10 Mar

Graham
You can always tell that Spring is on its way when we all get to drive home in daylight. From a school perspective this usually means busy, busy, busy!

This week has been dominated by our trustee and governor boards and I have attended the safeguarding and standards boards for each school. It is fascinating to see how the safeguarding agenda has changed over time within schools. As you can imagine, there is now a huge emphasis on e-safety. As we move into a broader technological society, it is incredibly important that we show all our children the huge benefits that can be gained from using all their electronic devices appropriately. The safeguarding board heard some excellent examples of how we teach the children and young people about the amazing opportunities afforded by mobile phones, tablets and the internet. The Group is keen to support all our families and we will roll out training in due course.

Our standards board monitors the progress that the young people make across both our curriculum and our extra curricular offer. We ensure that every subject area is scrutinised alongside evaluating the impact of our breakfast clubs, our after school clubs and all our holiday club provisions. We were delighted to see the work that has developed on our New Bridge Group Dashboard. Again, we will be rolling out some training and development sessions for families to fully explain how the Dashboard works. We are also looking to use a virtual training package via the website and as I have more news I will let you know.

We held a very well attended open evening about our new free school, the Springboard Project. The consultation process is now underway and if anyone would like to share their views on our latest development, please contact any of our school offices and they will forward you the appropriate document.

On Wednesday I attended a North West Teaching Schools event. We were able to discuss a number of key issues that appear on our sector’s radar including recruitment, academy status and budgets. Last weekend I was delighted to hear the welcome news that the government has released extra money for local authorities to invest in capital projects that increase school places for children with additional needs. I, along with other colleagues, have been working alongside the Department for Education to try to convince them of the overall rise in numbers. Last week I blogged about the increasing demand for places we are seeing in our schools and I think this is pretty much the experience of schools across the North West. Wednesday’s budget announcement extending the Free Schools Programme also offers an opportunity for the best schools to expand and provide more places. We need to tackle the issue of school places for our children in lots of different ways.

Well, it’s the big football derby this weekend, Oldham v. Bury. Hmmm, I’d better not write ‘Come on, you Shakers!’ in case I upset all the Latics fans among both our staff team and our young people!!

Have a great weekend – I predict a 1-1 draw!

Graham