28 Feb

Welcome back everyone. The weather has been quite cruel over this break – we’ve had wind, ice and a few storms. In the second Spring half term we find the mornings and nights get lighter and we look forward to warmer weather (although as I write this, it’s snowing).

Over the half term I was saddened to read of the death of Caroline Flack. Although she is someone I don’t know personally, it really ‘hit home’ to me how the opinion of others had affected her. We are a big supporter of Andy’s Man Club which is driven by our former work colleague Andy Greenway and former student Jack Bayley.

The main mantra of the club is around sharing thoughts and feelings and telling everyone that ‘it’s good to talk’. This is something we actively encourage all our young people to do, not just at the Springboard Project but throughout our Group, from Hawthorns to Horizons. The other thing that struck me about the issues around Caroline’s death was one of the main quotes she put on her social media sites:

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

At Springboard we are constantly being kind and encourage others who come to our building to do the same. It’s got to the point that, at times, we take this for granted. This week I attended a review at New Bridge with one of my students (who was formerly at New Bridge). When this young man entered the building, he put his hand out to My Lyons and said ‘Hi Sir. Good to see you.’ The handshake from our students is a mark of respect to others. We don’t tell students to do it but it has now become a habit and a mark of respect. It’s certainly something we are proud of. So, if you enter our building, please ensure you have a warm hand and a kind heart. And be kind…

To follow on from this, our training day was based around mental health issues and how we can support all our young people. The day began with a session around how we support our young people in the Project. The session started with me questioning the staff around what they think their role is and the responses were brilliant:

  • Protector
  • Nurturer
  • Role model
  • Carer

We looked at how best we can support our young people – developing not just their skills and understanding in the curriculum but preparing them for outside life.

The next session was led by Mr Clough and looked at trauma. This was quite hard hitting but allowed us to think how best to look after our young people in crisis. In the meantime, Mrs Burrows and Mr Ward looked at their new roles as middle leaders and how they can best support the Project and the staff next door at Medtia.

The afternoon session was taken up by Professor Barry Carpenter. As a lot of people know, I have been with the Trust for a long time and was fortunate to see Professor Carpenter when he spoke to us about 8 years ago on childhood conditions and needs. It was brilliant to listen to the research that has been done, which can only help us to ensure our young people have THE best outcomes, despite trauma, illness or conditions. The thing that stuck out to me most is that Barry said – THE most important indicator of education success is happiness. Are our young people happy? And if they are, we have succeeded. Are my Springboard students happy? Yes they are (although at times their grumpy teenage moods tell me they are not) but, on the whole, yes. Happy. The key message to take forward for this term is that we all need to be happy and kind. It’s simple.

Finally I want to share the amazing work that’s been going on in ICT. This week we have been using the SLR digital cameras and the students have been taking shots of the Project, the snow and cloud formation and, unfortunately, me (that’s not kind!).

I’ve seen some of the shots and they are amazing. I am so proud (and happy) and I can’t wait to share their work through our social media sites and in the Project through the Trilby TVs and canvases displayed around the building. Mr Lenge has also sent me some shots of the VR and AR equipment being used, which the students tell me they love.

I think that’s about it. I’ll leave you with the two messages from this week’s blog – be kind and be happy.

Have a great week,

Mrs Tootill
Head of Springboard Project

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