06 Dec

Some weeks are good and other weeks are amazing. The end of November and start of December has been a particularly exciting time for us (and for me personally). I began the week by watching my eldest daughter, Lucy graduate from the University of Cumbria. For those readers who follow Mrs Walton and Mrs Millard’s blog, you will read that Lucy is a newly qualified teacher and completed her training with Everyone Learning, the teaching school of our Trust which is managed by Liz O’Shaughnessy and her team. To gain her PGCE, Lucy had to complete 2 teaching practices as well as compulsory training.

At the ceremony in the beautiful Carlisle Cathedral, my husband and I watched the parade of graduates from the teaching school as they were presented with their qualification by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. It was a proud day for me, not only as a parent but also watching these graduates gain their qualification, giving them the chance to work in the best profession in the world – teaching. Lucy will now continue her pathway into teaching at Hollinwood Academy where she has a Key Stage 2 class and will complete her newly qualified status in the summer term. A big ‘thank you ‘ to Liz, Rebecca and the team for your support and guidance.

On Thursday I went out to Nantwich, near Crewe to attend a course which will develop my skills as a leader. The course itself is run by the Alliance of Leading Learning and, I have to say, it was a brilliant day. The course began by looking at what resilience is. We talk about being resilient all the time but when it’s actually broken down, resilience covers lots of different aspects; empathy, emotional regulation, optimising and being able to reach out. As part of the course I will have to embark on a plan which will develop not just Springboard but will reach out to other parts of our Trust.

Friday brought the official opening of the Springboard Project. Since the Project began 3 years ago, I was determined that we were going to celebrate an official opening and invite as many key people as possible. The day did not disappoint! The Project was officially opened by Paul Scholes. People who know me, know that my family are keen Manchester United fans, so we asked Mr Scholes to come along and cut the ribbon. The ceremony was kicked off by Mr Quinn, our CEO. In his speech Mr Quinn talked about his pride at the opening of the Project and spoke about how our determination to change young people’s lives is paramount.

We then asked Andrew Sutherland, Director of Education for Oldham to say a few words. It was brilliant to hear from Mr Sutherland who talked about the importance and significance of our Project for Oldham.

Finally it was my turn and my thanks went out to our key partners – Conlon’s, the New Bridge ICT team, Oldham LEA, governors and trustees. My biggest thanks went to the staff and the students, who have made the start of the Project such a success and make us proud every day. Finally, Paul cut the ribbon and was given a guided tour of the building by Levi..

..which included a go on the simulator and virtual reality headset. The day itself was covered by the Oldham Reporter (click here to read their article) and credit must go to the photographer, Nigel Wood, who captured these amazing images of our special day. Events like this make our job so worthwhile.

This week has also been jam packed. On Monday I met with Trust partners to discuss our growth (and we are constantly growing and developing). We then heard the news that New Bridge School was bring inspected by Ofsted. On Tuesday Mrs Burrows went off to London to a Gang and Knife Crime Conference at Lords Cricket Ground. On Thursday I met with Mrs Thompson and Mrs Righini around the preparation of my School Development Plan ready in anticipation for ………… Friday’s visit by the Department for Education.

This meeting was to look at how well we have settled into the Project and although it’s fair to say that the day was intense, again it gave myself and Mr Pidlyskyj the chance to reflect and develop our college. In the debrief, the inspector, Mrs McDermott, highlighted to us:

  • The importance of attendance. This will always be a key driver and we are continually stressing this to all parents – students need to attend to make progress.
  • To keep driving and shaping the curriculum. We will be looking to how we do this in the new year.
  • What a successful team we have. The staff spoke to Mrs McDermott and relayed to her their thoughts and feelings. This was brilliant to hear. We cannot run the Project without our magnificent team.
  • Finally, the young people. They stated they felt safe and cared for. They know who to turn to in times of crisis and they feel listened to.

I think that’s about it! I would like to say it’s time to slow down for Christmas but that’s simply not happening. This week Mr Ward is attending a course around developing Maths. It’s our first governing body meeting this week. Christmas dinner day is Wednesday and we have Christmas Jumper day to follow.

To get in the Christmassy mood, I’m running 5k on Saturday with Mrs Potts from Hollinwood Academy as part of the Saddleworth Christmas lights switch on.

I hope you all have a great week,

Mrs Tootill
Head of Springboard Project

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