21st May 2020
19th May 2020 – 19:00
I hope that you and your family are all safe and well. I am sure you have all been following the discussions in the media regarding the phased opening of schools. I wanted to write to you to share my views and the preparations we have been making in school. I have been a teacher now for two and a half decades, which as I type sounds a very long time. I have been a senior leader for eighteen years, ten of which at Oldbury Academy with four years as the headteacher. This experience has put me in a privileged position to look after someone else’s child/children and lead a group of dedicated staff. This has taught me two things: firstly be truthful and secondly when it comes to children, always think of the worst-case scenarios.
Last week, I had a number of Government guidance documents relating to the phased opening of schools:
- Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from the 1 June: guidance to parents and carers
- Implementing proactive measures in Education
- Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care about preventing and controlling infection, including the use of PPE, in education, childcare and children’s social care settings during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Opening schools for more children and young people: initial planning framework for schools in England
I am sure more guidance will be released this week as we approach the 1 June. I have had several virtual meetings with colleagues from school, as well as liaising with other headteachers across Sandwell and the West Midlands. I would also like to thank all of the parents/carers who have shared their views through our parent questionnaire about reopening our school. I have found these comments very helpful during our planning stages and I hope this letter helps to explain my philosophy around reopening to some students and the safe measures we are putting in place. All of our preparations have been shared and discussed with the Governing body of the school. There will review and approval all of the policy changes that we are proposing in order to manage the current situation. All of these policies and procedures will be published on our website by 1 June 2020.
Many of you know that I have three children myself who go to school in Staffordshire. My youngest daughter is in Year 8, my middle daughter is in Year 10 and my eldest in Year 12. So as a parent, I am waiting to receive information from their school before I can make a decision as to whether I will be sending them into school. I always want to be honest with you, and as a dad, if I do not think my children’s school is safe, and they have not allayed my fears, I will not be sending my own children to school. Whatever decision you make for your children I will totally understand and respect this. The Government has announcement that they will not be taking action against parents who choose not to send their children to school at this stage.
I have thought long and hard about the plans I want to implement at Oldbury Academy, and whilst the reopening of schools mainly affects year 10 students at this stage, I am writing to all parents to share my thoughts. So, do I want staff and children back in school teaching and learning? Of course I do. Is remote learning and the additional pressure this puts on parents at home whilst they may be working themselves ideal? Far from it. Having children in school is important; however, I am not going to sit here and write to you to say we can achieve social distancing with large numbers of students in school at times such as break time and lunch times. Despite thinking through a whole range of scenarios, at this stage I do not think it is feasible.
These challenges have helped to shape the decisions I have made regarding our provision for the second half of the summer term and how we are going to implement face-to-face support for Year 10 students.
My proposal from the 1 June is as follows:
- We will continue to provide support for priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers (as we have been supporting since the end of March).
- Years 7, 8 and 9 will continue to stay at home and access their learning remotely via Show My Homework and the work packs that have been provided to families who do not have access to a device.
- Year 10 students will also continue to access their learning at home and access their learning remotely via Show My Homework and the work packs that have been provided to families who do not have a device.
- In addition, we will enhance our remote learning provision for Year 10 students with the introduction of some ‘live lessons’ that students will be able to access via a computer, tablet or smart phone. This will allow teachers and students to interact remotely.
- We may be able to roll this out to other year groups in the future but in the first instance in the summer term our intention is to develop this for Year 10 students.
- At this stage, we are proposing there will be two occasions when we will ask Year 10 students to attend school for face-to-face support. The first occasion will be during week beginning the 8th Following this week, we will review the impact of this and schedule a second occasion week beginning the 15th July. This second occasion will be confirmed closer to the date.
- The programme for this face-to-face support is currently being developed and will consist of a two-hour lesson in a classroom with no more than seven other students with their form tutor. We do have some of the Year 10 tutors who are shielding due to underlying health conditions. In these cases, we will allocate another teacher to deliver the sessions for these forms.
- During the two hour lesson the tutor will cover:
a) Well-being support
b) A review of how remote learning has gone so far
c) Asking students for their feedback on how we can improve our provision
d) Explaining what remote learning will look like in the second half of the summer term
e) Explaining the new live lessons timetable
f) Providing support on how to access the live lessons on a laptop, computer, tablet or smart phone.
- There will be strict guidelines on how students will enter school and spend their two hours on site. A video will be produced to show the measures we are putting in place. I will share this with parents and carers by Friday 22nd
In the meantime however the measures will include:
- There will be a maximum number of 100 Year 10 students on site on any one day. They will come into school on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Students will arrive at staggered times according to their form group. More information for Year 10 parents will be published prior to the 8th June when the first students are expected on site.
- By dividing the Year 10 students into three groups with one group attending on a Monday, one on a Wednesday and one on a Friday this allows for cleaning to take place between the groups of students being in school. This is part of a cleaning schedule that we have agreed with Interserve who manage our building.
- When students arrive on site, they will line up along social distance markings; ensuring they remain two metres apart. They will be required to use hand sanitiser immediately and have their temperature taken by the member of staff. The member of staff will use a hand held forehead temperature monitor which means no contact with the students is required. The research on the use of these machines is still under debate but if a student displays a high temperature they will be sent home in line with the Governments guidance.
- Students will then enter the main building via the students’ entrance. The attendance team will mark them present and they will be asked to use a second hand sanitiser and be directed to the room they will spend their two-hour face-to-face lesson.
- They will spend the whole two hours in the classroom and there will be no break time or lunch period. After the two hour session students will be escorted off site.
- The classrooms have been rearranged so there is now a maximum of six to eight desks and chairs in a room.
- There will be hand sanitiser gel in all classrooms for students to use.
- All students will be expected to bring their own equipment with them. For all the activities, they will undertake they will only require a pen. The guidance states that students should not be sharing equipment with others.
- The students in each room will not mix with any other students in school.
- Students will not be required to wear their school uniform unless they wish to. The guidance suggests that when they return home any clothing should be immediately placed in the washing machine and cleaned.
- The guidance released to schools is that staff and students do not have to wear face masks whilst in school. We appreciate that some parents and carers would want their children to wear these. We do not have a problem with this and if they wish to wear them in school, they can do so. The same principle applies to members of staff.
These procedures have been discussed with the schools Governing Body who approve all policies and procedures in school. All of our new Covid-19 related policies, including our risk assessments, will be uploaded onto our website from 1 June 2020. This will provide parents with a week to digest the information before they make a decision on sending their child in.
I hope the above information and the video I hope to share with you later this week will give you the information you require to make a decision regarding your child.
We will continue to act upon the guidance from the Government and Local Authority to ensure all necessary steps can be taken to ensure a high quality experience for students. If of course the Government delay the opening of all schools due to the five key measures that they monitor we will delay any potential opening accordingly.
I hope that you and your family remain safe and well.
Mr P Shackleton
12th May 2020 – 10:00
I hope that you and your family are all safe and well. I expect that you will have watched the Prime Minister’s address and are aware that the Government’s second step to recovery includes a phased reopening of schools.
The Government have published a number of documents with guidance for the reopening of schools, taken from the latest guidance it identifies:
- Primary schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from the 1st June for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
- Secondary schools remain closed for all pupils but will continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers; as you have been supporting since the end of March.
There was no reference made to when secondary schools are likely to open for pupils. There was information however about how schools should begin to consider face to face support for those who are taking examinations next academic year.
- For pupils in year 10, we are asking schools to supplement remote education with some face-to-face support from 1 June. We do not expect these pupils to return to school or college on a full-time basis at this stage, and so we do not expect a full timetable to be offered as schools look to minimise the number of pupils in school each day.
Further guidance for parents can be found at ‘Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: Guidance for parents and carers’.
I appreciate this is a very unsettling time for everyone and I endeavor to do all that I can to support our school community. Now that we have received the latest guidance from the Government, I will take time to consider our plans and work through them in detail. Above all else, I cannot stress enough that safety will remain paramount. Our core values of CARE remain at the forefront of my mind and rest assured the safety of everyone will be at the heart of any decision making.
Once we have worked through our plans in detail I will share them with you. In the meantime, you will undoubtedly have many questions and concerns; therefore, we will be sending out a link for a parental/carer survey to gather your views. I would like to thank you for your continued support in helping your child learn from home.
I hope that you and your family remain safe and well.
Mr P Shackleton
30th April 2020 – 20:00
21st April 2020 – 21:00
As we embark on the summer term with continued uncertainty as to when schools will reopen to students, it is imperative that your child continues to complete the work that they are being set by their teachers. Your child will find all of their work on Show my Homework and they will also be able to message their teachers directly via this platform to seek help and guidance with their studies.
This week, the government has produced some guidance to help both students and parents through these uncertain times, to ensure that students do not miss out on important parts of their learning. The website below will take you to the full guidance however, I have extracted some of the main websites from the guidance to help with online learning:
In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy has launched on Monday 20 April. This brand-new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, backed by government grant funding. It will provide 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from Maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. The link below will take you to their website, whereby you are able to access all of the resources to supplement your child’s learning.
This week (Monday 20 April) the BBC is also launching its own education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and some of the best teachers – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents. You can access these resources using the website below
Teachers at Oldbury Academy will continue to set work for your child using Show my Homework but the additional government approved websites can also assist your child with their continued learning and will give you information and guidance of how you can support your child through these difficult times.
The government has announced that they are looking to support Year 10 disadvantaged students by providing them with a laptop. The details of how this will work have yet to be shared and we are awaiting further information.
For those students who cannot access learning online, alternative arrangements have been made and parents/guardians can collect photocopied work from the schools reception from Monday 27th April 2020.
Mr S. Cresswell
20th April 2020 – 09:30
We have had two weeks of remote learning prior to the Easter holidays and with the Government’s announcement on Thursday 16th April that there will be at least a further three weeks of the current lockdown procedure, I wanted to write to you with an update.
Firstly, I wanted to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all of our parents and carers for all of their help and support with your child’s ‘remote schooling’. The vast majority of our students should also be thanked for establishing such superb routines and for taking real ownership of their own learning. We have received so many positive e-mails from students, parents and carers and we are extremely grateful. We appreciate this feedback as it helps us to know that we are on the right lines. We are all in ‘unchartered waters’ but I am convinced that, by working together and supporting one another, our school community can overcome any barriers and that our home – school partnership will be strengthened.
Our aim, as a school, has been to try to keep some semblance of routine and normality during these challenging times and to ensure that children are purposefully occupied at home. The intention is not to cause any stress to students or their parents, but to continue to educate them remotely and to bring about a structure and a familiarity to their day.
The setting of work has generally worked very well and we have managed to solve any technical glitches that a small number of students have experienced. Online learning platforms have been invaluable during the school closure as they provide interactive activities and offer students immediate feedback. Teachers and students are currently using a range of learning platforms across a number of subjects.
It is imperative that your child is checking their Show my Homework account on a daily basis and completing the work that teachers are setting for them. Failure to engage in any of this work will disadvantage them and we must try and minimise the impact of the potential weeks and months of no in school education. Our staff are setting work in line with students’ timetables and the lessons that they would normally have each week. For those families that cannot access the work online during this week staff will be putting together another pack of paper based work. If your child needs this, as they do not have access to the internet, the packs can be collected from the school reception from Monday 27th April. If you intend to collect a new pack of work for your child, can you please telephone and speak to someone in the school reception so we can ensure there are enough packs photocopied.
Making contact with school
In these challenging times, we know that the students themselves and their parents/carers are best placed to make decisions about how to work at home in the most successful way. If your child is struggling, please do not hesitate to contact the school via their form tutor or their individual subject
teachers through the Show my Homework website or app. A full list of staff email addresses can also be found on the website. As a school, we are making it an absolute priority that staff reply and engage with student’s queries daily to support their learning by answering questions and guiding them through their studies at this unprecedented time.
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 email@example.com and another member of staff will answer your query on their behalf.
We will continue to support key workers and help supervise their children in school whilst they are at work. This provision continues on Monday 20th April until further notice. The school however, will be closed to all students and staff on Friday 8th May 2020 as this is a bank holiday, and we will not have access to our school building.
I have already mentioned the importance of well-being and it is vital that we all look after our own mental health during this period. It may be a particularly difficult time for children and young people. There is some helpful advice from Public Health England on supporting children’s mental health and well-being and here is the link:
Stay safe and look after yourselves and each other.
Mr P. Shackleton
2nd April 2020 – 15:30
The school has received details of the Governments Free School Meal provision for after Easter. If you have a child who is currently in receipt of FSM please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s Full Name, Year Group and Date of Birth by 10am on Monday 6th April so we can ensure we can email you with the details and codes in plenty of time.
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