I apologise if this sounds Trumpery but fear not. When I say we’ve had the best end of term that’s what I actually mean. I don’t misspeak and say that we have had the worst end of term, depending on the audience. What are we meant to do with this stuff?
We have surely crammed a lot into the last weeks. Bugsy Malone was huge, over a hundred in the cast and running for four nights. Some parents came every night. Primary schools come to watch the show’s dress rehearsal and we got them settled. Then we offered a toilet opportunity, 100 of them take it up and we have to start all over again. Then the microphones don’t work – but it’s alright on the nights. The set is all-conquering. We certificate the sixth form leavers from Fat Sam’s Speakeasy, above the bar.
Our routines are a little affected. Year 10 line up for assembly tidily but I decide that occupying the hall on the morning of the first show might be best avoided. We walk year 10 in silence to the Dojo just to find the outdoor and adventurous activity briefing underway. We perform and about turn and walk up to the sports hall where muscle memory triggers crossed legs on the hard floor. It’s a surreal experience: 270 children and a dozen staff in search of an assembly. We could have kept walking until we’d done our daily mile: the yard was my last resort.
A colleague warns me she’s annoyed, but goes for a run and cheers up. A musician works with a dancer on Motion Sickness, cello and Bach as part of our practice-based appraisal option. A leaver sells his paintings for charity. New teachers visit. Newly-qualified teachers breathe a sigh of relief at another hurdle jumped. I follow a small child rushing over the bridge in pursuit of a youth too cool to listen to her frankly impertinent cry of ‘Alice’s brother! Alice’s brother! Come to me’.
Parents contact me: some to complain that early holiday isn’t authorised, some to congratulate on specific things we’ve done or the general way of things, some to ask questions, some to advise, some helpful ideas, some impossible, but all welcome.
There’s only one taker for Waistcoat Wednesday, though we like young Southgate who appears to value character. Others say allez le bleus, insouciant.
We celebrate too, assemblies with certificates for attendance, endeavour, habits and character with advice on how to be a good audience thrown in gratis. Some prizes come with a pre-installed learning experience. I encounter Ms S on the yard with her form: a prize box of chocs caused 12 wrappers on the floor so now everyone’s tidying the yard.
And a final visit from Mr Brown’s dog. She enjoys the sleep of the just in a leadership group meeting but wakes to snuffle around a bit, startling a member who suspects one of the blameless brethren of unprecedented inappropriateness. Mr Brown himself departs. I’ll miss his comprehensive range of opinions and barely-concealed righteous fury on behalf of the nation’s young.
Which is justifiable if for no other reason than we head into the hols with no word from the School Teachers’ Review Body. This affects everyone’s budgets: discovering in September that a proposed teacher pay deal might or might not happen, or be funded will make for an excitable start of term. Perhaps they’ll put out the news on the same day as the results in the hols, in the hopes Heads won’t see it. Or next week, when we’re all having a lie down. As the unions have said to the Secretary of State:
…it is surely not unreasonable to expect that a fundamental role of government is to govern in an orderly and timely manner and not precipitate uncertainty and a sense of crisis. The current delay fails this basic test and is entirely unacceptable.
But our last assembly together was as lovely as ever. We change our world for the better year by year. Our children will have to do it for all of us when they take on the mantle of adult citizenry, but do you know something? I think we’re in good hands.