Those were the days Part 5


Work Experience Visits

Work experience visits were organised using a sheet that you could sign up your name next to a student. It was pretty flexible. Form tutors used to do a lot of visits, purely on a pastoral basis, although there were a few perks, one of which was the fact that you got out of school and away from cover if you went visiting.

One mentor of mine that I have yet to mention was a Tea-club member who certainly liked a drink or two. Richard Michaels was a mean looking customer, a former London schools boxing champion, who in his younger years used to work some evenings as a nightclub bouncer. I shall call him RM.  We both shared the same GCSE science classes in year 10 and 11. This meant that during work experience in June we had a lot of free periods that coincided. RM suggested that we did a batch work experience visits along the High Street, as we had similar free periods in a run from mid-morning till the end of school.

So we piled into the car and did the run of visits from Woolworths to the solicitors’ office all the way up the High Street. RM suggested we debriefed in The Swan and had a go at writing up the visit reports as it was still lunch time at school and we were free last period. We were similar to Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis in the fact that RM assumed the old git, boss role and I was the younger partner who got stitched up with the driving and getting the rounds bought.

As I brought the drinks back RM leaned back in his chair and puffed out a plume of smoke and said “This is the life! Year 11 are down the road, no classes to teach, no registration neither!”

REGISTRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My jaw dropped. I could see RM grinning smugly. He had no tutor group, whereas I had a Year 9 form and the school had a 5 minute afternoon registration period. He knew the score and I had been mugged off. I checked the clock……….. Too late! I had no time to get back in time to do it. Panic set in, I had visions of my form drifting in to the lab after getting bored of waiting for me and causing mayhem. Knowing them it could get messy.

I jumped up and got on the payphone and quickly punched in the numbers.

Rings for ages, no answer. Kids will be waiting now. COME ON PICK UP!

Still rings. I have visions of my lab getting trashed.

Receptionist finally answers

“Chris, it’s Sam. I need help!”

“You’re down the pub aren’t you?”

“No I am not! I need a really quick favour”

At this point someone in the pub wins on the fruit machine and it starts paying out. RM is laughing his socks off.

“You ARE down the pub!”

“YES I AM DOWN THE PUB! Just please get someone to register my form. PLEASE!”

RM is in absolute stitches.

“I will see what I can do. Make sure RM behaves himself!”

I could have swung for him, sitting there with his fag, pint and big grin.

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