A very Happy New Year from everyone at New Bridge and welcome back to the start of the new Spring term. We sincerely hope you have had a peaceful and restful holiday and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the coming year. We returned on Tuesday and it has been a positive start to 2017, the young people (and staff!) were glad to be back and have settled into their routines with enthusiasm.
In the news this week there have been bulletins reminding parents about the perils of the internet and the misery that cyberbullying can cause. Sadly this is not just another story we hear about on the news that happens to other people, as we have been informed of instances during the holiday where New Bridge pupils have set up unkind Facebook groups and targeted other pupils. We would stress to parents the importance of monitoring text and social media conversations and urge you to remove all devices at bed time. Some of these conversations happened in the early hours of the morning whilst parents were asleep, unaware of what their children were doing.
We do an enormous amount of e-safety awareness and training at New Bridge with our own comprehensive ‘E-Safe Award’ that enables our young people to bring their personal devices into school and the Learning Centre once they have successfully completed the course. We have lots of assemblies on the subject and it is also covered during ICT and Living Skills lessons. Unfortunately though, it is hard for us to control events outside school hours. We can only provide our young people with the knowledge and understanding that equips them to hopefully make the right choices; sadly this doesn’t always happen. Our young people often have no social time together after school and texting or social media has become ‘the norm’ for many of them to talk to their friends. Mahdlo, Oldham’s youth service, runs out of school activities for young people with additional needs or disabilities and we would encourage you to visit their website here for more details. If you have any concerns at any time about your child’s use of social media or online activities, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice and support.
Our Santa Stroll fundraising event was amazing – so far we have raised the fantastic sum of £1,247!!
Monies are still coming in so don’t worry if you haven’t managed to collect all your sponsorships yet. Your friends and family may also wish to make a donation here if this is more convenient for them. This is the second year we have done our own Santa Stroll and it was a very enjoyable way to help walk off our Christmas lunch at the same time as raising extra funds towards equipment not covered by our school budget. Our carol singers raised a further £170 from their visits to Costco and the Salvation Army in Shaw – well done to everyone who sang carols in the cold and warmed the hearts of the people watching.
After their special pantomime workshops delivered by Oldham Coliseum before Christmas (you can read more about the workshops here), our Year 7s were treated to a visit to see Sleeping Beauty on Thursday together with pupils from Hollinwood Academy. This was Oldham Coliseum’s first ever ‘relaxed performance’ of a pantomime, specifically designed for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment, including people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders or learning disabilities. It featured softer lighting, quieter sound, no big bangs or loud noises, specially trained staff, a dedicated ‘chill-out’ space and the opportunity to meet the actors before and after the show. Year 7 had an amazing time and thoroughly enjoyed the show, it was fantastic to see the young people interacting with the cast in an enabling environment..
This week’s Learning Centre assembly focused on New Year’s resolutions and we were all challenged to make a positive change – here goes! We celebrate a wide range of individual successes during our weekly Learning Centre assemblies; ‘Student of the Week’ awards are presented for each class and any special achievements are shared. Occasionally Miss Allison has the pleasure of presenting her Head Teacher’s ‘Special Mention’ award to students who she feels have done exceptionally well. This week saw her first two awards of this academic year; Leah received an award for coping with huge changes in a mature and calm manner and Ellis received a certificate for his outstanding buddying and the support he gives other students on a daily basis..
Miss Morris also presented a special Buddy certificate to Chris for the care, consideration and understanding he shows to other students when buddying..
Well done, everyone!
We had so many lovely pictures of our Christmas events to share with you at the end of term that there wasn’t room to bring you these photos of the Autism Base having a lot of fun with their sensory art lessons..
..or their wonderful session with Commando Joe’s..
The last week of term was so busy that we have not yet shared news of the Learning Centre’s inter year group pool and table tennis tournaments. These were taken very seriously, with heats held throughout the week before the eagerly awaited finals took place on the last Friday in front of the whole Learning Centre. The pool final was between Kevin and Faisal. It was an extremely tight contest with 3 ‘Black Ball’ games before the match was eventually clinched by Faisal..
The table tennis finalists were Kevin and John. After a close start, Kevin pulled ahead and won with an impressive 21-6..
Well done to everyone who took part for their sportsmanship and thank you to their very enthusiastic supporters!
Invitations have been sent out to the first meeting of the Learning Centre’s Parents Group which is being held on Wednesday 18th January at 2pm. We are delighted that so many parents and carers have expressed their interest in attending and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone. If you would like any further information about the group, please contact Mr Barker on 0161 883 2402.
We are now arranging our February half term Holiday Club and families have been sent details of the activities available and how to request a place. If you have not received the letter, please contact us to request another copy or you can download the letter here. Please make sure you return the forms by next Friday 13th January if you would like your child to attend; you can ring your child’s Pastoral Manager if you need any assistance.
Have a lovely weekend,
Judith and Dawn
You can find our full blog here
The New Bridge Horizons blog is available here for updates on our Key Stage 5 Pathway students in Lumenus, Digit4ll and Activ8 together with Future Finders students and the young people at Horizons
Click here to read this week’s blog from Graham