A day in the Life of a Headteacher II

Illustration by Rob Davies


I woke up at 7am, shaved with foam and razor. Dressed - gold shirt and tie and Blue Harbour trousers (M & S). Put my school bag in the car along with the garden fork to pick some potatoes. I watered the hanging baskets and pots and brought the milk and eggs in from the door step. My wife had made me breakfast of bacon and egg on toast with tea and orange juice. I cleaned my teeth (Mcleans) and after giving my wife a peck on the cheek I am off on my daily journey to school.



8.00am Little traffic this morning so a clear journey of 25 minutes. Parked my Nissan Primera Profile to the rear of the school. I am the headteacher and have been since January 1984.
8.25am Went into school and spoke to the teachers and the cook to check on messages and to see that everyone is all right. The teacher of Class 4 is out on a course today and another who job shares in Class 1 is on supply for her. Strange to see her heading for the junior end of the school.
8.35am Photocopy some maths sheets ready for the teacher who is doing some practice on his return to teaching course. He is working on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this term. Strange to have someone returning to teaching at 55 when many people are trying to retire early from the profession.
8.45am Opened the door to let the juniors in. They commented on how much warmer it was inside. Organised readers for collective worship and a song for the O.N.P. Fielded a couple of phone calls from parents. One child will be late because of a dental appointment, one will be absent due to illness. Opened the office.
8.55am Chatted with the school secretary to discuss any work for the morning.
9.00am Rang the bell, electronic inside and hand bell outside to start the day. The children file into the hall for collective worship. It is my turn to take the service today. Our theme for the term is the creation and today we are thinking about the land. I told an illustrated story of how a clergyman used an ear of wheat and a lot of work to multiply it over several years to make enough money to repair his church tower. We said prayers thanking for our food and asking for help for those who have little. We sang "Think of a world without any flowers".
9.15am Checked on any children's birthdays - none today. Reminders about extra-curricular activities. Today there is a 'Webb Club' and an after school 'First Aid' club organised by one of the teachers and a 'Chess Club' organised by yours truly at lunchtime. Also 'Recorder Club' organised by the Deputy head at lunchtime.
9.20am Completed the register - all present today (14 pupils) in Class 5. Completed the dinner register. Today we are serving curry and rice which is always good. Eight children chose the main meal, one chose a jacket potato and 5 brought their own food.
9.25am Brief discussion with a teacher before he takes a maths lesson on fractions. I observe the lesson and then help with the marking as the children work through the prepared work sheets.
10.30am Off to the staff room for tea and biscuits - chocolate covered today. Signed some letters for parents, which have been typed by the secretary.
10.45am Rang the bell and saw the children of classes 4 and 5 into school. Settled down for a discussion lesson about censuses and surveys and about the changes in living conditions in 1891. Discussion about what we might record in a daily diary. The children participate with accounts from their personal experience.
11.20am The children make notes for their diaries.
11.50am Three helpers go into the hall to help Class 1 with their meals.
12.05pm We say grace, pack up and go into lunch. I spoke with the secretary about any important mail or telephone calls.
12.10pm Behaviour in the hall is very good, so I head for the staffroom for my packed lunch and more tea. I make the tea and wash up some mugs. Discussion in the staffroom about the coming survey of pupil's ethnic origin. We move on to the problems which one experienced by people from ethnic minorities.
12.50pm Phone call from a parent to enquire about a child's health.
1.00pm Rang the bell to bring the children in. Spoke with two boys who had been over vigorous in tackling each other at football. Spoke to all the children in Classes 4 and 5 about what they should do if they have a problem with another child.
1.05pm Undertook a reading session. Between us we heard every child and marked their bookmarks.
1.25pm Science lesson on how to keep heart and lungs healthy, ie diet, exercise, not smoking, non fat foods.
2.00pm History project work on change inn farming methods in the early 18th Century - Jethro Tull, Viscount Townsend. Some children use the library for research, and some use the computers to obtain further info.
3.10pm Group quiz based on general knowledge.
3.20pm Prayers to end the day.
3.25pm Discuss with one of the teachers the activities for the next day. I join the other teachers in the playground, supervising the children as they leave. Many on the 4 school buses.
3.35pm Discuss with staff the day's activities. No problems today.
3.40pm Put up some project work on my hall display board.
3.55pm Mark science books and run through activities in tomorrow's timetable. Discussion with teacher about the pictures which she is downloading and printing from the digital camera. They are mainly of class 1 following their activities during the day and should make a good display.
4.15pm Phone call to the Welsh Assembly to request some information and forms to undertake the ethnic survey. They will ring back tomorrow.
4.30pm Discussion with the groundsman about the new playground markings which he is putting down.
5.00pm Lock the office and check that all electrical equipment is switched off. Early finish this evening as I will probably be here until 10pm tomorrow because of a governor's meeting. Brief word with the cleaners, picked up some potatoes from the school garden and drove home, posting letters at the garage on the way home.
5.35pm Arrived home. A lovely smell in the kitchen. My wife has made coq au vin with baked potatoes. She showed me her new cord jacket from Empire Stores catalogue. I laid the table for supper. My son came home from work. I gave him his leather jacket which he had left in Erwood during the weekend. It was dropped into school this morning.
6.00pm Supper. The news was on, mainly about the problems in Iraq and the impending war which is likely to take place against Saddam Hussein because of his weapons of mass destruction.
6.35pm After supper I change out of my school clothes and washed up while Alison did the ironing. There was a 'Watchdog' type programme on TV. I made a cup of tea and went into the lounge to watch television. There was nothing of interest on so we watched a video of 'Ground Force' with Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy Walsh and Charlie Dimmock and then a programme called 'Two men in a trench' which was about the archaeology of a battle which took place in Barnet near London. After that we watched a detective story starring Trevor Eve called 'Waking the Dead'. Feeling thirsty so we had a glass of cider - Blackthorn. I had a caramel bar and my wife had a Thornton's Champagne Bar. We had 2 cats in with us, both fast asleep. My wife did some sewing and I settled down to do some writing for school.
12.15am Started to clear up ready for bed. Put off electrical appliances. Gave the cats some finely cut ham before letting them out. Cleaned my teeth and washed. My wife showed me her newly mended shoes. Soles and heels cost £11.30 but it was well worth it because they are like new again. My son is still playing his guitar but it is not disturbing us because he is using an ear piece. He shouted up to ask if he should let the cat back in. Poppet settles down to sleep an the settee for the night. It is quite cold out.
12.45am Sleep. Zzz.
Illustration by Rob Davies

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