02 Oct

Graham
Last week I ended my blog by wishing the England rugby team the best of luck when they played the Welsh last weekend. On Wednesday I had a meeting with Clare John, our previous (Welsh) deputy head, and I didn’t live it down!!

It’s been a busy old week.

I have been discussing with a number of schools in and around the North West how we can further collaborate to improve the provision for our children and young people in Oldham. We had a meeting in Oldham to take these thoughts further.

Jenny Dunne and Geoff Howard have been supporting Kingfisher School with a peer to peer review. This new initiative involves Geoff and Jenny working together with other senior staff from the host school and an experienced inspector to review an area within the school. It helps give the host school an objective perspective of that area of school life. New Bridge is being reviewed in a couple of weeks and I will let you know the outcome.

Our open evening at Hollinwood Academy attracted well over 20 families. The young people had left out their workbooks for the visitors to see and the level of attainment surprised some families. It didn’t surprise me though, I know we have brilliant staff who expect the best from the children! Can I thank all the staff who stayed behind to offer families a real insight into our work. I would also like to thank Thomas and Ryan for being our uniform models and for answering the questions that families asked them too – they were brilliant!

On Thursday I had the privilege of spending the day showing a visitor, Dr Denise Clark, from Melbourne, Australia around all our sites.

I started at New Bridge. Denise was amazed at the level of independence and maturity shown by the young people. She also commented on the enthusiasm and skills of the staff she met and observed.

Over to Hollinwood Academy where we saw our reception and Key Stage 1 children in their new dining room – the children act as though they have been in the building for 5 years not 5 weeks.

A short journey up Coal Pit Lane ensured we arrived in time to have lunch with the students at our Learning Centre. Roger and Dawn took over and showed Denise our facilities and she had the opportunity to sit and chat to our young people.

We just had time to visit the hospital to meet our Bridging the Gap students. They told Denise about their placements in the laundry, cleaning services, portering, in the café and on the wards. Callum was extremely proud of his work in the café.

We finished our long day at Horizons. Most of the young people had left for the evening but Daniel was able to outline our plans for Future Finders. I have a meeting scheduled with our legal teams next week to work through the leasing contract for Medtia and I will keep you updated.

It was wonderful to check out all our sites in such a short space of time. What came through with every member of staff and with every young person we met was the passion of the staff and the enthusiasm of the young people – magnificent!

Other highlights of the week include the soft play centre being handed over by the builders and our wheelchair football team’s first ever training session in our brand new ball hall on Wednesday evening.

Come on England – let’s beat the Aussies (no hard feelings, Dr Clark)! Have a great weekend,

Graham