This week we have been working very much ‘behind the scenes’ as we continue with preparations for next year. A lot of work goes on to ensure that as a staff team, we are ready to welcome the pupils back in September for another exciting year. Timetables, budgets, premises, new roles and responsibilities, talking to staff about developments they’d like to make; these are all essential when looking back on the year so far and exploring how we can further improve the learning outcomes for all our young people next year.
As important as this unseen work is, it’s not nearly as exciting as the learning taking place both in and out of the classroom. Last week we promised to tell you more about our young people on their work experience placements and we are delighted that Sabiha and Ellis have written their own accounts to share with you. They have spoken with honesty about the worries they had before they went – hopefully this will help other students with similar concerns to realise that although everyone gets nervous, if you stick at it you could really enjoy yourself and do things you never thought possible. We’ll let them tell you what they think..
I started my work experience last week at the Atrium Café. I was really shy at first because I didn’t know anybody and Mr Barker came with me for support. I washed my hands and put on my apron and refilled some sauces in bowls but mainly had a look around.
This week I still felt a bit shy but was more confident and I did the trolley run. I took drinks out of the fridge and put them with chocolate and crisps on the trolley. I asked people if they wold like to buy anything today. If they bought something I took the money and sorted out their change.
It was nice to spend time with Will and I saw some of my old friends from school. It was good to see them.
I now understand why New Bridge has the word bridge in it and why “Bridging the Gap” is such a good name. When I started New Bridge in Year 7 I needed lots of help along the way and then I needed a bridge to help me get to the Learning Centre. New Bridge has been all about helping me build on my education and, now that I am at the end of my Learning Centre journey, the next bridge will be going to Oldham Hospital for “Bridging the Gap”.
This week I really enjoyed my work experience at Doctor Kershaw Charity House. The staff were very kind to us and we had a cup of tea and a chat with them when I was on my break. Whilst we were there I helped to unpack clothes and then organise them into different gender piles. It felt really good to be able to help.
Mr Barker went with the students to the Atrium Cafe last week and was very impressed..
Three students from the Learning Centre have started a work experience placement at the Atrium Café at First Choice Homes in Oldham. Will, Sophie and Sabiha are being supported by Charlotte Meakin who is one of our job coaches. I don’t often get the opportunity to leave the confines of the Learning Centre but I was asked to come along and support the last couple of sessions.
I have to say first of all what an outstanding provision the Atrium Café is. It provides home cooked food using locally sourced foods at very reasonable prices. I really enjoyed the meat and potato pie I chose on Wednesday. But what I enjoyed even more was seeing Jess clearly revelling in her new and very responsible role of serving and looking after the front of house. She was able to input the order on the iPad and work out my change with very little support..
A word of caution is needed though. You need to get there early as there is never much left after the lunchtime rush. Back to our students. They were given a tour of the building during the first week and had a chat about what would be expected of them. Understandably they were very shy on the first visit but supported each other really well. On the second visit the students put on their aprons and caps and stocked the trolley they would be taking round on the trolley run round the offices..
They were reminded by Charlotte how to discern who they could approach and how to interact appropriately. Initially Sabiha were very reticent but as her confidence grew she took more of a lead selling produce and encouraging Sophie and Will. After completing the rounds they came back to the café and returned stock from the trolley to the fridge and shelves taking note of any low stock.
The afternoon ended with a drink, cake and a written review of how the afternoon went and what they will work towards next week..
What was lovely to see was the continuous smiles on their faces, the exemplary behaviour and interaction with the public throughout the afternoon. But even more so was the way they all supported each other and worked as a team. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that I will be needed to go along and support again next week. I really fancy the cheese and onion pie!
Many of our students are successfully engaging with a variety of work experience placements. Ellis, Josh and Jason have already completed placements at the Atrium..
..and on Thursday they started a new work experience placement at Dr Kershaws. Ellis helped in the back room sorting and hanging clothes..
..while Josh and Jason helped to write week numbers on the clothes, hang them on the rails and price some items to sell..
They all did really well, getting stuck in right away, and the team at Dr Kershaws all complimented them on their hard work. Well done!
Yet more of our young people have been showing their hard work and determination on their Duke of Edinburgh’s practice expeditions. Our Gold group headed off to North Wales last week and worked really well, supporting and motivating each other and sharing chores – you can read Mr Taylor’s full report here
Unfortunately our Silver group were not so lucky with the weather in the Peak District this week but they persevered and should now be able to tackle anything! You can find the full report on the expedition here
We’re not sure how Mr Taylor is managing to stay so energetic, maybe his unique fashion sense has something to do with it..
Plans are also afoot for our Interactive Base (IB) DofE expedition – we can’t wait to see how they respond to camping! Miss Allison won’t be joining them though as she admits to being a tad soft (she’s not sure she could cope without her warm bed and where would she plug her straighteners?!) ‘Maybe one day guys!!’ is the best we could get from her.
We thought you’d like to see our Learning Centre PE options group playing tennis at the Manchester tennis centre..
This is what they will be doing for the next 5 weeks preparing for Wimbledon – it looks like fun!
On Thursday the Learning Centre will again be used as a polling station for the local elections. College will run as normal as the election officers are self-contained with a separate entrance but parents and carers may experience a little more difficulty parking, although spaces for adapted transport will be kept clear. We are hoping that our Learning Centre Student Council will get an opportunity to talk to the officers about the election process.
We hope you have a lovely weekend,
Gavin and Dawn
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