12 Jul

Graham

It’s been another week of celebration – for lots of reasons.

I had the pleasure of attending the Royal Oldham Hospital Bridging the Gap graduation ceremony earlier in the week.

Dan Wood did his usual excellent job of hosting the event. The governors, assembled hospital teams and myself heard the amazing progress the young people have made. What I loved was the fact that we have now been working in the hospital for 10 years. We’ve reached a milestone. The best bit of that fact is that a couple of the young people, who were our very first graduates, are still working in the hospital. How good is that! That’s proper sustainability. Here’s to the next 10 years.

On Wednesday the national team from Apple visited Hollinwood, Spring Brook Lower and Medtia. We are very early in our relationship with Apple. It was only last year that I was asked to work in California and Texas. I then got thinking and compared our Apple project to when our teams went out to Cincinnati to look at their pre-internship and employment strategies. My vision, 10 years ago, was to ensure Oldham, and our surrounding boroughs, would become a model of very best practice. Best practice when it came to our young people being employed, volunteering and being active participants in their communities. I’ll boldly say that we are light years ahead of most places – we’ve got pathways, we’ve got pre-internships, we’ve got social enterprises, we’ve got Future Finders, we’ve got Horizons. And the best bit, we’ve not stopped yet.

So back to Apple, and specifically understanding how the use of technology will enable our children and the young people. We are 18 months into this project. By September 2019 every child, young person and member of staff in the MAT and Group will have their own individual iPad. Our early adopter schools are already trialing amazing things. I’ve seen Augmented Reality (AR) starting to be used in History lessons (check out BBC Civilisations – it’s free), I’ve seen young people filming and recording using clips, I’ve seen young people engaged in learning through Apps. We’ve only just started. I know we’ve got groups looking at “live” communication with families, teams are working on adapting wheelchairs/standing frames to ensure all children can access iPads, our Horizons teams are exploring how to utilise Apple Home to support independent living activities, young people being Apple trained Advocates and the development of genius bars in all schools. We pride ourselves on being ahead of the game.

“Ahead of the game” is a term I use cautiously. For some schools, “the game” is about ensuring the school gets a certain judgement from Ofsted. That may involve putting children into courses they are not interested in or focusing on attainment at certain times in a child’s school life. Our schools (and organisations) will continue to be true to our vision – creating meaningful futures. I want our leaders, and staff teams, to be bold and adventurous. To offer learning that has a true meaning. To revel in the joy of ambition. A few months ago I remember saying that there are no glass ceilings in our world. I want to hear how we will overcome a challenge, how we will empower our children, how we engender a love of learning, a love of the arts, a passion for sport. How technology will make a positive difference to each and every one of our learners.

Where will our schools be in 10 years’ time? Where will our young people be in 10 years’ time? “Fly by night” ideas and the latest fads are too easy. Securing and embedding cultural change is the arena we revel in.

Lauren, my best “liker” on Facebook, has asked me to thank the staff at Medtia. She’s “delighted” with her support and her very words are that “they are perfect in every way”. She goes on to ask if she can be my secretary? Be careful what you wish for Lauren – watch this space. Yet another initiative – you bet!!

Have a great weekend,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here