9th June 2000 at 01:00
Monday May 29 Whitsun bank holiday: the school is quiet. With the unthinkable now being thought, why don't we have all the exams while the rest of the school is on holiday?

A colleague who teaches chemistry had a telephone call yesterday inviting her to mark Standard grade and to attend the markers' meeting on Wednesday. The person who called revealed that SQA were looking for another five chemistry markers.

Tuesday May 30 Another very quiet day: Russian, maths SYS, social and vocational skills, religious, moral and philosophical studies.

Pupils are still complaining about the Higher Still maths paper of last week.

The chemistry marker received her first batch of papers. Unfortunately, 50 per cent were for the wrong level.

Wednesday May 31 The chemistry marker received the rest of her papers and instructions that when she left Waverley Station to go to Moray House Institute, a minibus marked SQA would pick her up. They are either being very generous providing transport for 400 yards or they've made another mistake.

I am attending a course today at SEEMIS Group (computerised admin which, among other things, transfers data to SQA). A relaxing day. Lunch at South Lanarkshire offices: beautifully furnished, peaceful and an excellent three-course meal for pound;2.50. Where have schools gone wrong?

Because I am away, Joyce, our chief invigilator, offers to give me something for this diary. "Nothing seems to faze Iain (assistant head) at all. He gave me the seating lists just a few minutes before the exam, so I paid him back by changing the accommodation at short notice. Not the slightest blink of concern. Peter (PT English) is so paranoid about his SYS English pupils that he brought me a cup of coffee as an excuse to seehow they were getting on."

Thursday June 1 This is the type of day we dread: it is raining, the main exam is craft and design, there are long gaps between exams and an inter-village dispute which has been simmering for several weeks looks like flaring up.

There are no problems until lunchtime. I am supervising a corridor outside an exam room and Iain is on general patrol. A telephone call to the office indicates there is something happening in one of the playgrounds. Maureen (assistant head) goes out. Iain soon joins her. I interrupt a group marching purposefully through the building while Alan (the depute head) gets involved with another group. Using the force of our presence nothing develops and the afternoon starts peacefully.

At the board of management meeting Maureen, Iain and I sit soaked to the skin while Alan is as dry as a bone. As recompense he volunteers to see one group on to their bus at the end of the day. He does so in full sunshine.

A letter from SQA indicates there have been problems getting markers and asking to pay two days absence cover per marker to allow them to work at home. I try to fax my response but their number is continuously engaged. I wonder why.

We have no packs to return papers despite telephone calls since last Friday.

Friday June 2 PE Studies: a major panic when Ian (principal teacher) cannot get the TV to work. "It was OK when I checked it last night!" After five minutes of worry he discovers the aerial lead is not plugged in.

Our attendance to date has been excellent. Only Shug is missing today. He says he thought the exam was tomorrow. Iain runs his taxi service and Shug starts the exam five minutes late. The invigilators report he was finished after 10 minutes.

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