Thank God it's Friday

24th March 2000 at 00:00

Ofsted Eve. The head rings to tell me that he has just put his foot through my classroom ceiling. He was hiding some incriminating evidence in the loft when he slipped.


8.55am: An inspector walks in and says he has come to see me take the register. I haven't practised this. Still, after 30 years I should be pretty good at it. The children sit on the carpet, breathing Monday-morning good behaviour and I pick up the register and go to sit down. Except my chair has disappeared. This is because the inspector has removed it to a corner of the room and is sitting on it. It's the only one in the room big enough to hold a bottom larger than that of an eight-year-old.

9.05: The inspector disappears and Ashley retrieves my chair.

9.10: I begin literacy. The inspector returns and perches on a table. I ask the children to give me examples of words they know which begin with "anti". Suggestions include "antisocial", "antibiotics" and "antibacterial toilet cleaner". Henry is looking thoughtful so I ask him if he has a word for me. He nods. "Antiques Roadshow".


My turn to take collective worship. Seventy children, two inspectors and the HMI who has come to inspect the inspectors wait in expectant silence.I realise after they have all filed out that I forgot the hymn.


The numeracy session seems to be going quite well. I fire questions at children on whom I can rely to answer correctly. "Which would you rather have, a pound;5 note or 490p?" I ask Laura. Laura answers confidently: "490p." Secretly panic-stricken, I ask her if she would like to explain how she came upon that answer. "Well," she says thoughtfully, "I know it's a bit less, but I'd be sure to lose a pound;5 note."


My science lesson is being observed. In the interests of the team, I have given up all claim to my chair. The lesson is about friction. Daniel puts his hand up. "We've done this before," he says. "And I know the difference between friction and non-friction."


The inspectors sit in a huddle to decide on our future. Since everyone on the staff is suffering from nervous exhaustion, the vicar comes in to take assembly. He tells the story of Abraham and Sarah. He is explaining about the visitation of the three men who tell Sarah she is going to have a son. "Who do you think the three men really were?" he asks. Jemima's hand is up in a flash. "Inspectors."

Sarah Wellington teaches in Wiltshire. She writes under a pseudonym

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