Thank God it's Friday

19th December 2003 at 00:00
Monday So here we are with a collection of kids recently described as the worst in the authority. The week starts with a pen fight, and Michael and Joe being dragged apart. The afternoon brings much hubbub because of a rumour that Tina has been arrested for killing someone over the weekend.

At break, Sam decides to raid the tuck shop, then spits a chewed-up chocolate bar at a member of staff. After much arguing, he goes home and his family and youth offending team worker are phoned. Late in the afternoon, it's confirmed that Tina and another girl are being held for questioning about a suspicious death.

Tuesday Tina is released on bail, and becomes the centre of conversation.

By afternoon break she is near breaking point. "You ever seen a dead body?"

she explodes.

"Yes," quietly replies my deputy. "It's even worse when it's someone you know."

Tina is about to launch back. "Who then?" she nearly shouts.

"My son." There is silence.

Wednesday I'm hoping for a quiet day. Liam dashes my hopes when he starts a fight with Ray, one of the staff team. By the time I intervene, Ray has footprints on his jacket and an ugly red mark on his face. Liam continues his shouting and attempts to get at Ray, who is taken to the sanctuary of the staffroom. Eventually Liam's mother arrives and he leaves the site.

Thursday Ray is off sick. We shuffle the groups and I take over English for the morning. Luke comes in after break, shouting and jumping about. He doesn't want to work and doesn't want anyone else to work either. I ask Sally, the learning support assistant, to take over the session on story writing while I try to calm him. He sits at a computer and begins a story, and I return to the group. Later he shouts at me to come over. He wants me to go through his spellings. He has written only four lines, but it's four more than I expected.

At lunchtime there is a sudden, desperate hammering at the door. Warren, blood pouring down his face, is surrounded by students. He has been beaten up while at the shops down the road. I try to contact his family as he is taken to hospital. The emergency contact number doesn't work. I try the mobile number and it is answered by someone who bought the phone in the pub last week. Finally we track down an aunt, who agrees to contact Mum.

Friday The team look exhausted. With all of this week's events, few have managed to keep their preparation time, and the pressure on all of us has been greater than usual. At the end of registration, Luke grabs my arm.

"You doing English today then?" he shouts. I explain that things are back to normal today and that my time with him was because teachers were absent.

He looks downcast. "Can I come into your office then?" I ask if he has a problem. He shakes his head. "I want you to help me finish my story."

The writer manages a pupil referral unit in south-east England. He wants to remain anonymous

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