Thank God it's Friday

6th October 2000 at 01:00
Monday I arrive at 6.50am. It would not do to be late today. The inspectors are due, and I warn everybody that they will be here by 8am. They are - 7.40am to be precise, which puts an end to any further preparation. I am aware that my plans are not as tightly focused as they might be and blame the need to write 48 reports on top of everything. In assembly the children are spellbound, responsive, wonderful. "That was quite good," says the Oracle, "but I noticed you didn't mention God once."

Tuesday I must remember to speak of God in assembly. His name is invoked so many times, I'm faintly surprised when He does not appear. In maths Charlie suddenly looks up, beaming: "I think I've got that." I'm tempted to hug him, but feel that the Presence in the corner would cite inappropriate touching to add to the catalogue of errors and omissions he spoke about last night. He began the after-school meeting by saying the school will almost certainly go into special measures. One of the staff is absent collecting a degree.

Wednesday Today, once again, we must all teach dynamically, knowing that whatever we do will not affect the outcome. Kevin says: "Me dad will e away for the rest of term. Mum says she can't pay for the trip." I find the funds. Less easy is to explain the notion of emotional intelligence to a man determined to judge the school on the basis of statistics. The evening feedback is gruelling. We will not see them again until Friday, but there is no sense of relief that they have gone.

Thursday It's our open day. The only children not supported by their families during the day are the two on holiday and three whose parents have been unable to take time off work. The children show their visitors around the school with obvious pride. The visitors' book fills with compliments. The staff are exhausted.

Friday Letters of congratulation for yesterday arrive and a message from HMI to say that they will be making a corroborative inspection next week. Staff attend the formal feedback session. They leave ashen-faced; two are in tears. The governors ask penetrating questions but leave stunned. It cannot be "for the good of the children" that a staff is demoralised, the governors deskilled and I am distraught.

Judith Warrington is head of Chillerton and Rookley primary school, Isle of Wight


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