15 May

This week I wanted to start the blog by thanking each and every one of you for your continued support over this very difficult time. I know that everything is very different but I know from the feedback from the staff that having contact with the staff team for yourself and the students is vital. I would like to draw your attention to the following update from Graham:

As you will be aware, this week the government has announced the aspiration for more children, in mainstream schools, to return to school sites.  Mainstream schools will be expected to support more children, in years R, YR1 and YR6 from the 1st June.  The guidance for all our schools is different and outlined below.

In relation to Special Schools, the government state:

‘Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools will work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups.’

Special Schools are not expected to work to the same timelines as mainstream schools.  Many of our children have additional and specific needs that need to be particularly considered.   I can assure you that eventual safe re-opening of our schools continues to be our aim – but we need your support to co-produce these next steps.

We have spent the past few weeks working on a comprehensive strategy that relates to our ‘New Schooling’ offer, how this might look and how this will impact children, families and staff. We are hoping that by next Wednesday, we will be in a position to contact all of our families to consult upon this strategy and to get your collective views on how we move forward as a community. It has never been more important to work together to ensure that we get this right for our children.

We will however ensure that our children and young people continue to access our outstanding and personalised virtual learning offer. The Trust is working tirelessly to ensure that any decisions made for the future are the safe and right decisions for our staff, children and young people. Ultimately, our overarching priority continues to be that:

“We will maintain and secure the health and safety of every single child, young person and member of staff.”

We currently continue to have a very small number of young people attending schools that are children of key workers and these arrangements will continue. We are well aware that many other families are experiencing particular challenges. The last thing we want to do is place families under more pressure.  We’ve got to keep you, our children and staff safe.

Take care,

Graham

The last couple of weeks’ blogs have shown that even though our students are not in college, they are still continuing to make great progress with work. This week I hand over to our Pre Internship Pathway and our English and Maths deliverers, starting with our job coaches Nicola and Tisha..

Over the past few weeks our students have tried hard to keep busy and active. It’s not been easy for them! It has been difficult with them not being able to see their friends and family or go to the gym or out with their PAs. However, they have carried on!

Ethan, Sarah and Kieran have completed their student views for their annual reviews and it’s fantastic to see that they all want to continue with their work placements..

Nathan and Jade have started to work on their personal statements and speeches for their Record of Achievements files..

Not only have they been doing all this work, they have also continued working hard on their employability work. Tish has been working with Ethan and Alan and here is an example of the work Ethan has done with her..

Great work Ethan, Keep it up!

It’s not just Ethan who has done some great work, Nathan, Sarah and Jade have finished their customer service units and even managed to have a giggle while we checked the documents. (Thanks Nathan for always making me smile and yes, I do think Captain America would have to stay at home like the rest of us!)

Well done and thank you Nathan and Sarah!

I also asked the students to type a thank you letter to a key worker or loved one and to design a poster of all the things they are looking forward to doing when they get the chance. Here is a snapshot of Jade’s letter to her mum and her PowerPoint..

Jade has been nominated for a positive reward and Worker of the Week for always trying hard to complete her work that has been set. Well done Jade, I’m so impressed with your work ethic and determination to get your work done, even though you don’t like using your iPad.

Alan has been busy bike riding across the local estate in Chadderton helping his mum to deliver some food items to acquaintances in his local community that have been struggling to get to the shops during lockdown. Alan said ‘I have been all over, helping my mum to deliver some items and keeping busy’. 

Alan and Ethan have been working hard on remembering the customer service skills they achieved on placement at David Lloyd, Manchester North.bThey have been reflecting on the customer skills learnt they learnt which would help towards their customer service unit for Employability. Here is some evidence work completed at home..

We have been continuing to keep in touch with our employers during this strange time and I would like to share this personal message from senior members of staff of the David Lloyd, Manchester North F&B team, Megan & Georgina..

Now over to our job coach Colin..

It’s been a crazy challenging time during lockdown. I’m sat writing my blog after a full day of ‘Watch this, watch this, watch this, watch this, can I have this, can I have that, what you doing, I’m bored, what can I do, watch this, I’m bored, what’s for dinner what’s for tea!’

This seems to be an ongoing theme! Is Medtia back open yet?!?!

Regular contact with parents has indicated that our students are coping amazingly well with the lack of routine that’s normally in place. When attending college, placements take up most of the working week so this is all a little bit different. Our students have been able to take iPads home and keep in regular contact with job coaches and other staff members who have been sending work and offering support when it has come to completing portfolio work for the employability qualification, Maths and English.

Apart from work I know our students have been keeping busy with spending time on PlayStations and Xboxs, bike rides, watching Netflix, spending time with family, walking pets and helping around the house! Oh also not forgetting afternoon naps, so I’m told!

We have had regular contact with our placement providers who have expressed how much they are missing our students and the amazing work they do when at placement.

Stay safe and hopefully see you soon! You are all doing amazing!

Mrs Hartley has our English Department update..

There has been so much chaos and confusion these last couple of months; it feels as though we are living in a dystopian novel. However, there has been one constant throughout all of this – literature. Whether it be a newspaper or a news broadcast, we have all been reading and that is exactly what we’ve been focusing on with the KS5 Medtia students.

Through these bewildering times, we at New Bridge Medtia have striven to create some normalcy for our students, to ensure we are supporting them with their academic progress and most importantly their wellbeing. In the English department we have encouraged our students with an array of engaging pieces of work to keep them focused and engaged: Mrs. Robinson has kept her groups very busy with her Britain’s Got Talent project, although the BTG season isn’t for everyone, our students have enjoyed writing a range of non-fiction pieces; honing their letter writing skills. The students’ letters to Susan Boyle exemplify their progress with writing for a purpose and show a range of skills developed by our learners. They have all done an amazing job! Well done guys!

With my groups we have been working extremely hard at refining our GCSE Language skills, focusing on our creative fiction and non-fiction writing. I have been recording weekly lectures, looking at the key skills and work the students need to do (this is a lot easier said than done, haha!)

The KS5FS1 group have been making excellent progress with their writing skills. One of our last pieces was to explore a Cambodian market (in a bid to escape the mundane reality). Our students here focused on exploring how to write effective descriptive writing pieces focusing on the senses and using language to paint a picture for the reader. They have all done a terrific job on this and have all made fantastic progress. We are all so proud of them.

They have also been reading a range of fiction to identify, analyse and ‘magpie’ writers’ methods of conveying emotions and how they craft their prose to keep the reader gripped. In the last piece, I thought it fitting to read a story about a woman being stuck in a room and not being allowed out, Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is an excellent short story crammed with effective uses of language. After reading this the students wrote responses exploring how the characters were portrayed in the text..

In our KS5FS2 and EMPFS1 group we have been focusing on our engagement with non-fiction texts. With this group we have moved on from Lord of the Flies and onto Crime and Punishment, our theme at the minute being Jack the Ripper. We have been concentrating on our ability to write non-fiction pieces, namely, opinion pieces. The students have been using “Mrs. Hartley’s Case Files” to look at the evidence of the crimes committed and piecing together different pieces of information leading up to them writing an opinion article on who they think Jack the Ripper was. These students have made exceptional progress and have developed a huge range of skills. We are extremely proud of them.

In our Future Finders and EMPFS2 groups we have been focusing on marketing products and writing to advertise and persuade. These students have been letting their creative juices flow by creating and developing an idea for a new product to market and sell. We are currently in the development phase of the project and our working on looking at unique selling points of our products and considering how we will use them in our marketing. A key area we have focused on is persuasive techniques, looking at A.F.O.R.R.E.S.T and how we can use these techniques in our writing.

Overall, the English department have been working extremely hard at providing at home education for our learners and the students have been engaging with this extremely well. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents/carers/guardians out there who have been encouraging the continued learning at home. Our students are so important to us and we want to provide every means to support them. They have been working hard and doing extremely well; we are all extremely proud of them for all they are achieving. Well done guys!!

Mr Holland has news from the Maths department..

During the lockdown, we have been able to offer mathematical learning and revision experiences to all of our students.

Our Showbie groups have been active, with some students taking every opportunity and asking for more work to be sent.

Despite the fact that public exams are cancelled this year, the work, being set, by Wendy and Martin, is designed to allow our students to practice, reinforce and revise, so that previously acquired skills are properly assimilated.

I have enjoyed several telephone calls and Showbie discussions, with students, who have realised this and want to make the most of their time away from college. Virtually all of my students have had some interaction during the lockdown period. We would urge parents to encourage your children to try and ensure that they try to do ‘A little maths, each day’.

It is this practice and reinforcement of their skills that will enable them to achieve their potential when we are able to restart college.

Stay safe, look after each other,

Before I leave, next week is ‘Kindness Week’ as Mrs Nelson explains..

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you are all keeping well and active as much as you can in this difficult time . Hopefully it won’t be too long before we start to meet you all again, talk about what all this has been about and how best to support each other in moving forward.

Next week May 18th – 24th is World Mental Health Week and this time it is around KINDNESS. I have put together some tasks and activities should you wish to complete them. It would be really nice if you could share your work with staff by emailing it to them so we can share with each other.

What is mental wellbeing and why it is so important?

  • Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act and also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make everyday choices.
  • Mental health is important from early childhood to adulthood. Mental wellbeing is about feeling good abut yourself and being able to function well in everyday situations.
  • This doesn’t mean that you have to feel happy all the time but being able to cope with challenges we face in everyday living, making the most of opportunities and feeling a sense of purpose.
  • It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious and negative but these feelings need to be managed and find strategies to promote good mental health. Studies have shown that there are 5 steps to improve mental wellbeing these are:
    – Connecting with those around you
    – Being active and physically healthy
    – Learning new skills
    – Giving to others and being mindful.

I hope to see you all soon and don’t forget, be kind!

Finally, I want to thank my fantastic staffing team who have worked extremely hard during this difficult time. They have stepped up, supported our students on site and those working from home. They have completed additional work to support the college and supported each other.

Take care and stay safe,

Jaina and the Team

You can view our previous blog entries here

News from the Learning Centre and New Bridge School can be found here