20 Nov

Another whirlwind of a week has flown by here at the academy. As we sit here in our odd socks for anti-bullying week, we have also celebrated the launch of disability history month. All around the building are posters that Mrs Mason-Power has made of famous people with autism and ADHD.

We have talked openly and honestly about these conditions and next week our focus will be on dyslexia and dyspraxia. It was lovely to see Miss Crossley’s class doing a treasure hunt around the school looking for clues to find “pieces of a jigsaw” that had famous people with autism and ADHD.

It is great to be able to celebrate difference and to look at the positives of these conditions. I am really pleased with how well the students have engaged with lessons and read the posters around school.

Let’s have a look at what Mr Hopkins has been doing in PE and outdoor learning this week…..

This week has been a very active one (again) for our pupils at Spring Brook Upper. All of the children have been into the outdoors this week as part of their PE lessons and John Muir Award and have benefitted from some beautiful Autumn weather.

Firstly Mr Stewart’s class walked down Staley Brook in Carrbrook, managed to get across the brook..

..and found a community farm. Here they saw some pigs for the first time!! They couldn’t believe why the pigs snuffle around in the mud and just how hairy they are!!

Mr Coldwell’s class then went out to explore the air raid shelter at Strinesdale. Paddy and Dawud were both brave enough to go in but couldn’t get too far as the shelter was flooded due to the weekend rain.

Miss Crossley’s, Miss Mason-Power’s, Miss Young’s and Mr Mullins’ classes then all visited Crompton Moor. Up on the moor there is a very impressive waterfall that has an incredibly calming effect on all of our pupils.

There are also some amazing forests that we explored fully. Our pupils couldn’t believe how dark and much colder it was in the trees and how much the trees move in the wind when you look upwards through them. The sounds that the trees make when they’re moving also amazed us all – it was a truly sensory experience! Before Mr Mullins’ year 9’s went back to school we had to play a few games of manhunt in the forest too which was completely epic!!

Finally on Thursday Miss Crossley’s class went out to Pule Hill on Standedge as part of their John Muir Award. Up on the hill they managed to complete 5 exploration challenges that I set. One of which was to climb down into a small cave and squeeze through a tiny gap to the other side! I really couldn’t believe that everyone was brave enough to complete the challenge – even Miss Mellor!

We finished off our challenges with a ‘gully run’ which was hilarious as we all ran as fast as we could down the gully trying not to slip into the stream! 

Many fears were faced by this class on this trip out – heights, small spaces, getting muddy, falling over and spiders – and we saw some amazing teamwork, courage and resilience to overcome these challenges. Now the class is completely different to when we first began exploring our local areas in September. Back then they were very cautious and were afraid of trying new things and just being in the outdoors. When we see them now the positive improvements they have made in their self-confidence and resilience is quite impressive. Well done to Conor, Lewis, Alyssa and Harry!! ~ Mr Hopkins

I know if the students have enjoyed themselves each week because their smiles tell a thousand stories on return, so do their muddy clothes and boots! It really is good for their mental health to be outside learning and exploring and most of all having fun and developing those relationships.

Now Mr Mullins has an update for us on his class..

In the blog last week, Miss Rodgers mentioned how the anxieties and restrictions that surround us came to the forefront with a few difficulties across the site. The boys don’t mind me saying how we felt this too in SBU6. Couple that with becoming teenagers, bodies going through changes – we took it upon ourselves to reflect on what happened, how we can apply ourselves should we be in a similar situation again and how we can adapt our self-coping strategies.

As staff, we too are constantly reflecting on our approach to teaching and how best to meet the needs of our pupils on any given day. Truthfully, part of us felt that the expectation to sustain the remarkable start to the school year may have also been a contributing factor, on top of the aforementioned uncertainties.

Once again, the group have demonstrated an unbelievable amount of resilience, understanding and have not only applied themselves in a manner in which we all know they are capable of, but you can also see how they have recognised all this within themselves – and that is what I am most proud of. To bounce back from a difficult week, to see it through for the duration of the five days learning and still push themselves academically is testament to the progress this group have made.

We are well on our way to creating a story of our own, having established settings and main characters. We have explored prime numbers, factor pairs and are beginning to apply that knowledge to prime factors. Elsewhere, we have been out and about with Mr Hopkins again (always a highlight), developed our knowledge on Wales and even found time for a debate on whether we felt Henry VIII was a good king. More importantly, by the time the blog is uploaded – you should have sampled the cheesecake the boys each made… assuming they saved you some!

Credit for responding in the manner you have SBU6. See you all on Monday.

Miss Crossley brings us the latest news from SBU2..

Alyssa has worked really hard this week to make the right choices, complete all work and achieve a behaviour percentage of 89% – amazing work Alyssa, this is a massive improvement on last week. Where 89% would generally be a ‘pupil of the week’ winning score, this week Conor has jumped into first place – earning a massive 92%. 

SBU2 have been choosing to participate in body sparring sessions during their reward time. Conor has shown fantastic sportsmanship and resilience despite not winning every round (and running away from some of the tougher competitors!).

This week Lewis asked the question “what is the point of doing art?” and we answered this question together. The artists in SBU2 could choose to be illustrators, photographers, animators, designers, curators or, if their bananas are anything to go by, maybe even tattoo artists..

To mark Disability Awareness Month, SBU2 explored different disabilities – focusing on hidden disabilities and the phrase “the same, but different”. We could apply this phrase to our own classroom, where everyone is treated differently according to their needs. A quote displayed on our classroom wall reads

“fair doesn’t mean everyone gets the same thing. Fair means that everyone gets what they need to be successful in this classroom”.

SBU2 are learning how to apply this philosophy to their own friendships and social interactions within school. leading to more positive outcomes at social times.

SBU2 created artwork in the style of Tim Burton, we spoke about the determination and dedication needed to be successful in any career – qualities that Burton attributes to his Autism. A jigsaw/ around the school treasure hunt provided SBU2 with more information about, as well as famous faces who live with, Autism.

SBU3 have had an equally busy week..

SBU3 have continued reading our class book of War Horse and looking at the themes and language used. I’d like to say a well done to Tyler who has made really thoughtful comments this week about how the soldiers and horses would have felt on their journeys to war.
In science this week we continued our topic of Rocks and Weathering by looking in detail at how volcanoes make rocks. We got messy, as always, using baking powder and vinegar to demonstrate how the gas created by eruptions creates holes in igneous rocks.

We made a collaborative art project this week, creating individual stencils for the letters of our class, SBU3, before splatter painting over them. It was great to see the teamwork that went into creating this, it looks amazing on our classroom wall!

On Tuesday we went out of school to visit Heaton Park, the Lightopia festival was being set up so it was fascinating to look at the sculptures in the day time. 

We also visited the Somme memorial to pay our respects and to learn more about the history of World War One in Manchester. 

We learned to make vegetable patties this week using Levi Roots’ recipe, they turned out so well! Isiah produced an absolute masterpiece, definitely earning ‘star baker’ again. 

Finally, we have started Christmas activities with only 4 weeks to go until we break up. Maisie made this absolutely stunning picture of a Christmas Tree which is taking pride of place in our classroom. Well done Maisie!

I think I may have to get a breakfast order in with SBU4 next week, just have a look at what they’ve been rustling up in the kitchen..

So that ends another week at the academy. Next week we are looking forward to our invitational meeting with our executive team where we are going to celebrate something very special so watch this space!

Have a great weekend everyone, stay safe!

Miss Rodgers
Head of Site

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