20 Nov

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GrahamSometimes you get weeks where everything starts to come together – I’m pleased to say this week has been one of those.

At long last, after what appears to be months of negotiations, we have the keys for Medtia Square. Our premises and health and safety teams are presently working hard to ensure that the building is safe and fit for purpose.

As you are aware, we are anticipating that some of our groups will move up to this town centre venue in the New Year. We will be planning around a number of our New Bridge Horizons groups being based at Medtia Square, along with the post 16 students on our Lumenus and Digit4ll pathways, and of course the building will also be the campus for our post 19 Future Finders.

I am aware that many of you will have questions relating to the move and I have arranged an initial meeting for families directly affected next Thursday 26th November at 5pm in the theatre at New Bridge School. I am hopeful that in a couple of weeks’ time I will also be able to offer you the opportunity to look round the new building.

It promises to be an exciting time. I’m looking forward to adding this building to our group to further progress our community and employment strategy.

Thank you to all our families who joined us for our Parents’ Evening at New Bridge School on Tuesday. I trust you were given a full and accurate account of the work your child has completed and you were able to ask questions and speak to the teams who support your child. We are presently running at an impressive 45% of families attending parents’ evenings across all our sites. As always, if you have ideas of how to improve them please drop Karen Bingley, our Parent Partnership Manager, or your child’s Pastoral Manager a quick email with your suggestions.

This week we held our first combined New Bridge School, Hollinwood Academy and New Bridge Horizons’ meeting with our Multi Academy Trust Directors. A number of issues were presented and discussed, including the pressures on school budgets, the new curriculum and assessment arrangements, our teaching school bid and our vision for post 19 provision. Please ensure you contact any of your parent governor representatives should you require any information.

I am presently writing this blog on a train hurtling up the West Coast mainline, after meeting with Edward Timpson, the Minister for Children and Families, in London. I was grateful he was able to meet, and that myself and a couple of other colleagues were able to put forward a perspective relating to post 19 provision and the outcomes for our young people. We discussed a number of issues including the direction of travel for Education, Health and Care Plans, the challenge of offering our young people with more complex needs post 19 provision that is more appropriate, the ‘perceived limitations’ of post 19 funding streams and how we can further increase the numbers of our young people who want to move into paid employment, volunteering and/or live independently. The minister was particularly interested and I am very optimistic that an ongoing dialogue can continue. I hope to set up a visit so that he can see, at first hand, some of our creative solutions here in Oldham.

I’m looking forward to meeting our Learning Centre families next week at Parents’ Evening there. Parents of our Year 13 and Year 14 students who are currently on the Activ8, Digit4ll and Lumenus pathways based at the school site are also welcome to attend (even though you may have been to the school event this week), as staff from both Bridging the Gap and Future Finders will be there to explain the exciting opportunities for next September that your child may wish to find out more about. See you all on Tuesday evening!

Have a great weekend,

Graham