Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Liebster Award

I am highly delighted to announce I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by my good friend Fil over at <a href=>Fil's Place Old Songs & Memories</a>

By accepting this award, I will follow the rules of Liebsterdom! 
1) Thank the person nominating.
2) Answer the 11 questions given to you and give 11 random facts about yourself.
3) Nominate at least 5 blogs
4) Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5) Post comments on nominees’ blogs to let them know they have been nominated.
6) Post my Liebster Award (I hope no-one minds but as I have been blog hopping I noticed quite a few badges so thought it might be beneficial to put a year on it and so if people want to nominate someone again next year they could do – it all builds the blogging community doesn’t it?)

First and foremost I must thank Fil for my nomination and obviously would encourage you to visit her wonderful blog <a href=>Fil’s Place – Old Songs & Memories which is filled with the music not only of her native Ireland but from all around the world too.  She is one very busy lady and her blog encompasses many aspects of her life so is filled with something for everyone – a blog of beauty and crammed with creativity is how I would describe it.

Just a little bit about The Liebster Award (from the German word meaning lovely or valued).  It is an award to blogs with a small-ish following typically below 200 followers and is a recognition of that blogger’s work to create more interaction in the community.  It is given to say I like your work – and although compared sometimes to a chain letter nothing bad happens if you don’t want to accept or pass it on.

Fil has provided a number of questions to be answered in addition to having to give 11 random facts about myself.

My random facts would be: that I wanted from my parents for my 4th birthday present to be able to read the newspaper; I’m positive I’ll die by drowning, I throw up when I eat tomato soup but love tomatoes generally, I really want two donkeys, I am going to learn how to upholster properly, I am very superstitious, I hate sand between the toes, I am a hoarder, I am an early morning type of person, I love going for walks especially with a dog and I prefer baths to showers.

Now on to the questions Fil wanted answered:

1.                  Do you have a ritual that you love?
No – I so rarely do the same thing twice I don’t seem to be able to even think of any rituals that I have ever done except those of a superstitious nature!!
2.                  How does music influence you?
Songs and music get my creative ideas buzzing.  Due to the nature of my job in school, I do so many different things that hearing a particular song or listening to a short burst of music gives me an idea for an assembly, a whole school development need or most importantly how to hook children into their learning.
3.                  Why did you start blogging?
When I became a Special Needs Co-ordinator I realised I knew so little and I wanted to try to share info with other SENCOs and learn some useful tips.  I also used my first blog as a kind of diary to document what I was doing (or trying to do) but I soon became too swamped with work to really continue so had a bit of a rest and came back with my new blog.
4.                  How do you get your ideas for it?
Obviously, I owe a huge debt to the A to Z Challenge because before this I was just posting about everyday life in special needs but then the challenge made me focus on more of the topics and resources available in special needs and I think this broader brush helps connect to more people.
5.                  What do you love about blogging?
I like making connections to others and learning from them.  The world becomes a much smaller and more connected place when you blog.
6.                  And what do you not love about it?
I expect the same as all bloggers when you really want to connect over an issue and no-one comments back – it can be a bit of a lonely feeling.
7.                  Where did you get the name for your blog?
I wanted to link my blog to my TpT store.  I am just about to change the name again though to Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace to make it easier for other people in special education to come across when searching the internet.
8.                  Where is your favourite place when you need quiet time?
In my bedroom at 4:30 in the morning during the week.
9.                  Do you connect with Nature and how?
I have a very large garden with a little copse with a little stream running through it and I have an old chair I go and sit on underneath the green boughs and I listen and watch the birds and the insects go about their daily lives and I thank God I am on this planet and able to enjoy what has been created.
10.              Do you like social media and which is your favourite?
No – apart from blogging I do not connect to anyone over the airwaves – too little time plus I try to be very private due to being linked in to a school environment – teachers have to be very e-safety conscious.
11.              What are you reading at the minute?
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling (I love The Mindy Project)
Inspector Singh Investigates: A Curious Indian Cadaver by Shamini Flint
And every week I probably read at least three children’s books if not more!

The next step is to nominate some other great blogs for the award and ask them if they would like to accept it – so here goes:

1) Who was one of your favourite teachers and why?
2) What was your favourite subject at school?
3) What was your least favourite subject and why?
4) Do you prefer to read books on a Kindle or the old fashioned way?
5) What type of person inspires you?
6) What was (or is!!) your favourite toy to play with? 
7) When did you begin blogging and why?
8) What blogging tip/tips have you learnt that you would like to pass on to others?
9) What would you like to learn to do next involving your blog?
10)  Is there anyone you would love to stop by your blog and leave a comment?
11) Name one thing that you do in your life that you think makes the world a better place.

If you need the full rules and regulations please feel free to visit Wording Well who explains it in more detail.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Visiting Unusual Place Names on the A to Z Road Trip

I decided on this leg of my journey I would be led by the more unusual blog names on the Road Trip list.  Journeying into the unknown has always been something I have liked - why else would I take up teaching when everyday brings me into contact with new slightly bizarre outlooks on life through young children's eyes - and just ask my husband and kids about my slightly off the road real life trips into Europe, Africa and The Middle East (who needs travel agents and actual addresses of potential holiday destinations anyway?)

First - Dancing in the Weeds - this name resonated with me as my garden has been left untended and is now a mass of the things (the product of a warm winter and a very wet spring over here in England).  Dancing blogs about her creative life outside of her life of work - something I think we all need and I found many of her back dated blog posts to be uplifting and thoughtful - I particularly liked some of the artwork she has done.

Next - Click's Clan - - she mentions knitted chickens do I need to say more? Living on a Scottish island - I can feel me returning here often to recharge my batteries simply by looking at the photos.

Onto Polar Bear on the Loose where her latest post resonated with me in what my future life might hold - adjusting to actually living with husbands after decades of marriage!!  The actual blog title is Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer which probably would resonate with many of the A to Z crew and my own personal link to her would be the number of rescue cats she has!!

After that stopping off at Galeriaredelius  I had no idea what I would find but was pleasantly surprised to find a blog about jewellery - I don't wear jewellery much (except brooches) but this blog has pictures of interesting pieces and talks about the design process which is something I am always really interested in.

And finally what would I be like if I didn't visit a post called Crazy Town in Looney Land on this week's trip?  written by a team who in their own words blog about "Where the crazies from Undead in the Netherworld talk about Mental Illness" and why not I say.  The more I do my job the more I see the need for counselling and access to mental health support for younger and younger children - if we don't talk about it then we won't affect a change in society.

Obviously, other blogs with unusual names have already been visited by me during the A to Z Challenge and as my road trip is to find new blogs signed up to the Road Trip I haven't mentioned them here sorry if you are one of them :(

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

101 Things to do in Special Education and Inclusion

As we prepare for half term, my work load has rocketed with annual reviews for children on the horizon, six monthly appraisal reviews for all my support staff to be finished and signed, meeting with Ed Psych to discuss some of the children on my register, transition meetings for Year 6 pupils with special needs, Looked After Children's personal education plans prepared and meetings with social workers, family support cases and Early Help assessments, parent meetings to discuss behaviour issues (my school day goes from 8-6 without a break!!) children on managed moves consultations, new support timetables to be finalised for next half term and all of the other ad hoc meetings that crop up each day to discuss wobbles in families and children!!  And of course throughout this continue the planning of lessons, creating and making new resources and discussions and feedback on lessons delivered.

I am also throwing myself whole heartedly into reading the 7 year blog I recently mentioned of a special needs teacher gaining valuable links to other teaching and resource sites.  Leila the blog's author has already said she would love me to spread the word and so I would like to mention a couple here:

Guys Read this is specifically geared to boys to get them interested in reading.  At the moment, I am battling to maintain boys interest in their learning when they begin to struggle.  To ensure that progress does not grind to a halt and they turn off from putting in the effort  I am hoping to encourage and stimulate their interests through putting into practice some of the suggestions mentioned on this site.

this I think will turn out to be a fabulous resource for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) at my school.  With the importance and focus on teachers to understand and support all students within their classroom this site offers modules on a whole range of special needs problems that teachers can delve into to top up their knowledge and the most wonderful thing is it is all for free - how super is that? I am sure I will be blogging at a later date about things I discover on this site and what differences they make in my students' learning.

Although there are the 101 things to do, I always find I feel re-energised when I read about new ways to engage or tackle learning difficulties and the thought of trying out new ideas in the classroom or small group support fills me with new hope.  Let me know what recharges your batteries or of any new ideas you are currently trying out in your field of work?  I'm always open to new suggestions in the field of education so let me know any blogs or resources you are currently finding helpful.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Dinosaurs and Pirates

Working in special needs education, I have to try to capture the children's interest to hook them into the learning that they find difficult on a daily basis.  Dinosaurs and pirates are two topics that I know most children (but particularly boys) like and as the ratio is normally 3:1 boys to girls in my small group work then these are the two themes I have been working predominantly on over the past few months.

I mention this because I have just signed up to another website that allows teachers to sell their products online and therefore have a new store located at:

I am offering my dinosaur literacy packet comprising of a cvc phonics emergent reading book plus lots of other activities (34 pages in total) at a price of $2.50.  (I did want to sell it at $2 but for some reason the website has adjusted the price upwards).  One of the reasons for joining this site is I currently earn less than half of what I sell for so although it is always a true delight to see that I've sold a product I know that I will be receiving only pennies for it.  This new website offers earnings of 70% so I will see how it goes - it is a very new start up in comparison to TpT - so anything could happen.  I am also displaying their banner to promote the store and to possibly earn myself 5% of sales when anyone clicks the link and then purchases through it - let's face it every little helps in today's economy.

The current book I am writing and illustrating for my little literacy group at the moment is all about pirates (whilst we learn to read and write our colour words) and I hope to be featuring this in an upcoming post sometime next week when it is finally finished.  I am working with the children to write new chapters based on their input and ideas - a collaborative piece that is working really well.  I do like it when children can use their imaginations and see their creations come to life so to speak.  I am also so grateful to the creative brilliance of Laura Strickland at
who allows her art to be used by teachers such as myself for our products free of charge.  She says it is her way of giving back to education and I can only say the children I share her clipart with certainly gain from having her artworks in their life.

Do you know of any other artists who share their creativity for free to help educate children?  Would you like to give me some feedback on my products if you are another teacher out there?  What have you found to be interesting topics that hook children into learning?  Let me know your thoughts :)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dance your Troubles Away

I had to upload this video for others to see all over the world.  I am really proud of teaching here in the West Midlands.  I think the smiles say it all - isn't it wonderful how music and dance transcend all cultures and bring us all together?  That's why I think the arts are so important for children with special needs and yet so many interventions have to take place during these lessons - that's because the teaching assistants are needed in the classroom for helping with maths and literacy in the mornings.

Tell me what you think?  How can extra support be given without taking away the other important lessons?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Blog discoveries in Special Needs Education

I came across a new blog about special needs teaching today <a href= />Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs</a> and wanted to share a resource that Kate (the blogger) mentions in her latest post - the tarheel reader.

It is a free resource of many simple books which can be used on a whiteboard/laptop/ or communication machines which can be adapted by others to cater for the requirements of their own children.  There is access to flickr for photographs to make your own and the ability to share with others.  It is certainly going to be a useful resource to many and will help me when I write and illustrate my own books (which I often have to do for the children I teach to convey the text type, grammatical structure, verbs, adjectives or adverbs I am focusing on that week).  I would certainly recommend a visit to check out the wide variety of books already on there.

Another blog which I have newly discovered and am going to be reading from the very beginning I think is that tells the trials and tribulations of a special needs educator over the past seven years!!  Wow - to be doing the job and blogging about it for that many years is truly amazing.  I am really looking forward to reading it - a bit like contemplating a cosy snuggle up with a good book.

I am always interested in what you have to tell me so let me know if you have come across any other special education blogs you particularly like or have found useful.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Trying Technology Out

I am going out of my comfort zone and trying some things out on my blog - trying to become more "savvy" in the blogosphere I suppose.  Please be patient with me as I often find nothing ever works first time when it comes to technology and me.

Trying to learn how to make a hyper-linked signature - here goes following the instructions as taken from A to Z comments

 <a href="Your Website">What you want to be visible</a>

So, I would write (make sure you include the http:// !):
<a href="">wizzardSS</a>

<a href="”>Pempis Palace</a>

OK that didn't seem to work I can still see everything

No I've now trawled the net and can't find where I've gone wrong - I think I have all the right punctuation markers etc in the right place so why do I see everything and not just Pempis Palace - if anyone can help I'd be most grateful.

Am trying Fil's suggestion to leave out the speech marks

<a href=>Pempis Palace</a>

Well it still looks like it's not working to me but will try to leave a comment on a blog and see if it works there

Yipee it does - thanks so much Fil - you are a wizz with technology!!!

Road Trip: Along the Cliff Tops and Through the Tunnels

This is my second post for the A to Z Challenge Road Trip and I know I said I’d choose five blogs to comment on but the organisers say you can choose to bend or negate any rules so today’s lucky number is six.
I am not just visiting those on the Road Trip list but any that are recommended or that I find through comments left on other sites just to keep you in the loop if you’re interested. - I found this to be a highly detailed blog – similar to my own as the posts contained many different words connected to the letter of the day and her chosen subject the coasts of Britain – so they certainly weren’t short posts either just like mine.  A very good round up of her posts with final comments and answers to questions posed showed what an amazing breadth the blog had covered during the challenge.  It’s like having a very learned friend.  - the A to Z Challenge focused on things she would like to see and do in France and it was an interesting cultural experience – the odd French phrase thrown in for good measure.  A pleasant soujourn through a country I like and have visited so had plenty of appeal with lovely photographs. - this blog written by an artist was an amazing eclectic mix of art, paganism, art critique and history, healing, women’s rights etc the list is endless.  A little bit too much for my senses at time but very interesting and certainly if I had more time would keep re-visiting. - rather a different type of blog because it is all to do with solving puzzles – so be prepared to spend ages!!!  The A to Z Challenge was completed successfully but there doesn’t appear to be any activity since although the blog has certainly been going for some time so assume it will continue again soon.  Will give me some time to catch up with those pesky puzzles, maybe!! - came across this site following a comment left on  - they are a tribe of bloggers which makes for interesting blogging and a wide range of genre and experience.  They also took part in the NaMoWriMo which I had seen popping up in mentions on other sites – finally found out what it was all about – writing a poem for every day during April!!  Bit of a task I’d imagine.  The poems on this site were not short and had been obviously crafted well so made thoughtful reading.  I will certainly be keeping them on my blog roll.

My last submission for today was recommended by my good friend Fil the very talented musician over at is an amazing collection of letters written from the writer’s grandfather to grandmother during the period 1907-1912.  I will be recommending this blog to genealogist Ros over at   The accompanying family photographs as well as postcards and other memorabilia of an up and coming black family in the United States make this a fascinating read.  It certainly appealed to my “teacher” side.

If you have any other blogs to recommend for me to visit on my winding road trip please don't hesitate to signpost them below.  Many thanks.

Friday, 9 May 2014


As we begin the summer term here in education land (why do spring and summer terms not equate with the actual seasons - going back on the 3rd January and calling it spring is cuckoo if you ask me and it certainly doesn't help the children's knowledge!!!) my thoughts as SENCO are to the following autumn term when children are transitioning to new classes and even more importantly to new schools.  Our year 6s all go off to begin their lives as secondary school students (learning to be small fish in very large ponds again) and the very young join our school for the first time (nursery) or begin life in more formal education settings (Reception).  For children with special needs, this can be a very scary and confusing time so getting it right is really important.

These would be the things on my wish list as a SENCO to make transition the best that it could be:

All children have a chance to visit their new setting (meet new teacher/s - see their classroom/s)

All parents have a meeting where they can talk about their child and any concerns they may have about their child beginning their new school

A member of staff who can be that parent and child's main contact and who can be contacted outside of school hours (e-mail preferably)

and in addition to this for all children with special needs:

several visits to their new school if they or their parents want this

a visit by the SENCO from the new school to the old school to discuss and maybe see the child in their current setting

an additional meeting with parents to discuss the issues and how they see their child's needs could be best met in the new setting

I know this takes time and I feel really pleased that having established bonds with the parents of children at my school they take the initiative in coming to see me to discuss problems before they become too big but I also worry that some parents of former students also come to speak to me because they don't have a rapport at their child's new school and their child is worried and struggling.

Talking SENCO to SENCO should be a priority - pieces of paper do not show the whole picture.  I have already talked to one secondary school because I know the file they will receive will not reflect the true picture of the child (they are on an integrated move to us - they were expelled from their previous school) and that this child can succeed if the correct support is put in.  I am still waiting for them to get back to me with a date they can look around the school (this was not offered until I specifically asked for it!!)

On the other hand, having pro-active SENCOs in other settings such as Children's Centre nurseries who invite you to call them to arrange a visit for both the SENCO and class teacher mean that before we have even met the message going back to parents will be "your child will be OK - the people in the next school care - they want to engage with you - they will support your child - everything is being done to make this a smooth move".  What parent doesn't want that for their child?

I have always been incredibly lucky with both of my own flesh and blood children that their education has been fine and any wobbles have been sorted out satisfactorily through talking with teachers.  But the children of friends have not always had such an easy passage and the difference a good "caring" teacher available to talk outside of school hours and make things happen has been instrumental in ensuring those children do not come off the rails and that they do achieve their full potential.

Let me know what you think about the next move your child is likely to make in their education.  What would you like to see happen to make things go well?  Do you have any concerns?  As a teacher, what would help you when children transition to your class?  Is support there for you too?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Road Trip to the Wild and Wacky

Well as promised (on a day when nothing really to report in the special education needs calendar) here are 5 blogs visited as part of my A to Z Road Trip. - thought I’d show a little solidarity with my own country and check out the English countryside.  Looks like it was written solely for the A – Z Challenge and you have to do the thing of putting your e-mail etc etc before being allowed to post a comment so rather irksome.  Interesting for my geography teaching head on but unless something else is going to be posted will not be hitching that way again. - wondered what retirement might mean to some so zipped over and found a comfy blog written about crafts, grandkids, food and gardening amongst other things – lots of lovely photos on a huge range of subjects and a blog that’s been going on for a good few years having recently celebrated her 700th post.  Links to various other weekly posts so might be tempted to try a few of these myself if my blog begins to flag.  All in all will be heading back to become a follower and leave comments. - the blog was written about Belgium and the Netherlands for the challenge but the main aspect is a funny blog with lots of stories about the writer and hubby and their escapades in the USA.  Another blog that has been going for some time and I will probably be stopping by once in a while to have a giggle. - I came across this blog following back a comment left on Somberscribbler and feel I have certainly been missing this blog in my life – eccentric certainly and just a little wacky – perfect English gentleman if you ask me!  The A to Z postings were an amazing poem but it appears another A to Z for May has now been undertaken so I will be following.  I also realised that this was the Rob Z Tobor (who had been mentioned by the AtoZ Challenge crew) who had visited nearly every blog during the challenge – where does he get his energy from? - this blog came courtesy of the blog before being mentioned in Rob’s reflections post as the most funniest post throughout the challenge and I certainly have to agree it was very inventive and well done as were other posts on this blog during the challenge.  Flip the artist modestly says it is all down to him being a graphic artist but I think there’s more to it than that!

Not a bad haul really for the first day of driving through those other blogs – just around
 1, 900 more to go of the ones I missed first time round I think!!

Are any of these on your list of blogs you follow – any suggestions about where I should head next?  Hoping you’ll let me know your thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Driving Me Crazy

School is in full swing after the Easter holiday and already it feels as if we've been back for weeks and we even had a Bank Holiday on Monday (the school stall at the May Fayre was a roaring success by the way - we broke last year's record with the money raised - yipee!!)  So of course what should I decide to do but join up for the road trip - the button is on the side if you want to get involved too.

My aim will be to visit 5 different blogs a day and report my findings on whether they appealed to me or not. I am hoping to make contact with other teachers out there but actually I think some of the blogs I enjoyed the most were not about teaching - it's good to get other things into my life really - so it will end up being a bit of a hotchpotch with no particular rhyme nor reason.

My gripe of the day has to be that I was told by the authority's SEN team that if a child has made progress then really funding for that child is at risk as they no longer need the help.  Surely, if the child didn't make progress that would be when we should question whether added support is cost effective - if it is benefiting the child keep it going is what I say - sometimes I do feel as if I've fallen down the rabbit hole when it comes to talking to officials about special needs in education.

As always I'd love to have some feedback on your take on the situation.  If a child is making progress should that additional support be continued or withdrawn?  Should additional financing be given to schools if no progress is being made or should other schooling be looked at and be made available through the authority?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Reflections on A to Z Challenge

My thoughts on my first challenge was that it was so inspiring.  
  1. It inspired to me to write daily.  
  2. It inspired me to have the courage to put some of my "views" out there in the open.
  3. It inspired me to leave my comfort zone and go and visit new blogs I would never normally have dared venture towards
  4. It inspired me with lots of new ideas and stories I found out there written by some very talented people.
  5. It inspired me to get better at learning about technical issues and asking for help.
I really do want to say a big thank you to the organisers for creating all of this.  I have loved it.  I have been energised by it.  I made sure I replied to every comment I received and I shall miss it but I will also be really looking forward to next year.

I tried to visit five new blogs everyday but have to confess I did find this difficult (due to time constraints) and also sometimes found it very hard to leave a comment or to follow someone - it was normally easier if wordpress or blogger as I am a member of both - didn't want to fill in all the details "google" wanted.

I did find favourites which I returned to regularly and some I even began to think of as my "friends" out in cyberspace.

I particularly liked:
Fil's Place - her love of folk and Irish music history and the many song snippets she posted gave me tranquil moments in my frenzied blogging activity

Drew Llew - his amazing stories made me guffaw out loud so many times

Glenda was really great at commenting on my blog and giving me a thumbs up on my viewpoint and telling it how it is on the US education front and I enjoyed seeing a high school perspective in her blog

2 Smart Wenches was another teaching blog from the U.S. who gave me much needed support

Ros through her genealogy blog gave me loads of new information and made me really want to research my family roots when I have some time to devote to this hobby

The wonderfully named Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings gave me visual daily delights with her wonderful pictures and commentary on the art of Degas

and lastly but by no means least (although I was too much in awe to leave a comment)
Not a Punk Rocker - gave me a "no holds barred, gutsy - zany, poignant, edgy" hit on life in her rather difficult world on a daily basis

Thank you to everyone who became a follower or left a comment it made everything worthwhile.  I'd love to stay in touch so don't be a stranger!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

May Day May Day

May always seems to be such a busy month - despite two bank holidays - everything else is at break neck speed as we head towards half-term.  Maybe it's SATs that stresses us all out or just that you realise that all the things you wanted the children to have covered this year won't be done in the time remaining.  Sports days, school trips, summer concerts etc etc all seem to be scheduled for the end of the year so the timetables are all over the place and even more teaching time is lost!!

To be honest, many of the children I work with do not like this term because it isn't normal - they prefer routine - they want to be doing lessons with the teachers they know rather than swapping and changing all over the place to accommodate all the other things that need to be done.  But at the same time, it is often then that these children, in doing these other things, can be on a level footing with many of their peers.  How many times on school trips have I seen those children blossom, under the hands on guidance from one of the museum assistants, zoo keepers, castle guides etc, who have no preconceived ideas about them?  Just because you can't read or write as well as your friends doesn't mean you can't beat them in the egg and spoon race or maybe land a solo part as a singer in the concert.

Tomorrow I will be helping out (on my day off ) at the local May Fair in order to raise funds for my school - I will no doubt see many of the children there including former pupils.  Fingers crossed it will be a sunny day.

And before I sign off, a shout out for the 2 day TpT sale that starts on Tuesday with 20% off all products in my store as well as others

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Gearing up for SATs

Well the count down has now truly begun for SATs week over here in England.  Primary school children in Years 2 and 6 will be having the past year's work moderated and tests will be taken.  These results will be used to make comparisons and judgements about schools - whether you have lots of children with special needs in your school will be inconsequential when the results are published in the press and the results tables will show who has achieved 100% of their children achieving level 4.  Not a very level playing field and once again a very difficult one to truly access the state of education for children with SEN in mainstream schools as many special schools do not publish results due to the small numbers of children sitting the exams.

I am also wary of the local authority moderators who have in the past have come in to my school and made judgements without me present about levels where due to the strange nature of the system being awarded a level 1 or 3 means that a child is decreed to be achieving at a level 1b or 3b whereas a level 2 is published in its three separate categories of either a 2c, 2b or 2a.  This has meant that children in my special needs maths group have been given a level 1 and recorded as having reached 1b at age 7 where in fact they are just beginning to consolidate work at a level 1c and are unlikely to progress to a 1b for at least another year due to their very slow (but significant to them) progress.  This will therefore mean that it will look like they have stalled in their learning and have made no progress through the coming year - a real help to the poor teachers and students who are trying so hard!!  Likewise a bright child who may achieve a level 3c in reality will now due to the government's insistence on increasing attainment be recorded as having achieved a level 3b and be expected to achieve a level 6c in four years time for the school to be judged as "outstanding".  If they do not achieve at least a level 5b the school will be classed as in need of improvement!!  Great isn't it - and what does this actually benefit anyone in the long run - worn out teachers and children made to jump ever higher and in some cases turned off learning.

I am all for providing a good and stimulating education for children but at what price?

Let me know your views as parents and teachers - are tests and results the be all and end all of a primary education?