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CEO’s Blog – 24th March 2023

CEO's Blog - 24th March 2023 Our Organisation... The weeks are flying by and we're nearly at the end of the Spring term, so here's a snapshot of life at every one of our schools and settings. We're growing all the time, but our offer remains the best in special...

CEO’s Blog – 17th March 2023 – ‘Thank You!’

CEO's Blog - 17th March 2023  'Thank You!'   Well, if you've been following the updates on social media this week, you might just have noticed that almost 100 of our young people have been lucky enough to travel to Disneyland Paris. A trip that started on Monday...

CEO’s Blog (10th March 2023)

CEO's Blog (10th March 2023)   It was International Women's Day this week, and it was great to see our schools and settings marking the occasion with their activities and learning opportunities. Of course, we shouldn't only celebrate our women and girls for just...

We are looking for our next CEO…

We are looking for our next CEO... It's probably been the worst kept secret for a while, but I'm writing my blog this week to let everyone know that we are actively looking for the next CEO of the New Bridge Multi Academy Group and MAT. After many years working as...

CEO’s Blog – Student Voice (24th February 2023)

CEO's Blog - Student Voice (24th February 2023)   A few weeks ago, before the half term break, I said I would be reporting on how we listen to the Student Voice across our MAT and wider Group. Well, this week, I'm able to do just that, as some of our schools and...

As we return from half term we have certainly hit the ground running.

I read with interest a piece in the Guardian from a colleague I know well, Jarlath O’Brien, a head teacher from Surrey. In his article (available here) Jarlath looks at a number of key issues that are a challenge to ‘the system’, some of which make particularly depressing reading. The main piece explores why a disproportionate number of young people with SEND are excluded from school.

The recently published statistics for 2014/15 make grim reading:

  • Pupils with identified special educational needs (SEN) accounted for just over half of all permanent exclusions and fixed-period exclusions
  • Pupils with SEN support had the highest permanent exclusion rate and were more than seven times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion than pupils with no SEN
  • Pupils with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or with a statement of SEN had the highest fixed-period exclusion rate and were almost seven times more likely to receive a fixed-period exclusion than pupils with no SEN

Jarlath goes on to explore some of the reasons this statistic is so worrying. One of the arguments he puts forward relates to the restrictions that many schools feel in relation to offering a more appropriate curriculum that is better suited to young people who have additional needs.

Our Group has placed curriculum design at the very centre of our school developments over the last number of years. We have seen work undertaken on specialist pathways, specialist departments, an emphasis on ‘living skills’, an acknowledgement that extra-curricular activities are as valuable as term time ones, improved transition to post 19 placements and a real partnership with communities and work providers through Bridging the Gap and Future Finders. We still have work to do, particularly with respect to a more appropriate use of ICT and new technologies within all our schools.

To enable us to better evaluate our overall effectiveness we have spent the last 18 months researching and writing our new assessment model. We are now at an initial pilot stage with our revised model, ‘The New Bridge Dashboard’. I know our teams are anxious to share our developments with families and young people in the next few weeks and will welcome your feedback.

Looking at some of the other areas reported in Jarlath’s critique, it would appear that we are all in for a busy few years.

Finally, I’m afraid I have to report that another member of our New Bridge family passed away last week. Ali, a popular and valued member of our IB group, sadly died following a very short illness. Many of us are reminded of Ali’s lovable, warm nature and his wonderful relationships with his classmates and staff. Ali’s family are very much in all our thoughts.

Have a safe weekend,



New Bridge Multi Academy Trust
Roman Road

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