Day in the life - Jane Langton

5th September 2008 at 01:00
Acting headteacher at Lydbury North C of E Primary in Shropshire

It's a 40-minute drive to school, through the glorious Shropshire hills, an important part of the day that puts some poetry in my life. I arrive half an hour before anyone else, and enjoy having the place to myself. But it's soon time to set out the cereals for breakfast club.

I'm doing two jobs: I'm a key stage 1 teacher and since January I've been acting headteacher. We're a small school, with 40 pupils, split into two classes, and we're under threat of closure. When we advertised for a new head, there were no applicants, so I agreed to take it on.

The first lesson is old-fashioned handwriting and spelling. After that, we get more creative. We've been doing work on rainforests. Our classroom now has green windows, animals on the wall, and vines dangling from the ceiling. It's magical. Today I read the children a story with a strong message about how we should leave the forests alone. It makes us all quite sad.

After break it's time for maths. Teaching a mixed class of three different year groups is always tricky, but particularly in maths. You need to set up different tasks, so that each child is properly challenged.

For the afternoon I change into my wellies and become a Woodland Wanderer. Once a week, the Dial-a-Ride minibus takes us to Walcot Hall, a 22-bedroom house with a magnificent arboretum that's owned by one of our parents. It's safe, and the children can explore on their own. Today they're finding things that make noises. Then we talk about what they've found, and eat banana muffins.

At hometime parents often want to talk about their campaign to save the school. It's difficult. I want to be involved, but I also need to stay focused on running things. I don't want to do this long-term - I want to be an ordinary classroom teacher. But this is a wonderful community, and I'm happy to help however I can.

Jane Langton, 51, was talking to Steven Hastings


2008: Acting headteacher, Lydbury North

2005-2007: Key stage 1 teacher, Lydbury North

1999-2005: Grade 1amp;2 teacher, Apple Montessori, New Jersey, USA

1989-1995: Deputy head, South Haringey Infants, Haringey, London

1986-1988: Advisory teacher, Brent Learning Resources Services

1984-1986: Language co-ordinator, Thorpe Hall Primary, Walthamstow, London

1981-1984: Class teacher, Sybourn Infants, Walthamstow, London.

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