17 Jun

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Graham
Well, what an end to the week!

Can I again apologise for having to close both New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy today. It’s not a decision I like to make or one that sits easily with me!

I received a call first thing this morning from our premises team when I was on my way into school. At 6.30am we were aware that both schools had no power and we managed to secure an early morning appointment for an engineer from Electricity North West to attend the site at 7.30am to (as we thought) reboot our substation. We were hoping for a reasonably quick fix but at 8.00am it became apparent that we were looking at a potentially more significant problem and by 9.00am our worst fears were realised when we were informed that the external high voltage power supply that feeds our substation had been damaged somewhere on Hollins Road. The repair, we were told, was likely to take at least 4/5 hours. We could have managed with limited lighting and water for a very short period but I couldn’t ensure our young people would be safe for this amount of time. At that point I had no choice but to make arrangements for the children and young people to be collected and I would like to thank you all for your understanding. This is the second time we have had a power cut (that was out of our control) this year. I will be making a representation to Electricity North West to explain the disruption that these situations cause and the potential risks that they can pose.

On a more positive note, we have held a number of our Pastoral Board meetings this week. The heads of each year or key stage meet with myself and members of our governing bodies to report on the pastoral progress of all our children and young people. We discuss attendance, behaviour, good news stories and any other areas that are causing a barrier to learning. It is always humbling to hear about the support systems that are in place to ensure the children and young people can access high quality learning experiences. Our staff reform agenda has ensured that we have pastoral managers, counsellors, intervention workers and a myriad of colleagues who successfully support the well-being of our children.

Governors are always amazed that our schools are now expected to manage and support complex health needs, work intensively with many families and support the many social based issues that some of our children come into school with. One of our latest challenges relates to the use of mobile phones and social media. Can I ask families to be particularly vigilant and take an active interest in the sites that the children are visiting. We are becoming increasingly concerned about a small number of sites that are setting out to, potentially, exploit our children. We have some guidance for families here.

I would like to finish by congratulating our E Base students on completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s residential challenge. This is the first time these groups of our young people have taken part in the DofE Award Scheme and it is an incredible achievement for them. Brilliant!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Graham