Can he take off his blazer? Reasonable Adjustments


Just been listening to R4.

A surgeon arranged for a head operation to be done on a person who had a phobia of touching; they did it with her hat on. This is not only wonderful but a reasonable adjustment.

How many schools make adjustments to students with sensory difficulties?

There are many students with ASC who hate tie clips, hate the feel of a stiff shirt against their skin (and wear T-shirts underneath), hate blazers. Some even become school refusers due to these issues – is it reasonable to adjust the school uniform policy for those on the autistic spectrum?




Rory(@eddiekayshun) and me.

Rory had the idea of writing an honest blog about himself and how this links with teaching. Via a twitter discussion an idea formed of a guest blog site where teachers can contribute. There are some fantastic ones and then there’s this….

Waitress, au pair, receptionist, assistant organiser for Olympia Show Jumping and The Royal Tournament, ski rep, PGL groupie, English/Drama teacher years 9-13, Deputy Head of 6th form, Newsreader for Falkland Islands radio station, supply teacher, Parent Partnership Officer, FE lecturer in Functional Skills, Learning Support Tutor (FE/HE), Specialist SEN Advisory teacher (inc. Assistive Technology), half way through a Masters.

I once started an application form with a similar list writing; ‘I’ve either got ADHD or I haven’t yet found the job I really love’.

I was pretty horrible in school from about 13. Low level disruption, withdrawn from certain lessons due to clashes with teachers, given responsibilities such as prefect and head of house thinking this might direct my fiery, rebellious and impulsive nature to good things rather than to the smokers behind the bike sheds…

I finally left school at 15 with very poor results but determined not to let it stop me.

I went to FE college adding to my count with two O’levels and that was me done with education. I was going to travel and prove to myself I didn’t need qualifications to succeed. I achieved my aim when I was promoted to Assistant Organiser at Earls Court; everyone else in that position had a degree. It was a hollow victory however and I left to work In Austria as a ski rep. Following this I found Summer work in the UK.

This was when my life changed. At 21 in Ross-on-Wye when I began working for PGL. Here, I met a fantastic group of young people, mainly educated in comprehensives with good exam grades and degrees; all taking time out before entering professions: teachers, doctors, lawyers…

As I became friends with these people, it became clear how confident they were but also that they were no different to me. This was a surprise – you see I was a borderline mark in 11+’and the head teacher told my parents he thought I would be better at the top of a Secondary Modern rather than the bottom of a grammar school. This decision meant I always thought I wasn’t very clever; I knew I was capable but thought it was my confident personality which got me through not my brains. These people helped me realise I could,if I chose,become educated – that a degree was not unachievable. I felt inspired and, along with my absolute thrill of working with children, I decided to train to become a teacher.

I got an O’level in maths, an A’level in English Literature which gave me enough points as a mature student to gain at place at Liverpool Hope University. I learned so much here and each year became more confident and more knowledgeable. No longer did I think studying was for nerds – I began devouring books and thriving in an academic environment. I graduated with a 2:1 and was certain I wanted to become a teacher. I amazed myself by getting accepted into Homerton College to study for a PGCE, despite in the interview confusing Hedda Gabler (who shot herself) with A Dolls House (where she left her kids and husband). Waking up in a cold sweat at 3 in the morning shouting ‘I said Nora shot herself’.

And then I became a teacher – and I loved teaching – I loved being in a comprehensive and I wished that I had gone to a similar school – diverse bunch of students, high aspirations for ALL, great teaching and strong leadership. It made me so sure that selection was wrong – that people develop at different rates – the steps need to be there to rise whenever a student is ready. (I’m sure some will say I have a chip on my shoulder and they’re probably right).

My career took a different direction when my husband got a post abroad; I was incredibly lucky and got a job in radio journalism. I interviewed MPs like Baroness Scotland, celebrities such as Ben Fogle and even made attempts to record penguins braying. It was a very exciting 2 years. I was always drawn back to education however and it is the one thing I never get bored with and I’m pretty sure this is where I will stay.

I love teaching, I love education and I love my job.

This is who I am

P.s. I also have four children: twins aged 5, daughter aged 8 and a son, aged 10. I am married to a very clever man (one of those comprehensive educated PGL people) who constantly raises his eyebrows and sighs at me. We both work full time. We have no other family living nearby so childcare is always a nightmare; our life is chaotic, ridiculous, mainly awful but occasionally fun.


SEN Acronyms

SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
LD – Learning Difficulties/Differences
EBD – Emotional Behavioural Disturbance
IEP – Individual Education Plan
IBP – Individual Behaviour Plan
PM – Provision Map
ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder
ASC – Austistic Spectrum Condition (preferred by some)
ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADD – without the hyperactivity (not all agree on this as hyperactivity doesn’t have to be obvious)
SpLD – Specific Learning Difficulty includes dyslexia, ADHD etc
SLI – specific language impairment – possibly most common and yet least known about (see RALLI if interested)
PMLD- Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
MLD – Moderate. Learning Difficulties
S&L – Speech and Language
AR – Annual Review
EHC plan – Education Health Care Plan
SC – Single Category – replaces school action and school action +
TA – Teaching Assistant
LSA – Learning Support Assistant
ESWS – Educational Social Work Service
EP – Educational Pychologist
OT – Occupational. Therapist
SENSS – SEN Specialist Service
CAMHS – Children and Adolescent Mental Health Care Service
YOT – Youth Offending Team
YISP – Youth Inclusion and Support Panel
EMTAS – Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service

Office sourced Basic Maths help (ks1)


PROBLEM – we have students in Year 2 reversing all their numbers and having trouble with number bonds to 10.

Pupils need a number line.

They would benefit from learning their numbers though a multi-sensory approach – same as learning letters – play dough, glitter glue, paint etc. Could be done in a group.

If they are delayed in maths then a great resource is Plus 1 and Power of 2 – David Sharp

ICT – free program called ‘ Hit the Button’ – that flashes up number bonds

Look at Numicon – great concrete resources for maths – for feeling of number and recognition of amount – visual stimulus – they can remember a pattern – see what is big and small – number bonds

Addacus – for place value – written form of the sum you can see the columns and place value – good for units, 10s and 100s – can come after being familiar with Numicon
Both have good resources and online tutorials

Maths made Easy
Sweet Counter – good for place value – a real favourite from team

Singapore maths seems to be popular too – start with Apple cut up on plates, the shaded squares in tables then circles:

A few ipad apps
Mr Thorne’s Maths Universe
Slate Maths
Maths Racer

Blogs on maths by @chrischivers

And why not think about mixed ability maths? @jobaoler



I’ve added this post because there is a lovely example of fractions with bananas which is so visual: