Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Strike day

It's been a while since I wrote about 'a day at the office' so here goes. Today was the second of two days of strike action by several non-teaching unions. Following a risk assessment and discussion with my senior leadership team, I decided that the school would open for pupils in S4, 5 and 6 only.

I got up at around 6 am, and following a hearty breakfast, I got into school for 7.30 to open the school building along with our senior depute, Drew Macrae. The task of opening the building is usually carried out by our Janitors but as they were all on strike this task falls to the headteacher as an official 'keyholder' for the building. As usual, some staff were already in the car park raring to get in and prepare lessons for the day.

The day ran as smoothly as I would have hoped. In the afternoon, we even managed to interview and appoint a PT of mathematics. All the students throughout the day were brilliant; I am really impressed at how they have matured into such responsible young adults. On a day such as this you really appreciate the support of all your pupils and staff, particularly the principal teachers. We are fortunate to have a superb group of staff at Liberton High.

At the end of the day, assisted by my hardworking and loyal SLT, we ensured that the building was secure before setting the alarm and locking the building.

Reflecting on the day, I was once again, reminded of how important our non-teaching colleagues are in the smooth running of the school. It's often said that you don't appreciate someone until they're not there. Without their input many really important services just don't happen. We coped with one day, but I would not like to be without key staff for longer. I hope that a resolution to the dispute on pay can be found quickly; all staff deserve to draw salaries that reflect today's cost of living. Importantly, all of our pupils need to be in school, taking advantage of the first class education on offer.

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