12 Feb

We have fast approached the end of this half term, in which we have established a new way of working. Using iPads to engage our learners, Showbie has supported teaching staff to teach ‘live’ lessons and we have strived to ensure that students have continued to make progress.

Last week I sent out a parent questionnaire to gather your views on how the new remote way of working has gone. I am working with the senior leadership team (SLT) on site to ensure all your views are collated – these will help us to ensure that changes are made to help all our learners. Thank you to all parents that have completed these, your views are valued.

I mentioned SLT – the college has continued to grow and this half term we have strengthened the leadership team on site. Our Senior Leads take on key roles; Anne-Marie has taken the role of Senior Lead for Employability at the college – as you all know, the aim and drive for all the learners on site is to work towards achieving our end destination of ‘Being Independent’. Many of the learners who move to the college have the drive and ambition to gain paid employment. Anne-Marie will oversee the curriculum coverage for all those on the Pre Internship Pathway, on Bridging the Gap and those on the supported internship Pathway with Future Finders. Our next lead, Louise Preston has taken the role of Senior Lead over the Pathways – Louise will oversee the work of Lumenus, Activ8 and Digit4ll. Louise and Anne-Marie will work together to ensure consistency and continuity across all learners at the college. Finally, Nicola Nelson has taken the role of Senior Lead of Pastoral. Nicola will continue her work with outside agencies, working on admissions and transitions, supporting families, monitoring behaviour and attendance. Nicola will also take a lead on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all students and staff at the college. The strength of these three staff will help to support the work that we do at the college, ensuring that we have the best possible pathways and outcomes for our learners.

This week I hand over to Digit4ll and our Employability groups to share what they have been up to, starting with our job coach Nicola..

I would like to start my part of the blog by congratulating Saaim, Summer, Tayla and Kevin for working through 6 really tough weeks of a new term. It has been a very difficult time for them, and myself and Tish are so proud with how well our students have engaged with their remote learning and managing their well-being.

They have all tried hard, dealing with the challenges that have come from working remotely. They have completed their mock exams for English and Maths, had changes to their timetables, experienced new learning methods (flipped learning). All without the social interactions they would normally have with their friends and staff if they were attending college.

To help support our students’ personal relationships and their well-being, we have started to have a weekly group video chat. Our students can get together and have a catch up. This has been positively welcomed by our pre-interns and it’s something we will continue after half term.

We have also started to look at the “small things” that can help support and improve our mental health and well-being. This has included identifying things and people that we are grateful for. We have also looked at how funny memes or inspiring quotes can make us feel better or motivate us to keep going.

In Employability, my group have continued to work on their customer service unit and have focused on the importance of customer service and the importance of positive first impressions. I have been so impressed with how well presented and detailed their responses have been when completing the work. Here are a few examples of our students work..

Before I end my part of the blog, myself and Tish would like to wish a Happy 18th Birthday to Saaim. It’s a shame that we all couldn’t all be together to celebrate your special day. We will just have to save the cake and chocolates for another time.

Now over to Colin for news of our other Pre Interns..

And it’s the end of another term – we made it! Not to say it hasn’t been tough and I won’t lie to you by saying this is very close to how it finished!

It’s been another unbelievably tough and testing term once again due to the lockdown. Remote learning, remote learning, remote learning has been the main focus of the day but once again our students have shown resilience and copious amounts of motivation and a willingness to learn by attending lessons through Showbie.

Employability – This term has had an intensive focus on completing the customer service unit, understanding its importance, effects and also how this can be put into practice when hopefully the world returns to some normality and we can once again attend work placements!!

Maths – Our students have been learning and recapping on lots of different topics and completing calculator and non calculator mock tests. Mr Holland has been supporting the students to gain a better understanding on how to answer test related questions to gain the best marks possible.

English – Over this term Miss Asbury has been teaching about climate change and the effects it’s having on the world we live in. From cows pumping to the ice caps melting, all this alongside coronavirus – crazy! Students have also completed mock tests this term to boost understanding, confidence and gain valuable support on how to answer questions to gain the best marks available.

I’m going to leave you with a little 30 second video that one of the students has done to quickly explain how he’s found remote learning.


Even though he says he has struggled to sometimes motivate himself, that’s okay because we ALL have had our struggles during this time! He, like the others, should be proud of how well he has engaged, adapted and completed tasks set.

Enjoy your week off and I will be back to ringing and texting you all on Tuesday 23rd bright and early to get yourselves back online! In the meantime, chill out and enjoy the break. See you soon!

Mr Slater has an update for us from Digit4ll..

Due to the current situation, the last few weeks have mainly consisted of the remote learning for the curriculum side of things. However, things have also been interesting on the Enterprise side of things, as we have been keeping in touch with some of our suppliers who provide us with components such as ink and wax for our products – only to find that they themselves, as professional businesses, are struggling. This led us to have some interesting conversations within the Enterprise such as do we need to look for different suppliers in case the current ones are unable to continue carrying enough stock to supply us and the other businesses that rely on them? Some of the students decided that this would be the obvious choice.

However, some students suggested that without our support, these local businesses will definitely go under and that we should continue to support them by using their services for as long as possible. In that case, it’s important that we research other suppliers so that we could have a backup just in case! But we surely need to let our local suppliers know that we are in full support of them as a loyal customer of theirs!?

The debate goes on so we’ll let you know the outcome very soon!

Finally, can I thank the whole of the college staffing team. This half term has been challenging. You have had to find a new way to teach and ensure that the students you teach make progress. You have all ensured that families have had calls home, work has been set, supported learners on and off site and helped learners through ‘mock’ exams. For this I thank you.

Please all try and have a restful break – have some screen free time.

Take care


Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can view our previous blog entries here

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