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Weekly Blog

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This week our pathways students have been off timetable all week and have been working with industry professionals from Digital Advantage. At the beginning of the week our students were given a brief to create a mobile flexible events space and were tasked to come up with ideas of how the space would look and what the space could be used for. That was the starting point and the students then went on to set up their businesses. They have carried out market research, come up with a name and brand, set up websites and social media pages and created promotional films and blogs. On Friday morning, I was absolutely blown away by the presentation of the week’s work. The level of detail and the amazing ideas that the students have produced is simply brilliant. We will shortly be sharing our films and websites with you all via our social media platforms but for now I would like to thank all of the staff at Digital Advantage, our own teachers and our amazing students for an incredible week! You did brilliantly and I look forward to stage two after half-term where we begin to work with artists John Large to create the space!

In other VERY exciting news this week, you may have caught my early blog about our new venture with The Guinness Partnership..

I am writing before my usual blogs this week to share some really exciting news! As you may know, we have been running The Atrium Café at First Choice Homes Oldham for three years now. The Atrium is run by our staff and students and provides a catering service to First Choice Homes staff. A number of months ago, an opportunity came up to replicate this model at another major housing association in Oldham, The Guinness Partnership, which is based in Hollinwood, very close to New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy. The building is much larger than the First Choice Homes building and houses nearly 800 staff!

Over the summer, I put together a proposal to take over the catering contract for Guinness, replicating the student-led model that we have in place with First Choice Homes Oldham. I am pleased to inform you that a couple of weeks ago we found out that our application was successful and we take over the catering contract at Guinness next month! The café at Guinness is also having a major refurb and will open officially in December.

This contract will once again open up so many doors for our young people and launches the start of a new partnership with a major Oldham employer. Our young people will have the opportunity to train on the job and to build skills around catering, hospitality and customer service! On a daily basis, they will organise a trolley run around the building, re-stock fridges and vending machines and also prepare and serve food supported by a dedicated team of job coaches. Guinness are also keen to work with our Group to provide further work placements across their business and potentially apprenticeship opportunities in the future. As with The Atrium, we will continue to use local suppliers to provide a service that supports businesses within our area.

Whilst this opportunity will be open to students from across our schools via our usual work placement referral scheme, we will be focusing initially on placing more young adults from New Bridge Horizons at The Guinness Partnership to build upon the excellent work that we have started through our new ‘TeamM8s’ scheme.

I will, of course, keep you up to speed with our progress via my Future Finders blog and my Key Stage 5 Pathways blog and I look forward to sending our first young people on placement at The Guinness Partnership after half term!

Speaking of partnerships, our work placement co-ordinator Maria has this week met with Tameside Radio and I am delighted to tell you that we will be offering placements here after half term! Another brilliant opportunity for our students.

Let’s find out what else our students have been doing so far this term, starting with our Bridging the Gap teams..

We have had a brilliant start to the year on Bridging the Gap at the Royal Oldham Hospital, we have all had a great time getting to know each other and all the students have made a fantastic effort at getting into their placement routines. We have chosen Dylan to write our first ‘Day in the life of’ for the blog. Take it away Dylan…..

A Day In The Life of Dylan
Bridging the Gap at the Royal Oldham Hospital

I arrive at the Education Centre at 8:40 am. I have a chat and then set off for work. I arrive at EBME medical office at 9:00am where I meet James who I work with.

When I arrive at James’s office we start with booking medical equipment in and out on the computer. I book medical equipment in and out so wards know what has been serviced.

We then set off on our ward round which doesn’t have an official starting time, it all depends on when the booking has finished. We do ward rounds until 10:30am and most of the time I have my break with James. At break I sit with James and the other engineers in the staff room and talk about stuff that we like.


I wear a burgundy shirt with black pants to look professional and on wards I have to take my jacket off for infection prevention. I also have to wear a badge to prove my identification. Me and James go around the wards collecting equipment so that it is ready for service then we take it back to the medical library so we can then clean it (decontaminate with special solution and special wipes)

At lunch I sit with Cherrie, Patrick and Nathan and we all talk to John who is part of the cleaning services team.

In the afternoon I set off back to placement at 12:55pm where we clean the equipment. We start off by wearing our PPE which are gloves to stop us from catching an infection and then we use the disinfectant wipes to clean the machines before wiping them down with a paper towel.

Me and James normally finish the ward round and do some cleaning and do some more booking in on the computer. I set off back to the education centre at 2:30pm.

I then finish off any work which needs to be done for my qualification or complete my work diary then leave at 3:00pm to set off home

As you can see, Dylan has settled in well with the team in EBME and does tell us that he really enjoys the job placement, which is brilliant. We hope everyone has a lovely break for half term and comes back feeling refreshed ready for the next part of this term. From Amanda and Hayley.

Down at MMU, another of our Bridging the Gap students is also working hard..

A Day In The Life of Josh
Bridging the Gap at Manchester Metropolitan University

My name is Josh and I work in the ‘Grab and Go’ shop at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have my uniform which I have to make sure I wear every day, including my apron and my ID badge which allows me into staff areas. My first job which I love is filling up the slush machine, I have to use the right amount of syrup and water for the machine otherwise it will break! I have asked my mum if I can have one and it is a definite no!

Then I have to go and collect the stock, I need to collect fresh milk, drinks and snacks. I check it off against the stock list to make sure that I have the right amount..

Then I have to push the trolley back to the cafe, it’s heavy but I am building up my muscles!!

This is Pedro who is my supervisor, I really enjoy working with Pedro. It took me a while to understand his accent as he is from Spain but now we understand each other. Here I am letting Pedro know which items of stock are missing from the stock room.

My next job is too take the rubbish out, I need to make sure that I recycle properly..

Throughout the day I have to keep the area clean and tidy for new customers and I also have to restock the shelves with everything I brought back from the stock room earlier, which is a lot!

That then leaves me my favourite job of the day which is serving customers! I love this part of my job and I am working on my customer service and making sure that I always say hello, please and thank you..

Here is a Work Experience update for our Lumenus student, Grace..

Grace has done exceptionally well undertaking her work experience placement at the Atrium Cafe. 

For the first two weeks, Grace learned the importance of health and safety and food hygiene in a catering environment. She is now confident with her knowledge of the fire assembly points and safe routes out of the building as well as the food hygiene rules that need to be followed.

Grace has learnt how to replenish the milk tea, coffee, sugar and can complete this task with minimal support. She knows the location of the stock and how to load the trolley efficiently and she completes the check list without prompting..

For the past few weeks Grace has been setting up to do the trolley run and has been learning about checking dates and presenting stock so it looks organised and appealing. We are looking forward to the next few months for Grace to develop her numeracy and customer service skills.

Well done Grace. Keep up the good work!

Now to our Pre Intern students, starting with Nicola’s group..

For our Pre-Interns, the first part of this term it has been a whirlwind of new routines, new timetables, new technologies, new placements and new experiences and all of our students have made amazing progress, meeting these new challenges head on.

In employability they have finished their first unit, Introduction to Essential Work Skills, and I’m really impressed with how quickly the Pre-Interns have got used to completing their work using the iPads..

Each of our students have shone in their work placements. Becky, the catering manager from the Atrium, thinks that Jade, Sarah and Nathan have had a fantastic half term and said, “Over the past few months the students have grown in confidence and all of them have had a proactive approach to their job roles. They are engaging more with customers which has improved their customer service skills.”
Here are some comments from our students about their work placements..

  • Nathan: “It’s good doing the food preparation. It makes me feel awesome because I had never done it before.”

  • Jade: “I like serving the customers using the iPad because it helps me with my money skills.”

  • Sarah: “I like using the coffee machine because it’s more difficult to use and I have been trained to clean and flush the machine.”

  • Corey and Chloe have been accessing the Atrium one afternoon a week and have worked hard to complete the first of their employability units. As well as doing their usual work tasks, they have been learning how to use the barista machine to make different hot beverages..

  • At the RSPCA Kieran has enjoyed nurturing the cats and has been developing his literacy skills using more descriptive language when completing the behaviour reports..

  • Alan has said, “I am enjoying working at David Lloyd because everyone is friendly and I like serving and speaking to the customers.”

Well done to all the pre-interns and here’s to the rest of the term being just as successful!

Now over to Colin for news of our second group..

It’s been a fantastic start to the term with the Pre Internship. The group are well into the Employability Award and have been working hard on their E-Portfolios. In their Employability sessions they are currently working on two units, one being Personal Action Planning that has consisted of target setting, identifying their own strengths and weaknesses and areas to improve performance at placement; they have been putting strategies in place to assess and review their progress. Alongside this, the students have started their other unit on PPE and they have identified what PPE looks like and where it can be used.

Placements have once again offered an amazing opportunity for our students to gain new skills and build on their existing ones, including transferable life skills that will support them in the future.

  • At the RSPCA, the students have the opportunity to work with staff to support with the nurture time of the animals and also any general day to day tasks around the animal shelter. The RSPCA have given their own views below:

‘’We are proud to say we have had many of the students and their job coaches from the New Bridge Group volunteering alongside our staff over the past year. The students provide us with valuable help, they spend quality time with the cats, encouraging the shy ones out and entertaining the young and cheeky ones.
The students are also more than willing to muck in and get their hands dirty, they not only help the staff in the day to day cleaning but are also willing to turn their hands to help us out preparing for any event that may be upcoming.
We would like to say a big thank you to all the students who have worked with us over the past year.’’

  • David Lloyd Cheadle has been a new placement this term for our students and is having a positive impact on all involved. We have started the term off by working at the ‘DLicious Cafe Bar’ where students have roles that include front and back of house. The students complete general day to day tasks such as cleaning, pot washing, serving food and making drinks for customers. Jess the shift supervisor had this to say,

‘’The students have integrated well and have built positive relationships with staff and customers, Students are on a natural progression with the job roles that they have and we can’t wait for after half term when the students are back with us.’’

Well done to all the Pre Internship students this half term, remember we are back on the 4th of November. Have a great week off and see you when we are back!

We have had yet more very exciting news this week with the arrival of a new VR simulator – I will let Mr Bright tell you all about it here!!

Have a wonderful half term. We look forward to welcoming you back after a good rest, a week on Monday!

Head of Key Stage 5 Pathways

Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can view our previous blog entries here

News from the Learning Centre and New Bridge School can be found here


Spring Brook Lower School, Heron St, Oldham OL8 4JD

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