12 Feb

As we approach the first anniversary of the initial Covid Lockdown, I can honestly say this has been my most challenging year, not only as an educator, but as a parent as well. When Lockdown was first announced in March 2020, I honestly thought it would be a 2 week closure whilst this virus fizzled out – never did I imagine that it would have the impact on our everyday lives that it has.

Terms like furlough, social distancing, PPE, self-isolation and Lateral Flow Test have become part of our everyday lexicon, and it can feel like there is no end in sight, what the virus has shown us is that the human race can be fantastic in the times of challenge – who will ever forget the late, great Captain Sir Tom Moore and his walk for the NHS – a staggering £39 million raised.

Local Rugby League Legend, Kevin Sinfield running 7 marathons in 7 days, hoping to raise £77,777 and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, but finishing with over £2.7 million and placing MNDA in the national spotlight

Oldham’s Frank Rothwell, aged 70, becoming the oldest person to row the Atlantic Ocean solo, raising over £1 million for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Their endeavour, and people’s generosity and support show just how great people are when faced with hardship and struggle.

It has also reminded me how amazing our staff team are. I often wax lyrical to our governors and trustees about the empathy, resilience and dedication our staff show on a daily basis, but during this past year, they have gone even further in their support for our pupils, and each other – they are an absolute pleasure to work with, and I feel honoured to be part of that team.

But ultimately, we do the job that we do for the emotional gratification and satisfaction of working with the most fantastic young people! Having an impact and making a difference to our pupils, academically, socially and emotionally, is so rewarding. I am amazed at how they have adapted to the remote learning offer, and impressed with the week on week increase in engagement – what has been made clear is that our young people want to learn, however that may look, and the support from all our staff has been paramount to its success.

Staff would like to share their stories of the past week, starting with Ms Power..

A wonderful end to a great half term for SBU3. We’ve had a busy week finishing our Human Body and Medicine topic. In Science, we looked again at skeletons and made large models to go on display near our classroom, which was a great way to recap on the different bones and how joints such as ball and socket work.

We also investigated how germs can spread by using UV powder and a special torch. This really showed how easily bacteria and viruses can spread and why hand washing is so important!

In cooking we made spicy wraps in school using peppers and avocado.

Out of school, Maisie made cookies at home, well done Maisie!

To celebrate Chinese New Year Maisie made a brilliant Dragon to display in our classroom.

Finally I want to congratulate the whole class on the brilliant progress they’ve made in Maths this half term. Maisie has worked really hard on her multiplication, Tyler has been looking at fractions, while Leshay and Isiah have been learning about money and measuring. 

Well done too to Ariz who has been engaging well with his Maths work online this week.

Mrs Young’s class have been working hard..

Mr Hopkins has been relishing this week’s wintry weather..

As the big freeze descended it didn’t stop us exploring on our outdoor adventures. In fact if anything it made them much more exciting!! Thanks to the charity Gift Your Gear who we have linked up with in the past, we have lots of good quality outdoor clothing we can use for our pupils to wrap up and protect them from the elements. This week we visited 2 amazing places – 1 further away with our Year 9’s and one closer to home with our Year 7 and 8’s.

On Thursday the Year 9’s got to go out and visit Lud’s Church for the day which is a ‘deep, dank, chasm’ near Buxton. This is a mysterious place hidden on a forested hillside where the legend says that Pagans used to worship Mother Nature. It truly was magnificent – particularly in the snow – and was a real ‘wow’ moment as we explored the deep cut into the earth. Inside there were thousands of icicles, some bigger than us, and an incredible amount of moss and greenery really making it feel like we were in a different world. The Year 9’s were amazing and we also a spotted a ‘Harry Potter’ tree shaped like a lightning strike and said hello and stroked a cow! An amazing day, well done everyone!

On Friday we stayed closer to home but still enjoyed some magical countryside places. We visited Healey Dell near Rochdale to explore the ruined mills and two disused train lines through the valley. The river was fantastic and this time our Year 7 and 8’s got to see the magic of giant icicles!!! Again I can’t praise our pupils enough as they are so polite and courteous with other members of the public, it was a fantastic end to a great half term. Well done everyone!

Miss Crossley and the pupils summoned their inner Dragons Den, and were busy making milkshakes for the students. Beth and Cameron enjoyed combining the ingredients, utilising their reading and number skills, along with following instructions to make the most amazing shakes. Harry and Ellie were too busy taking and delivering orders to have their photo taken… after all “time is money”!!

Mr Stewart worked with SBU6 in recreating KFC style Zinger Burgers – chicken, Hot Doritos, garlic powder and paprika, topped with lettuce, cheese and some hot sauce, all in a Brioche bun…sounds finger licking good!!!

Mr Coldwell has taken advantage of how the cold weather transforms the local community, and been exploring with Mason and Szymon. The boys worked on their social skills, and were both very well behaved and polite to members of the public – Keep up the good work, lads!

Harry has been very engaged with his History lessons about Victorian cures. He decided on what ingredients to use and what the cure would be for. When he was creating the cure, he found that milk neutralised a lot of the spices and he couldn’t taste nor smell them. He decided this would be a great carrier for cures as people wouldn’t be able to taste the nasty things put in them. Harry is doing extremely well engaging in his remote learning and we are very proud of him.

Mr Hopkins continues to release his inner Sir Ranulph Fiennes and take pupils to the back of beyond – working on their fitness, navigation, social communication. It is so important in this time of lockdown to be aware of our own mental health. Getting out into the local countryside for a brisk, socially distanced walk can do wonders for the mind. There are many beautiful locations on our doorstep – Tandle Hills, Dove Stone, Heaton Park, Alexandra Park just to name a few. Go for a walk, open your senses and take in nature.

Outside of the classroom, Mr Bocking has been keeping the Facebook community fit and healthy with his daily workouts – you can find all his, and Miss Davies’ Zumba sessions, on our Facebook and YouTube pages New Bridge Group – YouTube

We have a few Half Term birthdays – many happy returns to Leshay, Lewis C, Cameron, Mr Heaton, Mr Bocking and Mrs Culhane, we hope you enjoy your day.

A fantastic end to a challenging half term.

A couple of final, but important messages…

  • A reminder to all parents and carers that, as instructed nationally, the school is closed over the half term break for ALL pupils. We will not reopen until Tuesday 23rd February, where we will continue to offer our Remote Learning package. Please make your plans accordingly.
  • School meal vouchers are being provided for the families that are entitled to them over the half term break.
  • Should you or any of your household become symptomatic with COVID-19, please do not send your child into school.
  • If any of the household are awaiting a test result, the whole house needs to self-isolate whilst you await the result. Do not send your child into school.
  • If your child becomes symptomatic over the weekend, and tests positive for COVID-19 later, inform the school either via ParentApp or School Voicemail, where we will continue with our Track and Trace procedures in conjunction with Public Health England.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding, and please remember to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Mr Southerington
Deputy Head

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