01 Nov

Hi all, hope you’ve all had a happy half-term and that Halloween brought just the right amount of tricks and treats. As you can imagine, there’s not much to report on what’s going on in the school building this week, so this presents an opportunity to introduce myself, my team and the work we do within Springboard Project.

I’m Mr Clough, and I work with Mr Roscoe and Miss Caines within the Transitions Team, based at Springboard Project. For some of our young people, there are significant personal barriers that prevent them from being able to engage fully with school and thus they need a bespoke offer. A key part of our job is to work closely with a number of external agencies, including children’s services, the SEND team and Positive Steps to safeguard our young people and their own emotional and mental well-being, re-engaging these young people with an education offer and building their resilience so that they can go on to have strong and healthy relationships, not only within school but also within their own families and their community.

There’s a quote on resilience from Harvard University that I think epitomises our approach nicely;

‘The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption. They also build key capacities—such as the ability to plan, monitor, and regulate behaviour—that enable children to respond adaptively to adversity and thrive. This combination of supportive relationships, adaptive skill-building, and positive experiences is the foundation of resilience.’

Our approach includes using a number of alternative provisions to support our engagement and I’m going to use this opportunity to showcase some of these.

Our young people have supported Positive Cycles, a non-profit community project that takes disused and unwanted bicycles from all over the North West and gets them into working order before then either selling them on or giving them to those in need, including those experiencing poverty or to support those unemployed and trying to get into work.

We’ve taken our young people to access ACE Training, an alternative construction education provider based in Rochdale, meaning our young people can learn various aspects of joinery, bricklaying, painting and decorating, plastering and tiling, music production, hair and beauty and – a favourite of most of our young people – car mechanics, in which our young people get to support the maintenance and performance of a racing team.

We’ve also been very active, working together doing activities such as rock climbing, bouldering and boxing, including training alongside Oldham born professional rugby league and union player and England international, Kyle Eastmond.

Next time, I’d like to show you some of the more inter-personal work we do to help our young people. In the meantime, let me introduce you to my dog, Skye, who is training to eventually become a therapy dog. She is currently supporting young people with a wide range of needs at a school in Bradford and here is she supporting their #HelloYellow campaign, showing young people that they are not alone when it comes to their mental health.

That is something we consistently remind our young people of too, and it’s especially important at this time of the year, with the days getting shorter and festivities just around the corner. Please look after yourselves and each other and I’ll look forward to sharing more next time.

Mr Clough and the Transitions Team

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