20 Oct A day in the life of our Head Teacher
Arrive late to work despite leaving before 7am to be here on time, the North Circular does so much good but if there is an accident it snarls up all over the place and makes the journey complicated. Anyway, no time to dwell or moan, straight onto gate duty as parents are already arriving.
The usual issues with parking problems at the beginning of term, a mixture of our parents (mainly) and others deciding to part in unwise locations, right on the corner, double yellow lines and some even on the zig zag lines in front of school. The usual nod or reminder always suffices however some determined miscreants need to have number plates noted as this is not the first time, note to office staff to draft a reminder letter. Occasionally a juggernaut decides to trundle down the road and causes mayhem, today was such a day. Parents blissfully unaware, cross the road behind the truck as it reverses. I’m reminded of the adage never pick a fight with a HGV!
Whilst waiting at the front gate to greet parents it also gives parents a chance to see me and raise any queries. Our children’s wellbeing is crucial to us and today a parent comes to see me about an alleged bullying issue. Immediately raise it as an allegation with the anti-bullying co-ordinator. It’s never nice to have your child come home unhappy so it’s important we deal with it swiftly. As it happens it was more of a behaviour issue than bullying, will need to monitor of course.
Sometimes you get caught up in so many issues you forget the most important part of the school, our children. Decide to have a wander around the classrooms to see how today’s attendance looks and show my face to the new Reception class, children always make you smile with what they say and how they react. Ms tells me a funny story about a new younger child in the school who sees pictures of a child posted around the school for medical reasons (in the ‘WANTED’ style format) and remarks “Haven’t they found him yet?”, comments like that make your day and make me chuckle. School never gets dull!
Get back to check in at the front office and another symptomatic case of possible CORONA, need to check guidance again, however this one is a bit more complicated as the children in question are fine however a sibling who is also fine has been sent home due to her bubble being exposed to a positive COVID case. Further investigation via the gov.uk website and calls to 111 reveal they don’t have to be sent home.
Eventually settle down on my desk and start work on updating some key policies which are due before the end of the month. As I review, I generate a list of items that need addressing to ensure we remain compliant. Meanwhile a group of girls come into tell me that they have been busy tidying up the hall by picking up jackets etc. I know they are here because I gave out a few Headteacher awards for the children who helped me the day before. Everyone loves a sticker especially one of the shiny gold headteacher ones!
Quick catch up with the recruitment situation, arrange a time to have a telephone call with a potential recruit who has some queries about the school, in between an odd duty, the day rapidly progresses to lunchtime. Zuhr salah is always a pleasant relief and break from the stresses and strains however too often thoughts are caught up in what else is left to deal with for the day. Afternoons rapidly progress and with little time to dwell between dealing with an upset child, speaking to children about how they are and of course making time for staff to come and see me.
Afternoon home time duty beckons, today we have a surprise COVID inspection from the Head office so that we are compliant. Always eye opening when you see things from a different angle. Realise the playground is too busy now that Reception class are full time. Will need to think of a plan to help lessen the congestion! Once all pupils leave there is a small sense of relief, another safe day at school completed.
After school issues normally revolve around issues that people couldn’t catch me with during the day. Today a staff member comes to see me about the additional strain on her shoulders due to the difficulties of the new arrangements and the extra pressure for teaching staff during the day, with additional duties etc. I can only smile and acknowledge as I can’t think of any other solution at present. Keeping staff motivated and happy is a crucial part of my job. Leadership is all about influence and influence occurs through conversations. However, she feels better for having told me, insha’Allah the situation will get better for us all.
One blessing of lockdown was the decreased traffic as I get into my car and click on Waze I see that the journey home is full of diversions, life is back to normal (on the roads at least!), however being amongst so many amazing staff and students makes the day so satisfying and the long journey allows me to collect my thoughts before we start again tomorrow.
Majid Ishaque, Head Teacher Noor Ul Islam Primary School
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