What a week! Was it really only 3 days? This week has been both challenging and incredibly exciting and is one of those weeks where I really do love my job!
On Monday morning we had our coffee morning. It was lovely to see attendance improve again and it was great to get to chat with so many of our families. Mrs Nelson’s cakes also went down a storm!
On Tuesday evening our Digit4ll students presented on their business ‘UnITe’ at the Oldham Young Enterprise awards where they competed against high schools from across the borough! I am absolutely delighted to inform you that they hit the jackpot and were awarded Young Enterprise ‘Company of the Year’! You can read more about the evening here. It is such a huge accolade and they will now compete in the Greater Manchester awards and, if successful, could once again be heading down to London to the national awards! What an inspiration they are to us all! I for one am so pleased that I invested in the company at the beginning of the year, I hear I have already made 600% on my investment! I just wish I’d put more in the pot! Well done to you all..
On Wednesday we participated in an inspection by the Department for Education which will inform whether or not we can open as a new independent college in September. I, along with many of the senior team, worked incredibly hard to prepare for this visit and we were thrilled at how well it went. The inspector was extremely impressed by our innovative provision at New Bridge and the students did a wonderful job of expressing the benefits of our Employability pathways. The inspector will now make a recommendation to a panel in two weeks time and then we will hear the final outcome on whether or not our application has been successful. I will keep you posted!
On Wednesday our Digit4ll and Activ8 students took part in our ‘City of Tomorrow’ day, an event which took place across all our schools. The students were challenged to design their own city of the future and they thoroughly enjoyed planning and creating models as part of this activity..
On Thursday I was invited to talk at the local Learning Disability Partnership Board. In recently released national statistics, Oldham is one of the worst performing areas nationally to support adults with learning difficulties into employment. Obviously with the work I and my team have done over the past 9 years, this concerns and shocks me greatly! Especially as colleagues from across the UK visit us regularly as we are regarded nationally as an organisation that sets the benchmark in this area. These figures relate to adults who are known to adult social care and don’t offer a true reflection of our successes locally. I am working with the council to challenge this data but also to improve the way in which we support adults with learning disabilities into employment. We are hoping in the very near future to launch a Supported Employment Service to adults of all ages within Oldham. The model will very much replicate that of Future Finders but will be funded though individualised budgets. This to me is the way forward and is extremely exciting. Those fortunate to have had the opportunity to progress through our Employability pathways have gained so much from them, with many moving into employment and independent volunteering, but there are many others in the town who just didn’t have those opportunities available to them when they were at school and college. As always I will keep you updated on how this develops in the coming months via our blog.
Last week Mr Monaghan, our Pastoral Lead, left for ventures new in sunny Devon. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of our families and students in wishing Mr Monaghan the best of luck in his new job, you have had a huge impact on us all and you will be greatly missed.
I would like to finish my blog today by thanking the senior staff, job coaches and students for all of their hard work and support this term. You are wonderful and I wish you all a fantastic and restful Easter.
Director of Employment & Co Head of Site at Medtia Square
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