Summer so far…

Bee & Bear

So we’re nearly at the end of week one and are surviving so far! 

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The Final Chapter


Finally it is over. My time at the PRU is done, in real terms if not technically….the end date is actually 31.8.16. The past few days have been very uneven, veering from agonisingly slow to breakneck speed in minutes and hours…the final countdown to the last farewells.

And that phrase. ‘How does it feel?’ Over and over and my head was whirling with it all until down was up, up was down. Tears pricking at times, laughing and smiling by turns and finding a balance between rushing to get through everything I needed to do and a restless urge to visit every class and see the children one last time.

The Y6 leavers’ assembly was a highlight…I always cry and this year was no exception! There was a good turn out of parents (not easy as some have to come a long way and most don’t have transport) and the…

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Summer Show in a Special School


Today was the day of my school’s Summer show. Just in case there is anyone who isn’t aware my school is a special school. Our children are very special indeed. They range from 2-19 years. Some have profound and multiple medical needs, others have learning difficulties and others have behaviour challenges. Staff who work at our school need to be patient, dedicated, considerate, highly trained, respectful and above all else must possess a desire to see our children succeed in everything they try to do. Our staff all know that the sky’s the limit for our children. The teaching and learning at my school is second to none and our children progress extremely well.

For the last few weeks our Performing Arts leader has worked tirelessly with the entire school. Every child and young person was involved in the summer show. Some of our children find communication a real challenge…

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How does it feel?


A week to go before I leave the PRU and teaching ….then I will be an early retiree and a Behaviour and SEND Consultant! I’m trying to sort out my thoughts as people are now asking ‘how does it feel?’

I feel excited, nervous, apprehensive in turn but definitely ready for a new challenge. My working life has been a mixed bag of office , shop, dentist and some wonderful, amazing schools over a mind boggling 43 years with FE and uni and college thrown in! I’ve had a ball and been so lucky, lucky, lucky! But I’m not ready to throw in the towel or give up the ghost just yet….I have always been a grafter and I still feel I’ve a lot to give!

This feels like a new beginning and I’ve got such plans! I’ve already had offers of part time SEND work back in mainstream and…

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He’s making all the wrong choices.  


I had a really troubling meeting this week. It was my first with colleagues in Liaise, a service offering support to parents of children with SEND. In every LA, a spectrum of practice exists in relation to school-based SEND provision, ranging from the inspirational to the woeful. I’ve seen plenty of the former – including the glowing example at the bottom of this post – but this meeting was all about the latter, because we were discussing exclusions.

I heard about children being denied experiences because of their difficulties, labelled ‘naughty’ because of their needs, segregated, punished, sent home (one parent had to give up her job) such that when the permanent exclusion finally came, it was often a relief.

None of this is new or surprising, sadly; soon to be published, Jarleth O’Brien’s book, ‘Don’t Send him In Tomorrow’, will confirm that. But there was a perspective at the…

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‘Measure what you value not value what you measure’ . A special school context


The context

In my last blog I shared the presentation delivered by Mary Rayner HMI  when she spoke at a recent Greater Manchester leadership conference about the implementation of the Common Inspection Framework in the special school context.

One of the key messages we all took away with us was that in our schools there are many things in addition to Core and Foundation subjects which we value and want to celebrate, however, the onus is on us to ensure we are able to provide evidence of impact. It is not enough for us just to say how outstanding we are at for example personal and social development – how do we know? Importantly too if we are making a judgement of outstanding – what is that in relation to? How would it compare to other similar pupils in other similar settings?

Following the presentation, as a leadership team and then as…

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10 reasons why NQTs should consider working in specialist provision.

Special Needs Teaching and Education

If you have recently qualified and looking for a teaching post I would urge you to consider working in a specialist provision, whether that be a PRU, special school, specialist unit or residential school. Why I hear you ask? Well here are 10 reasons to start off with

It will immerse you in an environment where generalisations and stereotypes will be cast aside and you will get to know each child as an individual.

Inclusion is real. You will become adept at identifying barriers to learning and developing effective strategies for overcoming them for all your students.

You will work very closely with specialists like Speech and language therapists to develop and embed personalised targets and communication systems.

Classroom management will become second nature. Seating plans, LSA deployment, positioning of furniture, organisation of resources and layout of classroom will never faze you again.

Collaboration and working/leading a team will become…

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