18 Dec

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GrahamWhat a wonderful time we have had in all our establishments this week.

The children at Hollinwood Academy have held their first Nativity – with our very own brass band. It was absolutely wonderful and there wasn’t a dry eye in our theatre.

The young people at New Bridge School had their traditional Christmas dinner. 400 for turkey, please!

The students at the Learning Centre have experienced mixed feelings, with parties and celebrations followed by emotional goodbyes to both Roger and Steve.

A group of young people at Horizons visited the Christmas markets. They are all presently preparing for our move to the centre of town.

Throughout this term we have been encouraged by various people to reflect on our last 10 years of operation. There was a lovely piece in the Oldham Chronicle last week (click here if you missed it).

New Bridge first opened in 2005 with 260 children and young people and 160 staff based at 2 sites. Presently we support just short of 500 children and young people and employ 280 staff over 4 sites. We have secured almost £20 million of buildings, as assets, into the borough. I believe that, as we continue to grow, it is important to remember some of the people who have inspired us on our journey.

I’d like to take this opportunity to reminisce about one of my colleagues who sadly is no longer with us. Dave Leach was the Head Teacher at Marland Fold. Dave was a natural leader who had a clear and definite vision for the young people in Oldham. He had a super relationship with staff and families. He was always fair minded. Importantly, he kept everything in proportion. Above all, Dave was passionate about Oldham and celebrated the successes of every single child.

When we were considering amalgamating our schools, Dave was the first one to understand how a purpose-built school would enhance the life chances for our children. He motivated and supported staff throughout the process of change and he encouraged us to take risks and be bold with our collective vision.

Fast forward to the present and we are still striving for excellence. Many of Dave’s characteristics can be seen throughout our Group – our passion for each child to progress, our vision to ensure they have the very best facilities to enable learning, our culture of nurture and support, our belief in empowering all our colleagues to develop their skills and our hunger for Oldham to be at the forefront of an ambitious agenda for every one of our learners.

Dave is only one of many, many colleagues who have helped our Group to become the organisation it is today. Many have retired or moved onto other roles, and sadly some are no longer with us. However, each one of them has made their own unique contribution to the New Bridge story. 280 staff are presently engaged in their own personal journeys. Every single one of them makes a difference to our children’s lives. They all go over and above on a daily basis. They inspire, create and care for all our children and young people. Many work in the background to ensure our operations are efficient. They are a remarkable team who deserve a well-earned rest. They should never forget the difference they make. They should never forget they have the best job in the world. Most of all, they should never forget they work for the children and young people of Oldham.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff, both past and present, for their dedication and professionalism. Without you …… where would we be?

Have a great Christmas and a peaceful New Year,

Graham