Monthly Archives: December 2014

Entitlement? Yes. Inclusion? No.

Jarlath O'Brien

The school that I serve is non-inclusive, very non-inclusive. We are unable to effectively educate the overwhelming majority of children in this country. This is a statement of the obvious but some schools seem reluctant to admit that they are non-inclusive for fear of appearing elitist, slopy-shouldered or less than outstanding at something.

97.5% of school-age children in this country do not require a statement of special educational needs or education, health and care plan (EHCP). Of those that do, approximately 60% are educated in mainstream schools. Interestingly this picture is variable across the country. In Surrey, where I work, only 40% of children with statements or EHCPs are educated in special schools.

1.1% of all school-age children in this country are educated in special schools and this is a statistic that has been relatively stable for over twenty years. The discussion about inclusion has, I’m sure, persisted for far…

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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#nurture1415

I’m not sure I’m really in the right place to be writing this at the moment, but we shall see…

Five things I am proud of
1) I completed two cross stitches and started a third

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2) I gained my CPT3A – which means I can assess students towards access arrangements. It’s an M level course, and I was really proud to finish it.

3) I am halfway through my SENCo Award. Again, this is an M level course, so it’s quite challenging fitting essays and research in around work. My tutor is always positive about my work (even when I think that it’s not so good!)

4) I was brave (foolish, some say) and once again went travelling on my own in the summer. It’s actually been a while since I went alone, and at times, particularly in Norway, it was quite lonely – I should remember that people will talk to you in a Youth Hostel or a tent but not a hotel – but I spoke to lots of people and met some great folks when I was on the Isle of Wight. I also, rather rashly, agreed to help on Brownie Pack Holiday, helping cater for 250 girls for a week. I only really knew one other person there and he was only there for part of the week, but hey, this is Guiding and we are all friends. It was a great week and I didn’t want to come home.

5) I have continued with my voluntary work. Although I had to step down from my role supporting the NIHL Blaze due to pressures of work, I’m still on call to run the clock for MK Lightning games. I continue to act as Treasurer for Coventry Wayfarers, a Mencap affiliated group for adults with learning difficulties. This year I’ve dragged them into the 21st Century and we now have a blog – which club members update on a weekly basis – as well as a facebook page and twitter. It’s mostly volunteers using them at the moment, but we’ll get there.

Five things I would like to do in the coming year
1) Find a job that makes me happy – and makes me feel like I belong. I only started my current job in January 2014, but this past term it has changed beyond all recognition and it’s not physically possible to do everything that I have ‘strategic responsibility’ for. There’s also been little support through these changes and until I can have a meeting with my union rep and the head I can’t see a way forward. Perhaps I should be looking for a SENCo post back in mainstream…

2) Get to the final few ice rinks at both Elite and EPL level. There aren’t many I haven’t visited, thanks to helping with the NIHL Blaze for so long, but the further away rinks like DUndee, Fife and Bracknell still elude my list.

3)I am looking forward to the SEN #teachmeet in Oxford in February. Hopefully I’ll feel I have something useful to contribute.

4) Travel. This feels like a bit of a cop out as it’s always there, but I aim to go further afield this year, to get some more countries coloured in on my map.

5) And finally, I think, at the moment, to keep active. Be that swimming, ice hockey, walking, baking, sewing or reading – I will not let work consume my every waking hour. Just because I don’t have that someone special to share my life with, does not mean I don’t deserve a proper life-work balance.

(edit)

Who am I kidding? I’d like nothing more than to find someone to share my life with. I’ve been on my own for such a long time, and then, for a short while, there was someone special. And now he’s gone, I’m lonely. I’ve never felt this way before, maybe it’s a sign of getting older, I don’t know. I’ve reached the point where I want someone to share things with. Don’t get my wrong, I’ve got an amazing circle of friends, but it’s not the same. I want someone to come home to. To have dinner with and talk about how the day has been. Someone I can rely on to be there for me – and to let me be there for them. Where do I start looking? (and if you suggest on line dating I will hit you!)

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final review #nurture1314

So, it’s the end of the year and time for an update on #Nurture1314

Here’s my original post, with updates alongside

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1) start cross stitching again. It’s been a while… I  have completed two. Here and here. There is another, larger one that I have been working on, but that has paused recently.

2) Be the best I can in my new role, while trying to get the best out of my staff as well. I know that’s going to be tough, and I have a steep learning curve coming up…It’s been a bumpy ride, but I’m getting there. I have blogged extensively about my journey, you can look if you want. Sadly, a significant change in role at the end of the summer term saw me reach burn out at October half term and I have been off ever since. I dislike this immensely, but I am listening to my body.

3) I want to write more….I am trying to take part in the 100Word Challenge for Grown Ups each week. I’m almost managing, and getting some lovely comments on some of my work as well.

4) I want to be able to continue baking…and I’m certainly doing that

5) I need to get back into swimming each week and walking when I can. My two best forms of stress relief available at the moment….As a result of the change in work, I knew that I needed to swim more often, so I joined the gym nearest work. I’ve been keeping a track most recently here

6) looking back at last years wishes, I want to do more travelling in other countries by train. We managed bits of Denmark, but I’d been there before….and this summer I went to Norway, flying out and then seeing some of the country by train before returning to the UK on the train, via Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Cologne, Brussels and London! I even got to sleep on the train. It was an amazing week, such a beautiful country but ever so expensive! some pictures

7) I am going to go to the Isle of Wight. To walk the long distance footpath, and to go to the VW festival….and indeed I did. The walking was good, the campsite was windy but I met some lovely people. The VW festival, sadly, was a but of a let down.

8) I will continue reading, it’s important to be able to escape from the real world now and again…perhaps next year I should keep a track of what I’ve read. So far it’s been a mix of new, recommendations from friends and old favourites. I’ve read so much this year.

9) I’d like to go to more concerts and gigs. I enjoy it, but not on a school night, and hockey gets in the way sometimes….I’ve been to the theatre (Black Coffee, Billy Elliott, Les Mis, Miss Saigon, CATS) and I’ve went to the Proms a couple of times, and tolerated a bit of the Godiva festival. There have been a couple of classical concerts but no gigs that I can recall. Next year, maybe…

10) I will maintain my garden, that should be easy enough!…a summer photo here it doesn’t look so impressive at the moment!

11) for someone else – I hope man next door gets the house ready and moves in soon…it’s been nearly three years since he bought it!…and he finally moved in in March, complete with a three legged cat. However, by the end of September he had moved out and now rents it to a young couple who don’t seem to understand that 3am is not the time to be playing the guitar.

12) not to only wear jeans and hoodies when I am not working…now the Ice Hockey season has finished this is a bit easier, and I am trying to wear other things. It’s not always happening though, but I did get through most of the summer without!

13) to see more distant friends more regularly, and get past my dislike of driving long distances on my own. The train isn’t always practical….and I failed miserably, although I did manage to go over to see one of my oldest friends get ordained in the summer.

14) I need to make more of an effort to see nearby friends regularly too. Teaching gets in the way of that, and I think I’m going to need them in the coming 12 months!..I didn’t realise when I wrote the last part how true it would become. I’ve really needed my friends recently, they have kept me sane and made sure I’m eating and getting out of the house. I really hate to think where I’d be without them!

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#100WCGU #157 – moving

The prompt was ‘and so it begins’

***

SOLD!
The gavel rings out and so it begins.

Somehow, they’ve managed to buy a house at the auction. It wasn’t what they went for, but it’s what they got, and there’s a lot of work to be done. New wiring, plumbing, windows. There’s no central heating and the roof looks a bit ropey. They need to put in more insulation as well, and maybe a new front door.
Then there’s plastering, decorating, a new kitchen and bathroom and finally furniture. But what an exciting way to start their married life and a project to fill the void left now that the wedding is done.

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#100WCGU #158 – baking

The prompt for this was ‘…those special berries…’

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-Eggs?

-Eggs

-Butter?

-Butter

-Flour?

-Flour

-Sugar?

-Sugar…Now what?

-Now you mix it all up, put some effort in, keep mixing until you can’t tell that it was butter, sugar, flour and eggs just a moment ago. Have you decided what else we’re going to put in this cake?

-Hmm, how about some of those special berries Grandad lets me have sometimes?

-Which ones would those be? I don’t have any berries in my kitchen. Have a look for me…

-Here, Nanna, these ones. The brown ones.

-Oh my dear, they are not berries, they are chocolate drops! You wait until your Grandad gets home!

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#100WCGU #159 – lost

This week the prompt was ‘…I need to remember…’

***

Suddenly, she looked up. She was lost in the maze of shops that made up this lovely seaside town. I need to remember just how I got here, she thought. Otherwise, she knew she had little chance of finding her way back to the car once she was done.

How could she be so silly, how had she got so distracted?

She was weighed down with bags – jewellery, dresses, books. She took a deep breath and looked around. Making a decision, she headed down hill, hoping that would bring her out at the beach and from there she should be able to find her way.

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