Thank God it's Friday

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
Monday We have two teams in the Young Enterprise regional finals, both with innovative products and real characters to do their presentation. In the first group, one team member wears a tutu, another a ballgown. The other group starts with "What makes you stand out from the crowd? Nothing! Unless you buy one of our customised T-shirts." He then takes his clothes off to reveal the product. They win a category.

Tuesday More Year 12 public presentations, this time the Young Volunteer group who support St Ann's Hospice. They speak to a large audience, including the local MP and mayor, about a talent show which raises more than pound;1,000 for the hospice. They win the category of "most innovative" idea. Year 10 exams start today, as does an intermittent fault in the burglar alarm, which keeps going off as the maths exam begins.

Wednesday We hold interviews for a business studies teacher and the four candidates do a revision session with Year 12. To my surprise, the head of department asks the students to rate them; the ratings agree exactly with the judgment of the staff selection panel. The governing body might consider saving themselves a lot of trouble if they tell candidates for my post to teach a class of sixth-formers for 25 minutes and then ask for their reaction.

We're holding a mock election; the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate is a member of Year 12. The Monster Raving David party also fields a candidate whose policies include eliminating money. Asked, "How will we get things, then?" he replies, "Just take them." Citizenship is obviously not working.

Thursday The Monster Raving Loony Party wins. It had the most interesting publicity and won more than half the vote in a high turnout. I look forward to its inquiry into why a fox stands on a particular type of mint. Pupils celebrate with balloons and worry senior management when they decide to burst them all simultaneously at lunchtime. More burglar alarm trouble when staff notice a male intruder walking across the field towards a pupil. They go out through the emergency exit in the common room, setting off the alarm. The "intruder" is a student's father, annoyed that his boy is playing football rather than meeting him for a hospital appointment to check up on his fractured thumb. We aren't too pleased, either, since many man-hours have gone into providing him with an amanuensis for every SATs exam because he can't write.

Friday At lunchtime I come across some Year 12 boys playing football on the basketball court, getting in the way of younger students playing basketball. Billy says to me, "Hello Sir, is this the first time you have ever found us playing football where we are allowed to?" "So you think you are allowed to play here?" Fantastic, our students. I'll miss them.

Mark Garbett was head of Stretford grammar school, Manchester. He takes up a new headship in London this term

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