26th May 2000 at 01:00
Monday May 15

On Friday Iain, our assistant headteacher, exhorted all S4 pupils to attend school today to receive important information before tomorrow's English exam. S4 attendance last Monday was 92 per cent; today it was 35 per cent. Think again, Iain.

The hall is now set out with 160 desks in columns of 13. All the arrangements for scribes, readers, prompters, room bookings, displaced classes and so on have been made.

Iain carefully put a plan of the hall seat layout on the dry-wipe white board in the foyer. His minor mistake was to use a permanent pen. Fortunately alcohol has uses other than relieving teacher stress.

Emergency packs have been supplied to invigilators for use if a delivery fails. Instructions to the chief invigilator indicated these packs would have a red label. Unfortunately this was not the case and when Joyce opened the pack she discovered a "DO NOT OPEN" message inside.

Pat has been entered electronically for chemistry on three separate occasions but is still missing from the Ex6 forms. Knowing Pat, it probably does not matter.

"Any problems with your Higher art?"

Student 1: "Yes, I got paint all over my new top." Student 2: "Yes, the paint was too sloppy."

Tuesday May 16

English, our first SQA exam. Great excitement in the hall. Lectures about behaviour, dress, listening to instructions and so on met with the same attention pupils normally give to assemblies, that is polite silence but vacant expressions.

Two telephone calls indicating daughters are in hospital with viral infections. One boy hobbled in with a leg injury sustained yesterday playing football when he should have been in school. Pete was brought by his teacher from the referral unit in Kirkintilloch. Valerie, who has been excluded for violnce, appeared only under special arrangements that she is under total supervision of Maureen (AHT) when she is not taking exams.

All candidates accounted for: no need for the phone home and collect system to be implemented.

Wednesday May 17

Candidate cards from SQA arrived. It would have been helpful to have had these before the exams started.

Telephone call from our nearest school, St Maurice's, informing us that one of our fourth year pupils was using study leave to go into their building to "get" someone. She had apparently borrowed a St Maurice's tie and thought that nobody would notice her. She was wrong. My surprise is that she had actually worn a school tie.

Thursday May 18

Standard grade maths went completely smoothly with no additional absentees.

David sat on the wrong seat. When challenged, he pointed out the seat number written on the back of his hand beside his candidate number. After some discussion it was realised that this was his seat number for English from two days ago and that his maths seat number was on his other hand.

What will his hands be like after all eight Standard grades or will he wash?

Friday May 19

Examinations in Standard grade French tested the ability of pupils to find their way about the building. The exams were spread over five venues and with a variety of starting times. Only one was actually late - Katrina S. Iain showed her the room, told her where to sit and let her in. She sat down and completed her Foundation French paper.

The invigilator checked: "Are you Katrina?" "Yes." "Are you better? When did you get out?"

Unfortunately she had sat in the empty seat belonging to Katrina B, who is in hospital.

The writer is headteacher at Kilsyth Academy, North Lanarkshire

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