If only end of term wasn't so interminable

8th August 2008 at 01:00

I hate the end of term. Not because I'm one of those heads who can't relax and doesn't like going on holiday - I can and I do. No, it's because there is just so much to do before we say goodbye to pupils on the last day. Those who work alongside me know that Kenny's "things to do before the end of term" list is published just after the summer half-term and is visited at regular intervals.

Those who are not senior or middle leaders have no idea of the panic felt by the rest of us in making sure we are set up and ready for the new term. Being an extended school, ours is open throughout most of the holidays for the summer programme, so it is really hard for my premises team to carry out the maintenance and repair tasks they have to do.

Our school is very overcrowded and we have a huge number of multi-agency staff working with us. Although we love and appreciate all they do for us, we have to find office space for them. Everyone in our school shares an office - even me - so nobody can be precious about space. Thus, end of term means lots of office moves and doubling up. Naturally, these changes cause some upset as people realise their new office is in fact a cupboard fitted out with a carpet and a window in the door.

Another problem this year has been trying to get the timetable to work. This is because, as part of 14-19 partnerships, we have agreed to a common timetable post-16 and have a set day-and-a-half across the borough to deliver the diplomas. This causes terrible problems and restrictions on the rest of the timetable and much angst and distress.

To compound all the difficulties, we have had to put up with the appalling key stage 3 debacle. We are one of the schools that have not received most of their KS3 results on time. Furthermore, the failure to return most of the scripts has meant that the teachers we arranged to have on hand to go through each paper were not able to carry out this important task.

End of term is when we take as many pupils out as possible on end-of-year reward trips. Several colleagues from the English, maths and science faculties had to stay behind to go through the papers, but this turned out to be a complete waste of time as the papers never arrived. We are now told they will be delivered on August 20, when most people will be away.

The start of term is so pressurised that we are not looking forward to spending valuable time checking papers and trying to make sense of our KS3 results - as well as all the analysis we have to do on the KS45 data. We are trying hard to make sure we are using all the available data to personalise the curriculum and plan accordingly, and we need to know if our assessments and predictions are accurate. However, no one seems to be accepting any responsibility for this dreadful mess.

But for me, the worst part about the end of term is saying goodbye to people who are leaving. I get very emotional - particularly when individuals have been with us for a long time. We work in an emotionally challenged environment and cannot help getting emotionally involved with the school and all the people in it.

Our farewell speeches and goodbyes are generally tearful - even when colleagues are going on to do bigger and better things with their lives. They will always leave a little of themselves behind in George Green's School, and take a little of us with them.

Kenny Frederick, Headteacher of George Green's Community School in Tower Hamlets, east London.

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