08 Jan

Welcome back. I hope everyone enjoyed a great Christmas and New Year break. I always feel that this Spring term is an opportunity to settle into hard work and have a real focus on progress and improvement. I have already seen this week how well the classes have returned to school, refreshed and happy, and ready to continue to learn. As I have been into different classes this week I have reflected on the progress made since September. This new term is remarkable for showing how quickly children are able to respond to their learning environment and to develop positive and trusting relationships with key staff. Looking back to the first week in September I can recognise that many children inevitably joined us with high levels of anxiety and apprehension about their new school. I am pleased to see the smiling faces and calm responses, evidence that pupils now feel secure, gaining in confidence and prepared to achieve the best they possibly can.

We have been joined this week by six new children, from Reception age to Year 9. Hollinwood Academy has been designed as a school for 140 children and we aim to have filled 100 of these places by September 2016, with a further 40 over the next academic year. I have been delighted to welcome our newest pupils and am pleased to see that they have settled in very, very well so far. We are still receiving regular requests from new families to have a look around and I have no doubt that we will be welcoming more pupils over the next few weeks.

I am also pleased to report that we have been joined by Lesley Dawson who will be working on reception alongside the administration team. Sadly though, this is to replace Lucy who has moved across to the reception desk at New Bridge School. We will miss Lucy, although she will only be ‘next door’ and I’m sure she’ll be back regularly to visit as well as occasional cover.

I’m also delighted to welcome Christine Oxley to the school. She has now started in her position as school nurse on a part-time basis. Christine is a very experienced Learning Disability nurse. She will be with us for two or three days each week and will be leading on medicals and will be available to families who have concerns around medical issues, as well as providing advice around sleep, continence, diet and behaviour.

I apologise for the lack of photographs this week. I took advantage of the New Bridge Group policy of flexible leave for teachers and had a couple of extra days off on Monday and Tuesday, so I haven’t had as much chance to collect pictures for my blog. This comes about as we are committed to ensuring that staff who work on holiday clubs are the same staff that pupils know and feel confident with during regular school days. This level of consistency is essential to the smooth running of the holiday clubs. Families will soon be receiving letters about the February half term holiday club and I hope that many of you will feel positive about taking up the opportunity.

Families should have received information about the Sensory Needs Workshop for Parents of Children with ASD, being presented by the National Autistic Society. This free event takes place on Wednesday 16th March from 9:45am – 2:30pm and is being held at Hollinwood Academy. Our parents are being offered first refusal on limited places so if you are interested please let us have the reply slips from our letter back as soon as possible and we will make a block booking for you.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Sarah