10 Mar

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Goodness, we can’t believe how quickly this week has gone! We know we say that every time but this week really has been packed with events and activities. On Monday we attended our first Safeguarding Board with New Bridge Trustees. We reported on lots of different areas such as attendance, e-Safety, School Council meetings, child protection, buds and buddies, home/school communication and day to day issues. Accountability is very important and needs to be holistic and open and we welcomed the opportunity to share our work with the Governors and Trustees.

Our Year 11 pupils have been offered work experience opportunities with support from members of staff from Mr Wood’s employability team. Small groups will be taking turns to access the First Choice Homes Atrium Café in Oldham which is now run by New Bridge. Initially an element of shadowing some of the existing work force will happen, alongside taking part in some of the jobs. The pupils are all very excited about this and Nathan and Matthew were thrilled to be among the first to get a taste of joining a real workplace..

On Thursday Mrs Bingley, Mr Thompson, Mr Jackson, Ms Akhtar and Ms Hall held a transition morning for Year 6 parents whose young children will be joining us in September. It was lovely to welcome our new families and the morning proved to be a big success. Parents can contact Mrs Bingley to arrange to come into school again at a convenient time and we will be holding another open morning on 20th April for more families.

Following the success of our first Learning Centre Parents Group in January, we have arranged another meeting at 2pm on Wednesday 29th March at the Learning Centre. The parents and carers who attended in January really appreciated the opportunity to share experiences, worries and stories in a relaxed setting, with the added bonus of refreshments also provided! All our Learning Centre parents are invited, everyone is welcome and it would be lovely to see some new faces.

We are always grateful for the support of our families and this close working relationship is vital in enabling our young people to make the progress they do. Where we cannot advise, we work in partnership with colleagues from outside agencies. Running alongside our Parents Group is the opportunity to invite guest speakers in to talk about relevant issues pertinent to many of our parents. We are delighted to announce that Natalie Stenson, Transitions Health Practitioner, is now supporting our Learning Centre students on a weekly basis and parents will be able to meet her at the Learning Centre on 26th April. Natalie covers health assessments for all 16-19 year old students in transition and she also feeds into the Continuing Health Care funding streams and EHC Plans. She will be providing information about these areas and will be available to answer any questions you may have. Letters will be going out shortly about both events and we look forward to seeing you.

Our very own Patrick has been training hard in the pool in preparation for swimming a mile next week to raise funds for MECP2 Duplication UK

If you would like to support Patrick, please get in touch with us and we can send you a sponsor form.

This week we have celebrated National Breakfast Week and at the school site Mrs Lund and the Living Skills department have worked in partnership with our school kitchen staff to provide wholesome, healthy tasters of breakfast products for the children to experience every morning, alongside activities for the young people to take part in. The feedback has been very positive (“It was the first time I had tried porridge – I liked it!”) and many of our youngsters have asked if we could do this every week!

Mr Fieldhouse runs a karate club after school twice a week and he set off bright and early from school last Saturday to take 7 of the pupils to the Spring Grading. All the pupils have worked extremely hard and Mr Fieldhouse was very proud of their success – find out more here.

Our curriculum focus this week is on our Nurture Groups and Mr Meadows would like to show us what a typical day is like for his group..

This week has been National Breakfast week. Each day the pupils have been given tasters of a variety of different breakfast options. Here is a picture of some of the pupils in the Nurture Base happily tucking in to a delicious tub of cornflakes..

Having enjoyed a healthy start to the day, it is important that we warm up our brains. Today, we have been using speed stacks which encourage us to use both sides of our bodies and brains to develop skills..

Next, it was time for our enterprise lesson where we have been focusing on teamwork. The task was for the group to be divided into two teams and to build the highest free standing paper tower. We all had a lot of fun with this activity as well as learning the importance of working together to achieve a goal..

For the last session of the morning, we went into the hall to take part in wheelchair based sporting activities. This gave us all a great opportunity to experience sport from a different perspective..

In the afternoon, we went to Dovestones Reservoir as part of our outdoor education lesson. The pupils had a great time exploring the facilities and learning about the history of Dovestones..

Our Nuture Group students at the Learning Centre have been equally busy, here you can see them hard at work in the kitchen..

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, we will be taking part in fundraising for Comic Relief on Friday 24th March. We are working in partnership with members of the Student Council to plan activities. During our Learning Centre assembly the students agreed to a number of fundraising events including ‘do without your phone for a day!’ (that will be most interesting), a ‘sponsored silence’ (that will be very peaceful!), a bake-off (that will be appreciated!) and ‘throw a sponge at the staff’ (we’re not sure about that one!!). The students will be asked to make a donation on the day of £1 and sponsorship forms will also be going home – please do support our students as they raise funds for this good cause.

Our students continue to succeed in their work placements at the Atrium Café. Our job coach, Charlotte, has been full of praise for all the students but a special mention needs to go out to Faisal who has done particularly well this week..

“Faisal really stepped up to the plate this week when we unexpectedly ended up one staff member down at the café with a large buffet order to prep for! Today he has been on the pot wash, keeping on top of all the dirty pots (there were a lot!), buttered two loaves of bread for buffet sandwiches, made the sandwiches for students at Medtia and shelled eggs. The other two cooks said that they couldn’t have managed without him!”

Well done Faisal, we’re all very proud of you – definitely a worker in the making!! Oliver is continuing to enjoy his placement at The Atrium and this week Charlotte reports..

Oliver has had another great day! Today was the first time he wrapped the cutlery independently without me sat next to him..

Here he is topping up the tea and sugar, he knows when he’s doing this job that he needs to find the right cupboard (out of lots of cupboards, in six different kitchens and the stock isn’t in the same cupboard in every kitchen!) He does this independently with the tea bags and proceeds to top them up and put them back in the right cupboard.

It’s really great to see that Oliver remembers what his jobs involve at the café and the number of prompts he needs are reducing week on week..

Many of our students are now accessing work placements at the café and we are delighted at the valuable skills they are gaining and how well our employability programme is working..

We would like to reassure any visitors to the school that the strange noises coming from the ICT room recently have not been from an animal in distress but have been produced by Mr Bright and his bagpipes!! He has been treating our IB classes to the full Scottish experience in their ICT lessons with his sensory story, “The Loch Ness Monster”. As you can see, Mr Bright has taken his lead role in the story very seriously and has even been complimented on his Scottish accent (although unfortunately his bagpipe playing could still do with some work)..

We’re very pleased that the Oldham Lifelong Learning Service have arranged to run a free ‘Talk English’ course just for our families at the school site. Enrolment will be at 9am on Friday 17th for parents who would like some support – if you have not yet received an invitation and you would like to join the group, please get in touch.

Our Digit4ll students have been busy with orders for Mother’s Day and Easter gifts. There is still time to request a special personalised mug or a beautiful canvas if you hurry, please see our Digit4ll update here for details.

Next week we will be bringing you our eagerly awaited report on last month’s Year 13 Calvert residential – there are some amazing stories and pictures we are looking forward to sharing with you!

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