Caught in the net

7th December 2007 at 00:00
Kate is tripped up taking a short cut to writing perfect end-of-term reports.Dear Bex,

It's 5pm and I'm halfway through a Bravo Two Zero-style escape from the school when the head intercepts me in the corridor. I think she's got some kind of radar system.

"Kate, I wanted to talk to you about your end-of-term reports."

"No problemo."

"I was flicking through them in the admin office and I noticed... how can I put it?... a pattern emerging. Take this for example."

She plucked a wedge of paper from some hidden compartment in her chest.

"'Andrew Robinson is a bright all-rounder with a good grasp of his subject knowledge and above-average social skills'."

"Pretty fair I think."

"So did I until I got to the next report in the pile. 'Gayle Matthews is a bright all-rounder with a good grasp of her subject knowledge and above-average social skills'."

"It's not my fault that a lot of my pupils are bright all-rounders with above-average social skills."

"Twenty-seven of them at my count."

"Well, what do you want me to do? Pretend they've got the social skills of a suicidal turnip farmer? That wouldn't be very good for the school's image, would it?"

I glare at her. This is my one and only line of attack. So I work it.

"Right. Well do you also expect me to believe that 79 of them are competent readers with moderately good organisational capabilities?"

"What's so implausible about that?"

"... and a pronounced lisp."

There is only one thing I can do: confess.

"There is a small chance that I might have used one of those internet report-writing packages. You know, the ones where you select phrases that have been pre-written for you."

She closes the door, then lowers her voice to a whisper.

"I see. I don't suppose you know one that can write the headteacher's report for me do you?"

Love Kate

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