09 Jul

Welcome to what is nearing the end of one very challenging year.  Even with all the challenges our students and staff have faced, it has been great to see so much determination and hard work going on in the college in the last couple of weeks.  I spoke a couple of weeks ago of students sitting exams – you will hear from Mr Holland and Ms Asbury today as they thank the students for how hard they have all worked!

The pandemic has definitely not stopped our leaners.  As a way of celebrating the strength of the college team (students and staff), our Activ8 team have planned a Health Festival for the 20th July.  All the college, including staff, will be spending a morning competing in all different sporting events.  We will then have a celebration event in the afternoon for all our leavers.  I am sorry that this year we won’t be able to invite our families but I have asked the very talented Digit4ll team to record and photograph the event – these will be shared with you all.

Miss Asbury has an update for us from the English department..

When the teacher becomes the student….

The students have completed so many exams recently, so we’ve been playing some Speaking and Listening games this week and celebrating our achievements! We played ‘Celebrity Soup’: a game with three rounds where students have to describe the person on their card without saying their name. Round two gets super tricky as students have to guess the person, having had only one word as a clue! Round three, you can only use mime and body language; no words at all!

I told the students to choose people that everyone would know to give all players a fair chance. I was thinking they’d choose people like ‘The Queen’ etc. but, yet again, our students surprised me with their unique knowledge and perspectives on the world. The students wrote down Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist and author of ‘The Art of War’ and several of our students could quote directly from this book. I listened with intrigue! They shared their opinions on their favourite quotes and the level of detail was impressive. We also had ‘Stephen Hawking’, ‘Alexander the Great’, ‘Alan Turing’ and ‘Julius Caesar’. I couldn’t believe the level of factual detail our students know about these people and their general knowledge was amazing. Their confidence soared as they acted it all out; it was so good to laugh and release tension at the end of a challenging year!

It taught me a valuable lesson as a teacher; the importance of sometimes sitting back and letting the learning magic happen around you, without the need to control everything that happens in the classroom. For those who know me well, I don’t often do this!

Thank you to all the students who have taught me several lessons about life and teaching this week. Our students are the BEST and have so much knowledge, creativity and humour to share with the world.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? (Dr. Seuss)

Lumenus have enjoyed a very busy week as Miss Begum explains..

This week in Lumenus it has been a jam packed week, we have done so much! Last Tuesday we had our regular school council meeting, hosted by Mrs Sarwar. In our Smart School Council (SSC) meeting we were joined by a special guest, Catherine Williams, who is one of our governors. We were very excited that she could join us. Our SSC leader was Shaun and our note taker was Connor. One of the questions in our meetings was “What do you think of the Olympic Games going ahead in Tokyo, Japan next month?”. There were 4 options to choose from. Majority of the groups chose option 1 which was “Feel it’s a risk of the infection spreading.”


Our debate question last week was “Is it better to have knowledge or imagination?”. And as you can imagine this sparked a debate amongst our class. We had some really good questions and answers within our debate. Mrs Williams really enjoyed jetting everyone (virtually). Mrs Sarwar would like to thank Mrs Williams for joining us in our debate.

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Moving on to Mrs Sarwar’s English lessons. We have been studying the topic ‘Come Dine with Me’ which has been so much fun this term! Although I must say it does make our tummies rumble when we talk about food period 1 on a Tuesday. Mrs Sarwar’s class are creating menus for their classmates which consist of their favourite foods and drinks. All the students have had so much fun doing this.

Our star students of the lesson were Corey and Imran. They both worked really hard creating their menus. Mrs Sarwar wished that they were open for business so she could taste the lovely food.

During the lesson, Mr Thornton didn’t have much faith in England beating Germany that night. So Mr Thornton placed a bet to say that IF England win the match, Mr Thornton will buy everyone in our class a box of chocolate, EACH! Mr Thornton really didn’t know what he was letting himself in for, as that night, England won! Mrs Sarwar and her English class marched into Activ8 with posters chanting “it’s coming home”. Everyone had fun protesting.

Mr Thornton was a man of his word and got everyone a box of chocolates in. (I don’t think he’s going to comment of England’s game on Sunday now).

That’s all for now everyone, hope you have a lovely weekend. ~ Mrs Sarwar and Miss Begum.

Now Mr Holland has news from the Maths department..

With the ‘exam season’ over, it has been time to try and look at some more fun aspects of Maths whilst studying probability. We have used games of chance, to help explain how probability works. Students have had the chance to test theories in practical situations by playing ‘Play your Cards Right’ or other games of chance, involving dice and predictions of heads or tails. Dependant on what level of study the students are at, different mathematical explanations have been discussed and calculated.

Whilst considering this, we have also looked at the betting industry and pointed out the pitfalls. Despite my giving some prizes, we modelled as if students had paid to play and pointed out how much better off I could have been, if I had been running this on a ‘pay to play’ basis. We felt this was apt, as the current Euro championships appear to be wall to wall betting adverts. I am often delighted and amazed by what our students know and how they find ways to explain what can be very difficult concepts.

It’s been another year where our students have kept us ‘on our toes’ and worked hard. I am proud of what they have learned and achieved. I’d also like to pay tribute to Shamima Begum, Mike Newton, Matt Slater, Rizwana Sarwar, Charlie Thornton, Marcia Moss, Nicola Shirley, Faith Jackson and Sarah McDonald, who all work as Teaching Assistants and to the extra backing of the Employability Team; Anne-Marie Thompson, Colin Morrison, Nicola Kirkland and Genna Timewell, who have all put in extra time to ensure that our students receive the most enriching learning experiences they can in Mathematics. I thank them and I thank you, as parents and carers, for all of your support too. Have a fabulous summer break. 

Finally, Mrs Sarwar has details of an RSE workshop earlier this week..

Over the past few weeks, in the RSE lessons , the Digit4ll, Lumenus and Activ8 Pathways have been looking at the different types of contraception that is available. All groups have also looked at sexually transmitted infections and diseases, known as STIs and STDs.

Mr Holland and Mrs Joubert’s group had a special guest come into College to deliver this workshop, Ellen Weedon, who has previously worked for Brook Sexual Health in Oldham. Brook is the only national charity to offer both clinical sexual health services and education and wellbeing services for young people. They are based in the ICC (Integrated Care Centre) in Oldham. Ellen now works as a Training Officer for Children and Young People, Oldham Safeguarding Children Partnership which is based on Rock Street in Oldham.

Ellen is an experienced practitioner and has worked with young people for many years. Within the Intimate Relationships Unit, Ellen will be covering contraception and STIs. As part of the learner experience, students explored different types of contraception and there were some very curious faces and some giggles along the way! It was a very informative and productive workshop. Ellen will be returning next Tuesday 13th July to deliver this workshop to our Lumenus and Activ8 students who are very much looking forward to meeting Ellen!

Thank you Ellen for all your time and efforts in supporting our students at the College. That’s all from me, for now.. I will keep you updated in our next blog! Have a lovely weekend and stay safe everyone! ~ Mrs Sarwar

Finally, last week I told you about the English teacher interviews that myself and Ms Dunne were doing – I am pleased to report that we appointed a very experienced teacher who has a vast range of experience, from working in mainstream to an enhanced resource provision.  Ms Farrell-Jarvis is going to be a fantastic asset to the college staffing team.

Have a great weekend.  Fingers crossed football comes home!

Jaina and the Team

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