I knew it wasn't going to be a smooth transfer when my administrative officer took the call from a local parent who wanted her Year 1 daughter to move into our large four-form-entry infant school. In a densely-packed city where most primaries are no more than 10 minutes' walk from each other, it is common knowledge that disgruntled parents pull their children out of a school whenever its policy, procedure or practice doesn't suit them.
Rochelle's mum had been banned from school premises twice in the four terms that her daughter had attended the previous infant school. The head could barely disguise her joy at the family's departure and was just a little too keen to send on her records.
It didn't take long for Rochelle - and her mother - to settle in. Her mum managed to scare most of the staff and the easy-going parents who usually frequent our playground. And things soon came to a head. The polite mother of Rochelle's "settling in" buddy turned up one morning looking distressed and mumbling that Rochelle's mum had verbally abused her in the street. We had no reason to disbelieve her. Having packed her off with tissues and advice that she could contact the police, it was my "pleasure" to have one of those "conversations" with Rochelle's mum when she turned up with her daughter.
I made sure Rochelle was safely in class before I approached her mother. Ms T not only admitted that she had "had a go" at the woman concerned, but also seemed proud of the fact and blatantly said it was "worth going down for". The more I stayed calm, the more it seemed to infuriate her.
As she left my office, Ms T turned round and said for all to hear: "That's it, I'm going to the police and they can sue you for definition of character!"
The writer is an infant school headteacher.