28 Aug

Graham

Hi everyone,

I hope you all have had a great summer. It’s certainly been very different!

First of all, can I apologise for not putting out a blog for a few weeks, we’ve been trying to make “sense” of all the guidance that has come out over the summer. We felt it was better to wait until all the dust had settled on the national guidance and the implications of a partial lockdown so that we could give you the most up to date position.

I’m delighted to inform you all that all our schools are fully prepared for the re-introduction of children back onto sites either next week or the week after. Our staff teams, in all schools, have worked tirelessly over the summer to write risk assessments and prepare the buildings to ensure the safest possible return for all our children and staff. Over the next few days you will all receive, through your ParentPay accounts, a comprehensive document entitled “Covid-19 Operational Guidance”. This will answer many of the questions you may have. To complement this guidance, we will also be publishing, on our websites, our comprehensive risk assessments. These documents will hopefully give you the confidence to send your child back into school. If you are able, it would be really helpful to discuss some of the implications with your child. They need to know about changes in groupings (now called bubbles), social distancing (good luck with our little ones!), the use of face masks (where appropriate), the timetable etc. etc.

However, we totally understand that some families will still feel anxious and may have questions etc. Please discuss these with the school staff. They will be more than happy to answer any queries or questions that you may have. As always, I am happy to answer any queries through email.

Can I take a moment here to thank a number of our teams? Most have worked without a break since March. These aren’t in any particular order. Our premises teams and cleaning teams have been absolutely superb. Our IT teams have been amazing. Our Central Executive team (and many of our full year workers) have worked through the last few months only snatching odd days for a break. What would normally take any other organisation months, is completed in weeks in our Trust. These teams have been totally committed to getting all our schools operational again. Over the last few months we have managed to site 4 new classrooms at Hawthorns, totally refurbish our new Oldham town centre provision (New Bridge College at Pennine House), finish the New Bridge School extension and redevelop our Medtia building. Alongside this we have been committed to ensuring all our buildings are as “Covid secure” as is possible. When I look back on the quantity and quality of work undertaken it really reinforces, to me, how we are driven by our values and principles. Our teams always go over and above. They rarely complain. They share a common goal and purpose. I remember saying at the beginning of this pandemic that we will get through it. We will defeat it. We will get back to normality.

What our Trust is also committed to doing is learning lessons from the last few months. Let’s use it as a positive. How can we transform learning experiences? How can we modernise our offer? What has (and hasn’t) worked for the children and families? What has been the impact of our 1:1 strategy?

I’m also delighted to be able to share with you that our Horizons provision is aiming for a partial opening week commencing 7th September. John and his team will contact our families in the next few days. I know they have been particularly frustrated with first of all the GM restrictions and more recently the Oldham local lockdown. The latest data relating to Oldham that we have been given, suggests that the transmission rate is on a downward trend. This will allow Horizons to plan accordingly.

I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone back next week. I’m basing myself at New Bridge Learning Centre for a few weeks.

Let’s hope we don’t get any more changes over the next few days – someone once said that if you keep making u turns, you end up going around in circles!

Have a great bank holiday weekend,

Graham

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