Thank God it's Friday

Joan Fenton

MONDAY A headteachers' meeting to discuss the implementation of the McCrone report. An official from the education department repeats "that will have to be decided at school level" like a mantra in answer to our anxious questions. Back at school, I explain to all the senior teachers that they won't be able to attend the extended management team weekly meetings after school as it won't fit into their 35-hour week.

TUESDAY I attend a parent-teachers' meeting. Two teachers say they'll think about attending voluntarily in future. I describe the proposed school development plan - as required by the education authority - including the proviso that its implementation depends on the staff agreeing when they next meet. A parent suggests that teachers do admin work in their holidays, freeing up more school time for other tasks.

WEDNESDAY I tell a teacher who was at last night's meeting that one parent didn't seem to follow my explanation of the development plan. She says she didn't either. My primary teacher daughter phones to ask if the McCrone report means they will have one-and-a-half hours every week for staff meetings next year.

THURSDAY The school is closed to pupils today because of the General Election. A staff meeting to tease out the finer details of McCrone lasts for three hours. When we have all lost the will to live, one staff member asks: "So, on what day do we do the one-and-a-half hours?" I spend a further two hours in the evening working out the reality for next year. We start to write reports in the first week of December for sending out at the end of May.

FRIDAY Clearly, things are going well at school level as there has been only one fax so far from the local Educational Institute of Scotland secretary to "clear up some issues". Our school EIS representative comments: "Thank goodness I'm at this school! My staff seemed to understand it, no bother."

Joan Fenton is head of Dyce primary school in Aberdeen

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Joan Fenton

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