Thank God It's Friday

17th May 1996 at 01:00
Monday: I delight in the knowledge that Monday mornings will soon be different. Early retirement beckons and this term is my last. The paperwork is done and the Teachers' Pension Agency knows which bank to put the money in.

The governors agreed to my request at a meeting a few months ago. One governor said he hoped I wouldn't slow down and take it easy in the summer term. I gave him a steely glare but didn't mention my memoirs which will run to at least 10 paperback volumes. I've called it Consenting Governors and have posted it off, signed "J Collins".

Tuesday: Slow down? He must have been joking. We have this difficult pupil. Actually we have several. This is no leafy lane, picturesque, rural idyll. With this particular kid we are conducting what we have called a BIP - Behaviour Intervention Programme.

He has a few endearing traits like running away, kicking the walls, slagging teachers and biting people's ankles. That's on a good day.

We're in the fourth week of this programme and all the staff are wearing shinpads. The other week he ran away to the neighbouring school's playground."Go back to your own school," the deputy shouted to him. "Can't, " he laughed. "I'm effing expended."

As I watch him running down the corridor pulling pictures of the walls I rename the programme Behaviour Intervention Fixed Focus (BIFF).

Wednesday: I had the strangest dream last night. It was Open Night and the place was packed. Even the staff were in.

Then in a kind of Mystic Meg haze it all changed into the parents' AGM. I was dragged to the front by the same governor who was telling me not to slow down.

I had no speech prepared but muttered about not getting crowds as big as this at a first team game at Burnley these days.

I told them my old Dad used to tell me: "Son, somewhere there's a school with your name on it."

I knew it was Thorpe when last week on a wall round the back I found something that said "Thomas is aI" It was a strange word I'd never seen before which rhymed with anchor. What would Dad have made of that?

Thursday: There are case conferences, statements of special need, the day when the photographer's comingIand I teach full-time. I think of one of my new jobs come September - househusband and cook because my wife will still be working.

I can make a pretty decent beef casserole but that's been off the menu for months. Do I understand correctly? Cows get BSE and humans get CJD? My own lad who reads a lot of Roald Dahl calls it BFG which seems a lot easier. Apparently SEAC is looking into the problem. Not the SEAC teachers know but the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee. Every time something comes from SEAC you need to look twice to see if it's about cows or teachers.

Friday: I can slow down. It's Friday. It's only Good Work Assembly, swimming, games, teach Year 3, chase the BIFF kid around the yard a few times, do dinner duty, talk to a procession of people - police, education welfare officer, social workers, parents, the plumber.

Then at hometime I see a strangely familiar figure walking down the hall towards me. It's an ex-pupil, 6ft tall and 20 now, working as a slaughterman.

Slowly I remember. This lad was hell 10 years ago. We did a BIFF programme on him too. Last time I had him in my office it was to show him the door. Now he kills cows for a living and has come to see me. There's a nice retirement present.

David Thomas is headteacher at Thorpe Primary School, Wakefield

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today