13 Jan

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As teachers we often assume the role of counsellor, advocate, carer and parent as well as educator. We endeavour to equip our young people with all the skills they need to commence adult life. As you may be aware, in our blog last week we spoke about an isolated incident regarding inappropriate use of the internet and talked about all the work we do with our young people regarding internet safety, especially the curriculum, interventions and our E-Safe Award. We have been heartened by the response from our young people, in particular our retiring head boy, Matthew, and this year’s head boy, Jack, who have felt empowered enough to put their feelings in writing and have asked to share their thoughts with you in a special joint blog which you can read here.

The weather this week has caused its predictable chaos. We hope you have managed to keep up with what’s happening at New Bridge regarding closure and transport via this website, Twitter, Facebook and the trusty old letter home. We were open on Friday but some staff and a number of young people struggled to make it in as many travel from across the borough and beyond. It was challenging ensuring the pupils and students had the appropriate staff to support them and we would like to thank you for your continued support and positive comments. Unfortunately at the school site we were initially unable to open the North Wing entrance and there was a 7 minute delay. In adverse weather conditions there will be issues, please bring your child to the main entrance if the North Wing door is not open. We do appreciate your frustrations and personal circumstances; however, as our home school agreement states, we would also expect tolerance and respect to be shown towards our staff.

No sooner had the snow fallen than our Hortus students were out clearing the way for cars and pedestrians at the Learning Centre. A particular mention goes to Kevin who was out clearing the way with Dave before most of the staff and students had arrived!

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Throughout the morning the Hortus group continued to clear the Learning Centre grounds. We’re very grateful for their help but they probably need to bring in their thermals next time..

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The young people who were able to travel in made the most of the snow while it lasted. Mr Hollinworth’s Year 8 group already had a trip planned to Dovestones to learn about hydroelectricity and the snow proved an added bonus..

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AB2 had a much warmer time with the snow in Mr Bright’s ICT lesson, they decided to take advantage of the weather and create some animations of snow scenes. The pupils practised their touch screen skills to create frame-by-frame animations using 2Animate software. As you can see, they worked brilliantly for this one-off winter themed lesson..

This week it’s the turn of the English department to share their learning experiences. As part of their topic on ‘Planning a Trip’, Year 11 had to research and organise their own educational visit. They decided to visit Manchester Cathedral and researched travel on the tram, disabled facilities within the cathedral and where to eat lunch. We’re pleased to say that all their careful preparation paid off and they really enjoyed their trip..

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..not only did they visit the cathedral but they also managed to fit in a detour to the art gallery..

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..not forgetting lunch and a quick treat..

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Year 7 have been investigating the Dockside books with Mrs Taylor and working through the reading scheme..

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Congratulations to Matthew and Terry for gaining a Grade C in their English Language GCSE this week, a fantastic achievement!! We are all thrilled for them as they have worked very hard over the last 2 years to gain this important qualification..

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IBLC1’s theme this term is a ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ and in English they are focusing on Aladdin. They have been doing some character work and decorating treasure found in Aladdin’s cave for their display..

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In Horticulture this week they have been exploring different leaves, berries, flowers and bark. The students have shown preferences and made choices between which of these they would like in their ‘ice ornaments’..

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They carefully added water and witnessed their creations change from liquid to solid decorations..

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IBLC2 have been working hard in Living Skills. They’re developing their independence and working towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as demonstrated by Elliott and George..

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Everyone has also really enjoyed making some beautiful things for our Peter Pan display..

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This week saw our second student council meeting at the Learning Centre. Student voice is always important at New Bridge and it was encouraging to see that many of the issues raised by students at the previous meeting have led to the implementation of a number of measures. As always, our students presented the concerns of their peers in a mature and coherent manner. They also suggested some great ideas and solutions which we will share here in the coming weeks – politicians of the future, we feel! We would also like to thank our Governors for giving their time to attend and support our students.

Keeping with the theme of pupil voice, Mrs Bingley, Mr Smith and Mrs Lamb met this week to plan developments in the outside spaces at the school site. This will be phased to ensure funding is secure and the needs of our young people are met. The playground is a space that is significantly impoverished and we are undertaking these developments with advice from the school council. We are very excited!

It is with great pride that we can share the amazing achievement of one of our E Base students. Many of our young people have been successfully accessing our work experience programme for some time, however Oliver is the first student from any of our discrete autism groups to join the programme. On Tuesday morning Oliver was clearly excited as he travelled to the Atrium Café in Oldham with his job coach. He was introduced to the staff and systems and was then responsible for organising cutlery and ensuring all the knives, forks and spoons were clean and ready for the First Choice Homes staff who use the café. When he returned to the Learning Centre, Oliver gave us his verdict on his morning’s work..

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Oliver’s placement will continue for the rest of this term and we will keep you updated on his progress!

Our Outdoor Education sessions are always very popular and this week the Learning Centre students loved their sensory outdoor experiences around Alexandra Park and Vernon Park as you can see..

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They also used the fitness apparatus at Queen’s Park..

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Well done Ruhel for walking independently!

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Our ‘Cooking with Hortus’ slot saw Miss Allison treated to a delicious (if somewhat spicy) chicken wrap this week..

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There are whispers that Miss Allison may also have had a second ‘cheeky wrap’ thanks to the Year 12 living skills group (naming no names, Tamzin!) but that is only hearsay… If you would like the recipe to make your own wraps at home, please ask us to send you a copy.

Wednesday 18th will see the first meeting of our Learning Centre Parents Group at 2pm. We are hoping as many people as possible can take advantage of this unique opportunity for parents and carers to get together and chat in an informal setting. We look forward to hearing your views on the direction this group will take – please don’t hesitate to contact Mr Barker if you would like any further information.

We hope you have a nice (warm) weekend,

Judith and Dawn

You can find our full blog here

The New Bridge Horizons blog is available here for updates on our Key Stage 5 Pathway students in Lumenus, Digit4ll and Activ8 together with Future Finders students and the young people at Horizons

Click here to read this week’s blog from Graham