Today I took our choir – a totally non-selective group of children who say that they are happy to sing (or happy to turn up to an after-school rehearsal once a week for a few weeks in exchange for 2 days out of school!) out to a rehearsal at a different school. We are taking part in a performance of a new musical item called the Magna Cantata, written to celebrate 800 years of the signing of the Magna Carta. It will be performed every night for a week in Salisbury Cathedral by about 350 people each night, the main parts will be the same people but a different 160 – 200 primary school children will be the chorus each night.
We booked the minibus, I remembered to sort the free school lunches, I did the risk assessments, I found the requisite number of adults with DBS forms, I printed extra copies of the words, I remembered the first aid things, permission slips, I think for once I had considered everything. I collected the children to get ready to go. I looked at a group of children who were both nervous and excited to be going to a different local school for the day. The excitement was buoyed by the fact that some of their friends from KS1 were now at the school and the head teacher used to teach at our school.
I loaded the first group of children onto the minibus – should I have taken copies of behaviour management plans and personal risk assessments with me or not? I gave them the standard pep talk/ riot act, I knew they were proud to be representing our school, I knew they would want to be on their best behaviour but….. there is always that ‘but’ in the back of your head…
We arrived after an uneventful journey, they went to our allocated room, I went back to get group 2 – the same thoughts ran through me head but we had the same positive pep talk.
We were the only school to have taken words – the children didn’t complain when words they had put on the floor were quickly snaffled by children from other schools, they just shared. They may not have been keen on acting and singing but the majority made a passable attempt and those who were feeling shy didn’t cause trouble, they just looked a little shy.
We worked for 2 hours – no break, no drink stop, no fruit snack – no complaints and no asking to go to the toilet. Wow!
We ate lunch in our room and then went to join all the other children out at play. The boys, typically, set up a football game, one of my helpers was soon referee (and goal keeper!). Children from the other schools soon joined in. Some of our children are not always the most tolerant whilst playing football – today tackles were shrugged off, errors forgiven.
I wanted the children to come off the playground a few minutes early – not one complaint!
The afternoon was a little trickier, all the children were a bit fidgety. One lad when asked why he wasn’t singing replied, “I am singing – just only in my head.” A bit of encouragement and he joined back in.
We had to leave a bit early as we had to do 2 runs back to school and be back by home time. No complaints, all sorted. First group told to go in quietly and join their class whilst I collected group 2.
I couldn’t have wished for a better day ………
I got back with group 2 to be greeted by a TA reporting that these angelically behaved children all day had raced into class, shouted, argued and caused chaos.
I suppose it is a bit like when you have children – I used to go to parents’ evening and hear about these children whose behaviour bore no relationship to how I saw them at home. I used to at least be glad that they knew how to behave when they were out and at school. I guess it is the same with the children today but it would have been nice if it had lasted!