The unexpected life of a teacher… IOM

During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils acrossick kids the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school. 

This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued. 

However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could. 

The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise thmanxe massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred. 

Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!)  Interview

I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours. 

I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unflexibleit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations. 

I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.

The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.


Child Mental Health


Being kind to others makes us feel good – should be promoted in classrooms – Small acts of kindness 

Aspects from today’s society that could impact children’s mental health:

  • family breakdown
  • pressure to have access to money and perfect lifestyle
  • materialist culture influences young people
  • social networking
  • body image source of distress
  • bulling/cyber bullying
  • sexual pressures
  • violence in many countries
  • exams

Mental health impacts many areas of children’s development – good mental health could support: enjoyment, deal with stress, learn better, navigate the online world and create new friendships/experiences

1/10 children in a classroom will have negative mental health – therefore teachers need to be aware of this so can support the child

Risk Factors (Public health England, 2016:5) mental-health-2









There are many factors that could impact children’s mental health and a vital area for teachers to focus their attention to is the school category 

Only 25% of children are treated for mental health are, 60% of children who are looked after have a form of emotional or mental health issues therefore early intervention and plans are needed to support the children. 



There are many ways that teachers can impact children mental health and the main aspect is resilience and the adjoining image shows ways which could support

DfE 2014 – Guidance relating to children mental health – because there are broad areas of need to support children

Currently a large influence via the Government to support mental health at a younger age – increase funding and focus. BBC

Early Intervention is key to support mental health so then people can act accordingly.

Everton – TacklingBlues :

A community based approach which supports children with Mental health and incorporates sports and also focused groups – based in schools 6-16yrs

One method used by blues is ’emoji bingo’ – opens discussion based around the chosen emoji’s – can be used as a form of assessment to identify what children are feeling over periods of time and to see improvements/areas for concern

Another way is asking children to identify what makes them feel certain ways (inside the Pepsi bottle) the bottle is then shaken and the children identify what emotions come from the areas inside – then the bottle is opened and the children identify the link between what is inside the bottle and what stems from this

Worry boxes are an ideal approach to support children in decreasing emotional and mental health illnesses as it will support children in speaking about their problems so support can then be put into place.

Following this information, in a seminar, we discussed specific areas where mental health occurs in children and how this could impact children’s education. The group I engaged with discovered the following:


On some occasions it is difficult to identify how to help children, in particular when children are facing bereavements or moving home/school.

  • Small acts of kindness could make a difference within children from peers or adults.
  • Schools have an important role when supporting children in this area.


I believe that mental health in children should be an aspect that is thought off vastly in schools because if it is ignored the implications could affect children’s development in many areas. Based on my professional development I would like to develop some ideas/practices that could support children with mental health illnesses.






Closing the Gap


Children may be vulnerable for different reasons:

  • Exposed to the possibility of harm emotionally or physically
  • In need a special care, support or protection due to age or disability, risk of abuse

Children who show underachievement may be because:

  • doing less than expected in school work
  • low economic – late for school, care needs unmet, lack of motivation, lack of meals
  • children’s emotions- child may not be in a positive place, this may impact their learning.

Free School Meals (FSM) 

2013, all  children in KS1, no matter their circumstances, were entitled to free school meals. Some schools struggled to do this due to lack of amount of food and funds. This was put into place to support deprivation. This gap supported children who where vulnerable the most and there was a 2% increase in children’s targets due to FSM.

Education Endowment Foundation


An organisation which offers evidence which supports and identifies aspects of children’s learning, their attainment and closing the gap.

‘Parental involvement in learning may have wider benefits beyond boosting attainment outcomes, and it continues to be a priority for many schools.’

When I have been on practice, I have observed how parental influence can impact children’s learning. It was evident that children’s motivation and learning was influenced through parents and in some cases the children’s extrinsic motivation was the driver of this.

Pupil Premium 

An extra budget for schools who have a higher amount of children who have free school meals. As well as this, children who may be; in care, adopted, have a residency order, the school receive more of a budget. OFSTED will look into this when they visit schools to identify what the money is being spent on, to ensure it is spend on thcharacteristicse vulnerable children and a report should be done to evident this.

There is no guidance on how the schools should spend this mone
y, it is up to the teachers/school, however it does need to be evident on how the money has been spent. Therefore, teachers and schools will have to assess and know their children’s needs to support them appropriately. The Government say that the pupil premium is the best way to address the inequalities between FSM and wealthier families.

TASK – There are many ways in which the characteristics can be addressed and how the premium can be spent on the approaches.

ATTENDANCE/PUNCTUALITY breakfast clubs, coffee mornings, travel costs, walking bus, parent involvement.

PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT – parent support groups, texts home, parents part of the school website, involve parents in children’s learning.

MALNUTRITION/WEIGHT/HEALTH ISSUES – breakfast group, guest speaker, supermarket visits, wake and shake, healthy eating cooking clubs, work alongside parents, grow own veg/fruit – have in school,  start early so children understand nutrition.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – go-noodle, specialist coaches, walks around school/community/ school trips, teacher involvement, PE kits in school, new different equipment.

A key point is to ensure that the premium is spent on the needs of the children and also that the support in place makes the difference you would like to change.

Reception experience

This week I have had the opportunity to work with a class of reception children. I have logged the learning and daily lessons and routines in a diary which is kept in the hard copy of my TSP.


I have developed an understanding of the transition from nursery to a school setting. I have also experienced phonics, mathematics and different types of continuous provision. As well as this, I was able to experience a EYFS sports day.

Here are bracelets children made me during their free flow play time.