People have been dropping by just to tut and roll their eyes and tell me how long January’s been. This is strictly unnecessary as it’s the same blessed length every year, but coming back to school before Twelfth Night makes it seem interminable. And then there’s February to contend with, which is no better except for half term. It would make perfect sense to have a moratorium on any excitement this half term and just concentrate on getting through the days and heading home before nightfall.
However, we are gluttons for punishment. We’ve had a pretty constant stream of visitors (apart from Them) attracted by our website and our general stuff. A much-visited colleague reasonably asked ‘Do we ever say no?’ Yes, but not very often and perhaps I should. Fine words from someone who’s arranged another Civil Service Immersion visit straight after half term.
Anyway, yesterday’s visitor was again impressed by the self-regulating multi-directional traffic on the bridge. Like an elderly 14-year-old I can’t leave a good thing alone so went forth to hassle the crowds today. Feeling sprightly for my age, I didn’t grab the trusty anorak. I shuddered theatrically therefore and a forward-facing youth asked if I was cold, as if being cold was an unacceptable sign of weakness. In February. In a thin jumper. Post-Ofsted. Perhaps I needed Clara’s spotty headscarf?
Unacceptable weakness was exactly what was being tested (I think) by an enthusiastic group throwing eggs off the bridge after close of play on Wednesday. No, not that kind of egg throwing, we don’t hold with that here, but something sciency. Eggs with parachutes, accompanied by groans, howling, derision and cheers.
Much like this week’s staff briefing which included gardening, birthday parties, fidget toys, slime, year 11, year 13, a knockabout double act between me and Gov & Pol, but thankfully no mention of parking. I’m pretty intolerant about fidget toys, but hypocritically so. I can’t sit still to save my life and invariably pick at my face, hair, teeth or just get up and wander about in meetings. Rank has its privileges. HMCI knits: I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
But this week also brought us Year 13 parents' evening, the end of the road for some long-term parents. The former Chair of Governors, for example, with child number three now in the final furlong. It’s a strange experience and I’ve said it before: we should print certificates, or strike medals.
Except that parents do it for love and generally don’t begrudge the time spent queueing and arguing (usually with the child, occasionally with a teacher and we try to resolve that). We do it for love too, in our own way and we try to give our time freely. A new support colleague asked if she should make an announcement to hurry parents along as time wore on, but we tend not to do that. Parents’ evenings overrun, its part of the warp and weft of school life. I can usually predict who’ll be last. Yes, Bradshaw.
Even when everyone’s gone, a handful will remain picking over hard cases or the unexpected upsets and wondering about how we could do it better. Then we all go home. Children and parents to happy or sad homes, filled with pride or regret. Teachers likewise. Mr Smith rewards himself with a kebab after parents’ evenings, and why not?
When we get back we can turn to face the second half of the year with confidence and commitment. Our Platinum Artsmark award buoys us up that our holding onto creativity is valued, and a super conference yesterday sharing practice on transgender young people went really well. It’s getting lighter! Have a nice half term