January-June: A very busy period that saw me facilitating 4 multi-session therapy clients and, at the peak of this period, 7 Psychology A-Level tutees – plus periodic returns of ‘Julie’ (now in the final year of her degree, very focused and very determined to get a 1st) and the Open University student from the previous year. On top of this I was attending Open University tutorials myself and undertaking my first written assignments for the course as well as holding down 3 days a week teaching at Rossett and one at Guiseley.
April: Accepted into the Professional Guild of NLP, recognising my qualification of ‘Master Practitioner’.
Commentary: For a number of years I had been wary of being labelled an ‘NLPer’ due to my concerns about the way NLP tends to be presented and taught – see my reservations about NLP in the FAQs section. Recently, however, greater concerns had arisen with regard to the divisions in the counselling & therapy communities created by the prospect of imminent government regulation. It was becoming increasingly apparent that some approaches to therapy – eg: CBT – were very much in favour with the would-be regulators – while others such as NLP were not. Rather than support an overly-prescriptive approach to how psychological problems should be treated which would see NLP marginalised, it seemed important to me to make a stand with the NLPers!
After all, for all my reservations about the way NLP is presented and taught, I know just how powerful it can be in treating many people!
June: Began teaching a GSCE Sociology module at Rossett.
Commentary: Truth to tell, I had been bitterly disappointed not to have taught more Sociology after my first year at the school – especially after getting such good results! So I campaigned gently with headteacher Pat Hunter and head of faculty Mike Benson to get timetabled for some Sociology….and this was my reward!
July: The judgement of Rossett’s OFSTED inspection of 23-24 June confirmed as ‘Outstanding’.
Commentary: This was a tremendous result for Rossett. When I had gone for interview back in May 07, Pat Hunter had talked at length about how she wanted to raise both standards at the school and Rossett’s status in the town – and this was unequivocal confirmation that she was most definitely achieving one and well on course to the other. (The latter objective being helped by a very proactive PTA!)
Like many teachers, I have some reservations about the value of OFSTED inspections – especially in terms of the amount of paperwork they require which has no discernible benefit for either the students or the running of the school. Nonetheless, this was a tremendous result, indicative of the burgeoning success of the school.
I would have liked to been able to say that I had contributed to the result through my own lesson(s) having been judged outstanding – but I wasn’t observed. (However, I had been observed by the ‘School Improvement Partner’ in the March and my lesson judged ‘Good with Outstanding Features’.)
July: Invited by Councillor Darren Reynolds of Burnley Council to pick up our discontinued conversation from last year.
Commentary: With the general election in May, the Lib Dems had strengthened their hold on Burnley quite considerably, with council leader Gordon Birtwistle becoming the town’s new MP and also Parliamentary Private Secretary to Treasury number two Danny Alexander in the new Coalition Government. Darren wanted to pursue ideas we had discussed the previous Summer on ‘Community Cohesion’, with a partial aim of further undermining BNP support. In meetings with Birtwistle and new Council leader Charlie Briggs, they supported in principle the ideas we discussed.
With the Lib Dems in government for the first time since David Lloyd George’s Liberal-led government of the First World War, there was a real sense of ‘can do’ and a willingness to try something new – even something radical – amongst the Burnley Lib Dems. No doubt this sense was aided by Birtwistle having direct access to the top echelons of government. However, the grind of engineering a policy of austerity in a conflicted partnership with the Tories soon began to wear down the Burnley Lib Dems’ appetite for radical change.
August: Quite a mixed bag of A-Level results for both Rossett and Guiseley this year, with the Yr 13s generally doing a lot better than the Yr 12s. That said, there was still a healthy sprinkling of As, Bs and Cs – with one student at Guiseley achieving one of the new and much coveted A*s! Amongst my private tutees there were a couple of really good As – one of them reaching 89%! – as well as some others exceeding their targets. My marking for the Rossett Year 13 Health & Social Care coursework, submitted for verification in May-June, held 100% again!
September: Delivered a half-day workshop for Yorkshire Accord, the public sector mentoring scheme. Entitled Spiral Dynamics at the Core of Integrated SocioPsychology – a Basic Introduction, it presented the basic characteristics of vMEMES, with a specific emphasis on their importance in management and mentoring relationships.
Commentary: It was my old friend Helen Ezard, now with Scarborough District Council, who opened the door for me to work with Yorkshire Accord. Helen also assisted me at the workshop.
Gallery: Yorkshire Accord participants, Sept 2010 – click on photo to enlarge.
September-December: My busiest start so far to an academic year in terms of tutoring, with tutees coming to me 6 days a week.
Commentary: What made this especially satisfying was that 3 of the tutees were Year 13s who had worked with me on their AS studies last year and found it so useful they now wanted help with A2 material.
December: Awarded a distinction on my first Open University module.