Saturday, December 03, 2011


December 3: The wife picked a handful of raspberries this morning. The remarkable thing, as this photo shows, is the paucity of leaves. The other pictures I took (all pretty crappy, tbh) failed to capture the fact that everything else has just about lost all its foliage; but saying that, this is the man who managed to go to Burton Latimer armed with a camera to take photos of the wind farm and came home with 14 pictures of individual wind turbines - I could have just taken the photo of one from a dozen different angles!

It is beginning to feel like winter; frost on the windscreen and it being virtually dark by 4pm, especially if it's a dull day, but in general this has been one of the oddest and most enjoyable autumns I can remember - it's made up for the grim economic outlook and the fact we're all going to die sliding around in our own shit while Chinese tourists pay money to watch the light disappear from our eyes.


I might not want to discuss my job on the blog, for obvious reasons, but that won't bar me from telling you what my job is or entails. When I was at school disruptive pupils tended to be ignored; but that was basically my extremely left wing mixed school during the 70s - the kind of place where the teachers seemed more interested in each other than they did educating. Things have changed and because I have no children, the changes seem quite drastic, quite sensible and in some ways oddly similar to the 1970s.

My job is to run what is imaginatively called Internal Exclusion (IE); where a pupil is taken out of class for behaviour or school violations and placed in a form of isolation - on the face of it it is designed to be a deterrent and also an opportunity to allow the rest of the school top operate without distraction. I've been employed to make some radical changes to the entire Internal Exclusion model (and they begin on Monday).

On the face of things, my job appears to be that of a glorified babysitter. The two IE rooms - behavioural and violations are run by me and my assistant and are strictly disciplined rooms where problems kids are not allowed enough rope to hang themselves. The intention (for me) is to educate kids about the consequences of their actions and how their behaviour needs to change if they want to be part of the school, have a chance in the future and to respect their fellow pupils. It is also about meeting Ofsted standards and getting the school's disciplinary record much lower than it has been. My feeling is that the softly softly approach isn't working very well, so I got offered the job to bring my experience of working with disenfranchised young people and because of my Youth Offending history - 73% of excluded pupils, nationally, end up in the court system and this allows me to do low level YOT work as an educational deterrent.

I've been there 3 weeks; it is hard work. The stress levels are intense and I come home most nights exhausted and I've yet to get the new IE fully running. I don't expect it will get much easier until the new radical approach starts to affect the usual suspects. The next two weeks - until the Christmas hols - are going to be massive.


Obviously my weekends have now become really important and tomorrow night I'm off to my second gig in a few weeks. Amplifier take to the Nottingham Rock City stage on Sunday and a late night beckons. I'm doing myself no favours for the big Monday push!

I'm looking forward to seeing Amplifier again and I expect a different set to the one they played at the Xoyo in the summer. There will be a gig review Tuesday if I can be arsed...


I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon biting my finger nails...

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