02 Oct

Graham

It’s been a busy old week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was involved with the appointment of a new executive Principal for the Tameside Pupil Referral Service (Whitebridge and Elmbridge). We have been supporting the service for a couple of years now. Rebeckah Hollingsworth, one of our Executive team, has done an amazing job in leading the organisation. Nigel and the finance team have ensured that the service is now is a strong financial position. Moira, Phil and Liz have significantly supported around the teaching and learning strategy. I’d like to thank all of these colleagues for their amazing work. One super element of the interview process was the input of the young people. They were so sensible and insightful. It’s brilliant to work alongside young people with so much potential. I feel really confident that the newly established leadership team of Wendy, Dominic and now, the newly appointed Anthony, will lead the service from strength to strength.

On Wednesday I chaired an excellent meeting with our Hawthorns families. The meeting was attended by a number of Tameside officers and Councillor Hillier and Councillor Ryan from Lifelong Learning and Finance/Economic Growth respectively. The virtual meeting gave our families an opportunity to outline their frustrations, which were almost all centred around the lack of space and overcrowding within the school. For note, the school was designed for around 65 children and we presently have more than 130 (we have put some temporary classrooms on the site). It was acknowledged by all that it’s a really popular, successful and outstanding school. Families had nothing but praise for the staff. In the meeting our families were generally pleased that the council acknowledged the combined challenges. They respected the council’s honest appraisal of the situation. Most importantly, for me, was that we agreed on a forward plan.

We have agreed to schedule another meeting in a couple of weeks to give an update to families with regards to the immediate challenge of the restricted external and playground areas.

The council also agreed to work alongside families and key stakeholders in exploring how we use available resources to achieve improved provision for @220 children. A paper has already been discussed at Council level.

I feel our Trust can add real value to these ongoing discussions. We have vast experience in scoping, designing and building new provision. In the last 12 years we have delivered on projects totalling well over £30million. By co-constructing and co-producing a solution, I am very confident that we will deliver buildings that will future proof the provision for our children in Tameside. We all need to work together – the Trust, our school community, our families, the council and key external partners. So, onto the dreaded C word.

The end of the week brought a number of Coronavirus challenges.

We have had a confirmed case at New Bridge School which has necessitated a number of the bubbles having to close. Families will have been told directly about the arrangements for this week.

On a more positive note our Horizons provision fully re-opened this week. I know the young people that attend Horizons are delighted to be back. Actually, earlier in the week my eyes and ears on the ground (!!) Lauren sent me some great advice, in case I come across any vampires. I’ll publish the e mail as it came into my inbox.

“hello mr quinn – my right-handed man – hope you’re good –

how do you tell if a vampire is sick… because they’re coffin”

There you go Lauren – perhaps you should have a regular slot? Lauren’s lighter moment – I’m certain that you have enough jokes and anecdotes to keep us smiling?

We are also looking forward to re-opening the Springboard Project on Monday. Alison and the team will have explained our re-opening strategy to the families, the young people and staff teams.

Can I please remind everyone to follow the protocols with regards to defeating the virus. I’d suggest, if you are able, you download the NHS Covid 19 App.

Next week seems equally busy – let’s just hope we can avoid closing more bubbles!

Take care everyone,

Graham

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