22 Mar

Those of you who are regular readers of the blog may remember that back in February I shared with you our ‘Destination Champions’, examples of the many ex-pupils who have gone on to achieve the destinations that each of them and their families aspired to. Well, this week I had the privilege of receiving a visit from Jack, who is one such Champion. Listening to him bring me up to speed on life as a young adult, I was filled with inspiration to hear he is working part-time, studying at college, applying to university, saving for a car and generally enjoying everything life has to offer; oh, and just a little thing that he’s recently been invited to the Houses of Parliament to help present the Special Achievement Award at the British Education Awards 2019, an award he won last year. What struck me was his confidence in his ability to pursue his ambitions, his humility in his achievements so far, his gratitude to everyone at New Bridge who helped him on his way and the sense of optimism he holds for his future.

However, Jack wasn’t my only visitor this week. In response to the aforementioned Destination Champions blog, another ex-pupil got in touch to ask if he could come and visit us. It was therefore an honour to welcome Mike back into school to talk about his past experiences at New Bridge and learn about his journey from leaving school to where he is now. Mike talked reflectively about trying his hand at a number of jobs in the NHS and retail sector, each time learning something more about himself, his strengths, where he needs support and the type of career and role to which he feels most suited. This has led him to a successful position at The Cooperative and he talked animatedly about his participation in the opening of the new store at which he now works. He clearly believes that his time at New Bridge and in particular his placement on our Bridging the Gap programme gave him the skills, the confidence and, most importantly, the resilience to continue his learning journey and pursue his ambitions to achieve the successful outcome he currently enjoys. Mike took a quick tour of the school to say hello to the staff that knew him as a pupil and they were overjoyed to see him again. To Mike’s surprise, however, the pupils were also thrilled to meet him for the first time and listen to his advice on working hard to achieve your goals, so much so that he received a round of applause and cheers from our Year 9s!

Both Jack and Mike and their stories ground us in the reality of the dreams and aspirations our pupils hold. It reminds us of the special responsibility we have as educators to support them in the pursuit of these ambitions by doing the very best job we can to set them up for future success. That both Jack and Mike talked so appreciatively about not just New Bridge School as a whole but also the individual staff that made a difference to their lives by intervening in some way also highlights the honour and privilege it is to be part of such special journeys. We’re planning further work in the summer term on the theme of Destination Champions so I’m really thankful that both Jack and Mike have accepted my invitation to help us inspire and challenge our current pupils to think about their destinations and what they will need to do to get there. I’m really looking forward to welcoming them back into school.

This week we have an update from our Interactive Bases on the fantastic work they’ve been doing this term. Miss Carter’s topic this term is Myths and Legends and IBGRP1 have been looking at the story of Shrek..

Every Monday in English we read the story of Shrek and explore all the different sensory stimuli that are associated with the story; this includes painting our faces green so we look like Shrek, wearing Fiona’s wig, dressing up as Lord Faquaad and using a switch to activate lights..

We choose pictures related to each stimulus and answer simple questions related to the story by using symbols or photographs, and we have also been matching words and letters related to the story too.

We have made Lord Farquaad crowns, painted donkeys with our feet, made dragons from cups and tissue paper, used jewels to make a sparkly princess mirror and made confetti bombs with balloons and toilet roll holders filled with tissue paper..

In Maths we have been working on number recognition and number sequencing. We have been counting different items that you would find in Shrek’s swamp, including frogs, snakes, fish, spiders and cockroaches! We have been playing parachute games too and choosing shapes to post into the correct Shrek based postbox.

In IB1 we have been working on our EHCP targets via different activities including PECS communication, handwriting skills, Sherbourne Therapy, visiting soft play and taking part in circle time to monitor responses and reactions.

In cooking we have made Moss Cakes, Gingybread Men, Shrek Swamp Dip and Shrek Brownies – don’t worry, they all tasted much better than they sound!

This term in IB2 we have been working on developing our independence through choice making as part of our ‘Learning for Life’ lessons. The pupils have been making choices of ICT apps, fine and gross motor activities and TV programmes for break times. Pupils have used a range of communication methods which have included speech and vocalisations, eye pointing, photos, symbols and signing. The pupils have been making steady progress and we have shared some photos with you to show how proud we are of their hard work..

In Maths and English, Miss Ward’s topic has been about Egypt and we have made headdresses using different shades of gold, jewellery using shiny beads and glitter, explored sand for the desert and pyramids and water and reeds for the River Nile. It has been a great adventure looking at how the Egyptians lived and our display of Tutankhamun has been a tricky but very worthwhile project..

In cooking, we have continued the theme around Egypt and made Egyptian breads, Lentil soup, Feta cheese bites, Koftas, pyramid cupcakes and mummy pizzas! What a fun time we have had making these, and the cooking smells coming from our room have been amazingly mouthwatering!

Live Music Now and other music lessons have been so beneficial to the IB pupils. The pupils express themselves more through music and show many different emotions when listening to different instruments and various types of music. The photos are self explanatory and show how much the pupils enjoy these lessons..

In Geography, Miss Ward wanted her class to share experiences from Spain. We made a Spanish tortilla and explored the ingredients that were used to make it. The girls dressed up as Spanish senoritas and the boys as matadors and we also got creative by making tapas props for our display, as well as looking at flamenco dancing and listening to music from Spain..

The pupils in IB have also accessed outdoor education, visiting museums and parks, been swimming regularly and had lots of fun in the soft play area where the pupils can be more independent and develop their skills in relation to their mobility needs..

The Ability Wheelz session we attend on Friday mornings at Alexandra Park is fantastic for promoting independence..

Logan and Eve are now attempting to ride the bike independently, Georgia is now riding alongside staff helping to pedal and Husnain is riding an adapted bike using his hands to pedal!! Fantastic!! Just look at this..

video

As you know from last week’s blog, the IB groups worked incredibly hard to raise money for Comic Relief (and had a LOT of fun doing it!) with a sponsored cycle around Alexandra Park, a cake sale and sweepstake…..which together raised the fantastic sum of £435.32! This is without adding in the money raised across the rest of the school – we will bring you the grand total next week.

We will leave you with Mrs Holland’s Year 11 English class, whose current topic is travel. The group have been learning about the different kinds of holidays they have all experienced – a little different to their previous cocktail making! This week the pupils have been giving and following instructions to put up a tent and safely make a ‘campfire’ (handy for D of E expeditions). The test will be putting the tent away afterwards..

Have a great 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