09 Jul

We are fast approaching the end of the year at the Learning Centre and we seem to be winding up rather than winding down. This can be both an exciting and also a worrying time for a lot of students and parents. Mr Hagan has been working exceptionally hard to coordinate a comprehensive transition for our prospective Year 12 students which has been hampered by increased restrictions meaning the suspension of cross site visits. Equally Miss Lane has been working very hard to support our Year 14 students moving onto pastures new. I know that class teams have been contacting parents during the past week to inform them of the classes their sons and daughters will be moving into next year. We are also talking to and supporting students with these changes over the next week and trying to creatively and safely provide opportunities for them to spend time together in their new groups via Teams or meeting outside safely. Exciting, but very busy times.

This week Mr Newport’s IB class take a look back at the year..

A bit of a strange year in IB1SNT; it feels like the students have done the Hockey-Cokey (in, out, in, out). Despite this, they have gotten used to the changes really well, and all have settled back in well.

Shakil came back with a positive new attitude, much more enthusiastic to engage with his work and activities! This has been great, as he has tried lots and lots of new things and gotten involved with all of the activities at the Learning Centre to a much greater degree.

Angelica has really enjoyed all of the extra staff attention and has made really good progress as a result. Initially, she found all of the changes very overwhelming but got used to her new routine quickly and even became more flexible and understanding of changes.

Leah wasn’t able to attend the Learning Centre for much of the year, but she was definitely excited to return and to spend time with her peers once more.

Hajjrah has been in all year, and definitely relished the extra attention, allowing her to settle in to the Learning Centre really well and get to know her new peers and staff. Definitely enjoyed having staff to herself…Lots of smiles all year!

Samuel has been in for the majority of the year. Due to changes in the class this has been really good for him, as he has interacted with different students and formed some really good new friendships. This will definitely help him when he moves on from the Learning Centre.

Tasleema found being at home a bit frustrating as she couldn’t go out and wasn’t sure why. As such, she was very happy to get back to the Learning Centre after a few weeks getting used to it again, and has become her normal happy self again.

Aniqa has been in quite a bit this year, although she had to stay off at first and got a little bored. She was definitely glad to be back to socialising with different people and engaging with her activities. Great progress as well this year, particularly in her walking.

A strange year for the group but there have also been positives in encouraging students to develop new relationships with peers – either those who are normally in their class or those who joined the group during lockdown. All in all a strange year, but one with definite positives!

The students in Mrs Peacock’s Employability group have also been reflecting on a year like no other – here is what they have to say..


Mr Taylor has done a special report on how our our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme here at the Learning Centre has had to adapt this year..

We are really sorry that we couldn’t offer DofE to everyone this past year. As with most things, it has been a very unsettled and unpredictable year.

The DofE that has taken place has only come about within the bubbles where they have had direct input from DofE trained staff (as these staff couldn’t cross bubbles, some students have not had that input). Also due to the stability over the last 6 months.

DofE with a Difference
Due to the introduction of bubbles, restriction of movement, changes across all sites, structuring and restructuring of bubbles, DofE has sadly been put on hold (temporarily) for most of our students.

The criteria for DofE
To achieve the Bronze Award, students must complete 6 months volunteering, 3 months physical activity, 3 months doing a skill activity and also complete an expedition.

For all the activities (mostly) onsite or (more recently) offsite, we had to remain within our bubbles. However, with a very creative and flexible approach, most of our activities took place onsite or close by following the school’s and national Covid protocols and some of our students still managed to succeed.

How we adapted
Volunteering: for this section of the award, students were improving the environment for the Learning Centre community. They cleared areas of weeds and brambles, helped make a path to one of the outside gates, built structures for insects to live and provide food for other animals, built benches and planted willow sculptures to make a pleasant accessible area for everybody.

Skills: for the skills section, students opted to develop their art and craft skills or self-help and cooking skills.

Physical: as all our students have regular exercise, games and well-being sessions, we could accommodate the physical section of the award through online workouts, yoga/seated yoga, aerobic exercise sessions and onsite sports.

Expedition: the expeditions could only run once many of the restrictions had been lifted and it was felt safe to do. Temporary changes to the expeditions due to Covid suggested students did not now need to have overnight stopovers. So, we ran the Interactive Base expeditions as 2 consecutive days of activities using the theme of animals at Daisy Nook, Hollingworth Lake or Heaton Park. The Nurture Group opted for an overnight expedition where we had access to a bunkhouse with overnight camping close to Oldham. You can find out how these expeditions went here.

The students really appreciated their time learning and developing new skills. Physically we have seen improvements in balance, co-ordination, stamina and overall fitness. Team skills, leadership skills and personal development have also enabled our students to take on their own personal challenges.

The knowledge acquired over this difficult period has enabled another cohort of our students to access the DofE successfully and has helped us discover new ways to deliver the subject.

What next?
From September (fingers crossed!) we will once again be able to offer DofE to our students as each group will be receiving input through their Outdoor Education DofE option.

Students who have already the completed their volunteering, skill and physical sections will receive a certificate of achievement and be able to advance to the next level should they wish to do so. For the full award they will need to complete an expedition (expeditions will be looked at for the coming year when felt safe to do so).

More information will be available on DofE in September.

Our Year 14 students are really looking forward to their Celebration Day next Thursday. Preparations are well under way to make it a memorable day whilst remaining within Covid protocols. This year the Learning Centre will be hosting the celebrations with their Records of Achievement files being presented during the morning by Miss Allison in the hall. I believe that Mrs Keane will be our official photographer. It is a real shame that we are unable to share this special occasion with families but we aim to provide families with a record of the occasion with photos. This will be followed by a lunch of Meat and Potato pie or Cheese and Onion pie before they can all let their hair down in the afternoon with an outside (if weather allows) disco hosted by the one and only Mr Thompson.

We are also liaising with our Student Council representatives regarding plans for an end of year Sports Day, Pool, Table Tennis and possibly Boccia competitions during the shortened last week. Please watch this space. Just a reminder that the Learning Centre will close on Wednesday 21st July for the Summer holidays.

Hope you all have a great weekend, culminating in an England win on Sunday evening. Hopefully – It’s coming home!!


Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find Gavin’s blog for the school site here

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

You can find our previous Learning Centre blog posts here