Thank God it's Friday

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Monday Next month we are taking most of our school on outings to celebrate a Catholic holy day. Year 6, which includes my form, are going to a theme park. They are all excited about this. I am not. The last time I went on a similar trip a boy on the coach was sick in a bag that I was holding. I try to be optimistic.

Tuesday I have been asked to fill in the risk assessment forms for the Year 6 outing. A colleague talks me through the more complicated points and the deputy bursar suggests further changes. I decide to complete the form on the computer, which earns me lots of credit, since it will be the first computerised risk assessment for a theme park. Once it is complete it can be used on similar trips for years to come. I feel that I am on an important mission.

Wednesday I'm told that the disk with the risk assessment outline on it might be corrupt, but that there's not a problem until page seven and I'll only need two or three pages. So how come I can't load the wretched thing on to my computer? I manage to trick it, in the end, by loading it on to my ancient laptop, then on to a different (less corrupt) disk and finally, and triumphantly, on to the original computer. This takes about an hour and makes me too bad tempered to complete the form.

Thursday My problems get worse. The risk assessment model might be on my computer but it has mutated beyond all recognition. It is now so huge that I can only see one third at any time. I have to scroll across to try to line up risk information with the possible control measures. It won't print either, because it is about three times larger than any existing piece of paper. My printer is flashing a red warning light and spewing out blank pages. I give up and complete the form by hand.

Friday I try to persuade somebody else to give in the said handwritten form since I can't face the sight of it any longer. They suggest a small correction and I burst into tears. The deputy head asks what the matter is.

I explain about the corrupt, mutated, despicable disk. He takes it into his office, clicks a few buttons and the form immediately assumes normal proportions. I suppose I'll have to take it home and fill it in now, since he has been so kind.

Susannah White is head of RE at Prior Park preparatory school in Cricklade, Wiltshire. If you have a diary you would like to share (of no more than 480 words), write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email We pay for every article we publish

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