grading in 2020 – information for students’ video: https://youtu.be/VXuDOrtJY1Q
  5. Why haven’t you given my child the grade that they were predicted on their last report?
    We were asked to do two things by Ofqual for our students. First, we had to make a judgement about the grade that each student was most likely to have achieved if they had taken their exams in summer 2020. To do this, we had to take account of all available evidence including school and college records, mock exams, and non-exam assessment (NEA) that a student has done.
    It is worth noting that NEA is not just coursework components, but also test scores and classwork/homework grades etc. achieved throughout the duration of a course.
    Second, we had to rank each student relative to others for who we also judge would have got the same grade. For example, if we judged that 8 students would have been most likely to achieve a grade B at A-level or a grade 4 at GCSE, we had to rank those 8 students from 1 (the most secure/most likely to achieve the grade) to 8 (the least secure/least likely).
    Those judgements had to be holistic, based on the range of evidence that we had. So, students shouldn’t worry about one disappointing mock exam result if their NEA work wasn’t finished or they haven’t been able to complete to their usual standard – or at all – any work set after schools and colleges closed. We took all the evidence into account and came to a balanced view.
    While schools and colleges do not routinely work in this way, teachers are highly experienced at making assessment decisions and evidence shows they can rank order their students with a high degree of accuracy. Many will already be familiar with ranking students where they do this in subjects with NEA.
  6. How do I appeal about the grades?
    Ofqual is committed to doing all that it can to make sure students are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances, including allowing for an appeal where appropriate. In line with the direction given by the Secretary of State for Education, appeals will be allowed in cases where the academy believes it has made an error when submitting information; or similarly, if we believe an exam board made a mistake when calculating, assigning or communicating a grade. Additionally, a student who had evidence of bias or discrimination should raise this with their centre.
    Ofqual has given serious consideration as to whether a student could appeal against their school or college’s centre assessment grades and position in the rank order. On balance, they have decided it would not be in the interests of all students, or the fairness of the arrangements overall, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the appeal would have to be undertaken by someone better placed than the student’s teachers to judge the grade they would likely have received if the exams had taken place – in the unique circumstances of this summer, Ofqual do not believe there is any such person.
    An appeal would also require students to have access to the information their school or college put forward before being submitted to exam boards. Ofqual have decided that this may compromise the reliability of this year’s approach. Furthermore, if one student successfully appealed against their position in the rank order, it would have negative implications for other students who would, in turn, need to be given an opportunity to appeal. Ofqual intends that students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, students will be able to use the higher of the two grades for future progression.
  7. How can I make a formal complaint?
    In the first instance, we would ask you to contact the Principal and discuss your complaints directly. However, if you feel you need to make a formal complaint then you can find the policy and the complaints form on our website.
  8. Why couldn’t you give students the grade they deserve?
    Centre assessment grade judgements have to be made objectively. This is particularly important in addressing the concerns some may have about the possibility for bias in this process and its potential impact on some groups of students, or those with certain characteristics. Our overriding priority and the guidance that we received is to ensure that students are rewarded for their hard work over the time of their study.
  9. When can my child re-sit these exams?
    Students who do not believe their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit examinations. DfE has announced that there will be an opportunity for students to sit exams in the autumn and Ofqual has confirmed these exams will be available in all subjects. Where a student wishes to sit an exam, DfE’s guidance on centre responsibility for autumn GCSE, AS and A-level exam series sets out that they expect the centre that entered them for the summer series to enter them in the autumn series and take overall responsibility for ensuring that they have somewhere appropriate to sit their exams. Students will also have the option to sit their examinations in summer 2021.
  10. Why has my child been punished because the Academy failed to open and teach the required subjects?
    Nobody has been punished and every student across the country due to take exams this summer were in exactly the same position. Our guidance was to take account of all available evidence including schoolwork, assignments, progress, mock exams, and non-exam assessment (NEA) that a student has done in order to recommend a grade. The same criteria, regulation and audit was applied fairly across all students by exams boards and Ofqual.
  11. What information have you used to decide on the grade?
    Our guidance was to take account of all available evidence including school and college records, mock exams, and non-exam assessment (NEA) that a student has done in order to recommend a grade.
  12. Who decided what the grade should be?
    Teachers and heads of department know their students, and they are best placed to make these judgements. The grades that the teachers recommended went through a process with Ofqual and the exam boards to ensure that they were fair and balanced when compared against the rest of the education sector.
  13. Did the academy make the final decision?
    No, the final decision was regulated and audited by the exam boards and by Ofqual.
  14. My child wasn’t well/was absent/had supply teacher and didn’t perform at their best in the mock exam. It is unfair that my child is being punished for this.
    Those judgements had to be holistic, based on the range of evidence that we had. So, students shouldn’t worry about one disappointing mock exam result if their NEA work wasn’t finished or they haven’t been able to complete to their usual standard – or at all – any work set after schools and colleges closed. We took all the evidence into account and come to a balanced view.
  15. My child can no longer start the college course that they were planning to – what can I do?
    Colleges will be making considerations due to the disruption this year and Ofqual have assured us that no student will be disadvantaged. If your child is struggling to secure a place, please work with the appropriate key stage team and our careers advisors and let us support you.
  16. My child was getting good marks in class recently, but these don’t match the grade.
    Grades are balanced across the period of time that they have been studying the subject, they have to be holistic and based on a range of evidence and not just class grades. Whilst it may feel that some recent good grades haven’t been reflected in the final grade, we can assure you that they have.
  17. We weren’t informed that my child was on route to this low grade – we would have helped if we’d have known. We feel that we have been lied to by the school.
    On balance, there should not be any shocks with final grades and if there are then this is worth a discussion. We would be looking at reports, classwork completed and any mock exam results which will all have been available and communicated over the period of study.
  18. What is standardising?
    Standardising makes sure that results are as fair as possible by using statistical evidence to ensure the same grading standards are applied across all schools and colleges from one year to the next. Exam boards standardise every year, but with no exams this summer, it will have a bigger role to play in making sure results are as fair as they can be and of equal value to previous years.
    This summer, all exam boards will follow the same standardisation process set out by Ofqual. It will take schools’ centre assessment grades and consider them against:
    * past results for each school or college and changes in its year-on-year entry profile
    * prior attainment information for this year’s students
    * national outcomes for each subject in previous years.
    Combining centre assessment grades with this data ensures consistency of grading standards across the country. This is important as some schools may have been more generous than others when making their judgements and ensures they are treating this year’s cohort consistently with any other year. As a result, individual grades may be adjusted upwards or downwards which means that, although the overall rank order of students will be preserved, final grades awarded to a student could be different from the one their school or college sent to the exam board.
  19. How will centre assessment grades be standardised?
    (Ref: Ofqual/20/6625 June 2020)
    To make sure that grades are fair between schools and colleges, exam boards will put all centre assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model developed with Ofqual. The standardisation model will draw on the following sources of evidence: historical outcomes for each centre; the prior attainment (Key Stage 2 or GCSE) of this year’s students and those in previous years within each centre; and the expected national grade distribution for the subject given the prior attainment of the national entry. For AS/A-levels, the standardisation will consider historical data from 2017, 2018 and 2019. For GCSEs, it will consider data from 2018 and 2019, except where there is only a single year of data from the reformed specifications. Standardisation will not change the rank order of students within each school or college; nor will it assume that the distribution of grades in each subject/centre should be the same.
    However, if grading judgements in a subject in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly. This means that the centre assessment grades submitted by schools and colleges and the final grade that students receive could be different. It also means that adjustments to centre assessment grades might be different in different subjects. As with other years, the statistical model will consider prior attainment at school or college level, not at individual student level. As such, students’ individual performance will not be predetermined by their prior attainment at KS2 or GCSE.
  20. When are the results out?
    Students should be reassured that certificates will look the same as in any other year and they will be issued their results on the expected dates in August:
    AS and A-levels: Thursday 13 August
    GCSEs: Thursday 20 August

    There is a change of exam results embargo time – from 6:00 to 8:00am.
  21. What about exams and assessments in 2021?
    For the summer 2021 exams, the DfE has recognised that students in years 11 and 13 will have missed a critical period of their education due to lockdown in the 2019 to 2020 academic year. It is vital that these pupils are able to catch up and access exams that lead to the qualifications they need to progress. They are, therefore, planning on the basis that GCSEs and A-levels will take place in summer 2021 but with adaptations, including those which will free up teaching time. Ofqual will launch a consultation on proposed adaptations to exams shortly.

Live Learning

Posted on Monday 22nd June 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

From Monday 29th June, we are going to be rolling out live lessons through Google Meet. Our students have been away from the classroom and trying to teach themselves with all our support for 13 weeks. We would like for them all to receive a live lesson before the end of the term to provide some face to face contact with their teachers and enable us to teach them something new before the summer.

Before we do this, this week some of our teachers will be trialling this new system with some classes. You will be contacted directly via text by Mr Daly if your child is going to be involved in this soft launch. We appreciate there are going to be questions and so, we are writing today to update you and provide some answers.

We’ll be delivering the lessons using Google Meet which is part of the Google system that your child already uses. Google Meet is very much like any other video platform and it integrates well with already existing student accounts, it’s easy to access and use. They will receive an email with a calendar invite to the live lesson and the link in the calendar will take them through the to lesson at the appropriate time. We are mindful that teaching and learning online with larges classes will be a learning curve for all of us, so we’ve developed some friendly guidance and expectations that will help us all. I’ve attached this document too, it’s called Live Lesson Expectations.

Live learning has the functionality for teachers to record lessons, so they can be made available to students who have missed the session or for students to refer to them. The ability to record sessions also enhances the safeguarding protection for our students. The recording functionality means we will be collecting and processing student personal data, that has not previously been included in our Student Privacy Notice (we are currently in the process of updating this to reflect this change). Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Article 6 requires us to have a lawful basis for processing personal data. Our lawful basis for processing this recorded data for students is for the performance of a public task, which is to support our students learning and to keep them safe.

Students who take part in these live online sessions have the choice to have their camera and microphone switched on. Students can submit questions via the chat function on these platforms and not required to speak during the lesson. This would limit the personal data captured during the recordings. Please be assured that recordings will not be made available to other students if the content is not fit for purpose. Recordings will not be shared to external third parties unless we have a legal requirement to provide this data. (Examples are included in our Student Privacy Notice which you can find on the Academy website) The recordings will be stored for as long as necessary and in accordance with our Record Retention policy. A full list of your rights can be found in our Student Privacy Notice. If you want to contact us about the above, you can contact the Data Protection Officer at OAT, Sonia Pressure via email: dpo@ormistonacademies.co.uk.

We have included, in the attachments, the guidance that we have received from OAT which should reassure you about our approach to live learning. I know that there will be lots of questions, please drop us a private message on Facebook or email closure@oatforge.co.uk and we’ll try and answer them.

In the meantime, all year groups will continue to be taught remotely so please encourage students to keep picking work up via SMHW. Our provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children remains unchanged.

We very much appreciate all of the support and encouragement that you have given us as we try and bring things back to a version of normal.

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Download Live Learning Expectations document.

Download OAT Live Learning guidelines.

Andrew Burns – June 2020

Posted on Tuesday 16th June 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope that you would indulge me as I share some personal news with you. At the end of the academic year, I will be leaving Forge to take up a position working for Ormiston across the West Midlands region. I will become the Regional Executive Principal, supporting principals and academies in the West Midlands.

At the end of the term, it will be almost 10 years since I was appointed to the position of Principal at Forge. It is the longest I have ever worked in one school. It has been both a privilege and a passion to serve this community and we have all shared some incredible memories. We’ve laughed together and cried together and we’ve shared a common drive to ensure that the life chances of the young people from this area improve and that any barriers to their successes are removed.

I leave with our Academy in an excellent position having had Ofsted this year and the expectation of another good set of results in the summer despite the obvious challenges.

In Lisa Mason, you have a leader who understands our community and who will always do the right thing for our young people. This is, and always will be, the most important thing about Forge; our young people are the beating heart of all we do. The transition of leadership over the last 18 months has been seamless and Dr Mason, with great staff alongside her and the support of this fantastic community, will continue to drive the Academy forwards.

Ultimately, this is both an exciting and a sad time for me as I have been given this opportunity, in no small part, because of the support and trust you have placed in me. We have done this together – worked together with our staff, Governors and the students to create a vibrant, culturally richer and aspirant family. The pride that I have in everything that we have done will never leave me and I’ll take greater pride in seeing things go from strength-to-strength.

The current situation is challenging, I’d love to be on front gate duty again before the end of the summer term but I’m not sure that is likely. Despite what you might think, doing duty on the gates at the start and end of the day really is one of my pleasures in life, even in the thick of winter. I’m not going far so I’ll save the rest for my final letter before I leave Forge in the Summer but hopefully, I’ll see you on the gates again at some point.

Andrew Burns

Results Day 2019

Welcome Back Year 10 and year 12

Posted on Friday 12th June 2020

From Monday we are really happy to welcome back year 10. It’s only for a couple of hours for each student every week but we’ve been preparing really hard and we are very much looking forward to seeing our students again. We’ll also be welcoming back some year 12 students.

We have been planning this for a number of weeks and our health and safety audits and risk assessments have been extensive, you can find them at the link: https://bit.ly/3hi2zKJ

For an overview of the plan and FAQs, I’d refer you to our communication on the 20th May which you can find here: https://bit.ly/3cUHfHL – please note that the dates in this link have been pushed back by a week.

I’d also like to draw your attention to a slight change in guidance. Students should not come in with any equipment, we will provide everything. All equipment will be cleaned thoroughly at the end of every session. We will also be supplying your child with a bottle of sealed water at their workstation. To this end, we only require students in clean clothes – they do not need bags, equipment, food or drink. Mobile phones should not be used or turned on during contact time and kept in pockets,

These two year-groups have key exams next year and this face-to-face contact time will help our transition back to full-time studies at the Academy when the time is right.

All year groups will continue to be taught remotely. In order to allow this to work, we are expecting to stick to the current (remote learning) structure via SMHW. Our provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children remain unchanged.

If you would like to speak to me or a member of my leadership team, please send an email to closure@oatforge.co.uk or by telephone 01384 566598, we will do our best to answer any questions.

I hope that you are keeping well and that you are starting to enjoy a return to some levels of normality. I’d urge you to stay safe and keep observing social distancing guidance; it’s also never been more important for us all to keep washing our hands.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Year 10 Arrangements For Wider Opening (June 8 2020)

Posted on Monday 8th June 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Please forgive the short update today, we are busy preparing the wider opening to year 10 groups next week.

You should be aware of the plans for year 10, you can find them here along with a list of frequently asked questions: https://bit.ly/3h8b7n8

We followed this up last week with further details including our risk assessments and details: https://bit.ly/3cLOm58

Most of the letters should have been received by now, we’ve grouped students and provided details as to when we expect them in. It is important to state that due to the huge logistical challenge we face, we are unable to move students into different groups. If you have a student in year 10 and have not had a letter, please email closure@oatforge.co.uk

All we ask now is that if you are not planning to send your child in, please let us know. You can send us a Facebook message, email closure@oatforge.co.uk or call the main office on 01384 566598. It is really important that we know how many students we are expecting each day.

I hope that you are keeping well and that you are starting to enjoy a return to some levels of normality. I’d urge you to stay safe and keep observing social distancing guidance; it’s also never been more important for us all to keep washing our hands.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Year 10 and year 12 from June 15th 2020

Posted on Monday 1st June 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope that you and your families are keeping well and students managed to take a break during half term, the weather was certainly very kind to us all.

We had confirmation last week that students in year 10 and year 12 will start to have some contact time from the 15th June. The plans that that plans made several weeks ago will now be greenlit and we will start to communicate with individual students and invite them in. For an overview of the plan and an FAQ, I’d refer you to our communication on the 19th May which you can find here: https://bit.ly/36zmn7n – please note that the dates in this link have been pushed back by a week.

We are planning to welcome the return of year 10 from Monday 15th June for just two hours each week. In addition, we are also planning to have contact time with year 12, commencing the same week. These two year-groups have key exams next year and this face-to-face contact time will help our transition back to full-time studies at the Academy when the time is right.

Staff will be meeting during the week of the 8th June and preparing for this wider opening. All year groups will continue to be taught remotely. In order to allow this to work, we are expecting to stick to the current (remote learning) structure. Our provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children remain unchanged.

We will be writing to individual families in year 10 and year 12 this week with details about the contact time – this letter will have lots of details about times and where to meet.

We have been planning this for a number of weeks and our health and safety audits and risk assessments have been extensive, you can find them below. If you would like to speak to me or a member of my leadership team, please send an email to closure@oatforge.co.uk, we will do our best to answer any questions.

Work is being set remotely again, let’s try and get the students back up-to-speed. We appreciate the time and efforts that you go to supporting them and if you need additional support please contact us.

Please take care and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Covid-19 Decision Flowchart
Risk Assessment: Office Spaces
Risk Assessment: Academy

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test. Click the link to ask for the test: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

Wider opening for year 10 and year 12

Posted on Tuesday 19th May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I do hope that your families remain well. 

Things are beginning to change a little and, following my previous correspondence, I write to you with a further update. 

Thank you for your trust in Forge. Unlike other colleagues at other schools, we have not been inundated with questions and requests regarding the wider reopening of the education sector. This has allowed us to spend valuable time creating the right plan for your children without added pressure. This has meant a great deal to us and we are eternally grateful for your faith in us. 

We have received an avalanche of communications over the last few days from Government departments. It remains subject to change and we have been told that a final decision will not be made until 28th May 2020. This date provides the Government with an option to cancel these plans if the wider risk of the virus increases. However, we would be negligent if we left our communications and planning to the last minute.  

We are planning to welcome the return of year 10 from Monday 8th June for just two hours each week. In addition, we are also planning to have contact time with year 12, commencing the same week. These two year-groups have key exams next year and this face-to-face contact time will help our transition back to full-time studies at the Academy when the time is right.

All year groups will continue to be taught remotely. In order to allow this to work, we are expecting to stick to the current (remote learning) structure. Our provision for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children remain unchanged.

Year 10 students: From June 8th, there will be small groups (no more than 10) of year 10 students invited into the Academy each week. Groups will either be in the morning from 0930-1130 or in the afternoon from 1230-1430. There will be no afternoon session on a Friday. This structure will allow us to have contact with every student in year 10. Students will only be invited in once every week and this plan will only proceed following a review and if it is considered safe to do so. 

Year 12 students: Furthermore, one-to-one appointments will be made for year 12 students with our sixth form team in the week commencing 8th June. From June 15th, there will be small groups (no more than 10) of year 12 students invited into the Academy each week to study. Groups will be in the morning from 1000-1200 and in the afternoon from 1300-1500. There will be no afternoon session on a Friday. In week seven, which is the week commencing July 13th, we will be holding a virtual higher education and employment week preparing students for life after sixth form. There will also be another round of one-to-one meetings this week to wrap the year up. Again, students will only be invited in once every week and this plan will only proceed following a review and if it is considered safe to do so.

It will look like this:

Week One (June 1st) – Staff only (staggered contact process throughout the week).

Week Two (June 8th) – Year 10 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – discussing mental health, wellbeing, reviewing work and accessing SMHW. Year 12 – one-to-one meetings at the Academy.

Week Three (June 15th) – Year 10 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – core study lesson. Year 12 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time.

Week Four (June 22nd) – Year 10 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – core study lesson. Year 12 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time.

Week Five (June 29th) – Year 10 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – core study lesson. Year 12 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time.

Week Six (July 6th) – Year 10 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – core study lesson. Year 12 – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time.

Week Seven (July 13th) – Year 10  – staggered through the week (two hours for each student) – contact time – core study lesson. Year 12 – virtual higher education and employment week and another round of one-to-one meetings.

We will ask that year 12 students enter the site via the side gates and year 10 students enter the site via the main entrance.

There are also a number of other areas that I would like to mention, we have covered these in more detail in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document – see below:

  • Movement around the site will be limited, groups will be assigned their own toilet block and extensive cleaning of toilets and rooms will occur between groups.
  • There will be no breaks or lunches. Food will not be served on site.
  • Students will not be required to wear uniform. However, we do ask that students come in wearing clean clothes and that clothes are washed after they have been in.
  • All students who are unwell will be told to stay at home, whether the symptoms they display are ‘covid symptoms’ or not.
  • The times of drop off (arrival) and collection (depart) will be staggered.
  • If your child needs to be dropped off or collected, only one parent should do this.
  • Please do not gather at entrance gates or doors and do not enter the school site unless you have a pre-arranged appointment

I would like to give you every assurance that we are already working very hard to ensure that when we open, we will be meeting the Government’s guidance on social distancing and infection control. However, we would ask that families who are shielding or students who are clinically vulnerable to take the advice of their GP or clinician and make an informed decision about whether they should attend or not.

We will be writing to you again with further information, including the proposed day when your child is invited to return, about allocated drop-off and collection times, and the process for doing so to help minimise contact. Students may not necessarily be in friendship groups, it is important that students do not see this as a social exercise and we must ensure that after the sessions they return home immediately.

I can’t begin to tell you the extent of planning this has involved, our health and safety audits and risk assessments have been extensive. Given the fluidity of the situation, I thought it helpful if we offered you more direct contact with myself and my team. This is an opportunity to discuss, in confidence, any matter that is important to you and your family. It need not be specifically about the reopening of the school. If you would like to speak to me or a member of my leadership team, please send an email to closure@oatforge.co.uk, we will do our best to answer any questions 

It is important to state that schools have not been closed. They have remained open for the children who have needed our support and care, including the children of key workers. Teachers and leaders have in many cases worked harder than any point in their professional lives as they have sought to support home learning and to ensure that those families who needed it, had food. Parents too have been magnificent in attempting to support their children’s learning while in many cases, also trying to continue to work.

For now, we are simply making plans for how we might open schools more widely from 1st June. The Government will make the final decision on whether to open schools more widely when it reviews the latest science, including transmission rates, on 28th May.

There is still a great deal of planning to work through. There are daily briefings and clarity is beginning to be provided by the Government. Matters are becoming clearer. 

Finally, I wanted to let you know how proud I have been of the students over the last couple of months. Whether they are among the small number who have been in school or, like most, they have been at home, I know that they have been a credit to themselves. 

Many of you have been kind enough to tell me how they are getting on and what learning they have been doing. I do enjoy hearing what they are doing, so please do keep letting me know and please keep encouraging them to keep up with their studies.

Please take care and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

FAQs (Wider Opening)

Why are you opening?
The Government has announced its first steps for learners in year 10 and 12 “to supplement remote education with some face to face support for these year groups from 1 June”. They do not, however, expect the learners to return on a full-time basis at this stage, “so we do not expect a full timetable to be offered as schools and colleges look to minimise the number of pupils in school or college each day”. Therefore we are following government advice and provide extra contact time for students who have important exams in 2021.

Is this only for year 10 students?
The contact time will be offered to students in year 10 and in year 12.

Can my child see their friends?
In these small groups, students may not necessarily be with close friends. It is important that students do not see this as a social exercise and we must ensure that after the sessions they return home immediately. We are already working very hard to ensure that when we open, we will be meeting the Government’s guidance on social distancing and infection control.

How have you selected the groups? 
We have been mindful regarding the groups that students have been put in, we have tried to avoid large groups of friends but in the main the selection is random.

Can I swap my child’s group if they cannot get in or it is inconvenient for my family for them to attend?
If you let us know in advance then we will do all we can to rearrange and accommodate any requests.

Will I get fined if I don’t send my child in?
You do not have to send your child to school during this pandemic. There are no plans to fine parents of children who do not attend at the present time.

My child is in another year, why can’t they come in?
The Government has asked us to prioritise year 10 and year 12 students because they have important exams next year. Engagement levels with SMHW have been very pleasing throughout all year groups and we will continue to set work in this way. If you think that your child would benefit from some one-to-one time on video or via the phone, contact us and we will try to accommodate this request.

What precautions are you making for children to be safe?
Schools and academies are following national guidance produced by the Department for Education and Public Health England. We will operate social distancing (where possible), keep children in small groups throughout the day, increase cleaning schedules and ask children to follow more stringent hygiene routines. We will also stagger the start and finish of the school day to reduce the number of adults and students arriving and departing at the same time.

When will the Academy open?
It is likely that we will be fully open in September but we have not received any guidance on this and the Government will advise these plans in due course.

Does this replace remote learning on SMHW for year 10?
No, this does not replace remote learning via SMHW. Students will only be in for two hours every week and they should continue to access and complete tasks set for them on SMHW.

What will students be doing during these sessions?
The initial sessions will run a little like tutor groups where we will discuss mental health, wellbeing, work that has been set and access to SMHW. Further sessions will focus on core subjects and take a more traditional teaching and learning route.

How long are the sessions?
Each session is two hours.

Do students need to bring all their work in?
No, we’d rather that they didn’t. If students can bring in the essentials of a pen, pencil, ruler and rubber then we will provide paper.

How will students get into the Academy?
If students are able to attend then they would make their way to Forge in the way that they always have done. We’ve moved the start and end of the day to avoid busy periods on public transport. Once at Forge, year 10 students will use the main entrance where they will be met by their group leader and year 12 students will enter via the side gates where they will also be met by a group leader.

Can they meet up with their friends after the sessions?
It is important that students do not see this as a social exercise and we must ensure that after the sessions they return home immediately. We will reiterate this in the sessions.

Are you still open to keyworkers?
Yes. Provision for keyworkers and vulnerable children remains unchanged and available to all year groups.

Do students have to wear uniform?
Students will not be required to wear uniform. However, we do ask that students come in wearing clean clothes and that clothes are washed after they have been in.

Someone in my household is still shielding, should my child attend?
We would ask that families who are shielding or staff who are clinically vulnerable to take the advice of their GP or clinician and make an informed decision about whether they should come in or not.

Someone in my house has symptoms (or has had) symptoms – should I send my child in?
All students who are unwell will be told to stay at home, whether the symptoms they display are ‘covid symptoms’ or not. If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus then we ask that you follow the NHS advice which is documented here: https://bit.ly/368HMnP

When will you let the other groups in?
At the moment we have only been asked to invite year 10 and year 12 in. Whilst we try not to speculate, with just seven weeks left until the end of the academic year, it is unlikely any other groups will return before September.

Will children have to social distance?
We are working very hard to ensure that when we open, we will be meeting the Government’s guidance on social distancing and infection control.

How will rooms be kept clean?
We are taking a number of measures. Most importantly groups will use different rooms in the afternoon to the groups in the morning. Extensive cleaning of rooms will occur each day. Rooms will be marked out properly to ensure distancing and kept free of clutter. Desks will be wiped regularly and hand sanitizer available. Students will not share resources and staff will provide full guidance on staying safe.

Will you be serving food and where will the children eat?
We will not be serving food. We would recommend that children come in with a snack (if needed) and a drink in a bottle.

My child travels in on public transport, do they have to come in?
There is absolutely no expectation that any student HAS to come in. If you or your child do not feel comfortable coming in using public transport, please stay at home and let us know by writing to closure@oatforge.co.uk.

Will the Academy be open during the summer holidays for any students?
We are not planning on opening and haven’t been advised to open but it’s certainly something that we could consider for small groups if it reassures children. If this is something that you are interested in, write to us at closure@oatforge.co.uk.

Why can’t my year 10 child come in more often – it seems pointless coming in for 2 hours per week?
We have had to plan to bring all of year 10 and year 12 in safely by following key guidance. We do not want lots of students on-site at the same time therefore we have had to create a rota system. Whilst we appreciate that it is not a perfect solution, it is safer and it allows us some contact time with all students.

How can you enforce social distancing with year 10s?
Students in year 10 will already be very familiar with social distancing. However, we have lots of new signage up around the site and will be marking classrooms out to ensure compliance. It will also be one of the first things that we’ll talk to students about.

Will teachers and staff have to use PPE?
If social distancing can be managed then staff will not generally use PPE. If a child becomes unwell and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, staff will have to isolate that child from others and use PPE to protect themselves. In some circumstances, for example where a child needs personal care or has specific additional needs, staff may use PPE whilst they support a child.

My child is worried about coming back to school, how can I help them?
Talk to your child in a positive way about school, seeing friends and teachers again. Help them understand how social distancing works and make sure that they know about the importance of handwashing. We are also more than happy to speak to the student about their concerns one-to-one

Will schools be teaching the National Curriculum when children return?
No. We will initially focus on ensuring children feel safe and anxiety-free. We will deliver a curriculum designed to support children back into school routines and classroom learning. 

You can download the FAQ by clicking the link:




Whitsun and FSM Update

Posted on Monday 18th May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I wanted to write with a very brief update this Monday morning. I hope that you are keeping well?

Next week would have been our Whitsun holiday, and whilst the Academy will remain open for our vulnerable children and children of keyworkers, please ensure that children have a break from work. Thank you again for your continued support through our online learning endeavours, it is greatly appreciated. The online work will resume on Monday morning following the holiday (Monday 1st June).

Additionally, we have been informed by the Government that the Free School Meal (FSM) scheme will be suspended during half term week. This means that vouchers will not be issued for the week commencing 25th May 2020. The vouchers will resume the following week – 1st June 2020.

We recognise that FSM provision provides a lifeline to many families, so during half term week Forge will replace the voucher scheme with our grab-bag offer. A grab-bag meal will be provided to any family eligible for FSMs and available to collect from the Academy each day. We will also be offering a delivery service to families who are shielding or who are struggling to get out.

Provision will be made from Tuesday, May 26th until Friday, May 29th.

Please send an email to closure@oatforge.co.uk (with your full address, including postcode and the name of your child) if you require a grab-bag and indicate if you would like a cheese or ham sandwich for your child. Please also indicate if you need support in picking the grab-bag up.

Please take care and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Closure Update 12/5/20

Posted on Wednesday 13th May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope that you and your families are well.

I am sure that many of you will have been keeping a keen eye on what the next steps forward are for the country.

While a great deal will be debated and discussed over the coming days, and a number of questions are still unanswered, the Prime Minister did give an indication of what the Government is proposing for the easing of lockdown. We are all aware that some people will welcome this news, others may understandably feel more uneasy or uncomfortable as we slowly return to some level of normality. However you feel, I have no doubt that you will have a significant number of questions.

We expect that all aspects of these announcements will be discussed in detail over the next few days in Parliament and then the education aspects considered by the Department for Education (DfE). At this point, we are then likely to get some official guidance from the DfE and our sponsor, OAT, about the practicalities of what all of this means for schools and, most importantly, your children.

Until that point, it would be wrong for us to speculate on what our response is as an Academy. There is going to be more than enough comment and discussion in papers over the coming days – and we simply don’t want to add to the confusion.

So, please be assured that we will let you know what the next steps are as soon as we have a clear indication of the where we go from here from the DfE and OAT. While we can’t give you any detail at this stage, just know that we will work together to support you, your children and our staff through the coming weeks and months. We will work out the right approach for our community when more detail is given.

Thank you once again for all your support over recent weeks.

Please take care and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lisa Mason
Principal
Ormiston Forge Academy

Please follow Government advice by washing your hands frequently and reduce your social interactions – here’s some Government guidance on staying alert and safe: https://bit.ly/2T0FT7j

Welcome Back – April 2020

Posted on Monday 20th April 2020

Welcome back, everyone. I hope that you’ve had a peaceful Easter as well as a safe and healthy one. Don’t panic, we know that today is a training day so we don’t expect students to be working but we wanted to update you on expectations before we start back properly.

I’m sure that after a two-week break it’ll be good for us all to get back to routines and whilst our routines might be unfamiliar, it won’t take us long to adapt.

It won’t surprise you to hear that we’ve been listening to students, staff and parents about how we set work. We hope that we’ve learnt from some mistakes and that, given this will be the situation for the foreseeable future, we can all work together to ensure students make progress.

Firstly, we should thank everyone who shared their insights into how setting work has been so far, it has been really helpful.

As from today (Monday 20th April), we will be setting work in the following manner wherever possible:

  • Each class teacher will set one piece of work per group; this should be roughly an hour’s piece of work.
  • Core subjects (maths, English and science) in KS3 and KS4 will set two pieces of work (two hours) worth of work per group.
  • All work will be set at the start of the week on Monday morning to enable students to plan their week and to aid organisation (blank timetables will be shared with students to assist this process further).
  • Work will be scheduled for completion by the Friday of the same week – depending on the work involved, this might be flexible.
  • Where possible, we will set an online quiz in order to gauge some level of student engagement and progress of students.

Students will be encouraged to exercise and read as part of their working week. Staff have been encouraged to share recommended reading and there is a reading list on this website: https://ormistonforgeacademy.co.uk/suggested-reading-lists

We are hoping that this streamlined approach will encourage more engagement from students. We will keep tweaking the model but we believe this direction provides us all with some balance. Of course, we are always open to feedback and we will continue to monitor student progress.

Please take care and stay safe.

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

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

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