10 May

Graham

It’s official – Hawthorns is outstanding (again).

As you know, last week we had Ofsted in Hawthorns and I’m delighted to be able to tell everyone that they were successful in maintaining their “outstanding” judgement.

None of this comes as a surprise to the teams within New Bridge. When I received a phone call from Moira (around 18 months ago) asking for a quick conversation, I jumped at the chance. Hawthorns’ reputation as a school that was innovative, forward thinking and that offered the children a super education, was well known in the Greater Manchester region. The opportunity to work in partnership and help shape our children’s futures was really exciting. The reason our trustees were so excited was simple. Hawthorns School shared similar values to the trust. A marriage made in heaven!! I know that Pierre and the team have some amazing plans for the future. We never stand still!

On Wednesday I had the privilege, alongside members of the Department for Education, trustees and directors, to visit a number of our trust’s pre-internship and work experience programmes. Our reputation in this field often reaches national policy makers – they love to see it in action. We visited young people at the RSPCA, Dr Kershaw’s, the David Lloyd health clubs and The Atrium at First Choice Homes. What struck the visitors was the commitment and energy within each provider and the profound difference it is making to our young people’s lives.

I rarely get the chance to spend a few hours chatting to the young people and the staff within the placements. We shouldn’t take our progress in this area for granted. It is some of the best in the country. Dan and his team are truly amazing. We set up our internships at the hospital (and at Manchester Metropolitan University) over 10 years ago now – they are still incredibly successful. We now have young people in over 20 small and medium size businesses in and around Oldham and Tameside. We have more young people than ever before accessing these opportunities. It was wonderful to see two Year 11 boys working at the RSPCA. These boys joined us from mainstream schools at the end of Year 10. Both of them were totally disillusioned with the offer they had received. Within the space of a couple of terms, the pastoral teams within our schools had realised these youngsters required a very different curriculum. They weren’t going to succeed within a traditional offer. We needed to offer these boys a purpose – a curriculum that they were interested in – they needed to feel valued.

Let’s not take this for granted. Let’s reflect on our vision – “Creating meaningful futures”. Some schools have a vision and mission statement that doesn’t join up with their practice. Our schools live and breathe it. From our 4 and 5 year olds in Spring Brook, Hollinwood and Hawthorns to our 26 year olds in Horizons – we create meaningful futures. Oldham and Tameside working together to transform learning and make a massive difference.

Moira, thank you for your phone call. On our own we were good – together we really take outstanding to a new level.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Graham

Big PS – one of my personal favourite weeks of the year is coming up next Tuesday, our annual Year 8 residential to Disneyland, Paris. I can’t wait to tell you all about our adventures – Tower of Terror anyone??

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here