15 Jun

This week has been quite a challenge – not because of the usual workload but more to do with the recovery period needed following Disney!! My wife says it’s because I’m getting older. That could be true but it was only last week that I celebrated my 27th birthday!

Anyhow, on to what I’ve actually being doing.

The week didn’t get off to a great start as a number of us had to say our goodbyes to one of our community. A couple of weeks ago, we heard the sad news that Anthony had passed away. Anthony was one of our first boys to join New Bridge and he benefited from many of our initiatives. He went on residentials, attended concerts, loved time with his friends and threw himself wholeheartedly into the life of the school.

Anthony was instrumental in us setting up New Bridge Horizons, over 7 years ago. Anthony, together with a small number of other young people, were faced with really limited options as they left our Learning Centre. I guess the rest is history – Anthony and 3 others were our inspiration for Horizons and we now support well over 100 young people aged between 19 and 25. I loved the fact he always had a smile and he loved loud rock music – Oasis, Bob Marley, AC/DC – a man truly after my own heart. The number of people that attended Anthony’s memorial service was testament to the effect he had had upon us all. On behalf of all your New Bridge family, it was a real honour to be part of your life Anthony.

On Tuesday I met with Liz O’Shaughnessy, our director of teaching schools, who informed me of her plans to reorganise our training and development offer. Liz has some amazing ideas that will support all the staff and families. As we start to develop our ideas further, we will publish them on the website.

On Tuesday Alison and myself attended a meeting with regards to our new free school, the Springboard Project. Alison is working on a blog to give you all a really thorough update. I’m delighted that the building has been purchased and plans are well underway to redesign the interior – more news from Alison soon.

On Wednesday I attended Manchester Metropolitan University for one of my highlights of the year, our graduation ceremony for our Bridging the Gap students. It’s always a proud moment when we see our young people in caps and gowns. I love hearing about all their successes in their placements. It was wonderful to hear from the Vice Chancellor how Bridging the Gap has been in operation at MMU for 7 years. All of the young people who attended from New Bridge last year have moved into paid employment – how good is that!

Yesterday I spent most of the day writing a document for the Commons Select Committee. MPs have asked for written statements regarding the impact of the Children and Families Act. If anyone is interested in my written response, you can read it here.

Today has been Eid so our schools have been relatively quiet. It’s been very much a catching up day!

Have a great weekend and Eid Mubarak to everyone,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here