Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have written a blog. As I sit here in my kitchen thinking about our highlights from this year – and there have been many – I am sure that you agree this is not the way that we would have chosen to end a fabulous year at Spring Brook Academy.
On Monday our wonderful staff team had our last Teams Meeting. For those of you who don’t know, the staff at Spring Brook Upper have been checking in and meeting every week via Teams. It has been so nice to see everyone’s lockdown hair! The best of all for me was Mr Heaton’s, it was outstandingly messy. Meeting each week with the team allowed us to check in with each other and see that we were all ok with allocated jobs for the week ahead. This was to make sure that even through lockdown the school ran as smoothly as we could have planned for. Mr Southerington and I would like to say a special thank you to the staff team at Spring Brook Upper for their continued support and hard work with safeguarding all of you, setting virtual learning, completing paperwork and attending virtual meetings for you and in planning for next academic year. We hope that you all have a good rest over the summer and we are looking forward to seeing all of you in September.
I personally would like to say a special thank you also to the IT and Executive teams within our MAT. They have worked tirelessly throughout Covid also to support and enable us as leaders to continue to adapt and change things rapidly in line with ever changing advice from the government.
Another special thank you from me to Mrs Thomason at lower school, Mr Southerington and Miss Kansik who have recently helped and supported me through a difficult personal time. They have stepped in when I have needed them and picked up some work for me so a very big thank you for your kindness and support. It is much appreciated.
I asked the staff to write about their highlights from this year. My very personal highlights have been when our students attended The Grange Arts Centre and took part in a knife crime theatre experience. Not only was it recognised that they were fantastic throughout that performance, they contributed to the whole experience and asked insightful questions at the end. One member of staff from this experience commented on the behaviour and conduct of our boys:
“Staff and Head Teacher at Spring Brook Academy, you should be extremely proud of these boys. They are an absolute credit to you.”
This has remained close to my heart all year – you are a credit to us boys and Beth and you did not let us down on that day.
Another highlight and feedback about our boys was when they went to Aldi selling Poppies. The feedback from the public was what lovely and wonderful young people they are.
I could go on….but I will hand over to other staff to look at their highlights..
I would just like to say that this last year working at Spring Brook has been different but really good. While in school I really enjoyed sharing the guided meditation and Reiki sessions with our students. They were all really good and enjoyed being involved. Amaan A, Jacob K and Amaan F all really enjoyed the Reiki sessions and were very positive. Mason, Donovan B And Dawud did really well in the guided meditation sessions. We had lots of lovely creative work done by so many students; some of them who really stood out for their hard work and enthusiasm were Leo L, Kieran Mc, Kian E and DJ. We have enjoyed lots of fab days out and the students have been extremely well behaved, showing the members of the public that they are a good example of young people from our school. When we took the students to the Grange Arts Centre to watch the knife crime performance, their behaviour and the involvement they showed whilst there really made me proud to be a part of the school.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first year working at Spring Brook Upper, I felt very welcomed from the start and enjoyed working with such a professional, energetic and caring team.
The Year 9 class have done really well adapting to a new behaviour system based around 3 simple rules; to be ready, respectful and safe. Shaun, James, Lee and Kieran all worked extremely well to manage their emotions and improve their behaviour. They all enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve their percentage scores weekly and liked the competition of trying to beat each other’s scores. They also enjoyed the incentive of working towards respect points.
Daniel fitted in, very coming into the class later and we built a good relationship. Keal showed a willingness to learn in Maths and was even able to demonstrate his working out on the board which really impressed me.
Cooking lessons proved to be huge success, in particular Lee and Kieran who could definitely pursue a career as a chef.
The class also raised money during the poppy appeal for the British Legion which I was very proud of and engaged with the army when they came in to give a careers talk.
The pupils showed a willingness to adapt to myself as new member of staff and we built some excellent trusting relationships.
“I just want to say a massive well done to all of the students, it has been an extremely challenging, uncertain and tough time. You have all continued your learning at different levels, stayed in contact and continued building relationships with staff and students despite us all being at home.
I want to say a special thank you to SBA1, you boys have come so far this year and you make me so proud. The confidence and resilience you have shown throughout the year has been amazing to watch. You have worked especially hard over the coronavirus period and you should be proud of yourselves. Have a great summer break!
My favourite memories of this year have been:
- The visit to see the ‘Under the skin’ theatre production about knife crime was very powerful and our pupils really engaged with it and responded with a great discussion at the end.
- The competitive spirit shown by our pupils (and staff) when we all participated in our annual fitness challenges. Many school and year records were broken and we also saw lots of personal best scores which made me very proud!
- Introducing the John Muir Award into KS3 which allowed us all to go out and explore the countryside and find lots of amazing places that are hidden away. Seeing our pupils adventuring to be able to stand underneath waterfalls was amazing!
I also really enjoyed taking the sports equipment kindly donated by Oldham Active Communities to some of our students, it was great to catch up with them and see how they all are..
My favourite memories from this year would be:
- the long running joke that was Michael C’s cooking skills which went from burning raw cake batter and some sort of strange-looking cheesecake in a bowl to producing quite edible meals!
- Amaan A. walking round school in a tiara, blanket cape, wig, dress, basically anything he could get his hands on!
- Dylan even gave the tiara a try!
- the job fair where Amaan choose which job tables we would explore based on what costumes they had! He was a lumberjack, police officer and butcher all in one day!
During the same trip, one of the career tables spoke to us about cyber crime and hacking… by the end of the session the Chadwick boys were teaching the teacher!
- Michael finding a latex cycling outfit in the ‘cupboard of doom’ and attempting to put it on over his uniform – this resulted in him rolling around on the floor struggling and everyone else rolling around on the floor laughing!
- the (sweet and chocolate fuelled) journey back from Cadbury World (that seemed to take around 5 hours!) – Harlan decided to reveal that he had a crush on Miss Raffles!
- the ride at Cadbury World paused for a good 5 minutes due to a technical fault – which left me stuck in a ride car with Harlan, Michael and Callum talking about girls and girlfriends! I was glad for it to start up again!
- Dylan doing his Bart Simpson impression and skate boarding into class like a pro – the rest of us didn’t look quite as cool when we had a try!
- Kian T injured himself (not a highlight!) but handled it with typical Kian-chillness – nothing fazes him!
- the Business of the year – Amaan’s brainchild with the whole class behind him. I can take absolutely no credit for the success of the milkshake business which turned a healthy profit and put smiles on the faces of many.
- Challenge for Change was a particular highlight – it pushed the boys (and some staff) out of their comfort zones and up into the air on a ropes course! It was particularly lovely to see the boys engage with the team building and problem solving activities!
- our trip to the Manchester Imperial War Museum was another great day – Callum was chief photographer and was able to capture the day and the museum artefacts.
- at Christmas time Harlan’s mum treated us to some delicious cupcakes! They didn’t last long!
- the boys opened their Christmas presents and Harlan and Michael built their robots (they looked far too complicated to me)
- Dylan and Harlan were able to show off their incredible musical talent (dylan on drums and Harlan on keyboard) – they even did the odd sing-song for us too!
- the boys worked extremely hard to turn our old storage cupboard into a comfortable relaxation room. They painted, shopped and Amaan took charge of interior design.
- for Children in Need we had some fun with various different activities, Mason particularly enjoyed being the pie distributor and everyone enjoyed watching Mr Stewart have his legs waxed!
- finally, we enjoyed some fantastic team games during our form time! The hands-down winner was without doubt the game ‘Poop the Potato’ – I’ll let the pictures do the talking on that one!
Saying goodbye is never easy…no matter what circumstances it might relate to, it will always be one of the most difficult moments in our lives. I must admit it took me a long time to put a few words together as I just simply could not draft anything which I would be happy with in the end. Despite it being a farewell, I really wanted it to be a celebration of our boys’ achievements. IT NEEDS TO BE SAID…THEY HAVE COME SUCH A LONG WAY…I feel very proud that I could see the glimpse of the boys growing, not only as students at Spring Brook Upper School but also as young minds who have started to develop the right mindset required for their future ahead. The transformation has been immense but its beginning was not an easy ride, that’s for sure! We all had our own little ways and learning styles which we had to learn how to co-exist with and tolerate. In our class we strongly believed we had to get to know each other first in order to build the trust and a long lasting bond. Each and every student in our Year 7 class has responded really well to the word of advice, praise and encouragement from the members of our team and towards the end of our time together, all the boys could manage their behaviour in a more positive way, notice the patterns of their struggles and apply their newly learnt skills to self-regulate. I really wish we had more time together because we could have experienced so much more as a class but let’s see it as the beginning of the boys’ next chapter in life…Year 8…one step closer to adulthood 😉
So your journey with our class may have stopped here, but above all, it is the beginning of new heights for you. Continue to be dedicated to your work and celebrating your achievements, no matter how small. I am very proud of you boys and you should be too!
So here we officially say goodbye to this academic year and good luck to our Year 9 students who will be transitioning up to our Springboard Project. We will plan a graduation for you face to face in September – more details to follow during the summer.
Letters have been sent out via ParentPay about our return in September. If government advice changes we will also be in touch over the summer.
One last thank you goes to the premises team and Mr Sefton who have and will continue to work hard over the summer getting our buildings safe and ready to return in September.
Year 6 parents and students, letters will follow over the summer with arrangements for your return also. We are planning on inviting you in to the Upper School over the two training days in September before the official start date which is Monday 7th September.
Happy holidays everyone. We look forward to seeing you all in September.
Miss Rodgers and Mr Southerington
Head of Site and Deputy Head of Site
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