I lost my job. Rather wonderfully it has led, apparently, to a ground-swell of objection from the rest of the staff. They want to discuss it as a group and so I have written the following as, I suppose, a sort of leaving speech. I am reproducing it here because it quite clearly sums up my position on it.

I have been working here since January 2008 and it has never been easy for me. I trained for and worked my first qualified job in a truly Deaf environment with actively policed policies that we sign for ourselves at all times, and that we strive for at least 50% Deaf staff across the entire staff cohort. I have struggled enormously with the extent to which the Academy has been unable to move, even incrementally, towards such an environment.
However I must be honest with myself that such an environment is my ideal from my experience and not something that the Academy, to my knowledge, has ever clearly striven for. I cannot criticise the place for not meeting my particular ideals.
The pressure from fundholders who are necessarily highly naïve about Deaf education and wellbeing is and has always been increasingly severe, and the curriculum and exam systems are established from the outset from a Hearing perspective that is highly detrimental to Deaf students. Within this context of institutionalised audism it needs to be a very special school that can resource itself, and manage itself, effectively enough to push back, politely but informedly, against those oppressions. To do that, the oppressive factors need to be recognised and it is only Deaf people – people who daily live those oppressions – who can identify them. To expect a school with a highly culturally Hearing leadership to identify, prioritise, plan for, and act against such institutional audism – and to lead by example -  is as naïve as expecting change from a feminist organisation run by dusty old men.
Being asked to leave came as an enormous shock to me. However, I have been similarly shocked by the sudden and comprehensive wave of relief that I felt within just a couple of hours of receiving my letter. I have been agonizingly conflicted for years between my passion for the wellbeing of the students and my frustrations with the Academy – and being asked to leave, and my emotional reaction to it, has provided me with the unexpected insight that I want to leave now. I guess also that I do not want to work for an organization that does not see value in me, and the letter crystallized that for me.
I am very grateful, and to be honest a little bit teary, for the concerns of the staff and I am sorry that my departure only emphasises those feelings and stresses.
I remain as committed as ever to the futures of our students and hopefully I will be able to continue to support them, perhaps more effectively, as an outsider.
With more warmth than I am bloody used to,
Jim CromwellComment
Language Therapy Reporting
Now - I am not a speech and language therapist, but I would have thought it is reasonable to assume that a report about a person's language skill would be clear about a) the modality of the language as tested (ie was it writing/reading or speaking/listening etc) and b) what language was being tested.

I have lost count of how many I've seen that do not meet this minimum criteria. I know how many I've seen that do...
Jim CromwellComment
The Ugly Duckling
Once there was a mummy duck and a daddy duck. Mr and Mrs Duck were so excited because they were waiting for baby ducks! The eggs were nearly ready to hatch, and one day *POP!* *POP!* *POP!* out jumped three fluffy babies. *QUACK!* went the first baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck smiled... *QUACK* went the second baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck smiled... *HONK!* went the third baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck did not smile. Mr and Mrs Duck didn’t know what to do. They were sad and they were frightened.

They went to the hospital. “Look at our child!” they said to the doctor. “Something is wrong!”

The doctor was very clever. He looked at the baby duck with many different special machines. He talked to other doctors. He had meetings. He read books. In the end the doctor knew what the problem was.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, “This is a swan.”

“His name is Ryan” said Mr and Mrs Duck.

“I’m so sorry. Ryan is a swan.” Said the doctor.

Before they knew what was happening Mr and Mrs Duck were sent to all sorts of clever ducks who knew all about swans. They were given all sorts of books and leaflets by clever ducks who knew all about swans. They were given advice and counselling and guidance by clever ducks who knew all about swans. Mr and Mrs Duck had never met a swan before so they were very pleased to talk to these experts. They did not meet any swans, but that was alright. Swans were quite scary, so they thought, and so they were relieved that all the swan experts were ducks.

They were especially relieved that the clever ducks had all sorts of clever duck tricks and schemes to make Ryan be nearly the duck that they wanted.

It took a very long time.

All the time he lived in their nest, Ryan had special lessons to make him sound like a duck. Clever ducks with paint made his snow-white feathers brown and green and black. Some ducks even put him to sleep and, when he woke up, his long graceful neck was short and stubby just like the other ducks. This was much better!

“Quack! Quack! Quack! Sang Mr and Mrs Duck with delight.”

“Quonk.” Said Ryan.

Overhead, a family of swans soared across the heavens.

“I wonder where they are going...” thought Ryan.
Jim CromwellComment