Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 9 'Selling On TV'

A hilarious episode. Certain candidates had a real disaster tonight.

The final six have to pick four products to sell on a popular live television shopping channel. Briefing them on the task, Sir Alan warns them to careful with the products they pick - too high and they risk selling nothing, and too low they will have to shift thousands to win the task. The candidates head to the Ideal World Shopping channel. Each of them have to take it in turns presenting live in the studio and producing their team's shopping slot.

Snobby Katie gets off to an explosive start, remarking that 'selling on TV is hilarious. I'd never watch this in my life. I'd never hope to know anyone who's bought anything off television either'. She is such a moose.

Simon likes to be thought of as a risk-taker. He takes the lead as project manager and straight away ignores Sir Alan's advice and goes for a punt pick - a portable wheelchair at £199, which worries team-mates Naomi and Tre.

On air the teams fumble and mumble their way through their presentations. In the safety of his office, Sir Alan tunes in and proceeds to cringe! Watching Kristina mess around with the mop he howls 'get her off... you're dying!' She might be a good sales person but she is a lousy presenter.

Next up, Lohit looks slightly more at ease with the foot spa than trying to convince the ladies to buy the 'no visible panty line' slimming pants - 'for people who can't be arsed to diet', according to Katie.
Eclipse goes second and Naomi shaves Tre's hairy hand, before moving on to wheelchair. Simon freezes, leaving Tre and Naomi struggling to be enthusiastic about their sensitive product.

Finally, Simon plucks up his courage and takes to the floor. As a presenter, he's wooden and dull. Clueless about the decollage products, Simon moves on to the trampoline, screwing the legs on at crotch level - with embarrassing consequences. Climaxing with a lame star jump, 'this is bad', Naomi comments as the phones go dead.

'I was embarrassed' growled Sir Alan back in the boardroom. Eclipse came in with £921.71 and Stealth with £1339.10. 'It was a bad win' Sir Alan said as he packed Kristina's team off to a Turkish baths to chill out. Simon, Tre and Naomi prepared themselves for a showdown with Sir Alan.
Simon faced Sir Alan for the first time in the final three. His gamble had, in fact, paid off. Selling two wheelchairs made up the lion's share of their total winnings, but Sir Alan questioned whether Simon was a 'shrewd enough nut' for him.

Fed up with Tre's back chat, with extreme difficulty the boss allowed him to stay in the competition. But, there's no excuse for choosing bad products and the gorgeous Naomi became the eleventh candidate to be booted out of the boardroom. The boys were not quite off the hook though, 'you've had your last chance', Sir Alan growled before packing them back off to the house.

I felt sorry for Naomi. As much as I like him, Simon was truly awful this week.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

What's going on?

Hi everyone!

Finally I am back! Blimey, the last few weeks have been busy!

The biggest two things have been moving house and being appointed Deputy Head for the new amalgamated school in September.

My plan is to back and complete my blog retrospectively to show you how it all took place...

The last entries between 8th and 28th May have been completed in retrospect.

Please leave me any comments you might have!


Monday, 28 May 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 22 'Through The Looking Glass'

What a brilliant episode. The next season is set up superbly and I know it will be driving me mad until February when we finally get to see what happens next!

Sayid has selected himself, Jin and Bernard as the three marksmen who will set off their trap to ambush the Others. He makes Jack promise that, no matter what happens on the beach, he will lead the remaining survivors to the communications tower; he tells Jack that he is willing to die so the others can be rescued. Jack understands.

In the Looking Glass, Bonnie and Greta interrogate Charlie. He says he found out about the Looking Glass from Juliet, who has joined the Losties. Bonnie and Greta go into an adjacent room to radio Ben; inexplicably leaving the door open so that Charlie can eavesdrop (and see the blinking yellow light from Desmond's vision of the jamming equipment) and shout his name to Ben. Bonnie tells Ben about Juliet's betrayal (overheard by Richard Alpert and Mikhail). Ben orders Mikhail to go to the Looking Glass to find out why Charlie is there, and admits he lied about the station being inoperable. Mikhail wonders what else Juliet has told the Losties. Ben immediately tries to contact the Others' kidnap team, but their radios are off.

At the beach, the Others led by
Ryan Pryce and Tom start searching the marked tents. When they realize the tents are empty it is too late - Sayid and Bernard shoot bundles of dynamite, setting off large explosions that kill lots of Others. Jin (using a pistol rather than a rifle) misses his targeted dynamite but shoots and kills two Others. However, the three remaining Others capture Jin, Bernard and Sayid.

Far away, Jack's group hear only two of three expected explosions, followed by gunfire. The group are worried about what might have gone wrong, especially Rose and Sun, but Jack urges everyone to stick to the original plan.

Charlie tells Bonnie & Greta that, no matter what they do to him, he will turn off their jamming equipment so that rescue helicopters can come. Bonnie says only she, Greta and Ben know the code needed to disarm the jamming equipment. Charlie suposes he won't need the code because the Looking Glass will soon be flooded. Bonnie asks what Charlie will do when the station floods; he simply replies that he will die.

Tom radios Ben to tell him seven of the assault team are dead. Ben tells him to execute Jin, to make Sayid and Bernard reveal where the other survivors have gone. Jin insists nobody talks. Sayid says the Others will kill them anyway, and Pryce knocks him out. Bernard panics, revealing that Jack's group are heading for the
radio tower to use Naomi's satellite phone, and that Karl warned them about the early attack. Ben realizes Alex must have told Karl, and tells Tom not to kill Sayid, Jin and Bernard yet.

In the morning, Ben plans to intercept Jack's group and talk them out of going through with their plan to contact Naomi’s freighter.
Richard Alpert asks to come along but Ben orders him to take the rest of the Others to the Temple "as planned". I guess the Temple will be a big part of the next season then. Alex asks to go with Ben; surprisingly, Ben agrees, saying it's a good idea, remarking that Alex must want to see Karl again.

Desmond wakes up in the outrigger above the Looking Glass station and realizes that Charlie has gone down alone. Suddenly Mikhail begins shooting at him from the shore. Desmond dives overboard and swims down into the station, where Charlie warns him to hide. Bonnie and Greta emerge from the communications room and demand to know who Charlie was talking to. When Charlie gives a flippant answer Bonnie decides to fetch a spear gun (for to torture Charlie) and strides toward the locker where Desmond has hidden. Mikhail (in SCUBA gear, and without his eye patch - gross!) surfaces inside the station just before Bonnie discovers Desmond inside the spear gun locker.

Mikhail says he thought Bonnie and Greta were on assignment in Canada; they reply that Ben ordered them to lie. Mikhail takes out a knife and approaches Charlie; Charlie reveals that the station is jamming transmissions, which startles Mikhail. Ben contacts the station and Mikhail speaks to him privately. Ben justifies the deception about the Looking Glass as necessary to defend the island and ensure everyone's security. He orders Mikhail to kill Charlie, Bonnie and Greta, and make sure the jamming device continues to work at all costs. Mikhail asks how he can be sure Ben hasn't ordered Bonnie and Greta to kill him; Ben answers "if I had, you would be dead already".

Kate tells Sawyer that they should go back to the beach to help Sayid, Jin and Bernard, but Sawyer reacts negatively. She tries to provoke a reaction from him and points out how withdrawn and unresponsive he's been since (the events in "The Brig"); but Sawyer avoids the issue - including the possibility that Kate is pregnant. Immediately afterwards, however, Sawyer throws Jack a look of consternation. Twenty minutes after the trek recommences, Sawyer announces that he's going back to the beach, telling Kate that he just did not want to go with her. Juliet volunteers to go with him, explaining she knows where to find a cache of guns, and telling Jack it's something she has to do. On parting, Juliet gives Jack a lingering kiss and cheerfully tells him not to wait up. As Juliet walks away, Jack checks Kate's reaction.

As soon as he is on his way back to the beach, Sawyer is more like his old self, bantering with Juliet. He asks, "So... are you screwing Jack yet?" Juliet replies. "No. Are you?" Then Juliet admits she lied about the gun cache, just so Jack would let her go. When Sawyer asks why Juliet is returning to the beach she replies, "Karma". When Juliet asks why Sawyer is returning to the beach, he has no answer.
Hurley chases Sawyer and Juliet, desperate to help his friends; but Sawyer dismisses him, saying that Hurley will get in the way and get people killed.

Alex asks why Ben let her come with him. He says he's delivering Alex to her new family, because she betrayed him. Alex argues that Ben mistreated Karl, which Ben excuses because he didn't want Alex to get pregnant. She asks why Ben can't just let the plane crash survivors leave the island, but Ben's only answer is "Because I can't".

Locke awakens in the DHARMA mass grave nearly a full day after being shot by Ben. He cannot move his legs but he manages to reach a revolver in a holster on one of the corpses. He checks the revolver for bullets, cocks its hammer and puts the barrel to his head. Sounds, possibly whispers or the monster, are heard in the background. As John prepares to kill himself, Walt suddenly appears standing over the grave. Walt tells Locke to get up because he has "work to do." Immediately after Walt says that a grin appears on Locke's face.

Jack tells Kate that Sawyer didn't mean what he said, it was just to protect her; and that he (Jack) did the same thing when he told Kate not to come back to Hydra Island. Kate asks why Jack is suddenly sticking up for Sawyer; he replies "Because I love you."

About an hour away from the
radio tower, Ben and Alex intercept Jack's group and Ben asks to speak to Jack alone. Ben tells Jack that Naomi is one of the "bad guys" trying to find the island, and if she makes contact with her ship, "every living person" on the island will be killed. Jack refuses to surrender the satellite phone. Ben radios the beach so that Jack can hear that the Others have captured Sayid, Bernard, and Jin. Ben tells Jack to get Naomi's phone and bring it to him. Jack asks why he shouldn't just snap Ben's neck, so Ben tells Tom that if he does not hear back from him in one minute to shoot all three hostages. Jack refuses to back down. When the minute is up, three gunshots are heard through the radio. Visibly upset, Jack throws Ben to the ground and brutally assaults him. Jack radios Tom to say, once he's got the survivors rescued, he's going to find Tom and kill him.

Ben, degraded to nothing, now a prisoner of the survivors.Jack marches Ben back to the group of survivors, then strides away, followed by Kate. Ben introduces Alex to her mother (Rousseau); Rousseau's first ever words to her daughter are, "Will you help me tie him (Ben) up?" Jack tells Kate that he was forced to let Ben order the killing of Jin, Bernard and Sayid. Kate asks why Jack brought Ben back instead of killing him; Jack says he wants to wait until after Ben has seen them all rescued.
Inside the Looking Glass, Mikhail checks that Bonnie and Greta are the only ones who know the jammming code, and that the jamming mechanism will continue to function if the station is flooded. He shoots and kills Greta. Bonnie runs but Mikhail shoots her in the back; before he can finish her off, Desmond emerges from the locker and shoots Mikhail in the chest with a spear gun. Charlie convinces Bonnie that Ben has betrayed her loyalty, and she can gain revenge by revealing the code to disable the jamming signal. She starts to tell him the code numbers, but her life is ebbing away; so she tells Charlie the code will play the
The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" when entered on the numeric keypad. It was "programmed by a musician".

Bernard, Sayid and Jin at gunpoint.At the beach, Tom is telling Pryce that Ben has "lost it" and they should have actually killed Sayid, Bernard and Jin instead of doing what Pryce reminds him "was an order": firing bullets into the sand. Sawyer and Juliet watch from the jungle, hesitating because they are unarmed and outnumbered. Suddenly, Hurley drives the DHARMA van out of the jungle and accelerates towards the Others. Tom dives out of the way, but Pryce stands his ground trying to shoot Hurley; Hurley runs him over and kills him. Sawyer grabs Pryce's gun.

Hurley drives the DHARMA van into the beach camp.Jason is distracted from guarding Sayid, Bernard and Jin. Sayid (using only his feet) knocks Jason to the ground and breaks his neck. Juliet grabs Tom's gun and he surrenders, but Sawyer shoots him in the chest and says, "That's for taking the kid off the raft." Payback! Hurley points out that Tom had surrendered; Sawyer responds, "I didn’t believe him." Hurley uses Tom’s walkie-talkie to announce their victory over the Others' kidnapping party, and warn the rest of the Others they will be blown up if they attack the beach camp again. Jack hears the message on Ben's walkie-talkie and asks Hurley about Bernard, Sayid and Jin. Hurley proudly confirms that he has saved them all, to the joy of Jack's group. Claire asks about Charlie but Hurley says he doesn't know anything about it.

Inside the Looking Glass, Desmond fetches scuba gear while Charlie disables the jamming equipment by playing "Good Vibrations" on the control pad. Charlie remarks "So much for fate" and turns to leave, but his attention is grabbed by an 'incoming transmission'. On a video screen, he speaks to a woman who turns out to be
Penelope (she asks how Charlie got this frequency implying that she is responding to a call rather than initiating the call). Charlie calls Desmond, which excites Penny. Charlie mentions Penny's boat and Naomi; but Penny says she is not on a boat and asks who is Naomi?

Desmond notices that Mikhail's body is missing. Mikhail appears at Charlie’s porthole brandishing a hand grenade. Charlie closes and locks the communication room's watertight door, but not before Desmond has seen Penny's face on the monitor. Mikhail detonates the grenade; the window shatters and water pours into the compartment where Charlie is now confined. Desmond tries in vain to break the door’s window. As the room fills with water Charlie writes a message on his hand and presses it against the door’s window for Desmond to read, "NOT PENNYS BOAT". As he drowns, Charlie makes the sign of the Cross.

Back with Jack's group, Naomi gets a green light on her phone, meaning the jamming device has been disabled, but it only recieves Rousseau's distress signal. However, they have finally reached the radio tower and Rousseau switches her message off. Ben, tied to a tree, begs Jack not to use the phone, saying it will be a mistake and "the beginning of the end". Just as Naomi gets a connection, she is incapacitated by a knife in the back, thrown by Locke.

Jack calling rescue.Revolver in hand, Locke threatens to shoot Jack to prevent him using the phone. Ben urges Locke to kill Jack but Rousseau knocks Ben out. Jack stands his ground, telling Locke, "You're done keeping me on this island". Locke backs down, but tells Jack, "You're not supposed to do this" before walking away. A man named Minkowski answers the phone. Jack explains who he is and mentions Naomi's name, which Minkowski recognizes. Jack asks if Minkowski can get a fix on his location; Minkowski tells him someone is being sent to the island immediately. Ben looks on helplessly as the survivors begin to celebrate and anticipate their rescue. Jack is overcome with relief and on the brink of tears.

In the flashback...

Appearing disheveled and severely depressed, Jack sits on an airplane. After being refused a drink from the stewardess, he notices an article in the newspaper which he rips out; it's an obituary. We then see him sitting in a car that is parked on the side of the Sixth Street Bridge, crying while looking at the newspaper clipping. He makes a call to someone, but only gets through to voice mail. After leaving a message about having read the contents of the clipping, he steps from the vehicle. He climbs up onto the ledge and murmurs "forgive me". Just as he is leaning forward to jump, a fiery car crash occurs. He rushes to save the victims.

Later, Jack is being stitched up at a hospital when a visibly pregnant
Sarah enters; she is still listed as his emergency contact. She asks him if he's drunk, which he denies. She asks him what he was doing driving around at 2 a.m. but he deflects the question by asking her if she can give him a ride. She states that it "would not be appropriate", and leaves.

The next day Jack is at the bedside of the
woman from the crash. Jack takes some oxycodone pills, just before Dr. Hamill, the new chief of surgery, enters. The woman has a spinal injury and Jack wants to operate. Hamill refuses to allow it and tells him to go home to rest. As he leaves the hospital the woman's eight-year-old son waves at him. Some time after, Jack is driving while listening to Nirvana's "Scentless Apprentice" with the newspaper clip in one hand.

He parks, and again calls someone on his cellphone, only for the call to go to voicemail again. He absent-mindedly crosses the street and enters a funeral parlor. The casket is closed but nobody is there. The funeral director steps in and informs Jack that he is the only one to come to the viewing. He then asks Jack if he is a friend or from the family of the deceased; Jack replies that he is "neither." When asked if he wants the casket opened, Jack says no and the director leaves. Jack lays a hand on the casket, appearing deeply saddened. He swallows a pill, then turns and leaves.
Jack is at a pharmacy trying to get his prescription of oxycodone refilled but he has used up all his refills. While arguing with the pharmacist he is recognized as the hero from the news. He denies being a hero. He then tries to hand the pharmacist another (fake) prescription from his
father. When she tries to call in to confirm the prescription, Jack grows angry and storms off, knocking over a rack of sun-glasses on his way out.

Unable to get his fix legally, Jack raids his hospital's supply of oxycodone. When he comes out of the medicine room, he is visibly intoxicated, possibly drunk. Hamill asks him what he is doing. Jack replies that he was trying to find out how the surgery went. Hamill says he left voice messages for Jack but Jack claims his phone is broken. Hamill tells him
Mrs. Arlen's back surgery went well, and that the woman remembers seeing a man about to jump off the bridge, which caused her to lose control of the car. Hamill then begins quizzing Jack on how he got to the crash so fast. Jack begins ranting about how long he has worked at the hospital, and how Hamill doesn't know anything about him or what he has been through. Hamill asks him how much he has had to drink; Jack replies by telling Hamill to get his father, Dr. Christian Shephard, "down here" and if Jack's drunker than his father is, then Dr. Hamill can fire him.

We then see Jack in his messy apartment, which is full of dirty dishes and various
maps and atlases. While swigging from a bottle of tequila, he is finally able to reach the person he has been desperately calling. They agree to meet at the airport, "she knows where". Outside the airport's gate at the end of a runway, a car parks up behind Jack's, and out of it steps Kate. When she asks why he called her, he pulls out the newspaper clipping and says he had hoped to see her at the funeral. She replies, "Why would I go to the funeral?" Jack then confesses that he has been flying a lot.
Practically every Friday night he has been using the "
Golden Pass" that Oceanic apparently has given him and most likely to the rest of the crash survivors. On each flight he hopes that the plane will crash and he will be on the island again. He tells her he doesn't care about anyone else on board, that with every bump he prays that he can get back. He tells her he is sick of lying and that they made a mistake. Kate tells him she has to go because "He" will be wondering where she is. Jack tells her that they weren't supposed to leave and she disagrees, saying it can't be changed. As she is driving away he screams, "we have to go back" twice. After this we see a plane take off right behind Jack.

Oh my god - it wan't a flashback - it was a flash forward!!

What a way to end the season. The Losties seem like they might get rescued (although we aren't sure if Ben is telling the truth about Naomi's people or not). Charlie died a hero. Penny features again and seems to know nothing about Naomi. Is Walt back on the island (did he ever leave?). But the biggest twist involves Jack. How did he and Kate get off the island? Why does Jack want to go back? Why doesn't Kate want to go back? Is Jack's dad still alive? Who was in the casket?

I can't help feeling that us Lost fans are treated quite badly. Think back to the last two finales. We still don't know why the Others kidnapped Walt. We still aren't sure about Penelope searching for Desmond. Nothing has been resolved yet. Perhaps the decision to set a finish date for the programme might mean that we can now expect to get lots of answers to the million questions we all have.

What am I going to do now Lost has finished? The Apprentice finishes in a few weeks. With my best programmes finishing there's nothing great on the TV. Everyone has been talking about Heroes which hits BBC2 soon. Hope it's good.

What a brilliant finale!

Friday, 25 May 2007

I got the job!


I had my interview today! I was able to get across lots of the points I wanted to make.

I am pleased to say that I was given one of the two Deputy Head jobs at our new school which is to be called Wistaston Church Lane Primary School.

There are some staffing appointments to be decided (I am to be involved in the decisions) and then at last we can set our plans for the new school in motion. It will be very exciting and I plan to detail as much as I am able to right here at Year Six Teacher!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Deputy Heads Cluster Meetings

In tonight's meeting quite badly attended - only 5 of us - we discussed various issues concerning Deputy Heads. We thought about our training needs. I have had no specific training for being a Deputy Head.

I need training in finance, people management and curriculum monitoring as well as lots of other things. I decided against applying for the NPQH this time but I do need to gather more experience. Does anyone know anything about the Leadership Pathways that I've heard about?

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 9 'Feeling The Strain'

Not the best performances from any of the candidates this week. The task involved selling to trade, and apparently, a lot of the candidates have experience in this area, but it didn't show.

The teams had to pick a country with three unique products to sell. They then had to sell the products to trade. They would be fined if they didn't sell all three items or are late back to the boardroom.

Tre became leader of Eclipse and they chose Sweden with their selection of wheat-stuffed, heated soft toys, an air-purifier and vacuum nozzle products. Tre took Simon to the product debrief with Sweden, sending Lohit and a homesick Jadine back to the house. Lohit and Jadine made one appointment as Jadine was hopelessly in tears. After appearing like quite a hard woman she showed she has a real sensitive side. Lohit and Jadine sold a few items during the next day including getting an order for the most expensive item, the air-purifying lamp which makes them late for the boardroom. Tre and Simon sold items, but it was hilarious watching them bicker as they strolled up and down streets trying to peddle the items to retailers.

Katie became Stealth Project Manager to try and prove Sir Alan's 'Loser' tag wrong. The girls pick Canada and set out to pitch a portable light therapy lamp, sports inner soles and a rug-in-a-box to retailers. With no appointments made, they spend the morning on the phone. It pays off, as by lunchtime they've taken orders for their inner soles and portable lights. With just their rug-in-a-box, which Katie clearly finds totally distasteful, the girls focus on getting orders.

Back in the boardroom it is announced that Eclipse brought home £1344.29 and Stealth, £2226.59. Katie Hopkins won. The girls' luck turned around and they skipped off to Selfridges for a personal shopping experience.

Tre's team faced Sir Alan in the boardroom. 'You cocked it up', spat Sir Alan. 'How can you go out like a headless chickens in the market?', he asked them, demanding to know why no appointments had been made. It was a tough call for Sir Alan. Tre had 'messed up big time' but he was giving him another chance as he'd been a big contributor in the previous seven tasks. After questioning whether Lohit had the 'killer instinct' he's looking for in his apprentice, he turned to Jadine.

With regret he said the dreaded words, 'you're fired'. Showing a rare flash of sympathy for the go-getter Jadine, who'd climbed her way up the 'greasy pole', Sir Alan praised her for getting this far in the competition and wished her good luck.

It was a real shame to see Jadine collapse like this. She had potential and Sir Alan showed that he thought she did too with his sympathetic firing.

Champions League Final

Gutted. What a shame.

In the end, us Liverpool fans can't complain too much. You don't win matches by controlling the possession, like we found out tonight. You win matches by scoring goals, and although there's were a little lucky, at least they scored.

We did really well to get to the final twice in two years. Very few teams have done that in the last ten years.

Next year I'd like Benitez to concentrate on the Premier League. We last won it in 1990. 18 years will be too long, way too long...

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sports Partnership Trophy

Tonight I entered a team of Year Threes and Fours into the Sports Partnership Trophy. The competition featured teams from Crewe, but as far away as Congleton.

We played really well and finished 5th.

The best part was seeing the children have their photo taken with Dario Gradi!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Applying for Deputy Head Teacher

In case I haven't explained myself properly, our situation in school is currently one of complete change. In September our school is due to amalgamate with the infant school which is also on the same site. Despite the two schools being very close, we have operated as completely different entities and there hasn't been enough integration over the years.

As part of Cheshires TLC (Transforming Learning Communities, not the nice abbreviation) it was decided that the schools should be joined together as one. This was decided two years ago, when our previous head teacher retired. Our Acting Head, in the meantime, has been superb and taken the school forward in a huge way. In February the Head at the Infants left to become head teacher in another school. The governors of the schools left it very late, however, to take action. At the end of April, interviews were held to appoint the head teacher of the new school. This was a difficult time as we wanted our Acting Head to get the job, but it wasn't going to be certain. In the end we had our wish and he was appointed head of our new school.

The next appointments must be the Deputy Heads. For the last year I have been the Acting Deputy Head in the junior school. There is also a Deputy in the infants (who is currently Acting Head - this is so complicated to explain). We are both being asked to apply for two Deputy Head posts in the new school.

Despite there being a feeling that the jobs will be ours, the position is still advertised and we have to undergo a full application process.

I spent this evening putting the finishing touches to my letter of application and my application form. I actually enjoyed writing the letter. It made me feel proud of all the things I've achieved in school. I wasn't too keen on the application form - it took a long time to fill in.

If my application is successful my interview will be on Friday...

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 21 'Greatest Hits'

You can't kill Charlie off! He's one of my favourite characters! I've had a feeling that Charlie was going to be killed off. It wasn't just Desmond's premonitions - I thought they might be a red herring. But once I saw Charlie's flashback was going to be the one before the finale I thought he was bound to die. But to my surprise - he wasn't. At least not today.

We learn Charlie's greatest hits - the top five moments of his life.
5: The first time I heard myself on the radio.
4: Dad teaching me to swim at Butlins.
3: The Christmas Liam gave me the ring.
2: A woman outside Covent Garden calls me a hero (incidentally, the woman is Nadia, the love of Sayid's life).
1: The day I met you [Claire].

Jack led a group of survivors inland. He explains that he knew that the Others were coming for them and had arranged for Danielle to help them. She sets off an explosive to show what their plan involves.
Sayid tells Jack that he can't get a rescue signal out to Naomi's ship on her satellite phone because Rousseau's old distress call is blocking the signal. He tells Jack that they need to go to the radio tower to turn it off. Juliet intervenes, explaining that it would make no difference, as Ben has been blocking transmissions from the Island, using an underwater DHARMA station called the Looking Glass. She mentions that she has no idea where it is, prompting Sayid to comment that he thinks he might know.

It's now looking as if Juliet might not be deceiving everyone. She really seems to want to help the Losties!

Desmond explained to Charlie that he has had another premonition where Claire and Aaron get into a helicopter and leave the island. Charlie at first does not understand how this can be bad, but Desmond explains that for this to happen, Charlie must drown after "flicking a switch next to a yellow light" in a hatch.

Sayid notes that the station is connected to mainland by a cable (the one which keeps popping up in various episodes). Juliet tells them that Ben talked of that station but said that it was flooded and deserted after an "accident" occurred. Nevertheless, she has no firsthand knowledge of the place and knows no one who has. Continuing to study the map, Sayid notes that there is a moon pool (for a submarine to access the station), which would be the ideal entrance if someone could dive down there and turn off whatever is jamming the transmissions. Yet, Sayid also coldly admits that, since the entire station is flooded, it would be quite impossible for anyone to hold their breath long enough to go down, execute the plan, and then swim all the way back up alive.
Desmond and Charlie approach the group and hear them talking about swimming to the station. Charlie volunteers himself for the trip.
Jack then decides that they should spend all of their attention on the Others, judging the idea as a suicide mission.
Meanwhile, the rest of the camp searches through plane wreckage to find wire to help rig the dynamite.
Rose and Bernard (they are still there, it seems) tie pieces together. Sun tells Jin about Juliet's tape, on which he heard their names, and she explains about the ultrasound and how the baby is doing well. Jin is happy to hear the news and hugs Sun unaware of Sun's tears once in his embrace.

The group is soon interrupted by the arrival of
Karl, who lands at the shore.. After Sayid initially attacks him, Sawyer insists they listen to him as had been caged with them, and Karl explains that the Others are going to attack tonight as opposed to tomorrow. A brief flashback shows events from six hours ago. Alex sees Ben coming back from visiting Jacob, appearing agitated. She asks about Locke, and Ben coldly gives the gun that she gave John back to her. Richard shows up to ask what happened and Ben tells him that they're going to move to the camp now because Jacob wanted it to happen now. Richard begins to ask, "Did John see...?" to which Ben only says that Locke had an accident, leaving Richard without words. Ben orders Pryce to prepare his team and leave as soon as possible, making their attack that night rather than the following night. Upon hearing the news, Alex runs to Karl, who has been hiding away from the camp, and tells him to warn the survivors immediately. When Karl is hesitant, she reminds him that "Ford and Austen" saved his life, and that he owes them this. Karl says that if he's caught Alex's father will kill him this time, but Alex questions if Ben is really her father at all. Karl takes the outrigger, upon Alex's instruction, along the coast of the island to the beach camp of the Losties, allowing him to get there before Pryce.

The Losties now decide that they will shoot the explosive from a distance as they haven't enough wire. The shooters (Sayid, Jin and Bernard) will stay behind whilst all the others go to the radio tower. Charlie and Desmond's plan is to go to the Looking Glass. Hurley tried to go with them, but Charlie knew that he couldn't. He told Hurley that he wouldn't fit on the boat. Hurley is offended and Charlie gives him a hug.

On the canoe Charlie gives Desmond his Greatest Hits list. Desmond offers to trade places with Charlie, suggesting that perhaps the flashes mean that he is meant to die in Charlie's place, and Charlie seems to agree. When Desmond turns his back, however, Charlie knocks him out with a paddle, weighs himself down, and dives into the water. As he descends deep into the ocean and approaches the Looking Glass, Charlie begins to struggle for air. He manages to find the moon pool and swims toward it. Instead of a flooded room, however, he enters a pressurized chamber, which is not flooded at all. Charlie gasps for air, and climbs over the side onto the flooring, yelping with happiness that he's alive. He's not dead after all! But then two angry looking women with guns run straight at him! What's going on?!

So it's all set for the Season Three finale next week!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

May Fayre

We always seem to clash our May Fayre with the FA Cup Final day!

Nevertheless it was an enjoyable day. I help to run the Beat the Goalie game.
It was certainly more fun than the FA Cup Final, as it turned out! What a dour game. It could have gone either way. I guess Chelsea just happened to be the first to grab a goal!

Friday, 18 May 2007

Peep Show Series 4

I should have been commenting on this series each week, but it's been difficult to keep everything up-to-date.

What a brilliant series! It simply is the best comedy on the TV at the moment. This series has been hilarious and the guys who write the show and the guys who star in it are incredible. I can't wait for the new series!

The scene from tonight's final episode with Mark and Jez hiding in the church is just brilliant!

SATs Maths Tests Day Two

The calculator paper seemed a lot harder today, but again, most of the questions were do-able.

Well that's the end of SATs week then. Now we can get into lots of PE, Art and other exciting things.

What do you do after SATs?

Thursday, 17 May 2007

SATs Maths Tests Day One

I was very pleased with the non-calculator maths paper today. The questions were mostly okay and the children seemed fine.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 8 'Brand-a-Trainer'

What a brilliant challenge this week. The candidates had to create a new brand of trainer with a poster and video advertisement. This challenge would test their understanding of marketing. Sir Alan said that the ad campaign had to get sales, not one that wins the 'Montrose awards for advertising tossers'.

After last week's showdown in the boardroom Sir Alan picks Ghazal to lead Stealth and Jadine, who's been unusually quiet lately, leads Eclipse. Jadine's first move was to push 'patronising' advertising sales manager Naomi over to Stealth's team.

Branding 'is my forte' boasts Tre, with Simon confidently backing him up, saying 'provided everyone listens to Tre we should be fine'. Eclipse quickly hits on their big idea - 'street' or as expert Tre puts it, they're offering an 'underground alternative to the mass-produced representation of their culture'. They decide to call their brand by the rather obvious name, 'street'. Simon was brilliant this week. He showed a real sense of humour as well as being a valued team plaer. He wrote and performed a rap and even did some break-dance inspired moves for the video. Tre wasn't too keen on Simon's antics, but I think he knew he was the best they had to work with.

Stealth, led by Ghazal had two advertising experts in their team, Katie and Naomi. They struggled to come up with a big idea. Eventually, much to Katie's horror, Kristina scribbles out a logo, 'Jam', which Ghazal runs with, hoping to pitch their trainer at the youth market. 'I can see a grandmother on a cruise wearing these,' remarks Naomi when she sees the freshly logo-ed trainer. Quite right Naomi - which teenager is seriously going to buy them?

After going to bed with the 'concept' 'image is everything' (whatever that means) Wicked Witch Katie had the chance to nag at Ghazal to make her change to 'music is everything'. What the hell does 'music is everything' mean anyway, and more importantly, what does music have to do with trainers. What a stupid idea.

Pitching to the advertising agency, Katie's pitch, lead from the point of view of her fictional teenager Jay, fell flat. Jadine's team, despite their confused ethical message to give 10% of every sale to charity, won the task and the girls were left to face the music in the boardroom.

'Music's in your sole' failed to impress the boss. 'There was no big idea there', barked Sir Alan at the girls. Ghazal brought her two advertising experts Katie and Naomi back in with her and the accusations flew across the table, with Ghazal blamed for weak leadership. Much to Sir Alan's frustration, Katie, who's now been on the losing team six times, stuck up for the advert, leading him to question whether she was just 'a loser'.

But Ghazal faced the rage. 'I think you're all talk and no do', Sir Alan growled. It's about time someone said it, Sir Alan. Ghazal has been hopeless from the beginning and is very lucky to have made it this far. She had to go. I only wish that Katie would have got the chop.

SATs Reading Test

Wednesday of the SATs week... It's the Reading Test...

This is the one we spend all year preparing for with our book study homework...

I always think that if the children had all day to complete this test they'd do really well. Most of the questions are 'do-able'. The difficult thing is the short amount of time. 15 minutes to read the whole booklet and 45 minutes to answer over 30 questions is not very long.

This year the booklet was all about Pompeii. One child said afterwards that she found it easy because she'd visited Pompeii before. Other children said they'd enjoyed it because it was interesting reading about volcanoes. On the whole the children said it wasn't too bad.

Once again this year, the SATs English papers appeared to have been geared towards boys, and the subject matter seemed to appeal to boys in particular.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

SATs Writing Tests

Tuesday of the SATs week is the day we all dread in school. Our writing scores are never as high as our reading scores, so we are always more anxious about the writing papers.

The Long Writing Task this year was an information leaflet. The children were asked to write all about ways in which we can save the environment. I was really pleased with this! Although the task didn't really allow for much creativity, it was perfect for the children I teach in Set 2. They like factual writing and the task also allowed for some persuasion, which children enjoy. The task lended itself brilliantly to using paragraphs and extending sentences. I really hop the children did well in this.

The Short Writing Task was completely the opposite - not factual but very creative. The children were asked to write the introduction to a mystery story. This is a genre we have not really studied in Set 2. When we write stories I spend most of my time showing the children how to make their story simple with something really exciting that happens. In the Short Writing Task they had to make sure that nothing much really happens in order to build up suspense and make it a mystery! I can only hope that they did a good job on this.

The Spelling Test was the usual mix of easy and hard words. There are some children who you know are never going to get more than 2 or 3 out of 20 and so you have to hope their writing is extra special.

Not bad challenges today. The children always rise to the occasion and I hope they did the same today.

Monday, 14 May 2007

SATs Science Tests

The SATs week kicks off, as usual, with the Science Tests. I'm always pleased that Science is first as our children tend to find them okay, and it gives them a confidence boost for the rest of the week.

The tests were actually a little unusual. Some aspects of Science were not covered, for example, micro-organisms, yet somethings featured in both papers, like Earth and Beyond.

Overall, the tests were not too bad and the children were happy.

Please give any comments about the Science SATs.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 20 'The Man Behind The Curtain'

A truly cracking episode. The show is really setting itself up for a triumphant finale in a couple of weeks. As always we have a couple of questions answered, but find them replaced with about 20 new ones.

The episode features a Ben flashback. We see how he was born 32 miles from Portland. His dad, Roger, needs help as his wife is seriously ill in labour. A man and a woman stop their car and help, but they cannot save Emily (Ben's mother). Just before she died she asked Roger to call the baby 'Benjamin'.

A few years later, Ben and his father are welcomed to the island by The DHARMA Initiative. Horace, the man who stopped his car for them on the day Ben was born, greets them. Other members of the Initiative are busy moving boxes. They pass through a sign saying, "namaste!" and watch a video starring the same man who appeared in the Swan and Pearl station videos. Much to his annoyance, Roger is given the job of 'Work Man' and it's at this point we realise that Roger was the body found in Hurley's camper van. Ben met a girl called Annie.

Later, in a class, Annie helps Ben to safety when an alarm sounds and men with guns begin to walk past the window. She tells him it is the hostiles and it will be okay.

At night Ben is in his bedroom. He hears Roger arguing with Horace outside the room. Roger says "while driving back from
The Flame we drive into the middle of a shoot out!" Horace tries to explain that they are having some skirmishes with the natives. Roger says it isn't what he signed up for and throws an empty beer can on the floor. Horace reminds him that Ben is receiving a very good education. Roger retorts that he doesn't give a damn about Ben's education, demanding an extra $30,000 more in "hazard pay." Eventually, Roger tells Horace to get out of his house. As Ben turns his face towards his bedroom window, he is shocked to see his mother outside, staring in at him. He stumbles backwards, knocking over a chair. When he looks again, she is gone.

On Ben's birthday he opens a present from Annie. He opens the gift box to find two wooden dolls, one male, one female, which have clearly been made by hand. Annie explains that the dolls would mean that they "never have to be apart." She takes the doll of Ben and gives him the doll representing her. When he arrived home later that evening, he finds his father asleep on the couch, surrounded by empty beer cans. Roger stirs and sees the gift box on the table. He apologises for forgetting Ben's birthday, adding that it's hard to remember it, because it's also the anniversary of when Ben killed Emily. Ben seems used to this routine too, as Roger goes on to say that Emily was only 7 months pregnant when she gave birth to Ben. Roger is unhappy she is gone, and that he is stuck on the Island with Ben. The words from his father prompt Ben to run out of the house. He runs to the sonic fence, but stops just before he reaches it. He hears a brief whisper, then his mother appears on the other side of the fence. He goes to move towards her but she shouts, "Don't!" She says it's not time yet. Ben yells to her, then turns to go back home. After Christian Shepherd and Yemi, Emily becomes the third dead person to appear on the island. On the Internet, people are suggesting that these people are actually the monster!

Defiant, some time later, Ben appears to have prepared an escape, as he later returns to the fence, armed with the deactivation code. After entering the code, he removes a white rabbit from his bag, using it to test that the fence is indeed turned off. Once the rabbit gets through without injury, Ben follows, running out into the jungle amidst
whispers. Suddenly, Richard Alpert appears by him, clearly scaring Ben. Richard, however, remains calm, and Ben begins to speak to him. He asks if Richard is one of the Hostiles, though Richard jokes that Ben probably doesn't even know what that means. In their conversation, Ben says he is looking for his mother and that he has seen her, even though she is dead. Richard tells Ben to go home but Ben then asks if he can join Richard. Richard tells him that it might be possible, but that Ben would have to be very, very patient.

Years have passed and Ben, now a young man, is dressed in a DHARMA uniform which shows he is now also a Work Man like his father. He helps his father load a blue DHARMA VW van with beer bound for
the Pearl station, and then confronts his father about forgetting his birthday again. Roger seems embarrassed and sheepishly suggests they go for a drive together after their work is done, to have some father-son time. Ben says that he'd like that. Later, Roger drives Ben in his van to a hill and parks up there. Roger comments on the beautiful view as he swigs beer from a can. Ben asks Roger whether he truly does think its Ben's fault that Emily died. Roger answers, "What do I know?". Ben glances at his watch, which shows the time as exactly 4 o'clock. Roger notices Ben looking at his watch and jokingly asks Ben if he has a date. Seeing that Ben didn't find the comment amusing, Roger says that he will do his best to remember Ben's birthday next year, but Ben coldly responds by saying he doesn't think that will happen. He tells his father that he's missed Emily too, but the difference for Ben is that he had to put up with his father for all those years. Ben tells Roger it took a lot of patience before calmly saying goodbye and putting on a gas mask. He then takes out a gas canister and sets it off, which causes his father to bleed from the nose and mouth. Ben remains in the vehicle and calmly watches Roger die.

Ben returns to the barracks where all of the DHARMA workers are lying dead. It appears they have all died suddenly in the same manner as Roger. Ben slowly moves around the area and when he sees Horace, Ben reaches out and closes Horace's eye lids. Alpert and his group emerge all wearing gas masks. Richard looks at his watch then takes his gas mask off. The rest of the group do the same and Richard asks Ben if they should collect Roger's body. Ben tells Richard to leave Roger there. The group begins to move the DHARMA Initiative bodies.

Back on the island, Locke returns with the body of Anthony Cooper. He delivers Cooper's body to Ben, just as he was asked and then demanded to know everything about the Island, having held up his end of the deal and tells Ben to start from the beginning.

Mikhail runs into camp shouting for Ben. Ben seems unperturbed by Mikhail's appearance but tells Mikhail that he thought he was dead. Mikhail says he was fortunate that the pylons were not set to lethal. He looks up and sees Locke. Mikhail demands to know why Locke is there. Mikhail tells Ben that Locke tried to kill him. Ben says that Locke has joined them and asks Mikhail where he's been. Mikhail tells Ben that several of Locke's people have an injured woman who parachuted onto the Island. He says that her helicopter crashed into the water, that her ship is 130 kilometres to the west and that she has a radio phone. Ben seems surprised and very concerned by this news. Ben suggests that, rather than immediately taking action, they will see to it in a couple of nights time as they will be heading to the camp to take the pregnant women anyway. Locke uses the opportunity to force Ben's hand, announcing in front of the entire group that Ben was going to take him to see Jacob instead. Mikhail seems offended and questions why Ben is taking Locke to see Jacob. Locke responds by stepping forward and beating Mikhail unconscious. When Ben orders Tom and Richard to intervene they do nothing.

They eventually reach a small house at night. Ben tells Locke to turn off his flashlight because Jacob hates technology as much as Locke does. As Ben lights the oil lamp that is hanging outside the wooden hut, he warns that after opening the door there is no turning back, but Locke remains determined. Inside, Ben introduces Locke to Jacob and gestures towards an empty chair. There appears to be nobody else in the room but Ben and John. The contents of the room are very old, there are jars on a windowsill containing red liquid. Ben proceeds to chat to Jacob and argue, whilst Locke stands in complete disbelief that Jacob exists. Locke accuses Ben of putting on a show but Ben insists that there is someone sitting in the chair and that John is too limited to see it. Locke tells Ben that he is pathetic and turns to leave but as he does so he hears a voice saying "". Locke asks Ben to repeat himself but Ben says that he didn't say anything. Ben seems shocked that Locke had heard a voice. Locke shines his flashlight onto Ben's face, and the room suddenly starts to shake. Ropes and chains shake on the wall, chairs rock and windows smash. Ben's lantern falls to the floor and catches fire, not long after the fire is magically extinguished. Ben also appears to shake someone in the chair telling him to stop and that he has had his fun, immediately after which he is thrown hard against a wall by an unseen force. Locke sees a man sitting in the chair for a brief moment. He stumbles outside in fear and confusion. The chaos stops as quickly as it began. Ben calmly follows him and hangs up the (now intact) oil lamp outside the house. Locke asks what on earth was in there. Ben simply replies that it was Jacob.

The next morning Ben and Locke are walking through the jungle. Ben asks Locke what Jacob said. Locke responds by telling Ben that there is no Jacob, that everything that happened at the house was a trick and that he is going to expose Ben as a fraud. Locke also notices that Ben is leading them back by a different path. Ben tells Locke that there's something he wants Locke to see first. Locke says he seen enough but they keep moving. On the way, Ben admits that some of the things he has said on the Island were "not the truth". He admits to never having been born on the Island like he said. They finally reach the thing that Ben wanted to show Locke. Locke gazes down into an unfilled mass grave full of skeletons, DHARMA jumpsuits still visible on some. Ben explains that the skeletons are the remains of his people, The DHARMA Initiative. Ben says they came here seeking harmony, however, they could not even coexist with the original inhabitants of the Island. He explains that when it became clear to Ben that one side had to go (had to be purged) he did what he had to do. He says he was smart enough not to end up in a ditch like the DHARMA Initiative. Ben states that this also make him smarter than Locke. As John spins round and pulls his knife, Ben shoots him in the lower left abdomen, in the kidney area. Locke falls backwards into the pit of DHARMA corpses. Ben calmly asks what Jacob had said to John. As he lies amongst the corpses, John asks Ben why he "did this". Ben says he did it because John "heard him". John manages to say "help me" but Ben doesn't realise that John is repeating Jacob's words. Ben points the gun at an already severely injured Locke and demands to know what Jacob said to him. John raises his hand and says that Jacob said, "help me". Ben replies to Locke that he had better hope that Jacob will help before turning to leave.

Sawyer, returning from helping Locke, hides in the trees and grabs Sayid's attention. He explains about the tape, and later the two let Kate in on the revelation. They talk about where Jack and Juliet are, and Kate admits that she told them about Naomi. At night, the whole camp is in uproar about Naomi, as well as her story about the plane having already been found. As Sawyer plays the tape, Jack and Juliet return. Everyone questions them, but Juliet tries to explain that she is actually helping them. They turn over the tape and hear that Ben plans to lead a team to kidnap all the fertile women. Juliet reveals that she has already told Jack about it, and that they were still thinking of a plan.

With two weeks to go things are getting ever more complicated. Is Locke dead? Who is Jacob? Is Juliet on the Losties' side after all? Ben keeps saying that he was the last one to be born on the island, but we know that Alex and Aaron have been born there.

The last couple of episodes have a Charlie and Jack flashback...

Friday, 11 May 2007

Moving House Part 12

This is it!

We've finally moved! What a day!

I went into school early in the morning in order to teach the last English and Maths lessons. In the final lessons before SATs I let the children look through old papers and give them chance to ask questions. I think the lesson helps to put their minds at ease before the weekend.

As soon as it was 12 o'clock I was on the road back to Station Road. We had to sit around for a while before we got the call to say that we could move. With lots of helpers we were able to unload quite quickly. The final visit to Station Road saw us collect appliances like the fridge and freezer, and then that was it - Goodbye Station Road, with all the hassle of builders stealing land, negotiating land exchanges, two floods and most of all our annoying noisy neighbours (on one side)... Hello Alderton Grove!

We sat in and watched Peep Show. We were both exhausted.

There's a lot to do in the new house - more decorating than we realised. But it will all the worth it - the house is fabulous!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Moving House Part 11

Well, the move is all set for tomorrow...

Today I had to go to collect a van we'd hired for the day. I was expecting something like a transit van, but I'd actually ordered a Lotus Box Van, and I couldn't believe the size of it! It was huge. Having never driven a van before I was a bit concerned when I realised that my first journey was to be along Wistaston Road (complete with roadworks) and then over the speed bumps on Valley Road back to school in order to do our last Maths Booster Club!

The children stood and watched as I pulled up outside school!

In the evening we filled the van up to make it easier for the next day...

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 7 'The 97 Pence Victory'

Another thoroughly enjoyable episode saw me feel a little sorry for one candidate, and grow to really dislike another...

The candidates had a day to buy ten products. Sir Alan insisted that every price must be negotiated and they must pay less than the initial asking price. The teams had one day to buy all the items and then return by 6pm. Simon headed up Eclipse and Adam, after surviving three weeks running in the boardroom, leads Stealth. The shopping list included a white rabbit, a house plant, leather trousers and a unicycle, but the one item which caused most trouble was 'nigella seeds'.

Adam's team, Stealth broke into two teams. Kristina and Katie worked really well together and, to be fair, gained some good discounts. Adam and Ghazal, who is hopeless, found a couple of items. Adam's negotiating skills appear to consist of asking, 'Is there any way you can reduce the price?... Anything?...' Of course, rubbing his chin makes his negotiating even better! He and the hopeless one fail to find nigella seeds, despite Adam's bright idea that they might be used to lay astroturf(?)!

Eclipse, led by Simon, worked quick to gain fast discounts. They managed to find all the items, even striking really lucky at the last minute, finding nigella seeds!

In the Boardroom, there was an uncomfortable silence as Sir Alan announced Eclipse won by a 97 pence margin. This was when I started to feel sorry for Adam. He really worked hard and I felt he was unlucky not to win. Whilst the others went off enjoying Adam's dream prize of car racing, he was left to battle against the Wicked Witch of the West, Katie.

Adam dragged out Katie's relationship with Paul as the reason for her having 'her head down' at the start of the task. We saw hard-nosed Kristina squirm as Sir Alan exposed the conversation about Katie and Paul's relationship in the previous week's boardroom. A furious Katie concentrated her attack on Adam - calling him 'dull', 'slow' and that his best friend was 'Mr Pinot and Mr Grigio'. I seem to dislike her more and more every week. She is just horrible and totally self-centred. She must go soon.

It was a tough call whether to fire the troublesome Katie, the 'too young' Ghazal or Adam. However, Adam has been so unpopular amongst all the housemates that he had been dragged into the boardroom four times and you could almosy predict the way he would be fired - 'Your luck has run out. You're fired!' He was unlucky to go. He didn't deserve to be so unpopular, and well I'd sooner hopeless Ghazal or wicked witch Katie left instead.

Cluster Science Group

Our local high school, Shavington, have become a Science and Maths Specialist College. Part of their funding needs to be spent in the community to foster links with primary schools. The Cluster Science Group have, therefore, decided to purchase science resources which all schools are able to borrow.

This evening we went to see some of the items and I was well impressed. After initially writing a list of items we could use, I quickly realised that we could borrow everything. I'm very looking forward to trialling the new dataloggers!

PSLN Steering Group Meeting

Our half-termly steering group meeting for our Primary Strategy Learning Network took place today in Berkeley School.

As well as other things, we looked into setting up Virtual Learning Platforms for our schools. Apparently all pupils must have access to a VLP by 2008. (It seems this memo must have missed me!) A member of our steering group has been involved in a Cheshire trial of Uniservity and he recommends it highly. Once the new school opens, I plan to look into how we can build a VLP for our children. I am concerned that this might make our school website obsolete, but I think this will be good to keep up as our 'Public' communication, whilst our VLP will be our private communication.

I also intend to plan a football tournament for Years 2 and 3 to help build relationships between the schools.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

We have another trainee in school. This time, I am the mentor instead of the class teacher.

We held our first Review of Progress tonight. It is unusual working through Records of Lesson Observations looking for evidence. Normally I have a good understanding of my trainee's ability. I hope this trainee works out - there doesn't seem to be much passion and dedication so far.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Lost Season Three Episode 19 'The Brig'

Finally we got to find out what happened when Locke saw his Dad! All of this week's flashbacks took place over the last few days on the island.

Locke decided he was going to stay with the Others (is he infiltrating them like he suggested to Sawyer or is he really going to become one of them?) We saw how Ben told Locke he had to kill his Dad in order to show his commitment. Cindy told Locke that they'd all been looking forward to seeing him. The way the Others stared at him suggested that they did indeed see him as special. He was unable to kill his Dad, even though his Dad did his best to humiliate him. Richard Alpert gave Locke Sawyer's file in order to make him get Sawyer to kill him instead.

Back at the camp Sayid and Kate are introduced to Naomi. She tells them that Oceanic 815 was discovered off the coast of Bali. She said that Penny Widmore had sent her to find Desmond. She explained that she had a boat about 80 miles from the island. The camp members discussed whether or not to tell Jack but decide against it. In the end Kate told him and told him that the others didn't trust him. Jack and Juliet discussed whether or not they should tell them something. What could it be?

Locke manages to convince Sawyer to go with him to kill Ben. He leads him to the Black Rock and shuts Sawyer inside a room - but not with Ben, it was Anthony Cooper. Cooper says that he thinks they are in hell. He was in a car crash in Tallahassee and was now in a place with his son who he believes died on Oceanic 815. We get to discover that Cooper was in fact the Sawyer that conned Sawyer's mum. Sawyer gets him to read the letter that he wrote to the man who ruined his life. When Cooper rips it up, Sawyer strangles him Jabba The Hutt-style and at last that's the end of him!

Locke carries Cooper's body back to the Others.

I've seen a trailer for the next episode on YouTube and it looks incredible. We finally discover more about the history of the Dharma Initiative as the flashback is all about Ben!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Poll Results for April - What will be the writing genre in this year's SATs?

20 people voted in April's poll. If our vote is anything to go by, the most likely genre this year is a story, closely followed by newspaper writing and letter writing.

  1. 35% - Story
  2. 30% - Newspaper
  3. 30% - Letter Writing
  4. 20% - Autobiography
  5. 20% - TV/ News Report
  6. 10% - Information Writing
  7. 10% - Book Review
  8. 5% - Biography
  9. 5% - Other (not specified)

In the end, it's just a lottery, so I doubt this survey will reveal anything of much importance. But, I am convinced it will be a story - for the first time since 2003...

In May's poll I'd like to find out people's feelings about the tests. Which ones are the most challenging for the children (and the teachers?!)?

Underperforming at KS3?

The Daily Telegraph reports that, The Tories have released figues that should that thousands of bright 14-year-olds are performing worse than they did at primary school. Nick Gibb, Tory schools spokesman, said, "The figures indicate a that a number of children have not grasped literacy in particular by the time they leave primary school to such an extent that during the first three years of secodnary education they are not improving in their literacy levels. The figures also suggest some are not stretching able children either. Children leaving primary school with level fives really ought to be getting to level six or seven at 14."

The results seem to suggest that some primaries were coaching pupils to the test rather than ensuring they made real gains in skills and understanding. It also shows that some children are coasting through secondary school, where much of the teaching takes place in mixed ability groups.


Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Apprentice 2007 Episode 6 'The Sausage Saga'

What a good episode. One candidate finally proved his worth and another proved to be a complete disaster!

In this week's task, Sir Alan sent the teams to sell quality British food products at a local French market. Each team had to chose their items, design their stall and sell as much as they could.

Finally, Lohit, the one that never seems to do anything important was given the chance to shine and he became the project leader for Eclipse. Lohit's team decide to go for a breakfast themed stall. His team was organised and they all worked well together, apart from jadine who snapped at Simon just because he addressed the group by saying 'guys'. Eclipse's products sold really well, particularly the smoked fish, although Nick Hewer was not too impressed by the idea of selling tea to a coffee-drinking nation.

Eclipse certainly eclipsed Stealth. Lead by Paul, they had an utter distaster. Kristina, Katie and Ghazal head off to purchase sausages and wind up in a women's prison, which appears to rattle their nerves. They decide to go with the porkies. Ghazal's nervous about selling raw produce, but are assured by the sausage producer that if they cook them, once people have tasted a sample they will buy. Paul decided to spend £200 on cheese at Makro - not just cheese, but huge breezeblocks of cheese. The moment you saw what they had bought you knew that the team would lose. Paul and Adam messed up the purchase of a sign for their stall. Paul's next barmy decision was to not buy a mini-barbecue or gas cooker, preferring to use his own boy scout home made cooker. This was being used all day and not one appeared to be cooked.

Paul and his first lieutenant Katie went offon a wild goose chase to try to sell their packs of sausages to local restaurants and, hilariously, at a local Halal kebab shop! Kristina, knowing that things are spiralling out of control finds a local kitchen to cook the sausages, and finally starts making some sales. Her patience snaps with Paul after discovering he has been selling the sausages at cost price. She was furious with him, but his attitude towards her all day was ridiculous.

Back in the boardroom, with the money on the table: Lohit's team Eclipse spent £446 and made a £410 profit. Paul's team were anything but stealthy and spent £741 and made a loss of £225.84. Sir Alan didn't hide his disgust at Paul's ultimate failure. 'It's a total bloody joke' he barked. Paul took Adam and Kristina into the boardroom (both unfairly). Things got personal in the boardroom as Adam and Kristina spilt the beans on Paul's 'personal relationship' with Katie as reason why she wasn't pulled back in to face the music. Sir Alan is not amused: 'This has been a disaster, a bloody disaster' he growled. 'I thought you were a contender Paul.' And the ex-Army lieutenant Paul was given his marching orders from the game with the words, 'You're a total shambles, you're fired!'

Paul was hopeless and his attempts to get Kristina and Adam fired were unreasonable and he was totally blinkered to his own mistakes. Katie just seemed to back up everything he said and was just as blinkered. Sir Alan made the right decision.

If you see the repeat, watch out for the part when Katie describes Paul as the only other intelligent person in the house, just as the camera shows him spilling water down his front!