Key Communications

Please click here to download the letter.

15th December 2022


Dear parent/carer,


Thank you for your support throughout this term; it is not taken for granted and very much appreciated.


During the second half of the term we witnessed the final stage in our return to normal academy protocols as we asked all students to wear the academy uniform every day, including those days when they have PE or Dance. Of course, we will be managing the after effects of a pandemic for a long term. You may recall that we consulted with you, as parents/carers, about our recovery premium spend and have done the same with staff in order to make sure that we provide the very best curriculum, provision and care. We know that children missed the routine of school and are investing training time, resources and links with external partners to ensure we are proactive in championing our children’s needs.


Last time I wrote, I mentioned the many fabulous strategies we are putting in place to encourage a love of reading for all students. I have to say sorry to the Year 7 students who should have all received a book of their choice as a Christmas present; the order is delayed at the suppliers but is being processed and will be with us in the New Year. Well done, by the way, to Year 7 students who are excelling at the Bedrock vocabulary building project!


As you know enrichment is hugely important to us here at GSA. This term has seen the relaunch of a most impressive array of clubs and visits. Sports fixtures have resumed, students have been to Westminster, the national Justice Museum and, this week in the cold, Brindley Place. I am in absolute awe of the 25 students and five staff who took part in the St. Basils Big Sleepout which, as I have said previously, is so very, very hard and such an incredible event. Our thoughts are most definitely with those without shelter this winter.


On the theme of social action we launched our WeWiLL project this term: Year 9 students have participated in a day visit to Sandwell Valley where they litter picked, looked after animals and a whole host of other worthwhile community actions. This is part of a bigger project which also saw our academy site mapped for geocaching, for those of you that do not know what that is, think of a giant orienteering course in school. Not only have our students enjoyed completing the course but many have acted as ambassadors and led visits for local feeder primaries. Well done Miss Ullah and Mr Hardwick for organising this fabulous project!


This term all staff have participated in AllSorts LGBT+ training. A key priority for us this year is expanding the theme of inclusivity across all aspects of the academy. We have a slogan of ‘one world in one school’ and it is our mission to make this an everyday reality for our students. As you know, we address the theme of healthy relationships though our weekly structured PSHE programme, guest speakers and tutor time activities but we recognise that there is always more that we can do. In the New Year over twenty staff will be trained as AllSorts ambassadors.


We do recognise that Christmas is not always an ‘easy time of year’ for many. We have, once again, distributed winter food hampers and will be here for support if needed. This year as an academy, we will also reflect on the members of our community that we have lost, they will always be in our thoughts.


Our term will end, as previously communicated, on Friday 16th December. Please remember that Tuesday 3rd January is a teacher training day and so we open our gates for all students in the New Year on Wednesday 4th January.


I do wish you all the very best for the winter break and look forward to seeing you again in January.


Yours sincerely,
Mr A Price
Principal

Please click here to download the letter below and additional Sparx Top Tips Guide for parents/carers.

Dear Parent/Carer,                                                                                     24th January 2023

Sparx Maths

As you know, for some time now our students have been completing their maths homework with Sparx Maths and we are delighted with the significant, positive impact on learning this has had so far. We know that you want to support your child’s maths progress so we’ve put together this letter to explain how Sparx works and why it is important to make sure that maths homework is 100% completed.

How does Sparx homework work?

Sparx personalises each child’s homework, creating a weekly set of questions tailored to their level of understanding and learning pace. The questions are designed to be achievable whilst offering the stretch that learners need to make progress. Each week, topics are set by your child’s maths teacher. Questions from previous topics will also be included in the homework so that students can keep practising the skills they have learned.

How can I help my child with their homework?

We appreciate that you will of course want to support your child with their home learning but please try not to help them with a question until they’ve had a go first! It is really important that they complete their homework independently, and that questions are marked as correct. They can watch the support video if they need to. This way, Sparx can make sure your child continues to see homework that’s at the right level for them.  

Why does my child need to achieve 100% compulsory homework completion? 

Sparx Homework is deliberately designed to help students really get to grips with and understand the concepts and skills they are learning by ensuring they cover the essential building blocks needed to make progress in maths. Sparx’ research (https://sparxmaths.com/impact) has shown that an average of 60 minutes a week of this type of personalised maths home learning leads to clear progress. It is therefore advised that students do their homework as early as possible, so they have the time to have a go themselves and seek help from their teacher if needed. Homework is not marked as complete until all of the compulsory questions have been answered correctly, so starting early is key to finishing before hand-in time. You can keep track of your child’s homework completion in the weekly email you will receive from Sparx.

We hope you agree that Sparx will play an exciting and important role in helping your child’s understanding, success and confidence in maths to grow. For more information please refer to the enclosed ‘Sparx top tips for parents’ information sheet below or visit Sparx Maths. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Mr Mawlud or your child’s maths teacher.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr R. Mawlud

Head of Mathematics

Please click here to download the letter.

25th January 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

RE: Industrial strike action

Thank you for supporting the return to school post-Christmas and I hope that this letter finds you well.

I am writing to you with a further update around the ballots on industrial action and what this means for our academy. As mentioned previously, The National Education Union (NEU), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) held ballots of their members on industrial action. Following these votes, members of the NEU across England have decided to strike.

The NAHT and the NASUWT strikes will not be proceeding as not enough members voted. However, there is a chance that these ballots will be held again, which we will update you on if there is any change.

Strikes will take place across Wednesday 1st February, Wednesday 15th March, Thursday 16th March, and Wednesday 1st March. This latter date is subject to regional variation and so I have stated, in this letter, the date that affects our region to avoid any confusion. These will impact on our academy.

As a result of the strikes, we will not have enough members of staff to safely open the academy to all students. We will therefore just be open to students in year groups 7, 11, 12 and 13.  All other students must remain at home during the days specified above, and we ask that they use the time to access learning that will be issued to them online. This will not be live lessons that students can join remotely for obvious reasons but will be more a thematic based approach.

We appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for some families, and we thank you for your continued support and understanding during this time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or a member of our senior leadership team, and we would be more than happy to speak with you.

Yours faithfully,

Adrian Price

Principal

George Salter Academy

Please click here to download the letter.

Do you know that Class Charts now shares with parents/carers live attendance data? Sign into the Class Charts app and this information is readily available for you to view now.

Passwords were sent out earlier in the year but if you have lost this then ask your child to ask their Form Tutor, Progress Leader or Student Welfare Manager.


Date:  January 2023

Dear Parent/Carer,

Attend School for the best start in life.

As the Director of Children's Services and Education, I know that getting the most out of education is so important for children, their families, and their communities.  For pupils to do well at school, they must be in the classroom and ready to learn.

Department for Education research has shown poor attendance reduces a child's likelihood of achieving good results at school. It showed the pupils with the lowest overall absence rate at primary school achieved much better results at GCSE level. But the benefits of being in school go beyond exam results.

It’s important for wellbeing and wider development. We heard from children and young people themselves in the Children’s Commissioner’s recent Big Ask survey of more than half a million children from every part of England, the importance that they themselves place on face to face education. As one child put it in her response, “people don’t realise how much education is important for life in general...if they don’t learn in school, they might not be able to enjoy life to the fullest.”

Excellent levels of attendance (97%+) are also proven to protect children and young people from the risk of harmful behaviours and becoming involved in crime. Ministry of Justice and Department for Education research shows 90% of young offenders, and 83% of knife possession offenders, had been persistently absent from school.

The law gives all children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 the right to a full-time education, suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational need they may have. This is more important, than ever for the current pupils who have missed so much time from school during the pandemic.

Because education is so important, the Education Act 1996 gives parents a duty to ensure their child receives the full-time education they are entitled to. Where parents register their child at school, the law requires them to secure their regular attendance at that school whenever the school is open for education unless a statutory exemption set out in the Act applies. (For example:  sickness, unavoidable cause, a day set aside for religious observance by the religious body to which the child’s parents belong or a leave of absence has been granted by the school).

Sandwell schools must promote good attendance by working with you and local services to unblock barriers to attendance. Where poor attendance persists, the law protects children and local authorities can, as a last resort, go to the Magistrates Court; where possible sentences include, fines, parenting orders and custodial sentences etc. 

Where families are struggling with regular school attendance and absence, schools and the council will work together to offer help and support.

As HM’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said, ‘children only get one chance at school’. The government is determined to address the wider underlying causes of children not being in school plus give families the support they need. As we approach a new calendar year it is more important than ever, for parents and schools to work together to minimise unnecessary absence and support pupils back into the classroom so they can succeed.

Please support your child/children to Attend School for the best start in life.

Yours sincerely

Michael W Jarrett MBE

Director of Children and Education (DCS)


Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, The Council House, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 3DE

Telephone: 0121 569 8338

Switchboard: 0121 569 2200

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.sandwell.gov.uk

25th January 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

RE: Industrial strike action

Thank you for supporting the return to school post-Christmas and I hope that this letter finds you well.

I am writing to you with a further update around the ballots on industrial action and what this means for our academy. As mentioned previously, The National Education Union (NEU), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) held ballots of their members on industrial action. Following these votes, members of the NEU across England have decided to strike.

The NAHT and the NASUWT strikes will not be proceeding as not enough members voted. However, there is a chance that these ballots will be held again, which we will update you on if there is any change.

Strikes will take place across Wednesday 1st February, Wednesday 15th March, Thursday 16th March, and Wednesday 1st March. This latter date is subject to regional variation and so I have stated, in this letter, the date that affects our region to avoid any confusion. These will impact on our academy.

As a result of the strikes, we will not have enough members of staff to safely open the academy to all students. We will therefore just be open to students in year groups 7, 11, 12 and 13.  All other students must remain at home during the days specified above, and we ask that they use the time to access learning that will be issued to them online. This will not be live lessons that students can join remotely for obvious reasons but will be more a thematic based approach.

We appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for some families, and we thank you for your continued support and understanding during this time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or a member of our senior leadership team, and we would be more than happy to speak with you.

Yours faithfully,

Adrian Price

Principal

George Salter Academy