Before Sharon Gray became headteacher in 2009, inspectors had placed the underachieving school in special measures. Ofsted issued a “notice to improve” when Sharon took the helm, after she pleaded with authorities to give the failing school a chance.
She says: “I promised everyone I could get the school to outstanding. “Many didn’t believe it was possible, but I was determined. I wanted to do it for the children because I thought it’s what they deserved. “I believed it wasn’t them failing, it was the system failing them which didn’t seem fair.”
It was Sharon’s awe-inspiring flair for inventing projects to engage her pupils that helped to change the school around. This year she staged an “alien landing” that involved the whole school in a week-long investigation.
Children and parents arrived one Monday morning in March to find a fire engine and police guarding a large white tent in the school field, with strange sounds and billowing smoke.
The “Look Deeper” project was developed by Sharon with the help of her deputy, and two other staff members.It worked on communication and language skills and it led to excited discussions among pupils about scientific experiments.
Sharon has also encouraged the community to participate in school life, involving parents in developing a school farm, and by issuing shops with “good behaviour cards” which they could hand to well-behaved pupils.
Sharon invented the scheme, the Integrity Awards, to encourage children to behave when there were no teachers looking.
Now, while the majority of children enter the school significantly below national achievement levels, a majority leave at or above the national average, including some who take GCSE maths exams at the age of just 11.
One parent, Gemma Nason, says: “If it hadn’t been for Sharon, my son, who suffers learning difficulties, wouldn’t be in a mainstream school.
This year the school achieved an outstanding Ofsted report.
EXCITED, excited – you wouldn’t believe how many ants I’ve got in my pants!
It’s only 5 and half years since Liverpool royaly kicked Real Madrid in the ass with a 4-0 win, and I am looking for another gigantic RM defeat.
Ok, so Liverpool aren’t on fire at the moment, but butterfingered Casillas has fallen off his perch and he needs to go and coach a kids club. Of course, I have to admit that CR7 is a footballing genius but I’m still in love with Stevie Gerrard. I can’t understand a word he says because he’s a Scouser and I’m a Yorkshire lass but you don’t have to speak the same language to fall in love. Come on, just look at his cheeky face and repeat after me: COME ON LIVERPOOL!
Finally, there are loads of my clients and friends who will think this post is a load of claptrap. However, I would have to say, very politely because I am British, I’m sorry but you’re wrong!
LIVERPOOL, LIVERPOOL, LIVERPOOL
As little Harley lay and hovered on the brink of death from meningitis, doctors made the heartbreaking decision to amputate his arms and legs to save his life.
Then just a toddler, Harley pulled through and fought back against what could have been a devastating disability with inspirational spirit and determination.
Harley simply refuses to let his missing limbs hold him back in life. The cheeky schoolboy even completed a grueling 1.5km race on his false legs to thank the hospital that saved him.
If you want to read more about this inspirational child, then please click here.
After nine years without a job, with no purpose and no future, Clifford Harding was facing life as just another unemployment statistic. However, one moment changed his life, and put him on the path to helping other young people from deprived backgrounds.
He has gone on to become a role model for youngsters in his community and developed a truly innovative way of teaching children maths that saw him rapping in the House of Commons. Clifford, who lives in Birmingham, had always found school tough. Suffering from dyslexia, he struggled to keep up with his classmates and failed most of his exams.
He remembers: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I grew up in a very strict household, and when I left school with no qualifications or job prospects I rebelled. “I was a bit like a caged animal breaking free and didn’t care that I didn’t have a job.”
As he approached the end of his teens, Clifford’s grandparents and mother sadly died in quick succession. “That’s when things became really bad,” he says. “I wasn’t interested in bettering myself and remained out of work for nine years.”I was causing trouble, getting involved in petty crime, drinking, loitering and smoking.” However, one day his benefits failed to come through – and that is when his life changed forever. He says: “It really upset me. But then I thought, what am I doing waiting for this money when I could get a job instead?”
Clifford managed to secure a cleaning job, and inspired by the big offices he was working in, he started to think about his future. He heard about The Prince’s Trust and made the decision to approach the youth charity for help setting up his own business, which started out as a children’s party company.
Are you a chatterbox?
A chatterbox is a person who does not stop talking and talking and talking and talking. Curiously, when I was a kid, I was an accomplished chatterbox and my brother used to chase me around the house trying to put a sock in it because he found me very annoying! Moreover, when I was at my grandparent’s house, my granddad used to say to me either: ”Janette, please speak only when spoken to” or “Janette, all that chatter is creating a draft in the house” OMG, that’s just mean!
Thankfully, nowadays, I’m usually far too busy putting food, drink, or vitamins in my mouth to be a chatterbox. How about you? Are you a chatterbox or are you a little more conservative with all that lip flapping stuff?
Ok, forget fried eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, baked eggs, sunny-side up eggs; Jamie Oliver, the well-known British Chef, explains how to make the perfect poached egg.
Posted in Listening, Reading, Vocabulary
Tagged b1, b2, British, c1, culture, customs, eggs, Food, how to, learn English
Nikki, controversially, is considered to be by far one of the most entertaining British Big Brother contestants. She is well known for her furious Diary Room rants and her daily battles with the other housemates.
Watch this video to find out how she complains to Big Brother about the lack of heating in the house and try to hear what words she uses to say that she is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cold.
Seriously, someone is pulling my leg.
Is it possible that we need an instructional video to show us how to make a cup of tea? Well, perhaps the answer is yes.
So, if you’ve never made a cup of tea before, here’s a simple 5 step video to help you learn the skills and key vocabulary. The main verbs include the following: To fill, To stir, To add, To boil, To brew, To remove. Good luck! Oh, and if you don’t have a kettle, you might be in trouble!
To be, or to feel under the weather is a common idiom used when you are not feeling 100% well. Perhaps you have a slight cold, stomach cramps or a headache.
Last Sunday, I felt very under the weather. Unfortunately, it was completely self-inflicted! So, no sympathy required!
Why don’t I learn that it is never, ever, a good idea to mix lager with wine?! Anyway, personally speaking the hangover is definitely the reason why aspirin was invented; and on a positive note, over the years I have kept a lot of chemists in business as a result of my aspirin requirements. OMG, I’m a business angel!
Radiohead are an English rock band from Oxfordshire who formed in 1985.
Radiohead have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, with the band’s work being placed highly in both listener polls and critics’ lists. In 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the second best artist of the 2000s.
Finally, and very curiously, despite the fact that I adore their track: High and Dry, the lead singer, Thom Yorke can’t stand it, saying “It’s not bad… it’s VERY bad”
So, what’s the song about?
Well, truthfully, I have absolutely no idea, but perhaps it’s about the ridiculous idea of trying to achieve self affirmation and love from others and that, for many who do this, along the way they lose sight of who they are and therefore will never attain contentment neither self-acceptance. On the other hand, what do I know; maybe it’s about an old wellington boot and a bit of mouldy cheese. So, I’m wondering, what do you think?
Posted in Listening, Reading, Vocabulary
Tagged b1, b2, British, c1, learn English, Malaga, music, questions, radiohead, rock