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Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all your patience this week. It’s been really appreciated.

I’ve had the most frustrating week and one that epitomises the challenges we all face.

Let me explain.

Last Friday my wife started to feel dreadful. She had a headache, slight temperature and, most worryingly, a constant cough. She works with children in Bolton! On Saturday it was getting worse so she rang 111 and booked a test. She was fortunate in that she could be tested in Bolton.

Sunday came and went, with the rest of us (my 17 year old daughter, 14 year old son and myself) self-isolating. So, my return to the work at the Learning Centre was temporarily halted and I continued to work from home. Monday and Tuesday came and went without any message until, on Tuesday evening, my wife again rang the helpline to be told the test results had been lost!

Trying to get another test proved massively challenging. The only one available was in Telford (75 miles away). At this point we were all getting panicky as the implications of not being re-tested within the first 5 days could have been a 10 and 14 day isolation. Luckily, on yet another call to the help line, a particularly helpful operator suggested that if we logged on at 8.00pm another batch of times and venues was due to be released. At 8.00pm on Tuesday all 4 of us were sat with iPads, phones and laptops at the ready. It worked as we managed to get an early morning slot on Wednesday. Thankfully she got the negative result on Friday morning which has meant we are all “released” from the lockdown. This experience has really brought it home to me how fragile the whole system is and how reliant we all are on each other. My son’s Year 11 bubble at his High School managed a day – one child had a positive test – and the whole bubble was sent home for 14 days. How disruptive is that!

The potential for turmoil is massive. Let’s try and support each other, keep each other safe and keep our schools and organisations open for as long as is possible.

In saying that, I’m also aware that we’re struggling to support the safe return of a very small number of children. One of my colleagues over in Bradford, who I do a lot of work with, penned this excellent piece that has just been published in Schools Week:

I’ve had to tell 17 SEND pupils they can’t come to school – and I’m furious

Can I assure all our families affected we are working to try and get the children engaged and back into some sort of routine as quickly and safely as we can?

Please take care – have a great weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here


New Bridge Multi Academy Trust
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