05 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! I am delighted to welcome you back to what promises to be a very busy year.

Our end of the year festivities were given added poignancy as we wished a very happy retirement to Judith Lamb, our Head at New Bridge. Judith had been with us on our journey in Oldham from the very beginning and she worked tirelessly to ensure that New Bridge continued with its innovative approaches. The young people and staff sent her off in style with a brilliant last few days, there were events and assemblies galore. For me, the highlight was watching a wonderful film that the staff had made showcasing her last 12 years. The theatre was packed for that final assembly and every video clip or photograph we saw had our children and young people with a smile on their face. This captured perfectly what Judith gave to the organisation.

As one door closes, another one opens and it is in this spirit that I would like to extend a huge welcome to Gavin Lyons, our new Head at New Bridge. Gavin comes with a brilliant track record; he has worked in a school in Lancashire for a considerable period of time and has come to Oldham with a wonderful reputation. Our trustees were delighted to be able to offer Gavin the role and I am certain that he will take New Bridge forward yet again. Sometimes it is the right decision to bring in ‘new blood’ and I know Gavin will be able to use his experience, knowledge and skills to take New Bridge to the next level. We never, ever settle for anything that isn’t truly the best. We are on our journey of ‘beyond outstanding’ together.

I have been particularly delighted with the start to the year at both our Spring Brook sites where the young people have returned after the Christmas break eager to learn. Hollinwood Academy is busy preparing for its first Ofsted inspection and we are really looking forward to showcasing our work to the inspectors.

Our post 19 organisations are equally busy as we work to manage the growing number of young people. As you know, Horizons has been debating extending its age range to support young people past the age of 25. I will have more news in the very near future that will hopefully offer reassurance to many of our families who are asking for this provision.

On a personal level, I would like to thank you all for your gifts, cards and best wishes received at Christmas, they really are appreciated. Your children are an inspiration to us all. It’s a joy to be able to work with them all over the course of the coming year.

Have a wonderful weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here