Thank God it's Friday

19th January 2001 at 00:00

My first day back after seven weeks off following a brain haemorrhage. I receive a warm welcome as I lead the staff briefing. I tell them I am fully recovered and fit to carry out my duties. They take me at my word and I am called to three incidents before lunchtime.

I lead the Year 7 assembly by turning the story of my illness into an uplifting tale - the moral being that we need to rely on the help and support of others and it is our duty to look after those in need. I had to rely on nurses, doctors and my family; pupils need to rely on their teachers, who must be treated with respect. I hope this meets the requirements for our act of collective worship.


There were all sorts of rumours going around about my illness, the main one being that I had contracted meningitis, so I decide to repeat the assembly with Year 9. I am approached by a girl who says she enjoyed the assembly but she thought I had got mingitis. I must evaluate the whole school literacy policy.


I revert to my old trick of hiding in the grounds of the neighbouring infants school to catch pupils smokingon their way to school. The smokers see me, give me a cheer and say it is good to have me back. They report to me at break.

I receive a three-page letter from a parent giving details of how her daughter has had her pens stolen and her shoes put down the toilet. It starts: "Dear Mr Turner, I am sorry you have been ill and am pleased you are now better. Now, on a more serious matterI" Thursday

I do the assembly again. It's Year 11, so I go into more detail about the hospital tests. I thought they might enjoy the description of a tube inserted into an artery in my groin and pushed up to my brain. Perhaps I am too graphic; three girls and one teacher feel faint.


I attend the local authority headteachers' conference. An exciting agenda: government regulations; teacher recruitment; local government finance; public service agreement; and the Learning and Skills Council. I think I may have fallen asleep but everyone is too polite to mention it. At least I did not miss the chief education officer making a joke.

Richard Turner is head of Hartshill secondary school, Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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