Thank God it's Friday

28th November 2003 at 00:00
MONDAY As Lady Bracknell might have said: to lose a caretaker may be considered a misfortune, to lose both caretaker and secretary looks like carelessness. I feel anxious about the return to school after half-term, hoping the new appointments will work out. Bill, the caretaker, spends most of his first day sorting out the cleaners' cupboard. In the office, Sue looks lost.

TUESDAY The cleaners' cupboard is spotless. Bill turns his attention to the cloakroom floors, shaking his head at the ingrained dirt. Sue has recovered slightly. At least there is a pattern to the questions that parents ask her: clubs, uniform, clubs, uniform.

WEDNESDAY I find Bill underneath the cloakroom racks scrubbing the floor.

One of the teachers is making him a cup of tea. She tells me in reverential tones: "Bill put those hooks up in my classroom and I only asked him yesterday." Sue has sorted uniform and clubs: she has organised a parent to bag up the sweatshirt orders and has created a spreadsheet for club membership.

THURSDAY The shine on the corridor floor catches us all out. "Careful, it's wet." "No, it's polish," says Bill, proudly. Sue has rearranged the office desks and brought in flowers.

FRIDAY Bill zaps a large puddle of pee on the Year 1 toilet floor. He wields his mop with a twirling motion and sluices disinfectant into the extremities of the cubicles. "Boys will be boys!" he chuckles. Meanwhile, Sue has finished cleaning blood from foreheads and knees in the office.

Before disappearing for computer training, she asks anxiously, "Am I doing all right?" "Brilliantly," I reply. I mean it.

The author is a primary school headteacher. He wants to remain anonymous

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