To the untrained eye, it looks as though governors and senior leadership teams are in charge of the nation’s schools. But the seasoned pros among us know that it is, in fact, the school office staff who hold the reins.
Here are five reasons why school office staff are so awesome:
- They are peace negotiators School receptionists are on the front line when it comes to incoming enemy fire. Everybody from a fuming parent to an Ofsted inspector will be greeted with a smile that seems to de-escalate any crisis situation in an instant.
- They are nurses Despite the fact that they are constantly on the go, it falls to the office staff to be chief caregivers when the school nurse is otherwise engaged. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen the admin assistant simultaneously offer sympathy, administer an ice pack and field a phone call about yet another lost PE kit.
- They are possessors of all knowledge Where does the money for the theatre trip go? Who’s covering Year 11? What happens if I press this? The school office team can reel off the answers to your questions faster than you can say "education reform". And they’ll do it with that smile.
- They are the voice of reason If you find yourself getting obsessed with the seating plan for junior speech night, or tearing your hair out over a wonky display board, it’s time to visit the school office. This sanctuary of normalcy, where people talk about real things, will make you forget to panic about the fact that your glue sticks aren’t sticky enough.
- They are the keepers of useful things In desperate need of a nail file/stamp/Mother’s Day card/hayfever tablet? The school office can provide all this and more, without a charge. And always with that charming smile.
Chris Powell was talking to Nicola Davison. He is a professional mentor, head of year and geography teacher at Parmiter's School in Hertfordshire