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Operating as usual


On national thank a teacher day, I want to acknowledge all the staff at my school, you can't run any organisation on your own, they are the lifeblood of our school family - thank you 🤗


The vestibular system provides us with a sense of balance and spatial orientation. It sits as a key component with postural reflexes and eye movement so we can reach, grasp and focus.

Babies need lots of good vestibular input (rocking, cuddling, soothing etc.) With good vestibular input comes a good regulation system. Children who have experienced trauma, attachment and ACES may not have experienced good vestibular inputs.

There are lots of reasons for vestibular damage: medicines, Ménière's disease, vestibular migraine, infections, inner ear problems, such as poor circulation in the ear, calcium debris in your semicircular canals and traumatic brain injuries etc.

One of the most important things to remember with anyone struggling with their vestibular system, it's hard wired with the Limbic system, it will impact on their mental health, ability to self regulate, levels of anxiety and wellbeing. Bee kind ❤


We get messages from every muscle and joint to tell our brain where we are, these messages help to regulate movement, how much pressure to put on a hug, how much force to hit a tennis ball with etc. Children who have difficulties with proprioception might struggle with balance, bump into things, apply too much or too little pressure for example with writing.

Autistic children can seek proprioceptive input to help regulate their behavioural and emotional responses. Dr Temple Grandin has written at length about Autism and animal behaviour, although she did not want human touch she realised she needed to apply pressure to help calm herself and created the 'hug box'.

Children with a history of trauma and attachment difficulties will often have sensory processing issues. Their triggers for dysregulation can be very hard to pinpoint as they can be unconscious for example a smell, a noise, a touch etc.


We get messages from every muscle and joint to tell our brain where we are, these messages help to regulate movement, how much pressure to put on a hug, how much force to hit a tennis ball with etc. Children who have difficulties with proprioception might struggle with balance, bump into things, apply too much or too little pressure for example with writing.
Autistic children can seek proprioceptive input to help regulate their behavioural and emotional responses. Children with a history of trauma and attachment difficulties will often have sensory processing issues.


A study of American judges and the number of paroles given before and after lunch demonstrated how highly educated people can completely misinterpret internal body sensations. Having a good awareness of sensations in the gut, the cardiovascular system, the bladder etc. that are all in continous communication with the brain can lead to improved mental health.


Take the time to just bee, 10 minutes focusing on being aware of body sensations both inside and outside, being non judgemental with yourself, focusing on breathing can help to relax, reduce stress and sooth the soul.


So fast forward 3 years from this study, all children have missed out on vast amounts of active play leaving huge gaps in development of gross and fine motor skills. Social play was out of the question for large periods of the pandemic but as social play is crucial for developing rules and wellbeing so is imaginative self-directive play essential in developing independent adults.

What we have to be warey of: cynics who- don't see play as anything but an add on, and something trivial.
Life is much busier than ever before Julie Lythcott-Haims raises the issue of a “checklisted childhood”. When pressure to perform for school or parents limits access to 'playtime'.
Technology (could write a whole blog on this alone) - it's addictive, dopamine based not to mention the impact on sleep.
'Overprotectiveness' often due to fear that bad things will happen either emotionally or physically.

Dr Grey from his TED talk says that in his research, he saw a strong correlation between the decline of play and increased mental health issues in young people.
In schools, homes, communities it is key that we find the balance.


Looking forward to discussing the training across Liverpool in Trauma, Attachment, ACES and Sleep ❤


Day 7 of Mental Health Awareness Week

As the Headteacher of a school for boys with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties (incidentally the term SEMH does not encompass the vast array of needs or individual personalities within my school) Children and adults with mental health difficulties can often act like cacti, they have prickly spines to keep others away. Their prickly spines might be their externalised behaviours such as language, aggression, expressions, defiance etc or shut down, closed off, self harming internalised behaviours.

Just as Cacti come in all shapes, sizes and types of prickles, so do behaviours but we have to be able to see beyond the prickles.
Whenever anyone struggles they can act like a cactus, so next time you're around someone externalising or internalising prickles - just think, there is a feeling behind that, a feeling that person cannot express in a socially acceptable way.

'Being Brave' starts with wanting to know more, being willing to work at your skill of seeing beyond behaviours, understanding how to build trust and connection.

Thank you if you've taken the time to read any of my posts this week, I hope you've found them useful. Let's continue to bee kind 🤗


Loneliness can have behind it the most intense feelings of shame and toxic shame.

How often do we as a society talk about individuals who cause horrific acts as 'loners' not only do we vilify them for the act (rightly so) but also for being 'isolated from any social group'.

In my teaching career I'm sad to say I have come across some teachers and Headteachers who truly (or unconsciously - we only know, what we know, until we change perspective) think that shame is an acceptable way to manage behaviour. I distinctly remember one Head saying to me that he felt, publicly shaming a child in assembly worked to send a message to the rest of the pupils. It still makes my skin crawl just writing that sentence.

Please join me in calling out shame, shame grows in dark corners where it's allowed to fester, when the fear of shame stops us from shining a light on it. So let's get the biggest floodlights and blast it from all sides!


We know from the work on Social Neuroscience by Professor John Cacioppo the profound impact on the brain and body when we do not feel a rich reciprocated bond.

Unfortunately loneliness in itself can trigger social disconnection, social biases and the oppostional behaviours that reinforce the loneliness, therefore you need to target both.

He said "Loneliness is like an iceberg, we are conscious of the surface but there is a great deal more that is phylogenetically so deep that we cannot see it".

There is little research on evidence-based interventions that mitigate both loneliness and improve social outcomes.

However there is some growing research that shows improvements with mindfulness training that includes acceptance training which helps to mitigate the 'percieved threat of social connection' and the counterintuitive nature we can find ourselves stuck in when experiencing loneliness.

Studies have shown its also not the number of friends we have but the quality of relationships that count.
Researches Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B Smith and J. Bradley Layton in a meta analysis of loneliness found obesity increases chances of early death by 20%, excessive drinking 30% but loneliness 45%

I urge you to not miss opportunity for connection with the people you work with, live with, share time with. Human connection allows a sense of trust, which ultimately leads to a sense of belonging.

When we're hungry - we eat
When we're thirsty - we drink
When we're in pain - we rest
When we're lonely - we need social connection



Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune condition where if you eat gluten, barley or rye the body can attack its own tissues about 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease, but only 36% are diagnosed. 

It often runs in families, in mine there are 10, we are a big family but it's a much higher prevalence than figures above. In November 2020 my son, who also has epilepsy, started to get really lethargic, emotionally low and suffered extreme bloating, he then had 9 seizures in a row.

With advice from a gastroenterologist he went gluten free, since following his diet he's been in full time employment, played lots of sport and qualified as a PT. His epilepsy hasn't gone but since 2020 he's only had a handful of seizures so hopefully off to New Zealand in September for the cricket season.

A year after my son, I also went gluten free, Coeliac disease is most frequently diagnosed in people aged 40-60 years old. Delayed diagnosis is common and research shows that the average time it takes to be diagnosed is 13 years.

Any problems related to the gut will impact on mental health, whether Coeliac or IBS etc. A troubled gut can send signals to the brain, just like a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore,  your stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
My advice look after your gut!


To make an emotional connection with someone else takes time, effort patience, empathy and compassion.

How often do we miss opportunities for emotional connection, when someone else needs our attention, focus, time and warmth but we're too busy.

This week try to make time and see how integral you are in others Mental Health and Wellbeing x


Even though I'm leaving teaching at the end of this term I'm still proud of this 😁


If you know anyone aspiring to be a Headteacher of a great school in Liverpool please ask them to email [email protected] for an application pack


Develop your understanding of what's beneath the behaviour and how to help children thrive 💙


Find out more about how to support your microglia and make it work for you 💙


I think she's asking why I need to be back in work tomorrow?


3 ways to bee kind to the mind ❤


In creating the possibility for children to participate in a growth-enhancing mesosystems, (interrelated community, school, home, clubs etc) a child’s worldview expands, leading to new levels of cognitive complexity.
The more we understand our fundamental role in child development the more opportunity there is for them to thrive.


With the current mental health crisis in schools is continously assessing young people fueling disengagement?


September and October dates on


The elements are great for blowing out the cobwebs x


Play is important no matter your age xx


Creativity is a whole brain function therefore it's exercising everything!


Increase your oxytocin levels too x


Another good option daily meditation 🧘‍♀️ x


Improve your relationships
Stay at a healthy weight.
Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
Reduce stress and improve your mood.
Think more clearly and do better in school/work


Play is important at every age🤪

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