365 days in my shoes Day 243


Blink and you miss it!

Twitter feeds move so quickly and it’s very easy to miss some amazing, amusing and inspiring tweets.

I’ve found it easier to save some of the ones I love. These probably hit your timeline too if you follow these people or receive RTs from those who do.

Via @scjmcd @truan_steve

Dylan Wiliam – booked on a course in September to see Dylan, can’t wait.

@dylanwiliam: Interesting comparison of secondary mathematics curricula in England, Singapore and Alberta: http://t.co/l61hxRfXQu (pdf)

John Tomsett ‘sunning’ himself at the DfE

@RachelOrr: “@headguruteacher: @johntomsett in a DFE waiting room… http://t.co/Sdg8pkxcCY”

Newspaper strategically placed? Lol

@headguruteacher: @HeadsRoundtable meeting with Michael Gove focused on accountability and curriculum http://t.co/gvRD3k756o

Using Facebook in school

Chris Harte on triptico
@charte: If there is one resource which will make your teaching life better this year, it is Triptico Plus http://t.co/oRfe39w5jr #worthweightingold

Via @magicalmaths
‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.’ Aristotle

Babbage Bear – SKYDIVNG
@chickensaltash: RT @tesEdTech: Ready, teddy, go
Babbage the bear recreates skydiving world record

7 habits of highly effective tech teachers via @Primary_Ed

@Primary_Ed: 7 habits of highly effective tech teachers http://t.co/nugTAz6ep1 #ukedchat #edchat #edtech #satchat


Via @RealGeoffBarton
@RealGeoffBarton: Clever and charming: @MustSeeShorts: Watch a black and white forest be painted into colour except for one panda. http://t.co/vUhdMALqFI

Interactive maths journals via TES Australia
@websofsubstance: Get your glue out RT @tesAustralia “Could this work in your classroom? Interactive maths journals – http://t.co/BrHezR6jIW”


Avoid the mood Hoover!


@geckogirl77: @RachelOrr Have a blast! I 💓 our biannual New Years! A friend @SkinnyMammoth taught me yrs ago 2 avoid Mood Hoovers. http://t.co/9UGxhu1jwN

Via @magicalmaths

Loved this from Super Work
@Super_Work: Very possibly the worst case of spelling I’ve ever seen. http://t.co/AsexA8Iz6C

365 days in my shoes Day 242


It’s Friday!

It’s my last Friday still officially in the capacity of head teacher at Shotton. Becoming very real now that This weekend marks the end and a beginning.

So, it’s the end of the final week of the summer holiday break. Where has the time gone?

What did this week have in store for you?


The highlight of my weekend was a huge celebration with friends. The occasion was the new job. The weather was kind and we were able to be outside the entire time. I don’t think I have ever washed so many wine glasses ahead of a party and afterwards.


It was an event planned well ahead, so it was pleasing to be able to put the giant ice bucket on the table.

Fun all round! Wonderful day.






Naturally, the heels had to match the theme!



Bank holiday Monday!


I am a Downton Abbey fan and in between tweeting, sorting school e-paperwork for SSE and SIP, several episodes of series one played away in the background.


Spent a great morning with the assistant director of education to the diocese for my new school. We’re planning an exciting training programme for our governing body. It’s all very exciting and I’m sure governors will find it very productive.

It was also a day of spending time focusing on my golf balls!


I hope you have found time for your golf balls too.


Wednesdays plans changed within the first hour of the day starting. My hair appointment for Saturday clashed with my tickets for the T20 England v Australia which is taking place in my home town at the same ground as the 4th Ashes test.

I have a fab hair stylist who offered to fit me in as long as I did mind a little wait and watching a colour shampoo enhancer demonstration. I couldn’t refuse. Fiery copper redhead once more.

I don’t post these pics often.


E_gran, @theheadsoffice and I had tweeted during the week our pet hates of mispronounced words and those words which people use incorrectly. Resulted in such fun!



Most of Thursday was spent working on our governor training programme. I was interspersed with some pleasant distractions which were necessary as I found myself frozen in the ‘laptop position’ where my shoulders had that annoying ache. Pleasant and unexpected moments always add something extra to a day. It was a very productive day with some tweaks to finish in the morning.

Also shared some of my favourite blog posts of the week. There were some ORRsome ones this week. Getting harder to choose so sometimes they all appear!



And, of course, now it is Friday.

My last Friday as Head Teacher at Shotton Primary. T minus 2 days and then it’s official.

As well as closing one door to Shotton and a new door about to open for Holy Trinity Rosehill, it’s been a week to clear out the clutter too. Not the physical clutter of possessions etc… But the mental and emotional clutter. Wonderful feeling and enables a really great start to a new school, new academic year, new term and new first day!



The sun is shining brightly this morning. Hitting the laptop and iPad again to finish a few little bits and pieces. Tomorrow is the cricket T20. So looking forward to that.

Have a wonderful Friday whatever you do and I hope it is filled with lots of pleasant and unexpected moments!

365 days in my shoes Day 241


Thursday weekly blog post finds!

Sometimes you don’t always have time to read the blog posts that hit the twitter feed there and then and even though we may hit the favourite button or bookmark the blog, sometimes they can simply get lost in the list of clicks and saves.

I’ve started saving them into a weekly Thursday blog, particularly my fans!

Wow! What a week it has been for fantastic blog posts to read.

Here’s a selection of great ones hitting the timeline this week.

progress with Mark Anderson @ICTevangelist

Impact of technology via Daniel Edwards @syded06

John Tomsett – simply brilliant

10 Qualities of creative leaders via David Ogilvy

School development planning via Tom Sherrington @headguruteacher

An ode to the grafters via Jamie Portman

Moodle, ICT across the curriculum via Alex Findlay

Trust, integrity and networking via David McQueen

All the write reasons via Stephen Lockyer

A guide to co-construction with Tom Sherrington @headguruteacher

Smart blog building a positive school culture via Thomas Murray

A flourishing teacher

Outstanding to good

Enid Blyton rapping with Shakespeare via Chris Curtis

The problem with fun via David Didau @learningspy

Chris Husbands

Jon Tait Skype in the classroom

Advice to NQTs via ICT Evangelist

iPads in science via @johnscott46

Computing curriculum FAQs: from starting out to programming languages
If you have no experience teaching computing and are wondering how to get started, Alan O’Donohoe tackles the most common questions for beginners

Twitter and education via Daniel Edwards

Who will survive via Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth

Rachael Stevens @murphiegirl Countering nay saying!

This much I know about lesson planning with John Tomsett

365 days in my shoes Day 240


MORR midweek grammar quips, quirks, quotes, pics and puns!

Inspired by a tweet à tweet with @e_gran and @theheadsoffice with a little provocation from @tonyparkin we chatted about our pet hates for mispronunciation as well as misuse of words.

How many words do hear mispronounced on a daily basis?


Some are incredibly painful to the ears and others make you laugh.


I often end up subtly correcting by repeating it back correctly and then there are occasions where I am simply blunt and say it how it is!


Often found myself correcting my last deputy for his ‘I seen him ……’ Nightmare!


ORRsome video clip really made me laugh!


yous v you


Tender hooks v tenterhooks


Wedensday v Wednesday


Pacific v specific


Bow-Kay v boo-Kay bouquet


Nucular v nuclear


Problies v probably


Excetera v et cetera


Fillum v film


Drownded v drowned


Icening v icing


Upmost v utmost


Rest bite v respite


Redchester v register


How many others would you add to this list? Feel free to add them to comments!

365 days in my shoes Day 239


It’s Tuesday. Some people have already been back at work a week or so and some go back today.

And then, there are some of us who still have another week. Since I have changed LA either side of these holidays, I am in the fORRtunate position of actually gaining an extra day’s holiday. I don’t start until 3rd September!

The week leading up to that first week back can often be filled with lots of planning, getting ready and sometimes a bit of panic.

We often wish that there were mORR than 24 hours in a day.

We work all the hours God sends and still want more. Then we feel we have neglected those things that truly matter and we can’t get the time back.

Get the balance right. Make sure you have the right things prioritised.

Don’t sweat the small stuff!


Who are your golf balls? Make time for the things that matter. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes!


I love this ‘story’ about ‘Is it full?’ You may have already come across it before.

Perhaps today is one of those days to share it with you.

The mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee


When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.


The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.


(SORRy, appeared in a google search and made me laugh.)


The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”


The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.


“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions – and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house and your car.”

“The sand is everything else – the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.


“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter.

Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and enquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.
“It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”


365 days in my shoes Day 238


It’s Monday and a bank holiday!



Last one for a long time. Let’s spend it relaxing!


What are Bank Holidays? (Collated from a variety of sources.)

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871.


Why are they called Bank holidays?

The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place.


Bank holidays Today

There is currently a total of 8 permanent bank and public holidays in England, Wales and Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland. These include Christmas Day and Good Friday, which in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are common law’ holidays (they are not specified by law as bank holidays but have become customary holidays because of common observance).


The 1871 Act – four holidays

The 1871 Act designated four holidays in England, Wales and Ireland (then wholly part of the UK), and five in Scotland.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Easter Monday
Whit Monday (which could fall anywhere between 11 May and 14 June)
The first Monday in August (later changed to the last Monday)
Boxing Day (26th December)


New Year’s Day
Good Friday
The first Monday in May
The first Monday in August
Christmas Day

St Patrick’s Day (17 March) became a bank holiday for Ireland only.

The Whitsun bank holiday (Whit Monday) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (which could fall anywhere between 11 May and 14 June) was formally replaced by a fixed spring holiday on the last Monday in May.

The last Monday in August was formally made a bank holiday in place of the first Monday in August in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2 January became an additional bank holiday in Scotland

New Year’s Day became an additional bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Boxing Day became an additional bank holiday in Scotland.

The first Monday in May in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the last Monday in May in Scotland, became additional bank holidays.


Are shops open on bank holidays?

Even though banks are still closed on these days many shops today now remain open. Shops, museums and other public attractions, such as historic houses and sports centres, may close on certain public holidays, particularly Christmas Day.

Majority of shops and attractions are closed on Christmas Day

Traditionally many businesses close on Bank Holidays to enable the workers to have a holiday. This time is often spent with the family on mini breaks and outings. Because of this, anyone who works on Bank Holidays usually gets paid extra – “time-and-a-half” or even “double time,” negotiated for them by the Trades Unions.


Do workers automatically get a day off on Bank Holidays?

Workers do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If paid leave is given on a bank or public holiday, this may count towards the statutory requirement for 24 days holiday.


What happens when bank holidays fall on a weekend?

There are holidays in lieu of those public holidays which fall at weekends.


How will you be spending yours?

365 days in my shoes Day 237


Don’t you just love twitter for finding fab resources!

Sometimes they slip away so quickly on timelines I find it useful to keep a record of links to ones I’d like to use or share.

Nurture and attachment theory resources via Matt Grant @HumansNotRobots

Beginners guide to programming HTML via TES Ed Tech

Build an igloo from milk cartons


35 money saving ideas for the classroom via Rachel Jones and Buzz Feed

Shake a phrase APP via Mary Farmer @ebd35
@ebd35: Shake-a-Phrase: Fun With Words and Sentences by Artgig Studio DON’T MISS THIS!! Great app for education! https://t.co/4Y3x7yCwiF


Star Wars Maths via TES Maths

Double sided connectives mat via SEN TES

EYFS via @ABCdoes wonder if Alistair Bryce-Clegg remembers we went to school together?

Literacy layered targets via Bev Evans

Computer science vocab via Phil Bagge @baggiepr

Popular EYFS planning sheets

Synonym snap via TES

Teaching numbers in MFL

Lord of the Flies via TES

Back to school classroom management resources via @Angela_Watson

365 days in my shoes Day 236


Loving the tweets that have hit my timeline this week.

There are always too many from which to choose but some are really worth mentioning whether for educational value, professional development or simply to make you smile.

What has been your favourite tweet of the week?

Via Action Jackson
@Actionjackson: Read this before you get your results @thefixupteam #GCSERESULTS http://t.co/yhfxLsln1t





Via Magical Maths








Via @Magicalmaths

Via Darth Vader

Top ten funniest jokes of Edinburgh fringe via @RealGeoffBarton
@RealGeoffBarton: The ten funniest jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe @bbc: http://t.co/UdLCBWZoRz

Learned loving reading via Holly Fairbrother
@MrsHollyEnglish: Reading time! Learners loving our new furniture 🙂 @NISSOctopus http://t.co/AJvCD01Akx


365 days in my shoes Day 235


It’s Friday and the bank holiday weekend is almost upon us.

It is time to ‘do’ it.

This week has been the beginning of an end. Quite an emotional end to the week. It was always going to happen but never did I think it would feel like it has.


Wonderful weekend spent with family we don’t often see. Sunny day meant we were able to sit outside for lunch.


My aim for this week has been to dot the is and cross the ts as much as possible so that next week is purely me and family time.


I’ve pretty much sorted everything at my ‘old school’ even though I have 7 days left as head teacher. It has really begun to sink in that I will no longer be there even though I have already moved on to new school in body and in spirit.


Spent the day in ‘old school’ and invited previous Head for a visit. I had been her deputy and she is very much the reason I am the head and leader I am today. She always said she wouldn’t come back once she retired as it was going to be ‘my school’ and she didn’t think it a good idea. However, as it is no longer going to be my school she agreed to come in and have a look around at things we both started in partnership and that have been continued. It was wonderful. It was as though we were back in that partnership mode. We think alike, believe alike and have children at the heart of everything. I suppose it will be the same for me now with regard to not going back once I have moved on.

Finished the day ensuring a master folder of information about staffing, self evaluation, school improvement planning, annual calendars, timetables and rotas, performance management and any confidential/sensitive information we stored securely for the new HT on the hard drive.

Office space is tidy. Documents as up to date as I am able to do. Time to hand it over and continue working on new school documentation etc…


Today was a slower start as I had burned the candle at both ends last night updating my new school’s school improvement plan and summary school self evaluation.

I have managed to write welcome page for new school as well as my first head teacher blog post. We are a blogging school and that is going to be so exciting.

Welcome – http://holytrinityrosehill.co.uk/about/headteachers-message/

Blog – http://headteacher.htrblogs.net/2013/08/19/ms-rachel-orr-head-teacher/


It is Friday and I have made it official.

I handed in my keys yesterday afternoon to the Shotton Primary School and it’s all become very emotional.
I really had no idea how hard it would be to let go. My admin manager has been my rock, my friend, my big sister, my greatest support as HT.
She didn’t want to take the keys from me. She popped them in a box in the safe and said that she wouldn’t be doing a thing until 31st August as I was still HT until then.

I had already said farewell to the children and most staff on the last day of term. As there were so many celebrations it didn’t really sink in that I was leaving.

Today it hit me. I hadn’t appreciated how hard this moment would be. So really very hard to do.

Bit of an emotional wreck this evening as I write this for Friday’s blog post.

It’s not the first time I have moved on from a school but the previous times have been either as SLT or DHT. Leaving as HT is so different. There will, no doubt, come a time when I do this all over again. I suppose nothing ever prepares you for that.

We stood in the car park. It seemed an age. Both tearful. Our school looked amazing against the blue sky. We both knew how much had happened over the years and how far we had come as a school and as a staff. She spoke so beautifully and told me she had loved every minute working with me and jumped out of bed every day to come to work. Tears streamed down my cheeks at this point as I popped on my oversize sunglasses to disguise my eyes.

I have been very privileged to work in an amazing school with an amazing team.


I spent my last moments in school with people who meant a lot to me. People who supported, believed, never gave up, had faith and were strong for me when things were tough.

It really was time to say goodbye. My admin manager, Pauline, is amazing She is ORRsome. We are no longer colleagues but great friends. We already have dates booked in the diary to catch up. It’s sad to say goodbye to someone knowing you won’t be working with them or see them in the building any more. But we do move on.

I sat in my car. I looked at our school. I resisted the urge to photograph it as I drove out of the car park. I sent one or two fab friends a text before I left the car par. Such an emotionally charged time.

This is real. My time has come. Moving on. So excited about working in my new school. It’s the best feeling ever knowing you are wanted and people are excited about you coming. What mORR could anyone wish fORR. I have a week to myself and family and then can’t wait for Tuesday 3rd September when we meet as a new staff team at school.

I have an amazing weekend lined up with 45 friends coming to celebrate my new job. Drinks all round. Giant ice bucket! So special.

I truly am blessed.

Have an ORRsome last week for those of you who still have holiday time left.

Enjoy it. Love every moment.

I love what I do so I do what I love.

Sometimes it is just that, black and white!



365 days in my shoes Day 234


It’s wonderful to see so many people blogging week by week etc…

My new school is a blogging school with each class having its own blog. There’s even a head teacher blog for me too.

Our timelines can fill up quite quickly and it can be very easy to miss some really good blog posts even if they have been retweeted by others.

These hit my timeline this week and probably yours too.

Some great reads from some amazing people.

Making results day for GCSE a day to remember via Jon Tait @teamtait

Via Lynne Moore

Teachers’ Standards via Zoe Elder

Hunting English

Flipped classroom via Bill Selak

Top 40 via Heavymetalleadership

The importance of enjoyment via Chris Hildrew. @ChrisHildrew

100 ideas for the classroom via Rachel Jones

Simple ideas for blogging in the classroom via Mat Pullen

37 ways to use Pinterest via @Primary_Ed

Scientists in sport via Chicken Plymouth @chickensaltash

Homework excuse notes via Laura McInerney

Iron in our food? Via @Dannynic

9 best tools via @edudemic