If you haven’t spotted it yet, our school fete is currently being featured by the EDP24.
No two days are ever the same. This Monday morning my working week begins just after 6.00am with an hour spent checking emails and my program for the day over breakfast – I am a morning person and find this quiet time very productive. Just before 8.00am I’m off to school – I live on site so it’s a good commute.
Walking through the school grounds I meet up with early arriving pupils and exchange a word or two. We run breakfast club from 8 o’clock so there is a parent or two to greet and briefly chat with. I have even been known to start the day with a game of table tennis. My PA is in her office when I arrive in the school building so we spend some time sorting the day’s programme: there are parents to see, meeting agendas to finalise and a new pupil to interview.
Life is pretty hectic from the word go and at 8:30am I am in the staff room for Monday morning staff briefing. We run through the week ahead and catch up on any events that have occurred over the weekend such as boarders’ outings, Duke of Edinburgh’s expeditions and sporting fixtures. Most importantly we share news about pupils to make sure we are up to speed on what’s happening in their lives.
Then it’s off to assembly; we are all gathered together to start the day three times a week. Monday is my day to talk to the school: I try to relate to the pupils’ experiences and today I talk about consideration for others – we are a close community and I share something I read recently about an act of kindness shown by a stranger. We are a Christian foundation and assembly starts with a hymn and ends with a prayer, but I hope the message is more about how we live our lives than any particular religious doctrine.
After assembly and before mid-morning break I am plunged into the hurly-burly of running a busy school. After dealing with the heavy post tray, dictating letters and answering queries, it’s time for my first walk around the school of the day. I think we have the friendliest young people in the world and I talk to individuals and groups, catching up on their news and views. I know all pupils by name; as we are a boarding school, our pupils can come from anywhere in the world and it’s always interesting to hear news from Africa or Hong Kong.Then it’s back to my office where I meet up with my deputy head. We work through the mixed bag of school items that we are currently dealing with, discussing our upcoming scholarship exams and reviewing the progress of the pupils’ reports on our new online reporting system.
As we wind up our meeting, it’s time for lunch in the school dining room. I always eat with staff and pupils. The food is delicious and as I enter I have to make a decision between something from the salad bar or something more comforting from the home-cooked dishes. I love our home-cooked meals but in respect to my waistline I choose a salad and take the opportunity to talk to colleagues.
The afternoon begins with short interviews with two pupils who have been sent along to receive a commendation from me. After that I interview a potential new pupil who has come in with her parents. We talk about her interests and aspirations and mum and dad have the chance to ask about exam achievements and the school’s pastoral care.
The bell rings for the end of school. The winter sun shines across the lawns and woods outside my office. Young swimmers with their kit race across the grass towards the swimming pool, chattering loudly as they head for their weekly swimming club session. For the next two hours I will be working on the never decreasing pile of paperwork, looking in at the silent room of intent faces during the prep hour before, at 6 o’clock, the day pupils leave and the boarders come down to supper. I leave then for my own evening meal and, after reading up on educational matters until 10 o’clock, I will watch the news and finally then call an end to another busy but satisfying day.