The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

Last Saturday it was Sam’s birthday party.  Sixteen years old.  How did we get here? I can hardly believe it.  Gone is my baby, the small innocent boy, and in his place is a fledgling man.  He flexes his muscles, and chafes at a lack of independence. Detentions make no difference to his truculence in school.  He is not tall, although his voice has deepened and his cheeks are rough. When I observe the sons of my friends my heart skips a beat at the height and breadth he does not share. Nevertheless, my boy is growing up, and I am proud.

We took him and a group of his friends ten pin bowling. After a game in which there was much laughter and mutual helping and taking turns (no adult presence required), they shared a meal, and waited politely for cake and candles (it takes longer than you think…

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Starfish….it’s a big ask


In my latest post for WeeklyBlogChallenge17 I want to address the challenge for schools in meeting the needs of children with SEND, diagnosed or not.

As I have previously said, the schools I visit really want to help their challenging children without resorting to exclusion and they are keen to take on board strategies and advice which encompass medical referrals as well as visible behaviours. However I am noticing many barriers to helping the pupils who struggle in terms of outside forces and influences and these are impacting on all our youngsters actually. The demands of the curriculum, OFSTED, SATS, funding and services cuts and the general high stakes driving our school improvement are, or should be, enough to make us weep.

When I was at the PRU I saw child after child come in with nothing having been put in place, but now, on the other side of the…

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Sign 2 Sing


Between 6th and 12th February over 120,000 children will be taking part in sign2sing, an innovative, engaging, sign-language based singing event that takes places across the UK.  Every year over 500 schools take part in Sign2Sing, learning basic sign language and improving their deaf awareness in hundreds of schools across the UK.

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Alien Nation

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

It has got to that time of year when I start becoming aware that there are an awful lot of references to the summer on the telly. Every time there is a commercial break there is some sort of temptation to book a sun-sea-and-sand-all-expenses-paid extravaganza. Families jump in and out of swimming pools/turquoise oceans/treehouses, celebrities get marooned on desert islands (with a camera crew).  Robson Green was the latest recruit, I saw.

I have to admit I am very fond of RG as a documentary presenter. There is something about his self-deprecating enthusiasm that makes me smile and emit the odd surprised snort of laughter, whether he is catching a fish that was THIS BIG (I have no interest in fishing) or finding himself inelegantly stuck half way up a palm tree in search of a coconut. He has the ability to emit the odd comment that I find myself…

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SENCO as a Strategic Leader?


A much needed debate around the role of the SENCO/SENDCo was started by Nancy Gedge in the TES (09.12.2016), this debate interests me as I have been working in the area of SEND for almost of all of my professional life, including undertaking the role of SENCO, supporting the professional development of SENCOs and working with a Local Authority on the Statutory functions around SEND.

Every school has to have a SENCO, and  job descriptions vary, but generally a SENCO should be contributing to the strategic development of SEN policy and procedures across a School, coordinating provision, leading, developing and supporting colleagues and working in partnership with pupils, families and other professionals. The SEND Code of Practice (2014) for example,  envisages that a SENCO will provide professional guidance to colleagues with the aim of securing high quality teaching of pupils with SEND  and that a SENCO will therefore lead teaching and learning for…

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