Phil Revell

PD Day

The car park’s full, but the corridors are empty. Mr Hepworth is wearing brown shoes. The Head is sporting a cable knit sweater of the kind popularised by the monkey from a failed digital TV channel. It’s a PD day or - as the older and less malleable staff insist - a Baker day. The deputy head (CPD and external affairs) insists on calling it a professional development opportunity. He’s on his own there; he’s also the only one in a suit.

Nine on the dot and the staff are still in the staffroom, luxuriating in a second cup of coffee and the absence of a bell. Ms Robson is fussing by the door. Affectionately nicknamed the gauleiter, she is chivvying people down to the library, where a speaker awaits.

Humanities and English are first down – so that they can bag the back row. Maths and Art straggle in late and face the appalling prospect of having to sit on the front row and look interested for two long hours. Dave Tranter is doing what he always does on these occasions – he’s running a sweep.

“The bet is how often she says the word ‘target’. No, you can’t have 104, that’s gone. There’s a side bet on who gets to ask the first question. Robson? She’s 3:1 on.”

A PowerPoint presentation leaps into life, and Andy from audio-visual eyes up the speaker’s equipment.

“That’s the new model. The 3500, weighs less than a bag of sugar,” he whispers.

Over coffee the speaker is questioned by a couple of scientists, who want to know how the new regime will be squeezed into lessons which already appear to contain very little science.

“This isn’t a bolt-on initiative,” the speaker says smoothly. ‘It’s a matter of integration into existing schemes of work.”

In the corner Dave Tranter is handing the Head a pile of coins and notes.

“Ninety-Eight,” he says. “Spot on.”

The Head calls for quiet, thanks the speaker, and announces that the rest of the day will be taken up with departmental business. Tranter gathers his English team together.

“OK? Right then, let’s get some bloody work done.”

© 2007 Phil Revell