31st March 2020 – 14:30
I hope that you and your children are safe and well. I am writing to update you regarding our on-going provision. As a school, we are trying to get used to our new working arrangements and I know you have had very little time to adjust to this yourselves. We all have a wealth of new pressures on us. I hope that you have found the information we have shared up to this point helpful. If you have, any concerns please contact individual members of staff via email or at email@example.com
We have set up our online learning via show my homework and for those who cannot access this from home we have provided a pack of resources to support the education of our students. As time goes on, we need to help families find a healthy balance. All of you will be juggling new challenges; many will be working from home while having your children there, who may themselves be stressed by these new remote learning demands. Getting the right balance will be crucial moving forward.
We will endeavour to continue to support you and your child with their education. Our teachers are working hard to set work that enables students to continue to follow the curriculum in each subject area. At home, you can support this by encouraging your child to access the work that is being set and them having a learning routine to help them structure their day. Both you and your child can access all of the work that has been set via the Show My Homework app or showmyhomework.co.uk. If students require any additional guidance on their work, they are able to message their teacher on here also. All students have login details and passwords for Show My Homework but if they have forgotten these details, they can still access it by following the link provided: https://youtu.be/0RJgQKA_VFQ
Staff will continue to set work via SMHW for the week beginning Monday 30th March 2020. We will not set work over the Easter holidays. Work will commence again, for the week beginning Monday 20th April 2020, after the Easter Holiday break, and staff will respond at this point to any messages they may have received. I think having a break from their studies during this time will be important for students.
Keeping students motivated and engaged over the long term will be very important. Establishing routines at home will help with this. During the Easter holidays, parents might want to set their children a range of activities or tasks. To help support this please follow this link: https://www.scouts.org.uk/activities?section=Scouts. The Scouts association have produced on their website an array of activities. Some may not be appropriate due to the social distancing guidance but the vast majority will. For example, children might be able to support at home by completing additional chores, helping to cook a meal, creating an Easter card for a neighbour. I hope you find the link useful.
You may also want to encourage your child to read at home during this time. Project Gutenberg has a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature there, with focus on older works for which copyright has expired.
We realise that for many young people their screens will be their method of communicating with friends as well as completing work. However, we would like to take the opportunity to remind families that it is crucial to monitor what their children are doing online and reinforce the basic messages of safety, kindness and privacy. The Thinkuknow website, which has an area specifically to support parents and carers – https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/, is particularly helpful in providing home learning support packs and helpful FAQs and tips. The main area also has information and videos for your child to work through to make sure they know how to stay safe. These are arranged in age appropriate sections.
I will write to you again with an update after the Easter holidays. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of staff. All staff email addresses have been published on our website and I have asked staff to endeavour to reply within 24 hours. If you have tried to contact a member of staff and they have not replied this may be a result of them, being unwell and they are not monitoring their email account. In the case of no reply please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and another member of staff will answer your query on their behalf.
Thank you for your continued support, stay safe and well.
Mr P Shackleton
27th March 2020 – 12:00
I hope you and your children are safe and well. We have been communicating with parents/carers over the past week in a variety of ways but as we draw to the end of our first week of this enforced closure, I wanted to write to you all.
It will have been a very difficult week for you and your children but I wanted to say a huge thank you to our whole school community; Governors, staff, students, parents and carers. These are uncharted times and I have been extremely grateful and humbled by the way in which we have pulled together to support one another. During the week, we have had very few students in school mostly those of key workers who have had no alternative. This provision will continue next week to support these families at this difficult time.
For those learning at home I would like to thank the students who have already sent in their completed work. We have been very impressed with the quantity and quality that has been returned. We are sharing this work on our social media outlets and will continue to upload examples as they come into school. Can I also thank you for your patience as I’m aware that some of the on-line learning platforms have experienced some difficulties with the volume of students logging on across the country. We are working closely with these providers to address it.
As well as the work we have provided for students we have also sent out a number of resources relating to the wellbeing of students, parents/carers and our safeguarding arrangements. If you are finding things difficult, please do not hesitate to contact the school for support. Our safeguarding telephone number is 07864649640 or you can contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mr P Davis at; email@example.com . We have uploaded a number of helpful resources on our website for your information: http://oldburyacademy.com/covid-19/
Finally, there has been no indication how long schools will be closed for. For this reason, it is important that students find the right balance between school work and downtime. Please continue to encourage them to complete the work that has been set but also allow them to have regular breaks and prolonged periods away from their learning at weekends. This will help them not become overwhelmed at this difficult time.
We will continue to stay in contact throughout this period and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of staff. All staff email addresses have been published on our website and I have asked staff to endeavour to reply within 24 hours. If you have tried to contact a member of staff and they have not replied this may be a result of them, being unwell and they are not monitoring their email account. In the case of no reply please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and another member of staff will answer your query on their behalf.
Thank you for your continued support, stay safe and well.
Mr P Shackleton
26th March 2020 – 14:30
Being stuck indoors can be difficult for all of us and can take its toll on our and our family’s mental health. Parent Info and CEOP have put together this helpful guide on how to look after your families mental health when stuck indoors.
25th March 2020 – 11:30
Careers Support for Year 11 Students
Careers support is still available by email for all year 11 students through our main careers providers and also through Sandwell Connexions. This can be accessed as follows:
Birmingham Careers Service (our contracted provider)
Send an email to one of the following:
At present they are still running a counter service at Oldbury Council House, Freeth St, Oldbury, B69 3DB.
They can be contacted by Freephone number 08003584800 or by email Sandwell_connexions@sandwell.gov.uk
Your school contact is Miss Walker who can be contacted on email@example.com
Colleges and 6th Forms are also closed at the present moment. However, you may still apply online for courses through the college website.
If you were considering an apprenticeship, it may still be advisable to apply for a college placement as well. Many companies have had to lay off existing staff and close due to the crisis. There may not be as many apprenticeships available in September due to the current situation so it is good to have a back-up plan.
24th March 2020 – 13:30
24th March 2020 – 09:30
24th March 2020 – 08:00
We know the way that the year ended was not what we had hoped for our Year 11 Students and that do to the current rules a good number where not able to be present for the Year 11 leavers assembly. For those who missed it and for any parents who want to embarrass their Year 11 student we recorded the whole event and it is now available here.
23rd March 2020
20th March 2020 – 19:00
Sandwell Educational Psychology Team has put together some tips and useful links for studying at home
20th March 2020 – 13:30
You will be receiving this letter as you have been identified as being eligible to access the educational provision that is being offered at Oldbury Academy during these unprecedented times.
The provision will start on Monday 23rd March 2020, and the arrangements to access this will be as follows:
- Students will be expected to be on site for 8.50am, and the day will run until 3.00pm
- There will be no expectation for students to wear school uniform, but they can if they wish
- Students are welcome to bring a change of clothes to take part in sporting activities each day
- A lunch will be provided at no cost to students
- There will be access to a range of online learning resources, and also to work set by staff
- Only students who are eligible will be permitted on site
We will implement and support the guidance from the Government in helping to combat the spread of the Corona virus.
My staff and I are proud to be able to offer this provision, and play our part in overcoming the crisis we are all facing. Our usual high expectations will apply, and any conduct deemed to fall below these expectations will not be tolerated. In persistent or extreme cases, the offer of this provision may have to be withdrawn.
I understand that this provision may not be something that you will want to utilise everyday. So, to help us plan as efficiently as we can, you will receive a text message every day to ask for confirmation of attendance for your child, for the following school day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to do this. This two-way communication allows us be clear on who we can expect in school on a daily basis. This will also allow us to safeguard your children if they do not arrive, at which point, our usual attendance and safeguarding procedures will be applied and we will make contact with you.
Initially, this plan will run for the next two weeks and we will update you by no later than 3pm on Monday in relation to our ability to offer any provision over the Easter holidays. We will review this provision regularly in light of a range of factors which may include government advice, staffing levels and student attendance levels and any other factors which are currently not known.
Mr P Shackleton
20th March 2020
Please click here to download the staffing list of Oldbury Academy. Included in the list are all the staff email addresses. If you need to get hold of a member of staff during the school closure please email them directly. If you have a concern regarding work being set for your child please email firstname.lastname@example.org
19th March 2020 – 11:45
Dear Parents/Carers of Year 11 Students
Following on from my text messages to you last night I felt it appropriate to let you know that we have
held an assembly for the year 11 students who are in school today.
My focus in the assembly was to reassure them and try to alleviate any anxiety following the decision
from the Government to cancel their up and coming exams.
For those students who were not in our assembly I have copied below the information that I shared.
You may find this information helpful when you speak to your child about the on going situation.
Notes from Year 11 Assembly:
- Mr Shackleton acknowledged all of the hard work that has been put in by students and staff.
- At this moment in time we will not speculate on the plans that the Government put in place, but please do not worry.
- The Government have guaranteed that everyone will receive their qualifications.
- If you have not performed as well as you had hoped in your mocks, do not worry. These will not dictate the overall grades you receive when you receive your grades. Our staff have enough information to ensure you get a grade that fairly reflects your efforts and expected grades.
- Once social distancing measures ease, all Year 11 students will be given the opportunity to come into school to discuss the next steps in order to support them.
- Do not view the next two days as the end of your time at Oldbury Academy. We still expect to offer a Prom for Year 11.
- We will let parents know we have had an assembly. Discuss these themes with your parents to help reassure them too as they will be worried.
- Mrs Nawaz (Head of Year 11) reassured students that we are still here for them and we will respond to their messages, queries or concerns.
Students didn’t have any questions
Mr P Shackleton
19th March 2020 – 10:30
Information Regarding Offsite Educational Visits
Regarding educational visits from Oldbury Academy, the Department of Education’s guidance is as follows:
The government currently advises against all trips overseas with children under 18 ‘until further notice’.
This is because it may be hard for you (us as a school) to ensure pupil well-being if anyone needs to self-isolate.
The government hasn’t specified how far in advance you (us as a school) should be looking when you’re thinking about cancelling. However, realistically this means cancelling any trips planned for the rest of this term, and likely the summer term too – unless government advice changes.
The government isn’t currently advising against residential and non-residential trips in the UK with children under 18, so it’s up to you (us as a school) to decide whether to go ahead.
To help you weigh up the risks and make this decision:
- Update your risk assessment to take into account thelatest health advice around self-isolation rules
- Make sure you would have measures in place (agreed with parents) in case pupils or trip supervisors show symptoms and need to self-isolate
- Listen to advice from your provider(s) for travel insurance and public liability insurance – if they say cancel, follow their advice
- Gather the opinions of parents, pupils and staff – check what the views are on the playground and in the staff room
- If the trip is related to your curriculum or exam requirements, consider the impact on pupils’ learning
In light of this information/guidance we have reviewed our current educational visits procedures and have made the decision to postpone ALL visits until further notice.
We will obviously inform you of any changes to our procedure. At this moment in time our students’ health and wellbeing has to be our priority.
Mrs L Wardle
18th March 2020 – 21:30
Thank you once again for your continued support in these difficult times. Our school community has come together to ensure that we provide the students with a calm and safe learning environment.
The teachers and wider school staff have been exceptional and I am very proud of them. I am equally pleased to see how supportive our parents/carers have been over the past week. We have continued to provide a strong education despite some of the challenges we have faced. The students have been wonderful, a real credit to the school, their families and themselves. We are very lucky to have a community of students with such a mature and dedicated approach to their studies and wider engagement with school life.
I have deliberately waited for the daily update from the Government before sending this letter as clarity is very important during uncertain times.
The decision from the Secretary of State for Education has now been made and he has informed schools that as of next week they will be closing for pupils except for those children of key workers, students who have a social worker or those with an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). These closures will be until further notice. The information on who qualifies as a key worker will be agreed over the next couple of days and I will contact parents as soon as I have further information.
I know that the students and parents of Year 10 & 11 who were due to sit the summer examinations will have several questions. The current information that I have is very limited. I am sorry I am unable to provide clarity on this. I reassure you, that as I gather more information, I will communicate with all members of the school community. As I have stated in previous communications, Oldbury Academy pupils and parents will be fully supported throughout this process.
Further details on how we will support all our students with their learning will be provided over the next two days.
Thank you for your support and patience during this time,
Mr P Shackleton
18th March 2020
Please click HERE to download guidance for KS4 students who may be Isolating or completing their education from home.
18th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Re: School information update regarding coronavirus
As a school, we are monitoring the development of the Coronavirus outbreak, and I felt it might be helpful to update you with our arrangements at Oldbury Academy.
Importantly, the school continues to follow Government advice and will remain open at this stage unless directed otherwise by the Government or Public Health England. This is a fast moving situation however and will be reviewed on a daily basis; if things change, we will contact you as soon as we can. We do have a number of members of staff who have been advised to self-isolate as a precaution following the recent Government advice on social distancing. This is because they are in an identified vulnerable group or someone in their household has shown symptoms of the virus. We have however had no confirmed positive cases of the Coronavirus at school in regards to any members of staff or students.
The most important change to guidance announced by the Government this week is that anyone who has symptoms of a coronavirus infection – a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) – must self-isolate for 7 days from the point that their symptoms first started and 14 days for all members of their household. Further details can be found at: NHS Stay at Home Advice.
I would therefore ask that if your child develops a dry cough or has a raised temperature that you keep them at home for seven days. Their absence will be recorded appropriately, and will not disadvantage their overall attendance percentage.
Your child probably won’t have coronavirus, but if they do, by keeping them home you will help to protect others in the school and the wider community while they are potentially infectious.
You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation, and do not go to your GP or hospital. If your child’s symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online at https://111.nhs.uk/covid19. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
You will appreciate that as a school we must do all we can to look after the health and wellbeing of our children. If a pupil falls ill during the school day with either a continuous cough or a high temperature, we will send them home to self-isolate as a precaution as per the guidance above. Should this be required, we will contact you immediately and we would appreciate the support of the child’s parents in ensuring this happens as quickly as possible.
We anticipate that some pupils will be absent from school over the next few weeks with potential symptoms of coronavirus. While it is important to remember that these could equally be symptoms of one of the many winter illnesses which we usually expect to see at this time of year, it is important we act with caution.
In school, we are continuing to promote ‘hand hygiene’ with everyone being encouraged to regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual, with soap and hot water or hand sanitiser. To reduce the spread of germs when children cough or sneeze, they are asked to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue (or their sleeve, but not their hands, if they don’t have a tissue) and to throw the tissue away immediately.
Our school cleaning routine has been adjusted with a thorough clean of all surfaces with an approved sanitiser spray taking place at the end of each working day. A clear desk policy, including the children’s tables, has been implemented so that the spray can have most impact. Door handles are also being wiped regularly throughout the school day.
Looking ahead, should schools be forced to close, teachers have planned learning tasks that the children will be able to complete at home.
If you would like more information about Coronavirus, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Parents can also call the Department for Education coronavirus helpline for general advice and guidance by calling 0800 046 8687 between 8.00am to 6.00pm (Monday to Friday) or e-mailing: email@example.com .
Finally, for many of us, this is an entirely new situation that we are dealing with. We are doing our best to make the right decisions for the whole of our school community, taking advice from the DFE, Public Health England, the Local Authority and other nearby schools. Our resources will be stretched for some time but we will continue to support your children during this challenging time.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mr P Shackleton
13th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I would like to reassure parents and carers that we are taking appropriate steps given the current unique set of circumstances.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced changes to the government’s strategy for combating the Coronavirus outbreak and the move into the DELAY stage. School closure was not part of that announcement, but it is part of the DELAY phase of the government’s approach, so we can expect a decision to be made on this at some point.
We have been planning for this eventuality for some time and are making arrangements for students to continue their learning through existing online facilities and other means, should the need arise. We have sent a message via text to all parents and asked them to complete a survey so we are able to ascertain which students don’t have access to computers or the internet at home. If you haven’t completed this survey and it is not possible for your child to access on-line facilities at home, please let their Form Tutor know as soon as possible, if you have not already done so, and we will make alternative arrangements.
We are, of course, particularly concerned about Year 11 students, who have important exams coming up. We have emergency plans and we will implement them if needed, subject to any advice we receive from central government and the exam boards.
I will not be closing the school, unless I am told to do so by the government or Public Health England, and it will be business as usual in the meantime. More advice and further details of arrangements will be provided as and when required. Please use the 111 coronavirus service and follow the NHS stay at home advice if you or members of your family develop symptoms.
Mr P. Shackleton