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Thank God it's Friday

Monday I get into school early, as we're having a spate of staff illnesses and I might have to teach - supply staff are thin on the ground. Instead, my day is spent as a social worker. I go out in search of Fred, a "looked-after" child. In his short life he has had a series of tragedies that defy belief, yet on his good days his cheeky smile and resilient character make him a joy. Today is not one of his good days. He was brought in by yet another short-term foster parent. I search nearby alleys before my mobile phone rings and I'm told that the police have returned Fred to school.

Tuesday Sports day and there's brilliant sunshine. One parent thanks me for organising the team games that allow her non-sporting child to take part but avoid humiliation. She is followed by the parent of the school ace athlete who has just shone brilliantly.

Wednesday The long-running saga of the drinking fountain continues. During the hot weather our ageing fountain has been in great demand, and the pressure has either been too much or too little. The caretaker tries again to adjust it.

Thursday Swimming day. We take up to 70 children once a week to the local pool, travelling by bone-shaking double-decker bus. This is the highlight of the week for many; not the swimming. They seem to be taken everywhere by 4x4s nowadays, so a rattly, slow bus ride up and down the hills is thrilling. Back from swimming to deal with a temperamental supply teacher. A teaching assistant complains that she's been using her mobile phone in class, instead of teaching. She objects to my attempts at a tactful discussion - she also objects to having to plan and mark work.

Friday An early morning call from the social worker to tell me Fred is back with his mother. I arrange a visit so we can say goodbye, and present him with a book of souvenir photos of his classmates. Despite the disturbances he's caused, he has inspired affection and made good friends. Perhaps his native intelligence and a little bit of luck will ensure everything turns out well for him after all. He deserves a fair wind.

Bob Aston

Bob Aston is head of a junior school in Medway, Kent

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