Top Tips for TAs

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

The message is slowly getting out there: throwing a TA at a child/group of children is not the best way to get the best out of the situation, either for the adult OR for the child. Deployment (as well as the individual skills of the TA concerned, and the needs of the child/children) is the name of the game, and was the subject of my workshop at Primary Rocks Live.

If I allowed myself, I could easily talk for the entire length of any slot I am given, so, aware that we teachers like to get our own points in – and that there are plenty more experiences than mine to share – I gave over my time to other people, and gathered together their ideas for how to get the best out of TAs in the interests of the children they support, which is mostly, those children with…

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#EpilepsyAwareness #PurpleDay2016

Theresa's teaching talk


My 17 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy. The neurologist explained that she has probably had this illness since she was about 10 years old. I guess that means I won’t be winning any prizes in the Parent of the Year competition. The neurologist says that since she’s very active and healthy, her brain has managed to somehow mask and deal with the symptoms up until now.

She’s never been a morning person – always difficult to wake up and a touch cranky. When I look back, I can remember so many mornings shouting at her to get out of bed, to hurry up and get dressed, to eat her breakfast. Typical teenage behaviour that I’m sure most parents have experienced.  But it turns out there’s a very good reason for this. She has nocturnal seizures. As she sleeps in her own bedroom, these seizures were undetected till…

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#WDSD16 Down’s Syndrome Awareness Day

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

There is a YouTube vid doing the rounds at the moment. It’s a slick advert, produced by a big company, in support of World Down’s Syndrome Awareness Day (21st March – 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, geddit?), which is very nice of them, thank you very much. Here it is:

The only thing is, is it left me feeling a little bit uncomfortable. Yes, I want the world to see Sam the way he sees himself – and the way that I see him – but something about the vid jars. It’s not the young woman with Down’s syndrome we see, not until the very last moment. It’s a very lovely, very beautiful model.
This year, I prefer this video, from Shabang Theatre in Huddersfield. In it, you hear the real voices and see the real faces of young people with Down’s syndrome all the way through, and very…

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Boy about the house

As Alex Grows Up

My little boy is moving.
Properly moving.
I have to just check you heard me: He is Moving.

Things I never expected Alex to do #543: Crawl.

Maybe I just set my bar low for him.
Maybe I just didn’t want to be disappointed. Again.
Maybe… I was ok with where he’d got to.

Every new thing that Alex works out how to do is nothing short of a miracle.
I don’t use that word lightly, but…
I always think how much harder he has had to work to get to the point where we all say… ‘Wait… look… is he…?’

I remember where he started from. A little boy who could barely hold his head up starting nursery… unable to sit… hold a spoon… grab a cup… use his hands in any meaningful way.

How we cried that day I held him at, what? less than a year… and…

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Statistics, data and assessment….or weighing pigs.


‘A pig does not get fatter the more you weigh it.’ Anon.

Yesterday I was involved in a discussion around the way we collect data and statistics around pupils with additional support needs.

It got me thinking about the issues around the processes for recording, assessing and diagnosing within education.

And I have not found it an easy think.

I know that lots of much cleverer and more famous people have written a lot about the issues of assessment and use of data and that I could look at such literature to inform my thinking.

But for this post, I want to try and establish some basic ideas for myself, before I am influenced by the thinking of others.

My thinking is based on my experience as an educator of over 20 years, the reading and research that I have done to date and my wider life experience.

I have…

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