23 Feb

Each term the Trustees of the New Bridge Multi Academy Trust hold a series of board meetings for each school within the Trust and this week it was the turn of New Bridge School. These meetings provide an opportunity for staff working in or supporting the school to inform Trustees on progress and developments and for Trustees to offer their support and challenge to ensure these can continue successfully. As Heads of Site, it was a great opportunity to meet all of our Trustees and witness the valuable role they play in the success of the Trust.

Our return to school this week also marks the midway point of the school year so in addition to reviewing progress and developments this year, work has continued on preparations for next year. Very soon we will begin our Year 6 transition programme to support new pupils making the jump from primary school to secondary school in September, whilst in Year 9 our pupils are considering their Options choices; these are the subjects they will choose to study from Year 10 onwards, which include our vocational pathways and employability programmes. Meanwhile, our Senior Leadership Team have been working on the incredible task of putting together a timetable that will allow us to offer a personalised curriculum that is tailored to the needs of each of our pupils.

Our Year 9 pupils who have expressed an interest in joining one of our pathways have begun a series of taster sessions to experience what lies in store if they opt to join Activ8, Digit4ll or Lumenus in September. Two young ladies have just spent a very successful time with Activ8, as Mr Lawrence explains..

Mr Lawrence and Mr Greenway would like to congratulate the 2 Sophies for 2 fantastic taster days with Activ8. These young ladies are hopefully going to be history makers by becoming the first girls to join our sports pathway! The girls have had 2 brilliant days with Activ8, participating in a fitness session at Mahdlo’s gym on Wednesday..

..before having a brilliant time getting covered in mud at Alexandra Park doing rugby fitness and team building exercises..

On Friday the girls showed their football skills (both scoring penalties)..

..before going up to the Learning Centre to work with Mr Taylor on essential Duke of Edinburgh’s activities (putting up tents and making cups of hot chocolate)..

They have worked really hard and showed lots of enthusiasm throughout. They enjoyed trying out the gym equipment for the first time including the rowing machine, getting very muddy at the boot camp and scoring those penalties in football. Fingers crossed they will be wearing the blue of Activ8 come September! A big thank you to Miss Ward for her support.

Girls joining Activ8 hasn’t been the only New Bridge ‘first’ this week though – our Key Stage 4 Digit4ll group started their practical travel life skills lessons with Mr Lawrence and Suhan had his first trip on a bus!

After carefully planning their journey, the group caught the bus into Oldham to visit the Travel Shop..

..where they tracked down the timetables they needed..

Jude had felt a bit nervous about using public transport for the first time in quite a while..

..but when the time came for the group to catch the bus back to school, he happily manouevred straight into the right spot as if it was something he did every day..

We wonder where the group will travel to next!

This week Mrs Chappell has an update for us on the Creative Arts Department..

Well, it’s been a busy term so far across New Bridge School, the Learning Centre and Medtia. With visits, exams, training and the ‘big show’ to put on, it’s a case of ‘all hands on deck’ or should I say, ‘on stage’!

Our young people are contributing to the show in all areas of the department, from learning songs, exploring dance styles and the origins of the Jungle Book story to creating flowers, masks and many, many leaves to make the theatre an immersive jungle experience…..but more about that later!

As important as the fun and exciting activities pupils experience at Key Stage 3, for some of our learners at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 it’s a time for big challenges, especially in Visual Art. Pupils in Year 11 are currently finishing their final Entry Unit modules and our Year 13s have begun their externally set GCSE prep. time..

These courses formally accredit our learners’ hard work, commitment and aptitude and as a department we work hard to provide suitable and appropriate courses. During the February training day, all our Arts staff attended Arts Award Discover and Explore training and we have begun mapping how we can fit this accreditation into our everyday curriculum..

This course was part funded by the SLiCE programme supported by Curious Minds. The research project aims to explore inclusive education provision working with Gallery Oldham. In the coming months, young people from across New Bridge will be experiencing and participating in workshops at the Gallery, contributing to the development of their inclusive practice.

Now to the Jungle Book update…..all our learners have engaged in work for the show. Key Stage 3 pupils have learnt a range of dance styles inspired by the music of the Disney film such as the Lindy Hop, the Charleston..

..and the elephants’ march..

In our Autism Base the pupils have explored the animal characters through Sherborne developmental movement..

In our Interactive Bases, learners have created sensory story items and props for the show and theatre display..

At Key Stage 4 and 5, students opting for Dance and Drama have created short scenes from the script, rehearsed for chorus roles and learnt new songs and dances..

In this last week the theatre has had an artist visit and paint a HUGE (10m x 7m) canvas depicting a jungle floor – once the vines are in place and the camo nets, the audience will be transported to the deep Indian jungle..

Please can I remind parents and carers whose children have been invited to perform that this week will be the last week for permissions to be accepted. Tickets are available to purchase through Lucy Shannon in the school office – be sure to get yours quickly before they sell out, especially the evening performances on the 20th and 21st March.

I would like to take this opportunity to say how lovely it was to welcome back Mr Bloska in January to his new role of Music Lead for the MAT. Here he gives a quick update of the work he and Mr Thompson have been doing this term…….

It has been a busy new year for the Music Department. Pupils have returned to lessons and have started to really buckle down and start to learn about the music from the Jungle Book. Pupils across all year groups have started to learn songs, musical devices and about the cultures that surround the setting and music of the Jungle Book in preparation for the school show! They have learnt about the music of India (setting of the Jungle Book) and American Jazz Music (the origins of the movie’s music), as well as a little bit about the cultures.

In Key Stage 3 classes we have been focused on musical elements, call and response, and marching to a beat with Colonel Hathi’s March. Year 7 pupils have utilised the elements of music to march to a beat fast and slow, as well as marching (or clapping!) at various tempos! During our studies, pupils took turns singing the leader’s part to Colonel Hathi’s March.

In Year 9 pupils have been studying American Jazz music, as it is where the Jungle Book’s music originates from. Pupils have learnt about Scat singing through ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ and they have even had their own ”Scat Battles” in class, making up nonsense syllables and battling against each other in the same way modern rappers would have a rap battle.

Key Stage 4 and 5 pupils who have opted into Music have started to build various instruments that originate from India, including Sitars (a string instrument similar to guitars), Rain Sticks and will be making other instruments as the term continues..

Students in Key Stage 4 and 5 have also started mastering all the songs from the Jungle Book, preparing to perform in the chorus for the school show.

Whilst everyone seems to be tied up with the Jungle Book work, it would be easy to forget some of the other studies happening. Mrs Parkinson is coming to the end of her mammoth challenge of creating a space inspired Art installation at Gallery New Bridge..

This will be ready for visitors from the 19th March with many interactive and sensory experiences to explore. This work has been created by IB students and the Aliens for one are amazing! More information to follow in the coming weeks.

I will be proud to let you all know in the next Pathways blog about the exciting developments and work that Lumenus Key Stage 4 and 5 have been up to, including theatre trips, performance applications, workshops and accreditations, as well as preparing for taking on the leading roles in the Jungle Book.

The next post will be after the performance and we might be all be breathing a sigh of relief with a tinge of sadness. Until then, I hope you have all enjoyed this little snippet of the superb work completed so far and the exciting opportunities coming up.

Letters have gone home about our Easter Holiday Club (you can also find details here), including a day trip to the Blue Planet Aquarium! Please remember to return the form by next Friday 2nd March if you would like to book a place for your child.

Our excited Year 13s will be wrapping up warmly tomorrow and heading off on their residential to Calvert Trust – we know they’ll have a fantastic time!!

We hope you have a lovely weekend,

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