(Author’s note: this interview is mostly fictitious. It is a combination of imagined situations, actual conversations, social media posts and exasperated sweary rants from School Business Leaders across the UK. Any resemblance to actual persons or schools, alive or undead, physical or virtual, are entirely deniable and covered by alibis signed by the Site Team)
Interviewer: So, how was the first week back at school? Did all of the preparation work pay off?
SBL: well, if you mean did I slog my soul out for 6 weeks, running in circles trying to outwit a halfwitted government, to deliver a safe school that fitted out risk assessment’s needs, then yes, it bloody well did.
Interviewer: Ah yes, the famous Risk Assessment. DId it cover everything it needed to cover?
SBL: If you’re asking if it covered the conflicting actions of the 10 members of staff who had heard from their friend on Facebook that all teachers required full Hazmat suits and were no longer required to do lunch duties, then no, it didn’t cover everything. Nor did it cover a rogue badger in the car park, but we live and learn.
Interviewer: How about the children then, did they stick to the rules?
SBL: Yes, for 37 seconds. Or until Billy Goddard arrived with a bag of Jelly Snakes to share because it was his bearded dragon’s birthday. Then things got a bit tricky. Especially when his mother decided to bring the dragon, Elvis, to school at the end of the day for an impromptu party at the bus stop.
Interviewer: Ah, so how have parents been generally?
SBL: On top of the usual range of parental attributes you mean? The majority of parents are supportive, helpful, and delighted to be handing their children over to us after having to homeschool them for 6 months. Many have sent in gifts, bribes and offers of banked favours if we prioritise keeping their children in school rather than others. Other parents, of course, have behaved like prize wazzocks, but we had already identified those particular parents and put in pre-strike measures to mitigate their inevitable wazzockry.
Interviewer: So how have different departments been coping with the challenges of delivering a socially-distanced curriculum?
SBL: That’s been really interesting. Science have approached the challenge in a typically scientific manner - testing different approaches and adjusting their process depending on the results. Maths have been very precise and exact, there is a strict in and out process, with sanitisation moment synchronised to the millisecond across the department. History are taking a more observational approach (plenty of chat and lots of tea), Geography are running a Covid bake off, and PE? Well let’s just say I had to intervene before they implemented a sheep-dipping system for students, with an old tin bath, a donkey brush and a hose. They say darwinism, I say law suit.
Interviewer: And of course we have to remember that on top of all the Covid activity, you still have all of your normal duties to carry out. How has that been?
SBL: I am the living dead, frankly. I am so tired I can barely speak, but there’s no let up. I sent a simple email to our Nursery about children remembering to bring their wellies. Didn't spot the autocorrect had amended it to ‘willies’. Can't wait for tomorrow morning.
So I thought I needed some time away from my desk and I went along on a trip to a local mosque. I took a scarf to wear over my head. It was a brand new blue scarf that was having its first outing. It rained, the scarf turned my hair blue, and I’m now known as Smurfette. Thank you for not laughing. I said, thank you for NOT laughing.
Interviewer: Sorry (coughs). I’m not actually coughing by the way, I’m just, um, clearing my th...
SBL: you're laughing. So, anything else before I test this fogging machine out on you?
Interviewer: Yes, just one last question please. In all of this there must have been some high points. Has there been anything about returning to school that you’ve really enjoyed?
SBL: Of course. I’ve loved seeing the children, I loved seeing most of the staff too. But if I had to pick one highlight, it would when I got to tell the other members of SLT that they sadly hadn’t been picked as Designated Survivor.
Interviewer: Oh, goodness, do you think it's necessary to operate a designated survivor protocol then?
SBL: No, but they don't need to know that, do they?
Interviewer: Sometimes being the Business Leader has it’s advantages then?
SBL: Being the Business Leader always has advantages. Confiscated cupcake for your journey home?