07 May

Hi, this is John Barker doing this week’s blog from the Learning Centre.

It has been a very disjointed week at the Learning Centre – especially for me. I enjoyed the long Bank Holiday weekend and came into the Learning Centre on Tuesday morning raring to go. I then received a phone call in the morning to say I would have to pick my daughter Hannah up from Horizons. There was a power cut – no heating, electricity or hot water. A quick phone call to Gavin our new Executive Head meant that he was soon over to be in situ. Thanks a lot Gavin! Hannah was not impressed at all at being picked up prematurely. Says a lot when she would rather be in a cold, dark, beeping and empty building than be at home with me! To be fair, I would like to say from a parent’s perspective what a fantastic resource (and lifeline) Horizons is. Hannah is happy, safe and stimulated there despite all the current restrictions. The staff are fantastic and Hannah and I have both benefitted massively from the structure and routine it has provided, especially during the past few months.

Wednesday was a productive day at the Learning Centre but on Thursday we were closed due to our site being used as a polling station. There was a meeting to review where we are at with the iPad project at the Learning Centre with Paul Tullock from Jigsaw. This was really productive and we now have a very solid plan moving forward. There was also a meeting with colleagues from the National Youth Theatre which I am sure will lead to some exciting developments next year. Watch this space!

There was also the opportunity during the day to deliver a range of training to staff. This included the opportunity for a follow up from ICT training that Richard Bright delivered earlier in the year. On Thursday all staff registered and completed the Certificate in National Online Safety for teaching and non-teaching staff. All class teams also spent time examining the e-Safe and SMART Awards which can be found on our website here. These programmes of lessons cover all areas of e-safety and will be taught after half term.

Sarah Wright, our Health and Wellbeing lead, also facilitated some training as she explains..

On Thursday we took full advantage of the Learning Centre being closed so it could be used as a polling station, to engage with some training provided by the Emotional Health and Mental Wellbeing Team at Oldham Council. We had two training sessions, both led by Natalie Williams. 

The first session was the Wellbeing for Education Return Covid 19. This training has been created by MindEd and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and promotes a whole college approach to mental health and wellbeing. 

The key focus is around ensuring that we can recognise and support ourselves and young people from the effects that Coronavirus has caused. We have all had different thoughts, feelings and experiences due to the pandemic and it is important for us all to care and have compassion for each other. 

We looked at factors that can cause a decrease in our wellbeing and resilience and who is particularly at risk and how we can identify and help when this is happening to both ourselves and our students.  

Our second training session with the EHMW team was Understanding Behaviour as a Communication. This focused on the changes we might see in our young people’s behaviour as a result of the impact of Covid 19 and how we can best support them in an understanding, consistent and collaborative way. 

The feedback from Natalie showed how much the staff at the Learning Centre are investing in the students and their own mental health and wellbeing:

I just want to say how impressed I have been with the staff at the Learning Centre they have really engaged with both sessions and it is clear that the setting has a wealth of knowledge around EHMW needs.

Thanks Natalie, the training sessions were very much appreciated. 

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week, 10th -16th May. The theme is Nature. More information can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk . At the Learning Centre we are looking forward to participating in lots of different activities, including building some bug hotels, making seed bombs and nature mobiles and also finding out about all the places in our community where we can engage with Nature and the positive effect it has on our mental health. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. The sun is shining as I am writing this – enjoy!


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