13 Jan

Graham
A number of ‘good news’ stories have come across my desk this week. I was delighted to see an email from Daniel at Future Finders earlier in the week. As many of you are aware, Daniel collectively manages our post 16 and post 19 initiatives based at Medtia Square with John and Richard.

The email referred to Oliver who had successfully completed an initial work experience/volunteering placement at our Atrium Café. The most rewarding element within this story is that a few weeks ago I sat in a review meeting with Oliver’s family who shared our ambition to allow him to take this opportunity. Oliver is a young man who has spent his time with us in our more discrete groupings and for us to be able to have this ambition for (yet another) group of learners is just phenomenal. The progress that Oliver has made with us will be the new benchmark for this group of learners. Well done, Oliver, I look forward to reading about your achievements in the future.

Linked to this is the wonderful news that young people from our Interactive Bases are working toward the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. What all these achievements are telling me is that we should constantly evaluate our expectations for our learners. If we continue to be ambitious, our young people will rise to the challenge.

I have had some brilliant news about a couple of young people who have just sat some external examinations. We have had successes at New Bridge with them achieving high level English GCSE passes. This ‘hot’ news comes on the back of one of our former New Bridge students being offered a university place.

We have been doing lots of development work down at Spring Brook Upper School. Christine and Alison are working alongside both the staff teams and the young people to try and present an improved curriculum offer that the young people want to engage with. I am absolutely certain they will succeed.

As I’m presently based at Hollinwood Academy I get to see the brilliant work the staff are involved with there. It’s fascinating to see the ‘thinking’ the staff undertake outside the usual school hours; I’m a reasonably early starter but I’m one of the last in at 7.45am. Likewise, it’s not unusual to see the staff staying late into the evening making resources, writing reports and debating with colleagues. You can be assured that they are always working on how they can collectively improve what we do for our children and young people.

The threat of snow over the last couple of days has thrown up its usual issues and I would like to thank families for their ongoing support when we face these challenges. Our Group always tries to keep our schools and provisions open to avoid disruption to the young people and yourselves. I think I have only closed any of our schools for a couple days in the 10+ years we have been open. It is therefore disappointing to hear from our Heads of Site that a very, very small number of parents became frustrated and communicated inappropriately with colleagues. If any parents or carers have a problem with how we operate on these rare occasions when the weather disrupts us all, it would be helpful if they could ring me directly (all staff have my mobile number) and I will happily provide the context, rather than be rude to staff. Sorry to moan.

Let’s see what the weekend brings – it must be a Bury win!!!

Graham