Arfon Roberts 1934-2002

Hi everyone

This music by Ludovico Einaudi took me on a reverie.


Just a brief post that I think I’m writing for myself as much as anyone who might be vaguely interested. It’s a fast-paced voyage around my father. It’s a list thing. I like lists.

Here he is:

Arfon Roberts








Arfon Roberts, born in a small village in the shadow of Snowdonia.

  • Miner’s son
  • Student
  • Semi-pro footballer: Featured regularly on the back pages of The Daily Post either saving goals or letting them in
  • Did National Service working with radar and sonar on Welsh lakes and reservoirs
  • Trainee teacher at Bangor Normal College
  • Teacher on The Wirral
  • Husband
  • Father
  • Carer to his wife, Dorothy Ann, who, in 1973 had a negative reaction to anaesthetic whilst having a simple dental procedure
  • Decision maker: Arfon chose to plough himself into his work after Dorothy Ann pulled through a month-long coma. Her mind had been erased
  • Settler: Arfon had to tutor, guide and lead Dorothy Anne back to a state of relative normality. She had forgotten him, their two boys, her wider family, her language, her natural role: mother and teacher
  • Grafter: Arfon worked six days a week (five days in secondary schools in Prestwich and Bury, Manchester, a day tutoring to earn extra cash to make up for the loss of Dorothy Ann’s earnings)
  • Hugger: Always keen to embrace his sons
  • Fisherman: He found serenity at the riverbank. He could think, reflect and plan. He was never bitter about what happened to Dorothy Ann. The Law Lords had said it had been an Act of God, so who was he to argue? In English law, apparently that’s that. The Law Lords proclaim it, and that’s job done. Crack on then
  • Peacemaker
  • Governor
  • Passionate about teaching: as well as leading Humanities at his last school in Bury, he represented teachers as local elected president of the NASUWT
  • Retired: in the photo above, Arfon completes decades of teaching and opts for a retirement of gardening. They got him a tankard and a pen. He was buzzing
  • Life and soul
  • Pipe smoker (of an evening)
  • Fun
  • Kind
  • Loved
  • Remembered.

Cheers Dad.





‘My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing’.

Aldous Huxley



Hi everyone
Another year is closing school-wise, another year of NQTs successfully finishing what is arguably the most challenging of years in teaching.

Here are some pearls of wisdom from them for anyone who is embarking on teacher training or beginning their NQT year in September. There is repetition, but it’s all good.

These are their PEARLERS:

• Don’t worry about that child that drives you bonkers, you’ve also got 29 other less bonkers kids.

• Enjoy the challenges thrown at you.

• That you can be seen to have fun.

• Don’t do all the work yourself – use your T.A they are there to help you and know what they’re doing.

• Remember the rewards!

• Don’t let the odd bad days get you down.

• Smile even when it’s hard.

• Find someone you can talk to at school – but don’t become drains together.

• Make sure you balance school/home life. You still need to have fun and be young!

• Don’t be scared to apologise for mistakes. Kids will appreciate we are all learning.

• Learn to laugh at yourself (before the kids do).

• Don not stress….Take a risk – anything could happen!

• Forgive yourself for making mistakes – your children will.

• Don’t worry about parents, nobody listens to them anyway!

• Don’t expect to get everything right straight away! Things will go wrong, tomorrow is another day.

• Don’t take it personally, they like you really

• Life, work balance is key. Keep calm and smiling!

• Take risks in the classroom – as long as everyone survives it’s all good.

• Stick with it, it will be worth it in the end.

• If your mentor is busy ask other teachers.

• Use your TA, don’t do it all yourself.

• Remember to laugh!

• Always set work you’d want to do, it makes it easier to teach.

• Keep smiling!

• Treat your caretaker really well.

• Using “well we are in Barnsley (OR INSERT YOUR OWN TOWN)” is never an excuse.

• Take the opportunity to observe as many other teachers that you can.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If someone has offered help take them up on it, but make sure you give them some notice of when you want to have a chat.

• Its hard work but when the “naughtiest” boy in the school says “come on Miss, I just want to write!” it’s all worth it.

• Keep your TA and office staff close.

• Remember that nobody is perfect.

• At the end of the year they’ll all say that they never want to leave your class.

• Leave all expectations at the door, they’ll surprise you!

• It really does get easier, keep going.

• Be inspiring (and smile)!

• Keep a sense of humour about everything.

• Don’t let teaching consume your life, give yourself a break.

• Utilise your TA’s.

• Believe in yourself, you can do it!

…………………………………………..Wine helps!pearl