28th March

Students still getting me down! You think a room is empty and then they enter it and it feels even emptier!

Weird thing this morning – went out and got into car – Radio 4 was on and the guy I’d filmed yesterday was being interviewed on the Today program!

First day of Headteacher interviews at the school.

Highlight of the day was something I wasn’t really looking forward to – lunch with the kids. I went in first and sat with the last few reception kids and chatted to them as they finished their lunches. One of them asked me to help her put her things back in her lunchbox. They were all so cute, asked me my name and how old I was.

Then I had my lunch with year 1. I had baked potato and pudding and custard. This was the first time I’d had school lunch since the one and only time I stayed at secondary school after rugby practise! Sarah came in ad told the kids that they had to make sure I ate everything! The girl I was at next to even asked her friend to make sure I did if she had to leave before I finished! Afterwards I got a sticker for eating all my lunch!

So tonight the one of the students asked if she could go to the post office. We told her it was closed and that we were about to have dinner. After dinner she asked again and then slipped out of the door. Although we were annoyed as she wasn’t meant to go out alone at night we waited for her to come back as there is a post office at either end of the road. When she didn’t come back Sarah got me to go to the end of the road and look for her but she was nowhere to be seen. I then jumped in the car and wizzed around the area trying to find her. After 10-15 minutes Sarah came with me but we still couldn’t find her.

Sarah rang the co-ordinator and she rang the French teacher. I continued to drive around in ever increasing circles looking for her. The French teacher tried to talk to the other student but as Lissi found earlier when she tried the other student had no idea where she had gone. In fact the other student showed absolutely no signs of even being remotely worried about what had happened to her classmate. We even went ontoour PC to look at the history to see if there were any clues. She had spent ages watching music videos and I was starting to panic that maybe she had jumped on a train to London in some teenage “Let’s go to London because that’s where all the music stars are!” sort of moment. As I drove around I started to worry that she’d been grabbed, there were 2 dodgy looking blokes standing outside a house near the post box – had they enticed her in or even grabbed her?

As time went on we were getting more and more frantic and as it approached 2 hours the decision was made by the French teacher to phone the Police. In a matter of minutes a Police car had turned up outside out house with the dippy student in it! Apparently they had picked her up an hour earlier and had been driving around hoping she would recognise something. They were starting to despair about what to do with her when the call came through.

The leisure centre is about a ten minute walk from our house and is in a direct straight line. There’s the occasional twist and turn but no left turns or right turns to confuse you. I’m pretty sure that if our 6 year old was to wander down there then he could simply turn around and find his way back. But not this 13 year old…… I’ve no idea why she was so far away, she must have passed 3 post boxes on route, unless she really did think she would find an open Post Office at 8pm. Apparently they had been given a card with our address on in case of emergencies but she didn’t have it with her – her teachers were furious!

The thing that concerned us the most is that she didn’t seemed to be fazed by it at all, nor did she show any remorse. To get to the leisure centre she would have passed the train station at the end of the road but didn’t think to mention Le Gare to the Police as being near the house. We are seriously convinced that both students had some sort of learning difficulties that we hadn’t been informed of. The certainly didn’t seem capable of anything but the simplest of social interaction which makes us wonder why it was felt acceptable to place them with a strange family in a foreign country.

Les lumières sont allumées mais il n’y a personne à la maison