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New Specialist Leader At Forge

Posted by admin on Friday 16th June 2017

A new specialist leader of education (SLE) has been appointed at a Cradley Heath School.

Kris Griffin, 42, who has worked at Ormiston Forge Academy since 2013 as director of marketing, was recently appointed as an SLE following a rigorous application process through the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

Specialist leaders of education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders to achieve it in their own context. SLEs can develop the leadership capacity of others, using coaching or facilitation support that draws on their knowledge and expertise. It is believed that Kris is one of the first SLEs who specialises in marketing and communications for schools and academies.

At Ormiston Forge Academy, a national support school, Kris is responsible for all outward facing marketing and all aspects of communicating with stakeholders. As a member of the senior leadership, he is part of the team responsible for the improvements the school has made over the last 5 years as an academy resulting in an Ofsted Good grade in 2016.

Kris is also contracted, through Forge, to a variety of different schools around the country as a consultant and counts among recent clients Everton Free School, Shireland Collegiate Academy and schools in Birmingham with alleged involvement in the “Trojan Horse” plot.

Director of marketing at Ormiston Forge Academy, Kris Griffin, said, “I’m delighted to have been designated a specialist leader of education, it’s great recognition for support staff who are vital to the smooth operation of educational establishments everywhere.
“I am looking forward to continuing my work at Forge, working towards Ofsted Outstanding as well as supporting other schools and academies who need my specialist help.”

Andrew Burns, the principal of Ormiston Forge Academy, who himself was designated a national leader of education (NLE) in March 2016, said, “Kris is our first SLE but he certainly won’t be our last. I’m incredibly proud of his achievement and the work he does in the education sector.
“Kris is not a qualified teacher, but he is an outstanding leader. He understands education and teaching and how to get people the best out of individuals and teams.”
“This is a testament to the diverse and deep talent pool that we have here and I very much look forward to congratulating more Forge SLEs on their appointment in the near future.”

The SLE programme is licensed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). Kris will be brokered to schools needing support through the St John Bosco Teaching School Alliance in West Bromwich.

The Schools White Paper (2010) introduced the concept of the SLE role to improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising standards and improving outcomes for children.


May 2017 Half-Term Revision Schedule

Posted by admin on Friday 26th May 2017

You can download the May half-term holiday, revision class schedule, here.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Posted by admin on Thursday 11th May 2017

Students and teachers at Forge planned a series of activities in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week. The activities are designed to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide students with information of what they can do to seek help.

The week kicked off with a session for year 7 through to year 10, delivered by the Academy’s Student Council, about the pressures which can lead to mental health problems developing in young people, and the warning signs to look out for. The session will look at what practical methods students can undertake to improve their day-to-day mental health.

The Academy has also designed a Google survey for students to help produce a bigger picture of what their worries might be and the sorts of sessions they would find useful to help them deal with different mental health issues.

Later in the week, the Academy will be selling green ribbons to wear on lapels to show support for mental health awareness, with the proceeds going to the mental health charity Mind.

Students will also put together a huge paper chain about what it is that makes them happy, with ideas put forward by a range of students across the school.

Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), the sponsor of Forge, will be supporting the Academy in using Mental Health Awareness Week as a springboard to help tailor their approach towards mental health and provide greater support to their students.

Andrew Burns, Principal of Ormiston Forge Academy, said: “Through this exciting week of events we hope to raise awareness and start a real conversation about the importance of mental health issues. We want to encourage a culture where students feel they can be open and talk about any pressures or worries they may have.

“Promoting good mental health is a key priority for academies across the OAT network and we aim to be one of the academy’s leading the way on this in the West Midlands area.”














New GCSE 9 to 1 grades coming soon

Posted by admin on Tuesday 9th May 2017

Students taking GCSEs in England this summer will receive a mixture of number and letter grades. English language, English literature and maths are the first subjects to use the new system, with most other subjects adopting numbers by 2019. Eventually, all GCSEs taken in England will receive numerical grades.

9 things to know about the new GCSE grades:

  1. GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade.
  2. New GCSE content will be more challenging.
  3. Fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s.
  4. English language, English literature and maths will be the first to be graded from 9 to 1 in 2017.
  5. Another 20 subjects will have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019. During this transition, students will receive a mixture of letter and number grades.
  6. The new grades are being brought in to signal that GCSEs have been reformed and to better differentiate between students of different abilities.
  7. In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, broadly the same proportion of students will get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above in the old system.
  8. These changes are only happening in England. Wales and Northern Ireland are not introducing the new 9 to 1 grading scale as part of their changes to GCSEs.
  9. You can see how the 9 to 1 grades compare with the A* to G scale in our GCSE grading postcard.

You can view the original article here.

GCSE grading – 10 useful facts

Posted by admin on Wednesday 3rd May 2017

This article, featured recently in SecEd is full of excellent information on the new GCSE grading system. We’ll keep posting new, relevant information about the grading system as it becomes available. You can read the original article in SecEd at the link:

This summer’s exam results will see the first appearance of the new GCSE grades 1 to 9 as they begin to be phased in. Curriculum and assessment specialist Suzanne O’Farrell gives us 10 useful facts about the new numerical system.

We are now only a few months away from pupils sitting exams under the new GCSE grading system in English language, English literature and maths. So let’s remind ourselves why the government believes that 9 to 1 is an improvement on A* to G.

Under the old system, there are four grades between a grade C and a grade A*, whereas under the new system there are six grades (4 to 9) covering the same range. The rationale is that this allows for greater differentiation between candidates and better recognises exceptional performance, with a grade 9 equivalent to the top end and above of an A*.

The government believes that the revised grading scale will also make it easier for employers and others to distinguish between the new, more demanding GCSEs and their predecessors.

As the reformed GCSEs are being introduced in phases – with 20 more in 2018 and most others following in 2019 – pupils in this transitional period will, in fact, receive a mixture of numbers and letters.

Won’t this be confusing for parents, employers and colleges, I hear you ask? Well, yes, it will. However, the Department for Education and Ofqual are attempting to address this issue through various communications to inform people of these significant changes.

Their key messages will be that the new GCSEs are more demanding, the grading system will more accurately reflect individual outcomes, and that a grade 4 represents a similar level of achievement to a current (low/medium) grade C – the threshold for a Level 2 qualification.

So, with all that in mind, here is a list of 10 facts about the new system which should be useful for school leaders and teachers.

A disadvantage?

Although exams in the reformed GCSEs will have to cover a wider, more challenging range of content, Ofqual has made it clear that candidates will not be disadvantaged in comparison to those who sat the old exams in previous years. Ofqual has said that broadly the same proportion will achieve a grade 4 and above as achieved a C and above in the old exams, and broadly the same proportion will achieve a grade 7 and above as previously achieved an A and above.


A grade 4 is not directly equivalent to a C. It represents the bottom two-thirds of a C, while a grade 5 is the equivalent of the top third of a C and the bottom third of a B.


In the new qualifications there are three grades – 7, 8 and 9 – at the top of the scale, compared to two in the old system – A and A*. We can therefore expect that fewer students will achieve a 9 than previously achieved an A*. In fact, about five per cent of all grades will be a 9.

Grade boundaries

Even in well-established qualifications, grade boundaries are never set in advance. It is almost impossible to predict precisely how much easier, or harder, pupils will find a paper compared to previous years. Setting the grade boundaries is known as awarding and this will only be done once all the papers have been marked in the summer.


Under the new GCSE system, only maths, science and modern foreign languages will be split into higher and foundation tiers. The grades available to pupils sitting the foundation tier are 5 to 1, and for those sitting the higher tier 9 to 4. It is worth noting that the grade range covered by each tier has changed significantly. The new foundation tier is equivalent to B to G under the old system, whereas it previously covered C to G. This means the borderline between the two tiers is higher than in the past. As a result, it is likely that more pupils will be entered for the foundation exams in these subjects than in previous years, particularly considering the more demanding content in the higher tier.

Grade 4

Achieving a grade 4 means students have achieved a standard equivalent to a Level 2 qualification, which should allow them to progress to Level 3 courses. Students will not need to resit English and maths if they achieve a grade 4 or above. It is worth noting that in order to train to teach at secondary level, students will need to demonstrate a standard equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and English.

Grade 4 vs grade 5

The government has now decided to describe a grade 4 as a “standard pass” and a grade 5 as a “strong pass” and report on both in the school performance tables. Previously, it had referred to grade 5 as a “good pass”. ASCL felt that this devalued the achievement of a grade 4. We feel that the new terminology is a sensible measure and we are pleased that the secretary of state has listened to our representations.

Re-sitting English/maths

The education secretary has also now indicated that in the future grade 4 will remain the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post-16. Previous guidance had indicated that it would move to grade 5 after 2019. ASCL did not think this was fair or consistent. This change is therefore a positive step forward.

Realistic expectations

Employers, colleges and universities will continue to decide the GCSE grades needed to meet their requirements. The Department for Education is encouraging them to have realistic expectations of pupils in the first cohorts who are sitting the new, more demanding GCSEs, when setting their entry requirements for work or further study. Employers and colleges will also need to recruit the same number of students as previously, so are likely to set their criteria at grade 4 and above.

Standards required?

We know what A to G grade exam papers look like, but no-one yet knows exactly what 9 to 1 grade papers look like. What standard of work will produce a grade 4, for instance, or a grade 9? In future years we will have the benefit of past papers as a guide but there is inevitably some uncertainty in the transition.

We will have to trust that statistical mechanisms will ensure this year’s pupils are not disadvantaged and, of course, continue to provide our pupils with the best possible preparation.

Popstars visit to deliver important messages

Posted by admin on Friday 31st March 2017
Students at Ormiston Forge Academy were paid a visit by pop stars Misunderstood as part of a tour to deliver cyber safety, anti-discrimination and British values messages to young people.

Stephan and Jeffrey make up the UK Pop/R&B duo Misunderstood and are graduates from the BRIT School of Performing Arts. Since appearing on the Britain’s Got Talent, semi-finals in dance group Myztikal, the boys have supported MOBO Award Winner Chipmunk and Grammy winners Boyz II Men on tour.

During the morning in Cradley Heath, Misunderstood performed and talked to Forge students in years 7, 8, 9 and 10. As well as delivering important messages and personal reflections on cyber safety, discrimination and British values, they performed their own songs that had the 1,000 strong audience of students up on their feet.

Misunderstood said: “We loved our visit to Ormiston Forge Academy, the students were so lively and full of so much energy; which is inspiring to us! We always enjoy getting them involved even though in this case some of the students tried challenging us with their slick dance moves, haha.

“Overall we had a blast and left feeling like the students at Forge went home with a whole new outlook on life, knowing that being themselves and having fun is the best way to get through the struggles of life.”

Principal at Forge, Andrew Burns, said: “We are really grateful that Misunderstood took the time to come and talk and perform for our students. It’s clear that they are incredibly talented, have huge hearts and a big desire for inspiring the next generation. Their positive messages and good advice were welcomed by all.

“Forge is becoming a real hotbed of talent; we’re showcasing some really strong student performances through the year and inviting some incredible artists in to push our young people even further.”

The appearance was the day before the premiere of the boys’ first single, ‘Sucker’. Their new double A-Side single of ‘Sucker/ Imma Do My Thang’ was released in February.

Forge also recently welcomed rising pop star, Rhianna to the academy in January to perform and talk to students about online safety. Rhianna writes all of her own music and has been described by Radio 1 as the next big female singer on the music scene. She has also supported Fifth Harmony on tour.


Forge Principal Chosen For Key School Support Role

Posted by admin on Saturday 25th March 2017

The Principal and staff at Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath have been selected for a top role supporting schools in challenging circumstances.

Andrew Burns is one of more than 70 principals to be appointed to the role of national leader of education (NLE) in the latest recruitment round.

NLEs along with staff in their school – designated a national support school (NSS) – use their success and professionalism to provide additional leadership capability in other schools.

NLEs are deployed to suit the needs of each school needing support. The type of support provided is flexible and can sometimes involve NLEs becoming executive headteachers. They also have responsibility for developing the next generation of NLEs and national support schools.

Principal at Ormiston Forge Academy, Andrew Burns, said: “It’s an incredible honour to receive this designation on behalf of the academy and I am looking forward to supporting other schools on their journey towards improvement.

Our commitment to the young people at Forge remains unwavering, but we are now able to extend the reach of the Forge effect and make an even bigger difference.

Many NLEs/NSSs report improved outcomes at the schools they support.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “It’s fantastic that heads like Andrew have the passion and ambition to help improve the life chances of young people, not just in their own but in other schools as well.

The aim of national leaders of education is to drive improvement in underperforming schools. We now have over 1,200 NLEs and we’re working to increase this number further to spread educational excellence everywhere.

Successful heads have been invited to attend a formal induction and training event for the role in driving school improvement.

Stephen Rayner, Chair of Governors at Ormiston Forge Academy, said: “We’re proud of the strength of leadership throughout our academy, but Andrew has a particular ability to recognise and develop the leaders of the future, while always thinking first of the needs of students and communities.

Working from a National Support School, Andrew and his colleagues have an exciting opportunity to influence improvements on a wider scale.


Andrew Burns, Principal of Ormiston Forge Academy and National Leader of Education

                   Andrew Burns, Principal of Ormiston Forge Academy and National Leader of Education

Old Hill Boxing youth club

Posted by admin on Thursday 23rd March 2017

Old Hill Boxing Club are starting a Youth Club on Friday 31st March. It’s free entry and starts at 6.30pm. For additional information, please see Mrs Taylor in the Success Centre.

Former student set to screen brand new film

Posted by admin on Tuesday 14th March 2017

Former student Natalie Cutler is changing perceptions of both herself and of the industry she’s worked in. To many, Natalie is the long-time partner of Wolves captain Danny Batth and a former beauty pageant contestant. The 27-year-old has gone from being a successful beauty queen to an aspiring filmmaker with her own production company who’s about to tour the country with her one-woman feminist show.

Natalie has produced a documentary called Not in Vain, which looks at the beauty pageant scene in the UK and shines a light on a dark underside of how beauty is perceived in India, where Natalie had previously lived for seven months. Whereas in the UK, negative stereotypes of beauty lead to sexism and an attack on your character, in India it can lead to an attack on your life, as Natalie saw when she visited the country to visit a number of inspiring victims.

Acid attacks on women are prevalent in India, as first-time filmmaker Natalie explained: “Acid attacks happen for many reasons in India but the main theme that kept coming up was of jealousy, when a man feels rejected by a woman he attacks her with acid with the mindset of ‘if I can’t have you no-one can.”

Every year the Miss Universe Great Britain pageant, which the film follows as it charts contestants from England, Wales and Scotland, chooses a charity to donate funds to. This year it was Stop Acid Attacks, an Indian-based foundation launched by victim Laxmi Agarwal who helps run a ‘Sheroes’ cafe by the Taj Mahal and who has met the Obamas and William and Kate as she has spread awareness the crime. On her documentary journey, Natalie hears of women who’ve been attacked with acid because they turned down a marriage proposal, or because they only produced daughters for their husband.

Attacking someone with acid wasn’t made a crime in India until 2013.

Natalie commented: “The foundation and the ‘Sheroes’ campaign are really starting to change the way people see this crime. The people who do this don’t know any better. Nine out of 10 times it’s people who are illiterate and have no education. It comes from ignorance. Most people would say it’s common sense not to throw acid on someone, but it doesn’t work like that everywhere if you’re from a culture that doesn’t value women in the same way we might over here. In India, they perceive beauty as an important status, so if you’re disfigured you’ll never marry.”

You can see the full article here.














West Bromwich Albion Foundation Apprentice Challenge

Posted by admin on Tuesday 14th March 2017

During February half term, The Albion Foundation hosted the Albion Apprentice Challenge where students from Ormiston Forge Academy were invited to design their own sports drink. Students were divided into three groups and used the first two days to research and plan adverts. They also had the opportunity to film around The Hawthorns. Below, you can read Jack’s account of what happened throughout the four days:

Monday 20th February
When I woke up I was very excited about the challenge but nervous at the same time. When we arrived at The Hawthorns we went into the Media Suite where our groups were decided. Our group leader, Erin, announced our task for the week. We had to create our own sports drink and make our own advert! Firstly, we did some market research by testing other sports drinks and rating them out of ten for their taste.
We spent time thinking of ideas for our drink name and slogan. The product names were Tempo for my team; Breakthru for Hayden’s team and Hydroaid for Scott’s team. We then went around the stadium and took some photos of where we could film our advert. My favourite part of the stadium was the substitute’s bench because that is where famous footballers have sat and the chairs were quite comfy. Also, seeing the pitch up so close up was awesome. After lunch, we went to the sports hall to play golden ball and football, which team Breakthru won. After an hour and a half of sport, I then went home after a great first day.

Tuesday 21st February
On Tuesday we went to the Albion Foundation School and had to make a questionnaire for our consumer research. One of the questions we asked was ‘Do you like the name Tempo for a sports drink?’
After a short break, someone had to make a storyboard from the photos we took at the stadium to help us form the running order of our adverts. We were all excited as we knew Jonas Olsson was coming to see us afterwards! After what felt like an entire eternity, his long flowing locks finally came through the door. When he came through the door I was ecstatic as I had never met a footballer before! We got to ask Olsson some questions about our drink and some questions about his career. We asked him whether or not he liked the name Tempo and he said he liked the name. After asking our questions we were able to get things signed and have a selfie with him. He was very approachable and friendly.

Wednesday 22nd February
Today was the day we had all been waiting for, FILMING OUR ADVERTS! Firstly, we designed the label for our bottle and then we went off to film. We visited different parts of The Hawthorns and we even got to film by the pitch. After we had lunch, we went to perfect our advert.

Thursday 23rd February
Today we had a quiz, guessing the player’s names and my team scored 29 out of 30. Following the quiz, we went over to the sports hall where we played Danish long ball, cricket and football. In the afternoon we had loads of fun editing our adverts and perfecting our presentations ready for Saturday.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed it and I am so happy that I have had the chance to take part in this awesome activity and I am looking forward to the game vs Bournemouth on Saturday. I am also looking forward to the presentation and hope that team Tempo win. Thank you, Erin, for this opportunity, I’ll try and remember you when I’m the next Lord Sugar!

You can view the original article from the Albion Foundation here.

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