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Local teenage astrophysicist reaches for the stars!

Posted by admin on Thursday 17th August 2017
A gifted teenager from Cradley Heath is not only the first generation in his family to go to university, but through a unique partnership has taken the first steps to launching a career as an astrophysicist.
A level results day is a defining moment for most students, but when 18-year-old K-Ryan saw he had the top grades needed to beat tough competition for a place to study astrophysics at the University of Birmingham, he realised the door had opened on a future where the sky is literally the limit.
The softly spoken student from Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath, which is sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), says in addition to the support of his teachers, a key reason for his success was an innovative programme that paired him with a local tech entrepreneur – also the first in his family to go to university and an astrophysics graduate – who provided free physics tuition.
As part of their weekly tutoring sessions, Rob Laker taught K-Ryan how to use a high-specification telescope to film the surface of the moon.
K-Ryan said: “When he asked if I wanted to actually observe stars, constellations and the moon using high-end telescopes and observing equipment, I jumped at the chance!
We did an observing session where we first looked at different craters on the moon – looking at the moon and the stars for the first time, in such detail and clarity, instantly put me in a state of awe!
For others, it might not have the same effect as it did on me but it felt so close and clear compared to looking at it by eye. It felt as though it was in front of me and it is difficult to describe how inspiring it was.”
K-Ryan showed his talent for physics early on, in year 10 he won the School Physicist of the Year award from The Ogden Trust, which is given to the most promising year 10 physics student across the scores of schools the Ogden Trust works with. His teachers and the wider team at the Academy then took steps to support K-Ryan to build on this success and to nurture his interest.
Laker was put in touch with K-Ryan through The Access Project, an education charity that works to get high potential students who face barriers to achieving their full academic potential into top universities, by pairing them with graduate tutors.
K-Ryan says this experience was integral in shaping his dreams for the future – he now wants to travel the world working on leading research telescopes.
I’d like to be on a collaboration project that overlooks the data from telescopes, so I’d be on the frontlines looking at the data and seeing how that applied to other theories.
There’s quite a lot we know about the universe, about how the galaxies formed for example, but there are a lot of areas we don’t know as much about such as dark matter and the beginning of the universe, and the work we are doing now is going to help further that knowledge.”
Laker says he got as much out of the experience of tutoring as his student did: “I like the school I’m dealing with because it reminds me of the school I was at and there is that satisfying side of it – seeing them do well.
Whenever I see them get a good mark in an exam, it’s a sense that I have actually helped them out in some way and that is very satisfying.”
Principal of Ormiston Forge Academy and trustee of The Access Project, Andrew Burns said: “I’m delighted for K-Ryan, his dedication to his studies is to be commended and this recent success is well deserved. 
The Access Project has shown that there should be no barriers to education; removing them delivers results. Volunteers like Rob Laker make a difference to the lives of young people and they are becoming increasingly important in delivering extended and advanced study.
Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath capped a remarkable year with 84 per cent of the A level cohort achieving three or more passes at grades A*-E. Just 18 months after the Academy was judged as Good by Ofsted and in the same year it was designated as a National Support School, every indicator at Key Stage 5 has improved yet again.
As for K-Ryan, he says: “I really want to thank Rob for all he’s done and he’s really done a lot.
And Tracey from The Access Project was extremely caring and understanding throughout the whole year, she was always there for me.
But what will it mean for K-Ryan’s parents to see their son be a part of the first generation in their family to study at university?
“I think it would mean nearly everything to them, they’ve been really supportive of me despite what they’ve been through. They just want me to be happy and that will make them happy. They have had unwavering faith in me and I just want to return that somehow.”

Ormiston Forge Academy With Best Ever A level Results

Posted by admin on Thursday 17th August 2017

Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath capped off a remarkable year with 84 per cent of the A level cohort achieving three or more passes at grades A*-E.

In another year that marked a set of consistently high academic and personal achievements for students, 55 per cent earned three or more A level passes at A*-C and 28 per cent achieved A*-B grades.

Just 18 months after the Academy was judged as Good by Ofsted and in the same year it was designated as a National Support School, every indicator at Key Stage 5 has improved. Attainment is also up across the board with a national marker, Average Point Score (APS), having jumped by two whole points for the Academy.

Just under half of the cohort, 49 students, were studying purely for A levels, with the remaining students taking a mixture of A levels and vocational subjects. When we include vocational results, 94 per cent of students achieved two or more A levels passes and 100 per cent achieved one or more. This excellent set of results confirms the Academy’s position as one of the top schools in the area for A level study.

Principal Andrew Burns said: “Last year we were in the top 16 per cent in the country for progress, this year the results have improved yet again. It’s a measure of how hard our students are working and the high bar each consecutive year group sets for the next.

I’m also delighted to see the vocational results mirror the success of the A levels; once again, I’m incredibly proud of the students and our supportive Forge family, which includes parents, staff, governors and our sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust.

There were some outstanding individual performances in both A Levels and vocational qualifications:

A level students:

– Halima Sultana – AABB – provisionally reading chemistry at The University of Birmingham
– K-Ryan Hinds – A*A* A – provisionally reading astrophysics at The University of Birmingham
– Hazrat Hussain – A*A C – provisionally reading psychology at The University of East Anglia
– Usama Meraj – A*A C
– Ahmad Khan – ABB
– Lauren Bradley – BBB
– Azara Blackwood – AABC – provisionally reading geography at The University of Birmingham

Vocational qualification students:

– Raeda Hussain – D*D*D*
– Ellis Beddal – D*D*D* – provisionally reading early childhood at a professional practice
– Jessica Evans – D*D*D*
– Courtney Eaton – D*D*D* – provisionally reading criminology, policing and investigation at Birmingham City University
– Saima Islam – D*D*D* – provisionally reading sociology and criminology at Birmingham City University.
– Sean Danks – D*D* in BTEC Business – provisionally reading business management at the University of Worcester
– Brittany Stewart – D D in BTEC music and grade B in A level performing arts – going to read drama and performance at the University of Worcester

The large majority of students who have applied to university have been accepted to study the courses they wanted and many students have been successful in their applications to Russell Group Universities.

Senior Vice Principal, Mr Craig Cooling said: “The most important thing about today is that we have a cohort of well-rounded young people who will leave here equipped for life beyond Forge and who have a strong pathway to follow, whether that be in the world of work or further education.

To see attainment mirrored in vocational subjects, when nationally it can be seen to take somewhat of a back seat, speaks volumes of what we do here at Forge. Our priority is our young people and we will always be driven by what is best for them. Securing excellent results for a wide variety of subjects on offer at Forge represents our commitment to personalised study, something which we are very proud of.

Nick Hudson, interim CEO of the sponsor Ormiston Academies Trust, added: “It is our absolute priority to ensure that every student fulfils their potential, no matter what their background, and key to this is raising students’ aspirations.

We are thrilled that students at Ormiston Forge Academy continue to make such strong progress with some fantastic student achievements this year. Students, staff and parents deserve great credit for these results which reflect their commitment and determination to succeed and we look forward to working with the academy to build on these achievements year after year.


Open Events – September 2017 for 2018 Entry

Posted by admin on Friday 28th July 2017

We’re delighted to be able to announce our open event dates for September. We will be throwing open our doors to prospective students and their parents on Thursday 21st September and Saturday 23rd September.

Children who are due to start secondary school in September 2018 and their parents are invited to visit Forge to gain a taster of life at the Academy. Once again, we achieved another set of excellent A level results last summer as well as a first-class set of GCSE results.

Forge has a Good grade from Ofsted. We are rated as Good in every category we were inspected – including sixth form; personal development; pupil outcomes; quality of teaching and effectiveness of leadership and management. In 2017 we were also designated as a National Support School (NSS) with our principal appointed a national leader of education (NLE) and eight members of staff designated as specialist leaders of education (SLE)

The doors will be open from 6.00pm–8.30pm on Thursday and 9am until 12 on Saturday. No need to book, just turn up.

Visitors will be able to try out science experiments, view paintings, watch our food technology department cook for our modern foreign language cafe, check out our new range of Chromebooks, interact with the geography and history departments and meet our Principal, Andrew Burns, amongst many other things. Also in attendance will be our City Year team, our Sea Cadets and The Access Project who help our student improve their grades, even more, to get them into a top university.

Last year an incredible amount of visitors turned up so please arrive early and allow around 90 minutes to get the most out of your visit.












Forge is Recruiting Administration Apprentices

Posted by admin on Wednesday 19th July 2017

We are looking to recruit two ambitious, smart and motivated individuals to begin their careers. These roles are key administrative positions dealing with all aspects of Academy administration. One of the two positions will involve working in the Academy marketing department for two days per week on social media and communicating with stakeholders.

Our current Apprentices will be leaving us at the end of the Summer with two years of experience under their belts and some important qualifications. We wish Calum and Charlotte well.

There has never been a more exciting time to join Ormiston Forge Academy. We became an academy in January 2012 and more recently (2016) rated Good by Ofsted and we’re now a National Support School.

To be considered for the Administration Apprenticeship you must have achieved a minimum of  GCSE grade A to C passes in maths and English.

Take a look at the job advert and details and get your application in today. Come and join the Forge family.

Apprentice Administrator – Advert
Apprentice Administrator – Job Description
Apprentice Administrator – Personal Specification


Calum Haywood who joined Forge as an Apprentice in 2015 leaves us to take up a full-time post in a local school as an Administrative Officer.

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.

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