Thank God It's Friday

25th July 2003 at 01:00
Oh, to be beside the seaside. Not, writes Val Woollven

Monday The joys of teaching by the sea. The neighbours pop round to see Tom, our caretaker. There is a seagull's nest on the school roof. Seagulls can be nasty when the chicks are hatched, so it would be a good idea to contact the environmental health department. I'll try, but they weren't much help when we had the plague of rabbitsI Tuesday The Year 1 staff are worried by the seagull which is tapping on their glass door. We are visited by the man from the environmental health department. We could pay to have the eggs oiled, but the birds will return next year and lay more. It will cost pound;250 to remove the nest. I haven't budgeted for this.

Wednesday James, a teaching assistant, offers to remove the nest for pound;100. When I tell the staff that I read in The TES about a school which was forced to close because the seagulls were so violent, they offer to pay James not to remove the nest. I ask the environmental man to remove it.

Thursday The nest has gone, replaced by a nasty-looking spike which should deter next year's breeding. Two seagulls wander around the school in a bewildered state. You can't help feeling sorry for them.

Friday We are having a special assembly based on our theme for the term, nature. A falconer brings a hawk and an owl to talk about the variety of species in God's world. The weather is glorious, so we gather on the lawn and listen as he describes the habits of the owl, which is sitting on his arm. Suddenly the sky is filled with seagulls who swoop and threaten the bird. The hawk is set free to chase a moving "rat" and flies straight to a tree, to be mobbed by seagulls. We troop back into school as the falconer tries to retrieve his bird. I no longer feel sorry for the seagulls. I'm looking for a job in the countryside where life is surely much quieter.

Val Woollven is head of St Andrew's C of E primary school, Plymouth

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