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Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 383 – Hope


“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

John Green

Thank you. Spidey, for that reminder. I’ll keep it short and sweet, today.

It feels like the world is going to pot this year, in a different way.

First, the war in Ukraine, affecting the cost of living for everyone, then the resurgence of Covid, and now it feels like each nation is having a political crisis.

But, I choose to not lose hope.

So, what about you?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 382 – Fate Or Hard Work?


“Everything happens when it’s supposed to.”

Michelle C. Ustaszeski

Thank you, Spidey, for finding a quote that I can discuss, what with different things floating around in my head… again!

This time, I wanted to talk about fate.

How many of you just leave things to fate?

Or do you think it’s just sheer luck that created an opportunity for you, and not your own efforts?

The reason I have been thinking about this is that I have been getting many lovely comments and congratulations for the fact that I was approached by a publisher.

Unlike many, I was not looking for representation. It would seem that I was just in the right place at the right time.


Or Luck.

And initially, I thought that too, and almost felt like a fraud. I haven’t done anything special to receive these congratulations.

But, then again, I did write a book. And I have run a successful blog for a good few years. Not forgetting releasing a poetry book.

No, I wasn’t looking for a publisher. But, yes, that was a dream once. And even though it happened organically, it doesn’t take way from the hard work that I put in every day, to get to where I stand now.

So, I guess it was fate, It was meant to be.

But it needed me to put in my own leg work before what was fated actually happened.

I always thank whatever force it is who looks after us for blessing me with so much to be grateful for, and for giving me the mind to get to where I am, right now, in all facets of life. This publishing deal has just been the icing on the cake, for me.

So, do you believe in fate or sheer hard work?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 381 – Attainment Vs. Progress


“What is more important? How well they do, or how far they’ve come?”

Ritu Bhathal

Thank you, Spidey, for handing the mic over to me, today, since the above quote is something that is weighing heavily on my mind right now.

It is this time of year that all teachers or at least teachers of some year groups are under a different set of pressure than the usual.

Assessment time.

Data time.

Report time.

I know secondary schools are awaiting the GCSEs and A-Level Exams to finish, they they have to wait for the grades to be announced in August, but in Primary schools it is the time for the Key Stage One and Key Stage Two attainment data to be submitted (our school’s was just the other week) and this coming week, I have to, with my colleagues, submit the first data in two years to our Local Authority, for the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

We have to report on Attainment, which is whether a child has reached a particular level within many areas, or GLD, a Good Level of Development. Now, after a disrupted couple of years, this cohort included, data may look lower, across the board. This class managed a whole year in school but suffered lockdowns last year in their preschool year, and some didn’t even attend a nursery, because parental fear of Covid was, naturally, high. So there are still gaps in some children’s experiences meaning we have been trying to patch holes in their development, physically, as well as emotionally, before we could really see the difference in more academic subjects.

When we first inputted the data I felt deflated. We have worked so hard with these children, and I know they have worked tremendously hard, too. I spoke with our data guru, the Deputy Head, about my disappointment.

He pointed the obvious out, with regards to what we started with, compared to where we are now. And compared to the same official data of last year’s cohort, where they experienced two lockdowns. We are definitely on an upwards trajectory, however, I hate how this could reflect on the kids and us as a whole, because, as I said, everyone has worked their behinds off to support the children, school staff, and parents alike, as well as those little mites, themselves.

Then he said, (I am ad-libbing here, but it was the jist of the conversation!) “But, what about the progress? That’s the most important thing. And remember, just because we are submitting data now, it doesn’t mean they stop learning now. They still have over four weeks with you. More progress will be made in that time, too.”

And he is right.

The difference between Attainment data and Progress data is that while Attainment looks at whether children have met expected goals, Progress sees where they started and charts the steps they have made over the year, themselves. So a child who is at expected levels may have made the age-related expected steps of progress, (in our tracking system, five steps) but a child who doesn’t appear to have met these goals, may have started considerably lower, and still made five, or even six or seven steps of progress bringing them that much closer to the expected goal.

This is why I truly despise Assessment-based judgements, as we aren’t looking at an individual child and what their unique progress is. Instead, we have to judge on these sometimes unrealistic scales, which in the Reception year, assume that all children are at the tail end of their fifth year when some of my children aren’t even five yet.

Now, I am so proud of all these children who have, as all my pupils do, wormed their way into a permanent place in my heart. Those who have hit their targets deserve a big well done, but those who haven’t, have pushed themselves, and the progress data shows how far they have come, and that almost makes me even prouder of their achievements.

So, as. I step off my soap box, what do you think is more important – how well they do or how far they’ve come?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 380 – Happy Pops Day!


“A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men.”


Thank you, Spidey, for a wonderful quote to celebrate that special day, that is Father’s Day, here in the UK today.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know what my father, affectionately known as Pops (formerly Papa), means to me.

He is my world, my inspiration, my support, my heart.

Growing up, I was never made to feel like I was anything other than perfect in his eyes, especially considering the comments that were made when I was born.

My parents had been married a couple of years with no signs of a baby arriving. And when I was due, my mum’s mum came over from Kenya to support my parents as they transitioned into parenthood. Many lamented that it was a waste of a trip for my grandmother, as a grandson would have been a much better result.

In fact, one woman was practically in mourning at the fact I had arrived and not a male version of myself, until Pops stopped her in her tracks and told her she should be ashamed of herself, being a woman herself, and saying such things about his little girl.

His sense of equality has always been there, with him showing the utmost respect to everyone around him, and working with my mum to form one of the most perfect partnerships in marriage, that I have ever seen.

Having lost his own parents at a very young age and having been brought up by his brother and sister-in-law, he always felt that mum, my brother and I were his first proper ‘own’ family. Those that were his, truly.

Pops, and mum, never let us want for anything. We were never spoiled, though, but that sense of always having enough was instilled in us from an early age, and we lived a blessed, though hectic, childhood filled with trips back to Kenya, and countless weddings, parties, babies being born, numerous visitors, and family staying with us. It could have been tough, but we never felt it because of our parents.

He’s a spiritual soul. Everyone who meets him feels that sense of calm exuding from him, and if you ever experience aPops hug, you’ll know what I mean.

He is an uncle to many, grandad to a small army, too, and even great grandad! (It’s traditional in our culture to not have great uncles and aunts and cousins once/twice removed. Rather, if your nephew or niece has children, they call you grandma/grandad, too… even I have a few! Oh, and your cousin’s kids are your nieces and nephews too. I have a HUGE family, filled with cousins, hence my parents extended status in relationships within the family!)

The love he shows is given back to him by all these youngsters; the respect he shows everyone, is returned to him tenfold.

Last year he even shocked me by reading my book. My Pops is not reader, by any stretch of the imagination., but he kept a paperback copy of my book beside his armchair in the living room from the moment I self-published it, wrapped in cellophane to protect it. He did try reading it at first, but couldn’t, then took the plunge again and even read through the mildly naughty bits this time, getting to the end.

That is love, you know. If you can read your daughter’s words, even though they make you a tad uncomfortable, and come through the other side, that really is love!

My first love – Pops

I always dreamed that I would have a husband like my Pops, and I have been so lucky to be blessed with my Hubby Dearest, who is different but so similar in his thinking. And he is a different but no less loving father to our two kids, who, as they pass through the difficult teenage years, test us daily but make us so proud. They are lucky to have a dad like him!

And though my Pops is further away from me than I would have liked, I have my father-in-law here, who I will be forever thankful too because, without him, I wouldn’t have my wonderful Hubby Dearest!

So, are you celebrating Father’s Day? My thoughts are with those whose fathers are no longer with them or those with absent fathers. Is there another male in your life who you thought of as a father?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

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