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This week’s blog is a celebration of just some of the fantastic work taking place at New Bridge. We are starting with a closer look at one of our Interactive Base classes, IB1, who Miss Warner is delighted to tell us more about..

It’s been a very busy year for IB1, one which started with a very exciting new term welcoming 5 new students from Kingfisher. Myself and my team are extremely proud of how well these students have settled into IB1. Transitioning from primary to secondary school can be a very difficult time for some students and parents. Unfamiliar surrounding, different staff and change of routines can be a huge challenge.

For the first few weeks we worked on building positive relationships amongst staff and students. Providing a good emotional environment enabled students a sense of feeling safe and comfortable within their learning environment, giving them the confidence to engage, respond and communicate effectively.

Each morning we start the day with a structured morning routine. This is a positive start to our day and one which I thoroughly enjoy with my class.

It provides a structured daily experience for students; the use of consistent language helps to build vocabulary and promote functional language for some students, increases social awareness so that students are able to identify their peers, encourages choice making, good looking and listening skills and provides an awareness of what’s happening in the day to help alleviate anxieties.

A total communication and multi sensory approach is used supporting verbal language with signing, symbols and pictures to incorporate the differing needs of students within IB. Each student is sung to, then required to respond using a Big Mac to say hello. Whilst some students develop Maths skills such as calendar concepts, counting and number recognition, other students with Visual Impairment have the addition of lightAid devices which allows those with low vision time to engage and respond to interactive displays of coloured lights to participate with some elements of independence.

The weather part of our morning routine is by far the students’ favourite part. Different weather symbols are displayed on high contrast backgrounds with visually stimulating objects to represent different weather conditions. Some of these include a LED umbrella and water light to represent splashing in puddles, instant snow and a Ultra Violet light to encourage students to reach out and explore, along with a frozen fluorescent glove to represent cold. A torch with an orange ball for the sun allows students time to track the light and a blow machine attached to a switch represents the wind. This routine provides fantastic opportunities for students to engage with objects, respond to sounds and textures and also builds in elements of anticipation.

Last term our topic was Autumn. The story we worked on was “Marvin’s Market Adventure’. This story was written by the fantastic Gwyn McCormack, the Director and founder of Positive Eye. Gwyn is an enthusiastic and motivational lady with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of education and vision impairment. Some staff have been lucky enough to attend her training sessions and are now VI Champions within New Bridge. I have been able to turn to them for ideas and suggestions on ways in which I can adapt resources and my teaching approach to improve learning outcomes and measure progress for my students. With the help of my team we were able to create a visual sensory experience with an exciting range of eye-catching, attention grabbing visual objects and resources to inspire learning and promote development.

Marvin loved his Grandma very much and wanted to surprise her with a birthday party. The first surprise he gave her was a fish for her pond as Marvin and Grandma loved to spend time in her garden. We made a beautiful fish using materials that would reflect light when using torches.

Marvin was going to market to buy things for Grandma’s birthday surprise, but before he did he wanted to write a list of things he needed. For this we made marks in fluorescent sand and used the finger paint App on our iPads.

All the things on the list were things we could buy during the Autumn season. Marvin set off to market with his shiny purse but the weather was a typical Autumn day, wet, cold, windy and very miserable so we dug out our waterproofs and prepared ourselves for a wet walk to market!

Along the way Marvin visited the vegetable, cake and flower stall. We visited the corner shop to get Grandma some hot chocolate and cream and finished off making her favourite, pumpkin soup. We made a large florescent carrot that lit up when we used the UV torches..

We explored different textures of vegetables and made a cake using different materials and LED coloured candles. We explored the inside of a pumpkin and enjoyed the slimy pumpkin seeds between our fingers! Although some of us didn’t!!

We explored squirty cream and chocolate on our sensory trays. We finished off with a party for Grandma. We operated disco lights on switches, tracked flouresent balloons and explored all the different ingredients for Grandma’s cake.

In cooking we have made different Autumn recipes. Some students have been using symbols to find the equipment needed and following simple instructions and others have worked on sensory exploration of different textures and smells whilst working on fine motor skills. We’ve used switches to operate equipment independently. Watch out British Bake Off !!!!

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Other lessons have included Outdoor Education where we get to enjoy being out in the fresh air whilst experiencing lots of different places.

For Children in Need we created our own t-shirts and a really good job we made of this too!!!!

During the Halloween period, we searched for spiders and eye balls in different textures whilst working on our fine motor skills.

We have fun in the pool which is always our highlight of the week!

We had a fantastic festive season with lots of things going on. We had Christmas jumper dinner day with a visit from Santa!

We also had the opportunity to take part in the Christmas Showcase. We worked on a Victorian Christmas and had lots of fun dressing up.

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We have had the fantastic opportunity to take part in music therapy. Each week Paul from Live Music Now! comes into class. We have been using apps on iPads to create different sounds and feel vibrations, listening and responding to sounds different instruments make and we’ve had fun playing our own. I think we have the making of our own IB band!

Each day we work on our gross motor skills, from standing frames and Roamer to bespoke physio plans. We have weekly PE sessions and sometimes are able to access soft play where we continue to develop these skills.

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We like to be creative in IB1. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and encourage students to create, investigate and explore. Sensory art activities relate to senses such as touch, sight and smell. We never worry about the end result, just the process and exploration, with our art work we like to have fun and explore! …. you never leave IB1 clean. Always the sign of a good day!!

Here are pictures of recent IB1 Stars of the Week. Myself and my team are extremely proud of each student and their progress so far.

Please keep posted to see our current Topic ‘The Jungle Book’ …. in Maths we are counting King Louis’ Bananas and trekking through the jungle with Mowgli and Baloo, hiding from Shere Khan whilst avoiding getting hypnotised by Kaa.

I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work alongside Senior AAC consultants Sara Dale, Michael Ritson and Euan Robertson from The Ace Centre. These professionals have a passion for Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Over the next few months they will be coming into school to carry out assessments and advising us on specific equipment to suit individuals’ needs. Watch this space, it’s going to be an exciting project! Here is one of my amazing students using an iSwitch which is linked to his iPad through Bluetooth. The iSwitch is connected to a gooseneck mount which is mounted on his wheelchair. He is now able to independently operate cause and effect programmes on his iPad..

I want to end my blog by saying a very big thank you to Mrs Mills, Mrs Dransfield, Miss Marsden, Miss Fallows, Mrs Horobin, Miss Dickinson and Mrs Fletcher for your outstanding support and dedication in supporting our learners to be the best they can be. I’m extremely honoured and privileged to teach such amazing students with an Outstanding team behind me.

Thank you to our Personal Care Assistants, feeding partners, hydrotherapy team, health care assistants and school nurses and every other member of staff in the Interactive Base who also support IB1 students along their journey. Have a lovely half term! ~ Miss Warner

On Tuesday pupils across the school took part in a range of activities as part of Safer Internet Day exploring all the things young people should be #freetobe when they are online. Here’s Philip to explain our eSafety rules..

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Mr Smith has also been busy organising 2 Boccia Tournaments for our Autism Base and our Communication Groups and Interactive Base pupils which proved to be a great success (and very competitive!!)..

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Congratulations to Chelsea who has been nominated for a Mahdlo Stars Award and received an invitation to the special awards ceremony in March at Mahdlo. Well done Chelsea!!

Miss Parkinson’s Year 11 class enjoyed making their own Valentine’s Day greetings on their iPads..

..and there was more love to be spread by Miss Orgacki’s class who worked hard to organise a bake sale on Friday in aid of the British Heart Foundation. As you can see, we were all spoilt for choice with the delicious goodies on offer and they raised an incredible £122 – well done everyone (and thank you to Miss Orgacki, Mrs Gardiner and Mrs Hickman for all your baking)!!

Please remember that Monday 24th February is a staff training day and school is closed to pupils. I look forward to welcoming everyone back on Tuesday 25th February. I hope you have a good break,


Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find Dawn’s blog for the Learning Centre here

For news on our Key Stage 5 pathway groups at Medtia Square please click here

You can find my previous blog posts here


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