Thank God it's Friday

6th December 2002 at 00:00
MONDAY I'm off to a course. Up the M1 to Nottingham, to the National College for School Leadership. I'm immediately excited by the architecture - high atriums of wood and glass, spiral staircases, talking lifts and electric-blue spotlights.

TUESDAY I join my Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers group. The first set of results from the confidential questionnaires completed by school staff is returned. Tentatively, we open up to each other and share experiences, successes and concerns. New table lamps for each of the bedrooms solves the problems of the too-subtle lighting. Confit of duck with new potatoes and deep fried mint for supper.

WEDNESDAY Cold water in the shower; I fear a new initiative from Charles Clarke to increase the challenges for headteachers. I meet two implausibly young and enthusiastic heads, here to deliver research papers. They manage to combine a laddish good humour with a clear understanding of what makes schools work well. Later in the day, we feel lost in a pea-soup of theory and information. We hold on for the supper of deep fried calamari in a light lemonade batter with pesto noodles and chilli jam.

THURSDAY Trainers wrestle with the "intelligent" lighting in the seminar room that doesn't know it should switch off; drawing the blinds to show a video only increases its brightness. Stuffed aubergines with ratatouille perched upon aubergine caviar for supper.

FRIDAY Last day. We practise the language of leadership we will use when we return to school. One course member encapsulates what we have learned:

"Share more, listen more, challenge more, expect more, celebrate more" - he's going to charge us for using it. Then it's all over. Take-away pizza for supper.

David Burrows is a primary head in the south of England

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