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I need to start by saying another huge thank you to all the families who have so far completed the individual risk assessments as part of our ‘New Schooling’ risk assessment process. As you can imagine, this is an extensive piece of work and I’d like to thank you all for your patience and understanding.

Staff teams are currently in the process of contacting every family to go through the individual student risk assessments. We are also completing staff / premises / Health and Safety risk assessments to ensure the safety of all staff, students and their families.

I think the current situation brings with it a sense and need for reflection. I was talking to one of our parents this week and shared how much I’m missing the joy and rewards of working with our students and that I feel an immense sadness that I can’t see them all. The parent rather wryly replied “I’ll remind you of what you said in a few months’ time!” We both laughed knowingly. Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and feel very lucky that I’m still able to work, albeit virtually! Although things are challenging at present for everyone I wouldn’t change it for the world, however I do believe that the reward for all our hard work is the students themselves and the absolute joy they bring.

I would like to say a massive well done and thank you to:

  • Our wonderful staff team who are working tirelessly to provide support for those students accessing the hub at New Bridge School, those setting and marking work and activities, those keeping in weekly contact with families, and all those involved in the mammoth task of planning and co-ordinating the ‘New Schooling’ offer, ensuring all are kept safe.
  • Our amazing students who are trying to manage what is a very stressful time, those trying to keep active and engaged, those taking part in different events and competitions and those supporting each other from afar.
  • Our fabulous families who have become teachers and educators, and who, although I know it’s a difficult time, have remained patient, supportive and understanding.


It seems appropriate to share a quote from one of my favourite books, The Lord of the Rings..

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” R.R. Tolkein

As promised, I’m sharing my progress so far in the ‘Grow your own Sunflower’ competition..

I’ve added an arrow in case you missed it!! No comments please, it could be a late bloomer!!

Staying with competitions, I’d like to announce that the results of the ‘Everyday heroes’ big Art competition will be revealed in next week’s blog, so if you’ve entered watch this space!

This week’s shout out goes to Kyle in Year 12 for doing his best to stay in shape whilst off! Here are a couple of pictures of him doing his exercises on the trampoline..

As his tutor Mrs. Walters commented, “The concentration on his face is amazing!” Well done Kyle, you’ve inspired me to get more active!

The challenge for everyone this week is to get active and I look forward to seeing your pictures! There is also a Maths competition taking place this week that you might like to take part in..

I’m closing this week’s blog by paying tribute to a much-loved friend and colleague, Kim Ratcliffe who very sadly and suddenly passed away last week. This has come as a huge shock to us all.

Kim started working at Park Dean as a lunchtime supervisor nearly 30 years ago. She then became a Teaching Assistant at Park Dean and then at New Bridge Learning Centre where she had many good friends who she nicknamed her ‘Treacles’ and ‘Cupcakes’.

Kim gave her all for the students, building relationships with absolutely every student she met. She was never fazed, no matter how complex or challenging the needs before her, and in her words, ‘You just get on with it, don’t you!’

I learnt so much from Kim and hugely respected her vast experience, relationships with students and staff, work ethic, compassion for all and above all her sense of humour in the face of any adversity. Many of the pictures being shared over the last week are of Kim chuckling and laughing out loud.

As her daughter Carla put it, Mum often got up to mischief with everyone, especially her best friends Suzanne and Maxine. Carla, who also worked with Kim at the Learning Centre, was often mistaken for her as they looked so alike.

Kim loved her job, her colleagues and all the students. Kim has been part of our New Bridge / Park Dean family for many years and she will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, staff and students alike. There will be a Kim shaped gap at the Learning Centre, especially within the Interactive Base.

All our thoughts and prayers go out to Ray, Carla, Kirsty, Mick and family at this very difficult time, and in the weeks and months ahead.

Night, God Bless Kim.


Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find Gavin’s blog for the school site here

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

You can find my previous blog posts here


St Martins Road, Fitton Hill, Oldham, OL8 2PZ

School Hours

M-F: 8am – 4pm
Weekends: Closed

Phone & Email

0161 883 2402