12 Jun

Graham

I can’t say this has been a good week.

Last weekend we heard of the passing of one of our colleagues, Kim Ratcliffe. It was her funeral on Thursday.

The amount of people that attended the funeral was testament to the esteem that Kim was held in. There were numerous family members, friends, present staff, past staff and many, many young people. I had the privilege of working with Kim for around 20 years. When I was “seconded” to be the head at Park Dean School, Kim was already an established and well respected member of staff. Kim was a delight as a staff member. She was a great support to younger, less experienced staff, she rarely complained and always just got on with engaging with the young people. She has been a constant source of reassurance to so many children and young people and to their families.

Kim wholeheartedly embraced school life. She always volunteered for residentials, to organise different fairs and be at all social events. When we became New Bridge, and all the changes that the process involved, Kim was her usual pragmatic self. She reassured less confident staff and understood that the change would be for the better. Schools always need staff like Kim. They are the glue that binds us together. The steady and secure foundation that allows us to grow and develop. Thanks Kim – it’s been a real privilege to work alongside you and call you a colleague.

Earlier in the week we also heard the dreadfully sad news regarding Fabiana. Gavin and the team at New Bridge wrote a very moving dedication to Fabiana which you can read here. It’s heartbreaking to lose any of our children but it hurts even more when, like Fabiana, they are so young and so full of life.

Our thoughts at this dreadful time go out to both Kim and Fabiana’s families and friends.

So, everything else has to be put in perspective. You will hopefully have received an update regarding our “New Schooling” offer and our capacity to move forward in relation to the 5 tests we agreed and set out. As you will see with the data available, at this point in time, the very high infection rate in both Oldham and Tameside, means that we presently will not be extending any of our “on-site” provision.

The safest place for your child is still at home. We will not allow the space for this virus to transmit.

Our teams continue to work around the clock to make sense of the, rather confused, National picture. As you can imagine our teams have to move forward with extreme caution. By rushing and cutting corners at this time there could be the real possibility of another catastrophe. Our school leaders, our trustees and governors are not prepared to let this happen. We are presently evaluating our buildings, with a 2 metre social distancing protocol in mind. I’m acutely aware that many of our children will struggle to understand social distancing protocols – that makes the risk assessments even more tricky! Ensuring we can accept more children and young people on to our sites in the coming weeks and months continues to be our clear focus. Anyhow, our update can be found here.

As always I am happy to answer any queries or questions you may have.

Please take care, stay safe

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here