Monthly Archives: Jan 2013

Music #100wordchallenge

This week’s 100 word challenge is to use the words ‘the notes from the piano’.


‘Don’t forget to collect the notes from the piano on your way out,’ she said as the bell went and pupils started noisily packing away.

It had been a hard week, and it was only Tuesday. First, the visiting woodwind teacher had been off sick and the replacement couldn’t tell his bassoon from his oboe. Then, the pupil librarian dropped a whole pile of orchestra music that had just been sorted into sections and now needed sorting all over again. Finally, the Y12 mock grades just hadn’t been good enough – more work to do.

Here came the next class, time to start all over again.

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CDP record 2013 – a work in progress

(for my CSciTeach)

s2.1 Work based learning
Mentor for new staff members – regarding subject leadership, reporting and recording procedures.

Lesson plan scrutiny – identifying good and not so good points on Science lesson plans and sharing this back with colleagues.

Moderation exercise (Feb, March)- this involved working as part of a small group to write assessment grids for Science at p7 and p8 and then working with pupil evidence from across my school to check that they were viable. They weren’t, so some amendments were made.

Sept 13 learning walks and feedback to staff. assisting with afl training

s2.2 Professional activity

January – I attended the ASE Conference in Reading for two days. During that time I attended sessions on ‘On line CPD’ -where I was asked to talk about some work that I took part in, Space – a keynote lecture from NSCL, Outdoor learning (rather disappointing) and Completing my CSciTeach application. I also took part in the #asetu, meeting other teachers who I otherwise knew from interactions on twitter and spent quite a lot of time in the conference exhibition.

As part of the conference, I blogged about my experiences, and these were highlighted by the ASE as one of the top 10 blogs to read!

Taking part in West Midlands Special Schools Science meetings – moderating and producing APP grids for use in asssessment. This led to me hosting one of the other teachers for half a day, so that she could see how we taught Science to our learners.

s2.3 Formal/educational

Half day course on ‘Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring’ (Jan 2013)

Teaching GCSE Science to adult learners

ASDAN – moderation refresher course, then leading a whole school, half day moderation exercise

Three INSET sessions on ‘Achievement for All’. Yes. And a further one 6 months later

July 2013 – half day course on ‘Creative teaching and learning for SMT’. Some interesting ideas, just need to be allowed to implement them now, please

Sept 13 two day team teach course

s2.4 Self directed learning

s2.5 Other (e.g. voluntary work)

Ongoing – I am the treasurer of our local Gateway group. This is a social club for adults with learning disabilities and is linked to Mencap. It is a voluntary role, of course. I collect money off club members each week, pay the bills, make sure we don’t go overdrawn (oops) and organise extra trips out. Currently, this includes trips to see the Scout Gangshow and Lion King.

Ongoing – I write monthly articles for #onfire, the Coventry Blaze fan magazine. This involves interviewing ice hockey players and turning their responses into a coherent article.

Ongoing – I am currently Assistant Manager for NIHL Blaze, the second ice hockey team in Coventry.  This involves registering players, producing team sheets for the games, collecting money off of them at training and putting out press releases about games and results as well as other news

EMM-tech course, one day (July 2013)

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100 WCGU #72

A first attempt. It might be the last, but I hope not! The aim is to write 100 words as well as the stimulus, which this time was ‘you said you’d do WHAT?’


‘You said you’d do WHAT?’ she shouted at me as I passed.

‘Come on, it won’t take long’, I promised breathlessly. We were nearly there, nearly at the finishing line, and everyone was cheering our names. They were written on our t-shirts, it wasn’t like we were famous or anything.

There it was, in front of us, with a big timer on the top, telling us we’d only been running for 25 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.

And there he was, waiting for us with a grin. I crossed the line, found him, dropped to one knee and asked him the important question.


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#aseconf exhibition

So, I spent Thursday afternoon wandering round the exhibition, answering the question ‘are you a teacher?’ and surprising a few with ‘yes, in an sld school’. Some were helpful, some tried to be but really weren’t right and others not at all. here’s a brief summary…

Learning Materials has lots of worksheets and scheme of work aimed at lower levels, not just science but everything. Worth a look and a great conference discount. There’s a .pdf CD to go with the materials so that you can use it on the whiteboard as well.

Wellcome trust were great. We once again had a good chat about their in the zone boxes and how I’d used the Primary one in a special setting. I blogged about that too.

Madscience although some activities pitched at the right end, very expensive for an hour long session – about £150. I wouldn’t want to put a lot of pupils in a session like that, so that’s a high cost/head.

Marwell zoo fantastic, resources in communicate in print, covering all levels. Worth a visit both on line to grab some materials to adapt and in person. It’s a shame it’s such a long way from us, the lady I met was so enthusiastic and told me that all of the staff know at least basic Makaton!

Ocr were helpful to chat about controlled assessment, pointing me to the exemplar materials and had some nice experiment cards to take away

British ecological society. some lovely wallcharts, but mostly too hard for my pupils to understand – I took a set anyway, since you never know when there will be a gap on the wall that needs filling!

Earth science education unit sadly, didn’t go low enough for my pupils – and Earth science doesn’t crop up much in p-levels either

Intellectual property office. Not at all relevant, but I picked up a pack for my Dad. It has Wallace and Gromit on it, so he might not get it after all 😉

Bmfa had some bits that might help support our science week on flight

British nutrition foundation had some lovely, accessible wallcharts.

Ciec might have some primary resources that can be adapted

Cleapps gave me a mug, but I didn’t really have anything to ask them. Must make sure I’m not the only one in school who reads the bulletin though.

Iop stickers, yeah.

I picked up some lovely posters on medicine from abpi and one on using hedges from the British Ecological Society

Royal Horticultural Society gave me two bags of goodies, one for a colleague, and a copy of their two reports on writing with sen

Teachitscience and it’s primary version might be of some use


ecoschools -where are you?

Crest awards and the rest offered by BSA. A massive missed opportunity, their stuff is great for sen

I must say, I didn’t stop at every stand. some were clearly not relevant. Others might have been, but the people on the stand were too busy taking amongst themselves to even say hello, so I moved on.


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Gifted and Talented – a blast from the past?

Gifted and Talented appeared as an action point on our SIP last year.  It’s totally new to the school and has left a lot of staff confused.

Some history: G+T first appeared in schools with the inception of Excellence in Cities (1999) and was in all schools about five or six years later. OFSTED looked for evidence of it, and you were judged by it. Schools had to have their top 10% (ish) of pupils identified and show how they were using the money given to support G+T (in EiC schools) to support and develop those pupils.

I was G+T Leading Teacher at my last school, and so offered to take the lead once again. It’s tricky, in an SLD/PMLD school to identify and ‘label’ your high achievers – even more so when I can find no mention of a requirement for G+T provision in OFSTED (not since 2009), or anywhere else for that matter. At one time, G+T was part of Every Child Matters; that’s not with us any more. Now it appears that we will be judged on

the extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school, and in particular the needs of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs

and showing

pupils make progress relative to their starting points

Forgive me, but under the banner of ‘inclusion’ and the fact we are a small school – surely just making the point that every pupil needs to make progress should be good enough for our teachers?

But no, myself and a TA have written a policy, delivered two INSET sessions, used the available data to pull together a suggestion of our ‘gifted’ pupils and asked class teachers to suggest ‘talented’ pupils. We’ve also asked subject leaders to contribute what is available in each subject to stretch and challenge these pupils. Yet still some staff (at all levels) show a lack of comprehension of what we are asking of them. Just because a pupil is ‘good at’ something, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily our top pupil or two.

As I type this, I remember taking over the role in my last job. The G+T register was (mostly) able girls who sat and worked. Very few boys. Checking against the data (FFT and all that) showed that staff were mis-identifying pupils based on output not ability. Maybe, with time, we’ll get there with this place.

I’m still not convinced it’s necessary though, and it really does feel as if we are paying lip service to the  whole thing, to be abandoned once OFSTED have been and we realise that, actually, without a significant timetable re-write, we won’t be able to deliver meaningful extension sessions for our high achieving pupils.

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