• Closing the gap
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Behaviour and exclusions
  • INA and EAL

Examples of work in these areas include (please click for more details):-

Two new free schools for children and teenagers with special educational needs are to open in Oldham – Read the full details in the Oldham Chronicle.

The Government has given the go-ahead for the projects which will be run by the groups behind Kingfisher and New Bridge special schools ­- both rated as outstanding by Ofsted. Halcyon Way will have 140 places for four to 11-year-olds with severe to moderate learning difficulties.  It will be part of the trust which runs Kingfisher Community Special School, Chadderton, and is expected to be built close to the school on Foxdenton Lane.

The Springboard Project will provide an alternative, practical and vocational education for up to 50 teenagers aged from 14 to 19 in Oldham town centre.  Set to open in an existing building, it will be run by the New Bridge Group whose other projects include New Bridge Special School in Hollinwood, the neighbouring Hollinwood Academy for pupils with autism, and a supported internship programme for 19 to 25-year-olds with learning difficulties in Medtia Square, Oldham.  Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet member for education and early years, welcomed the two new free schools.

She said: “This is excellent news for Oldham and our young people. Both schools will be extensions of our two ‘outstanding’ special schools.

“It’s fantastic that both organisations will be able to expand on the remarkable work they do in Oldham.

“This is exactly the type of offer we want to deliver in Oldham and is another sign of how quickly we are moving forward together since the publication of the OESC report.

We are absolutely committed to delivering an education system that works for every child and young person in Oldham and this news is another huge step forward.”

A School Led Conference Around International New Arrivals

The Oldham Schools Alliance International New Arrivals (INA) Workhub held the second INA and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Conference on 13 October and it was attended by 83 delegates from primary and secondary schools. The conference offered a significant professional development opportunity for sharing practice about what works in Oldham schools, as well as insights and practical strategies from EAL leaders. The purpose of the day was to support practitioners in developing a response which ensures that all international new arrivals can access the curriculum and achieve.















The conference was opened by Councillor Amanda Chadderton, elected member for the Royton South Ward and Cabinet Member for Education and Early Years. Cllr Chadderton informed the delegates how Oldham has a long established tradition for welcoming INAs and how schools are continuing to work together to develop expertise and positive sustainable solutions for meeting the needs of INA learners. Cllr Chadderton also outlined proposals to support the recommendations from the Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC).

Helen Hampson, Chair of the INA Work Hub and Headteacher of Higher Failsworth Primary School welcomed delegates and outlined the role of the INA Work Hub, the context of the work to support INA learners in the community, schools and settings and a range of developments since the last conference.

The conference keynote speaker was Sofia Ali of Engage, Include, Empower. Sofia’s presentation focused on effective practice for meeting the needs of INA and EAL learners and drew on her extensive experience and expertise on improving EAL performance. Her presentation was highly interactive linking many national challenges to a range of initiatives and challenges in Oldham. Sofia suggested practical ways forward for implementing the EAL related areas of the OESC report to improve provision and performance for all EAL learners.

Alongside other speakers, staff from Broadfield, Bare Trees and Higher Failsworth Primary Schools presented whole school systems, structures and classroom based strategies for supporting INA learners and their families. This was a popular area of the conference enabling delegates to share how they were tackling challenges and overcoming barriers.

Delegates had a choice of attending 2 workshops. 3 out of the 6 workshops were delivered by staff in Oldham schools, 2 workshops were delivered by NASSEA and 1 by our keynote speaker:

  1. Planning for EAL learners scaffolding language and learning in context (Sofia Ali)
  2. EAL language development in EYFS (NASSEA)
  3. Maths development to support INAs (NASSEA)
  4. Whole school systems and classroom strategies for supporting INA (Richmond/Northmoor Academies)
  5. Oldham INA Resource: Introducing a new resource to help schools to meet the needs of INAs (Alexandra Park Primary School)
  6. Cultural Orientation: Engaging and supporting African learners and families (Holy Cross Primary School)

During the plenary session schools were asked to identify any support that they would need to meet the need of INA learners and families. Council officers and school staff also gave updates on initiatives and resources for supporting schools.

Feedback from conference evaluations were highly positive.  Considerable effort had been made to respond to feedback from the previous year’s conference as well as from requests and enquiries throughout the year.

A new Inclusion Policy for Oldham

Oldham Council undertook an Inclusion Review during 2016-17 on the effectiveness of inclusive education provision and practice across Oldham with a view to developing an Inclusion Policy and a subsequent Inclusion Strategy for implementation across the Borough.

A project team was formed last September lead by Gill Hoar, Head of Access and Inclusion, involving the council’s project management, policy, business intelligence and organisational development teams together with school representatives. The methodology for the Inclusion Review and the production of the draft Inclusion Policy were outcomes of the team effort.

A draft policy was co-produced with a range of stakeholders and partners via an on-line survey and a policy development day, is formatted to include the visual minutes from the policy development day, contributions from young people and a high level of graphic content to appeal to a wide audience.

The recommendations in Section 8 are set out in order to demonstrate that the views and opinions of key stakeholders have shaped the future proposed direction.  Oldham’s Inclusion Policy was endorsed by the Oldham Cabinet at its meeting on 24 April 2017.   The review has now moved into the next phase, to develop Oldham’s Inclusion Strategy 2017-2020 setting out the various projects and initiatives that will be required over the next three years such as the menu of quality assured Alternative Provision, the Alternative Provision Free School, LA support for implementation of the policy, funding mechanisms to support the Alternative Provision offer etc.

A strategy development session is planned for Wednesday 4 October 2017, following a programme of early engagement with partners.    A further report to Cabinet will propose that oversight of the strategy be given to the Best Start in Life Partnership, with clear governance and accountabilities.