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A piece of cake…

I was recently asked how many hours a week I work. It’s a hard question to answer, simply because to do so necessitates defining what work actually is – not as easy as it sounds. Lazy internet research suggests that work is physical or mental effort directed toward the production or accomplishment of something. If this is so, I’m clearly working quite hard, especially last Friday…

My day started at 8.00 am when I set up the Family Centre for our annual meeting for new parents. I put out the chairs (definitely work) and had a few moments to run through my notes, detailing all the ways in which our new parents can get involved in the life of the school – and there are quite a few. I then headed out to the playground to ring the bell (highly skilled work).

Once the classes were in, it was back to the Family Centre, where supported by our brilliant PSA team, I addressed a room of really supportive new parents.

Parent meeting over, I headed to my office to prepare the next appointment – my fortnightly catch-up with our Chair of Governors. Meetings with Jake are always interesting. We run through the things that are going on at school, discuss progress against our key areas for development and catch up on anything else that needs to be talked through.

With Jake up to speed, I made my way to the staff room to check how Chrissie’s Macmillan Cake Sale was progressing. Rather than buy a slice of cake, I thought it best to make a donation sizeable enough for me to help myself to cake over the course of the day – a bit like a ‘bottomless cup of coffee’. Walking through school I bumped into Vini, a boy in Year 2, who stopped me and said, ‘Hi William, how’s your morning been?’ ‘Pretty good so far’, I replied. He’ll go far.

After a lunch of fresh tuna skewers with sweet potato chips (fish and chips reinvented?) and some lovely conversations with our new reception children, it was time to get ready for Forest School. I made the hot chocolate, set out the Forest School suits and gathered up the resources needed for a ‘Bear Hunt’ with the Year 1 ‘Squirrels’. A beautiful Friday afternoon in the woods with a bunch of five-year-olds technically counts as work, but it was such fun to see their excitement chanting Michael Rosen’s classic text, making tree bears from clay and sharing a mug of hot chocolate.

Back at school, the end of the day was a bit of a panic. Nick and I struggled with the a few technical issues as we got ready for the premiere of the new School film, a ‘Steadicam’ journey through the school to Bo Didley’s hit “You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover”. The screening received a great reception and the ‘Oscar’ and flowers presented to the film’s producer/directors Dave and Luciane, were richly deserved – the film is brilliant!

Then it was back to the Dining Centre to set up for the school’s first ‘Supper Club’.  After a bit of chair shifting, table laying and set dressing, the Dining Centre looked posher than ever – just in time for me and our 48 guests to sit down and sample Chef Michael’s spectacular North African taster menu (hard work, but someone’s got to do it). As midnight approached, I locked up the school for the end of another day.

Not every day at school is exactly like last Friday. My 16 hours of ‘work’ were hugely busy, incredibly varied, challenging and rather stressful at times, but richly rewarding and really good fun. It’s just a shame I never found the time to eat any of Chrissie’s cakes. Probably just as well.

William