A daily tale of class struggle
Stallis screams and swears at me full tilt one day this week, ostensibly because I'd asked her to rub off the generous amount of scribble she'd applied to a table top.
Sometime afterwards, red-eyed, she tells me, defensively, that she has heard from Deza, her Czech replacement Mum who had to leave England last term when her permit ran out.
She is puzzled: "It was Deza's birthday but she sent me a present - why did she do that?" Stallis is five and has had her fingernails painted exquisitely by her real mother, whom she sees about once every three weeks. She told me that her father doesn't like it when she has her nails painted but he hasn't got anything to take it off with.
Larry has lost a shoe, a jersey and a T-shirt this week. He also lost his father and a surname last term when his father disowned him in court. He is also five.
Fergus is learning to read; I know because he follows me round with this old American primer asking me if he's got a word right. The book's getting a bit shabby but it's brilliant. I can't work out why it should work; but it seems to be a springboard for many aspiring readers.
It's got good illustrations, minimal but realistic stories and just the right amount of repetition, but that could be said of a number of similar more up-to-date books which I would have thought the children would have found more attractive. An infant classroom is not the place for predicting things though.
Looking out of the window at playtime I see two boys, hefty six-year-olds, arms wide, running into the wind as a blossom tree sheds a myriad of petals, coating the boys pink and adding to their general hilarity and exhilaration; momentarily they have forgotten they are playing Power Rangers.
* Frances Lindrea hastaught for more than 30 yearsand lives in Hertford, Hertfordshire.