Lesson 72. The Trouble with Box Ticking

Lesson 72 on Meeting individual needs

I worked with Mr TopJuniors from time to time whenever he needed an extra pair of hands.  His greatest strength was managing the wide range of abilities amongst the challenging individuals in his class. This he did with patience and good humour.  He was straight talking and consistent when it came to sticking to classroom rules.  He never put people down. 

Arthur was one of the challenges he had to deal with.  Arthur desperately wanted to be good, but he found school work hard.  He had moved back and forth between schools as the family fortunes ebbed and flowed.  He had difficulty focusing on tasks, and there were so many gaps in his basic knowledge that he was constantly interrupting and begging for assistance.  This was a source of irritation to his fellow pupils.  It led to arguments and unsettled the group.

Poor Arthur was so eager to be liked and wanted so much to be helpful,  but his unremitting efforts served rather to annoy and hinder the work of those around him, till they tried even the good nature of his teacher.

So Mr TopJuniors devised a strategy for saving Arthur from himself and at the same time protecting everybody else from his well-meaning attentions.

There was a shared activity area connecting his class and the two neighbouring groups. It was easy to move between all three classes through the common area.  The teachers cooperated and often worked on joint projects and activities. Together they came up with a sharing Arthur scheme. 

Arthur’s day was scheduled between the different groups for particular activities.  It was not unusual for pupils to move between groups for different purposes.  Also any pupil who was having a bad day in their own class could be informally moved into another class for time out.  All it needed was a quick word between teachers across the activity area.  In Arthur’s case, however, this was a structured long term plan.

It had two aims.  The first was to give Arthur a chance to master areas of work he had missed, the second was to stop him driving everybody else mad.

But the plan left his teachers with a problem.  It was hard to match these objectives to Ofsted criteria.

There wasn’t an Arthur box.