Weekly update - 3rd December 2021

As you will be aware from my previous communication, it has been a difficult week in terms of Covid cases amongst both students and staff.  However, I am pleased to be able to report that the number of new cases now seem to be declining.  Of course, these will continue to be carefully monitored on a daily basis, and should a contingency plan become necessary, this will be communicated to you as swiftly as possible.  I would like to reassure you that measures such as delivering remote education for a year group will only be taken as an absolute last resort, once every other avenue has been explored.  I genuinely hope that this will not become necessary, as I know that regular school attendance is in the best interests of students, both in terms of their education and also of their mental health and well-being.

This week we have held assemblies for every year group emphasising the importance of equality, tolerance and respect, and celebrating diversity in every form.  I believe that this is a vital aspect of our student’s learning experience, particularly in view of a report received from Essex Police regarding what appear to be some racially motivated incidents in the local area in recent weeks.  Students have responded well to the assemblies and have been keen to demonstrate their understanding of these issues and their determination to be true 21st Century citizens.

As always, there have been many activities taking place throughout the academy recently, including various sporting fixtures and enrichment trips.  Year 13 Performing Arts students have enjoyed a trip to see the West End musical “Hamilton”, to strengthen and underpin their curriculum coursework.  In sport, our under 15’s rugby squad have enjoyed great success in their last three matches; winning two and drawing one. They will go on to the first round of the Essex Cup in January.  Our girls’ under 15’s football team have also performed exceptionally well, achieving 2nd place in the Mid-Essex Festival.  Individual students have also enjoyed sporting successes, including Blake (year 9), who will represent the district football team for a third year running, Harrison (year 8), who has qualified for the Karting World Championships in Bahrain, and Amy (year 9), who has been accepted into the West Ham Football Academy.  Well done to all concerned, and a special thank you to our PE department, who have run and accompanied 54 fixtures during the autumn term.  At Ormiston Rivers, we firmly believe in the value and importance of enrichment opportunities as an integral part of students’ overall learning experiences, and we will continue to promote and support these going forwards, as long as we are able to do so.

There has also been great excitement this week, with the overnight appearance of Christmas trees and decorations throughout the academy!  Thank you to Mrs Mahoney and the enthusiastic group of students who stayed after school to get this done and to introduce the festive spirit to our school community.

We have decided that, for the last week of term (13th – 17th December), there will be no Super 6 or other after-school sessions, so the school day will finish at 3.20 pm (with the exception of Friday 17th, when all students will finish at 1.50 pm), and there will be no late bus during this week.  This decision has been made in order to address the work/life balance of both students and staff.

I would also like to remind you that the academy will close to students at 1.50 pm on Tuesday 7th December, for Year 11 Parents’ Evening.  Those students who travel by bus will be picked up at this time.  For all students, except Year 11, who will “attend” virtual Parents’ Evening appointments with their parents/carers, work will be set on Google classrooms for them to complete during period 5.

It only remains for me to thank you, as always, for your continued support, and to wish you a safe, relaxing and peaceful weekend.