Thank God its Friday

24th February 1995 at 00:00
Monday: This is to be a quiet week. Visit my 85-year-old mother who is unimpressed by our governing body threatening to resign and by my brief appearance on the telly - BBC Newsnight's coverage of the Shropshire School Governors Association meeting.

Tuesday: Try to contact our local MPs about a delegation to London and discover how difficult it is for ordinary constituents to track these people down. Phone education correspondents of national newspapers. Not much interest. Then the man from The Times gets back to me. Spend 45 minutes telling him about our school's Pounds 60,000-plus deficit, and why we are going to have to sack three teachers.

He says he'll be sending a photographer but I tell him I won't make a lovely picture and would rather just discuss the budget. Also I'm going to a funeral this afternoon. Photographer will come at 3.30pm.

I make it back to school by 3.15pm where I'm photographed with Dave, the head, leaning on three different school gates. As luck would have it, but because of the funeral, I'm wearing my best coat.

Message to phone Radio Five Live. They want to come tomorrow and do an extended piece on what governors do. Fine, says Dave.

Wednesday: Buy The Times. A well-written piece. My family says I've got mad, staring eyes. Fine view of Dave's right ear. I'm at the school listening to children reading when ITN phones. Can they come this afternoon? Fine. The Radio Five reporter interviews Dave and me at length. We are impressed by his interest. He says how nice it's been to get away from London.

ITN haven't turned up. There's a phone message to say they'll be here tomorrow morning instead. Get home and Radio One are on the phone asking if they can come in the morning at nine. I explain that ITN are coming at ten. No problem.

Thursday: Radio One phone early to say they'll be late. ITN arrive at nine. They say how nice it is to get out of London. Talk through problems of the budget and staff cuts. Dave and I and a teacher are interviewed. At lunch time a television is brought into the staffroom. It's normally only used for videos, so the picture is snowy and lacks colour.

No one knows how to find ITV. News at One starts with the British space walker and then we're the second item.

Radio One reporter arrives, very perky. He likes getting out of london too. More interviews. My nine-year-old son reluctantly reads out the letter he wrote to Mrs Shephard. This is when he wishes he wasn't my son. He hectors me all the way back to his classroom but his teacher is one who will be sacked and his class will go from 28 to 38.

The teachers' pay award is announced just after four. More ITN interviews. At 5.30pm there is a good pacey report on Radio One Newsbeat.

ITN send their tape by satellite but there is no coverage at 5.40pm or on News at Ten. We were warned we might be squeezed.

Friday: The Observer phones. I explain that the Government seems to have dug its heels in, refusing to recognise that counties like Shropshire have a genuine problem. What more can we do?. Perhaps I should try writing a piece for The TES, though it's probably preaching to the converted.

Sheila Halsall is chair of governors at Market Drayton junior school in Shropshire.

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