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  1. Peter Dale

    School vs FE College

    If you have any doubts about whether you'll be able to do it or not, trust me. Put them out of your mind and just go for it. I was suffering serious depression due to back pain and being trapped in a dead end job that I loathed. My best mate told me about a technician vacancy at the school he...
  2. Peter Dale


    Today is my last day of the year too. I can't wait to go home and become a hermit for the next 6 weeks. I was self-isolating before it was mandatory. I like my solitude. Tis one reason why this job suits me so well.
  3. Peter Dale

    Class Sizes

    About the same here. It can be a real pain when staff want full class sets, as that means setting up 15-16 sets for one lesson. If they want more than 2 pieces of a certain type of glassware per group, the numbers can quickly get out of hand. With numbers that large I try and push them to work...
  4. Peter Dale

    flame test using spray bottles...

    As Tom H and Annie have mentioned, a little water definitely helps the compounds to dissolve properly. You want to be careful overdoing the water though. It can make the mechanism of the spray bottle become rusty if you store it in said spray bottle. You could get around this by rinsing the...
  5. Peter Dale

    flame test using spray bottles...

    Yes, I've done this before. You will want several large heat proof mats under the bunsen. I used a 2x2 tiling layout, but you can go larger. I've used both undiluted and diluted (50%) industrial denatured alcohol with success. One thing to watch for: sometimes the spray can be enough to blow the...
  6. Peter Dale

    Covering first aid

    The advantages of medical exemptions from first aid training. No bags of sick for me. Though to be fair, I've cleaned up my fair share of vomit and faeces working at VUE so... I've served my time dealing with human waste.
  7. Peter Dale

    iPad Requisition Sheets/Systems

    Make it known that whoever bribes you with the most/tastiest biscuits gets them for that week.
  8. Peter Dale

    Power supplies

    I have 14 of these, except mine have a blue dial rather than red. One or two have acted up, but I've been able to put them back to working order.
  9. Peter Dale

    Working holidays

    They can't force it if it's outside of your contract. They would have to pay you overtime. The other option for you, is if you want to accrue some time to spend on Time off in Lieu, you can volunteer your time, and take it off during term time. Useful if you have a term time birthday. Though...
  10. Peter Dale

    Prescription Safety Glasses

    I can't wear large goggles/safety glasses very my glasses. I get very warm and they just fog up to the point that I can no longer see anything, and it becomes safer to work without any eye protection AND without my glasses at that point. So in the end I just stumped up and paid for some...
  11. Peter Dale

    Stock Solutions

    I think what I would do is test the solutions in question using whatever practical you might use them for and see if you still get a suitable, expected outcome. If you do, they're likely still OK. If not, dispose and remake. If your water levels have reduced significantly through evaporation you...
  12. Peter Dale

    Practical notice period

    My deadline is Thursday evening, for all practicals desired for the coming week. So long as it's in before the start of the day on Friday, that gives me the day to start prepping the most urgent Monday practicals. My only current exception to this is dissections, for which an extra week's notice...
  13. Peter Dale


    We bought into it just before COVID hit. I've recently started diving into it in order to make the KS3 practicals into Lablogger templates. It takes some getting used to where navigation is concerned, but once it clicks it's pretty handy. Once you enter the resource page, you can filter out most...
  14. Peter Dale


    I wasn't particularly sure where I sat on the pay issue, so this thread prompted me to delve into it. Turns out I'm on the NJC Pay Scale. I started out on the very lowest scale point (SCP 1) 4 years ago, so I was on about £9.10 per hour in 2017. Since then my pay has climbed steadily, where it...
  15. Peter Dale

    Stop Clocks

    I have a bunch of those (or at least they look like those, possibly an earlier model of the same design). They're pretty durable. Only had one break on me so far. The pcb was snapped. I think a pupil pressed the buttons too hard and snapped it. I was able to open it up and use tape and solder to...
  16. Peter Dale

    Shoot the messenger

    I'm quite fortunate in that they tend not to moan to me. Before Covid the majority of the team were generally resilient, and anything that did come up as a moan, I tended to agree with. Surprised that's not more common to be honest.
  17. Peter Dale

    Eating in prep room

    Too negative? Seriously? Picture of a packed lunch and a red cross is 'too negative?' I mean... it does use the word 'Not' twice which are technically negatives. But you'd have to really stretch the bounds of common sense to take an instruction as simple as 'Not' and be offended by it being...
  18. Peter Dale

    Groundhog Covid

    The same is true at my and no doubt most other schools. Under normal circumstances. As we are now 16 months into a pandemic with 128,000 deaths and the delta variant rampaging despite the vaccine, you would think, as Emma said, that they would be more supportive, and understand the dire...
  19. Peter Dale

    Groundhog Covid

    I guess if you can just walk in at any time, or even know that you can book a time after school that's an understandable caveat. But for me personally - and I'm sure others too - I had to book an earlier time slot, and they are limited and fairly inflexible. Fortunately I was able to book one...