Thank God it's Friday

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Monday It's leadership programme for serving heads week, so I have to do five days' admin in one. At the end of the day my desk is clearer than I've seen it for weeks. Four days in Bournemouth concentrates the mind wonderfully.

Tuesday Leave home at 6.30am rather than the intended 5.15. Fog on the south coast and traffic on the M25 mean I get to Bournemouth at 9.29am and have to go straight into the "getting to know you" session. I write down people's names, schools and resemblances to help me remember who's who. John (Kevin Whately) looks over at my pad. He suggests that people may think I'm like Alan Bennett.

Wednesday Our affable tutors, Colin and June, help us "unpack" the results of the Context for School Improvement survey. I note a contrast between those who expansively spread their healthy-looking results on the table in front of them and those who furtively stuff theirs into folders. I hide mine under a slightly more respectable-lookig leadership profile.

Thursday Colin has counselled that no work contact is to be made. At coffee I covertly speak to Michelle back at school. "Everything all right?" "Yes." "Any applications for the summer post?" "No." I decide to take the Antipodean route, so put in train a Byzantine arrangement that involves 30 pages arriving on the ancient hotel fax, an elaborate system of agency "ring backs" to my mobile phone, "inter-session" communication with the chairman of governors and night calls from Australia. The job is filled.

Friday Clive (Roger Scruton without the hair) led a late foray to Oddbins last night so the course has a quiet and contemplative mood this morning. Clive and I talk about professionalism - and realise no one has mentioned the word. We conclude that the professional designs the machine, the leader builds it, and the manager walks round with an oil can.

David Finch is head of a junior school in Medway, Kent


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