I remember a time... not so long ago... when schools were a great place to work in on the run up to Christmas. There were concerts, carol services, canteen Christmas dinners that always over-run into the last lessons of the day and plenty of real festive anticipation. The younger pupils enjoyed festive-themed lessons while every classroom had cards, handmade paper chains and snowflakes on the windows (frequently badly cut from A4 lined paper).
In the staff briefing on Tuesday morning we were told "Absolutely no festive activity until the last day of term..... and THEN it has to have a real learning content." My poor Year 7s, who have still got echoes of a primary Christmas in their heads, are completely bewildered. "Own clothes for the last day... absolutely not! The pupils don't bring the right equipment if they leave their blazers behind." End of term special assemblies.... oh no! There's a rewards assembly next week... but that happens every term.
In the meanwhile, my Year 11s are in melt-down. They had the first bout of mocks three weeks ago. We are currently cramming in practical and language exams and they come back to a second bout of mocks immediately after Christmas. I work in a school of almost 1300 pupils. On Monday over 140 were absent with illness, with Year 11 being the worst hit.
This evening I had a 'teaching and learning' meeting with my Line Manager. She wanted to talk about learning audits and work trawls. Currently I'm running the department on my own. To keep her sweet I spent an hour auditing my own Key Stage 4 marking and have provided the usual detailed paperwork to prove it. The place has gone mad!
Sometimes July seems a long way away...........................!