The pupils at play learn about it gradually as the loos empty, and later they miss the security afforded by the bells. A mild panic ensues among a few Year 9 girls, so they come into the building without being invited. I tell them to wait outside for their teacher and explain that the bells are not working because there is a power cut. Rachel foresees a problem: "No electricity! We've got computers next. That'll be well 'ard in the dark!"
Tuesday: On my way to invigilate I cut through art, who are putting up a display for the parents evening on Thursday. I make a mental note to look at their display later. In the examination room, David, who has been described as being two loaves short of a miracle, is sitting his GCSE trial exams. His hand goes up within a few minutes of the start. It takes me about ten seconds to arrive at his desk. He looks a little dumbfounded and finally confesses that he has forgotten what it was that he wanted. I reassure him that I will hang around nearby so that when he does remember I'll be able to get to him quickly. Ten minutes go by as I circle the quarry. His hand shoots up. I'm there instantly. "I remember what it was," he says, beaming. "The table rocks!"
Wednesday: I go to the art department's exhibition. A small canvas, simply brushed with ultramarine, takes my eye. The title, "The crisis of the bottle openers", and the artist's name cause me to ponder. Claudia is well known for her sense of humour, but she has not displayed it in her work before. I may have missed the deeper meaning of her work, but I wonder if art is sometimes a "mistake". In this case, however, it should begin with "p".
Thursday: Parents whose offspring are choosing GCSEs descend in their droves. I spend too long with Rachel's father, but he demands even more clarification about the resistant materials option for design and technology. I liken it to the woodwork and metalwork of yesteryear. Finally, he admits his problem: "How can it be that metal is studied when metal is a conductor of electricity, not a resistant material?"
Friday: My car breaks down on the way to school. With my head under the bonnet, I become aware of a motor cycle circling round and look up. "Mr Lowicx, do you want some help?" I recognise one of the malcontents I taught a few years ago. I explain the problem, and accept his offer of a lift to get a new bottom hose. Helmeted, I try to ignore the siren behind us. The policeman reveals that the bike is stolen.