16 Jul

This week I had the absolute pleasure of presenting Records of Achievement at our Year 14 Leavers Celebration. This always brings a tear to my eye, however this year felt even more emotional. Our plans for the celebrations have changed a few times in recent months because of Government and public health guidance and the challenge of not mixing bubbles was one that although tricky, we were determined we would overcome to enable the event to take place. Regardless of all the limitations our students got dressed up and embraced the event. The hall was decorated accordingly, and one by one we listened to the student speeches. These are always incredibly moving and inspirational, however their resilience and positivity seems all the more impressive considering the last 18 months. There was also exactly the right amount of ‘cheek’!

A big thank you to Mr Quinn for attending and speaking to the students, many of whom he has known since they joined us in Year 7. Because of modern technology, we were able to livestream to the classrooms so the event could be watched by staff, students and our governors Ken and Cathy. Mrs Keane was ably assisted by Noorul to be our official photography team and they were able to utilise the nice weather and apple orchard to produce some amazing photographs..

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I’m very sorry that our families were not able to attend, however the class teams will be sharing individual photographs with families next week.

We were still treated to a very yummy cheese and onion, or meat and potato pie lunch courtesy of Sharon and the ladies in the kitchen. The bubbly (sparkling Shloer!) also went down well. This was followed by a fun filled outside disco where everyone joined in thanks to our resident DJ Mr Thompson! We even had our very own drummer!

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A huge thank you to Miss Lane and the team for ensuring the day was a memorable one for our leavers. It was a real challenge to pull off but it was a wonderful day which I know the students will remember for a long time. Our students have truly grown into inspiring young people and it has been an absolute privilege to be alongside them as they grow and mature into the resilient and inspirational adults they are today. I have no doubt that you will all be amazing; please remember how far you have come and be confident that you will be fabulous on the next part of your exciting adventure.

Regular readers of the blog will know that we have been sharing our students’ reflections on what has been an exceptional year.  Our IBCOMMS 1 class are the first to share their experiences this week..

  • Logan ~

I have settled well into college life. I have formed friendships with both students and staff in my class. It has felt a little strange this year with college keep shutting down but I have coped really well. I have had a few health issues into the last term and had to again take a little time out. However, I have returned to college happy and relaxed. Roll on Year 13!

  • Faiza ~

When I started college in September things did feel a little different. We had to stay in our classrooms all the time and I wasn’t able to meet with my other friends. I soon got used to this and have made good friends in class. It did feel strange when college was shut due to the virus and I was so happy when we could return. I am looking forward to September and hopefully things will turn back to normal.

  • Alyisha ~

I have settled well back into college and was so glad to be back with my friends. I have also formed new relationships in class. I noticed things were a little different. We had to stay in our classrooms and couldn’t go into the dining room and hall for break and lunchtimes. I feel I coped well with these changes and soon got used to them. I had to isolate for quite a long time and was so glad when it was safe to return back to college as I missed everyone. I am moving to Horizons in September. I am looking forward to making new friendships and getting up to mischief!

  • Husnain ~

I have enjoyed my first year at college. I have adapted well to new routines that have happened due to the virus. I have formed friendships with my peers and have made good relationships with the staff who support me. I was glad to return to college when it was safe to do so as I enjoy being around people and having a laugh. I am looking forward to September and moving into new my new class.

  • Joseph B. ~

This year has been very strange. I have been staying safe at home with my family. I have been seeing my class and staff on a weekly basis by virtual lessons and chats. Towards the end of the summer term I started to come into college in the afternoons. It was lovely to see my friends and catch up. I have also been meeting up on a Friday and joining the class for our Outdoor Education lessons. I am looking forward to September so I can make memories and have fun with my class.

  • Joseph G. ~

I have enjoyed my first year at college. I have settled in well and made many new friends. I’ve had to isolate for a long time due to the virus but was so glad to get back when it was safe to do so. Things have felt a little different, however I’ve taken everything in my stride and carried on. I am now back full time at college and am enjoying every minute spent with my class. Looking forward to September and the adventures it may bring.

  • Adam ~

I have returned to college happy and have made lots of new friends. I have settled well into my new class and have adapted well to the changes due to the virus. I have had to isolate at home for a long time, but enjoyed being able to spend some time with my family. I was glad also when we were told it was safe to come back. I am looking forward to September. It’s my final year at the Learning Centre so I’m hoping to make lots of memories that I can take with me on my next adventure.

  • Harry ~

I have settled well into college and have adapted to changes. On my return I was moved into a different class. It did feel a bit strange at first but as time has passed I have got to enjoy being here. I have made friendships with students and trusting relationships with the staff. I am moving on in September to Oldham College. I’m looking forward to the move as I feel I need a challenge and change of scenery.

Now we hear from IBCOMMS 2..

  • Adrianna ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre and although I have not been able to attend very much, when I have been in I have enjoyed the art and craft sessions and taken part in all the chair yoga and Tai Chi sessions. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates.

  • Andrea ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre and I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone, I enjoy the banter in our group and have grown in confidence this year. I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received work packs so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. When I have been able to attend I have enjoyed the activities, especially the walking exercises in the morning, I am always the first one up! I really enjoy going out with Mr. Taylor on the bus and working towards my Bronze D of E award, I particularly enjoyed the camping and walking part.

  • Anisa ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre and I have really enjoyed coming to college. I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. When I have been able to attend I have joined in all the activities, my favourite thing to do is to go out on the bus with Mr Taylor and go out and about around the local community.

  • Ethan ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre and I have enjoyed getting to know everyone, I enjoy the banter in our group and love listening to Mrs. Reade’s stories. I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. When I am able to attend I enjoy having a go at the DIY projects with Mr. Taylor.

  • Haidar ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre, it has been a strange year for me, I attended initially in September but then the pandemic caused me to stay at home with my family to keep me safe. I have received work packs from Mrs. Brierley on a regular basis so that I can do some of the same work as my class mates, however I enjoy going on my own computer and learning from the things I watch and listen to. I have been a little poorly but I am ok now. I have had my double vaccinations and hopefully I will return to the Learning Centre in September.

  • Nadia ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received work packs so that I could do some of the same work as my class mates. When I have attended I have really enjoyed the activities. I enjoy the art and craft sessions and have joined in with the chair yoga and Tai Chi sessions. I enjoy going out on the bus with Mr. Taylor.

  • Naima ~

This has been my second year at the Learning Centre and it has been a strange year. I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. I enjoy coming to college, and really enjoy the music sessions with Mr. Thompson and Live Music Now. I love going out on the bus with Mr. Taylor and have enjoyed working towards my Bronze D of E award.

  • Ruhish ~

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre and although I could not attend at the start of the year, I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. When I have been able to attend I really enjoy the music sessions with Mr. Thompson and going out on the bus with Mr. Taylor.

  • Saniya

This is my last year at the Learning Centre and I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. I really enjoy the music sessions with Mr. Thompson and I have enjoyed working towards my Bronze D of E, I particularly enjoyed the camping and walking. I have loved my three years here at the Learning Centre and although I will miss everyone I am looking forward to seeing some of my old friends when I leave.

  • Zara

This has been my first year at the Learning Centre, I have attended as much as possible due to the Covid pandemic. Whilst at home I received packs of work on a regular basis so that I could do some of the same work as my classmates. When I have attended I have joined in the chair yoga sessions and have made some improvement. I enjoy going out and about around the local community and visiting different places on the bus with Mr. Taylor.

Lastly, the students in 14TBN look back at their year..

  • Cordelia ~

It felt weird coming back to the Learning Centre. I think the lessons were better and easier to do. Staying in the same class was great. It was better for learning as you got more help.

  • Joseph ~

I was happy to return. It was more exciting. I prefer being in the one class. It was better for learning because staff had more time for you.

  • Ryan ~

I was ok, just glad to get back. Better in the one class using Showbie and other apps in lesson. I found it easier to learn.

  • Jacob ~

It felt weird after being off for so long. The new way is better staying in one class. I enjoyed the classes more.

  • Sophie.

I felt ok after returning. Lessons were very good as I can join in more. Better as I got more help.

  • Farhaana ~

I was excited to get back to the Learning Centre. I preferred the old way of teaching as I got more help. I like it better being in one class.

  • Covy ~

Felt good to be back. I liked the lessons more. I liked being with my friends. I felt it was better for learning.

Now I will hand you over to our staff team for their comments..

  • Kassie ~

Starting my employment mid way through a pandemic was a big decision. I have so far enjoyed my time at the Learning Centre. Working with different staff and students has been very rewarding. I’m looking forward to the new school year and meeting all our new students.

  • Maxine ~

It’s been a massive change in my life having to shield at home. It felt very isolating. It’s made me realise how important my family and close friends are. It also made me realise it’s important to look after my own and my husband’s health and not take any risks.

  • Helen ~

It’s been my first year that I have been employed as a TWQTS. It has been a rollercoaster of a year but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had the honour of working with a dream team who have helped and supported me beyond words. The students have been fantastic throughout and shown great determination and resilience. They have made me feel like I quite possibly have the best job in the world. Looking forward to the new school year. Let the adventures begin.

  • Maria ~

Well I have made it! After a very anxious start to the year in a totally different role and totally out of my comfort zone, all I can say is it has been an absolute pleasure getting to work with some amazing staff and students in both IB and E-base. I certainly have now got skills I didn’t have before 😁 x

  • Katie ~

Where do I begin!! I only started my role as a TA last September and I can honestly say it has been worth waiting for. Nobody expected how this pandemic would affect things, but hand on heart you have all made this year a joy and an honour to be a part of and made it a lot easier. The laughs, memories and fantastic teamwork or should I say dream work has been a pleasure to be a part of, and each and every one of you have made me so proud of all what you have achieved. Thanks for letting me be a part of your journey and here’s to the next chapter.

  • Mrs Brierley ~

This last year has been very different to any other year. We have had to adapt to a lot of changes, especially the remote learning aspect of teaching. A lot of the students in our group had to shield for a long time and missed the interaction between themselves, staff and their friends. When we all came back for the Summer term we were relieved that everyone was well and happy to be back. The students all settled in remarkably quickly without any major hiccups. We have focused a lot on our health and well-being, as this is so important towards being happy. We have done lots of walking exercises in class and outdoors, this has enabled the students to achieve their Bronze D of E Award, which is amazing. As we have been in a static group all year it has been more beneficial for the students, as we have got to know them really well and have formed great relationships. We have had much more contact with home and this has also enabled better relationships with parents and carers than in previous years. All in all, it has been a good year.

  • Mrs Kershaw ~

Following on from Mrs Brierley’s comments, I also feel that this has been a good year. Being in a static group within our bubbles has enabled us to form really tight relationships and has been so beneficial for the staff as well as students. It has been much easier to observe and assess students and see the amazing improvements they have made. The students have felt safe, and having the further boundaries applied because of Covid has definitely improved the students’ behaviour. Hopefully all this good work will continue as we edge out of the restrictions.

  • Mrs Reade ~

What a great year we have had under these circumstances. This has been my first year in IB and I have really enjoyed working with the students. The students have been brilliant, working together and helping each other. As a group we have worked well together and have formed a really good working relationship. It has been a joy to see how the students have grown in confidence and ability.

  • Asma ~

I have had a wonderful time at the Learning Centre and look forward for a new start from September 2021. It has been great supporting the students in year 14 and have learned a lot in my apprenticeship so far. I have received a lot of of help from Tony in my current position and gained a lot of experience with working with him in the Learning Centre (thank you Tony). I have built good relationships with all the students in 14TBN and wish them all the best for the future.

  • Mr Blackman ~

What a year! We came back to find a jungle that had taken over the Polytunnel but my new group of students set about the tasks of clearing it like seasoned pros and the results were fantastic. The Learning Centre team have really pulled together and came up with a recovery timetable that got everyone looking at things in a different way. The students in Y14 TBN have had an enjoyable last year at the Learning Centre and don’t seem the least bit bothered about moving on which is great news. I wish them all the very best of luck in whatever they choose to do and hope you all stay fit and well.

  • Mrs Peacock ~

What a year this has been! From arriving back in September, as with other educational establishments, we ended up in another lockdown, and with less students in with us. This found me and Mr Blackman sharing a group by introducing another safe bubble and allowing the few students we had in our usual groups to be in it together. It was lovely to spend teaching time working with Mr Blackman, Mrs Amin and Miss Worrad. Miss Worrad had been supporting me whilst my usual TA was shielding and did a fantastic job of it.

When our group finally got back together just after the February half-term, they all settled in as if they’d never been apart. It was lovely to see them all again and we got back into the busy routine of completing lessons. Finally, after the Easter break, Mrs Wilkinson came back to our group again. In the term before the Easter break, we took part in a Teen Tech City of Tomorrow workshop. We had done such workshops before and the students have always enjoyed them. We had been lucky enough this time to have Mr Thompson at the Learning Centre. Instead of producing a house for the future, some of our students, Joe, Subhan and Aimee, completed a rap and performed it about the City of Tomorrow. The workshop deliverers were very impressed with it and said it was the first rap they had ever received in all the time they had been doing it! Last night I received an email from City of the Tomorrow to inform us that one of our entries had been voted the winner of ‘the Pupils’ Choice in the TeenTech City of Tomorrow National Showcase’! We are now awaiting our certificates and a trophy for the effort the students put into producing it.

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On the whole, the year has produced highs and lows each day. To start on a high because all the students returned in September, to ending the year on a high by being awarded first place in a nationwide honour, has certainly made it more memorable than it simply being a COVID year!

Throughout the year we dedicate time to look at different aspects of Mental Health and Wellbeing. This half term we have explored our emotions. For some of our young people this can be a very challenging topic to discuss, however it is really important they understand the impact their emotions can have. Miss Wright has a detailed report to share with us, please click here to see just what our students have been working on.

It’s hard to believe that this will be my final blog of this academic year. As we prepare for September, it’s also a time we reflect on the events of a year which has been like no other. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has made a difference this year and enabled us to successfully pull through!

Firstly, to our families who have coped with the pressures of national lockdowns, ever changing guidance and protocols, the stresses of home schooling and periods of enforced self-isolation and the anxieties when students have become unwell. In spite of all this our families have continuously supported the Learning Centre and its staff team every step of the way. Through increased regular contact, relationships between families and ourselves have strengthened, and this partnership has, and will continue to be essential in enabling our students to thrive.

Secondly to our amazing students. They started this academic year without the traditional transition process and yet they settled in without complaint. They coped with prolonged periods at home because of lockdowns and self-isolation. They had to adapt to a brand-new structure and revised curriculum offer and have still embraced every lesson and activity. They’ve accepted the many restrictions to their normal movements around the building, with new protocols such as face coverings, social distancing, the constraints of the bubble structures and not being able to meet up with some of their friends. We worried that our students would struggle, however they have shown a resilience, maturity and adaptability we could only have imagined. Indeed, they have illustrated just how inspirational they can be. A huge thank you to you all, it’s been a privilege to support and learn from you all this year.

Finally, to our hard working and ever resilient Learning Centre staff team. They have adapted to the impact of national lockdowns and constantly changing guidance, protocols and restrictions, new structures, groupings and timetables and have remained resilient and professional throughout. They have worked together to create a new curriculum offer, embedding our ‘recovery curriculum’ within day to day activities. They have engaged in home schooling, supported families on a weekly basis and remained calm and collected as infection rates raised around us. Alongside all this, they worked daily to support, teach and nurture our students, ensuring they have felt safe and secure in the midst of so much change.

I’d also like to say thank you to our executive team who have supported the team all year in so many different areas. During our recent Invitational meeting with governors, I shared a film which encapsulated much of the above. Well done to all the students and staff at the Learning Centre. You are all outstanding and inspirational!

I’ve always been a person who tries to focus on the positives and, although I totally acknowledge the challenges we have faced, I feel it’s essential to focus on the many positives we can take away from this year. I would like to suggest that as we move on, we hold on to what we have learned and I feel sure that our new normal will be even better than before.

Many thanks to everyone who has made a real difference this year and enabled our students to thrive!

In line with guidance, we will be continuing with all protocols for the rest of the term. We are currently going through all the guidance and making plans for September. Next week we will be writing to all families to let them know the plans as we know them so far.

I hope you all have a lovely summer and we look forward to welcoming all our students back after the holidays – there will be an especially warm welcome for our new Year 12 students.

Take care and stay safe all,

Dawn

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