A day in the life

4th March 2005 at 00:00
"I get to school at about ten to eight, make sure I've got the resources ready for the day, and write any notes for the teaching assistants about things that need to be done. The doors open at eight-thirty.

I have 18 children in my class, including three with statements. We have three teaching assistants to support them, but the aim is for the children to be as independent as possible, so I might ask an assistant to work with a group.

At nine we are joined by a boy from Springfield with cerebral palsy, who comes with his own assistant. He can't write very well, and his speech is difficult to understand, but mentally he can grasp what we are talking about in maths, science and literacy. He needs help with his lunch, and the children love being chosen by him to have lunch with him.

This set-up is ideal for him. It means his Springfield teacher and I have to work quite closely, so we know what's happening on the other side of the corridor. It is great to have special needs experts on hand, whom you can see for five minutes.

We regularly do PE with the parallel Springfield class, we have music together and we have stories and library sessions together.

We encourage the Madley Brook children to be good role models - and in return they get to know the Springfield children as people; they get to know good and bad things about them.

When I was young, I felt anxious about being with people with special needs, but I'm hoping that these children will be much more rounded, and won't have those kinds of feelings.

It can sometimes be quite humbling working here. Because it is new, we are constantly having to re-assess and re-evaluate, and one day is never like another. But it is definitely the challenge I was looking for."

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