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A day in the life of a reception class teacher

My work day begins when the Breakfast Club children arrive at 7.30. After greeting them I head to my classroom and set it up for the day, then go to meet the bus children at 8.40. Registering 30 children and organising their week’s dinners is no mean feat.

Between 8.40 and 3.00 it’s organised, creative, sometimes noisy busyness. Assembly, Guided Reading, singing, tidying up, activities, more singing, more tidying up…

At 3.00 I speak to a few parents at the gate and reassure them that we’ve had a good day, no tears or bumps. (more…)

Home education

I first thought of home educating when I was pregnant with my first daughter. A second daughter followed and after they had spent a few years in a Christian school I decided that I, their mother, was better equipped than anyone to teach them, and that home rather than the classroom was the perfect environment to learn. The school did nothing wrong it was just a conviction I had.

Thus a wonderful, challenging and at times frustrating chapter of our lives began. My girls discovered my weaknesses all too soon (Maths!), but the adventure taught us more than any text book ever could. We became friends, the whole process was as much about me as them, though it took a while for me to realise that. We regularly joined with other home educators in the area, both Christian and secular. We did sports together, visited farms, mines, a worm farm, a bakery, the list is endless. They are still friends with many of those children to this day. (more…)

The local schooling option

We have three sons aged 23, 20 and 15 and they have all attended the same local boys’ comprehensive school in Lewisham, south-east London. Our youngest is about to enter his GCSE year and will probably continue there for sixth form; our eldest has recently graduated and is now working in London whilst our middle son has just completed his first year of university.

There were a number of reasons why we chose a local comprehensive school for our boys. Firstly, although at that time the school’s results were not that good (they have improved significantly in the last 10 years!) we were very impressed with the commitment and vision of the head teacher and his staff. We felt that together with our support they would be able to offer our boys a good education. (more…)

A parent’s perspective on special educational needs and disability

Girls on the autistic spectrum present differently from boys.  They are more sociable and less likely to have obsessive interests or strict routines. We had no idea our daughter had Aspergers. All we did know was that she resisted everything we asked her to do – dressing, washing, sitting down at meal times, doing homework. At the age of eight, she began to refuse to go to school altogether. She was too heavy for me to pick up and plonk in the car, particularly as she fought me as if her life depended on it.  I went to our GP for help. He referred us to the autism unit at Children’s Schools and Families. At first I was astonished. How dare they suggest our beautiful daughter had autism? We went along to the appointment believing they would rule this possibility out, only to come away with a clear diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. (more…)

Harmonize Academy

Harmonize started as a project in Liverpool Lighthouse, the UK’s first dedicated Urban Gospel Arts Centre, with a vision to use urban gospel arts and music to engage young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream school. It was triggered partly in response to the high levels of truancy we observed around our area. The project initially ran as a pilot with funding from the Learning & Skills Council, and took young people from school for six weeks at a time, involving them in a programme of gospel singing, music, and anger management, addressing their behaviour issues and then returning them to school. (more…)

Prayer Spaces in Schools

Prayer Spaces in Schools is an exciting initiative of 24-7 Prayer, which enables children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore faith and spirituality in a safe, creative and interactive way. Taking a broadly Christian perspective, prayer spaces give children and young people an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and to explore prayer in an open, inclusive and safe environment.

A prayer space is usually a classroom-sized area in a primary or secondary school that has been transformed for a few days or a week with a range of creative activities that encourage personal reflection on issues such as forgiveness, injustice, thankfulness, big questions, identity and stillness. Teachers bring their students for a subject-lesson in the prayer space, and students are also invited to visit the prayer space voluntarily, during their breaks and lunchtimes and maybe after school. (more…)