Thank God it's Friday

4th April 2003 at 01:00
Monday Our specialist school bid has to be with the DfES on Friday. Ashen faces suggest it's been a tough weekend for those doing the writing. The day is dominated by checklists as we chase up every supporting letter and piece of evidence. Morale improves when a sponsor telephones to say he'll cover any potential shortfall.

Tuesday The thought that we might not finish in time will not go away.

We're going to need every minute of the next four days. I visualise having to take trains and taxis to London on Friday to beat the deadline. We panic about understanding the instructions on financial years.

Wednesday Suddenly everything is falling into place. The office staff sort out the copying and collating. There's a period of calm, like the first morning of Ofsted week when there's nothing else to be done. Late in the afternoon, the chair and vice-chair of governors come in to do the final proofreading.

Thursday Just as we're ready for the binding, I cause last-minute palpitations. I'm not sure if we amended the final balance sheet to match the changes for particular years, but the anxiety is unnecessary. Then I'm on my way with the specified five copies to the car park of the One-stop cafe on this side of the Severn Bridge. The parent organising the courier is already there, and I hand over the package - I wonder what the locals make of this surreal exchange.

Friday We're exhausted, but we've done the best we can. I reflect on the uncertainties we wrestled with about the concept of specialist schools, and on the nonsense our rural location seemed to make of the principle. The telephone wakes me from my reverie to confirm that the package has arrived.

John Claydon is head of Wyedean school, Monmouthshire, recently designated a maths and computing specialist college

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