24 Jul


Hi everyone,

Steve, in his guest blog last week, stated that I would ensure we continued with a weekly update. This will mean that all our young people, families and stakeholders have the very latest news.

Work has continued this week on our premises, risk assessments and curriculum planning for September.

All of our schools have completed incredibly comprehensive risk assessments. We are presently working through them all with our Health and Safety Executive to “score” the predicted risks. This will allow our school teams to further prioritise particularly challenging areas. John Holland, and the team at Horizons, have undertaken a similar process. We are taking the safety of our children and staff very, very seriously.

Our site and IT teams have been incredibly busy ensuring all our sites have the necessary adaptations. Work has been prioritised at our new Oldham town centre site (Pennine House) and Hawthorns.

I’ve been delighted with the progress our curriculum teams have made with modifying the curriculum content. Massive thanks.

Last week an announcement was made by the Secretary of State relating to the Free Schools Programme. I am pleased to inform everyone that our Trust has been chosen to plan, build and run the new Rochdale Free School. We had to compete in a rigorous and competitive process. The school, that will open in September 2022, will support young people aged between 11 and 19 who are on the autistic continuum. It will be an amazing addition to the Trust and a great partner to Hollinwood Academy. Jenny Dunne, our Assistant CEO, is leading on the project from our side working alongside colleagues from the DfE and Rochdale LA. Together the New Bridge Trust will have secured almost £25million of new buildings for the communities in our areas. Not bad in just over 10 years? I can assure you we haven’t finished yet.

So, over the Summer I will be working alongside Tameside LA to put a plan together that explores the further development of Hawthorns. The most pressing challenge is the building and site. I am hopeful of news in the next few weeks. Can I thank our families of our Hawthorns children who are being incredibly supportive. These problems have been going on too long – they need to get sorted.

Short and sweet.

Take care,


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