11 Sep

I’d like to start by saying a very warm welcome to all our students who either came back to the Learning Centre this week or who have joined us for the very first time. It’s been an absolute delight to see students again.

I appreciate this an extraordinary time for students to be returning to college, I’m immensely proud at how quickly they have adapted to a new way of working. Students are being courteous towards each other, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands… everything we are asking of them.

In response to the current rate of infection within Oldham and to limit contact with other classes within their bubbles, we have adopted a static model where students remain in their tutor groups with their class team for the week. This also provides the opportunity for everyone to settle in and get to know their new class, routines and Covid protocols. It will hopefully help reduce anxieties. For the first couple of weeks we are focusing on our ‘Recovery curriculum’ with an emphasis on health, safety and physical wellbeing, social and emotional health wellbeing

Our group focus this week is on our new Year 12s who have been truly amazing, here’s a report from our Year 12 tutor Mrs. Keane..

This week saw the arrival of lots of new Year 12 students to the Learning Centre. First of all we had a tour of the Learning Centre to find out where the most important places are – the toilets and where we would eat our lunch. Obviously hygiene is high on our list of priorities, we have talked about the importance of social distancing and we have been doing a lot of work around hand washing and using hand sanitiser. We have a chart in the classroom to ensure everyone is washing their hands frequently..

In terms of mental health and wellbeing, we have been learning how to do calming breathing exercises and we’ve had a go at Tai Chi a series of slow movements combined with slow breathing. We have done a lot of work around our feelings and emotions and how they make us feel physically..

We have also written thank you letters to staff at school who we were grateful for. This exercise has covered different elements of emotional wellbeing – connecting, giving and being mindful..

It’s been a busy week, the new Year 12s have all been amazing and have coped really well with all the changes. I’m really impressed with their maturity and positive attitudes and I’m looking forward to working with them in the next year.

I thought it would be nice to share some thoughts from a couple of our new Year 12 students:

“My name is Daniel, I come from Belmont School. In lockdown I was with my Mum, Dad and 5 cats! I had 3 friends at my last school but feel like I’ve loads now.

I started on Monday in the Nurture group with Aimee, Ryan, Malcolm, Chantelle and Adam. I’m looking forward to making lots more friends. I have loved my first week at New Bridge Learning Centre. I am the second generation to be at New Bridge my Mum and Dad came here too.” ~ Daniel, Year 12 Nurture Group

~ Almina, Year 12AKE

I’d also like to share some words of wisdom from one of our Year 13 students:

“I was really excited to come back because I missed being in and seeing my friends. I was worried about other students and kept wondering if they were well and safe.”

I asked Aimee what she’d say to someone else who may be feeling anxious about coming back in, she said:

“It’s completely normal to feel worried and it’s ok to feel like that, but once you settle in all those nerves will go away and all you will feel it’s like another home and another family.” ~ Aimee, Nurture Group

Students have been doing an amazing job following the guidance for the main body students to wear their masks in communal spaces. Here are a few examples. Well done guys, an example to us all!

Adeel Year 13

Alisha Year 12

Caitlyn Year 13

Kyle Year 13

Melissa Year 13

Saif Year 13

Just to show that the staff team are also following guidance, check out these pics of Jill our administrator, Miss Lane Year 14 pastoral lead, Miss Robinson our medication assistant and Miss McGrady from our Communication Group..

I’d like to share some of the other activities which have been going on at the Learning Centre this week which all have a horticultural feel. As you can imagine, over the last 6 months the grounds have been taken over by plants and weeds and the polytunnel looks like jungle!! However, our intrepid students have stepped up to the mark and all wanted to help give our grounds a cared for feel.

Firstly, Mr George’s Year 13 group took up the mantle (or hoe)!

All the Year 13 group accessed the outside courtyard area to start tidying the flowerbeds. Learners were engaged and enjoying the fresh air and the task of tidying up. They worked really hard and tidied up the majority of the raised beds outside. They have asked to go outside again to carry on with more tidying up..

It was Mr Blackman and his Year 14 group who were brave enough to tackle the polytunnel!!

6 months of lockdown weed growth met the Year 14 group as they opened the doors of the polytunnel for the first time since we started back at the Learning Centre. What a challenge it was but Year 14 didn’t flinch a bit, they just got stuck in and enjoyed sorting it all out. Brilliant effort team!

If you have any questions, queries or concerns about students returning to the Learning Centre, please do not hesitate to get in touch and I’m sure together we can work things through.

Finally, I’d like to thank all families for their support in helping the start and end of the day procedures runs safely and smoothly and for supporting the staff team. This partnership is absolute key to helping our students thrive and achieve and we look forward to making that journey with you all.

Have a nice weekend.

Take care and stay safe,

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 my previous blog posts here