Thank God it's Friday

30th September 2005 at 01:00
MONDAY It's been a day like a week. It starts well enough. The sun is shining, and only one member of staff calls in sick. She was hit on the head by a cricket ball at the weekend. Then I hear of a family in crisis and that an immediate child protection referral needs to be made. I finish this with 15 minutes to spare before I'm due at an event at the local theatre. Should I stay or should I go? I stay.

TUESDAY By break, it feels like it should be tomorrow. Alfie reports to my office, advising me he has not been naughty, but that "Mr Foster said you have to look at me foot 'cos it's getting bigger." Sure enough, he has a giant foot. I walk him over to see our first-aider, who agrees medical attention is needed. After reassuring Alfie that amputation is unlikely, I deposit him at his house to the care of his mum.

WEDNESDAY A stroll back to school in the sunshine helps me feel like a new woman and I try to imagine it is the start of a new day. That is until a neighbour leans out of her window to tell me more bad news about the family in crisis. I go round to the house and, finding the children in the care of a social worker, I take them into school. They are both very brave and I can only admire their stoicism. They've seen more bad things in their short lives than anyone I know.

THURSDAY I wish it was another day; that I could turn back the clock so that after lunch 10-year-old Shane didn't threaten to put his teacher "through the wall". Thing is, he could do it. He's as tall as his teacher and probably heavier. Shane tells me I should exclude him "if I dare". I dare. He will not be in school for the rest of this week. Meanwhile, the infants have to evacuate the field after a "dangerous dog" shows up. I find said dog fast asleep in the porch. I'd like to curl up too.

FRIDAY It feels like it should be Friday, but it's only home time on Monday and there's still a staff meeting to attend. A social worker collects the children from the family in crisis, but they don't know where they will be sleeping tonight. The Year 5 teacher asks me to check her hair, as the "itchy scalp" shampoo isn't working. I check and advise that insecticide rather than shampoo will sort her out. Who needs the theatre when you can have a fresh tragi-comedy every day? Like I say, it's been a day like a week...

Jo Hatfield

Jo Hatfield is a primary school headteacher in the north of England. She writes under a pseudonym. If you have a diary 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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