Monthly Archives: December 2013

#Nurture13/14 – my highlights and hopes

I have read many of the amazing blog posts on the #Nurture13/14 and thought that I would give it a go myself. For those who not heard of #Nurture13/14, the idea is to reflect on the year by thinking about your highlights and look to your hopes for next year.


My son – this year we welcomed the birth of our second child to our family. This was such a magical moment of the year  and I feel so blessed that he is happy and healthy. 4 months later and he is already developing his own unique personality and I am looking forward to seeing him grow and will treasure every moment.

My daughter – again seeing my 3 year old grow up over the last year has been amazing and I am truly lucky to have a happy and healthy girl who I am immensely proud of.

My wife – I would not be anywhere without the love and support of my wife. I am lucky that she understands the amount of work that goes into teaching and I would not be able to do what I do without her constant support.

Yr 11 –  Last year I was fortunate to be offered the role of Head of Year. I really enjoyed taking on the challenge of leading a year team to ensure that we provided a safe and enjoyable environment for our year 11’s to achieve. At the end of the year, It was fantastic to see our young people developed and  I was pleased with how successful the whole team were in ensuring our students applied themselves to their learning.

GestureSEN –  Over the course of last year, I have been involved in the Professional Learning Community ( looking at first the Microsoft Kinect and the impact on engagement, creativity and movement for students with SEN. This has developed over the course of the year and are now investigating all forms of gesture based technology. I have found being part of this group has led more opportunities to implement and have an impact with our students and in addition have met some amazing practitioners along the way like Anthony Rhys (@trinityfieldsit), Andrew Walker (@andtomac), Susan McCarthy (@SusancMcCarthy) and Andrew Sparkes (@axessibility)

Presenting – This year I was asked to present alongside Anthony Rhys at the iPads in SEN conference by Richard Hirstwood. I felt really honoured to be just be asked by someone so experienced in the field of SEN and it was a fantastic day meeting lots of practitioners who I look up to and have learnt lots from.  I really enjoyed the day and Anthony and myself presented our work from the GestureSEN PLC.

Sensory Room Install – Although it has taken longer than we wanted, we have installed an interactive wall in our sensory room based on the work from the GestureSEN PLC at a fraction of the cost it would have been if we had contracted the work out. What has been particularly pleasing to see is the uptake in staff wanting to learn how to use the different programs and feedback to us about what things worked well and the positive impact it has had on encouraging engagement with those hard to reach students. The final part of this project ios to install our interactive floor projection and will be writing a blog post about this soon.

Curriculum Leader 6th Form – I wrote about this in an earlier post, but our school saw a reorganisation in terms of how we were structured over the summer. This meant a change of role for myself from Head of Year to Curriculum Leader for the 6th Form. This was a challenge,  I was looking forward to especially as our 6th Form was expanding and the role was to ensure that we had a relevant and personalised curriculum for the wide range of students at the school.  The first term has flown by, but I am very much looking forward to continuing the work I have begun when we return in January.

Working with fantastic colleagues – I am very fortunate to have a amazing team to work with Oak Grove College, they work tirelessly for the students at our school and I feel privileged to work alongside them.

Learning to code – Although I started to learn in 2012, this year I have continued to learn more and developed some simple application to use with the Microsoft Kinect. I have also developed my knowledge of HTML, which has helped me make changes to our school website.

First Christmas as a family – This was our first Christmas as a family of four and it was great and something that I will look forward to every year.

Trying to go paperless – This year at school, I have tried to minimise the amount of paper I use by using tools such as Evernote to change my workload. I have to say that this has been really successful and I actually feel more organised by going down this path.


Developing Curriculum – As already mentioned I am looking forward to developing our curriculum in the 6th Form especially as we increasing our numbers next year. There are some also some exciting developments with this which I can’t say too much about but should ensure that we have a 6th Form that meets the needs of all our learners across the range from PMLD to MLD.

Leadership  – I have really enjoyed the step-up to a middle leader role over the last year and I am looking to develop myself further this year. There are certain areas, that I am still coming to terms with but feel that I have taken steps to ensure that I continue to push myself professionally next year.

Embedding ICT – PMLD – This year I have begun working with our Complex Needs Co-ordinator on embedding ICT into the PMLD curriculum using the work that I have been involved with from the GestureSEN PLC. I feel that there is a great benefit to be had for these students in using ICT in the right ways to encourage engagement and enable progression.

Work/Life Balance – I have found over the past 4 months that I have a need to address my work/life balance especially with the birth of second child. I will endeavour to try be better at this and make time for me and my family to spend more time together without work getting in the way.

Teachmeets  – I want to try and attend more of these this year especially as there is so much that you can learn from listening to other professionals and their experiences in the classroom.

Running –  This year I have run on and off throughout the year, but next year I want to ensure that I at least run 3 times a week and increase the distances that I run. In addition, I want to become healthier in times of the food that I choose to eat and will be trying to make a conscious effort to change this.

Blogging – since starting my blog I feel that 2013 has been the least productive in terms of regular blog posts. I will aim to change this for next year.

Read more – I have already started loading the Kindle up with lots of books both educational and fiction that I want to read.

Save for a holiday – I want to go away on holiday as family in the summer, so will be aiming to save for this.

See friends – We all know the work load that teachers are under, but next year I need to make more of an effort to make time for friends. This will also help me with number 4.

SUP – This year I want to own a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) so that I don’t have to rely on more generous people who let me borrow theirs.

Family – The most important hope for next year is spending time with my family and enjoying seeing my children grow up and continue to amaze me. In the end of the day, family is the most important thing and no matter what occurs at work, they will always be there to put a smile on my face, support and keep me sane!!!!

Anyway, if you have got to this point, thank you for reading my post and hope you enjoyed it. It has certainly help me to reflect on what has been an eventful year and I look forward to revisiting the post in a years time.

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