Last week my blog centred upon the challenges that Oldham council are facing following the release of the SEND local area review inspection.
This week I am switching my attention to central government, in particular the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond. You may have seen our Twitter feed criticising some of the recent comments made by the minister..
Outrageous comments by @PhilipHammondUK suggesting people with disabilities who work have a negative impact on ‘overall productivity measurement’! Please visit Oldham & meet our youngsters & our employers – raised production, increased participation & improved understanding @SSAT
— NEW BRIDGE GROUP (@newbridgegroup) December 7, 2017
Remarks like these drive me to distraction and are so incredibly frustrating!
I recently wrote an article for an SSAT publication which you can read here. Entitled ‘Work is Good’, it clearly outlines the benefits of work for our young people, both paid and voluntary. What I didn’t get chance to expand on, however, were the benefits they bring to the employer.
Our trust works with a huge range of employers, some national but mostly local. The feedback we hear from, for example, First Choice Homes is that their employees are hugely empowered by being alongside our youngsters. We know from studies we have carried out at the Royal Oldham Hospital and Manchester University that productivity in the departments where our young people work is consistently raised. Far from our youngsters being a burden and adding to the ‘national debt’, our young people increase productivity, improve well-being and build understanding and compassion. I have written to the Chancellor to invite him to Oldham and Manchester to observe our Bridging the Gap project, our internship programmes and our employment offer overall. I’ll happily take him to the places where our young people work – he can see first-hand the contribution they make.
Anyhow, away from the central challenges and on to our local successes! It was brilliant to attend the New Bridge Showcase this week. I was delighted to see some young people from Hollinwood Academy also participating. The children from both schools were clearly enjoying performing to the audiences and loved singing, dancing and generally having a great time.
It’s also been my pleasure to attend the governor board meetings for Spring Brook Academy. I have been delighted to hear of the improvements we are making. The staff teams at both Heron Street and Dean Street are totally committed to our youngsters.
I’m so looking forward to the Hollinwood Nativity on Tuesday and the Spring Brook Lower Christmas Production the following Monday. There won’t be a dry eye in the house!
So, the upshot of this week appears to be don’t let the national ‘stuff’ get in the way of our amazing local offer. Let’s celebrate what our children and young people can achieve. Let’s ensure that our aspirations and ambitions are not just shared within our Oldham community – we need to remember to extend the invitation to any inhabitants of 11 Downing Street!!
Have a great weekend,
You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here