To exclude or not to exclude?


Since the end of term I have felt unusually apathetic about blogging….my last blog was about our pupils leaving us, many going to mainstream high schools with little support other than crossed fingers and a fervent prayer! The reason for this? Children permanently excluded in Y6 with little or no attempt to diagnose underlying SEN/SEMH so no chance of getting them an EHCP to support them in Y7! Fourteen of them!

This situation has caused a lot of panic in our local high schools and many have demanded to know why nothing has been done. As SENCO I have patiently (screaming inside) explained why….not enough evidence etc etc. “But he’ll never last in our setting….zero tolerance ” …and so on and on and on….

Now we have gone over and above for these schools by offering strategies, staff and agreeing to attend meetings at the start of term because we…

View original post 1,316 more words


Change The Objective

Differentiation Is Easy

Differentiation isn’t always about creating lots of different activities or worksheets. It can be, and in an ideal world in my classroom at least, I love it when circumstances allow for that. But the reality is that sometimes that can’t happen, and sometimes it doesn’t need to happen. In fact sometimes, it’s best if everyone does the same piece of work.

Most of my students find extended writing challenging, so much so that many come to me not being able or willing to even try them. So when I plan extended writing activities, I like it to be an all singing, all dancing kind of affair. I like to act things out, show films, read books, get out the Lego, make potions, or even throw Baby Corn in the air. And, yes as those of you who have been reading for a while will know – sometimes I even like…

View original post 388 more words

Would I do it again? – Day 5 


I’m home now…shattered and in a reflective mood. I really did enjoy the week, but after encountering God each day in a deeper way, I know he has plans for me that may or may not include me coming to Keswick with Prospects again next year. For the record, Lord, I really WOULD like to! I’m going to discuss what I learned and what I think the place of a separate stream like this has in Christian conferences, but first, let me tell you about the last day…

The last teaching session and celebration brought tears of joy – a wonderful way to finish the week… And tears of sadness – sad to leave such a special team and the new friends I made.

We were joined by my group from Leyland (the Good News Group) and they had a great time with us. We needed to pray for the…

View original post 614 more words

I stand quietly

Dirty, Naked & Happy

I stand quietly while you do somersaults on the bed as you aren’t being naughty, you are just trying to get your out of sync body under control.

I stand quietly by the toilet door every time you need to go, and come with you around the house, and sometimes even just across the room, because I know you can feel truly frightened when you are not near me.

I stand quietly at the supermarket checkout while everyone stares at you barking like a dog and blowing raspberries on my arms to cope with the buzzing lights.

I stand quietly while you tell the baffled shop owner that you are looking for shoes that feel hard like splintered wood because your skin can’t bear soft things.

I stand quietly when the attendant gives us scornful looks when I ask for the key to the disabled toilet because the hand dryer…

View original post 800 more words

The Comeback Queen

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I am an expert in not being the one who gets the job.  I always have been, for some reason.  Even before I was all grown up and applying for the sort of jobs that would pay my mortgage as opposed to pocket money, actually getting the job (and then keeping it) was a skill that eluded me to a great degree.

Once I was qualified and had the PGCE in my pocket, I kind of assumed that a job would be forthcoming.  Back when I was sweet sixteen, as wet behind the ears as they come, a man sat us down in a classroom, when I went for a look around the local college, and told us that if we went to university and got degrees we would be guaranteed a better job (subtext: a better life).  It turns out he didn’t quite tell the truth.  He reckoned without…

View original post 1,123 more words

Headteachers’ Roundtable Meeting with Sean Harford

Jarlath O'Brien

Today members of the Headteachers’ Roundtable met with Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director for Schools, to discuss the newest evolution of their inspection framework due to go live in September 2015.

As always I wanted to ensure representation from the special school sector and wanted to seek some clarification from Sean on some elements of the framework that affect special schools specifically or disproportionately.

89% of all special schools are either good or better which means that the overwhelming majority will be subject to the new section 8 inspections – that is to say, a one day, HMI-led inspection. One key difference between mainstream schools and special schools and PRUs is when the school is notified that it is to be inspected (paras 67 and 68, p19 of the School Inspection Handbook – section 8). Mainstream schools will be called on or around midday the day before…

View original post 537 more words

The legacy of invisibility


Over the course of the last six years, the Special Education sector has experienced an imbalanced degree of attention from the political classes. On the one hand we have been overwhelmed by change, but on the other underwhelmed by interest. The state has expended hundreds of millions of pounds, but little in the way of care. The focus has been on the systems and legislation but not the young people themselves. And this has consequences.

One of the more obvious results of political disinterest in the education of children with learning disabilities is an absence of appropriate teacher training routes. Currently we fail to universally provide an equal opportunity and place an equal value on training experiences in Special schools and the data on how many teachers we need isn’t even held. This is coupled with a lack of intellectual investment in the systems which evaluate the quality of education…

View original post 401 more words