Thank God it's Friday;Diary

17th December 1999 at 00:00
MONDAY Key stage 1 has got so carried away bringing in holly sprigs and making paper chains that early years is more festooned than Santa's grotto. The nursery nurse wanders into the office for a coffee break. She's covered in blobs of cotton wool and glittery bits - running repairs to Santas and snowmen. Despite the pleas in December's newsletter, the Christmas posting box contains the usual assortment: "Katie Jones, 3F" - more than adequate; "James C" - deliverable with detective work; "Amy" - no chance, we have eight Amys. My cards line the office windowsills, three deep.

TUESDAY Two weeks of swiping from Year 6 has proved too much for the corridor decorations - they are beginning to sag. I tape them up, but bits descend when parents arrive for the nativity play. The deputy is worried about abandoned buggies contravening safety regulations, so devises a plan - which everyone ignores. It's pushchair gridlock outside the office. Cheery mums crowd in the hall with perplexed dads who've brought camcorders expecting a three-hour passion play, not a 10-minute static stable scene.

Santa's suit is at the dry cleaner's and no one can find the ticket.

WEDNESDAY The decorations collapsed overnight, setting off the burglar alarm. The caretaker comes in shattered and cursing the festive season. The PTA lends us a Santa suit, but there's a further crisis - Santa has 'flu. In desperation I ring my husband, but he says he has an important meeting. The caretaker volunteers on condition he goes home and sleeps first. Refreshed, he discharges his duties with enthusiasm, but the Irish brogue is a giveaway, even for the tinies. The pile of undeliverable cards grows.

THURSDAY The office is overwhelmed. Cards are taped to the shelves, photocopier, in-tray, out-tray, computer, door and kettle. The cook has been working since 6.30am preparing Christmas lunch. By noon Slade is blaring through the dining hall. The staff queue-jump and sit with steaming plates while the head gives his Yuletide speech. A teacher by me bawls at one of her kids for cheeking a dinner lady. I am temporarily deafened. Key stage 2's play goes smoothly - the audience knows the ropes by now. This time the fire exits are compromised by Zimmer frames and wheelchairs.

FRIDAY Card monitors sift through the dregs of the undeliverables. Even the reception teacher draws a blank. By late afternoon the decorations are stowed ready for next year and a 10ft tree is left outside, free to anyone who can squash it into their living room. I prise nearly 100 cards (plus the odd lump of paint and computer key) off various surfaces, find the dry cleaning ticket and go home.

Frankie Searle is a school secretary. She writes under a pseudonym.

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