Category Archives: Contemporary issues

Week 1 at Somerset

What a quick first week complete! Early reflection has already distinguished the differences in the classroom environment, schedules and overall ethos for the schools I have been to in Scotland prior to this placement. Australia’s IB perspective on schooling has showed me that one thing which is vital to the success in the classroom is through trusting the children. The relaxing atmosphere in the classroom is completely opposite to the stresses which I have witnessed back in Scotland. Anyway, week 1 in a nutshell…


Somerset has just completed its yearly ‘Celebration of Literature’, a 3 day event which celebrates the reading and writing which surrounds us by involving all of the community, and inviting over 30 authors to come and hold interactive workshops for the children and adults. This festival is giving the children opportunities to meet the authors of some of their favourite books, discover new books and also gain an insight into the imaginative ways in which the authors plan their books. The children loved the excitement of meeting these authors, getting the opportunity to get their books signed and also enjoy the experience with their peers. Overall, the event was important for my class in particular as they are currently required to create different creations in class for the unit of inquiries – the structure of imagination from literature can be used here, and the enthusiasm which the event gives the children to then circulate back into the class is invaluable.


Friday was a different day for both Lauren and myself – we were asked to come along and supervise on the Year 5 trip to Saint Helena’s Island – an island off the coast of Brisbane, which was home to a high maximum security for Aboriginal and English prisoners during the 19th century. This was a fascinating opportunity to learn about the Australian history, but also to meet other staff and children who were on the trip from Somerset. It was certainly a different school trip in which I have been used to, and we learned all about the difficulties which prisoners faced whilst on the island – the duties which they were assigned, the struggles of having to work through the Australian heat and also the heartbreak that wardens had to face when their child died and was buried on the island.

Banana’s in pyjamas? No – PARENTS in pyjamas!

A recent headline to hit the news was “Parents asked to stop wearing pyjamas on the school run” – of course, due to its unusualness, the story was circulated a lot around social media sites and it received both support and backlash from parents, pupils and staff.


The story focused around a primary school in England which had sent out letters to parents and carers, asking them to stop doing the school drop off in their pyjamas and slippers – the school felt that this was not appropriate, and they wanted to help “raise standards” for the children, and to not lead them into the idea that it was acceptable to go out without having gotten changed from bed.

The letter argued that it was vital to ensure that children, from a young age, are made aware of what clothes to wear to suit the day e.g. a waterproof jacket if it’s raining, shorts/skirt for sunshine etc. It was feared that by ignoring the parents dress code, they may grow up believing that this is normal to wear pyjamas out in public. It was also noted about the personal hygiene behind this – many children have grown up in a routine where they wake up, have a shower in the morning and then put fresh clothes on. This encourages good habits for future. If a parent cannot be bothered to get changed properly, then how can the children be expected to?

On the other hand, it was noted by others about the personal choice regarding the clothing. If a parent wants to come and drop their children off in pyjamas, what exactly is the problem? Are they having an effect on others? Does it jeopardise the children education? Parents who had commented on Facebook posts had noted that surely “children getting into school safely was more a priority, not what the parents are wearing” and also that there was the possibility of underlying issues linking to the parents, in situations where they might not be coping/have mental health issues.

stream_img-3While turning up in pyjamas is not something which should be encouraged, it’s important to focus on the main aspect here – the child is at school; they are receiving an education, regardless of whether their parent is wearing a onesie or a pair of jeans.




(Source: ITV News, 2016)

Professionalism in regards to social media

Social media and the hype around it have been a major topic of conversation within the backdrop of professionals lives. Will this comment I post be frowned upon? Is it okay to add this picture to Facebook? Would my manager be alright with the content of this tweet?

As professionals we are constantly having to double check on what impact our online actions could have on our own personal and professional lives. There is a constant reminder to consider the following:
• Will it reflect poorly on you, the school, employer or teaching profession?
• Is the intention to post this comment driven by professional or personal reasons?
• Are you confident that the comment, if accessed by others, would be considered reasonable and appropriate?

With a growing number of children being on social media websites, and parents being keen to have a snoop at the person who is educating their child each day, there is a higher demand for privacy settings online. Public trust in a teacher is key for a good, working relationship with others and with different upbringings for people, there can be significant differences in what is deemed acceptable or not.

As technology is becoming more and more present within school settings, it is vital that boundaries are set in regards to what is acceptable for a pupil/staff online relationship. This is why a safety barrier can be to only communicate through websites such as GLOW, or official email addresses for the school. Communicating through these tools allows for clear boundaries, and can mean that there is less risk of people forgetting the boundaries of pupil/staff.

Whilst social media and the use of the internet can help children’s education thrive, there are also barriers which come from the use of it. Many people will post comments, tweets, pictures etc. without realising the full implications of what they have done. It can often be forgotten that even once a post or picture has been deleted, the file information is archived on to the website and is never fully gone. This is why there should never be any derogatory comments made in regards to pupils, parents or colleagues, which can easily be done whilst venting comments on sites such as Twitter or Facebook, and may lead to a concern over the teacher’s fitness to teach.

On the other hand, social media and the internet also benefits staff, parents and children. It allows for access to new teaching materials and assignments, whilst also being able to communicate with a huge host of other professionals in a real-time manner and discuss subjects.