Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 340 – Inclusion


“Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or in the same way.”

George Evans

Thanks, Spidey, for this thought provoking quote, today.

I have completed my first week with my students, and though they are only in for half days, I finished the week mentally, physically, and emotionally drained.

I have been blessed with a lovely class of children. I can see myself falling in love with them all, as I do, every year.

But, for the second year, in a row, the Special Educational Needs, or SEN, is on the rise.

There appears to be a lot more early diagnosises for children on the Autistic Spectrum.

Within our cohort of less than sixty children there are seven, possibly eight, children either already diagnosed, or on the path to being diagnosed with ASD.

That, in itself, isn’t a problem. The Government and DfE promote inclusion, and ensuring learning for all, within mainstream schools, but, when the needs are severe, even us mere mainstream schools struggle.

Some of the children we have will be able to benefit from small group work, and simple interventions. Some are high functioning, so with a little guidance, will be able to access the learning we are providing.

However, there are that handful of four or five who require one to one help, and even with that support, will never access the curriulum we teach, at the same stages as their counterparts.

As teachers, we really want to incude all children in our learning, but what if there are children who really can’t cope? What if we can’t provide the envirmnment that they need to thrive, at their own pace?

It’s tough as a parent, for someone to tell you that your child may have difficulties learning, and that maybe, mainstream school isn’t for them…

But, equally, in the right environment, that child can reach the same destination as the others, maybe a little later, but they could.

I often say to parents who are wavering on accepting that their child may be a little different from the others, that sometimes brains are wired a little differently, meaning they need an alternative way to learn.

My SEN SatNav analogy is that most of us are able to program our learning SatNavs, and get the majority of our class from A to B, via that motorway route. Some children need to use an A road instead. We can still travel with them, even though there might be a little delay in getting to that destination. Then, some children have diversions from the Motorway and the A roads, and they can only take the B roads. They will take longer to arrive at their destination. The road is narrower, so, taking smaller steps to reach the end goalpost, means that it will take longer.

As a teacher in a mainstream school, I can travel that Motorway journey with the class. I can even accompany some of them that need it, on the A roads, but sometimes, the B road needs a different driver, as in a special provision. Somewhere tailored to suit the learning needs of that particular child.

It’s not inclusion, I grant you, but there are children who will not benefit from being pitted against the rest of the class, in an environment that could prove toxic for them, if the right support isn’t in place.

Inclusion is great. But unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone, as much as I’d like it to be.

There, we have the problem. Instead of having places available in special provisions, the powers that be are shutting, or have closed down many of these schools that could cater for the children that need the B road journey. Sure, there’s funding available for the possibility of one to one support, but you have to jump through so many hoops to get it, and even then, you can’t guarantee that you will just find a suitable candidate to support that child. And then there is the fact that many school don’t have the space to create separate areas for children who may need more sensory stimulation, or less, than the others…

So we, as mainstreams schools, are caught between a rock and a hard place. We want what’s best for all our children, and there are times, we simply can’t provide it all, or we can attempt it, but to the detriment of the rest of the class…

Can’t win…

Still, I love my class, and will endeavour to get them to the destination, one way or another…

So, what about you? What do you think about inclusion, or special provisions?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Chai And A Chat #44 #ChaiAndAChat

Well hello again, Peeps! Monday flies around so fast!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say I am sitting at home, enjoying my Monday, for a change!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that I actually spent every weekday of last week in school! Yes. There was so much to do. Some the kids could help, some I just needed peace to do. But aside from the one piece of furniture I am waiting, for, a cupboard, I think everything has been done. I have some posters at home that I want to put up, and a couple more soft toys for the Reading Area, but I think I’m done! This is my little star chart for the class, which I hope they will enjoy trying to fill for a class treat!
  • If we were sipping chai together I know you would be pestering me for details of the new book corner… well, here it is! My Winnie The Pooh themed reading area! Let me know what you think!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that for the best part of the week, school took over, but I did take the kids out to Bluewater for lunch, and started a bit of uniform shopping for Lil Princess, who starts secondary school soon enough! Eeeek! We had a lovely Nando’s meal, and I took advantage of the Paperchase teachers discount as well, finding some supersize Post It notes for my desk!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that the weekend was peaceful. Lil Man and I went to pick up his new bike on the Friday, which he has been saving up for, and he wanted to be able to ride it around, so the whole family walked down to the prom, where Hubby Dearest and I had lunch (don’t worry, the kids had eaten at home, I didn’t leave them starving!) while the kids rode their bikes. The children enjoyed a little stone skimming action and then we walked home, and had a very chilled out day, reading and cooking dinner.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know that Sunday was a cricket day for Lil Man, a whole day of inter-club tournament matches, while I got cleaning done, and the shopping, because, finally, Hubby Dearest can drive!!!!! Lil Princess and I joined them in the afternoon, in time to watch the final match, in which Lil Man’s team were playing. They didn’t win, only lost by 7 runs, but he bowled amazingly, and considering it was a mixed team, from 11 up to adult, he did himself proud. There was lots of back slapping and well dones to him too as he got a wicket. And he got to show his Dhol playing skills there too, as someone brought a drum out, not really being able to play… whereas my boy can PLAY!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that I have actually been pretty good with my #RiNoEdMo personal challenge too. I have edited a good few chapters, reworked my chapters and introduced a little extra twist! The only day I didn’t edit was Sunday, as I ended up with a tiredness induced headache. I hadn’t slept much on Saturday night, because I wasn’t tired, and them morning came too soon!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to mention that Lil Man has discovered Reggae! It is quite funny hearing him listening to Bob Marley, or UB40 (I kid you not) in the shower! But I get to sing along with it, because I do love a bit of Reggae!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that today, Hubby Dearest is facing his first long drive in 4 months, with his first day back in the office. I know he’s a little nervous, but I’m sure he’ll be fine!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies as I mentioned before, I am not planning on going into school again until maybe the end of the holidays, unless a call comes to tell me that the cupboard has arrived, in which case, I’ll be there in a flash, to get that last bit of my room set up!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d excitedly say that I am going to Brum! It’s only a quick visit, as we have a function there for my cousin’s grandson’s first birthday, but a great excuse to go and see Pops for a couple of days, before he joins Mum in Helsinki! That there might just be my summer holiday!

Let me how your week has been!

One Liner Wednesday – #1LinerWeds – School vs. Holidays

The love I have for my job is measurable by the amount of my vacation days that I have already spent in school… Vacation days – 3 (excluding weekend) Days spent at school – 3!

Ritu 2019

Yup, the school holidays are here already and I, for one have been so looking forward to them, but so far, have spent each day in school because I have a shiny new classroom to set up!

Well, not quite shiny, as it is in the oldest part of the school, and some say there is a friendly apparition that has been seen there too… ooer!

But it is new to me, and I am trying to make my mark, as best I can.

The only frustrating thing is that there is one piece of furniture I am waiting for, and it hasn’t arrived yet. possibly not until the end of the holidays.

It means I have a huge pile of boxes in the middle of the room, whilst I wait for the cupboard to arrive. Still, I have moved the majority of the furniture around to my liking, and displays are pretty much done. I have sorted the art cupboard out and set my stationary station (see what I did there?!) up too.

My next task, today, along with Lil Princess, is to set up the reading corner. I want to transform it into a little Hundred Acre Wood section, with Pooh Bear and all his friends!

Winnie the Pooh
I’ll be putting that up in there too!

I will share pics when I am finished!

For Linda’s #1LinerWeds challenge, though that was a bit more than a line!

Chai And A Chat #24 #ChaiAndAChat

Hey there Peeps! I hope you’re ready … never a quiet one in Ritu-World!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you – “Week Three – In-Law-less – done!!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you work has been manic (isn’t it always? Life in an Early Years class…) We had Science week, so hyped the kids up with a chance to meet some minibeasts, like ginat Africam landsnails, tarantulas, African milipedes, cockroaches and a snake! Then on the Tuesday, my day started with a panic, as my team leader was off sick, and there was a moderation meeting happening the next day, across the schools in our academy. For those of you that don’t know, moderation is when you compare your judgements about pupils with the other schools, to make sure you aren’t making too easy/harsh judgements about how a child is progressing. I was worrying as I have never done one of these without here there, and the other Reception teacher has never been to one before… blind leading the blind? Yup! On top of that we had planning to do the next day too, which was going to be cut short because of the Moderation meeting. So by 9am on Tuesday, I had gathered moderation information, chased up paperwork, and created a skeleton plan for the following week’s learning. Phew! But thankfully my Team Leader ended up back that afternoon, because she cannot stay at home! So no panic in the end! But the day did not end without a tension headache… oh yes…
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that, moderation went well. I kinda feel a lot more confident about these things now, and hope that the experiences will help me further along in my career.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that the rest of the school week was relatively simple, until my kids decided to embarrass the heck out of me first thing on a Friday morning. Playing up and messing my classroom before the day had even started, arguing and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I ended up blowing my top at Lil Man before he headed off to his school… Seriously? Can children not even keep calm for at least 10 minutes, without causing a storm? BP felt like it rose high!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that, on the flip side, he has done really well in a Maths test, proving that the tutoring we send him for seems to be working! And he is also playing badminto regularly, on top of the cricket, and on Sunday, he was scouted for a Badminton Academy! I am very proud of him and his strengths. (Not so much, his teenage strops and attitude!)
    If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you Lil Princess got me worried this week. I would walk past her room, and hear her shout ot periodically, “Just shut up…!”… Turns out I didn’t need to worry! Apparently she did really well, but I couldnt watch as I was short staffed at the time!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that the weekend was absolutely wonderful with Pops and Mum. They brought a huge box full of my old photos from infanthood to university and I spent a long time perusing… they also found old certificates of mine, and embarrasing school photos too! We spent a long time chatting, reminiscing and talking about all sorts, and I learned so much from them both, about their lives, and customs and traditions in our culture. It’s amazing how I learn new things about my parents every time we sit and chat. Seriously, you think you must know everything about them, and then they tell you things that make your head spin… I hope to share some of the stories one day, on the blog, but I tell you what, Mum could write a memoir, and it would be amazing!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d mention that mum even managed to help me Marie Kondo the heck outta my kitchen which I had been dreading! We stripped countertops, emptied cupboards, threw out of date stuff away, made a (huge) donate pile and scrubbed cupboards and drawers and walls too (bit of a condensation issue in the kitchen) and then put it all back, wrapping up equipment that is used less frequently so it stays clean and generally more organinsed. Feels good, but 8 hours of that andf my shoulders are killing, my body is exhausted and eyes are itching from dust and all sorts! Still – feels GOOD!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d also say we had to sleep on the sofa bed for two nights, as I would never inflict that upon my parents, and I totally appreciated that Sunday night bubble bath that I have made sure I enjoy each week, as part of my ‘self’ word of the year!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know we went a bit spiritual too, at the temple on Sunday, celebrating the birth of a baby in one of Hubby Dearest’s friend’s family. Soul cleansed, kitchen cleansed, body cleansed… just need my mind to be emptied now, though I fear that will never happen!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that official lesson observation week is also this week, so I just need to get Tuesday out of the way, successfully (my observation day) then I can breathe and relax!
  • If we were sipping that chai togetherand possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that this coming weekend, NOTHING is planned – honestly! I hope for lots of lazing around. I need it!

Have a wonderful week, Peeps! Let me know how your week went!

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 126, “Poet’s Choice of Words”

It’s Tuesday, and that means Colleen’s Tanka Challenge! And as it’s the first challenge of the month, it is the Poet’s choice of words. All that is to be adhered to is that the poem must be one of the structured syllabic forms, and so this week, I have penned an etheree…

It’s Shrove Tuesday today, so that is where my inspiration comes from.

Pancakes, Pancake, Crepe, Süsspeise, Egg
For today
Is a day to
Indulge your tastebuds
Eat to your heart's content
As today is Shrove Tuesday
Tomorrow its time to give up
All manner of luxuries for Lent
Start counting down to those chocolate eggs!

Ritu 2018

Today, we discussed Shrove Tuesday in my Reception class, though most children know it as Pancake Day. It was interesting to ask if any of them were aware of why people eat pancakes on this day.

Surprisingly (not) none of them knew any of the religious significance; even the ones that are from church-going families.

It was down to non Christian me to give them a potted history of why, and talk about using up all the fats in the house and giving up these things for Lent. I had to explain that many people give other things up instead nowadays; chocolates, fizzy drinks, that sort of thing, and that it is a countdown to when we celebrate Easter, which is not (as they think) chocolate egg day, but us celebrating the ressurection of Jesus… who they only think of as a baby, as he is who we portrayed in our Nativity a few short months ago, and not a grown man.

Confusing for children much?

Just a tad!

But Christmas, Easter, Shrove Tuesday are going the way of all these ‘special’ days, commercialised so the real reasons aren’t even widely known!

We watched pancake races too, and ended with a tasting session of sweet pancakes, as some children had never eaten them before too!

For me though, my Pancake Day will be tomorrow… or the day after, as we don’t eat eggs or meat on a Tuesday! Totally against the Ash Wednesday beliefs… but then, I’m not Christian!

I just love pancakes!

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