Star Fish

Sleeping star fish

All brittle and cracked,

No backbone.

Sensual smooth arms

Clad with granular threads


Protective and strong.

With amputated limbs

She responds to the strokes

Of alien fingers

Longing to sooth.

Curl up hand

Wrap around,

enigmatically entwine.

Sensory tentacles

Speaking a language

Of their own.

And thus

As in a myth,

She blissfully regenerates

What was lost.


A Real Witch


Pausing, I looked at the 28 pairs of eyes boring into me.

Each pair, looking for clues and conformation

Of what they suspected but needed reassurance of.

They blinked slightly too quickly as I scratched my head,

And, as I turned to look out of the window,

Eyes that widened, as they inspected my nose.

Dabbing a scented tissue against it,

I inhaled, a deep luxurious breath.

They could believe what they wanted,

I was who they wanted me to be.

They each gave me eye contact.

Was there hidden fire in my pupils?

But all was confirmed

In the unison downward glance,

Towards my trademark Dr Marten boots.

Come Into My Sleep by Nick Cave

Now that mountains of meaningless words

and oceans divide us

And we each have our own set of stars

to comfort and guide us

Come into my sleep

Come into my sleep, oh yeah

Dry your eyes and do not weep

Come into my sleep

Swim to me through the deep blue sea

upon the scattered stars set sail

Fly to me through this love-lit night

from one thousand miles away

And come into my sleep

Come into my sleep oh yeah

As midnight nears and shadows creep

Come into my sleep

Bind my dreams up in your tangled hair

For I am sick at heart, my dear

Bind my dreams up in your tangled hair

For all the sorrow it will pass, my dear

Take your accusation, your recriminations

and toss them into the ocean blue

Leave your regrets and impossible longings

and scatter them across the sky behind you

And come into my sleep

Come into my sleep

For my soul to comfort and keep

Come into my sleep

For my soul to comfort and keep – my sleep

Come on,
Come on,

Come on,

(Here’s the song)


A reflection on the impact of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels Report – DfE and STA 17th September 2015. 

Teacher assessment is an exercise in teaching and learning not a prediction of how pupils will perform in a test.
A good assessment routine in school will not be solely based on teacher assessment or conversely, frequent formal testing of curriculum knowledge.
Assessment in school needs to cover all bases.
Assessment should:

• Identify – Knowledge and skills for improvement

• Inform – planning, classroom organisation, reports to parents and governors, class and school expectations

• Diagnose – the needs of individual pupils and inform decisions about the use of interventions, specialist support

• Feedback – to pupils, support self-assessment, against measurable/identified success criteria

• Measure – quantitively and qualitatively provide evidence

• Confirm – with school progress measures, accepted and upheld (researched, respected and evidenced) educational trajectories of progress and development and with the statutory requirements that aim to create a national level playing field

• Evaluate – knowledge and skills

• Monitor – the impact of interventions, teaching methods, the curriculum and use of resources including teaching assistants and specialist teachers

• Comply – with statutory requirements, align school assessments with national standards and, in the case of SATs, GCSE and A Level exams, be administered fairly to a strict code of conduct

• Motivate – teachers and pupils by recognising achievements

Assessments should give a holistic overview of every pupil and include many methods of obtaining evidence, information and data.

• Formative (continuous Teacher Assessment), recognising pupil achievement/progress, planning next steps, setting targets

• Ipsative, measuring pupil’s progress against own previous achievement, and against pupils with similar baselines (value added)

• Summative (e.g. SATs), recording overall pupil achievement in a systematic way against identified criteria

• Diagnostic, identifying pupil strengths/weaknesses to inform planning for appropriate intervention

• Evaluative, feedback on specific actions to address gaps in learning/progress

As an additional assessment, tests that recognise potential, like CAT tests could be useful to identify possible potential and highlight underachievement.
No test is perfect, no assessment method is perfect. But when a school or teacher can talk their way around the use of all the methods of assessment that support the teaching and learning in their school; it’s as close to perfection as we’ll get!

Selfish Call

He began his week shouting down his mobile

Wrapped in his dressing gown.

Monday at 10.30am,

Smoking a rolled cigarette,

Sat on the front door step.

Tuesday’s 3.55pm call,

Written in a trail of blood

Staining the stairs and

Around the phone,

Was more sufficient.