We’re about to move into our last week or weeks (our Tameside schools break up slightly later) of this academic year.
I don’t think anybody, at the start of the year, could have anticipated what was to follow. I’ve never known anything like it in my 38 years (or so) of teaching. So, where are we up to?
Our school leaders have been hard at work planning and organising for the return of our children in September. They are hoping to get plans to you in the next week or so. Please continue to bear with us – the logistics of organising bubbles, pods within bubbles, staffing within pods and bubbles, rooms, lunch times, break times, resources and the curriculum is phenomenal. My personal thanks go to the teams within our schools, as they are not only having to ensure the continuation of our home learning strategies but are also having to change plans on an almost weekly basis as central government changes its mind! We are still awaiting advice around transport – with less than 10 days of the school term left. It will be a busy summer for many of us.
Linked to all of this “craziness” our Trust planning has to continue. I’m delighted to inform you that the Trust has acquired another very large (Oldham) town centre site to support all of our Pathways and Future Finders. We have been negotiating to take over the lease of the Pennine House building (next to the job centre, opposite Sainsburys) for the last year or so. Obviously we wanted to ensure that negotiations were kept confidential until we secured the building.
The successes of our personalised pathways, and Future Finders, alongside the growth of New Bridge Horizons has meant that we needed a distinctive strategy for our post 16 learners. All of our Pathway students, along with Future Finders, will transfer to Pennine House from September 2020. We take ownership on Monday and our premises teams have plans to ensure the interior will be fit for purpose. Presently we are working on a 6 week refurbishment. I’m delighted we’ve managed to secure the building. It will build on our town centre presence and offer the young people more space to learn. It brings us closer to our communities and further builds on our excellent town centre partnerships. I’m sure we’ll have pictures over the summer to keep you in the loop. Jaina, and the team, are keen to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible and will work with you, personally, over the next few weeks.
What this expansion will also do is enable John, and the team at Horizons, to extend Horizons. Top of our priority is to offer more provision for more people who are on our waiting list. John and the team have plans to reorganise all of the ground floor to support the young people who use wheelchairs. As a result of all the 16-19 students moving to Pennine House, it will also mean that there will be more space for the other people that use Horizons. It still amazes me that when we set up Horizons, around 7/8 years ago, we supported 5 young people. Now, on a weekly basis, we support almost 100. Our projections are that this number will continue to increase. That’s 100 young adults and families that now have a quality assured, local offer. Our teams will also contact you in the near future with our plans for re-opening.
I think that’s it for now. It should have been our prom last week – we need to think of how we can ensure the young people don’t miss out. I’m aware that we’ve missed awards evenings, performances and residentials to name but a few. Your child will not miss out – we will do our very best to reschedule and reorganise every event.
Can I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Together we will get through this dreadful period. Together we will continue to build a better future for every one of our children and young people.
You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here