During these difficult times our dedicated teams are working around the clock to continue looking after our young people. To facilitate social distancing, our office based support staff will be working from home wherever possible and can be contacted using the numbers on our Contact Us page. We are still reviewing all referrals, offering placements where relevant, and planning for young people to move into our homes where it is safe to do so. Despite the challenges we all face during these testing times, we are committed to supporting you and our young people.
As the date for the DofE expedition phase of the Bronze award approaches in September, six pupils undertook a two day practice walk. These were consecutive day walks from our Bedford school and were organised to enable pupils to experience the level of physical demands that will be placed on them. The walks went extremely well and have encouraged a new teamwork amongst the pupils. The full expedition will include an overnight stay and our school may be used as the venue for this stay. As one of our homes said: "Judging by the amount of mud on their boots, they must have been clocking up some miles!"
The DofE is many things to many people, and one of the benefits is in supporting young people to successfully navigate adult life, which is particularly important for our young people as they develop their independence skills. Good luck all with the September expedition!
Celebrations were the order of the day in one of our Bedfordshire homes as 2 young people successfully finished their first year at college. This is a real achievement for both of them, who maintained focus and continued engaging with their learning right until they broke up, including completing assessments, assignments and virtual classes online. They are now focusing on their independence skills by managing their own health and medication requirements and assisting with the household jobs.
Meanwhile at one of our Cheshire homes, one young person has finished the second year of their college course – achieving a Merit in animal management. The plan is to return to college next year to compete a course in countryside and conservation, whilst plans are meanwhile underway to transition to semi-independence.
These are excellent achievements for our young people considering their situations when they first came into our care and we are very proud to witness the progress they have made and to see the independent young adults they have become.
This week has seen a great week at our Bedford school where the pupils continue to be engaged and enjoy the good weather. A small group of pupils have been out on a nature walk in the local woods looking at and identifying local flora and fauna. The pupils have also been helping to smarten up the front of school. This has entailed some weeding and adding some fragrant lavender to the planters at the entrance, which will be enjoyed not just by ourselves, but by the wildlife too. This has unearthed a passion for gardening for several pupils and who have now set up an ‘Oracle School Gardening Club’ for the more green fingered pupils.
Whilst the national statistic for pupil engagement in remote learning has been 22% during the lockdown period. we have seen a much higher engagement level of 89% at our Bedford School This is the result of a team effort, whereby school staff have worked closely with our residential teams, parents and carers. It has also been helped through continuing therapeutic input, albeit remotely through various delivery programmes.
Meanwhile at our Congleton School the attendance and engagement of our pupils continues to accelerate, rising from 78% just after Easter when we partially re-opened to almost 80% accessing the school building on a part time basis over the last half term, with almost 50% accessing independent, online learning during lockdown.
Our young people have shown a great deal of maturity and flexibility in adapting to the ever changing circumstances.
Great team effort!
All our staff and young people were invited to join online in the making of fresh burgers together today - with superb results.
A list of ingredients was shared and utensils prepared as everyone got ready to join in. Those unable to participate were welcome to watch as the delicious burgers were put together. Check out this delicious bacon cheese burger. More sessions to follow later in the week - catsu curry, I hear.