After the pandemonium of the last couple of weeks, it was great to be able to spend time back in Oldham and Tameside with the young people, staff and families.
On Wednesday and Thursday evening I was joined by many families to witness a super Christmas showcase from the children and young people at both New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy. I’d like to pass on my congratulations to all the young people. I really loved the inclusive nature of the performance. So many children were involved. One of the reasons we look so good when we present our performances is the amazing production. The technology is slick, the scenes continuity is superb and the mix between live performance and film clips is outstanding. Obviously, all of this isn’t by accident. The role of our performance arts teams in all our schools is massive. For those of you with long memories, you may remember that New Bridge School was one of the first Performance Arts Colleges in the country. It’s been increasingly challenging to ensure the arts continue to play a significant role in the curriculum. However, now more than ever, I see the contribution to progress and attainment that the arts can play. All children and young people can succeed in the arts. They can perform together. The arts promote joy and happiness.
Taking about awe and wonder, it was also lovely to spend time, on Friday, at Hawthorns. Again, all the children were involved. Every class acted and sang. Exactly the same characteristics were there. Excellent planning, slick production and high expectations. It is truly wonderful to think that some of these children could be the next Leon, one of our previous Lumenus alumni, who is presently starring in “The A Word” and “Brassic”. No glass ceilings. Proper pathways. The highest expectations.
Moving away from the arts, I also had the privilege of going into some of our other schools to look at best practice. On Monday I nipped into Spring Brook Lower to observe the iPad project. The children (and staff) are involved in absolutely amazing practice. I saw children creating and manipulating graphs in Maths, using photographic and film evidence as if it was usual practice. I thanked the staff for their enthusiasm, it is transforming learning. Straight after I drove down to the Spring Brook Upper site. There, I met with the boys that are involved in manufacturing wooden sculptures. They were hard at work with Christmas orders. They had designed and built reindeers, table centre pieces and other wooden figures. They were definitely engaged in high quality learning. Finally, I visited Hollinwood Academy. Again, I was asked to look at their use of iPads. The progress and attainment of the young people was clear to see. I’m running out of superlatives.
What an amazing week. A huge thank you to all our superb staff that continue to share this amazing journey.
You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here