Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants


Teaching Assistants, we all have them these days and jolly useful they are too. In my experience they are incredibly skilled and highly trained. Many are left in front of classes in the absence of a teacher, others are charged with leading intervention strategies and some have highly specialised roles that many teachers can’t carry out. I am in awe of the vast army of TAs in my school alone and I marvel at some of the tasks they do without batting an eye lid. These people are, by and large, hugely talented.

In my role as SLE for SEND I deliver some twilight training for TAs around the subject of how they can further their own career. I think it is wrong to assume that all TAs are wannabe teachers, many aren’t. They like the unpaid holidays and the relatively stress free weekends and teaching is not what they…

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Review of the Year

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

2016 has been a bit of a year, hasn’t it?  Both on the public stage and for me privately, it has been a year of ups and downs, most of which have not made it onto the pages of this blog.  Things You Don’t Say could have been the title, but then I might have hoodwinked myself into writing them down, so a more mundane, run-of-the-mill title it will have to be.

So, looking back to last year, what did I hope for?

  1. and 2. Meeting up with the Tweeps.  Well, that was a success.  I can’t say that running my own show was a particularly pleasant experience, or one that I especially want to repeat, but meeting so many of my online friends has been a joy.  Hopefully, I will be able to meet you all again this coming year – you never know.  Give me plenty of notice…

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Keeping a Calm Classroom


Over the years, people have commented on how calm my classroom appears to be. Believe me, I don’t feel that they are anywhere near as calm as I would like them to be at times…

However, I have been reflecting recently on why this might be, and what it is I do when working in a special classroom. These are in no particular order.

Class rules

Keep these as simple as possible. For many years, my class rules have been ‘Kind, Quiet, Work’, and that goes for the adults in the room too!

Keep Calm

Easier said than done, particularly when Mary is trying to throttle Joe, but resist the desire to shout, unless it’s as a safety warning (e.g. ‘That’s hot, put it down’). It doesn’t help students who are probably already feeling anxious, and a stream of angry shouting about why you shouldn’t throw your shoes is not going…

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Performance and Plays

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

This last couple of weeks have been busy, and that’s just me. No wonder most of the teachers in the land are about to collapse into a sweaty heap, little squares of glitter stuck to their damp cheeks and foreheads, resisting a washing off for at least a week. The end of the winter term is almost as exhausting as the end of the summer, in terms of plays and performances, but without the sport or reports.

So far this month I have been to one Christmas Fayre, one play, four carol services and one concert. It would have been two, but I had to go to work and it was supposed to be daddy’s turn only Sam was poorly and he ended up not going after all. I have heard all about it though. I have baked, written cards and bought wrapping paper for mysteriously hidden parcels, stood in…

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Rochford Review Pop – up conference at Swiss Cottage School #scspopup


The Rochford Review and its implications for our learners with SEND is such a significant landmark for those of us who work in the sector so when news of the conference held at Swiss cottage School came up with the opportunity to listen to Diane Rochford, Barry Carpenter, Richard Aird and others came along – it was too good an opportunity to miss. This blog is a brief summary of key points from the day.

Before I start detail some of the points raised I feel it is important to say my over-riding feeling about the day was one of positivity in the sense that all speakers have a genuine desire  to get this right for the full range of our learners with SEND and are striving to do this in their ongoing work as a group and listening to practitioners such as  those present at the conference yesterday.


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Pushy SEND Parents – Hallelujah


hallelujah-pic    Christmas can be a time of huge anxiety for children with SEND, (especially those with autism) and their parents. Not only are there timetable changes and demands that are little understood and often poorly communicated to the children, they are often poorly communicated to their parents who are then unable to counsel their children through the Season.

Parents often seek to redress this by presenting their frustrated selves to schools and others in order to glean that one piece of information that can ensure a successful concert, performance, participation or simply the survival of it for their child, the school’s one child of many. They know it won’t make them popular with the school and it may risk the relationship especially if they and the school don’t have a shared understanding of their child’s needs. They know that regardless of the risk to their relationship with the school, their child’s success of otherwise this…

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