23 Mar


In last week’s blog I talked about the power of teamwork. This week’s brilliant production of The Jungle Book, performed by pupils from both New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy, demonstrated this in so many ways. The superb interaction between the pupils on stage, working together to tell the story, supported by pupils off stage co-ordinating lighting and sound or playing drums in the house band. The hard work of the Creative Arts team and staff from across New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy who together with the pupils created the set, props and costumes and provided hair and make up. The efficient work of our admin and site teams who dealt with all the tickets and promotion and ensured the theatre was ready for action for each performance. Everyone showed what we can achieve when we work together.

What also struck me this week was the sense of community as pupils from New Bridge School and two of our other Trust schools, Hollinwood Academy and Spring Brook Academy came together alongside parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunties and uncles and family friends, all united in their support for our pupils. Sharing in the success of our pupils and celebrating their achievement strengthens our community and gives our pupils a sense of belonging, of feeling connected to others, of feeling important, significant, appreciated and safe. It’s in communities like these that our pupils will thrive and succeed and as members of the New Bridge community we’ve all contributed to this throughout the week; another outstanding example of teamwork.

IBLCKES have also displayed some fantastic teamwork this week while they have been working hard on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Part of the award involves them doing some volunteering and they decided it would be fun to organise an afternoon of Easter activities for the young people who access Horizons at the Learning Centre. The group worked hard setting up..

..and then supported the young people to access various sensory activities..

They even tidied up afterwards so that the staff from Horizons didn’t need to!

A fun time was had by everyone and they are all keen to have another joint activity afternoon in the future!

Our other Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s groups are getting reading for their first practice expedition next week – we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for them and can’t wait to bring you news of how they get on in the next blog.

As part of their Living Skills work, a group of students have been taking part in weekly sessions with Victoria Shaw from Pure Innovations on developing their skills and knowledge, not just around using public transport but also on safely using the green cross code, zebra crossings, stranger danger and a wide range of essential life skills when out and about in public. This has been a predecessor for our students who are either leaving us in July or are on the verge of starting the process for independent travel training. We’re delighted to say that they have now successfully completed their initial course..

Well done, everyone!! Victoria has been extremely impressed with the students’ knowledge and she has agreed to return and continue the work with another group of students after the Easter holidays.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Victoria and the rest of the team at Pure Innovations who have been amazing in supporting our students at the Learning Centre this year. We’ve seen an increasing number of students being put forward to do the Independent Travel Training this year and it’s fantastic to see so many of our students who now travel to and from college safely and independently. The most recent successful student is Jason O’Keeffe who has passed in the few weeks.

We know and understand that parents quite rightly have reservations around their child travelling independently and that it is a massive step for them to take. There is a very thorough, efficient process in place from Pure Innovations together with support from Travel Trainers until a student is known to be competent and is formally ‘signed off’. If travel training is something you would like to know more about as a potential future option for your child, please contact the Pastoral team who will be able to discuss this in detail with you.

Wednesday was World Down Syndrome Day and staff and students at the Learning Centre really enjoyed celebrating the event (gingerbread socks featured heavily!). You may have seen the lovely ‘carpool karaoke’ Singing Hands video that a group of Mums created to mark WDSD..

A group of students at the Learning Centre created their own version with some brilliant singing and signing but unfortunately, unlike the Mums in the original film, we don’t have permission from Christina Perri to use her song so we can’t share it with you here. What we can share with you, however, is something else related to WDSD….you may remember us telling you about the new football sessions being run on Saturdays by MCFC’s ‘City in the Community’ programme for young people with Down’s Syndrome. Two of our pupils, DJ and Daniel, both now play for the team and they were the stars of a BBC Newsround feature on WDSD..

They also got a wonderful surprise when they were joined by Pep Guardiola and the squad at a recent session!

As regular readers of this blog will know, we are lucky to work with Paul Kelly as part of Manchester City’s ‘One City’ programme and last Wednesday also saw 3 New Bridge teams taking part in the latest round of the ‘One City’ league. The teams included some Year 9 pupils who are considering joining our Activ8 pathway in September so that they could get a better idea of what to expect. Everyone really enjoyed taking part and they are looking forward to the next round!

Our New Bridge Scouts have been busy too, particularly Alan, Saaim and Grace who went away with other Scouts from all over the North West for the weekend last month. They stayed at Brighouse, Bradley Wood Camp Site and slept under canvas in below zero temperatures for one night! The Scouts enjoyed many different activities including Axe Throwing, Jacob’s Ladder, Leap of Faith, Crossbow Shooting, Fencing and Climbing to name but a few!

They all had a really good time and all got a special certificate and badge after successfully completing the challenge. We understand there are more exciting Scouting developments afoot and we will be bringing you the details after Easter!

We are now moving towards the end of term at a very fast pace (please click here if you would like a reminder of this year’s term dates). We are really looking forward to welcoming families to our coffee morning at 10am on Tuesday. Mrs Lund and her team will be co-ordinating supplies of cake at the school site while Mrs Gillett and her Food Industry group are getting ready to provide refreshments at the Learning Centre. We hope you can join us on what is always a really fun and enjoyable morning.

On the last day of term, Wednesday, we will all be taking part in a cross-site ‘City of Tomorrow’ Day. This will be an opportunity for our young people to create their vision of the future in whichever way is most relevant to them – you can find out more about the day here. For this exciting and ambitious event to succeed, we are asking for your child to bring in a bag of recyclable materials such as cardboard boxes, yoghurt pots, cardboard tubes, plastic bottles, newspapers etc. to ensure we have plenty of materials for our architects!

This week our curriculum focus is on our Autism Bases but we have so many lovely pictures to share with you that we will post them as a separate feature during the week rather than miss any out by attempting to squeeze them in here.

We hope to see you at one of our coffee mornings on Tuesday,

Gavin and Dawn

For news on our Key Stage 5 pathway groups at Medtia Square please click here

You can find our full blog here

Click here to read this week’s news from Graham