When I used to ask my dad why he was going to the pub, he would reply somewhat cryptically: "To see a man about a dog." When he never came back with one, I assumed it was a figure of speech. That is until workforce remodelling arrived.
Our senior management team was given the following problem to solve. From September, teachers are to receive 10 per cent planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time. The number of hours children are taught will remain the same. No extra teachers are provided. Explain how this may be possible.
Show your calculations in the box provided; do all your thinking outside of it.
Several senior management team meetings later, we are still trying to work out where the opening is. Finally, someone reasons that the time spent trying to find available PPA time would have been better spent doing PPA.
In desperation, we turn to the Government for help. Hasn't it already advised on this? Remember the chap who told us to get WI members in to do jam-making or something? How we laughed at that one... Is that the whole school? Twelve classes and a foundation unit? Because if it is, we are going to need a bigger kitchen and a shed-load of raspberries. Also, we're not sure there is a branch of the WI on the local council estate. And even if there is, they are probably too busy getting their kit off for next year's calendar.
But maybe the idea is not so daft. Perhaps it just needs applying to our particular circumstances. So, armed with sheets of A2 paper and coloured markers, we set out to devise a strategy before the pub closes - if it still does.
"What about we ask Keanu Baxter's dad - Wacky Baccy - to supply discounted diazepam, add it to water jugs during lunch hour and lock the children in the dining hall till home time? No?
"OK, what if the head supervises whole-school singing on Friday afternoons? Can't fit it in till when? The day after hell freezes over?
"Wait, I've got it, why don't we ask the landlord of the Ferret and Armpit if we can use his Rottweiler to supervise the children while they complete their extended handwriting practice?
"What about bites, scratches, rabies?"
"We'll get a vet to guarantee its welfare."
"Agreed? Good, meeting closed."
Where am I going? "To see a man about a dog."
Steve Eddison is a Year 5-6 team leader at Longley primary school in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Leader with a grudge? Write us a 400-word Sounding Off and get paid as you grumble. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org