18 Dec

As the end of the Autumn term approaches and Christmas is almost upon us, I would like to thank all our children, young people, parents, carers, staff and governors for your hard work and support this term. We are proud of the progress made in such a short time and I’m sure families agree that the distance covered has been staggering, from those first anxious steps into a new school in September to the confident performances on stage this week.
This week has been one of our busiest yet, with many highlights including Christmas activities, parties and events.

The most memorable of these for me has to be the amazing performance of ‘Stable Surprise’ on Tuesday in the New Bridge Theatre. The theatre was packed, with over 100 people in the audience, yet our children were not fazed. They performed with confidence and style. I am sure that everyone who watched the show will have been as impressed as I was, and many emotional tears were shed.

The actual performance was filmed by the Digit4ll group from New Bridge and we hope to have DVDs available to purchase soon. The cost is £3 to cover the performance rights fee and any profit over and above this cost will go to the Digit4ll Enterprise Group funds.

Classroom activities over the week have included many Christmas themed arts and crafts and Mrs Dunsdon has kindly selected a range of photographs of children being creative.

On Wednesday everyone enjoyed a delicious festive dinner. Pupils, staff and children sat together in class groups wearing Christmas hats, pulling Christmas crackers and listening to Christmas songs. Again, what an indication of how far they have come – the first few weeks saw a great challenge for many pupils who felt anxious about eating in a large and busy dining room. On Wednesday however, every single pupil relaxed and enjoyed sitting, chatting and eating with their friends and teachers. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Many thanks to our super dinner staff, Alison and Cherie!

After lunch we all enjoyed working off some of the calories on our sponsored Santa Stroll. We will let you know how much was raised for the school in January.

Other highlights of the week have been a visit from Santa Claus on Thursday (photographs have been taken by class teachers and will be sent home) and finally Christmas parties on Friday afternoon – many thanks for your contributions.

I am very pleased to say that this week, although full of excitement and celebrations, has felt calm and positive with children able to feel confident and relaxed whilst enjoying the build up to Christmas. I hope this extends to family celebrations over the next two weeks at home.

As you are aware, Hollinwood Academy is part of the New Bridge Group, and I would just like to take this opportunity to say a fond farewell to a colleague from New Bridge Learning Centre who some of you may have met. Roger Postlethwaite has been on the Leadership Team for the New Bridge Group since we opened more than 10 years ago, and he has been Head of Learning Centre until his retirement this week. He has been an inspiration to me, supportive of my development in my new role as Head of School and, as Graham Quinn has said, – ‘he is a very modest man but his influence in developing our amazing organisation should not be underestimated.’  Thank you Roger. You will be missed.

I am afraid that we are having technical difficulties uploading photographs to the website at the moment but as soon as these are resolved we have some lovely ones to share with you. They are available on Facebook in the meantime, if you are able to view them there: www.facebook.com/NEWBRIDGEGROUP

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas break.

Sarah