24 Feb

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Welcome back everybody. We re-opened on Monday for staff training which caused some confusion for a few families who expected school transport to arrive and brought the young people in themselves instead. We’re not sure what went wrong with our communication, holiday patterns were sent home and every family should have received a New Bridge wall calendar at Christmas which has all our holiday and staff training dates printed on for the year. If you would like another calendar, please contact the office and we can send home another one. If you need to check any dates, our holiday patterns are available on our website here and we also use our social media accounts to keep parents and carers informed – particularly important this year as there are some disparities within the Oldham borough and schools do not all share the same holidays.

Our Holiday Club was a big success last week and we are already busy planning the next one – we even have a day trip booked to Eureka! Letters have gone home to families and you can view the details here. If you would like to book a place for your child on our Easter Holiday Club, please make sure you return the forms by next Friday 3rd March. Here is just a taste of what we got up to last week..

This week has been a really positive start to the new half term and our young people have quickly settled back into the swing of things with great enthusiasm. There have been some great tales from our Year 13 students about their experiences in Calvert before the holidays and we are looking forward to sharing their stories and pictures very soon. As usual it’s been a busy week at New Bridge with trips out and lots going on in the classroom. On Tuesday our girls’ football team were invited by Paul Kelly at MCFC to visit the training ground at the Academy to play with other girls’ teams..

He also organised a special treat for them – they got to explore the Manchester City Women’s Football team facilities and visit their changing rooms and had a behind the scenes tour..

The highlight of the evening was complimentary tickets to stay and watch the Champions League game, Manchester City v Monaco. What a game it was too! The match included eight goals and ended at 5:3 with fast flowing football, saved penalties and debatable refereeing decisions – it had it all..

As you can imagine, the girls are still talking about it now.

Our sporting links aren’t just limited to football, though. Mr Smith has organised for Sale Sharks Rugby Team to work with the PE department and our young people for six weeks, an amazing opportunity to learn rugby skills from professional players. We’re looking forward to bringing you news of the sessions!

Our School Council met on Wednesday and we discussed items on the national agenda; World Book Day, National School Breakfast week, Red Nose Day and Autism Awareness Week. There were some great ideas about how we could organise these occasions in school and more details regarding these events will be shared with you soon.

On an extremely windy Thursday, Mr Hanif and Mrs Hickman took some Year 8 pupils to visit Smithills Hall House and Museum. They had a wonderful time, with a personal guided tour of the house..

The house is a combination of historical eras, with Medieval, Tudor and Victorian elements and so covered much of the History curriculum – you can read more about the day here. As usual the pupils’ behaviour was exemplary, thank you to all the staff who made it happen and the wonderful team at Smithills.

World Book Day is on Thursday 2nd March and we will be holding our own New Bridge Book Day on Monday 27th February. Our Key Stage 3 pupils in Years 7 to 9 have been invited to come dressed as a character from a book on Monday. We understand that not everybody will want to do this and dressing up is optional; however, please note it this is not a non-uniform day and if your child does not want to participate, they should wear school uniform as normal. We held an assembly on Friday in which Mrs Hobson showed the children a powerpoint about World Book Day and a video produced by the Digit4ll pupils showing staff sharing their favourite books..

Our curriculum focus this week is on our Creative Arts. In Music, Mr Bloska’s Year 7s are continuing their studies on ‘The Orchestra’ and this half term are exploring the instruments of the orchestra and getting a chance to play the violin, trumpet, trombone, flute and a variety of percussion instruments. As an extra treat, the pupils got to play ‘Air Drums’ on the AeroDrums, an invisible drum kit..

Year 8 are studying the colourful music of Brazil and the pupils are going to write a Samba piece and have their very own traditional Samba Festival in class at the end of term. Year 9 are continuing a unit on the music of Africa! They spent the last half term banging on their drums and writing African style drum beats..

They will spend this term building their own functional Djembe Drums! The Learning Centre E Base students have been having fun with guitars..

In Dance the Year 8s have been working hard on devising their own warm-up routine..

Lumenus are now completing the final work for their WJEC accreditation, this week they have been working on using their bodies in a dramatic context..

Our Key Stage 5 students have been having fun preparing for our Summer show, Aladdin and Jasmine..

We’re running out of room now to show you some of the work our young people have been doing in Art, but here are just a few pictures..

This week Mrs Lamb signed a Head Teacher Partnership and Consent Agreement and New Bridge School is now fully enrolled for the BBC News School Report 2017. We will let you know soon about the exciting plans Mr Bright and his ICT team have for our school and how we will be taking part in this project – you can see how we contributed to last year’s event here.

At New Bridge we endeavour to provide students with the appropriate independence and living skills they will need for their future. Mrs Gillett and Mrs Burston would like to mention their Year 12 cooking group who have taken part in some fantastic lessons this term. Although this is a large group and space can be limited in the kitchen, the students are always polite and patient, and support each other in various tasks and activities. Well done to the following students; Rezaul, Shihab, Sarah, Maryam, Jordon, Kieron, Leah W., Jake and Jason who are, as our esteemed ex colleague Mr Farrell always said, “getting it!” – Miss Allsion can confirm that this week’s chilli dish was delicious! Miss Allison would like to remind the Hortus students, however, that their ‘Cooking with Hortus’ feature is missing this week and she is getting hungry!

We often get the opportunity to pop into lessons to see how well our young people are doing and on occasion we are lucky enough to take part as happened today when Miss Allison joined Miss Sylvester’s Year 14 Employability lesson where she was asked some insightful questions about her previous role as an illustrator and artist. At New Bridge our focus is firmly on future destinations and preparing our young people for life after they leave us. As you are aware, many of our students are already involved in work experience placements and Miss Sylvester’s class have been looking at a range of jobs and the skills and qualities required. Miss Allison is looking forward to more probing questions from the students next week. She will also be holding interviews with Miss Evans’ Life Skills students and we’ll let you know how they get on.

On Monday’s staff training day, we were inspired by a seminar from the renowned Professor Barry Carpenter who has worked for over 30 years in the field of special education. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. Since completing that research, Barry has overseen the development of a national project developing online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities.’ Barry spoke about the difference we can make to the young people in our care and the positive effect we can have on their wellbeing. We continued this theme in our Learning Centre assembly when we spoke about trying to ensure that everything we say and do has a positive impact on those around us, and about showing care and compassion to others. We are always amazed at the way our young people help, support and encourage each other, it’s one of the privileges of being part of the New Bridge family.

Mr Bright also spoke in assembly about e-Safety, something we have been particularly focusing on recently. He will be working with the Learning Centre students on a range of issues over the next few weeks and we will keep you informed. You can find out more about the work we do around e-Safety here but if you ever need advice on any e-Safety issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Finally, Miss Allison would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Learning Centre for the flowers and present she received for her special birthday (although she was not impressed with Mr Barker asking the students whether they thought it was her 40th, 50th or 60th!!)

Have a lovely 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