Inspirational Gorton

Posted by editor on March 3, 2010 under Business, training and employment, Community, Education and health

Len Grant reports back from the ‘Gorton People Stronger Together’ consultation day last weekend.

I feel I’m witnessing the beginning of something special. Today Gorton people are coming together to celebrate the start of a motivational programme for young people and their families. I arrive at the indoor market in time to see dozens of young people being issued with clipboards and I LOVE GORTON T-shirts before being briefed

Clipboards at the ready

Clipboards at the ready

by Ruth Ibegbuna from Urbis, the programme co-ordinator for the ‘Gorton People Stronger Together’ programme. “Tell people about the money,” she says to volunteers, “and ask them what they’d like us to spend it on. Then invite them along to the Monastery for an afternoon of fun and entertainment.” (Not to mention the free food supplied by the Gorton Market traders).

The volunteers are split into teams, each given an area to canvas in the next couple of hours. “I’ll do the estate,” says one teenager who might expect to be still under the covers at this time on a Saturday morning. “I know it well, so I’ll get some good responses.”

We all love Gorton!

We all love Gorton!

I follow the four-strong team heading for Hyde Road and Tesco and overhear enthusiasm (and occasional apathy) from their respondents towards the news that Gorton has won £450,000 from the central government’s Inspiring Communities programme.

Today is billed as ‘Gorton’s biggest ever community consultation’ and, as the completed questionnaires come rolling back to base at the market, it seems that plenty of people have a view on how the ‘win’ should be spent.

But this project is not starting from scratch. Already the Urbis team have run hugely-successful ‘Reclaim’ mentoring schemes for young people in Moss Side, east Bolton and north Manchester. (See http://www.reclaimproject.org.uk). The ‘Stronger Together’ programme will build on and extend the theme taking a wider approach by supporting young people as well as their families.

Plans already include Saturday classes for 11–14 year-olds (more early mornings!); a project to renovate unsafe open spaces, adding lighting, greenery and public art; and a Reclaim mentoring project for Gorton girls (the last one was just for young men).

Down at Gorton Monastery preparations are well in hand for the afternoon event. As the Bloco Nova samba band and dancers arrive, I set up a small studio near the café where I am to photograph local people soon to appear on posters and banners promoting ‘Gorton People Stronger Together’. Local MP, Gerald Kaufman is one of the first to arrive and, although he’s unlikely to appear on a banner, he is more than happy to pose in his Gorton T-shirt with some of his younger constituents.

Smile if you love Gorton!

The afternoon flies by. The word has got out that the photography sessions are informal and fun and soon there is a queue out the door. Young and old are captured and I even persuade the camera-shy to take a turn. Some of the pictures appear here but more will adorn Gorton in the coming months.

Before I know it, and with nearly 1000 images on my memory card, the event is over and I hear later about Gorton Visual Arts and their print-making workshop; the manifesto-writing and the young people getting up there on the ‘Gorton Plinth’ telling everyone about their achievements and aspirations. I don’t need to be told about the samba band because I heard their mesmeric beat down the corridor!

To get involved in Gorton’s exciting new project email inspiringcommunities@urbis.org.uk or call 0161 605 8218.

Principal’s Blog: February 2010

Posted by editor on under Education and health

The East Manchester Academy’s Principal Designate, Guy Hutchence, continues his monthly feedback from the new academy.

The competition winners pose for a picture on one of our 'cirriculum links' Photo: Sophie Mascoll

The competition winners pose for a picture on one of our 'curriculum links' Photo: Sophie Mascoll

In February we welcomed the winners of the ‘The Balfour Beatty Maths Challenge’ where local primary schoolchildren had calculated how many bricks it had taken to build the new academy. The young mathematicians were given a tour of the building and it was a delight to meet such exemplary pupils who represented their primary schools superbly. A sign of things to come!

All hard hat and yellow vests: checking out the new Academy

All hard hat and yellow vests: checking out the new Academy

A highlight of the tour was the fully glazed footbridges on each of the three floors, connecting studios and ‘homebases’. These ‘curriculum links’ as we’ve called them – because they link the different subject areas – are now complete and will act as a showcase for pupils’ work in the future.

All the interior walls have now been painted and flooring is down in most classrooms. There is even a fully-furnished sample classroom for visitors to experience: something like a showhouse in a new housing development.

Over the half term break the teachers we’ve already appointed met to discuss a ‘thematic curriculum’ that will underpin our built environment specialism. We’re investigating ways in which our specialism can be introduced into a number of different subject areas, at the same time making sure the needs of all students will be met across all subjects. We’re getting there!

Of course the 1st of March has been the long-awaited date when Year 6 children find out which high school they have been allocated. We’ll soon hear from the local authority who our 180 ‘pioneers’ will be and I look forward to welcoming them to our new school. We’ll organise orientation sessions for them all as soon as we can, so when they arrive on their first day in September they will already know their way around the academy and their new surroundings will feel familiar. Pupils and their families will be receiving ‘transition’ arrangements as soon as we have all the details.

www.theeastmanchesteracademy.org.uk

新年快樂!

Posted by editor on March 1, 2010 under Art, sport and leisure, Community

Chinese New Year is becoming something of an annual spectacle at Ashbury Meadow Primary School in Beswick. 2010 is the Year of the Tiger and the pupils and staff – with the help of their friends from the Chinese community – celebrated in style with dance, music, food and crafts.

Here’s a slideshow of the fun. Click to get started and don’t forget to turn the volume up on your computer.

Commenting on the success of the day, head teacher, Lorna Rushton said, “We enjoy a multi-ethnic school community here at Ashbury Meadow and so it’s really important to understand each other’s cultures. The children, staff and parents really enjoy this annual celebration and we all get a lot out of it.”