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Academy Update 12/06/20

Posted on: June 12, 2020

We have now completed our preparations and training and are ready to welcome back Y10 students on Monday and we couldn’t be happier about this. When we initially surveyed Y10 parents two weeks ago we were pleased so many students were returning. We planned a timetable and structure based on half the students returning. The Government made it very clear that no school or college should have more than 25% of its Y10 or Y12 onsite in a single day. This meant that we needed to create two groups with no more than 55 students in each group. We have further divided these groups into smaller pods of between 5-9 students in which they will be taught. Before the students return to lessons they will undergo a short reorientation session to explain the changes that have been made and the infection controls that have been put into place. A video explaining these changes can be found here

Several parents have asked about their children wearing PPE items inside the academy. This is not necessary because of the other infection control measures that the academy has put into place. We also want to minimise what is brought into the academy from outside to prevent any transmission of the infection.

Unfortunately, we are not yet allowed to welcome back our Year 7, 8 and 9 students. However, we have started teaching a lot more live lessons on Google Meet. This week alone staff have delivered 20 live lessons usually to a number of classes simultaneously. Every student in Y7-9 has had an opportunity to attend a live maths or English lesson this week. We now have over 30 live lesson events currently planned for next week in addition to the face to face lessons for Year 10 in the academy. Please also note that Google Meet invites give you a web link to the virtual classroom, but there is often a ‘dial in’ telephone number below. Please DO NOT allow your child to dial that number as it is an international call and consequently very expensive. If any student is unsure how to access a Google Meet lesson then please watch this video that Mr Taylor has kindly produced

We are also waiting for the Government to publish guidance as to what schools are allowed to provide for students over the summer holidays. Once we know this we will publish our plans.

The History department is excited to offer a unique opportunity for both Year 8 and Year 9 students over the next fortnight; a Zoom lesson with a Holocaust survivor! This experience has been provided by the National Holocaust Centre. Year 9 students will be hearing from Mr John Fieldsend and Year 8 from Mr Henri Obstfeld. Both of these men were just children during the war, and their life stories are incredibly moving. John Fieldsend was one of the children saved by Sir Nicholas Winton, a hero our students will be familiar with from our Holocaust assemblies each year. Our students will get to listen to these stories first-hand and ask questions. Students will be contacted via email with reading to do beforehand and with joining instructions. This will be a fantastic learning experience for all of us. I look forward to sharing some of our students’ reflections at a later date.

At OSSMA we are seeking to create new ways to inspire and connect not only with our students but with those in our community. It is even more important in times such as these that we come together to spread joy and the love of learning. That is why our academy organised events such as the online Lip-Sync challenge and promoted the VE Day Celebrations to strengthen the relationship between our staff and students. However, there is still more to look forward to. Coming soon we will have a new challenge for you to engage with. Members from each of our departments are going to bring to life areas of their curriculum as they battle it out to win the title of Most Inspirational Subject! These videos will be shared on our Facebook page and we hope you enjoy the enthusiasm of our staff once again as they work hard to motive our students, as well as gain those all-important votes.

Finally, we were contacted last week by the office of Jack Brereton, our local MP, with the wonderful news that we had been nominated for a ‘Local Heroes’ Award. The nomination has been sent in by members of the local community in recognition of the work that the academy and Bee Active have done over the last few months. The wording of the nomination can be seen below.

The academy has done a great job supporting the student community with remote online learning and fun and educational activities. They’ve also provided safe face-to-face learning and extended support to children of key workers. Every child who usually receives a free school meal has still received this by delivery made to their doorstep and breakfast club food has been redirected to the local food bank. The teachers have adapted quickly to remote working and using technology to hold meetings and provide one-to-one and one-to-many student support sessions online. All this was arranged at breakneck speed to ensure a continuity of learning and to keep students occupied at a time when there is so much sadness and major adjustments imposed on their everyday freedoms. I’m so proud of every single member of the OSSMA family for their dedication and commitment to the community, including staff, students, parents, carers and governors.

We are truly humbled by these words and they will encourage us to redouble our efforts on behalf of the children and young people in our community.

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

Nick Brennan
Head of School