When is the right time to go?


This morning I woke up and read a few tweets about OFSTED on #helpSean and the blog that resonated the most was by @heymisssmith following her recent visit to Ofsted Towers .

I remember my own visit to @mcladingbowl in Manchester last August. I went with a spring in my step and came away with a conviction that things were changing for the better. I sat up half the night writing my blog, checking and re- checking my notes to ensure I presented a fair and balanced view of the meeting. Mike was passionate about schools delivering an excellent standard of education to every child and I wanted to convey that passion. I had asked PRU colleagues on Twitter what questions they wanted me to ask him and was fortunate to be able to pass on Mike’s considered replies. He admitted he knew little about PRUs but accepted that we…

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Visual Stress and Dyslexia

Crossbow Education's Blog

There’s still a lot of confusion around on the subject of Visual Stress and its relationship to Dyslexia so I’m going to post a series on the topic to try and clear some of it up.

They’re not the same thing
That’s the first point. Dyslexia is a cognitive processing difficulty; Visual Stress is a disorder of the visual processing system. Visual Stress is common in dyslexia, but does not cause it. In fact about 35% of dyslexics suffer from Visual Stress. It is also fairly common (though less so) in other specific learning difficulties, especially dyspraxia, ADD/HD and autistic spectrum disorders – the autistic author Donna Williams, for example, is well-known for her pink tinted lenses. It actually occurs in about 25% of the population, so it is more common than dyslexia (usually quoted at around 10%); and severely – to the extent that literacy is significantly impaired- in…

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We really need to work together


There was a blog today on the Guardian website by the Secret Teacher. It’s not a series I read that often but it was suggested that I should take a look at this one. You can find it here if you fancy a read.


If you do then you really must read Nancy Gedge’s response which is blistering.


What concerns me most about this Secret Teacher, apart from the byline which implies special schools provide ‘Expert Care’ rather than education, is the lack of recognition of the improvements that the school could and should make to ensure that they improve their ability to meet the needs of all. It talks about the things they did and the problems they faced, but fails to indicate any sense of awareness that it is they who need to improve. It is they who have failed, not the child.

One question that…

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The Secret Teacher

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I usually quite like reading The Guardian’s Secret Teacher series.  Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t; but if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, or even if today is your first visit, you’ll soon know that I’m all for hearing the voices of the unheard.  And sadly, in today’s climate of anxiety, despite how they are when you meet them in real life, with their loud voices and commanding personalities, teachers’ views in public spaces are muted at the very least.  But this one, with a title guaranteed to catch my interest, being as it’s about inclusion and all, touches me a little too close, and not in a good way.

Oh, I understand the difficulties of teaching children with challenging needs in a mainstream classroom.  I’ve done it, and it is indeed challenging, even when you have another adult in the room to lighten the…

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Disadvantaged children | think low attainment not low ability

Dan Nicholls


“What if… we view disadvantaged children as low attaining and not as low ability, instil a deep and widely held belief in what is possible and then set eye-watering targets that underline our ambition to overcome the inertia of context.”

It is probably true that… Primary and Secondary schools need to do more to close the gap in attainment between disadvantaged and advantaged children; perhaps seeing it more as low attainment and not low ability or delayed progress and not that there is a limit to a child’s potential. We know that gaps appear early (ages 0-4) and widen through a child’s education. All of which has a deep impact on the child’s life chance and success that ultimately leads to generational cycles of poverty and disadvantage.

Which begs the question… what does it take to close these gaps and disrupt the loop of unequal opportunity and outcomes?


What if… education reinforces

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#SENexchange : Our story so far


photo SEN exchange

SENexchange was established in March 2015 by Mary Isherwood (@Mishwood1) and Cherryl Drabble (@Cherryl-kd). Our welcome blog tells you why: http://t.co/cC75OR7X68

We are delighted that to this date we have established 784 followers who are all involved or interested in SEN. Our followers include a really nice mixture of professionals who work with SEN in different ways and of parents / carers – we value everyone who has joined as we believe that the ‘exchange’ of views, information and experience from all different perspectives helps us all to learn together.

As part of our philosophy has always been about the ‘exchange’ of the wide range of knowledge and expertise that is available on twitter, we did an early blog which includes a list of SEN tweeters / bloggers and some useful SEN websites: http://t.co/S4yWcdInmI. When ever we come across news items or research articles we think might…

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