Thank God it's Friday;Talkback

12th February 1999 at 00:00
New year, new job, but what a job. I'm a head with no school and, until we open in September, I'm the only staff. Envious friends talk of the bliss of having no children, no parents, no staff and no buildings to disrupt my headteacherly planning. I veer between visions of how much there is to do before September, and wondering if I'll have finished planning by the end of February.

Monday I report to the office where I will "hot desk", which means I have to find a space. Having headed a real school (with children) as opposed to a virtual school, it is awesome starting the year with a blank diary. I network, gathering speed. During a quiet lunchtime with grown-ups, I reflect that in my old job I would have dealt with many more people, taken assembly, taught the literacy hour and done the post. I hope this job will not slow me down. I miss the old school and ring them. They offer me a few carefully chosen children to keep my hand in. I decline.

Tuesday A new base today. I arrive carrying a bigger bag - catalogues weigh a ton. I've still not got the promised laptop. As people know I've started, the phone begins to ring. I work office hours again, much to my family's astonishment.

Wednesday I drive to the new school. It is exciting to see how the field I saw when I was appointed has moved on to become a busy building site. I hold a surgery at the local estate agents, and have as many enquiries about jobs as vacancies for children. This school will be important in the area.

Thursday Back to base two for a day of discussions about buildings, facilities and resources. Still no laptop. A male colleague tells me I should slow down and be thinking rather than doing in this first week. When I respond with "But women think fast", he is not amused. It's pouring, so I'm missing wet playtime...perhaps I don't miss the children quite so much at all times. Back home I ask if anyone thinks I am hyper, and there is an instant shout of "Yes!" from all three of them.

Friday I visit a new school with my chair of governors. The head gives us many tips on how to persuade local education authorities, architects, builders and other benefactors to donate large amounts of free extras. I take notes furiously. Somehow I don't think I will have finished everything in a month.

Clare Griffiths is head of Parkview Primary, Oakwood, Derby. The school is due to open in September

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