11 Dec

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Graham
After last week’s criticism I have promised not to mention football (much) in this week’s blog!

Our Christmas celebrations started in earnest this week and it is lovely to see all our sites decorated. This, however, can be a really difficult time for some of our children and young people as the excitement just becomes too much. Our staff have worked incredibly hard this week to try and maintain a balance between the normality of the timetable and the extra events. As always within the Group, we individualise all activities to ensure our children and young people are not set up to fail.

Our celebrations this week have included our festive showcase. I managed to catch some rehearsals and also popped in and out of the performances. Well done to all those who participated! It was lovely to see some old favourites along with some of the new initiatives we are developing – our brass band springs to mind.

I have continued to work with a couple of colleagues on a number of key initiatives this week, one of which is our ‘New Bridge Dashboard’. We are trying to put together a more appropriate progress and assessment model for all our young people. We have now established some draft proposals that we will consult upon in the New Year. Hopefully these will offer all our families and the young people a much more rounded and clearer view of progress and achievement.

I have also been involved in putting the final touches to ‘Knowing our School’. This document evaluates last year’s development plans and relates to all parts of our Group. When writing and collating this evaluation it amazes me how much we have, collectively, achieved. The completed document will be uploaded to our website in the next few days and I would encourage you to read it. As I was writing the document I also thought about Roger Postlethwaite and Steve Pocock who are retiring at the end of next week.

As many of you know, Roger is the Head of our Learning Centre provision. I have had the privilege of working with Roger since I came to Oldham almost 20 years ago. Roger is the man we can always rely on. Roger has a total commitment to the young people and their families in Oldham. In the last 20 years Roger has had a grand total of 5 days off school with illness!! What a remarkable achievement. He has led and been on numerous residentials, he has delivered almost every subject and he has advised and supported many senior colleagues into Headship. Most of all, I think he has been there for every member of staff who has had problems. Roger finds solutions. He has a unique talent of making every young person and member of staff feel valued. He is a very modest man but his influence in developing our amazing organistion should not be underestimated.

Steve is one of our colleagues who works in Hortus, our horticultural pathway. Steve has also been at New Bridge since we opened. Steve joined New Bridge from Marland Fold and he has been instrumental in giving many young people the skills they require to succeed within the world of work. Steve can look back with pride on the number of young people he has supported into employment. He has also found a niche in working with some of our learners who are working at early stages of the curriculum. Steve is also a really talented musician who often organises evening fundraising events for New Bridge.

The New Bridge Group is what it is as a result of Roger and Steve, and many other people who have a shared morale, purpose and ambition for our learners. Roger and Steve have both been superb role models for our younger staff. Their commitment, over many years, should be absolutely celebrated. Thank you. We will miss you.

See, no mention of football! Have a great weekend,

Graham