Monthly Archives: Mar 2013

In my dreams…

I never wanted to be a teacher. Not really. I first got involved with a group called PHAB when I was a sixth former and part of that was going camping for a week. After that, all I really wanted to do was work with people, particularly those with a disability. While I was in the sixth form I also acted as a TA for a very low ability Y7 class, just for one Science lesson a week and that was good fun. I guess you could say it sowed the seeds for the future…

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to Uni, but to save the ‘you’ve wasted your life’ lectures that were inevitable  I went to Warwick to study Physics. Mostly because my Physics teacher told me that he didn’t think that it would be a good idea! While I was there, I volunteered once a week at a respite home for children with learning disabilities – and I loved it.

Once I graduated, I knew I didn’t want a milkround job, that I wanted to work with people, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep using my Physics. I got a job at the home I’d been volunteering at, and then another at a similar place and spent an enjoyable year or so working with adults and children in their homes and in the community. I loved it. Sadly, the hours did not love me, and the pay was not great. While wondering what to do next (and no, at that point management was not an option) someone suggested I teach. That way, I could work with people, doing regular hours for decent pay.

It took me nine years to make the move from Secondary to Special, with a varied career along the way. I love Special teaching. I just can’t see me doing it when I’m 50, let alone 68.

I never wanted children. I had thought about fostering one day, but I don’t want to do that on my own, so that looks like it won’t happen. I still can’t see me teaching for ever though, so I need to find something different to do. This is where my (current, long term) dream comes in.

I still want to work with people with learning disabilities. That’s what I really enjoy doing – and I am lucky enough to have a lot of friends from MENCAP. They want to work, and be useful. They are sad that their day centres and places of work are closing due to cuts. I want to do something for them, and people like them.  I had thought about going back to the start and having my own group home, but there’s never a day off!

Instead, I’d like (maybe, perhaps) to have my own cake shop. I want to call it ‘love’. People with learning disabilities will help make the cakes, and serve them. Perhaps we can have a tea and hot chocolate machine, and even make bread and sandwiches. There’s literacy, numeracy and socialising experiences. We could take kids on work experience – and doing DofE. It would be great for the public to be able to come and visit, and see what we’re up to – and to learn that learning disability does not mean scary. I am aware that resources like this already exist. However, where I live they are tucked out of the way, or they are closing down.

Still, I’ve got a few more years teaching in me yet. Like I said, it’s a dream…


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Safety Week

We’ve had ‘Safety Week’ at school this week.

On Wednesday, the fire brigade came in – the pupils had a talk on what to do if they find a fire, how to be safe in their homes and what firemen wear. We then got the chance to sit on a fire engine and of course, use the hosepipes.  We followed this up in the classroom with this interactive resource. It was interesting to see what pupils felt was dangerous and the reasons that they gave.

On Thursday, it was the police. They again told us about their role in the community, let pupils try on their uniforms and then we had the chance to sit in a police van and try to hold a riot shield. We spent the afternoon talking and writing about what we had learned so far, and looked at a powerpoint about the sorts of things that the police do. We then headed outside to practice crossing the ‘road’ – safe to say, none of them can do it safely on their own! The final part of Thursday involved recalling Science week and launching the Rokit. We were joined by three other classes to do this – it was great fun.

On Friday we spent some time talking about parts of the body that we should and shouldn’t let others touch. Best response of the day:

Me – L are you allowed to touch E’s boobs?

L – er, yes

E – (shouts) no, I’ll hit you!

I’m so glad that at least some of my pupils are aware of appropriate touch, and what to do it about it if they don’t want to be touched.

Then the nurse came in with her ‘germ machine’ – a UV lamp and some fluorescing cream – to see how well the pupils washed their hands. Answer – badly. This naturally lead on to a discussion about personal hygiene (showering and teeth cleaning).

We finished up the week with a celebration assembly where all the classes displayed their work from the week – it looked amazing.

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EcoSchools revisited

As we reach halfway through the term, and halfway through our journey towards the EcoSchools Green Flag Award, I received a lovely email this week.  It all started with this post a while ago. Sarah, a representative from EcoSchools came to visit us in October, and this week this was published on the EcoSchools website.

I hope it does encourage other special schools to get involved. It’s been fun

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#100wcgu – Week 81

It’s that time again…100 Word Challenge, and this week the phrase was ‘…the unseasonal weather meant…’


They wanted to go camping. Over and over they asked their mother if they could PLEASE go camping. She said, ‘when the weather gets a bit warmer’. They negotiated for the Easter holidays, it should be ok by then to sleep out in the garden, surely? The sisters planned a midnight feast, although their mother knew that they would both be fast asleep by then.

Come the Easter holiday, the tent was found out, sleeping bags aired. Sadly, the unseasonal weather meant camping out was not an option, so they put up the tent in the front room and spent the night there instead.


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#NSEW 2013 – Flight

Following on from the STEM sessions that we have been running in school, I decided to make the theme for Science Week ‘flight’.
Every class was given one of these, null one of these per base, nulla pile of these null and asked to spend some time looking at forces with a focus on flight. Oh, I almost forgot, they also had access to a pile of forces related experiments as well.

As if that wasn’t enough, it’s traditional that during Science Week we have a visiting expert to enhance the work that the pupils are doing in class. Now, it’s not easy finding someone to bring a plane to school, but I knew someone who could. Well, almost.

The secondary school that I used to teach at is currently building a plane. Yes, a real one. As part of their process, they got hold of a crashed light aircraft and turned it into a flight simulator. (You can follow their progress on So, I asked nicely, and was allowed to borrow it for two days. Over that time, nearly 100 pupils and many staff had a turn at flying the simulator. Some soon learned it could be crashed, and this was way more fun than flying! Others proved surprisingly good at flying and even our most PMLD pupils were helped to have a go and enjoyed the experience of sitting in a cockpit, hearing the noises and seeing the countryside go sailing past.

In fact, it’s been such a success that everyone is asking when we’re going to have it again – and I’m going to have to negotiate something for the summer term I think.

Safe to say, Science Week is a triumph this year!


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