Thank God it's Friday

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
Monday This is the day the 11-plus results come out, the key stage 2 booklets arrive in schools and the Ofsted inspection starts. And the delayed auditor's report is due. It's the first day after half-term, so the answerphone is flashing insistently with seven requests for urgent appointments to discuss 11-plus appeals.

At least I have no time to worry about the arrival of the inspectors whom our secretary installs in the medical room. The boiler makes a wailing noise like a small furry animal in pain.

Tuesday It's snowing and I arrive to the unwelcome sight of the boiler repair man's van. Perversely the school is scorching; to test the boiler it has to be run at full blast.

The league tables are published. A grandfather calls, demanding to know why we are not in them. I explain that he is looking at the wrong authority; Medway is not Kent, educationally speaking. Our inspectors are now deployed around the school, relieved to have escaped their small room.

Wednesday My colleague from the infants school calls to wish us luck and to tell me that we have lost our first child in the league table shuffle - an annual event. This time we are losing a six-year-old to a school 15 places above us in he league.

As one child departs, another arrives. A small prep school has had a bad 11-plus year. Four parents want to transfer their children. They are changing from a year group of nine to one of 90.

Thursday We have a humane Ofsted team, led by an excellent inspector. Not only has he almost succeeded in putting us at our ease, but his credibility shoots up when he deals with a boy with a streaming nose bleed who rushes into the medical room scattering blood.

After-school meetings with the inspector stretch late into the evening, and we emerge to find his car locked in the infants school car park. The only way I can open the gate is to climb over the security fence. As I battle with a migraine, I hang over the fence wondering if vomiting over a inspector is likely to have an adverse effect on the report.

Friday Our final verbal report is pleasing, with everything satisfactory, good or very good. We lock up and prepare to join the rest of the staff at the pub before going on to our bowling party. Despite the humane inspectors and the good result, the bowls will be sent down with just a little more venom than usual.

Bob Aston is headteacher of a junior school in Medway, Kent


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