“What have you got for me?” She sat down on the leather chair and put her hands on the desk. She leaned forwards slightly, but she didn’t meet their eyes.
They looked nervously at each other. Who would be first to jump?
“Explain it to me sector by sector. Keep it simple,” she said, relaxing back into the chair.
“Should I go first?” Early Years half raised a hand. It only felt right that they should start at the beginning.
“Go ahead.” She smiled.
“Okay. Well, we’re not giving enough funding to settings for free childcare places, we flunked the baseline thing, and people are complaining about the phonics check. Parents don’t like so many tests.”
“Would you like to go next?” She glanced at primary.
“Take your pick.” Primary shrugged. “Key Stage 2 SATs disaster, times tables tests, SPaG, all above average. Parents not understanding a word of it.”
“Can I just mention SATs resits, at this point?” Secondary said.
“Hey, you’ve got new GCSEs coming your way,” Primary said, “I feel for you.”
“So, things have got a bit out of control here, then,” she said. There was the faintest note of perspiration on her forehead. “Goodness me. What a pickle! Whoever could have left me such a mess to clean up? Whatever shall I do?”
They all stood in silence for a moment. They weren’t sure if she was making an ironic SPaG reference, or if she always spoke like that from time to time.
“I know what I’ll do,” she said, finally meeting their eyes and smiling broadly. “It’s all clear to me now. I think I’ll start by saying sorry.”