01 Feb

Flicking through the BBC News app as I do most mornings, I came across this heartwarming short video of Zaky, a young man on the autism spectrum, learning how to shop in a supermarket..

The video briefly touches upon the journey Zaky and his mum have been on together, from the challenges his behaviour presented as a young child to the independence he is demonstrating as a young adult. Zaky’s mum has always maintained the aspiration for her son to be able to make his own choices and do things for himself and with the support of Zaky’s key worker, she has been working to make these aspirations a reality. The weekly shop might be something many of us take for granted, indeed we may even find it a chore, yet for Zaky and his mum, him being able to independently shop for food and then cook a simple meal for them both is hugely significant. It gives him a dignity that, as a young man, is clearly very important to his mum, and as the final scene shows, it changes the quality of their life together. Their story reminds us that with belief, determination and the right support, we can turn our dreaming into doing.

At New Bridge, we very much see our role as being there to support our families to achieve the aspirations they hold for their child. We continue to have great success with this, helping our young people and their families reach the destinations they aspire to as these examples of our past pupils, our ‘Destination Champions’ show:

I find these images and the stories they represent incredibly inspirational. It brings me back to why I work in a specialist school; to challenge the perceptions of what our young people can achieve. It reminds me of the journey we are all on together; learning, alongside our children and their families, how to get the best outcomes for our young people. It reminds me why, in an educational and political climate in which resources are stretched and our staff are being asked to do more with less, our dedicated teams turn up for work day in day out; it’s because we want to, we can, and we do, make a difference to the lives of our children and their families.

This week, Mr Thompson has an update for us from our Music department..

This term in Music there have been some fun and exciting events taking place. Our music room and recording studio have had a make-over by updating our recording software and expanding our technical resources. Pupils have been involved in various projects to utilise our facilities and use music as a platform to enhance learning over a variety of subjects. The pupils are really enjoying learning how to use our ProTools software which has opened up doors to allow pupils to record their work and have ownership of class projects, which goes hand in hand with the growth of technology and social platforms. Up and coming projects include our very own Radio show to broadcast news and events, creating podcasts to share events and experiences to other sites across the MAT and opportunities to invite guests into school to have discussions about relevant topics.

Pupils will be experiencing more live music performances with our colleagues Live Music Now and the Bridgewater Hall, giving pupils the opportunity to be involved in live musical performances, use instruments unknown to them and learn about various cultures through music. We will soon be using new iPads to create music using various apps and software which can be uploaded to our website for parents and carers to listen to.

We have welcomed a new Music teacher called Mr Challinor who has embraced the New Bridge spirit and has brought lots of new ideas and energy to the Music Department. Good to have you on board, Mr C! Mr Challinor has been enjoying getting to know the pupils and seeing how well they can perform – he’s been particularly impressed by their enthusiasm and is pleased to report that they are up for singing along to all kinds of songs! Mr Challinor has been working on developing group performance skills with the Key Stage 4 Music Option group and Y9 HSY. They have been learning skills on guitar, drums, xylophones and piano to perform the lovely song “Songbird” by Oasis..

Last week we hosted a concert for our young people which was performed by a group of musicians known as the Chameleon Quintet. They played lots of songs on a wide range of instruments and our pupils had the opportunity to have a go on the instruments and take part in the performances. We even had some pupils conducting the musicians on stage which was lots of fun! The performance took place in our state of the art theatre with coloured sensory lights and sounds which made the concert very exciting and fun. Our Digit4ll IT pathway pupils are compiling a video to share with you but in the meantime these pictures should give you an idea of how much we enjoyed the performance..

The pupils and staff really enjoyed it and we are already looking to organise our next concert, watch this space! The concert was arranged by Live Music Now, a UK wide organisation who train young professional musicians to work with children with additional needs and older people, particularly those living with dementia. Thank you to the Stoller Charitable Trust for funding this concert.

Year 7 have been learning rhythm skills and exploring African drumming using djembes and other percussion instruments. We are learning Samba rhythms and looking at various cultures and music traditions.

Year 8 have been working on their rap and song writing skills. A pupil from Mr Meadows’ class has been writing a rap in our Recording Studio which he performed in our Talent Show. We may have the next Jay Z, wait and see (ba bum!). As mentioned above, pupils are enjoying creating songs and having the opportunity to record, add effects and listen back to their work. They love having their own copy on a CD.

Year 9 have been developing their skills in reading music and performing on different instruments such as drums, guitars , ukulele and piano. Some of our pupils are looking ahead to complete accredited courses such as Arts Award Bronze and ABRSM.

Our Autism Base and Interactive Base classes have had opportunities to work with musicians from Live Music Now to explore a wide range of musical instruments and make sounds with their peers. They have had lots of fun doing this.

If you came along to the Christmas Showcase, you will have seen our school Rock Band (Led Zeinadin) performing. The band have been working on three new tracks and they are developing every week..

We will post news of the next gig soon. Our next task is to practise for our production of The Greatest Showman, we are really looking forward to it.

Several pupils visit Mr Fieldhouse every week to learn various woodwind instruments such as Clarinets, Flute, Ocharina and Saxaphone. We have a few pupils moving onto ABRSM music theory and Grade 1. Great job Mr Fieldhouse and pupils!

See you next week,

Gavin

You can find Dawn’s blog for the Learning Centre here

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

Click here to read this week’s news from Graham

You can find my previous blog posts here