School community

19 02 2015

I have had some gentle encouragement to begin this blog again and I did get quite a surprise when I looked at it and realised it had been over a year since I last wrote in it.

Quite a lot has changed since then. Not long after that last post I became full time Acting Head Teacher as my HT’s secondment became full time. She then went on maternity leave and so I have continuously been acting head for over a year now.

I have got calmer at home than I was initially, with not so many sleepless nights, although I still struggle with comfort eating! Especially since about November I have worked hard on work life balance as I am running many miles alongside other exercise and am working hard to fit it all in.

I know it is a cliche but the past year has certainly been a major roller coaster of a ride. Some things I have had to deal with are not really appropriate for writing about publicly but some others will be worth reflecting on here.

I have still been enjoying reading this blog, School Leadership – A Scottish Perspective
and George’s latest post on hearing an address by Sir John Jones struck several chords. I heard him speak at our SQH awards ceremony and was similarly inspired and this post was great to be reminded of that.

George talks of how you learn most about yourself and your team when things are not going well and I certainly saw this happen last term. In November a much loved, long serving member of clerical staff died after a sudden, short illness.

This would be a difficult situation to deal with in any place of work but in a school not only did I have the staff to inform and support but we had to tell the children and then the parents. The hardest part was then doing our weekly assembly the next day which had all of the pupils and a large number of parents and members of the community there. I am sure that assembly will remain one of the hardest things I ever have to do as a school leader and it took me the whole weekend to recover from just from that.

However I drew strength to be a leader every day during this time from all of the staff within the school, and many of our parents. Everyone was so supportive of each other and to the children and it really showed the way the whole school community could pull together. I was so proud of being a part of that, although it was in the worst possible circumstances.

And about myself…I certainly learned that I could hold it together and be there for other people when it really matters. Although I do not very find it easy to admit when I think I have done something well I know that I dealt with this as sensitively as I could, consistently tried to look after everyone (and people did a good job of looking after me too) and took their feelings and opinions into account when making decisions. I sought advice from others but also trusted my instincts and did what I thought was right at the time.

Changing Roles

27 01 2014

The last time I wrote a post I had just finished my last taught day for SQH.  A few weeks after that I had my VIVA which thankfully I passed.  Positive comments from my VIVA report included that I have very strong professional values and a strong commitment to the school and pupils and parents, as well as being self-reflective, have good inter-personal skills, am able to take others with me and that I am pragmatic, strong on the ground and practical.  However, as I have recognised myself I am not always a very deep, analytical thinker and that some of my answsers lacked depth.  Things for me to think about and work on!

The same week that I passed my VIVA my head teacher was successful in gaining  a part time secondment to the local authority as a quality improvement officer.  This mean that from a few weeks before Christmas I became official Acting Head Teacher for the first half of the week, thankfully with the PT acting up to DHT too so that I was not on my own!  This I have found challening so far, mainly because of my own, often sub-conscious worry of something going wrong, and I have realised however many months I was able to go extremely low carb and no sugar before Christmas I am still a comfort eater and have also been having trouble sleeping on a Sunday night!  I know this will calm down as I grow in confidence and all of the staff have been extremely supportive which has really helped.

One aspect of leadership that I have now been learning about/having to deal with quickly is delegating to other members of an SMT, in this case the PT/DHT.  I felt awkward about this initially as I do not like asking other people to do things when I know they have other responsibilities too and there is still an element of me wanting to do things myself, which I know is unsustainable!  I am slowly getting better at this and will keep working on it.

We had our Rights Respecting Schools Level 1 award assessment 3 days before the Christmas holidays; horrendous to get ready for at the time but great to get it over and done with!  We passed and the assessors were pleased with warm welcome they received, the knowledge the pupils had and the way everyone was working together.  Our primary ones absolutely blew us away with the way they talked about rights they know they, and all other children, have and how they are kept safe and protected in school. 

We have since had an open afternoon for schools in the cluster to see how we laid out our evidence and went about the assessment and are going to be working with  our partnership nursery to help them to undertake RRSA.  I have also been asked to go on the RRSA assessors training as the QIO doing our assessment felt that the systematic, methodical and thorough way I had undertaken and implemented our action plan would be of great help to other head teachers so I have the training for that this Friday.

I am struggling just now slightly to find a focus for this blog as I feel there is so much I am learning about in this role but that is not appropriate for me to write about in a public context and I do not feel enough of an expert to write with authority either.  I have been really enjoying other leadership blogs at the moment though including OldPrimaryHead, Johntomsett, School Leadership – A Scottish Perspective and One Head and Her Dog.  These are giving me pause for thought, I guess I need to make sure I think deeply enough about them!

Being Inspired, Enabled and Empowered

25 09 2013

I’ve had an inspiring couple of days, yesterday at my last taught day for the SQH programme and today at SLF.

I have passed all of my written assignments now and just (!) have the VIVA to go, although I am not sure when that will be yet. We spent the first part of the morning preparing for that and then a couple of head teachers spoke to us, which partly reassured me and partly terrified me.

The highlight of the day for me though was two presentations by David Cameron. There were some practical tips on, for example, time wasters but the really inspiring parts were about his own English teacher encouraging him, his views on vision and purpose, and leadership. One example within leadership was that he talked of people needing from leaders certainty, early anticipation and creative responses, clarity of purpose and expectations, cohesion, engagement and direction and support. He also talked about a leader’s need to enable and empower others, which I will come back to later.

I’m not doing justice to the afternoon but suffice to say I would liked to have recorded it to be able to listen back to on hard days!

Now that I have almost finished SQH I have been doing some reflecting on the journey. I think it is only now that I am at this point that I can clearly see how I have developed as a leader over the last 2.5 years (conveniently while also taking on more of a leadership role). Rightly or wrongly during it I was too immersed in trying to do everything to take time to reflect.

I feel I am just developing my ability to enable and empower others to become leaders themselves but it is something I feel passionate about and wrote about in my final assignment:

“This is an aspect of leadership I feel strongly about developing as I have benefited, and progressed, as a result of the support, encouragement and opportunities given to me by my own leaders.”

My current head teacher is all of things I have described above but I would not have got to the point I have without a former head teacher who was all of those things and more. Andrea Reid was my head teacher when I was at Castlefield Primary and it cannot be underestimated how much of an influence she was for me professionally and personally.

Without her passing me an email about an initial study visit way back in 2007 I would not now have spent a total of 3 months in Malawi almost all of which has been spent immersed in rural village life, which led to so much personal and professional development for me.

Without taking up other opportunities I was given I may not have been able to have the chance as acting PT, and it was being asked to lead on Glow within the school, and then being given a talking to when hesitating, that saw me take on a two year secondment to the local authority. I certainly grew from these experiences and they definitely helped me get the PT post in my current school.

Although a challenging and difficult journey at times, that encouragement, and gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, pushing have got me to the point of being a deputy head for almost two years now and near the end of my SQH journey.

I’m stealing a quote here that a friend of mine used in the context of running 24 hour races for Team GB but I think fits well for me on this journey, even if it did not always feel like it at the time!

“Contrary to what we usually believe the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

My experiences in Malawi and completing my SQH project spring to mind here, as does completing the West Highland Way race last year!

It has been more than just professional though, these events, circumstances and developments have changed me personally too. I know it is cliched but ten years ago if I could have seen myself now I would not have believed how much I could change and grow in confidence.

So, thanks Andrea! So much of my development was as a result of your belief in me (and seeing in me what I had not seen in myself) and I thought it would be nice to acknowledge that, and let you know I am now at the beginning stages of starting to do the same for other people – I hope!

Today I attended two seminars around Human/Children’s Rights Education. The second one was mainly led by a class teacher from Lourdes Primary in Glasgow and a head teacher of 2 primaries within Argyll and Bute. They were discussing projects they had undertaken to do with Human Rights. The enthusiasm and hard work the class teacher had put in was obvious and there were some great ideas for informing others about this, most of which came from the children and included a flashmob in assembly! The head teacher was unequivocal in his belief that this is essential education for children and has the power to change lives. This may have serious consequences such as children coming forward with personal difficulties that require police/social work involvement but it is every child’s right to receive an education about their rights and our responsibility to deliver it.

So when I go back to school tomorrow I’m going to be trying to remember, and act on, my values and vision in education, the purposes of a leader and education and the passion to continue on our Rights Respecting journey! Just some small tasks then!

School’s out!

28 06 2013

Finished at 1pm, in the airport by 4.45pm! Off to Burma, Brunei and the Philippines; well deserved I think after this term of usual school work and pulling together my SQH evidence!

Still got my final assignment to do and viva to prepare for when I get back but I can think about that in a few weeks!


10 04 2013

Recently I was shopping for my niece’s 3rd birthday present and as I happened to be in town I thought I would check out Hamley’s. Knowing how she likes dressing up I checked out the dressing up costumes first. Now leaving aside the prices which meant I definitely wouldn’t be buying her one from there I was horrified at the choices. There were pink mini-skirted, skimpy bat girl or super girl costumes as well as the usual things (my niece is as likely to dress up in her brother’s muscly batman costume as dress up as a princess) and then I saw a white coat with pink on it hanging up. I picked it up thinking maybe it was a girly doctor’s coat only to discover that it was a beautician’s coat! And needless to say there was nothing like a doctor’s coat or anything similar in the girl’s section!

Out of sheer curiosity I then headed over to the boy’s section on the other side of the store where unsurprisingly there was a doctor’s coat! I wouldn’t mind there being a beautician’s coat in the girl’s section if there was a doctor’s coat as well but there definitely wasn’t! Are we still seriously sending out these types of stereotypical messages?!

RRSA pupil discussions

9 03 2013

One of our action points for our RRSA (Rights Respecting Schools Award) was to update some of our policies in line with the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

This was one of a variety of reasons for us to look at our positive behaviour and bullying policies (my situational analysis for unit 2 of SQH brought out other reasons) and we have been looking in depth at the positive behaviour policy.

This policy was in place within the school before any of the current SMT were at the school and we have been able to consult thoroughly with all staff and pupils and and are about to do so with parents to gain views from everyone.

One of the things we wanted to do was make sure we were not missing any other ideas as it does not always feel that golden time for example works particularly well. (In fact in tracking it fully and questioning every child about it, it does work for most children more than we thought.)

So I organised an afternoon where children from RRSA or pupil council groups in schools across our cluster were invited to our school to share their ideas. I then collated these and emailed them back to the schools involved. It was very simple to set up, just flip charts with different questions on them and the children rotated round them in different groups like a graffiti board co-operative learning activity with an adult at each group to help facilitate discussion. The questions were around rewards, sanctions, RRSA activities and how they have involved the local community, with additional time at the end for further ideas, questions and next steps.

It ran itself very easily and we actually felt from the responses that we were broadly doing the same as other schools. That was the end of it I thought but at our local authority RRSA steering group meeting a couple of schools brought up how successful and useful they thought the event was and so I have been asked to run it again and it will be filmed for the local authority and Education Scotland as well as having staff filmed, which probably means me as no-one else wants to do it!

It was nice to have other schools mention independently how useful they thought the event was, hopefully it will prove useful second time round too!

Primary 2 blog

10 02 2013

Last year while still PT I began a blog with my P2 class and the teacher I was sharing with. This year a new P2 teacher has decided to carry this on with her class and after a little help from me to set it up they recently wrote their first post.

You can find the blog here:

P2 Clydemuir

They are mostly planning to use it, as I did previously, to communicate with parents and families and used as such I have always found it very successful.

Towards the end of last year I established a school website for Clydemuir. This is the third school website I have set up and has been by far the easiest, although probably the one with the least freedom too! However that mostly suits me as it has to be easy to use. I have trained a learning assistant to work with pupils to update their class pages and this is working well for the same purpose too. It’s still hard to remember to fit in time to update it though!

You can see it here:

Clydemuir Primary

Always learning

10 02 2013

Having looked back on this blog I realised I haven’t blogged in just over a year.

I never intended to let this blog slip and it has not as if I have been writing elsewhere so I would like to get it going again but try to be a bit more focused in what I am writing in each post.

But first a recap of last year:

– I kept up my acting deputy head post until October 2012 when I got the job permanently. The work I was doing did not change but I feel more confident within the position now and this has helped me in developing how I am working with the HT, staff and parents.

– I am now working on unit 4, of 4, of the SQH. Thank goodness! This has been hard work and as useful as some of it is I will be glad when it is over to be honest. I will have spent 4 out of the last 5 years studying and it’s time for a break. My school development initiative is on working towards the Rights Respecting Schools Award but more on that in another post.

– In July (5 days after completing the West Highland Way Race and the day after passing out twice at a wedding and splitting my head open as a result of not recovering sufficiently from the race (read more here) my HT and I visited Fumbwa village and school in Malawi to further establish our school link with them.

– In August the HT and DHT from Fumbwa village visited us as part of the British Council Reciprocal visit grant. We had established our link through Link Community Development again but unfortunately they have now lost their funding for their link schools programme and so we are attempting to carry on this link by ourselves.

– In November our school was inspected internally as a follow up to our previous HMIE inspection. I did feel more pressure this time, as DHT and not just a very, very new PT as I was when HMIE inspected. However it all went very well and was a useful process to go through.

Another busy year again and in future posts I would like to go into more detail about my fifth visit to Malawi, our Rights Respecting Schools work and my DHT role. Although I feel a different pressure as DHT than when I was a class teacher or PT there is something every day which makes me say I love my job and I usually feel positive that I am making a difference in the lives and education of the children in the school. I think that’s a pretty good way to feel about your job!

It was quite a year!

3 01 2012

2011 turned out to be very career focused and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, although running did have to take a bit of a back seat!

Here’s what I did:

  • In December/January I applied for, was interviewed for and got a new job as a principal teacher in a new local authority
  • Started the job in April
  • In April/May I applied for, was interviewed for and got accepted onto the Scottish Qualification for Headship course
  • The school received ‘the box’ just a few weeks after I started and I think I got the chance to prove myself very quickly preparing for and getting through the HMIE inspection
  • I began and completed Unit 1 for the SQH
  • I applied for and organised a reciprocal visit for the Malawi HT and DHT to come over to Scotland
  • I went back to Malawi agan to visit Gwengwe Primary and begin a link with a new school
  • In December I took on the Acting Depute Head post in my school, which will hopefully last until about the summer.

I was already loving the job/school before taking on theacting depute head role and I’m relishing this experience even more.  It is very different and my role and my role has extended considerably.  Probably the biggest thing so far has been taking on the support for learning but the visiting network support teacher is great at helping me with that.  It is making the SQH much more relevant too.  I’m well into studying for unit 2 for that now, I keep taking my reading to the gym to sit and work in the restaurant there after working out!

Positive changes

8 12 2011

Finally, I’m getting the chance to write up my visit to Malawi.  I have been on a self-imposed blogging ban until I finished my unit 1 assignment for SQH.  I handed it in on Monday, a couple of days early which must be a first.  It was basically in three parts; a contextualised discussion of education in Scotland, a self-reflection and a rationale for your learning plan.  The actual essay was 4,000 words but with all the appendixes you also had to write it came to 14,000 words so it has taken up quite a bit of my spare time!

The same day I handed in my essay I became acting depute head in my school.  Our depute has gone on secondment to an acting head position and I have taken over her position.  I am very excited, and anxious, about this and looking forward to the challenge and the chance to prove myself.  I am keeping all of my remit from the principal teacher role as well as taking on supporting for learning, ICT co-ordinator and mentoring our probationer.

One of my new jobs will be to establish the link we are making with a new school in Malawi which came about as a result of my trip there in October.

This was going to be quite a different trip for me this time as I was no longer at Castlefield and officially part of the link and I was going with another teacher from the school, whereas I have always been at this school and staying in the village by myself before.  I was slightly apprehensive about going with someone else but it turned out very well.

I had arranged the same driver that I had had before and it was lovely to have him waiting to meet us, full of stories of what had been going on.  We were three hours late unfortunately after a delay in Nairobi which meant it was probably going to be dark and late when we got to the viallge.   We still had to go into Lilongwe as well to sort out money, stamps and water.  Billy had had to queue for quite a while to get petrol, there had been a chronic shortage for a while which was really affecting life in the towns. 

We did not get to the village until about 6.30pm and I felt terrible because the children had waited all afternoon for us but of course most had gone home by the time we got there.  A few stalwarts had waited and a few more came running down as we arrived and they were all shouting “Caro Caro”.  The first thing they said when I got out of the car was “jogging, jogging” so I was trying to tell them it would have to wait until tomorrow!  At the same time though they were crowding around me and a few children were pressing nuts and biscuits into my hands that they had been keeping for me which was so generous when they have so little and they must have thought I would be hungry after all of the travelling!

We were staying with the head teacher this time so that there was room for both us and it was pretty much straight to bed after being fed.  He has a son who stays with his parents in town and two lovely daughters of about 4 and 6.

As usual I was woken by the rooster at 4.30am but for the only time out of this trip I actually managed to get back to sleep until 7am!  I could hear kids waiting outside (it was Saturday) and just went straight out to them, it was lovely to see them all especially the three I had stayed with previously.  There were football and netball matches at another school today and the children would not leave until I did and stayed with me the whole way, fighting over who was going to be right beside me!  They kept wanting to run so despite the fact I had the wrong shoes on, a skirt, a wrap and a shoulder bag I couldn’t resist and we ran all of the downhills and some of the flats!

There were four games altogether and although it was good fun it was a long day and super hot.  It was actually dark by the time we were halfway back and a lot of the older boys that I knew from before had joined us by this time and again we were running quite a lot.  They were singing songs and chanting as we ran and just so happy.  A lot of the older boys have now left school and are married and some have children.  I did manage to meet a few who have gone onto secondary school but it is very hard when there are exams to pass, in English, and you have to pay for them and for secondary school.  A few of the boys were telling me they wanted to go back to school and/or come back to Scotland with me.

Right away, and for the rest of the trip, I thought that there seemed to be a slightly higher standard of living in the village.  Most children seemed to have shoes (although in varying states of use), bags for their books, slightly better clothes and I only saw a couple of distended stomachs which previously  a lot of children had.  Lots more families seemed to have bikes too and there is even one person who has a pick up truck – although no petrol for it!  Action Aid have also worked with the school to provide aid for 2 more teacher’s houses which are nearly constructed.  For 8 classes there are now 9 teachers at Gwengwe of which 7 are fully qualified and 2 are probationers.  This is a massive improvement from 2 and 3 years ago.

On Sunday we went round to see the teacher’s houses that were being built and then to Christopher, the depute head’s house for breakfast.  He was saying that if they were in Scotland his son Tony would be in the nurture group that Castlefield Primary has!  He certainly is wild!

Church was only 2 hours today including my obligatory speech to the congregation, getting used to these now!  I did some visiting with Joseph, the HT in the afternoon.  I went to see my mother which was lovely and Chiambi came to sit beside me and didn’t leave my side again!  Also went visiting Patrick whom I knew well as a pupil but is now married with a little girl.  I think I counted about 50 people all in the one room to see me hold a variety of babies!

The men’s life (or boys) doesn’t really seem to change that much when they get married and have children as Patrick, and others, spent most of their time with me while I was there but I feel for their young wives whose lives are now fully mapped out for them!

Went running with the children today.  I did not have Lameck yet for company so we just went up and down the village but I think there were about 60 children with me.  I went running with them every day even though I had a cold for a few days and just about lost my voice as I just could not let htem down.  I also played chases with them every day and got the balloons and bubbles and balls out as well as colouring pencils, crayons and paper.  Even the older boys were loving doing that and were trying very hard to practice out their english with me.

It was quite a different experience in school this time.  I had to keep reminding myself that I should not be here with the same agenda as I had been before – this was not supposed to be about school improvement but about improving the link.  Therefore it was more about establishingt relationships between the staff and developing the curricular planning for working together.  On the Monday we just went through each class starting at St 1 to see the progression and I knew the teachers would want us to see them teaching.  Most classes were sitting in groups, even St 1 outside under the tree.  St 2 were in the church, St 3 and 4 in their own classes but on the floor and the rest had desks to share.

Elidh and I spent some time tidying up that cupboard again after school!!!  Couldn’t do enough to finish it one day but it was a bit depressing to be having to do it again!  With new teachers there from the last time I was there though I really wanted to do it again so we could show them what was there and encourage them to use it.

On the Tuesday we went up to Fumba Primary with Joseph so that I could establish a link with them for Clydemuir Primary.  I had already asked Joseph to see if they were interested so I knew it was going to happen.  I had been up there a few times before to work with them which was helpful that we were not starting totally from scratch but I do not find their staff as easy and outgoing as Gwengwe.  Hopefully this will come with time.  They were delighted with the things the children had made that I brought, I just hope they use them and we went round to visit every class.  They have one outdoor classroom but it has a temporary structure and is really quite cosy!

I was thinking that we would just try to establish the link ourselves but logistically in such a rural location it is just not going to be possible so we are going to establish it through Link Community Development.

We spent the rest of the week at Gwengwe, although I would have liked to go up to Fumba again.  This was partly because two PEA’s (primary education advisors) turned up one day to inspect the classes which meant we could not go elsewhere but we also could not really do much with any of the classes.  They got a good report though and we got to discuss some issues with them over lunch. 

Over the few days though we did manage to do paired reading in a few batches with the whole school which was great as usual and it was good that the new teachers got to see things like this in action.  We also did a question and answer session with St4 and 5 and then St 6, 7 and 8.  I was absolutely blown away with some of their questions but am struggling to remember them now – wish I had written some of them down!

I was taken up to see Caroline, my namesake one day after school with Mme Gwengwe and this was the biggest shock I got.  Despite the fact she was over 2 she still looked like a baby and very skinny and sick looking.  I was told she was unable to hear and has been been very sick.  The HT thinks she may be HIV positive.  I found that quite upsetting but it gave them such a boost just that I had taken some clothes over for her. 

There were four young new teachers there who obviously enjoy hanging out together after school and so we got invited to their houses in the late afternoon quite a lot which was great for building relationships with them.

On Thursday evening Lameck arrived and it was lovely to see him again.  He was so excited too!  He is back studying engineering again after some time out to work and save money for the next year of his studies.

Friday was our last day in the school and as usual they did a farewell ceremony for us with lots of dancing, singing, speeches (including ones from us again) and poems.  This was as well as the races with medals that I have done every year.  We managed to have some meetings with the staff over the last couple of days about the resources there were and those we had brought as well as doing some curriculum planning which has been made much easier with the great resources Link have been developing.

It was great Lameck being there after school on Thursday and Friday and during Saturday as the children and older boys could talk to me much more with someone they knew to translate.  Nearly every waking minute the whole visit was spent either with the children or visiting teachers and others in the village with children following on and that is just the way I wanted it as I really just wanted to spend lots of time with the kids!

On our last day we walked into Mayani with Lameck and had a wander round and bought a few bits and pieces.  As usual you always meet lots of people you know including this time Patrick who decided to come back with us with his bike piled high with maize.  I felt so bad that he was walking with us pushing this instead of cycling, at least on the flats, that I pushed it the whole 5 miles with him.  That certainly gave me a lot of exercise but was fun too even though it was burning hot!

I had given Patrick a couple of bits of clothes for his baby and Patrick some photos of us together from previous years so he brought me a fruit that I had never seen before and told me I would have to bash it off the ground to open it – unfortunately when I got it home I still couldn’t open it even bashing it from a height off the ground! 

I let the kids, particularly the older ones, play about with my camera for the afternoon and they had a ball striking up poses and doing gymnastics moves!  This kept them occupied as unfortunately Billy was supposed to come at 4 but didn’t get there till 6.45pm as he had had to queue all day for petrol.  We were getting quite panicked as there was absolutely nothing we could have done if he had not turned up and we had no phone signal at all.

Most of the kids waited until Billy arrived so that made it really late for them and yet again I was feeling terrible about this.  Lameck spend ages translating their questions for me which were mostly about aeroplanes and certainly exhausted all of my knowledge about them.  They were also very insistent that I came back again and kept visiting them… and didn’t just go to Fumba Primary now!

As it was dark when Billy arrived I found it slightly less upsetting than usual as I could not see the children as well and I guess as we were so relieved he had been able to get there.  I never usually hug anyone as it is not really the done thing there but I felt I knew them well enough now to hug the HT and his wife and Patrick and Chiambi which then meant all the other kids were crowding round for a hug too!

Lameck was coming with us again to get back to Lilongwe  so it was nice to have extra time with him.  He left the airport before our crisis started though!  About 10 of us got kicked of the flight from Lilongwe to Nairobi to let VIP’s on and so after a few hours of hanging about during the night we got taken off to a hotel for about 3 hours sleep and breakfast!  Back to the airport and on the next flight out which was due to take off about 1pm and I think left about 3pm due to more VIP’s arriving and getting their flights first.  Ages then to hang about in Nairobi, although we did get in the lounge – not the really posh one though and ended up on overnight KLM to Amsterdam instead of Kenya Airways and we got put in the bit nicer bit with extra leg room which was great.  Thought I would still be able to make school on time on Monday morning but 15 mins or so after leaving Amsterdam we got told we were landing again due to a funny smell on the aeroplane!  So we ended up getting back to Glasgow about 11am and I was in work in the afternoon – although not up to much!

I felt really quite upset when we got back to Glasgow at the stark differences between the two countries.  One of the books I bought in Nairobi airport was Aid and other Dirty Business and it was just what I was looking for to find out what happens with Aid and what we can do to ensure best use of Aid and resources for the people who need it but that is for a different post