Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

50 Useful things

50 useful things to know, as a parent, about life at Oasis Academy John Williams.

During a Parent Forum meeting this year, it was suggested by some of our parents that collating a list of key information about the day-to-day activities at OAJW would be useful, particularly for parents of new Year 7 students. We have responded to this suggestion and put together the list below, which is in no particular order, but hopefully will answer some of the questions you may have!

  1. We want all of our young people to feel safe and happy at school, and to enjoy learning
  2. At OAJW there is a culture of genuine care and support. We are one big team - staff, students and parents/carers
  3. It is a key aim of OAJW to raise student expectations/aspirations within an achievement culture where hard work is expected and rewarded. We want all of our young people to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and character to be able to thrive in both learning and life
  4. The school day starts at 08.55. There is a 15 minute Learning Mentor Registration session, 5 one-hour lessons every day, a 20-minute break at 11.00 and 40-minute lunch at 13.30. There are no bells. Students arriving after 08.55 are late, and must attend a break time detention in the Theatre
  5. Lessons end at 15.10, with an optional Period 6 (P6) programme running from 15.10–16.10, Monday -Thursday. The programme includes enrichment, extension and intervention activities
  6. Homework is given by teachers, as appropriate, in all subject areas. Homework not completed to deadline results in a ‘Study Zone’ being given, usually on that same day. Study Zone (SZ) is held in the atrium between 15.10 and 16.10 Monday to Thursday. A student choosing not to attend SZ for homework, will be escalated to a Friday evening detention from 15.10 – 16.30 in the Theatre.
  7. Study Zone attendance can be compulsory (homework not completed, or additional support for an area of learning required) or voluntary (students choose to attend to complete their homework or work independently). It is staffed by a team of teachers and support staff who work with students upon request. The staff who support Study Zone are published on the P6 timetable, along with their subject specialism so that our students can access help if there is an aspect of their work they are unsure of, or do not fully understand. Although not all teachers are involved with the running of Study Zone, all subject areas are represented throughout the week, so there is access to specialist support if needed
  8. At OAJW we know that we do not always get everything right, but we work hard to reflect, learn, improve and grow. We love receiving feedback…….. the good stuff too!!!
  9. We know that our young people do not get it right all of the time, no-one is perfect after all. We do however have systems in place to sanction poor behaviour choices and support personal growth. Please work with us and provide your support when required!
  10. We are fully aware that we use many acronyms – they are almost a common language for us, both as teachers and students. Following now are some of the most common ones
  11. MLT – a lunchtime detention which runs from 13.30 – 13.50 in LS0.1. Students arriving after 13.35 but before 13.40 complete a 25 minute detention. Those not attending are escalated to a Friday evening detention from 15.10 – 16.10. Refusal to attend MLT results in ARC until 16.10 on that day
  12. SLT – a Friday evening detention which runs from 15.10 – 16.10 (to 16.30 if for not attending a Study Zone). It is held in the Theatre
  13. ARC – our internal exclusion base. Students spend a full day in ARC, until 16.10 for disruption to learning and other serious events. Students in ARC have a different break and different lunch time. They work independently and in silence throughout the day
  14. AP Reports – Assessment Point reports summarising your child’s attainment and referring to our Conditions to Thrive Framework. You will receive AP reports 3 times a year (December, March & July)
  15. 360YTM – a non-teaching member of staff assigned to each year group who is responsible for ensuring attendance and appropriate behaviour
  16. LM – Learning Mentor. Every child is placed in an LM group with an LM who generally remains with them throughout the year, and sometimes longer. Students are with their LMs everyday from 08.55 – 09.10 and also from 09.10-10.10 every Tuesday morning
  17. Duty Call – this is made where learning has been disrupted and a student is removed from the lesson and taken to ARC for 24 hours (until 16.10 on that day and until the same lesson the next day)
  18. At OAJW we focus on the main thing, which is supporting, promoting, developing and encouraging the learning and growth of our young people
  19. Students follow a broad and balanced curriculum, studying a wide range of subjects in Years 7 & 8, before opting for their GCSE subjects, which they begin studying in Year 9. Students study a minimum of 8 subjects to GCSE level
  20. Our 4 ‘Conditions to Thrive’ (CtT) are central to our work in supporting our young people to thrive in learning and life. Our CtT framework helps to structure conversations we, and you, may have with your child and helps them know what the next steps for development may be. Our CtT, which also appear on the AP reports are; 

     Self-Direction - ‘I am in control of my future’

     Resilience - ‘I persevere even when it is tough’

     Self-Control - ‘I am in control of my emotions and responsible for myself and others’

     Communication - ‘I ask questions and present myself to the highest standard’

  21. The atmosphere of the academy/school is one that encourages students to talk openly to staff. There is high quality support for students with problems and close and effective links with external agencies where relevant
  22. Students are set Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs), based on their KS2 scores, which are reconsidered every year. Students are encouraged to exceed their MEGs and not see them as a ceiling to their achievement
  23. Following each AP there are celebration assemblies, which involve celebrating the achievements and progress of learners from within each year group
  24. All year groups do End of Year Exams, which usually begin in the middle of June. Exams are taken in the Sports Hall under strict exam conditions. This is so that when in Y11, and taking their GCSEs, all students are used to this way of working
  25. Throughout the year there will also be a number of assessments, which happen in lessons, which your child will need to prepare for at home. During any assessments, or in any lessons, all we ask is that our students do their very best
  26. Following end of year exams, there are a series of year group celebration assemblies, with the highest performers in terms of both attainment and progress made being invited to our Annual Prize Giving in July. Parents and carers too are invited to this special event
  27. Student Planners are a means of communication between home and school. They are used primarily to record homework. As parents/carers, please sign your child’s planner weekly. LMs also sign each planner
  28. When managing learning behaviours, we use a ‘Chance – Warning – ARC’ approach. We do not tolerate disruption to learning. Students disrupting lessons are given a chance, then a warning (given a lunchtime detention) and if still disruptive are removed from the lesson and are taken to ARC. On occasions, depending upon the severity of the disruption, students might be removed immediately. If your child is removed to ARC you will be informed via telephone or message
  29. Please send your child to school every day; put simply, attendance matters. We know that those with poor attendance do not thrive and grow as those who attend every day do. Please try to make medical appointments out of school time – it is hard to catch up on lost learning!
  30. If your child is not in school, expect to receive phone calls from the 360 YTMs and letters home, asking for you to attend meetings to try to improve attendance
  31. Holidays are not authorised during term time, unless in truly exceptional circumstances. Penalty Notice Fines will be issued by the Local Authority
  32. Year Team RSL – member of staff, linked to each year group, who responsible for student achievement and progress
  33. Uniform standards are exceptionally high and expected to be followed by all. Shirts are tucked in, with the top button fastened and at least 3 stripes showing on the tie. Blazers are worn around the Academy, unless in a classroom or seated in the atrium during lunch or break. They do not need to be worn when outside. Students wear smart black shoes. Nail varnish or false nails are not allowed, and only natural hair colouring is permitted. No outdoor coats/hoodies are to be worn in the academy
  34. Chewing gum is not allowed in the academy
  35. Mobile phones may only be used before school, during lunch and after school. They should be turned off and placed in bags during the rest of the time. If they are seen in classrooms or in the corridors between lessons they will be removed and given back at 15.10 on the first occasion. Further breaches will result in collection by parents and a phone contract being issued. Mobile phones are not something to tell the time on – we encourage watches for this purpose!
  36. We run a termly Parent Forum, where we gather the views and take feedback from those who attend. We enjoy receiving constructive feedback, so please consider attending!
  37. We are a cashless school, so please ensure you sign up as directed; in the event of difficulty contact our finance team via telephone
  38. We also are trying to move to paperless communication via The Xpressions App – again please sign up
  39. It is also useful to stay connected via our Twitter(@OAJohnWilliams) and Facebook (Oasis Academy John Williams) accounts
  40. We encourage our young people to bring water bottles to school and refill them during break and lunch, as necessary from the water coolers. Fizzy drinks are not allowed
  41. Our food is provided by Sodexo and the service is open from 08.10 – 08.50, 11.10 – 11.30 and 13.30 – 14.00. All food is purchased via online credits. Allocations for those eligible for Free School Meals, automatically is loaded onto a child’s fingerprint every day. We encourage parents to track what their child is buying and try to promote the ‘meals of the day’
  42. Throughout the year you will receive 3 AP summaries, 1 set of full written reports and be invited to a Learning Mentor Evening and a Parent’s Evening. We expect all parents to attend the LM and Parent’s Evening with their child
  43. Throughout your child’s time at JW, there are likely to be some friendship issues and fallings out, which tend to be made worse by the use of social media! Please can you encourage your child not to engage inappropriately with social media, and as parents, please don’t be tempted to get involved either!
  44. All students are expected to come to school with a school bag, big enough to carry all of their equipment and books. Lockers are available for student use, with a £5 key deposit (refundable with return of key when locker no longer required). We encourage students to use lockers, and in doing so, be responsible and organised
  45. If your child begins to feel unwell when at school, they should tell their teacher and then report to Student Services. The first aid team will consider the symptoms and take appropriate action. We have clear systems to respond to medical issues and will communicate with you as parents in a timely fashion. If your child contacts you from school stating that they are unwell, please advise them to go to Student Services and we can deal with the appropriate course of action from there
  46. Communication; if you have something you wish to speak to us about, please call reception. If it is an issue linked to a specific subject, you will be directed to either the teacher or head of department, if it is linked with attendance or general academy life, the 360 YTM and if associated with general progress, the Year Team RSL. If the member of staff is not available, they will get back to you within a reasonable time period
  47. We know that most of our young people walk, cycle or scoot to school. Please can we ask that you remind them to be aware of road safety and respect all members of our local community
  48. We are not responsible for valuables brought onto site. Please ensure that your child has a lock for their bike or scooter, and that they look after their phones, watches etc
  49. Please ensure your child has the necessary equipment with them everyday. They must bring a pencil case, with at least 2 black pens, 2 pencils, a ruler, a sharpener (unless using mechanical pencils!), an eraser, a glue stick and a scientific calculator. A pencil case, complete with all necessary equipment may be purchased from Reception, if preferred
  50. We encourage our students to talk openly to our staff team about any concerns or issues they may have. Your child’s Learning Mentor is usually the first port of call, but any member of staff will either support directly or signpost to the relevant person. If your child does not want to speak face to face with a member of staff they can use our ‘Tell Us’ email address (


This list is not exhaustive, and we hope it has provided useful and relevant information about life at Oasis Academy John Williams!