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Summer Term - Week 12

Posted by Lights Out Ladies
Lights Out Ladies
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on Monday, 24 June 2013
We've been making plans for our End of Term House Trip and the boys in the house are getting particularly excited by the prospect.

One of the pupils in the Removes has made a calendar counting down the days and says it will be "the greatest day of the year so far". He has currently not got many friends in the school but his Housemaster has told me that we need to work on this by ensuring "he stops being such a pathetic, snivelling little weasel". Pastoral care not being the central focus at my new school.

I have been instructed to arrange something on behalf of the Housemaster who claims he is too busy to organise things. He told me this whilst chalking his cue in preparation for a game of Billiards against the Head of House in the full size snooker table in his living room. Punting at Oxford

With some trepidation I've gone ahead and chosen to head to Oxford for the day for a picnic on the banks of the river followed by an afternoon of punting. Good, clean typically English fun for the youth of today! I've booked the coach, arranged the packed lunches and told the Housemaster who has announced it in House.

The boys seem reasonably keen although there was some confusion over what punting actually was and one of the dimmer Shell boys now thinks it is some kind of martial art.

The worst part of organising things is the inevitable Risk Assessment I knew I would have to complete. In my old London comp it was unthinkable to go anywhere off-site without every member of staff signing and carrying a 10 page document about the potential hazards with them at all time. So I approached my Housemaster and discussed this with him.

He looked perplexed, "Risk Assessment," he repeated. "Yes, have you got a school template I can adapt?"

He wrinkled his nose, "Risk Assessment. For a picnic."

"Well punting can be dangerous," I explained slowly, "All those wooden poles and water, there is the potential for drowning."

"Drowning in waist-high water," he dismissed. "Well this would probably only happen after being hit on the head with a pole but still we probably need to cover ourselves."

"What DO you think my boys will be getting up to?" He asked, face getting rather red.

"Well..." And as if to make my point Jonny Fenton in the top year appeared in the doorway wielding the billboards cue and looking left to right.

"Just searching for Richard Sir," he said brandishing the cue. The Housemaster looked up, "Righto."

Summer Term - Week 3

Posted by Lights Out Ladies
Lights Out Ladies
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on Saturday, 20 April 2013
I have been at Brockfield House for less than 48 hours and have already been signed up for First Aid Training, Fire Training and a Minibus Driving Test. I am standing outside the office of the Second Master who needs to sign a green form for me that gives me permission for being out of school the following week. It's called a 'greenie' which I think is hilarious but have no friends yet to laugh with about that.

He appears in the little window of the doorway which makes me jump back and yelp. He opens the door and beckons me in. His office is like a cell in a monastery. A desk, a sofa, a bookshelf with philosophical tomes and little else. It is cold and I instantly hope he can sign my greenie and I can be on my way.

"And how are you finding things?" he asks.

"I am enjoying it, it's very new, I am well." I babble this quickly, like a shopping list, practically able to see my breath in the air.

"I am drawing up a Risk Assessment for a trip to the cinema," he chuckles inexplicably and points to his desk.


"The Hobbit." He laughs again.

I smile sympathetically and explain the greenie.

"The Headmaster will need to sign that," he says handing it back.

"I'm not sure he's here today."

"He's not."


I wait for a solution. I get:

"He's at the opera this evening."

Silence. I turn to leave.

"La Boheme."

"That's nice."

"He prefers Madame Butterfly."

"Who doesn't!" (I have never been to the opera and this is NOT the right response.)

I have to sit on the sofa, I have to be educated. I learn about opera. For the next half an hour.

I wonder when I should tell him I'm meant to be teaching Year 10 in 5 minutes for the first time.

I wonder, again, how I got here.

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