Posted on: January 8, 2021
I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed we all are at OSSMA to be in another lockdown. The academy remains open to all vulnerable students and children of key workers as we were back in spring, but it is terribly sad that we cannot have all the students in the building.
However, one of the key values that we base our curriculum on is ‘resilience’. The staff and students continue to show this quality in abundance. I will endeavour to update you regularly on what is happening both in the academy, community and online.
Every student received an email on Monday evening outlining their timetable. Every student has five lessons a day as usual. The majority of these lessons will be ‘live’ in which students interact with members of staff, or pre-recorded by teachers which students can follow. Students will also need time to work on what they have been taught, so some lessons will only have set-work. As you will have seen, the remote offer to all students has been significantly enhanced since the Spring, and this is due to the hard work of students and staff in preparing for this eventuality. There will invariably be a second staff member in online lessons who will help students and monitor behaviour. Staff will be recording any instances of online disruption during lessons, and if there are serious issues, we will contact relevant parents. Students have been asked to access lessons using their OSSMA email address and their actual name instead of private email addresses and made-up names. Although only OSSMA students can access these live lessons, every student in the live lesson must be identifiable to the teacher. If you cannot access lessons due to a lack of a device or internet connection, please contact Mr Smart via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone reception.
Students in the academy
We have a significant number of students in the academy during the normal school day. Students are split into four bubbles and four classrooms. The same COVID measures are in place as have been since September to keep students safe. Students use the academy’s facilities to access the same lessons as students at home, ensuring that every student in the academy is accessing the same offer, and no one is disadvantaged. We understand that circumstances can change on a regular basis so we will send out a link to the parents of all attending students every week so you can advise us of your child’s attendance.
As you may have read in the news, secondary schools must now provide testing for staff and students. We have used this week to set up our testing centre in the theatre and have started training the staff to manage and deliver this service. We will be using Lateral Flow Tests which give results in 30 minutes. Tests are self-administered and require written consent from the parent. If a student or staff member tests positive, they must then seek a PCR test through the usual route to confirm the result. We intend to start testing staff who are in the academy from Monday. We will be sending out letters and a consent form to the students who are currently attending the academy and would please ask that consent forms be returned with the student by Wednesday. We will contact parents of all other students regarding this matter when we have an idea of when the academy will fully reopen.
Free School Meal deliveries
I want to take this opportunity to again thank Bee Active for stepping up and delivering our free school meals on a daily basis. They did an outstanding job during the last lockdown and have continued to help us throughout the autumn when students have been isolating. If your circumstances have changed and you believe that you are entitled to Free School Meals, please contact the academy, and we will help you with the process.
As I am sure all Year 11 parents are aware, exams have been cancelled this summer. Instead, student grades will be based on teacher assessment. We have no further details of precisely what the Government means by this. Year 11 students will also receive their mock exam results today (Friday). Students who have not received the grades they hoped for will be disappointed and may believe that final grades in the summer will be based on these recent mock results. They won’t be. Every student in Year 11 has a chance to improve upon their current grades through the hard work and effort they put into their studies over the next six months, and they will get another opportunity to demonstrate the progress they have made and the grade they deserve.
These next few months will be a further test for our community, but one that we will pass. There is a COVID-19 support page on the website where you will find useful contact details and information. If there is anything we as an academy can do to support you during these challenging times, please get in contact with us.
Mr. N Brennan