This morning started exactly where last night left off. As I was at the door with other members of SLT doing our morning ‘meet and greet’ one of the office staff came to get me. She looked agitated. I asked what was wrong and she told me that one of the parents involved in yesterday’s dispute was in the foyer and was very distressed.
I walked up the corridor and asked her to come into my office. She was in floods of tears. She had some of her children with her, one of whom was looking distinctly anxious. I suggested that the office lady take him down to class. Mum was still sobbing. I just let her talk, and she talked out all her anxieties. I think she just wanted to talk, and was worried about the consequences of the argument spilling into school. I reassured her that I would not let that happen and that we would talk to the children. I made her a cup of tea and eventually she calmed down. She is a good parent really, just caught up in a difficult situation and struggling to see her way out of it.
When my Pupil and Family Support Worker got into school (she had been to pick a child up as her mum was poorly) I handed the parent over to her so that they could discuss next steps.
While this had been going on, my Achievement for All Coach arrived. I love her visits. They enable me to reflect on my own practice and give me the luxury of strategic thinking time, which I don’t get enough of. We started the session with a brief walk around the school to get the feel of how the term has started. It was lovely. Children focused on their learning and staff doing a great job. My new Reception children already know three letters and their sounds!
We have a large Reception intake this year, which is very ethnically and linguistically diverse for the first time and I am SO excited about this. It will change the make up of the school completely and is just what the area needs.
We then met with my SENCO to look at our acceleration programmes and provision map, and to plan our joint observations. The work she does is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without her.
It was lunchtime before I knew it and my regular lunchtime companion arrived at my door. He can’t manage lunchtimes outside without getting himself into trouble or hurting someone so he spends them with me. He usually brings a friend and we all go and eat together in the hall. He is also amazing really. He knows he can’t manage the ‘freedom’ of the outdoor play so he comes to me. He never forgets and he never complains. Today he and his friend had some of the staff and children in fits of laughter as they were playing with the puppets that I keep in my room, putting them up at the window and waving and playing visual jokes.
Sometimes they sit with me on the sofa in the foyer and we watch the school go by. I love these times. Just sitting and being available gives the children who want to the chance to come and chat, which they invariably do. It’s lovely. I have my ‘regulars’ who always come and touch base, and then there are the ones who just say hello now and then, or have a specific bit of news to tell me. It also gives me a chance to ask them how they are getting on in class, and to ask them about their learning. I learn a lot.
The rest of the afternoon was spent data crunching again. We are making significant headway with our Raising Attainment Plan and lining up all the content for our new ‘SEF’. At the end of the day I heard a noise a the door and saw a very familiar cheeky grin grinning at me through the glass. He had come for his teddies. They were glad to see him…
The day had appeared to end on a good note but something always seems to happen at my school and at this time of year there are lots of anxious parents. One of these was picking her daughter up and I asked her how things were. She had stayed after school so it was about 4.00. She wasn’t happy. I asked her to come into my office and again, I listened. She had just received the most recent Learning Support Service report for her daughter and she was worried about what it said. There is a meeting to discuss the report next week with the SENCO and other professionals and she asked me if I would go too.
She is an interesting parent and I have a lot of respect for her. She is very dyslexic herself and had an awful time at secondary school and is truly terrified about what is going to happen to her daughter when she moves up next September. We have been putting things in place for the last couple of years. Mum’s anxieties about her take a lot of managing and she is not as poor academically as she thinks she is.
I reassured mum that I would be at the meeting next week. She then said that she had been unhappy at the end of term as her child hadn’t got a reward when she felt she had deserved one. I reminded her that she had in fact been taken out to lunch on one of the reward trips which is the most special thing we do to reward children and mum seemed happier. She then said that she was worried about the deterioration in behaviour of her other daughter and asked if I would have a word with her tomorrow. I said I would and she left seeming quite ok with things and looking forward to the meeting next week.
About half an hour later I got a message from the office. Please could I phone mum back. She is not happy and she wants to make an appointment to come and see me. I rang back. No answer. I left a message saying that I could see her first thing in the morning. I now wait to see what tomorrow brings…