I’m sat here on a Sunday afternoon, wondering how I can fill the gaps and there are gaps, more staff isolating. Two emails, a text message and member of staff on the CEV list following the new lockdown on top of four staff already being out from closing a bubble. Our problem is due to the number of children (well above the national average) with significant special needs we have no capacity to cover, if a staff member is off, we must cover that immediately means supply. (We have no supply budget)
If I’m honest the job feels like a long way from the job, I aspired to 6 years ago.
When I became a headteacher it was with an idealistic fervour that I could improve the education for children in our school, that I could support the teachers and staff to be that best they could be. This is not the job I’m now doing. Some weeks it feels that I cannot even get close to looking at how school is doing.
Every day is a logistics challenge, filling gaps and managing holes. We can talk as much as we like about catch-up however currently my first aim is to KEEP OPEN. The pressure is constant, and I have to say without the brilliant support of our Trust I think I would have folded under the pressure of it.
Don’t get me wrong school is amazing and the staff are doing an astounding job. Children are in, settled and working hard. It does however feel increasingly fragile.
Last week I taught all week in Year 5 as the teacher was isolating and we couldn’t afford more supply. This wasn’t the best plan when we were informed of a positive child in year 6 on Wednesday morning (two jobs one person is not possible). I’ve done almost every lunchtime there is no downtime, every minute is solving the daily ongoing problems that arise.
Then I look at my budget, which we have worked so hard to get back into credit and was running on a fine line. The costs are now starting to stack up with supply costs that we cannot afford. The government needs to look at this and support schools to stay open
Then we get the other stuff …That Ofsted are even contemplating starting regular inspections in January is frankly ludicrous. That the plan is for primary schools to get back on the SATS accountability train is just ridiculous.
Personally, I believe schools should be open, but we need less empty rhetoric from government and more support, both financially and systemically to keep our schools staffed and as safe as we can.