11 Apr

Graham
The end of another term is upon us. I always feel that the Spring term in our schools is our most productive. The children have all got used to their new schools, staff and classmates. They are settled into routines and we don’t get the disruptions associated with the Summer term such as exams, residentials and visits.

In this blog, however, I want to tell you about the work that takes place with our older students and learners. We moved many of our post 16 and post 19 youngsters up to Medtia Square, our new site in the town centre just over a year ago. Since that time we have seen our Horizons provision grow from around 40 young people to well over 80. The most pleasing aspect of our provision is the fact that these young people are involved in our local communities at every level – it really is brilliant to visit the building and see it empty!! The young people are in supported work places, in the library, at the sports centre, at the gallery, at community placements, in Oldham or Manchester – fantastic.

On another floor of the Medtia building is our Future Finders group. Again, I rarely see the youngsters as they are out working on placements including the Premier Inn, Oldham leisure centre, different supermarkets, the Atrium Café and Oldham Plastics to name just some. One of the most satisfying parts of all our jobs is when we watch the young people move from us into an appropriate placement. Last week we saw that in droves with a record number of young people moving into paid employment and a number securing volunteer roles within the community – brilliant!

Looking further afield I’d like to mention our preparation for these amazing opportunities at our ‘Bridging the Gap’ sites. We now take this pioneering initiative somewhat for granted. We were one of the first in the country to offer these supported placements and 8 years on the project is still as strong as ever. The departments at the Royal Oldham Hospital and Manchester University continue to support our learners and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. Our staff teams work largely in ‘splendid isolation’ without moaning, offering amazing openings for our youngsters day in and day out.

Keeping with the Medtia theme, I’d like to mention our amazing pathway students. Our Lumenus group recently wowed audiences at the Coliseum with their innovative productions. Our Digit4ll pathway have been all over our Facebook pages as they have produced the most amazing promotional films for our Future Finders..

and ‘Reece’s Story’..

The Digit4ll students also reached the Young Enterprise Oldham Finals and earnt themselves the ‘Best Presentation’ Award on the night for the delivery of their business presentation to over 100 people, a fantastic achievement!

Our Activ8 pathway never cease to amaze me with their maturity and enthusiasm. A number of the boys, ably supported by a few other pupils, won the North West Basketball finals and have been chosen to represent the region in the National Championships to be held in Worcester later this month. Last but certainly not least is our wonderful Hortus group who still continue to give our young people the discipline and work ethic so required in today’s workforce.

All of these achievements have been enhanced by developing our town centre presence. I would like to personally thank all our teams who work there.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Easter,

Graham