Thank God it's Friday

3rd October 2003 at 01:00
Monday First day at my new school. To wear a suit or not? To cycle or not? To try to address the staff with PowerPoint or not? To agree to a radio interview about teacher action or not? Suited and refreshed after a cycle over the Severn, I do a reassuring interview about teachers contravening the workload agreement. Then talk to staff without the distraction of PowerPoint. It goes well and we agree a short-term plan that includes zero tolerance of smoking and doing something about the toilets.

Tuesday The students arrive to M People's "Search for the Hero". The toilets are immaculate - graffiti-free, smoke-free, locked during lessons.

The core business is encapsulated in ex-Liverpool FC manager Bill Shanklyn's theme: "Do the simple things right, do them well and do them often." Designed to upset the many Manchester United fans.

Wednesday There's a parental complaint about locking the toilets. The same parent complained last year about bullying in same toilets. Lock the parent and bullies in toilets? Seven smokers are sent home. The w.i.f.m (what's in it for me) message about health, money, education for life is lost on one, as Mum asks the daughter for a cigarette.

Thursday I cycle over the Severn to meet the same mother and daughter smoking in a shop doorway. Today the toilets are closed because of an infestation of wasps. Rob from Year 10 announces he's used the school toilets for the first time in four years.

Friday The toilets are open, and smoke and graffiti-free. At 10am a boiler problem shuts them again. They reopen at 3pm and are then locked again. I get a puncture cycling home at 5.30pm. Mother and daughter hold my bike, not smoking. Not a bad first week.

Neil Morris is the new head at Christopher Whitehead high school, Worcester

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