Weekly Update - 8th October 2021

It has been another busy and productive week at Ormiston Rivers Academy.

On Tuesday we were visited by a team of staff from OAT Head Office, who conducted their regular Safeguarding Review of the academy.  The review involved input and feedback from students, a range of staff and governors.  We are awaiting the full report, but I am pleased to inform you that initial feedback was positive and confirmed that we have all the correct procedures in place, and that the safeguarding and well-being of all students is robust, proactive and at the heart of all that we do.  As part of Ormiston Academies Trust, we receive several reviews throughout each academic year, focusing on various areas and aspects of the academy’s provision.  We positively welcome these reviews, which enable us to ensure that we continue to provide our students with the best educational experiences and the highest standards possible.

I am also delighted to be able to inform you that we have been successful in recruiting two new, highly experienced, Vice-Principals, who I am sure will make a significant contribution to our academy and our students going forwards.  Ms. Dijana Piralic joins us immediately, and brings particular expertise in teaching & learning and curriculum planning.  Ms. Leanne Abbott-Jones will join us in January 2022, and will bring specific strengths in behaviour for learning and SEND.

Yesterday, we enjoyed celebrating National Poetry Day, which involved students participating in various activities throughout mentor and lesson time, and during break and lunch time.  This is an important and valued date in our academy calendar, as it contributes to our whole school literacy strategy.  It was particularly nice to see some of our Sixth Form students leading poetry activities with younger students in our Learning Resource Centre, and I am delighted to include some photographs below of some of the activities which took place.

We also had our “virtual” Sixth Form Open Evening yesterday, with information, advice and various activities available for prospective sixth form students and parents to view.  For those of you considering your post-16 choices, we hope that you found this helpful.  As always, please do speak to individual subject staff or our sixth form team about post-16 opportunities going forwards.

After half-term, we intend to remove the requirement for staff and students to wear face-coverings in lessons and throughout the academy.  We do, of course, remain ever vigilant in respect of Covid cases, and continue to liaise closely with our Trust, the Local Authority and Public Health England.  In accordance with their guidance, we are introducing, with immediate effect, a new policy for break and lunch time.  This will mean that, at these times, once students have purchased food from one of our three outlets (or if they have a packed lunch to eat), they will only be permitted to remain in one of our indoor seating areas; currently the main canteen or the main hall.  Otherwise, all students will be asked to be outside.  This will prevent large groups of students in confined areas, such as corridors, and will ensure that they are getting fresh air, whilst continuing to be able to socialise.  Please ensure that students bring in a coat to wear outside.  Of course, should we experience particularly inclement weather, alternative arrangements will be put in place.  A communication was sent out earlier this week with regard to break and lunch time, and in addition to this we are currently looking at introducing further indoor and outdoor seating areas, which we hope will provide students with alternative choices during their free time.

This Sunday, 10th October 2021, is World Mental Health Day, with the theme of “Mental Health Inequality”.  On Monday 11th October 2021, there will be a range of activities taking place throughout the academy to promote and support this theme.  We hope that our students will positively embrace and engage with these, as “If we all do one thing, we can change everything”.  I very much look forward to sharing news and pictures of our activities in this respect with you next week.

In the meantime, I wish you all a relaxing and happy weekend.

Jo Williams