Category Archives: LfL – Section 2

Week 6 – Reflection

My last week here at Moulsford was going to be hard because I have loved it so so much. I will have no doubt at all that at some point in the future I will be back. But before I write about the painful goodbyes I must go through the week and reflect on what I have learned.

Image taken from Google – A short joke at the expense of ofstead which gave me a giggle

So my week started with a lovely assembly from the headmaster on strength, and although it is for the boys, even gave me something to think about. I thought about how my weeks here have given me the strength to be confident in my teaching abilities and that one day, I will be (hopefully) a great teacher. Moreover, after this I went to an English lesson. Now, I’ve said before that this teacher is excellent but I REALLY MEAN IT! I learn so many games and resources from him (most of which he invents himself) and ways of dealing with children who are just not interested in being at a prep school anymore and ready for a higher level. Moreover, By joking with the children and creating fun and active resources this really seems to keep them engaged. Medwell and Simpson (2008, chapter 3) concur, saying that with any activity, providing the children are interested and engaged they are generally said to be easier to manage. Unfortunately, my lovely calm morning was brought to a halt by the headmaster announcing that there will be an inspection this week on top of the open day on Friday which sent most of the teachers into panic mode. I was a bit worried that the inspectors would come into my lessons, but at the end of the day it is good practice for me and to be honest I am used to having to be observed anyway on placement, so it should make no difference. I “should” be fine. My last lesson of the day though was my own science lesson with Year 4, which went really well and was at the best time possible because the teacher was able to do things within the classroom getting ready for the inspection. I had some slight problems when it came to the boys chattering but used techniques which meant that they were quiet. You can read all about it here…

Tuesday was just as hectic as Monday with the fact that the inspectors were due in only 24 hours. Its quite good actually for me to see in practice what it is like in a school for the inspections. I had been briefed on what I may be asked and prepared extremely well by the whole staff team at Moulsford. For example, I now know that school inspections take place more frequently in private schools than in state schools, but that there is not Ofsted etc in private schools. The way this particular inspection will go is that the staff upload a list of policies onto a system and then the inspectors around 48 hours before an inspection will announce they are coming and which policies they will be looking to see in action. Now, I’ve already said about Moulsford not being a particularly culturally diverse school through no fault of their own, however they do have to prove that they are teaching British values and different cultures. So, this morning I was helping to create a Magna Carta display in the history classroom as I went to see it in Salisbury at the weekend previous in Salisbury church. My idea was to print out an English version of the Magna Carta and to highlight the parts that we still have in place today for example, no slavery and fair trials. The history teacher liked this idea so through a team effort of photocopying and resource hunting we created this. Disappointingly, I only managed to grab a photo as we were taking the display down to make room for something more educational, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately, Tuesday also brought sorrow as this was my last EVER forest school with the Moulsford boys. I have spoken about it in every single weekly reflection I have written and just hope I have put across how much I completely loved my time. The staff were amazing with the boys, and I was so happy to have learned so much about outdoor play from them. Some reading of my own made me realize just how much learning outside the classroom can build vital and engaging experiences in learning for the Early Years (Cremin and Arthur, 2014, p.231). Furthermore, I have learned that where children can have the freedom to just play and have no activities set for them it is valued more by the children and the constraints on learning for teachers out of the classroom effectively taken away as they do not have to plan a lesson. I will miss forest school but will engage with social media and the school and staff themselves to see what the boys get up to and to learn new techniques in outdoor learning.

Wednesday was another set of lasts for me, my last chance to work with the boy I have been supporting with English and also my last lesson with Year 3N. You can read up my lesson and how it went here… It was interesting having the inspectors around because everyone looked far smarter than I had ever seen them before (and they looked pretty smart to start off with anyway) and all the teachers had lesson plans. I am used to writing up lesson plans myself but I am sensible enough to realise that although lesson plans are a vital part ensuring your lesson runs smoothly, as you grow as a teacher and start to repeat lessons you have taught before, you do not depend on them as much. Furthermore, Hayes (2010, p.38) states how useful lesson plans can be to remembering your resources, keeping your lesson organised and being clear about the purpose of the lesson including the outcomes the children should gain.

Image taken from Google – I was lucky enough to go on yet ANOTHER amazing school trip on Thursday

Thursday was FANTASTIC because I went to see STOMP! with the Year 5’s and as predicted it was AMAZING. I completely loved it as you can imagine, even if I got loads of stick from the rest of the staff for being the student who goes on all the good school trips. What can I say? I am very persuasive.. Once again though, this trip got me thinking about culture. I have never driven into London, I’ve never even been on a bus into London, I always get the train. It took a lot longer but would have been cheaper for the school but we passed so many houses and sky rise flats which looked unloved and as though they needed some sprucing up. London was filled with people who were different nationalities too and my thought was how lucky these boys are to be exposed to so many cultures. I didn’t go anywhere like that until I was at least 8 or 9 and even then, where I am from originally, I can’t say I was exposed to many cultures then either. I do think it was the inspectors being in that triggered these thoughts, but I am glad that the boys have the amazing experiences that they do as it will really aid their learning and development.

Now, I don’t really want to write about today because it has been an emotional rollercoaster ride of saying goodbye to pupils and staff who I would like to now call friends. I was teaching this morning and as it was an open day parents were walking in and out of my maths lesson, asking me questions and to my delight not batting an eyelid when I said I was only a student. I felt a real sense of being a part of Moulsford when the parents themselves accepted that I was a part of the Moulsford community because I think it was then that I realised that I had made an impact here on my placement. Break followed with loads of hugs goodbye and the MASSIVE chocolate cake that I bought, becuase I have always been taught that you can’t say goodbye without a decent chocolate cake. I even bought some crossword books for the staff room so the teachers never get bored as crosswords are a huge break passtime in the Moulsford staff room and some pens because I am sure there are pen pixies living in there stealing all the pens you take in and never come out with! After the rest of my lessons and lunch I have been spending some time ensuring everything is set for my blog and presentation on Monday. I’ve loved it here, truly and I really dont want to leave. Driving out of Moulsford this evening (after the goodbye visit to the local public house *ahem*) I will certainly be fighting back the tears.. Goodbye, Moulsford….

Image taken from Google…

References

Cremin, T, and Arthur J (2014) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. Routledge

Hayes, D (2010) Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools. Exeter: Learning Matters

Medwell, J and Simpson, F (2008) Successful Teaching Placement in Scotland: Primary and Early Years. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Mathematics – Year 3 – Week 6

Image taken from Google – The money dominoes from the lesson

Unfortunately, this was my last ever lesson with Year 3N and it was devastating to say my goodbyes to them. I was genuinely nearly in tears when they all started clapping and shouting “3 cheers for Miss Whitham, Hip Hip Horray”. I could sob here and now writing this but I won’t I’ll just talk about the lesson. It did go really well and the activities were all my own ideas. I wanted to do a table rotation style lesson were the boys could practice different activities and do it in a really fun way. They did really well, especially with the games but unfortunately the money dominoes were not as successfull because they didn’t have enough time to complete the full game. However, each game gave me a full insight into how the boys were getting on in each area of the curriculum before their exams and topics that they may need to revisit, even in only 5 minutes an activity! So theis is absoloutely something that I would do again as a teacher, and a teaching method that I think the boys enjoyed because they expressed that they would like to do it again, which I was delighted with.

Class/Group: Year 3N                            Lesson: Mathematics                                        Date:10.05.17

 

Previous Experience

Experience in division, money, multiplication, word problems and shapes.

Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Solve problems, including missing number problems, involving division.

Add and subtract amounts of money using both £ and p.

Recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables.

Measure, compare, add and subtract: lengths (m/cm/mm).

Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate):  Literacy – For games and extension exercises children will be reading the questions and the instructions on the games.
Learning Intentions Success Criteria
Table 1

To know how to divide

Table 2

We are learning to count coins to make a whole number.

Table 3

We are learning about measurement

Table 4

We are learning about different mathematical operations

Table 1

I am able to divide numbers

Table 2

I am able to count coins to make a whole number.

Table 3

I am able to measure objects in cm using a ruler

Table 4

I am able use different mathematical operations

Resources

 

Worksheets, games, dice, projector, online timer, pencils, whiteboards, whiteboard pens, whiteboard rubbers, Smartboard, computer, post it notes, internet access, counters for games, polypockets, toy coins, lego.
Timing   Assessment Methods
 

 

5 mins

2 mins

5 mins

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 mins

 

 

5 mins

 

 

 

Total

35 mins

 

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

 

 

Discuss the LI for the lesson with the children and explain all of the activities for each table and that each pair will be going to a new activity after 15 minutes until all activities are complete

Separate each table into pairs.

 

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

 

Table 1

Play the board game. Help with any problems they may have and reinforce the division they do not understand by using Lego and working together in their pairs.

Table 2

Play the dominoes game, each pair using a different set of cards and use the real toy coins with any children/pairs who are having difficulties with the money pictures on the cards.

 

Table 3

Children will go around the room/school measuring objects with rulers in cm and write answers down on worksheets.

 

 

Table 4

Noggle (number boggle). Glue sheet into maths book and by using any mathematical operation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) the solution must make 20 and 36. Write answers into book.

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

 

End the lesson by tidying everything away back into their polypockets. Ask the children to sit at their desks.

Go over learning intentions. Write on a post it note about something 3-7 words about something you learnt today. Hand over to class teacher.

Throughout 35 minute lesson class teacher will be working with Child 1 as a TA for differentiation purposes where Child 1 will taking part using Numicon through games etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Assessment and Teacher Marking

 

 

 

Observation and Peer Assessment

 

 

 

Observation and Teacher Marking

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking the worksheets.

 

 

 

 

 

Observation

 

Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
From the first game at the first table, I now know that the boys can divide using real life examples

From the second game where the children were learning to count coins to make a whole number, I observed that this was going well for most groups but they would have benefitted from more time.

The scientific measurement game was successful, with correct answers on the sheet after me and the class teacher discussing width with the majority of the class.

The Noggle game was really successful with the boys showing through their sums that they knew their different mathematical operations well enough to create their own sums.

 

Children 1, 7 and 13 need to continue to work with the money dominoes because I was not convinced that they were able to count the coins well enough to play the game.

I am confident for all children to move on to harder division questions except for Child 1 who would benefit from using Numicon further.

 

 

 

EVALUATING MY PRACTICE

Going well (what worked and why?)

The lesson overall went really well with children listening well and there were no behavioural issues. This was most likely down to the amount of activities going on in this fast paced lesson, which allowed the children to be constantly busy, moving around the tables and active.

Most children engaged well with the activities which I think is possibly down to them playing games and not quite realising they’re learning.

Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?)

 

I would in future only do a lesson like this if I had more time. Some of the boys just didn’t have enough time to finish their activities and this was a shame as they could have benefitted with the practice before their exams.

 

Next Steps for Me

In future I will be more aware of what the children have already learned in maths lessons and the way they describe certain methods in mathematics.

I will also try to plan more time into the activities and choose and hour and 10 minutes lesson as opposed to a 35 minute lesson.

Science Lesson – Year 4 – Week 6

Image taken from Google – The boys really like the Twinkl resources

Monday’s lesson was my second science lesson within the school and I am really confident that it went well and know that the boys enjoyed it. Unfortunately there was no real opportunity for the teacher to observe me but did give me some informal feedback that was really positive. I think something that I can take away from this lesson is that I need to work on my assessment skills throughout lessons and that although there are many ways of assessing children it is best to ensure that you are taking it on board as you are teaching, not after you have taught. Furthermore, the boys have been working with twinkl and I continued this in my lesson by workiing with twinkl resources and teaching them what twinkl feel they should know with the added tweak to make it my own lesson. I really like the twinkl resources and think that when I am a teacher this is a website I would like to use more often.

Individual Lesson Plan Format (Primary)

 

Class/Group: Year 4GS                    Lesson: Science                                Date: 8.5.17

 

  Previous Experience

In previous lesson, children have sorted animals into a variety of groups in lesson 1 using different keys.

 
  Working towards outcomes of a National Curriculum

Pupils should be taught to explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment

 
  Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate): ICT – to work on Ipads for extension, Literacy – for reading work off board and on worksheets, Numeracy – working with classifications keys and tables.  
  Learning Intentions Success Criteria  
  To be able to generate questions about animals.

To be able to use questions to sort animals in a key.

To see similarities and differences between vertebrates.

I can generate questions about animals.

I can use questions to sort animals in a key.

I can see similarities and differences between vertebrates.

 
  Resources Photo cards, worksheets, science books, smartboard, pencils, rubbers, glue sticks,  
  Timing Assessment methods
10 mins

 

 

 

 

5 mins

 

5 mins

 

10 mins

 

 

4 mins

20 mins

 

 

 

 

10 mins

 

Total

64 mins

 

Setting the context/Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Read the information on the Power Point Presentation to introduce children to the concept of classification and ask questions about it.

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Introduce the classifications of vertebrate and invertebrate, asking children to give examples of each. Explain that vertebrates can be further split into five groups: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles.

 

Explain the broad characteristics of each, asking children to note their similarities and differences. Explain that we will be focussing on vertebrates only today

 

Hand out Vertebrates Photo Sorting cards one per pair. In pairs, sort the cards into animal groups.

Tidy away cards.

Hand out worksheets, glue into science books, answer, ‘yes or no’ questions to sort the vertebrates into animal groups. When children finish they can do the key questions classification sheet.

 

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

Play “20 questions” game from maths but instead of guess a number its guess the vertebrates.

Question and Answer

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Assessment

 

 

 

 

Teacher Marking

 
Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children
I could see that the boys were able to successfully generate questions about animals after marking their classification keys.

From observation and the boys shouting out answers to questions I can see than the boys can all use questions to sort animals in a classification key.

After going over as a class the photo sorting activity game I am confident that the boys can see similarities and differences between vertebrates as each pair got them correct.

Child 5, 8 and 9 did get at least 1 question wrong in the classification keys and would benefit going over this through revision before the Year 4 exams.

It think as a class as a whole the next steps for the boys would be to create their own classification keys from the beginning by going outside and doing some outdoor learning by exploring the outdoor wildlife.

EVALUATING MY PRACTICE
Going well (what worked and why?)

I am pleased at how well this lesson went considering how unfamiliar I am with this topic. It worked well to use twinkle resources as the boys are familiar with these and the resources are bright, colourful and engaging.

The boys were really engaged throughout the lesson, answering questions when asked and volunteering to read off the board.

The boys all, except 3 successfully reached their success criteria and I would feel confident in them moving on to the next stage which I think is great as I feel that I taught them what they needed to know.

Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?)

The boys were quite chatty throughout the lesson and I did have to stop the lesson to tell the boys they were being too noisy and to quieten down. I think this was mainly due to the lesson being at the very end of the day, however this is no excuse and the boys should be listening from the beginning.

I don’t think the boys really needed to do the first classification key as a practice as it was slightly easy for their level and they already knew what to do. On the other hand, 3-4 boys did find this rather tricky let alone the sheets after but for the bulk of the class in was unnecessary.

Next Steps for Me

In future, I will try to assess the children as I am teaching a lesson, as some children already have a good idea about what I intend to teach them and there is no sense in wasting valuable class time teaching them what they already know.

I will continue to use engaging activities in my lessons as the boys are far more engaged in the lesson.

 

Placement Provider Overview

This blog post is going to be about the nature and culture of education in Moulsford Boys Prep School, Oxford-shire, England.

To start with, Moulsford is a private school, therefore independent and completely separate to the British government. On the other hand, the school follows the national curriculum up to Year 6 and thereafter from Year 6-8 the Common Entrance curriculum. The entire school is run by the Headmaster (chief role), and he is supported excellently by the staff who he has employed and the governors who help him.  Because of this I have created a small diagram of the structure around here including the curriculum’s, as the schools choose to follow them.

 

In terms of the curriculum, my findings of the differences between the English and private curriculum’s have been written in daily blog posts and weekly reflections. I feel there are some differences in the subjects we teach i.e. private schools in England teach classics and Scottish state schools don’t, but the way we teach and the techniques used are all the the same. The roles of the staff in private schools are the same as in state schools in Scotland, with the added additions of bursars, groundsmen, matrons and boarding staff. The other roles are basically the same as each position would be in a Scottish School.

There following list are of the many stakeholders to Moulsford. There will be many more stakeholders to Moulsford, however, I feel that this list includes the vast majority of the main stakeholders I have been in contact with. The stakeholders in Moulsford that I will spent most of my time at are:

  • School staff (Learning support, matron, kitchen, office, bursor, groundsmen, gap year students etc)
  • Boarding Staff
  • Visiting Staff (i.e. music and sport staff)
  • Pupils
  • Pupil’s Parents
  • Management i.e. Headmaster, deputies, heads of departments
  • Local community – business and residents of Moulsford, many of which are staff at the school
  • Wider community on school trips
  • Governors (Trustees of the Moulsford Preparatory School Trust – assist the School in its management, operations and development.)
  • Private education schools i.e. at sports matches and when other staff from these schools visit
  • National Government and Common Entrance – Curriculum’s

 

Week 5 – Reflection

Tuesday I was out and about at Harry Potter Studios and OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS AMAZING. Take a look at my reflection here...

My Wednesday was a harsh start back to the reality of no broomsticks or wands or even magic, just the gorgeous grounds at Moulsford and the fun that awaits each day. I spent my day in and out of classes but my teaching time in phonics had to be cut short because of a test that the boys had to do. This is common in teaching, no matter how hard you try to be prepared and organised, there is nearly always something that you just don’t have the time to do and you have to take time into another lesson to get it done. Furthermore, I fully understand this, especially after reading (Pollard et al, 2008, p.1079) that organisation can lead to more freedom as an educator but often it can also lead to evaporated time. Additionally, on Wednesday I helped a boy in Year 4 to write up their reflection on their time at the Harry Potter Studios. I have written about the work I do with him in other posts and was lucky that he was in my group when going around the tour, so I personally feel I was especially helpful when encouraging him to think of his favorite parts of the trip. Moreover, I acted as a scribe alone and although I discussed the trip and his favorite bits with him, I was only a scribe because this boy is extremely creative and I wanted every idea on the paper to be his own work and reflections. A copy of the work will be in my folder ready for my Viva in only 2 weeks! Additionally, my Wednesday was also spent asking members of staff about the culture of Moulsford for a blog post, as part of the LfL structure to pass, is that we write in pieces about the culture of our placements. The schools staff are so helpful and friendly and were so happy to do whatever they could to help me pass at the end of this module so I was lucky to have loads of input for this blog post. You can read it here….

Image taken from Google – this is a scene in the play that we saw with the actors we saw as well

Thursday was a longer day that I expected when I was asked at break time if I would be available and willing to help out by going on a school trip that afternoon to the theater with the Year 7’s. Naturally, it didn’t take just much to convince me and by 1 o’clock that afternoon I was off on the bus with another 3 members of staff and 48 boys ready to see the Twelfth Night. I’m not ashamed to say I am no Shakespeare buff and to be honest know very little of his work except for Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth (I am terrible for this I know!). The only exposure I’d ever had to the Twelfth Night was in fact through the film She’s the Man with Amanda Bynes which came out in 2006 which was inspired by the play.

Image taken from Google

But, I can honestly say I am really proud of myself for understanding what happened (the majority of the time). The language was slightly daunting and I didn’t understand some of what they were saying but the acting and music that went with the language helped me to really understand what was happening and follow the plot. Furthermore, this trip made me appreciate how important exposing children to acting and our traditional culture of Shakespeare is. The boys all went away from the play discussing the content, the music, the acting and the staging which I think completely shows that the youth today can truly appreciate the beauty of old scripts and traditional story-lines. All the knew writers such as J.K.Rowling and David Walliams and Julia Donaldson are fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but I am just saying that exposing children to old texts like Peter Pan, Shakespeare’s plays and Alice in Wonderland for example can be just as fulfilling. Moreover, Medwell et al concur (2014, p. 31) adding that children may enjoy traditional stories more when studying them as they may be familiar with them through film adaptations and this is also something that could be discussed in the classroom. Overall though, Thursday was a very good day.

Friday brought more planning for next weeks lesson and meeting the groundsmen who work at Moulsford and also the schools matron to seeing the incredible work that they do. I was overwhelmed by their willingness to talk to me and delighted that they answered all my questions in as much detail as they could. Although I have no nursing experience and my fingers are far from green, I do have a new found respect for both these areas of school life which I am delighted about because it is one of my goals and the reason I came to Moulsford. My week next week will be my last here at Moulsford and I will be so upset. I can’t imagine having to drive away from the amazing school this time next week but it has to be done so I can move on to become a fully qualified teacher. Lets hope someday, I’ll be back here teaching and helping out other students like me.

 

References

Medwell, J. Moore, G. Wray, D. Griffiths V (2014) Primary English: knowledge and understanding 

Pollard, A., Anderson, J., Maddock, M., Swaffield, S., Warin, J. & Warwick, P (2008) Reflective Teaching. (3rd ed.) London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

 

 

Harry Potter Studios – School Trips

Before I write this blog post there is something I need to confess to. It takes a strong woman to admit to their true secrets but I feel it would not be right to let you continue to read this post with out truly exposing you to what you are letting yourself in for. I am completely obsessed with Harry Potter. Like OBSESSED. I would even go as far as to say that my love for Harry Potter matches that of my love for chocolate. Now that’s a lot of love. So when I found out 2 weeks ago that Year 4 would be going to the Harry Potter Studios in London for their creative writing course, I somehow managed to wangle myself a seat on the bus and a ticket for the tour. To be honest, I would say my level of excitement matched, if not exceeded that of the boys, and whether you think that is right or wrong for a student teacher to be this way, it’s the truth and when it comes to Harry Potter nobody is changing it. I personally think that it is great for the boys to have an enthusiastic teacher, but then I am biased, because I am that enthusiastic teacher and well, of course I think i’m going to think I’m great. Anyway, my intentions with this post is to write it from an educational perspective of taking children on school trips and the educational benefits of teaching children through incredibly stories such as Harry Potter, but if the AMAZINGNESS of the whole day manages to get through a bit then I can only apologize.

Now although I can’t take away from the fact that I was super excited because it was a Harry Potter related trip, I was also intrigued to see how Moulsford do their school trips as one of my goals whilst here at Moulsford is to see schools from all angles, this is certainly one angle that is important to pupils no matter what school they are from. The boys were going, as the trip could aid them in their creative writing topic in English by getting their imaginations going and to see how their creative stories could become loved by many. Before we left the boys were divided up into groups of 10 or 8 and had a designated teacher for the whole day who they would have to stay with during the tour. I was pleased that I had my own set of 8 boys so that I could help out a bit, but I was especially proud that the other members of staff trusted me enough to look after and not loose the 8 boys in my group. So off we went and the boys were really excited on the bus getting there, singing and chatting away and eventually we heard their cries (screams) of joy as we pulled up in front of the building. Everything was really well organised and although we were early, the people that worked there were happy to let us join the cues early and hand out wristbands to the boys and passports to keep them busy by looking out for things like stamps and golden snitches.

From the first word we lost 2 of the other groups completely in the gigantic hangers where the tours take place. At first I was really hard on the boys asking them to stay with me and make sure they were in my line of sight at all times. This was until we met up with the other groups again and I realized that the teachers were wandering round and giving the boys a lot of trust to come and tell them if they wanted to go through to the next bit. I let my boys go off and for the first 5 minutes at least, my eyes were on them. That was until I was distracted by the amazing and gorgeous displays and features from the film started to overwhelm me and I just had to look at them. The boys were completely fine whilst I was looking around that part of the hanger and I have definitely learnt the role of trust in your pupils on a school trip.

Once I had calmed down a little and realized all of this my group all wanted their photos taken riding a broomstick. We went over and they all had their photo’s taken (me too, because you can’t go to Harry Potter Studios and not get your photo flying a broomstick for completely educational purposes…) to which I was handed all of their codes and moved on. I was so worried I would loose them and that would be it for the boys having their photo taken riding a broomstick (spoiler alert, I didn’t loose them). After this we moved on to the new forbidden forest and I was lucky in my group because none of the boys were scared of spiders or to go into this area of the tour. They were all extremely polite and I really did realize that I could completely trust them to run around to look at the sculptures and take photos without bothering any of the other people on their own tours. The boys were so kind, they even insisted taking photos of me with things, which I didn’t say no to, because how often do you get to go to Harry Potter studios!

Lunch was brought with us on the coach and was a delicious decision between pizza slices and sausage rolls. I am sure that I have said before that I love the food here at Moulsford. But I mean it. I LOVE THE FOOD HERE. We ate our lunch outside in front of Privit Drive and the Night-bus as a group as we had all managed to find each other again and the boys were walking around all of the outdoor bits walking in and out of houses exploring. They really seemed to enjoy it with big beaming smiles on their faces and after a 5 minute warning we were off again on the next bit of the tour.

The anamatronics were amazing and so was Diagon Alley, but nothing at all could ever prepare me for the overwhelming feeling I got from seeing the Hogwarts Castle structure up close for the first time in my life. I was slightly teary to say the least to see something that had been with me from my childhood and I could tell that the children were mesmerized by it as well because we were in the room for ages and the boys were just constantly looking and intrigued by this incredible sculpture. It was amazing, and a feeling I doubt I will ever get back again in my lifetime, but it did make me think about the reason I was here and the amazing experience the boys were having on this trip. They were so lucky to go because not only is it a difficult place to get to for most schools, it is also something expensive. There were other schools there at the same time as us but I wounder how many of them were state schools, and how many state schools can actually afford trips like that?

Although the trip ended on a high, there was a lot of hilarity at the end of the day when we realized we had forgotten the packed lunches which hadn’t been eaten and had to send someone to go and get them back. This showed me that you can plan every last detail of a trip, but nearly always, something is bound to go wrong. Moreover, I went back to the Year 4 classes the next day where they were all writing about their experience and putting that creative writing experience to use. I helped the same boy I have been helping for a couple of weeks now, and it was really lovely to see that he completely loved his day and wanted to go back. He wrote down his top 3 favorite things with a little help from me with the scribing part, but everything I wrote were his own words. A copy of this is in my folio. Overall, I truly feel that I have learnt something new from this experience, and no that isn’t how to ride a broomstick although that may come in handy someday. I have learnt that if you want to take children out on a school trip you need to trust them to be able to walk round the place of their own accord and they will in turn respect the trust you give them and come back at the times they are asked.

 

Moulsford’s Matron

Image taken from Google

I honestly have to say, when I was at school one of the places I frequented the most at school was the sick bay what with whooping cough, a bad back and then the general clumsyness of falling over. So when I came to Moulsford and found that they have their own matron, I knew I had to go and speak to her about her job. A matrons average working day at Moulsford is between 9.30 and 5.30, so 8 hours. She has her own office which also doubles up as a sick bay and spends all of her time in there. This is unless it is rugby season and we can all imagine how difficult that must be for a matron with loads of boys crashing into each other and vilontly tackling other players. As everyday is different there are no set number of boys she may see, but an average of around 14 was what she was happy to say. I think thats quite a lot for a school of only 350 pupils. Furthermore, the range of things she may see in a day are massive, from sore throats to bumped heads to cuts that need stiches. Moreover, should any child need further medical attention like stiches, it is school policy for the boys to either have their parents come to collect them or alternatively go to the local A+E walk in centre in Wallingford.

Image taken from Google – just some of the things school matrons/nurses have to do day to day

On the whole the chat was really positive and the matron expressed her love for the job and the school. She said that the only thing that makes her job particularly difficult is when boys do not follow the rules and then get hurt in the process. To be honest, there aren’t even that many rules at Moulsford and what rules there are, are simple ones to follow, but “boys will be boys” as they say. The majority of injuries will happen at break and lunch when boys are messing around so the matron will sit in her office during break and lunch just incase she is needed so that everyone knows where she will be in a crisis. I felt that although it is great to have someone there at all times and you know where they are going to be, it was a shame as the majority of other staff members take their break and lunch at the same time in the staff room, so therefore she is unable to interact as much with other members of staff.

Image taken from Google – definitely my motto when I was at school after I had whooping cough!

To my surprise, when I asked how the matrons job differed to that of a matron in a state school, her reply was that most state schools do not have school nurses or matrons. Even my school, which was in the back of beyond, used to have a school nurse, but apparently down here in England, state schools to not deem it nesesary to have a school nurse or matron on site at all times. It is most likely another expense that governements are trying to iradicate in order to save money in these trying times. However, for me, this is a total benefit to private school, especially if you have a child who is ill a lot or with a weak immune system like I had after my bought of whooping cough. I literally picked up everything going in the 18 months after my whooping cough and was often sent home with bugs or colds or coughs, but without the school nurse there to help my mum out with what to do, my mum would have most likely taken me for emergency appointments at the doctors etc. So I can absoloutely see the huge benefits to having matrons or school nurses becuase they can cut down work for teachers and doctors and make everyones life a lot easier.

My last question for the matron was what advice would you give to a trainee teacher like me. She expressed that being first aid trained was helpful for teachers so that they can spot when children are not feeling very well at all or just pretending for a bit of time of their least favourite subjects. Taking childrens temperature can also be really helpful to see if what they are saying matches up with how they might be feeling and for the children who are younger and less able to explain how they are actually feeling, this can give a better indication that they feel unwell. Moreover, we joked that having a spare bucket on hand was always helpful, especially on school trips, but even though we said this as a joke, I think I will always heed her words and make a bucket my new classroom staple. Additionally, the matron also had some words of advice that were not medical. Working as a team, espeically in this environment is vital and your job can be made so so much easier when you get along with everyone. Naturally, not all of us will always get on with everyone, but trying to be a team player and working together for the sake of the children is vital. I am really pleased I was able to speak to the matron about her job and the amount of work she has to do in a day. It has given me a new found respect for school nurses and matrons accross the country.

Image taken from Google – I have a new found respect for what school nurses/matrons have to do!