By half term the engines tick along nicely. We’ve had open evenings and the new starters are confident enough to do the selling for us: the books are open for next year. By Christmas we’ve got going on parents’ evenings and mocks and looked next year’s budget in the eye. Predictions are telling us what we want to hear, or not. Action is being taken on two thousand fronts.
By January, we’re halfway through the year. The countdown clocks in assembly appear to speed up. We’ve got used to each other. Tallis is universally cheerful but Year 7 are also terrifically enthusiastic, year 8 cocky, year 9 irritating, year 10 gloomy and year 11 working like Trojans. Year 12 are in denial and year 13 beside themselves. Awkward squads are decommissioned. At February half term we work out what needs fixing and panic about the arrangement of weeks before Easter. I call for the Easter holiday to be fixed, but not to anyone who can make the slightest impact on it. We worry about the exams and terrify ourselves with mad rumours of this year’s government interference.After Easter we’re like hamsters on a wheel for weeks. The exams are here for good or ill, we sort out staffing and the budget. Everyone over 15’s panicking about something. Then there’s another hol with revision sessions, and a mad rush to get everything finished for the summer and the new year? All in place? Off we go.
Over the summer holiday we worry about the exams. A bit of time to reflect and it washes over you. I’ve worried about results in areas of outstanding natural beauty and in front of the major cultural artefacts of the world, in spiffy new museums and edgy galleries of modern art, over exotic cuisine and accompanied by interesting wines, on trains, boats and planes and in cathedrals ancient and modern. All that being said, I’m reasonably good at compartmentalising until the final 24 hours. This year I then betook myself to Edinburgh and drowned paranoia with bagpipes and detective stories.
On the day, we meet at school and fulfil our various roles. The news comes to me in the form of himself in shorts, with a post-it. This year’s post-it was a jolly one. Good, good, good news all round. Big smile, shoulders back, stand up straight, certificates in envelopes, smile for the camera.
So September, this September, is as it should be, full of hope, excitement and new beginnings not regret, recrimination and exhumation. We re-embark and launch out from the quay for another year at sea, ready for any weather. Sea boots on for September. Welcome back!