The Double Edged Sword

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I can never really get my head round the need people have to label their children.  OK, so I understand the immediate labels of ‘male’ and ‘female’; after all, gender is one of the first ways in which we categorise the world, but really, those labels, when you think about them are enormously troublesome.  Take ‘girl’, for instance.  It’s an insidious little label.  You wouldn’t think it would make so much difference, but before you know where you are you have fallen into a sea of pink frills and even more pink plastic, of hair bobbles and sit up nicelies and don’t get that dress dirties.  ‘Boy’ is just as bad.  Man Up.  Little Monster.  Beige and navy blue.

The big one for me, of course, is Down’s syndrome.  Even without the banner ‘red hair’ or ‘boy’, Sam has a stereotype to contend with every day; one that tries its…

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Fundraising by  Blackpool Sixth Form. 


As everyone is aware our school is to take delivery of a shiny new building later this year. Our current school is old and tired and is certainly not fit for purpose. Some parts of the building are actually dangerous and are ‘off limits’ to the staff and children. This is fantastic news and the whole school is very excited. There is however a slight downside to this as the school will be totally empty. There will be no specialist equipment, no furniture or any of the things that our children and young people need to succeed and to progress in their learning.

Many different people have raised funds for us over the course of the last twelve months and we are extremely grateful to them for their help. There will be further blogs to follow detailing those who have helped us. Today’s post is dedicated to one group of…

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Clean air 4


This week we were looking at the effects of acid rain on the environment – tricky without the vocab in place already!

The experiment involved putting acid onto marble chips and observing the bubbles/fizzing and the size change of the chips. To check the students knew the words ‘fizz’ and ‘bubble’ they listened to a glass of coke first and described what they heard

Clean air (4) powerpoint

marble chips acid worksheet

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Guest Blog 4: Not Part of ‘The Plan’

Exit Teaching

Nearly two years ago I took a year off teaching to write full time.  Next year will be my third year away from teaching, but I still haven’t had the chance to write much at all. As often happens, ‘life’ got in the way of ‘dreams’.

After 18 years teaching internationally, my husband and I moved to our sixth country together in July, 2013. This was to be my first time not working.  ‘The Plan’ was that I’d take a year off and try my hand at writing full time. We’d live off my husband’s salary for a year.  If it worked out, great; I’d be the next J K Rowling (with the millions of dollars) or E L James (without the terrible clichéd writing). If it didn’t, no big deal; I’d go back to teaching full time, a job I loved and was pretty good at (I’m told). The…

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Is accreditation serving its purpose?


Working in Special Education, particularly in a 2 – 19 school, you get to see young people with a wide range of additional needs work tirelessly to succeed during their time in the school. The pedagogical knowledge of the staff and the resilience and determination of the young people lead to many making remarkable progress. It makes you realise the futility of the generalisations often applied to those we teach, as they continually confound and amaze. However beyond school we are still in a situation where the potential we help to build in our students is not necessarily realised once they leave us. Society as a whole struggles to continue to support the work that has started and build on the momentum that has been created.

The statistic that 65% of people with a learning disability would like to work (Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities 2011), but less than…

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On the Subject of Rewards in Primary Schools. 


On Monday evening @imagineinquiry tweeted

‘We need to put aside all the paraphernalia of motivational rewards that come along with being a primary school teacher. Stickers, charts, awards, star of the week, special helpers, golden time, smiley faces. The whole idea needs consigning to the bin. None of them have a role to play and are worse than useless, causing actual harm to the kind of environment we are trying to engender where children want to learn, not because we’ve given them a sticker, but because learning is worthwhile and interesting in itself’.

At first I thought Tim was playing Devil’s Advocate. I’ve met Tim several times and he is quite simply a lovely man. (Take a bow Tim). I struggled to believe that he can’t see a role for rewarding children, in fact I’m still unsure about this. However, it appears to be true, Tim is a non believer.

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