My worst parent - PE note gave us the runaround

4th February 2011 at 00:00

The first time I met Charlie's Irish stepfather was a heated affair. It was only defused by the arrival of the police and a reminder by our community bobby that threatening to follow the head home and duff her over was unlikely to bring back the trainers that had been "lost" during PE. That these trainers would never have been "lost" had they actually been worn in the PE lesson, rather than left in the changing rooms, was never appreciated by the stepfather. And while I was trying to work out what Charlie had worn on his feet during the lesson, I wondered how the evil-tempered stepfather managed to imply, in his tirade against the school, that the entire Anglo-Irish question was my responsibility.

The second exchange was a phone call home. Charlie was clearly not comfortable in PE. So when yet another letter had arrived to excuse him from games, his PE teacher smelled a rat. It was addressed to "Mr Dick". Worse, it began: "Dear Mr Pricky ..."

We couldn't believe either mum or stepfather could have written such insults. Surely this was a forgery by the son? But Charlie was adamant his mum had written it, and a phone call home proved he wasn't lying. Mum had indeed written the note, having had it dictated to her by her "cheeky Charlie". He'd told her that "the old teacher" had retired and been replaced by Mr Pricky. "We just call him Mr Dick, so you can put that on the envelope - he won't mind," he had told her. "He did mind," we told her, "and he hasn't retired."

Charlie was grounded for a number of days, though we were never sure whether that was for trying to skip PE or for making his mum and stepfather look ridiculously gullible.

The writer is a headteacher at a school in Berkshire. Send your worst parent stories to Those published will receive #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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