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  • 11th September 2020


Just a reminder to all pupils that PE lessons will remain outside for the foreseeable future so please ensure that you have a full change of kit that is suitable for our changeable weather.

I heard his cough from about four hundred metres away from the direction of the AstroTurf pitches. As he drew nearer to the building it became louder and more persistent.  By the time he was passing my office window I know what you think I was thinking.

So I leant out of my office window to ask him if he was alright and where he was going.

“To the nurse”, he spluttered.

“How long have you had the cough?”, I asked.

“About five minutes”, he replied.

“How did it start?”

“I didn’t have my P.E. kit and fell over, ripped my trousers and cut my knee.”

Now, as you know I’m not a doctor…

“So the cough started when you fell over, ripped your trousers and cut your knee?”

“No sir, I was fine until I stood up. And swallowed a fly.”

I don’t want to bring issues of gender into any of this but in my experience of young people it does seem to be boys (and I say that as one myself) that I quite often end up in these kinds of conversations with.

We’ve had a lot of coughs and colds this week and it understandably isn’t good for the people affected but it can also cause anxiety to staff and parents alike. Hand hygiene, distancing and face coverings remain our ‘go tos’ and so far we’ve avoided a positive Covid 19 case in the school. As I’ve said before, however, it probably is just a matter of time. And if it comes we need to respond in the same way as we’ve so far managed the re-opening of the school: with calmness; with a sense of community and with concrete facts.

As ‘Fly Boy’ bloodily limped off to the nurse my attention turned to lunchtime.

And another boy. Let’s call him ‘Charlie’; a really wee S1 boy. I’d told him off the previous day about all of the litter he’d dropped and that if I caught him in that area again or dropping litter he’d be in trouble. As I approached from behind there he was again: entertaining a group of S4 girls (all about three feet taller than him; he’s what is termed a ‘Cheeky Chappy’). The girls in this case- as in many cases-were clever enough to vanish like they’d never been there. I think Charlie was still talking to their shadows when he became aware of me behind him.

‘I thought I told you not to be in this area Charlie?’

‘Yes Sir, but I reflected on what you said and thought I should patrol the area for litter droppers”, he said. He shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, one heel stuck to the remnant of a cheesy baguette; a crisp packet dropped sadly from his pocket and blew off. In the direction of the sound of coughing…

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