Thank God it's Friday

8th June 2001 at 01:00
Monday The sun is shining, suggesting a peaceful day ahead. Unfortunately Year 5 haven't noticed the weather. By 11.15am, two boys have run out of the classroom and two teachers are now combing the school. They are found hiding under the dining chairs and escorted to my office. One does a runner again and has to be restrained from throwing himself down the stairs. I call his parents, who hang up on me. In the afternoon we have another incident.

Tuesday Peace, and a visit from the literacy consultant. Early afternoon, a Year 3 child emulates the wanderings of yesterday, and heads off round the school. I leave at 7.30pm after completing four sets of exclusion paperwork.

Wednesday School is quiet. Our local education authority-attached adviser visits. She makes reassuring noises about the exclusions and promises support. I send out a letter to parents explaining the school's firm stand on disruptive behaviour. A parent of one of the excludees hands in a ltter to the chair of governors. I suspect a complaint, but am shocked when I read of alleged personal attacks unrelated to the exclusion.

Thursday The same parent follows me into school as I arrive, and hurls abuse at me. I walk calmly into the staffroom, then collapse in tears on my deputy's shoulder. A teacher makes me a cup of tea. Last week it was her turn to be savagely and unjustly criticised by the same family. I inform the governors and tell the LEA to expect a complaint about me.

Friday The governors' discipline committee meets to respond to the complaint. They support my action and tell me I'm doing an excellent job. My exhausted team suggest reassuringly that the family will find another school. I go out for a drink with the staff after work and they wonder aloud how I can be a head. I share their astonishment, but remember the mortgage.

Charlotte Rhodes is a primary head in the south of England. She writes under a pseudonym


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