29 Apr

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Our young people have been holding their council meetings this week across both sites. Items on the School Council’s agenda included Red Nose Day, School Sports Day and Carers Week. We started with an activity that encourages the pupils to ‘sort’ the issues into categories that best reflect responsibility. This has proved to be really useful as they are able to identify the areas where they can have some control and impact. We are always proud of our young people in these meetings, they have such insightful suggestions and ideas.

The Learning Centre Student Council representatives also did a fantastic job – well done to Christopher, Sufyaan and Tia in Year 12, Humayun in Year 13, Mohammed in Year 14, Thomas from the E Base and our Youth Council representative, Leah! We held a very successful meeting with all the councillors articulating their peers’ concerns with clarity and confidence. The students shared a number of thoughtful issues and discussed possible solutions. The Student Council have agreed they would like to do an assembly on the theme of ‘Friendship’ from a student’s viewpoint and we are looking forward to their presentation. Student councillors have also agreed to support at our Parents’ Evenings next month and our upcoming open events.  We continue to be very proud of their commitment and attitude!

Leah also reported back from the Oldham Youth Council about an event at Gallery Oldham and told us about an opportunity for young people to go to ‘Barrier Breakers’ at the Civic Centre in Oldham. If you would like more information, please contact Leah at the Learning Centre.

We had our final visit on Tuesday from the incredible ‘Project Jam Sandwich’, the talented musicians who first came into school in February.

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Our young people have thoroughly enjoyed working with this wonderful group, please click here to find out why!

If all that talk of jam sandwiches has left you feeling peckish, you’ll be very pleased to hear we are introducing our very own culinary feature, ‘Cooking with Earl!’. This week Dawn was treated to a delicious ‘Chicken stir-fry with drizzles of Soy Sauce, garnished with Ginger’ courtesy of our resident Year 12 chef Mitchell, ably assisted by Keiffer.  Our young people follow an adapted version of the ‘Licence to Cook’ programme and we will be setting up a page to share all the details with you. Watch this space for photos and news of next week’s offering (and if you would like to try Earl’s stir fry in the meantime, you can download the recipe here.) If you read our Head Boy’s blog this week, you’ll know that he will be leaving the cooking to Mitchell!

We have been thinking about e-safety this week. We talk to our young people about basic online rules, things like not sharing their name or email address and only connecting with people they know. Some of our young people play online games rather than using social networking, so we talk about how they need to be careful of who they’re talking to, which chat rooms they’re using, what information they’re sharing and the bad language they might encounter. You can read more about the work we do around e-safety here.

With all teenagers we need some ground rules. A good tip is to keep the console or computer downstairs, so they don’t have internet access in their rooms where it’s hard to monitor what’s going on. We should all be concerned as our young people may be particularly vulnerable online. Children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder may make literal interpretations of content which will affect how they respond. Some children may not understand much of the terminology due to language delays or disorders, or understand the concept of friendship and therefore trust everyone implicitly. They do not know how to make judgements about what is safe information to share and this leads to confusion about why they should not trust others on the internet.

There is also growing concern around cyberbullying. We need to remember that some children with SEN or disabilities may be vulnerable to being bullied through the internet, or may not recognise that they are being bullied. In addition, some children may not appreciate how their own online behaviour may be seen by someone else as bullying.

If you ever have any questions around e-safety or have any concerns about supporting your child to use the internet safely, please get in touch and we will be happy to offer practical advice and information.

We promised you last week that we would find out just what IB2 have been up to under the cover of this term’s topic, ‘Picnics’ – if you haven’t spotted their report yet, it is definitely worth a look here!!

Finally, in keeping with this lovely ‘seasonal’ weather, we’ve been asked to leave you with this little gem….

What did one snowman say to the other snowman?  – ‘Can you smell carrots?’

We hope you have a great weekend,

Judith and Dawn

You can find our full blog here

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