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Half-term blues? – Headmaster’s Blog -Wednesday 26th October 2016

October 26, 2016
Ballard School Headmaster Summer 2016

Half-term blues?

This blog was written on Saturday 22nd October – Ed.

For reasons too complicated to go into (and linked to the ‘leap year’ – blame Julius Caesar), we are still at school next week whilst the rest of the UK seems to be on their half-term break. I have had some disgruntled noises from parents and pupils – even a few from my long-suffering staff – but only until I have pointed out that we shall be on holiday when the rest of the country is back at work (even if we do have to wait for it).

Delayed gratification I’m told.

I’m also told that a flight to Tenerife next Monday with a well-known low budget airline costs over £300 whilst if you go the following Monday (when we are on our break) it is only £25. Talk of a ‘silver lining’ (clearly a ‘Sterling’ one).

East coast Tenerife

I read through today’s education headlines in the Press and came to a rapid conclusion that I clearly need a holiday (but not just yet of course). The Guardian has this: ‘Supply teachers ripped off by umbrella companies’. Now, when I see the word ‘umbrella’ I immediately think of a handheld device to keep off the rain (something we have mercifully seen little of lately).

When I read this I couldn’t see why supply teachers should be worst hit than any other. Any ideas – on a postcard, please? (Don’t rush: apparently it’s something to do with agency fees – but then when I see ‘agency’ I think of fashion companies or magazine suppliers).

Further in today’s Press I see that the BBC News has this headline: ‘Teachers urged to reduce time spent marking homework’. On closer inspection it’s all to do with Nick Gibb (Schools’ standards minister) advising us not to use different coloured pens (I tend to use green ink but that’s apparent from Imperial days), to spend less time on homework marking and to give a simple grade.

Please don’t show this to my staff.

We feel it’s important to give full feedback to the pupils, to ask for their comments and to require an explanation for grades given (so as to better inform progress).

But then don’t ask me as I’m clearly in need of a holiday…

and, no, I won’t comment on the Daily Telegraph’s headline ‘School blames Brexit for increased lunch costs’ as this will only get me going on what else we can blame on Brexit in the absence of El Nino, the Jet Stream, owls and bats preventing us installing floodlights on our Astro (no, I’m not bitter – just relieved at the cost saving).

Have a good Brexit break (assuming you are fortunate to have one) when the time comes.

Alastair Reid (the apparently world-weary Head)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is a non-selective, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire (on the Dorset/Hampshire border), providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here


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