Thank God it's Friday

13th December 2002 at 00:00
Monday The builders say our new Jubilee block is finished.

The official opening is on Wednesday so they are testing the heating system, letting it run for the statutory number of hours while the painters try to finish top-coating the stairs. The carpenter and his mate are checking the door stops, locks and hinges. They push the music room door, which crashes into the wall. The mate is instructed to fit a door stop. He kneels down, then lets out a scream as jets of underfloor central heating water spray up and form lakes on the new carpet.

Tuesday The carpet has been vacuumed dry. The girls mingle in the courtyard looking at the new block. The lesson bell rings and rings, it will not stop. Girls and staff look bewildered and begin to assemble as if it were a fire practice, but this is not the fire bell. I go in search of the site manager. "Crossed wires," he explains. "They've got to come from Cardiff to fix it." Eventually, the noise stops. A worried member of staff approaches, the bow on the ribbon for tomorrow's grand opening keeps flopping. She sends out for some florist's wire.

Wednesday Everything has been checked. The youngest pupil will hand the scissors to novelist Jilly Cooper to cut the ribbon (with perky stiff bow). I check that a member of the senior management team has a pair of sharp scissors in her pocket to hand to the small child. Governors assemble, the building fraternity arrive (minus the carpenter and mate), guests gather outside, then the chair of governors accompanies Jilly to the place of honour. The scissors are handed to the small pupil, who hands them to Jilly, who cuts the ribbon. We all clap and enter the new block, just missing a heavy downpour.

Thursday A neighbouring headteacher emails to ask how we managed to secure the funding for the new block. It's a long and complex story.

Friday The provisional numbers for next year's Year 7 pupil allocation arrive. I look, grab a calculator and complete several sums. At this rate we will need even more accommodation - can we go through all that again?

Gill Pyatt is head of Barnwood Park school, Gloucester

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