20 Apr

Graham

Well, after a hectic couple of weeks it’s brilliant to be back in school.

I spent the first half of the week visiting all our schools and organisations.

We have spent a lot of time trying to organise staffing solutions for next year. We now know the majority of the children and young people who will be joining us in September. Ensuring that our buildings are fit for purpose has been a significant undertaking. As you know, the trust has put in a number of Condition Improvement Fund bids to ensure we maintain the best possible facilities for all our children and young people. We have secured around £1 million to further develop New Bridge. We are presently looking for similar amounts of money to extend Hawthorns. Our finance teams are also exploring further grants that are available to ensure that Spring Brook and Hollinwood Academy also receive appropriate investments. I am certain that the heads of each school will contact you all in the next few weeks with their thoughts and ideas.

On the last day of last term we were visited by an Ofsted inspector to determine whether we could open an independent specialist post-19 provision. The feedback on the day was particularly positive. We are yet to receive official notification as to whether we can start to plan for an opening in September 2018. Extending our offer for our young people is exactly in the direction of travel that is appropriate.

John Holland and the team at Horizons told me this week that we have over 15 young people joining us in September. As you can imagine, this is giving us yet another headache. It was only 3 years ago, when we opened Horizons at the Medtia centre, that we thought we’d only use the bottom two floors. How things have changed, I believe very much for the better. So many more young people (and their families) get to benefit from our amazing staff teams.

On Tuesday evening I was taking my daughter over to a theatre group that she attends in Bolton when she informed me that it was only 28 days until we go to Turkey again. I couldn’t believe that we were so far into the school year and yet we have still so much to do. This term we’ve got the plans I’ve mentioned above, as well as further development of the curriculum. We’ve also got exams, residentials, award ceremonies, a local authority review of SEND and an Oldham education festival. It’s going to be busy, busy, busy!

I can’t leave this week’s blog without mentioning my amazing visit to America. I was delighted (Lauren, just for you!) to share my learning with a small number of the team. Plans are now at an early stage to launch our 1 to 1 iPad initiative at Hollinwood Academy.

Families will play a crucial role in evaluating the effectiveness (or not) of this exciting and innovative opportunity. When we have completed our initial project plans, we will invite you into school to explore how we can ensure you are partners within the project. I am envisaging a roll out to all our other schools and organisations (should the pilot be successful) within months rather than years. Mobile technologies have to be embedded in our day to day learning lives.

I’m not mentioning football ever again in these blogs as this season, for Bury, has been an unmitigated disaster. Let’s hope Oldham fare a little better this weekend. Have a wonderful couple of days,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here