It's about accepting one another

7th July 2006 at 01:00
Melanie Carson, deputy head of Hob Moor Oaks special school, Hob Moor Children's Centre

"I arrive by 8am, turn the computer on and prepare for the day. At 8.30 there is often a staff briefing and from 9 to 9.30 I might visit the classrooms to check that pupils are settled. I mainly manage key stage 2, but I monitor inclusion all the way through the school. I arrange for children to move between mainstream and special school classrooms here, and I manage 12 placements in other schools - as we are keen to build inclusion in the local community.

At 9.30 there's usually a meeting - for instance, with the multi-disciplinary team of physiotherapists, school nurses, and so on, who are based in the school. For half a day a week I teach, which might be literacy or numeracy or, as this term, supporting staff who are working with children below level P4.

Because we're a new school, I often have visitors to show round - for instance, people from the local authority involved with inclusion. At 11.45 I do dinner duty and at 12.30 I've been going into the key stage 2 area to see how best we can meet inclusion needs at that time of day.

At this time of year there are often one or two annual reviews to do in the afternoon, involving teachers, parents and other agencies. If there's any time for paperwork, it's usually monitoring planning or individual education plans (IEPs).

The biggest challenge is setting up internal inclusion opportunities, because we've got to think about parental wishes as well as the needs of both schools; there is so much good will, but we have to make sure people are not taking on too much.

The biggest reward is seeing the two school populations together so much, totally accepting of each other - that's what it's all about."

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