15 Jul

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Well, here we are at the end of the academic year. It seems no time at all since we were ensuring everything was in place for our current Year 7s and Year 12s last September, and now here we are again, doing the same for the young people who will be joining us after the summer. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to start the new term on Tuesday 6th September – don’t worry if you still need to purchase school uniform, you can order it online here and collect it from the school office over the next 7 weeks.

As ever, the end of term has been a very busy time. Our Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s group spent 4 days in North Wales completing their gruelling qualifying expedition and you can read Mr Taylor’s report here.

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Activ8 attended Saddleworth School and helped to set up and help run their sports day. We received glowing reports from the school concerning our boys’ conduct and overall impact, and we were able to see this for ourselves later in the week when Activ8 put their leadership skills into practice to help run our New Bridge sporting extravaganza. We had taster sessions in archery (which you can read more about here)..

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table tennis and tennis coupled with traditional races..

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and some with a twist..

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Kevin Lanham from Ability Wheelz brought some of his adapted bikes to New Bridge and we had great fun racing around..

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The young people were also treated to some rather competitive staff races (which strangely enough we don’t appear to have any pictures of!) before taking part in their final heats..

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Our Autism Base got really into the sporting spirit and decided they were in Rio already – you can see more of their pictures on Facebook here but this might give you an idea..

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The swimming pool was extremely popular too..

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Everyone had a fantastic time, the atmosphere was incredible and we all agreed Mr Thompson was the most amazing MC ever (thanks to Mr Meadows for the loan of his PA system). It was great to see not just the pleasure but also the determination on the pupils’ faces. Massive thanks must go to Mr Smith for organising such a great event, and also to Mr Greenway and Activ8 for setting out the chairs (and putting them away!) and marking out the races with cones. It was our first sports day at New Bridge and it won’t be our last – after our successful trial run we will be in a position to invite parents next year, so dust off your trainers and get ready to join in the fun!

Monday saw our annual ‘Medieval Afternoon’ for Year 7 when they held a medieval banquet dressed up in their best traditional costumes followed by ‘jousting’. All the pupils and staff dress up and have great fun sampling the medieval fayre, listening to music of the era and keeping an eye out for dragons…..

The graduation ceremony for our students who have successfully completed their year with ‘Bridging the Gap’ at the Royal Oldham Hospital took place on Tuesday..

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Mr Quinn, Mr Wood, New Bridge governors, our fantastic job coaches, NHS executives and department staff all attended to celebrate the achievements of our young people with their families..

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We also thanked all the staff at the Royal Oldham Hospital who have supported our students in their placements and make the project possible..

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Robert starts paid employment with G4S Cleaning Services within the coming weeks and our other graduates are moving on to Future Finders in September. Well done, everyone!!!

Wednesday was Super Learning Day and the religion we studied primarily was Judaism and the festival of Shavuot. Interestingly this is a summer festival of thanksgiving, much like Eid, and often occurs during awards ceremonies. Classes started the day in assembly with a tableau of dance and art from the five continents and we celebrated the unity and similarities of all religions with the core themes of love, respect and strong morals. Our young people made thank you cards and tokens of gratitude for key people in school who have supported them throughout the year.

Matthew posted his last blog entry as Head Boy which you can read here but we are hoping he will be able to carry on with his weekly posts in September as our ‘man on the ground’ when Activ8 and the other Key Stage 5 pathways move to Medtia Square.

Our school assembly on Friday gave us the chance to celebrate together all the achievements from over the year, with medals and trophies being awarded from our Sports Day and from other curriculum areas. We have said goodbye to our Year 11s, shirt signing was the order of the day and ‘good luck’ message books were also completed. Finally, the end of the academic year culminated in our famous New Bridge Talent Show, with our young people showing off their skills from clarinet playing to Bangla singing and dance, along with a magician and comedian to add awe and humour.

The carnival feel at the Learning Centre began early with food aplenty, smiles at every turn and a party atmosphere alive with fun and friendship. We have all worked hard this year and the last day of term showed that we know how to party hard too! We were entertained by Oldham’s very own professional singer and entertainer, Mr Andy Lee, who performed a number of pop songs and dance hits for students and staff – we happily ‘boogied’ the morning away to the disco beat and lights. Mr Pocock and Miss Kindon worked hard to bring him to New Bridge and we are all grateful to them for their hard work as everyone had a fantastic dance and singsong! It was also lovely to welcome Mr Pocock back to the Learning Centre, the only difficulty the staff had was in keeping up with the students on the dancefloor!!

The students then enjoyed quiet parties in their bases and some quality time to chat and reflect upon the morning’s events before proceeding with our own ‘Rio Carnival’! Ms Evans’ E Base class have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks and made their own ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue! This was absolutely brilliant and was followed by South American colour and flair as staff and students donned masks and dress as we created our own New Bridge Samba.

Our final assembly was a celebration of the week’s achievements, including the medals awarded to students from the fantastic Sports Day and two special presentations from Mr Quinn! Rather than the end of a journey for us all, we talked about the start of a new, exciting chapter for many of the students and some staff.

Jane, who has been our cleaner for what seems like years now, is sadly hanging up her mop, and we would all like to thank her so much for the brilliant job she has done over the years keeping our building spic and span and we wish her all the very best in her retirement.

The other ‘special mention’ was for Mr Farrell who has been with us since we opened as New Bridge and who is also now retiring. Mr Farrell has been a massive part in the huge success we have enjoyed here at the Learning Centre and his knowledge, experience, warmth and professionalism will undoubtedly be sorely missed by students and staff alike. He has had a great impact on so many young people’s lives and we wish him all the very best for a happy, healthy and enjoyable retirement.

We would like to wish you all a very happy and safe holiday and we hope that your summer is as rewarding as this year has been for everyone here at New Bridge.

Judith and Dawn

As we promised last week, our Year 11 prom pictures are now available to view here and the Year 14 album is here.

You can find our full blog here

The New Bridge Horizons blog is available here for updates on Future Finders and Horizons

Click here for this week’s news from Graham