Time to stop the rot, Tony

18th July 2003 at 01:00
THE expectant end of another school year. I search my staff tray daily for the coveted repair request slips on which to list all those repairs that we would like fixed in our classrooms over the summer holiday.

The slips do not appear.

At morning briefing the head informs us that to avoid compulsory redundancies, the maintenance and building budget is going to cover the staff costs. Pause while we take this in. Compulsory redundancies in a school short of staff? No building repairs over the summer?

Thoughts fly to the valiant premises staff that will do what they can with steely determination and thin air on an even more heroic scale.

The staff toilet will have to keep the piece of yellow cord to enable us to flush it. The faculty tearoom will remain a suffocating airless den for the third year running as the window remains stuck.

Must remember to keep the spare plastic bin bags and bowl to cover and mop up the corridor floor when the rain drives through rotten window frames.

Keep the squares of coloured paper over the windows in place of the torn blinds to avoid being blinded by sunlight.

Ask the cleaner to continue vacuuming up the flakes of paint and plaster that fall off due to the spreading damp patch on the classroom wall. This year it is spread across the ceiling in a silent wave.

Remember to tell new staff not to place anything on the corner shelves of the storeroom, as the wall is mouldy from rain leaking in. Try not to sit back on my chair with the broken back held in place with Blu-tac and tape.

Carry on using just the one side of the board to avoid the stain and tear across the width of the other side.

Join the professionals and work in conditions you never dreamed of.

Alternatively, call DIY SOS at Downing Street and beg for help on behalf of schools everywhere. Fancy a room swap Tony? Charles?

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