Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Podding on...

I often seem to start posts for this website with 'Sorry for the quiet period, I've been busy...' This is likely to continue as I juggle the challenges of moving into a new house (including tackling a waterlogged, overgrown garden!) with day-to-day life as a classroom teacher and assistant headteacher. 

Since my last few entries, I have continued to develop schemes of learning for groups of KS3 students who attend shorter 12-week placements within our PRU network. I have taken the time to upload to TES a variety of resources for the excellent 'Private Peaceful' and resources for the equally excellent 'There's Only One Jimmy Grimble' - designed mainly for students working between Level 3 to Level 5 who need to be coached in reading and thinking skills.

Other bits and pieces uploaded include a short presentation on thinking through SEN training in schools. A preview of this is shown below, and for those wanting the accompanying notes, I have uploaded the PowerPoint (as a read-only file) to TES.

Recently I have also had the pleasure of taking a bunch of students to present at the final of the 'School We'd Like' competition, run by The Guardian and Zurich Municipal. The bad news is we didn't succeed in winning the £5000 prize to create a unique counselling and mentoring room called 'The Pod' which would have also include a multi-media diary-keeping feature. However, the good news - which far outshines the result - came in the form of seeing our students take to the stage. We have also since had some very kind offers from individuals and groups we already work with to help us complete the project. 

We are now one day into the summer term, in Stockport at least, and the next big focus will be on preparing our Year 11 students for the final hurdle in their GCSEs. For students who struggle to stay organised and/or struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance during the next few weeks, I do have some revision and course work planners which might be of use.

I do think, having worked more intensively with Year 11 students this year, that there is a question of how we maintain the confidence and motivation of those who are not set to gain C or above GCSE grades. There is so much importance placed on C or above from government downwards that, for some of those students who struggle academically or simply haven't coped with the emotional and social-institutional demands of school, their opinion that education isn't for them is confirmed by  what they perceive as 'pointless' grades. 

Finally, I thought I might share these inspiring photos of a new display in our centre, designed by the students and a teaching assistant - made all the more powerful by the fact the quote is from a poem written by one of our students.