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Taking assembly at the last minute

Many confident teachers shrink at the idea of taking assembly. But filling in at the last minute, you will gain valuable experience.

* Keep it simple. Fix on one idea, and don't panic looking for more material - reflect on what you have.

* If you're stuck for a topic, a newspaper will give you one, or prepare a simple anecdote about your own children or your pets.

* If you have a dry mouth, suck a mint at the last minute.

* Ask some staff to stay in the hall - you will have their support if anyone misbehaves.

* Keep the preamble short. Act as if you are doing somethig familiar.

* Take "business" announcements first. Keep your story short - 10 minutes maximum.

In primary schools, try for some child involvement.

* If you're uncomfortable with prayer, say: "Let's have a moment of silence to think of members of our school who are ill."

* Finish with a silent dismissal, row by row. Make this work even if it takes time.

* Read Primary Assembly File or Secondary Assembly File, written with this contingency in mind (from PfP, 61 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8TL).

Gerald Haigh

Next week: covering for absent colleagues

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